Storm the Cassoulet

Grilled Bananas

grilled banana

It’s essential that you leave the skins on.

You want sturdy bananas/slightly green.

Leaving the skins on, cut each banana length wise and then again in half crosswise. Make a dessert rub consisting of cinnamon, sugar and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle the rub onto the cut sides of the banana and let sit for 5 minutes.

Grill them, cut side down, on a very clean cooking grate on medium-low direct heat just long enough to get grill marks, about 1-2 minutes.

Turn them over with a pair of tongs and move them to an area of the grill with indirect heat.

When the skin starts to pull away from the flesh of the banana, they’re finished.

Remove the peel and serve with vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, and a little sprinkling of the dessert rub. Serve with rum??

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Duck with Cherries and Red Wine Vinegar

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By DAVID TANIS

Classic French duck dishes, like Caneton aux Cérises (roast duckling with cherries) are for the most part considered too formal or just old-fashioned, relics from a bygone era. An updated version, however, can have great appeal. This interpretation uses a pan-roasted large Muscovy duck breast instead of a whole bird, as easy to cook as a steak. A pungent spice rub imbues it with big flavor. The sauce maintains some classic elements, like red wine vinegar and caramelized sugar, for a sweet-sour aspect, but fresh ginger and cayenne are added for more dimension and spark. Note: Muscovy breasts are quite lean and are best cooked rare to medium-rare (rosy); otherwise the meat will be dry.

TOTAL TIME

1 hour

Ingredients:

For the duck

2 Muscovy duck breasts, about 1 pound each

Kosher salt

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon allspice berries

4 cloves

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

For the sauce

1/4 cup turbinado or raw sugar

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup red wine

1 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Pinch of cayenne

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 pound ripe cherries, left whole or halved and pitted

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon kirsch or Cognac

Method:

Trim excess fat from duck breasts, leaving a 1/4-inch layer covering the breast. (Save fat trimmings to render and use for another purpose.) With a sharp knife, lightly score fat cover diagonally in two directions, taking care not to cut too deeply and expose meat. Turn breasts over and remove the thin tenderloins from underside. Trim away any veiny or ragged bits. (Save meaty trimmings for making stock.) Season generously on both sides with salt.

Pulverize the peppercorns, allspice berries, cloves, bay leaves and fennel seed in a mortar or electric spice mill. Sprinkle spice mixture over duck breasts; massage seasoning into meat on both sides. For more-intense flavor, do this several hours ahead or overnight and refrigerate (recommended). Bring duck to room temperature before cooking.

Make the sauce: Put turbinado sugar and red wine vinegar in a saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, until syrupy. Add red wine and chicken broth and simmer briskly until sauce coats spoon, about 5 minutes. Stir in ginger, cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside. You should have about 1 cup sauce. (Sauce may be made a day or two in advance, if desired.)

Place a wide cast-iron pan over medium high heat. When pan is hot, place duck breasts side by side, skin side down. Let sizzle gently for about 7 minutes, until skin is crisp and golden, turning down heat as necessary to keep from getting too dark. Turn breasts over and cook 5 to 7 minutes more. (Alternatively, finish cooking breasts in a 400-degree oven.) Check temperature frequently with an instant-read thermometer; internal temperature should be a bit less than 125 degrees. Remove breasts and let rest on a warm platter for 8 to 10 minutes.

To finish sauce, put butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add cherries and granulated sugar and cook for a minute or two, stirring, until cherries are heated through and beginning to get juicy. Add kirsch and cook 1 minute more, then add previously prepared sauce and bring to a simmer.

Thinly slice duck breasts at an angle and arrange slices on a platter. Spoon some of the sauce and cherries over meat and pass remaining sauce at table.

 

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Tres Leche Cake

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By Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled, plus more for baking dish

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

5 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

1 cup whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

5 cups fresh fruit (optional), such as oranges or berries, for serving

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs and 3/4 cup sugar on high until pale and thick, about 4 minutes. Add vanilla and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat to combine. With a rubber spatula, fold in melted butter until incorporated. Transfer batter to dish and bake until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating dish halfway through. LET THE CAKE COOL A BIT.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milks. Poke warm cake all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick, then pour milk mixture over top and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Whip cream and 1/4 cup sugar to medium peaks. To serve, spread whipped cream evenly over cooled cake. Top with fruit if desired.

