Cupcakes for Chanukah! Recipes and more

Sorry for the lag in posting, lots of travel and family commitments but now, shes back…………………..

cup3 There are times in your life (like after eating a dozen latkes) when you just gotta have that certain something sweet BUT you really don’t want the guilt associated with gobbling up 5 bags of candy coins or a calorie laden mega doughnut topped with chocolate and filled with custard (granted, there aren’t too many times when I DON’T want that kind of doughnut). For me that’s when I reach for a cupcake. Just enough cake and frosting to satisfy but not so much as that I feel like I’ve over indulged and the “oh I blew my holiday diet AGAIN” remorse isn’t omnipresent.

The origin of the cupcake isn’t all that clear. Some historians say it’s because the original recipe contained 1 cup measurements (I cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar etc.) Another source I checked with said that long ago that cake batter was cooked in tea cups, hence the name, cup-cake. Either way it came about I’m just glad the recipes evolved into the sweet treats we love today.

Deciding what type of cupcakes to make and what to top them with can be truly a personal and existential experience. You can fill them, frost them, and dust them with powdered sugar or cocoa. Sprinkles are always nice and so is a couple of pieces of candy or chocolate stuck into the top of the batter just before baking. The possibilities are endless and the results are always irresistible.

With cupcakes you can indulge in your love of lemon, banana, chocolate or vanilla or both at the same time and not have to commit to eating a whole cake. One of the beauties of making cupcakes is that most cake recipes can be converted into cupcakes. There are, however, some exceptions, like angel and sponge cakes, they don’t have quite enough structure to pull off the smaller size, but those to obvious exceptions aside, I say go for whatever recipe you want and see how creative you can get. I prefer to use cupcake liners in my pans as I find it easier to take them out after they’ve been cooked and they help keep all those pesky crumbs from falling all over your lap or shirt.

 

Just a few cup cake rules before you get started.

 

1. Always grease or line you baking pan, easier to remove the cupcake

2. Never over fill the pan, it will make an overly large cupcake top

4. Once the pan or pans are full, put them in the preheated oven immediately. The longer they sit out, the less they will rise.

5. Cupcakes should be baked in at least a 350 so that the structure sets quickly and the cake doesn’t dry while it’s baking

3. Make sure you test the cupcake with a toothpick before you remove it from the oven to make sure it cooked throughout.

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Depending on how you decorate the following recipe they can be served as a snack or at a formal dinner and are equally at home at a 5 year olds birthday party or a wedding reception. I make the peanut butter ones every Chanukah and decorate them with chocolate candy coins.  Enjoy!

 

PEANUT BUTTER CUP CUPCAKES (dairy)

1/3 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
16 miniature peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350. Place paper cup cake liners in the muffin pan and set it aside. In a mixing bowl of an electric mixer combine the margarine or butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar.  Mix to combine and then add the eggs and vanilla. Mix to combine. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Alternate adding the flour mixture to the egg mixture with the milk. Do not over mix or you’ll get air bubbles in the cup cake. Fill each muffin cups about 1/2 full of batter. Place a peanut butter cup into the center of each and push it down so it almost touches the bottom but so there is still some batter underneath the peanut butter cup. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean (be careful not to test where the candy is, you won’t get a true test of if the cupcake is done). Makes approx 14 to 16

 

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BANANA SPLIT CUPCAKES (dairy or pareve)

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 mashed ripe bananas

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup milk or non dairy substitute

1/2 cup oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

 

Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese or pareve cream cheese, at room temperature

4 tablespoon soft butter

4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

Optional Toppings;

hot fudge sauce,

maraschino cherries

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 20 to 24 muffin cups or use paper liners. In a large bowl combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine. In another large bowl combine the eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla and whisk to combine.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full, and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar until blended.  Frost and top with fudge sauce and a maraschino cherry

 

Modified from the Joy of Baking

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ZUCCHINI AND PISTACHIO CUPCAKES (pareve)

This recipe uses self rising flour if you don’t have it for each cup of self rising flour use 1 cup of all-purpose flour and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

2 eggs

1 cup oil

1 cup granulated sugar

4 zucchinis, grated

1 cup shelled pistachio nuts, chopped

2 teaspoon lime zest

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups self-rising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup dried cranberries

 

Preheat the oven to 325. Grease or line 2 12 muffin tin pans. In a bowl combine the egg, oil, and sugar and whisk until combined.  Add the zucchini, lime zest and nuts and stir together until well mixed.  Add the flour, cinnamon and baking powder, into the zucchini mixture and gently fold it in. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and bake and for 18 to 20 minutes until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack and then dust the top with powdered sugar. Makes 24.

 

Modified from about.com

 

GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE CUPCAKES (dairy)

 

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 oz cream cheese

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

generous 1/3 cup potato flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon milk

 

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and cocoa powder and beat until combined. Add the sugar and beat until combined.  Add the cream cheese, vanilla, milk and eggs and beat to combine.   Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and beat until just combined.  Spoon the mixture into the paper liners and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool before frosting.

