Archive for the 'banana' Category

06
Nov
11

On Board the Crazy Train of Inspiration

Inspiration. I love that word. I love the idea of inspired thoughts and action. As human beings we are inspired by our world around us, every day, every moment. We just have to be aware of it.

For example, a few weeks ago as I was quickly breezing through the produce department on my way to the time clock, I overheard a snatch of a conversation between two co-workers. They were talking about Ozzy Osbourne. Bam! It hit me. I knew what I was going to be for Halloween this year. It was that simple and inspired.

Vampire Gran as Ozzy

Ozzy as Ozzy

A little scary

I’m not the only one lookin’ a little old

This was everyone’s favorite shot

Looking at some over ripe bananas in the fruit bowl this morning, I knew some baking had to occur today. Would it be muffins or waffles? I’ve fallen in love with two recipes lately and have been making them weekly. The muffins won the mental coin toss, so I commenced to prepare the pan, mash bananas, and gather my ingredients. The last time I made these muffins I added some sweetened flaked coconut. Everyone raved. I always put chopped nuts in the muffins, usually walnuts or pecans. Inspiration reared up and the bright light came streaming in. I heard the faint angelic voices in my head sing out in unearthly splendor. What if I add cocoa powder today? Chocolate, coconut and pecans = German chocolate goodness. German Chocolate Banana Muffins!

 

Holy breakfast break though, Batman! These are some fantastic treats. But are they really muffins? Or are they naked cupcakes? Cuppins? Muffcakes? (oh, that sounds kinda naughty). Breakfast cupcakes? Whatever we call them, they are inspired goodness. You be the judge.

German Chocolate Banana Muffins

1 ¾ cups spelt flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt (Kosher or sea salt)

¼ cup cocoa powder, sifted

1 ½ cups ripe mashed bananas (about 3 large or 4 medium bananas)

2/3 cups pure maple syrup

1/3 cup canola, sunflower or extra virgin coconut oil, melted

½ cup chocolate chips (use dairy free if making vegan muffins)

½ cup chopped pecans

1 cup flaked coconut

Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375° Prepare 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or light coating of oil

Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, salt and cocoa powder in large mixing bowl.

In a smaller bowl mash bananas, oil, and maple syrup together.

Stir wet into dry ingredients until just mixed. Add chocolate chips, pecans and coconut.

Divide evenly into the prepared muffin pan. Sprinkle tops with turbinado sugar.  Bake for about 25 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Store in airtight container for up to 3 days. These freeze beautifully. Double wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in a freezer Zip Lock baggie.

Crazy full of chocolaty coco nutty Germany goodness

19
Nov
10

Don’t make me go into that kitchen!

Just give me one good reason to bake a cake and I’m all over it.  Actually, it doesn’t even have to be a GOOD reason or even a reason at all.  Or an excuse for that matter.  Ah, hell, just ask me to bake a cake.  Better yet, tell me you have something to celebrate.  I love a good celebration cake.  A couple of weeks ago, my Katie and her workmate, Patty B.,  both had work anniversaries.  These two ladies were both celebrating four years of working for the good Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.  Being a former Catholic School Girl, this still makes me slightly nervous, but the nuns are cool.  And they do love a good sweet treat!

Heaven on Earth - four layers of banana cake wrapped in a cloud of coconut cream cheese frosting

This here bad boy is a Banana cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting.  To really kick up the banana flavor, I put slices of banana between each of the layers (it’s a four layer cake!).  It was insanely heavenly, right up the sisters alley, so to speak.

Here is the recipe:

CORDON ROSE BANANA CAKE

Adapted from the Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

2 nine inch pans, buttered and parchment lined bottoms

4 large ripe bananas
2 tablespoons sour cream
4 large eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups sifted cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
20 tablespoons unsalted butter, must be softened

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

In a food processor process the banana and sour cream until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and process briefly just to blend.

In a large mixing bowl of an electric mixer, combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend.  Add the butter and 1/2 of the banana mixture.  Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and strengthen the cake’s structure.  crape down the sides. Gradually add the remaining banana mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and develop the structure.  Scrape down the sides.

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.  Bake 30 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow cake to cool 10 – 15 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from pans.  Allow to cool completely before wrapping.

I like to chill my cakes before I frost them.  Remove the top “dome” with a serrated knife, for a more professional look.  You can make this a two layer cake or a four layer.  My preference is four layers.  It’s best to use a cake decorating stand.  Place cake on stand, and using a long serrated knife, slice the cake into two even layers.

