Healthy

Frozen Dark Chocolate Banana Bites with Toasted Pecans

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How many times have you bought bananas to only have them turn into a pitiful brown by the end of the week? For awhile there, I'd just toss them in the trash and never gave them a second thought but the beauty of internet has paved the way to a brand new world of recipes featuring the overly ripened fruit. 

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You could use them to make muffins and breads or even as an egg replacement, freeze them for smoothies, or ice cream and my favorite way of enjoying them is frozen and dipped in dark chocolate. 

Fun fact for the day: Did you know you're suppose to peel your banana from the stemless end? If you ever want to be the life of the party, here's 9 ways to peel a banana

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I usually like to peel the ripened bananas, slice them and lay them out in a baking sheet lined with wax paper. This way makes cutting painless and when you dip them in the dark chocolate, the chocolate will immediately harden. However, bananas do melt quickly, so you have to work quickly and in smaller batches. If the bananas start to soften, simply return them to the freezer and dip once they are hardened again. 

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This recipe is simple and uses only 3 ingredients: bananas, dark chocolate and toasted pecans. Also if you don't want as much chocolate on your bananas or you're short on time, take the melted chocolate (make sure it's not piping hot) and place it in a ziplock bag. Squeeze the chocolate to one of the bottom corners and cut the tip and drizzle the chocolate all over the frozen bananas pieces and top with pecans. Omit pecans if you're not a nutty kinda guy. 

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Ingredients:

serves 1-2; yields about 30-40 pieces (printable recipe)

  • 3 ripened bananas, peeled sliced into 1" thick pieces and frozen
  • 1 dark chocolate bar (3.5 oz each ) I used a 70% cacao bar but milk chocolate can be used as well
  • 1 1/2 T coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Peel bananas and slice into 1" pieces. Place onto large pan lined with wax paper. Place into freezer for at least 1 hour.

Chop dark chocolate bar into small pieces and place into a small glass bowl. Microwave for 30 sec and then in 10 sec intervals (stirring in between) until chocolate is fully melted. Add melted coconut oil and mix thoroughly.

Find some wooden skewers or fondue skewers to make the dipping process easier, if you have neither you can also use  2 small forks. Remove bananas from freezer and pierce banana pieces using the skewers and slowly allow the excess chocolate to drip off. Place onto reserved wax paper and top with pecan pieces. Set aside.

If you are using two forks, drop the banana pieces one at a time into the chocolate and use the forks to lift them, allowing any excess chocolate to drip off the sides. Place onto parchment and top with pecan pieces. Continue with the rest of the batch. 

Eat immediately or place back into the freezer until ready to eat. If the bites are too hard, simply leave on the counter for a couple minutes and they will soften a little. 

If the chocolate hardens while you are dipping, simply place back into the microwave for 5-10 sec to soften again.

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Open Faced Fried Egg Sandwich

3 years ago I started Joylicious with no particular goal in mind. I took pictures of the food I cooked at home and surprisingly, people liked it. Never did I think a simple blog would've led me straight to my true passions and love in life, but here I stand, renewed, happy and found. 

During these years, I explored deeper in to food and listened to what people were really looking for when it came to recipes. How could I convince and teach my readers the importance of wholesome eating and cooking? What are the biggest hurdles that stop many people from trying to cook from home? 

I realized fear was the biggest  challenge: fear of failing, fear of chopping off your fingers and setting your kitchen on fire, fear of not knowing how to really run an efficient home kitchen. The lack of knowledge and practice really kept people out of their kitchens and I knew I had to change that. 

Without further ado, I present to you an improved and simplified interface for Joylicious -- where you'll find a brand new category of cooking tips that teaches you anything from how to shop at the grocery store, pick out produce, how to chop, mince, and slice; you'll even find tips on how to utilize and store leftovers, ways to save money and how to keep your kitchen clean. You'll see more informative posts on the importance of wholesome eating and even the occasional gardening tip. But most importantly, just simple, straight forward recipes that not only nourish our bodies but tastes amazing.

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Let us celebrate this new beginning together and explore the wonders of cooking. With breakfast being one of the most important meals of the day, it's important we take the time to start each day with a meal that leaves us sharp and fulfilled -- ready to take on the World. Put that donut down, throw out those nasty hot pockets, and embrace this easy recipe for a sandwich that might quite possibly change your life. 

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This open faced fried egg sandwich tests true time and time again whenever I've made it at home -- the crispy sourdough bread, paired with rich creamy avocado, sharp peppery arugula topped with the perfect fried egg, it makes you fist pump the air and plus it takes like 5 minutes to make.

A couple things to remember when making this recipe: pick out a nice ripe avocado and use good quality bread and eggs. You can read more about how to shop for eggs here and how to fry an egg here. 
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I also recommend a coarser salt to sprinkle over your avocado as it gives it a surprising crunch that leaves your taste buds happy and excited. Did you know humans have an innate propensity towards crispy food? Hear more about it through NPR

I used pink himalayan sea salt, but any type of sea salt would work. No sea salt? No problem, just use kosher as substitute and call it a day. Also feel free to substitute the arugula for a milder tasting lettuce if you are not a fan of its earthy, peppery, flavor. 

To pick out an avocado look for ones that are completely black (green means unripe) with a dull skin -- also it should give slightly when squeezed. Avoid any ones that are extremely soft and mushy and if there are only unripe avocados at the store, place them in a brown paper bag with a banana and it should ripen within a day or two. You can learn how to cut an avocado here.