 

1 oz bittersweet chocolate

5 oz cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Melt the chocolate in the microwave but don’t over heat it, it should just be soft. Cool for about minutes. Place the softened cream cheese in a bowl and then pour the chocolate over the top. Add the vanilla and mix until the cheese and chocolate is combine. Add the powdered sugar and mix to combine. Frost and serve. Makes 12

 

Submitted by Roger Mancref and Cheryl Rodrego Naples FL

 

CANDIED CUPCAKES (dairy)

 

Topping

6 chocolate candy bars, chopped into pieces (your choice)

1, 12 oz bag of any kind of M&M’s you like

Crush, cut and mash into tiny pieces

Mix together in a bowl, set aside

 

Frosting

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup semi sweet chocolate

1/2 cup cream

 

Cupcakes

12 tablespoons softened butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 cup mini chocolate chips

 

 

Make the frosting first. In a microwave bowl melt the chocolate and cream together. Stir until smooth and then add the peanut butter and mix until combined. Cool in the refrigerator and when it is cool beat the frosting until it is spreadable.

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or place paper liners in 24 cupcakes molds. In a bowl combine the butter, white sugar and brown sugar. Mix to combine. Add the buttermilk, vanilla and eggs and mix to combine. Add the salt, baking soda, flour, chocolate chips and mix to combine. Spoon the batter into the prepare tins filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before frosting and then decorate with the chopped candy. Makes 24.

 

LUSCIOUS LEMON CUPCAKES (dairy or pareve)

 

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sour cream or pareve substitute

 

FROSTING:

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon milk or pareve substitute

 

Preheat oven to 350 and grease or paper line 30 muffin tins. Set them aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar. Mix to combine and then with the mixer running add the eggs. With the mixer still running add lemon zest and vanilla. In another bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  With the mixer running slowly add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. This will be a thick batter.  Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the butter and powdered sugar. Mix until combined.  Add the lemon juice, vanilla, lemon zest and milk; beat until smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes. Makes 30.

 

 

 

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Cheers to All the Moms/ Wonderful Drink Recipes

When getting ready to shower your mom with love admiration and tokens of your affection you may want to take a leaf out of my family’s book and actually ASK your mom what she wants in terms of gifts or outings to celebrate the day. As my children are older than 21 it stands to reason that I will not be getting a handmade Popsicle stick jewelry box or a card with cut out hearts saying that I can redeem it for 1 hug anytime I need one. These precious types of gifts were wonderful when they were 5 now, not so much. Asking them for a manicure or pedicure or to clean out their closets is not unreasonable but what I really want is not something they can’t buy but rather something they can give me. Their time.

What I really wanted was one time just like we used to have when they were little. An afternoon or evening together, just the three of us. When I suggested it they jumped at it and suggested an evening at an outdoor cafe where we could just sit and talk and have a few appetizers a cocktail or two and listen to some music. I suggested we stay home, they clean their closets and we sit on the deck at sunset and drink fruity girlie drinks and talk. I figured I could get two gifts for the price of one, their company and clean closets. The rules were simple. At least 2 hours of uninterrupted time with no cell phones, nowhere else to go, just mom and kids, communication where I’m always right the way it was before they figured out I wasn’t omnipotent. Oh yeah, and fun fruity concoctions with the crackers and cheese and M&M’s they will cook for me (trust me, that is the limit of their cooking ability).

I started thinking about what we should make with my blender, some ice and the contents of our refrigerator and or bar. Since I don’t typically drink much alcohol I surfed the web and asked a few friends for their favorite beverages and I came up with a few fun recipes that are a little different than my usual beverages of choice, Snapple. While it’s true that some of following recipes contain alcohol my boys are of legal age and drink responsibly. However, most of these recipes can absolutely be made without it.

This Mother’s day I’m getting a gift more precious than diamonds and rubies or pearls. This year I get my babies back for a special time where I’m still the center of their universe. Days don’t get much better than that.

RASPBERRY LIME MARGARITA or MARGARTE & RITA without liquor

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1/3 cup lime juice
3/4 cups tequila (or lemon lime soda)
2 cups ice cubes
1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup vanilla ice cream

Puree the raspberries in a blender. Strain out the seeds. This makes about 1 1/3 cups of liquid. Return the 1/2 cup of the juice to the blender and add the lime juice, tequila, ice cubes, ice cream and sugar and process until smooth. Makes 1 drink. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

CHOCOLATE ORANGE TEQUILA KISS

1 1/2 oz tequila
1 oz chocolate liquor
2 tablespoon chocolate syrup
3/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup orange juice
Ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process. Pour into a glass. Makes 1 drink.

Modified from drinkmixer.com

PEACHY TEA

4 quarts boiling water

10  breakfast  or Earl Grey tea bags

1 (15-ounce) can cling peaches in juice, pureed

sugar, to taste

3 to 4 cups ice cubes

Fresh peaches, sliced for garnish (optional)

Pour boiling water over tea bags and let steep for at least 1 hour. Take tea bags out of tea. Pour pureed peaches into the tea and mix to combine. Taste to see if the tea is sweet enough for you. Add additional sugar, to taste, one teaspoon at a time. Add the ice cubes and chill for at least an hour. Garnish with slices of fresh peach. Serves 10 to 12.