COCONUT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

1 # unsalted butter, softened
1/2 # cream cheese, softened
0.2 oz salt
0.4oz vanilla
0.2 oz lemon juice
2 oz water
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Place butter in bowl of electric mixer.  Cream for 2 – 3 minutes.  Add powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, lemon juice and water.  Mix on low ( I pulse it until incorporated so my kitchen isn’t covered in powdered sugar) for about 1 minute.  Once it is incorporated, gradually increase the speed to the highest.  Stop and scrape the sides a couple of time during this process. Whip until light, fluffy and very white.  Add coconut and mix until incorporated.

So rich, so insanely decadent!

Frost the cake.  I sliced about four bananas for this cake for in between each layer.  You can see them in the pictures.  So good.

I really do love to tease you with these photos!

Dear, sweet Katie brought a piece home to me.  We ate on it for three days!  So, what are we celebrating next?  Anyone?

16
Jul
10

Electrolux #splits: Split from Tradition

Perfectly decadent summer treat

Many of you regular readers may have noticed the nifty badges to the right.  That’s right, Vampire Gran is  now a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher. Yay!  That said, I am joining with other Foodbuzz publishers in helping to raise money for OCRF, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.  Foodbuzz has teamed with Electrolux and actress Kelly Ripa to raise money for OCRF.  For more information about this important cause, please go to Kelly Confidential

Foodbuzz has a little something they like to call Top 9 Takeover.  They ask all of us Featured Publishers to construct a post around a theme, then for one day only, all Top 9 posts reflect that theme.  Sounds pretty straight forward. 

How am I contributing to OCRF, you may wonder?  Well, here’s something pretty cool.  For every Banana Split posted by a Featured Publisher created by July 16th, Foodbuzz will contribute $50.00 to OCRF.  So, by tempting you all with my wicked goodness, I am helping ovarian cancer research.  My ovaries would probably thank me, if I had any! 

I opted for using zero fat sorbet instead of traditional ice cream

Katie and I have been eating so healthy these days that the thought of a traditional Banana Split kinda gave me nightmares.  Since I am a total newbie to Foodbuzz and I really, really wanted to participate in this challenge, I decided to make my entry a more healthy version of the soda fountain staple.   My banana split is a  Tropical Treat.  Tropical, Raspberry and Mango sorbets with layers of banana and a fresh pineapple, mango, peach salsa.  I topped it off with a not-so-healthy swirl of coconut whipped cream, toasted almonds and a beautiful Bing cherry! 

The only thing with fat in it, Coconut Whipped Cream. Oh, yeah!

 Here’s how I made the fruit salsa: 

Start with a sweet, fresh pineapple

I actually had the produce guy at Safeway cut a couple pineapples to try before I purchased one.  A lot of people don’t know that you can do this, ya know.  Trust me, I work in a grocery store.  They would rather have you try before you buy so they have a happy customer. 

Chop the pineapple up as fine or as chunky as you like

The produce man picked out a great mango for me. 

Perfectly sweet and juicy mango. Yum!

Remove the pit and peel and start chopping. 

Chop the same as the pineapple

I also bought a decent peach.  I really love summer fruit. 

summertime = peaches

Combine the fruit and chill

I added a little honey to make it a wee bit more saucy and a pinch sweeter.  

Slice a banana and whip some cream

After you whip and sweeten your heavy cream, fold in a couple handfulls of sweetened, shredded coconut.  I used a large pastry tip to pipe my cream on top of  my banana split, but you could also use a spoon. 

You will not miss the ice cream or sugary sauces, trust me

I put a few slices of banana in first because I want that last bite to contain banana.  Next I added a scoop of tropical sorbet.  Top with fruit salsa and a few more banana slices.  Scoop of raspberry sorbet, more salsa and banana.  Mango sorbet, salsa and banana.  Top with coconut whipped cream, toasted almond slices and a cherry on top.  Viola!  A banana split that won’t split your pants. 

I can't help it, I just want you to keep looking at it

13
Mar
10

Practice Makes Perfect

Banana Walnut Pancakes with Fried Potatoes and Applewood Smoked Sausage

Thanks ,Christine, from Christine Can Cook blog.  I think you must have infected me with your pancake mania post a few weeks back.  Who’da thunk an innocent blog could be so contagious that just by reading and looking at cool pictures that you could catch an infectious bug like pancake making?The past three Saturdays I have been making pancakes for breakfast!  Not that this is a bad thing.  I love to cook and I love a big breakfast on Saturday especially since we juice fast on Sunday.  It’s a good thing Katie always eats what’s put in front of her, but I don’t want her getting bored.  So like Christine, I have been trying out different pancake recipes. 