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Recipe for Open Faced Fried Egg Sandwich

  • 1 slice sourdough (3/4"-1" thick)
  • small handful of arugula or mixed greens, cleaned
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • sea salt or kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 good quality egg
  • cholua or any type of hotsauce

Toast sourdough in toaster oven. Meanwhile, make fried egg. Remove sourdough from toaster, place lettuce, chopped avocado on top and sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Top with fried egg and serve with Cholua hotsauce if preferred. (It'll wake the tastebuds right on up)


Salmon Burgers

 

There's something about a good burger that tickles my heart: a warm soft, crusty bun, a nice flavorful patty oozing with juicy goodness and that magical condiment that just brings it all together.  I've never really dappled with fish burgers. I mean I usually correlate a burger with a thick beef patty, the kind that melts in your mouth and makes your stomach smile on the inside but suprsingly, I found true love in a salmon burger this time.

I used this recipe I found through Food and Wine and made a couple modifications -- I made the aioli yogurt based to give it a healthier touch and the results were fantastic. The best part is, you can freeze the left over patties to use for later. Just simply defrost and sear them in a pan or you can even freeze cooked patties to save a little extra time.

 

 

 

 

 

Salmon Burgers

Recipe Type: Entree
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • Ingredients
  • 1 pound skinless center-cut salmon fillet, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce (3 crabs brand)
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • ½ tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs or panko
  • 3 hamburger buns, toasted
  • Lettuce, onion, tomato, sliced for burgers
  • avocado ailoi (see recipe below)
  • ——–
  • 2 Hass avocados
  • ⅓ cup yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 seeded serrano chile or unseeded jalapeño, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, pulse the chopped salmon about 10 times, or until minced. Scrape the salmon into a bowl. Mix the egg with the fish sauce, tabasco, garlic, shallot, ginger, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro, 1 tablespoon of the mint, ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Add the mixture to the salmon along with 1 cup of bread crumbs. Fold the salmon mixture together with a rubber spatula. With lightly oiled hands, pat the mixture into 4 burgers. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add salmon burgers to skillet and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until well browned but barely cooked in the center, about 7 minutes.
  3. Spread the Avocado Aioli on the rolls. Add the salmon burgers, top with lettuce, onion and tomato, close the sandwiches and serve.
  4. Avocado Aioli
  5. In a medium bowl, coarsely mash the avocados with a fork. Fold in the yogurt, basil, garlic, lemon juice, lime juice, chile and shallot. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

When fish is responsibly farm raised, it's a great way to go as it's a smart option to help deal with our current issues with over-fishing and usually comes at a lower price.  Be sure you do your research to find a good supplier. I used some Cooper River Salmon fillets I still had frozen from the peak of Summer and do feel free to experiment with other types of flaky fish like cod or mahi.

This recipe is also a great heart-healthy option for ones that are watching their cholesterol. Fish are rich in Omega-3 oils that are important for our cardiovascular and brain health and helps lower triglycerides in our blood. Food that tastes good and heals the body? I'm diggin it.

Eat well. Be mindful. Live Happy!

Tomato Recipes

One of my favorite things to do for friends is pampering them with food. It's always been my way of saying "Hey dude, I really love you, thanks for always being so great." Plus it's a great opportunity for me to play around with new recipes and challenge myself to create something memorable. I cooked this particular (tomato themed) dinner for my dear friend Eric, who travels a lot and what does a traveler want the most upon returning home? A home-cooked meal.

No problemo homie.

We started off with a nice Summery (virgin) cocktail but please feel free to add a splash of Hendrick's Gin as my husband chose to do so -- it tastes reminiscent to a dreamsicle except without the creaminess and ends with a nice hint of fennel.

 Yellow Tomato Gazpacho was next on the list -- it took me awhile to get use to the concept of "cold soups" but this one is fabulous. I used mostly yellow teardrops for my soup and the sweetness was phenomenal! It's a great recipe to make ahead and it can also be served as an amuse bouche at parties.

Next came a simple salad topped with toasted pecans, goat cheese, and heirloom tomatoes drizzled with some Italian olive oil a dear friend brought back for me and a sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Feel free to squeeze a little lemon for an extra acid kick. Simple, healthy, delicious -- I know, I'm a baus.

You can also serve the salad in a bowl if plates aren't your thing. Or maybe because you ran out of plates. You get the idea.

This was probably my favorite, well after the main course that is. I took some sourdough, toasted it and melted it with some smoked gruyere and topped it with spicy tomato jam (I added a habanero in mine to give it a super kick), avocado slices and arugula.

 

The smokiness of the gruyere really paired nicely with the sweet and spicy jam -- the jam is also a great dipping sauce for meatballs or even better on top of some cheese and crackers.

Aaaah main course: Maryland Crabcake with Israeli Couscous in a Spicy Tomato Broth. It's amazing how generous you can be with the size of your crabcakes when you make them at home, I even had an extra dish of crab meat left over which I used for an omelet the next morning.

I made the broth from tomato juice, dashi and some thai chiles, which is the same liquid I cooked my couscous in. The Maryland crab cake recipe I used can be found here. As a Chef once told me "It's all about that Old Bay Seasoning." Amen to that Chef! I loved the light breading for this style of crab cake, it really gave the perfect texture I was looking for.

 

Unfortunately, there was no tomato themed dessert. Instead I just made some chocolate chip cookies and scooped some vanilla bean ice cream on top. All tummies were satisfied :).

As you can see, I kept all these recipes pretty simple. It's nice to not be stuck in the kitchen the whole time and be able to sit down and enjoy the meal with friends so make things easy on yourself: prep ahead of time, pick recipes with simple execution and have fun with it!

 

Share the love today and make your loved ones something home cooked -- not only does it replenish the belly but it renews the soul. Now get off that katoosh and get in that kitchen!