Submitted by Julie Ellison Chicago IL

BANANA COLADA

3 medium bananas

1 cup milk

8 oz crushed pineapple in its own juice

6 tablespoons cream of coconut

1 tablespoon rum or 2 teaspoons rum extract

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 tablespoon ground nutmeg

2 cups crushed ice

In a blender, combine the bananas, milk, pineapple and juice, cream of coconut, sugar, rum or extract and nutmeg. Process until smooth. Add the ice and blend  until smooth. Serves 4.

Modified from barnone.com

SMOOTH AS SILK STRAWBERRY LEMON FLIP

8 oz strawberry yogurt

1/2 cup milk

1 cup ice cubes

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup fresh strawberries

1 tablespoon frozen lemonade or orange juice concentrate

1 oz rum or vodka (optional)

Place yogurt, milk, ice cubes, blueberries, strawberries, lemonade concentrate and rum in a blender. Process until smooth. Serves 2. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

HOT CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY RESPITE

If the evening is kinda cool this is the hot drink you want

2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur

1 oz. creme de cacao

8 oz. chocolate milk, heated

whipping cream from an aerosol can

2 or 3 fresh raspberry mashed in a bowl

Pour raspberry liqueur and crème de cacao in a mug.Add hot milk and mix to combine. Top with whipped cream and the mashed raspberries

FORBES CUCUMBER MOJITO

I got this recipe from the Forbes website and who knew a money magazine had such terrific taste in food.

1 1/2 ounces rum

4 slices peeled seedless cucumber

6 to 8 mint leaves

1/2 lime, cut into wedges

1 packet Equal

chilled ginger ale

In a tall glass, muddle together the cucumber, limes, mint and Equal. Add to cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add rum and shake. Fill glass with crushed ice, return mixture to glass and top with ginger ale. Garnish with a slice of cucumber. Makes one serving.

Modified from Forbes.com

Where do Easter Eggs Come From? Recipes and More (So Not Kosher)r

I have always been fascinated by the origins of foods and food traditions. Have you ever wondered what a bunny that lays eggs has to do with Easter and which came first, the bunny or the egg?

Ancient cultures had an early spring festival celebrating the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Theses festivals were held at the time of the first full moon following the vernal equinox. A fertility goddess named Estre was the goddess of offspring and springtime. While many different pagan religions held the same type of festival they all had different names for their fertility goddess. She was known as Ishtar, Ashtoreth and Eostre. It was believed by Babylonian legend that a giant egg fell from heaven and was incubated by doves. This is how the myth of Ashtoreth/Ishtar/Eastre was born. The hare (rabbit) was the symbol of the goddess. The male god of fertility was called Baal. The egg was the symbol of Baal.

Not until 325 A.D. when the Nicean Council declared Easter a religious holiday was it celebrated by Christians. Because the celebration of Eastre and the celebration of the Resurrection fell at the same time of year the Nicean Council declared that the day would be celebrated on the first full moon after the vernal equinox and would be called Easter, instead of Eastre.

According to The Encyclopedia of Religion, 1987 “Easter” “It was a popular Easter custom amongst Europeans and Americans to eat ham at Easter, because the pig was considered a symbol of luck in pre-Christian European culture.” German tradition believed that pigs are symbols of luck. If you had a pig to feed your family you were considered lucky. This is also probably the reasons that people started keeping their money in banks that were shaped like pigs.

Like I said, food plays a prominent role in any holiday, and Easter is no exception. For many Americans, Easter dinner includes a hearty helping of ham. Besides ham, pastries and bread also figure prominently in Easter fare all over the world. In Russiaa paska cake is molded and baked with a cross on each side. In Germanyand Austria, an Easter bread called stollen is baked in twisted or braided strands and  Polandhas the mazurka, a sweet cakes made with honey. Today, hot cross buns, small buns decorated with a sweet icing in the shape of a cross are the American treat associated with Good Friday and Easter.                           The following recipes are perfect for any brunch, lunch or dinner you may have this year. May your table be full of family, friends and the good cheer that always accompanies a gathering of those you love.

HOT CROSS BUNS

 

1/4 cup water – at room temperature or just slightly above

1/2 cup lukewarm milk

1/4 cup melted butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

3-1/2 cups  flour

1/4 cup sugar

1-1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

pinch of ground cloves

pinch of allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup finely chopped, mixed candied fruit

 

glaze

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons water

 

icing

1/2 cup Confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoon water

 

BREAD MACHINE:
Place all the dough ingredients, except the raisins and fruit, in the bread machine pan. Set on the dough only cycle. Add the raisins and candied fruit at the bread machine’s signal for adding extra ingredients. Remove the dough from the bread machine at end of dough cycle. Place it in a bowl, cover with a cloth and let it rest for 10 minutes.

 

Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Shape the pieces into balls and place them 3 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in warm place until almost doubled, about 45 minutes to an hour. Bake in a preheated oven at 375º for 15 to 18 minutes, or until light brown on top. Remove from the oven. Place the baking sheet full of buns on a wire rack to cool. Prepare the glaze, then spread it over the warm buns. Let the buns continue to cool on the baking sheet. When completely cool, fill a cake decorating bag, fitted with a round tip, with icing. Pipe an icing cross on each bun. Or… simply spoon narrow stips of icing, in the shape of a cross, on each bun.

