Monday, November 5, 2018

!!!!!VOTE!!!!! *****VOTE***** !!!!!VOTE!!!!!

Tuesday, November 6.  Today is the day to do the one, most important thing that we can do as citizens of our great country... go VOTE!  If you don't vote, you don't get to complain, because you have not done what you can do to have a voice in what is going on in our country.  We are at a very critical time in our history, perhaps more critical than at any other time.  Why?  Global warming.  That is the single most crucial issue that we are facing, and we must elect to office those persons most willing and able to take action on our behalf.


Enjoy these vintage postcards...

Sunday, November 4, 2018


It's that season of fall foliage, pumpkins and squash, and Thanksgiving!  

Although pumpkin pie is a staple of Thanksgiving meals, sometimes it is fun to do a one-off on a tradition, particularly when you are dining with a foodie.  This recipe, by Ina Garten (a/k/a The Barefoot Contessa), fits the bill and is truly delicious!  We don't typically think of pumpkin and banana together in a recipe but, trust me, this works!

This serves more people than a pie would, and can be made the day ahead.

For the crust:
*  2 cups graham cracker crumbs (14 crackers)
*  1/3 cup sugar
*  1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*  1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:
*  1/2 cup half-and-half
*  1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
*  1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
*  3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
*  1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*  1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
*  3 extra-large egg yolks
*  1 package (2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
*  1 ripe banana, finely mashed
*  1 teaspoon grated orange zest
*  1/2 cup cold heavy cream
*  2 tablespoons sugar

For the Garnish:
*  1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
*  1/4 cup sugar
*  1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*  Orange zest (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
CRUST:   Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter in a bowl and mix well.  Pour into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press evenly into the sides and the bottom.  Bake for 10 minutes and then cool to room temperature.
FILLING:  Heat the half-and-half, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until hot, about 5 minutes.  Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl, stir some of the  hot pumpkin into the egg yolks to heat them, then pour the egg-pumpkin mixture back into the double boiler and stir well.  Heat the mixture over the simmering water for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly.  You don't want the eggs to scramble.  Remove from the heat.  
     Dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water.  Add the dissolved gelatin, banana, and orange zest to the pumpkin mixture and mix well.  Set aside to cool.
     Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form.  Add the sugar and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks.  Carefully fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture and pour it into the cooled tart shell.  Chill for 2 hours, or overnight.
GARNISH:  Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form.  Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks.  Pipe or spoon the whipped cream decoratively on the tart and, sprinkle, if desired, with orange zest.  Serve chilled.

Monday, April 9, 2018


Today's recipe came to me from my step-son's mother-in-law, who I am pleased to say has become a cherished friend of mine, despite living far away in England.  The photo below is her photo, and the recipe comes from the blog, A Year in Redwood.  I signed up to get this blog's posts, since I see that they have an airbnb accommodation in North Tipperary, Ireland.  I'd love to stay there sometime!.  

·         4 oz butter, plus extra to grease tin
·         11 oz self-raising flour (Note 1, below)
·         1/2 tsp salt and lots of black pepper
·         6 oz goat’s cheese, diced (there is no need to remove the rind) (We didn’t have the full amount of goat’s cheese so used some Philly to make up the balance)
·         6 oz firm cherry tomatoes, halved
·         15 g basil
·         3.5 oz milk
·         3 eggs (2 duck eggs)

Heat oven to 180 C/ 160C Fan/ Gas 4 (Note 2, below).  Butter and line a 900 g loaf tin with baking parchment.
Tip the flour and seasoning into a bowl, then rub in the butter until it disappears.  Toss in 100 g each of the cheese and tomatoes.  Roughly tear in the basil, keeping the pieces quite large.
Beat the milk and the eggs together, then quickly stir into the flour and tomato mixture.  Turn into the tin, smooth the top, then scatter with the remaining cheese and tomatoes.
Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean.  (Make sure it isn’t the melting cheese you are looking at rather than the bread mixture).
Cool before slicing.
Serve in thick slices.  Store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

1)  For information about making your own self-rising flour (requiring only all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder), follow this link.   Additional information is also available that may be of interest to you.  Also, 11 oz of self-rising flour is equivalent to a light cup and one-half.

2)  Since I haven't made this, I'm unsure what the best baking temperature might be.  I would try it at 325ºF; but watch it carefully.

Sue said that they ate this with soup.  Salad would be another good option.

I look forward to making this!  When I do, I'll follow up with more specific details/conversions.

Monday, March 5, 2018


Perhaps you tried my mother's recipe for bread pudding that I posted a few days ago.  Today I'm posting my mother's recipe for banana bread.  I know, there are a gazillion recipes for banana bread.  I expect that my mother had many other recipes as well since she shared this recipe as her "favorite."  I also have many recipes for banana bread with notes such as "greasy" or "dry" or "bland".  These are all reasons why you should try this particular recipe.  Not only does the recipe result in banana bread that is moist and flavorful, it is flexible, as noted in the recipe.

As I emptied this bag of flour I noticed that a recipe for banana bread was printed on the package.  Even though I think my mother's recipe may be better, I'll probably go ahead and make this one, just out of curiosity.  If I do, I'll try to remember to blog here about it.  

The question is:  Why do I keep trying so many different recipes for the same thing, when I already have the perfect recipe?!?  

As an aside, Gold Medal flour is America's #1 selling flour brand - originating over 135 years ago... in Minneapolis, Minnesota!  

*  1/2 cup soft butter
*  1 cup sugar
*  2 eggs, large
*  1-1/3 cups mashed bananas (about 4 bananas)
*  1 tablespoon milk
*  1 teaspoon vanilla
*  2 cups flour, all purpose
*  1 teaspoon baking soda
*  1/4 teaspoon salt
*  1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional:  chocolate chips)
*  1/2 cup quartered maraschino cherries (optional:  chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease a 9"x 5" loaf pan.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar;  beat in eggs.  
Combine mashed bananas with milk and vanilla.
In a small bowl, mix flour, soda and salt together; blend it into the banana mixture.
Stir in nuts/cherries/chocolate chips.  Pour into loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Notice the very, very ripe bananas.  The two in the bag came out of the freezer.  They look awful, but they are perfect for a flavorful bread.   Tip:  When you have overripe bananas, instead of tossing them, peel them, put them in a baggie, and store them in the freezer for making banana bread.

Here are the three mixtures: 1) dry ingredients in the small bowl, 2) creamed sugar and butter, with eggs ready to be beaten in, and 3) wet ingredients - bananas, milk and vanilla.

Tip:  As you can see in the photo below, I should have put on gloves before cutting the maraschino cherries.  Oh well...

TA DA...  Ready to eat!  Actually, this was cut when the bread was hot out of the oven.  Tip:  Once the bread cools, it sets up and will cut perfectly.  

Of course, you probably don't need suggestions for eating banana bread BUT consider this:  Toast a slice of banana bread, top with a scoop of ice cream of your choice, and top with hot fudge sauce.   Really, really good!