Last weekend I pulled one of my favorite vegan books down from my shelf of 130 cookbooks and started a search for some yummy pancakes.  Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson is a great cookbook.  I have tried many of her recipes and they have all been pretty good.  Out of a book of 400 recipes, she had three for pancakes.  Since I had all of the required ingredients in my kitchen, I decided on the Spiced Banana Pancakes.

There are only two of us in our household so I halved the recipe.  I was  a little disappointed in these pancakes.  They were a bit on the gummy side due to the amount of banana and a little too much soy milk.  Actually, I could only eat one as they were a bit on the heavy side.  They did have a nice flavor though.

Not being one to give up easily, especially where food is concerned, I decided to try these cakes again today.  I made some minor adjustments in the measurements and viola!  I made some really good vegan pancakes.

Vegan Banana Nut Pancakes

(Serves 2)

¾ cup flour

1 tablespoon sugar of choice

1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon cardamom

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 banana, cut in half, reserving half for garnishment

½ cup vanilla or plain soy milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup chopped nuts

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices in medium bowl.  In a blender or food processor, blend ½ banana, soy milk and vanilla until smooth.  Stir liquid into the dry mix.  Mix in nuts.

Using a ladle or disher (my fave way), scoop batter onto hot, oiled griddle.  When the edges start to look a bit dry and the pancake has burst several bubbles, turn using a spatula.  Cook another minute or two until the bottom side is nice and brown. 

Place pancakes on plate, slice the remaining half of banana over the top, garnish with a few nuts and serve with warm maple syrup.

In keeping with the vegan breakfast theme, I served the pancakes paired with fried potatoes and Field Roast Applewood Smoked Vegan Sausage.  So good.  I love when the pure maple syrup mixes with the sausage and potato.

Even if you are not vegan (we’re vegetarian), you should give these pancakes a go.  I’m glad I did not dismiss this recipe the first time out.  Practice really does make perfect.

02
Oct
09

Chocolate Banana Toasted Hazelnut Ice Cream

I had surgery on Tuesday.  I am not telling you this to illicit any sympathy from my readers.  No, it’s just the prelude to this next recipe.  Anyway, in preparation for said surgery, I made sure to lay into my pantry the necessary ingredients for my comfort food.  Cheddar cheese, bread, butter, dill pickles, tomato soup, crackers, etc.  I really looked forward to my meal of grilled cheese and dill pickle sandwich with tomato soup and crackers.  For me, this is the ultimate recovery food I crave.

I also made a special treat that may well become my new comfort food.  Home made chocolate banana ice cream with toasted hazelnuts.  So rich and decadent.   We had to eat a little the night before the surgery, just to make sure it had healing abilities, ya know?

When I was being prepped for the surgery, I found myself babbling to the nurse about this ice cream.  I know I saw her salivating in my mind. 

You know when you come out of the anesthetic and start talking nonsense?  Not me, I started telling the recovery nurse all about the ice cream that I was going to eat.  I described it to her in great detail.  How I made it.  All about my Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment.  Oh, she got her ice cream lesson for the day.

Later that evening, Katie scooped up that frozen delight and topped it with perfectly sliced banana and toasted hazelnuts.  We enjoyed that recovery treat, cuddled up on the couch, watching a silly movie and I started to feel much better.  It was either the ice cream or all those pain meds……….

Best recovery food ever!

Best recovery food ever!

 

CHOCOLATE BANANA TOASTED HAZELNUT ICE CREAM

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (75% cocoa solids)

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup whipping cream

2 ripe bananas

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts

Put the milk and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate.  Let sit for 10 minutes to allow chocolate to melt and then stir until mixed.

Beat egg yolks with sugar until light and fluffy.  Pour chocolate mixture over the eggs and pour combined mixture back into the pan.  Stir over gentle heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Allow to cool.

Once cooled, pour into food processor or blender along with cut up banana.  Blend until smooth.  Refrigerate until cold.

Lightly whip cream and stir into chilled chocolate banana mixture.  Place in ice cream maker and churn until thick and frosty.  Add chopped toasted hazelnuts the final few minutes of churning.  Put in container and freeze for at least two hours.  Allow to sit out for about 10 minutes before serving.




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