 

MIXER:
Mix the yeast, 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and other spices in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the milk and water together. Combine the dry ingredients mixture, the liquid ingredients, and the butter in a large bowl. Beat for 2 to 3 minutes at medium speed. Add the egg and beat 1 more minute. Stir in the raisins, fruit, and enough of the remaining flour to make a firm dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5 to 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Use additional flour if necessary. Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn over to grease the other side of the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place. After about 15 minutes, test the dough to see if it has risen sufficiently and is ready to be shaped. To test, gently stick two fingers into the risen dough up to the second knuckle… take them out. If the indentations remain, the dough is ripe and ready. Continue to follow the preparation directions above, from the **.

CLASSIC BAKED SMOKED HAM
1 large smoked ham, about 12 to 18 pounds
whole cloves
3 cups pineapple juice
I pound dark brown sugar
One 16-ounce bottle dark corn syrup

 

Preheat the oven to 325. Place the ham in a shallow roasting pan. Score the fat and stud it completely with cloves. Pour the pineapple juice over the ham and bake for 12 minutes per pound. After 1-1/2 hours, remove the ham from the oven and carefully pat the brown sugar on top, completely covering the top of the ham. Gently pour the corn syrup over the ham, being careful not to disturb the sugar covering. Continue baking, basting every 15 minutes.When ham has baked its allotted time, remove it from oven and continue basting until it is cooled-this gives it a beautiful glaze. The remaining syrup is good over hot sweet potatoes. Serves 12.

 

MAPLE HAM SLICES

1/3 cup Chopped pecans
2 ham slices (about 2 1/2 pounds) (1/2-inch-thick)
1/2 cup Maple syrup
3 tablespoons Sugar
2 teaspoons Butter

 

Bake pecans in a shallow pan at 325, for 8-10 minutes or until toasted; set aside. Bake ham slices in a shallow pan at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Bring maple syrup, sugar, and butter to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring often. Stir in pecans, and spoon over ham. Bake 30 more minutes. Serves 4 to 6.

 

BAKED HAM WITH APPLES

4 to 5 lbs. pre-cooked ham
6 to 7 apples, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
Few drops red food color

 

Preheat oven to 375. Place the ham in a baking dish and cook for 30 minutes. While the ham is cooking combine the apples brown sugar, cinnamon ginger and food coloring in a bowl. Pour the mixture over the ham and bake an additional 30 minutes. Baste every with the mixture every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with sauce. Serves 8 to 10.

 

BONE IN HAM WITH DRIED CHERRIES

 

1 bone-in fully cooked ham, about 9 pounds

2 bottles (12 ounces each) light beer

 

Glaze:

2 tablespoons honey

1 cup cherry preserves

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup dried cherries

 

Sauce:

Cornstarch or arrowroot

Water

 

Remove ham from refrigerator 1 hour before baking. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place ham in a large roasting pan and pour beer over it. Cover and bake 1 hour.  Prepare glaze: While ham is baking, combine honey, cherry preserves and ground cloves in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until preserves have melted and glaze is smooth. Stir in dried cherries. After cooking the ham for a little more than an hour, baste with pan juices and spoon about half of the glaze over the ham, cover and continue cooking 20 minutes. Spoon remaining glaze over the ham, and cook another 20 to 30 minutes.

 

Prepare sauce: Remove ham from the pan to a cutting board and cover with foil for 15 minutes. Bring the pan juices to a simmer over two burners. Dissolve cornstarch or arrowroot in cold water (see Kitchen Note) and slowly whisk into liquid. If using cornstarch, cook about 3 to 5 minutes to thicken. Transfer to a bowl and serve with the sliced ham.

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HAM AND HORSERADISH STUFFED EGGS

 

6 hard-cooked large eggs

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/2 cup minced cooked ham

1 teaspoon coarse-grained mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons bottled horseradish, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Cut a paper-thin slice off both ends of eggs and halve eggs crosswise. Mash eggs with a fork and stir in remaining ingredients; season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a large decorative tip and pipe into whites, mounding it. The stuffed eggs may be made 6 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Makes 12 stuffed eggs. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

 

CURRIED STUFFED EGGS

 

6 hard-cooked eggs

1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream

1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon sweet relish

1 green onion, chopped fine

1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoonTabasco

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Garnish: thinly sliced green onion

 

Cut a paper-thin slice off both ends of eggs and halve eggs crosswise. Mash yolks with a fork; stir in remaining ingredients; salt and pepper to taste. Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a large ribbon or other decorative tip and pipe into whites, mounding it. Garnish with sliced green onion. Makes 12 stuffed eggs. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

 

VEGGIE STUFFED EGGS

I find that depending on how juicy the vegetables are, I occasionally need to modify the amount of mayo I add. Start with 3 tablespoons, adding another ½ tablespoon at a time if needed.

 

6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
3 to 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sweet red pepper – very finely chopped
1 tablespoon green onion or scallions – finely chopped
1 tablespoon celery – very finely chopped
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Paprika for garnish

 

Cut a paper-thin slice off both ends of eggs and halve eggs crosswise. Mash yolks with a fork; stir in remaining ingredients; Transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a large ribbon or other decorative tip and pipe into whites, mounding it.  sprinkle lightly with paprika. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one day before serving. Makes 12 stuffed eggs. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Delicious St. Patty’s Day Recipes (All Irish All Day)

There is one time during the year, and one time only, where I suspend all my ethnic and regional food preferences and embrace all things Irish. I am, of course, referring to the one and only St. Patrick’s Day.