 

 

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Hawaiian Banana Bread

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from Betty Straughan The News Review, Roseburg, OR

Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients:

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup margarine

6 very ripe bananas, mashed

4 eggs, well beaten

2 ½ cups cake flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp baking soda

Method:

Cream sugar and margarine. Add bananas and eggs.

Sift flour, salt, baking soda 3 times.

Blend flour mixture into banana mixture. Do not over mix. Turn batter into 2 greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pans. Preheat oven 350°F. Bake bread for 55 minutes, or until toothpick tests dry in center of loaf. Turn out immediately to cool on rack.

Be sure to sift the flour 3 times!!!

Be sure to use CAKE FLOUR!

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Cranberry Christmas Cake

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Ingredients:

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
12 oz fresh cranberries

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until slightly thickened and light in color, about 5-7 minutes. The mixture should almost double in size. The eggs work as your leavening agent in this recipe, so do not skip this step. This mixture should form a ribbon when you lift the beaters out of the bowl. Add the butter and vanilla; mix two more minutes. Stir in the flour until just combined. Add the cranberries and stir to mix throughout.

Spread in a buttered 9×13 pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until very lightly browned and a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. (I baked mine for 43 minutes.) Let cool completely before cutting into small slices. I cut mine into fairly small pieces, about 1″x2″, so that they could be easily eaten at a party. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin and Cranberry Risotto

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Ingredients:

2 14 1/2-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup Libby’s® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1/2 cup Ocean Spray® Craisins® Original Dried Cranberries
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and white pepper to taste
Additional grated Parmesan cheese, if desired

Method:

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low; keep warm.

Melt butter with oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add rice; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add wine; simmer until all liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Stir in pumpkin.

Add 3/4 cup chicken broth to rice. Reduce heat; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more broth. Rice should be tender but still firm to the bite and mixture should be creamy. This should take about 20 to 25 minutes.

Stir in dried cranberries and cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. If desired, garnish with additional Parmesan cheese.

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Banana Bread with Chocolate-Peanut Butter Swirl

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1/4 cup chocolate chips (any variety), plus extra for sprinkling on top
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 teaspoons water
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a standard-size loaf pan (or three mini loaf pans) and set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the peanut butter and 1/4 cup chocolate chips, and cook for about 1 minute on high heat, stopping to stir every 20 seconds. Mix until completely combined and set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy and light. Add the egg and beat another 2 minutes. Mix in the bananas, lemon juice, vanilla, and water, stirring until combined.

Pour the flour, baking powder, and salt on top of the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined.

Pour half the batter into the bottom of the loaf pan, then layer the chocolate/peanut butter mixture on top of it (try not to let it touch the sides of the pan). Pour the remaining batter on top, then use a knife to gently swirl the layers. Sprinkle the extra chocolate chips on the top and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly (it might have some chocolate on it, but it shouldn’t have banana bread batter on it). Let cool for 20 minutes, then remove from pans.

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Watermelon Mojito

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Ingredients:

4 large mint leaves
½ lime

1 tablespoon superfine sugar
4 ounces seedless watermelon, cut into ½-inch cubes (about ¾ cup), plus a small wedge for garnish
2 ounces white rum
½ cup ice cubes

Method:

In a glass, add mint, lime juice, and sugar and crush with a muddler (or the back of a spoon). Then add watermelon and continue to crush. Pour the rum over the mixture and add ice. Garnish with a small watermelon wedge and serve.

 

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Jalapeño Pineapple Infused Tequila

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Ingredients:

1 750ml bottle of decent tequila (or reposado)

2-3 good sized jalapenos, halved and seeded

1 pineapple, peeled and cut into chunks

1 sprig of rosemary

Method:

Combine all the ingredients in a glass container and refrigerate covered for 12 – 36 hours, tasting every 6 – 12 hours for heat. When desired infusion is reached, strain the ingredients through cheesecloth. Eat a few of the pineapple chunks if you want to. Store the tequila in the freezer

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Palm Tree Fruit Plate

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