Celebrated annually on March 17 in honor ofIreland’s patron saint this holiday, brings out the Irish in everyone. St. Patrick was born between 370 and 390 C. E. whenRome ruled theBritish Isles. As a missionary he helped convert the Irish to Christianity using a shamrock to explain the Trinity. With immigration from Ireland to the United States one of the best ways to establish a new life Irish nationals have been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day  in the United States back as far as 1737 when Boston held its first St. Patrick’s Day parade.

How all this history translated into the green beer and rivers dyed green and crazy parades we celebrate with today is not for me to speculate on. Suffice it to say, the Irish have their own wonderful food traditions for the day and it behooves all of us to become “just a little Irish” and join the celebration with wonderful food, a few Irish ditties and perhaps a pints or three of ale.

CLASSSIC IRISH SODA BREAD

4 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon caraway Seeds

1 1/2 cups raisins

2   eggs beaten

1 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a loaf pan. Place raisins and caraway seeds in a large bowl. Sift together flour, baking soda, sugar and salt. Pour sifted mixture over raisins. Add butter, eggs and milk to the bowl; mix well. Mold dough into a loaf shape on a floured board. Place dough in greased pan and bake for one hour, or until bread tests done.

RAISIN IRISH SODA BREAD

This version tastes even better the second day and is great for breakfast.

4 1/4 cups flour (up to 4 — 1/2 cups)

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1   teaspoon salt

3   tablespoons sugar

1   tablespoon caraway seeds

1 cup raisins

2 cups buttermilk

butter

sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease a 9-inch black cast-iron skillet or cake pan and dust with flour. In a large bowl, mix 4 cups of the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and caraway seeds. Add the raisins, mixing them in with your fingers to make sure they are separated. Add the buttermilk to the bowl and mix with a fork until the mixture forms a dough. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup more of the flour on a board or counter. Turn out the dough and knead for about 5 minutes, working in the flour from the board and forming the dough into a smooth round loaf about 8 inches in diameter.  (If the humidity is high and the dough is very sticky, you may need to add another 1/4 cup of flour to the board.)  Press the dough evenly into the prepared skillet or pan and cut a cross 1/2 inch deep across the top. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom.  Remove the loaf to a wire rack and rub the top with butter. Sprinkle with sugar. Let the bread cool completely before slicing. Makes one large loaf.

IRISH COFFEE

4 cups strong fresh coffee

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup Irish whiskey

1 cup   whipping cream

2 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons Irish whiskey

Place 4 cups of strong fresh coffee in a saucepan with 1/4 cup of sugar, or to taste. Add 1/2 cup Irish whiskey and heat thoroughly but do not boil. (Scotch, Bourbon or other whiskeys could be used.)  Meanwhile whip 1 cup whipping cream until light. Beat in the 2 tablespoons of sugar and Irish whiskey. Pour coffee into mugs or goblets and pipe or spoon flavored cream on top. Serves 4 to 6 depending on the size of the mugs.

CLASSIC CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE

3 pounds corned beef brisket with spice packet

10 small red potatoes

5 carrots, peeled and julienned

1 large head cabbage, cut into small wedges

Place corned beef in large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer approximately 50 minutes per pound or until tender.

Add whole potatoes and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Approx 35 to 45 minutes. Add cabbage and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove meat and let rest 15 minutes. Place vegetables in a bowl and cover. Add as much broth (cooking liquid reserved in the Dutch oven or large pot) as you want. Slice meat across the grain. Serves 5 to 6

DIJON CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE

2   cups water

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoonsDijonmustard, divided

1 medium cabbage head, cut into 8 wedges

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh dill chopped OR 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

2 1/2 pounds corned beef brisket

Preheat oven to 350. Place the brisket and water in Dutch oven, cover tightly and cook 1 hour (It is very important to simmer the meat slowly because boiling will cause meat to become tough.) Turn brisket over and continue cooking, covered, 1 1/2 to 2 hours more,   or until meat is tender.  Remove brisket from cooking liquid and place,   flat-side up, on rack in broiler pan so surface of meat is 3 to 4 inches from heat. Combine honey with 1 tablespoon mustard; brush half of mixture over top of brisket and broil 3 minutes.  Brush with remaining mixture and continue broiling 2 minutes, or until brisket is glazed.  Meanwhile, steam cabbage 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender.  Combine remaining

mustard with butter and dill; spread over hot cabbage wedges.  Carve

brisket diagonally across the grain into thin slices and serve with

cabbage.

JAMES BEARD’S IRISH STEW

Proper Irish stew is made with lamb, however, beef may be substituted if you must. Plan ahead to make the lamb stock a day in advance. I have used beef and beef broth and it comes out quite nicely.

3 to 3-1/2 pounds lamb shoulder

1 pound neck of lamb

2 quarts water

1 medium onion stuck with 2 cloves

1 large bay leaf

2 large garlic cloves

1 Tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon thyme

Parsley sprig

3 thinly sliced medium onions

3 leeks split in half and cut in small dice

Additional bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

4 medium potatoes, finely diced

2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Preparation:

Have the butcher bone the lamb shoulder and give you the bones.

Put the bones and neck in a deep saucepan with 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil and boil 5 to 6 minutes, skimming off the scum from the surface. Add the onion stuck with cloves, and the bay leaf, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and parsley. Bring to a boil again, reduce the heat to simmer, and simmer 2 to 2-1/2 hours to a strong broth. Strain, and put in the refrigerator overnight. Next day, skim off the fat.

Remove all fat from the lamb shoulder and cut the meat into pieces 1 inch wide and 2 inches long. Put the meat in a heavy pan with the sliced onions, leeks, additional bay leaf and thyme, nutmeg, and enough lamb broth to come 1 inch above the meat. Bring to a boil, skim off the scum, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, 1 hour, then test the meat for tenderness. If it still seems a bit tough, give it another 15 minutes, then add the diced potatoes. Cook 30 minutes, until the stew is slightly thickened by the potatoes, then taste for seasoning. You will probably find it needs salt — 1 to 2 teaspoons should be sufficient — a few grinds of pepper, and a touch of nutmeg. Let this cook a little to blend with the stew, then add the chopped parsley and cook just 1 minute more. Serves 6 to 8

From James Beard’s American Cookery by James Beard (Galahad Books)

IRISH WHISKEY CAKE

2 cups golden raisins

3 tablespoons grated lemon zest

1/4 cup whiskey

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar

3 egg yolks

3 egg whites

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 lemon, juiced

Place the raisins, lemon rind, and whiskey in a small bowl and let them soak overnight. Line bottom of an eight-inch square cake pan with parchment paper that is buttered and dusted with flour. Preheat the oven to 350. Sift the flour, salt, cloves and baking powder into a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat well. Quickly beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the soaked raisins. In a separate clean bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the mixture. Pour this into your prepared pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake thoroughly on a wire rack. To make the glaze: Mix the lemon juice with the sifted powdered sugar and just enough whiskey and warm water so that you can drizzle icing over the cake.

Serves 8 to 10.

Cilantro, Love it or Hate it/ Recipes for Everyone

There are very few things in the world of herbs and spices that evokes as strong an opinion and feelings as those generated by cilantro. Love it or hate it, it is a fundamental flavor/ingredient in many a recipe. I freely admit that I belong to the not so fond of it group. To me, the taste is sort of a cross between parsley and soap. Still I do find it occasionally does really perk up a dish and that quite a few of my readers adore the stuff. I’ve always know that cilantro is part of the coriander plant and is sometimes referred to as Chinese parsley but what I didn’t know is that it is front and center in recipes from around the world.

Coriander is used in Middle Eastern/Mediterranean, Central and South American, Indian, Thai, Mexican, Chinese and African cuisine and so is cilantro.  You can get cilantro year around and it looks a lot like flat-leaf parsley. The best way to tell if what you’re getting is cilantro is to smell it. The leaves should be bright and crisp (avoid the wilted stuff). You can store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just cut off the ends and plunk it in a jar or glass of water and cover it loosely with a plastic bag. I suggest that you change out the water every other day.  You can, of course, store it in a plastic bag but it won’t stay as fresh.

There are health benefits associated with eating cilantro and it’s considers a really good addition to any diet due to its anti-inflammatory and cholesterol lowering properties. It also been shown to help lower blood pressure and is a good source of fiber, magnesium and iron.

So, even though I’m not cilantro’s biggest fan I have tons of readers who can’t live without the stuff. The following recipes are all just a little different and use cilantro in really wonderful ways.

CILANTRO CORN AND CHICKEN DIP

 

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, grilled, cooled and cut into bite sized pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

1 to 2 avocados, diced

2 tomatoes, seeded and diced

2 cups fresh or frozen corn

1 red pepper diced

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 to 1 teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon grated lime zest

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

 

In a bowl combine the chicken, avocado, corn, tomato, red pepper, oregano, cumin, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, and chili paste. Mix together gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with corn chips or pita.  Serves 6 to 8

 

AVOCADO AND CILANTRO PASTA

 

2 1/2 cups pasta shells or bow tie pasta

4 cups chicken stock or 1/2 stock and 1/2 water

4 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 avocados mashed

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves

1 cup white cheddar, grated

1/2 to 1 cup pine nuts, toasted

 

DRESSING:

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice

Zest of 1 lemon or lime, grated

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

cilantro leaves for garnish

 

Cook the pasta in the stock until al dente about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain. Place pasta into a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil. In another combine the celery, avocado, garlic, and cilantro and set it aside. Make the dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl or tightly lidded jar. Whisk or shake until well combined. Toss the dressing with the celery/avocado mixture. When the pasta has cooled add the dressing to the pasta and stir to coat. Add the cheese and pine nuts and toss gently again. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the cilantro leaves. Can be refrigerated and served later or served immediately at room temperature. Serves 6

 

Modified from Cooking with Herbs & Spices

 

CILANTRO CHICKEN WITH ZUCCHINI AND CREAMY PASTA

 

2 to 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/3 cup lime juice

1 small bunch cilantro, chopped and divided in half

1/3 cup olive oil

12 oz ziti pasta cooked and drained according to package directions

2 medium zucchini, diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 diced tomatoes

6 green onions, diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese

16 oz whipping cream

pepper, to taste

 

Cook In a plastic sealable bag combine 1/2 the cilantro, lime juice and olive oil. Add the chicken breasts, close and marinate in the refrigerator for an hour, turning once. Remove chicken from marinade and cook in a grill pan until just done, turning about half way through cooking. When done, remove from pan and cut into bite size pieces. In a skillet, while the chicken is cooking saute the zucchini with the tablespoon of oil until the zucchini is just starting to soften. Add the tomatoes, remaining cilantro and garlic. Simmer for 4 or 5 minutes. In another pan the cream to a simmer and then add it to the vegetables and simmer on low for 2 or 3 minutes stirring constantly. Add the pasta to the vegetable mixture and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pasta and vegetable mixture from the heat and add the chicken pieces and the Parmesan and toss to combine. Place in a serving bowl and garnish with the green onions. Serves 4 to 6.

 

 

SIZZLING SZECHUAN BEANS

 

2 cups oil, plus 1 tablespoon

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 ounce hot chili garlic sauce

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon white wine

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 pound green beans, cleaned

2 tablespoons chopped peanuts

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

 

In a Dutch oven heat 2 cups of oil to 350. In medium saute pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon oil. Add ginger and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until it turns light brown; quickly add soy sauce, chili sauce, rice wine vinegar, hoisin, mirin, sesame oil and cilantro.

 

Fry the green beans in the canola oil for about 45 seconds, or until beans turn dark green. Remove, strain, and add to sauce. Toss and garnish with peanuts and parsley. Serves 4 to 6.

 

Modified from the FoodNetwork.com

ORANGE CILANTRO SLAW

 

1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1/3 cup oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 (8-ounce) bags coleslaw mix

2 cups fresh or frozen corn

1 cup shredded carrots

1 red pepper, chopped fine

6 medium green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 cup mandarine oranges, drained

 

In a bowl combine the orange juice concentrate, vinegar, and oils in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. This dressing can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.

 

In a large bowl combine the coleslaw mix, oranges corn, carrots, red bell, sliced green onions, and cilantro. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand 15 minutes for flavors to blend. Toss again and serve.

 

Submitted by Candi Simmons Boca Raton FL modified from epicurious.com

 

SALMON WITH PECAN CILANTRO PESTO

 

1 cup pecans, chopped and toasted and divided in half

2 1/2 cups chopped cilantro

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 6- to 7-ounce salmon fillets, with skin

 

Season salmon with salt and pepper and set them aside.  In the bowl of a food processor, combine 1/2 the pecans, cilantro, cheese, stock and vinegar and process to a puree. With the machine running gradually add the olive oil in a thin stream. Season the pesto with salt and pepper. In an oiled grill pan grill the salmon until done, about 4 minutes on each side. When done place the salmon on a plate and top with a dollop of the pecan pesto. Garnish with the remaining toasted pecans Serves 4.

 

Submitted by Raymond Liturie Chicago IL

 

KRAZY COUSCOUS

 

1 to 1 1/2 cup chopped onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic

6 to 8 sliced mushrooms

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup vegetable or chicken broth

3/4 cup peas

3/4 cup coarsely chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

3/4 cup couscous

Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

 

In a large saucepan saute the onion, mushrooms and garlic in the oil until the onion is tender. Add the cumin and cook, stirring constantly for about 1 minute. Add the broth, peas, tomato and cilantro. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the couscous. Stir over the heat for 1 minute, cover and then remove from the heat. Let stand for 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover and spoon the mixture into a serving dish and garnish with extra cilantro if desired. Serves 6

 

HONEY CILANTRO DRUMBSTICKS

 

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon minced cilantro

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried ginger

12 chicken drumsticks

2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Cilantro sprigs for garnish

 

Mix the hoisin sauce, cilantro, honey, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic and ginger in a large bowl to blend. Use a sharp knife score the drumsticks in at least 4 or 5 places. Add the chicken to the marinade and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour but preferably overnight. Preheat the oven to broil and place the rack in the top 1/3 of the oven. Line a large rimmed cookie sheet with heavy-duty foil. Place the drumsticks on the foil covered pan and broil for 15 to 20 minutes turning every 4 or 5 minutes to make sure they don’t burn.  When the drumsticks are done, place them on a serving platter and garnish with the sesame seeds and cilantro. Serves 4 to 6.

Enter the Banana /Recipes for the fruit minded

    I am, by nature, someone that loves to entertain and have company stay for the weekend. I’m talking LOTS and LOTS of company. My husband, not quite so much as me. So, for the most part, we compromise and have lots of company. When I first start to plan the menus for the weekends one of the first things I have to determine is whether or not said company falls into or out of the banana category.

Ok, you ask, what heck is the banana category? Well, the banana category is where the guests I have to feed like to snack on fruit and if that fruit is likely to be bananas. Inclusion in this category determines the amount of bananas to be purchased and approximately how much time it will take for any left over bananas (and trust me, there’s always left over bananas) to get mushy after the company leaves.

There truly is a reason for this somewhat bizarre banana thought process. Bananas are actually one of the few foods for which I don’t have a lot of recipes. Not because I don’t like them but rather, because both my children and husband are highly allergic to them in the raw state. I eat them with pleasure when we have company and cook them for the family after the company leaves leave. I have always tried to make really different and exciting recipes because I never know when the next banana company will arrive. The following recipes are all utterly delicious and have come to me from a variety of sources.

 

BANANAS FOSTER CREAM PIE

Crust:
2 1/2 cup chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoons cinnamon
5 tablespoons melted butter

Filling:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoons allspice
4 bananas — peeled and sliced

Pastry Cream:
3 cup half and half
1 vanilla bean — split in half lengthwise
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Grease a 10-inch spring form pan. To prepare crust, in a medium bowl,
combine cookie crumbs, sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Stir in
melted butter. Press mixture into prepared pan on the bottom and up
the sides of the pan about 21/2 inches and place it in the refrigerator
to chill. To prepare the filling, put the butter and brown sugar in a
large saute pan over high heat and heat until bubbling, about 2
minutes. Add cinnamon, ginger, allspice and bananas and saute until
tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the crust from the refrigerator and
spoon the bananas evenly over the bottom of the crust. Set aside.

To prepare the pastry cream, put the half and half in a saucepan with the vanilla bean and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, remove and discard vanilla bean. In a medium bowl, place egg yolks, sugar, dark rum and cornstarch and whisk together. Whisk about 1 cup of half and half mixture into the egg mixture to temper it. Add the egg mixture to the remaining half and half and place the pan over medium heat, stirring frequently until thick, 3-5 minutes. Pour the mixture over the roasted bananas in the crust and refrigerate for 2-3 hours
or until well chilled. To serve, carefully remove the outer ring of the pan, cut the pie into slices, and top each slice with whipped cream and several mint leaves. Serves 12

 

Submitted by Cheryl Cerdanadski Warsaw IN

BANANA SPLIT BREAD

1 can (8 oz.) unsweetened crushed pineapple, well drained, reserve
liquid
1 pkg. (14 oz.)  banana quick bread and muffin mix
2 eggs
2 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup Maraschino cherries, chopped
1/3-1/2 cup semi-sweet miniature chocolate chips
1/3 cup pecans, chopped

GLAZE:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons semi-sweet miniature chocolate chips, melted
4 teaspoons milk

Preheat oven to 375 . Grease and flour bottom only of a (9×5 inch)
loaf pan. Add water to reserved pineapple liquid to make 3/4 cup In a
large bowl, combine all bread ingredients. Stir 50-75 times with
wooden spoon until mix is moistened (don’t over mix!). Pour batter
into prepared pan. Bake 55-65 minutes or until toothpick placed in the
center comes out clean. Cool in a pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Remove from pan to cool for 45 minutes or until completely cooled. In a
small bowl, combine glaze ingredients. Stir until well blended. Pour
over loaf. For gift giving you can use (3×5 inch) pans and bake 35-40
minutes. Store in refrigerator to slice when chilled. Serves 6 to 8

 

http://www.southerncooking.com

 

ALMOND FUDGE BANANA CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE GLAZE

3 extra ripe, peeled medium bananas
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine, softened
3 eggs
3 tablespoons almond liqueur OR 2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted, ground

 

Banana Chocolate Glaze
1 pureed, extra ripe small banana
1 ounce melted semisweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10 inch bunt pan.  In a bowl mash the bananas and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the sugar and margarine and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, liqueur and vanilla. Beat to combine. In another bowl combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Mix the dry ingredients to combine.  Stir the almonds into the flour mixture. With the electric mixer running, alternately add the flour mixture with bananas to the sugar mixture. Beat well. Turn batter into greased pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out nearly clean and cake pulls away from sides of pan. Cool 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan to wire rack to cool completely. Glaze: Combine the pureed banana with the melted chocolate and whisk together. Pour glaze over the top of the cooled cake and let it drip down the sides of the cake. Serves 12 to 14

BANANA BUTTERFINGER® CAKE

 

2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1 1/2 cup chopped Butterfinger® bars

GLAZE
2/3 cup whipping cream
7 tablespoons butter, cut into large pieces
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
14 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup chopped Butterfinger® bars

Position rack in top third of oven; preheat to 350. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1-1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottoms with waxed paper rounds. Butter and flour paper.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and beat 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in dark rum and vanilla extract. Combine sour cream and baking soda in medium bowl. Add mashed bananas to sour cream mixture and stir until well blended. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture alternately with banana mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Stir in chopped Butterfinger® bars.

Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until center of cake feels firm and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on rack 10 minutes. Run small knife around sides of cakes to loosen. Turn out cakes onto racks and cook. Peel off waxed paper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap cakes tightly and store at room temperature.)

FOR GLAZE: Combine cream, butter and corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Remove from heat; add chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Stir in rum and vanilla. Pour glaze into small bowl. Cover and refrigerate just until cool and thick, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Transfer 1 cake layer to platter. Slide waxed paper strips under edges of cake. Stir glaze until smooth. Spread 1 cup glaze evenly over top of cake layer. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining glaze over top and sides of cake. Cover top and sides of cake with chopped Butterfinger® bars. Remove paper strips. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover cake and store at room temperature.)

 

From about.com

 

BANANA PANCAKES WITH CARAMEL-BANANA SYRUP

 

3 large bananas, peeled, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted, divided
3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs

Additional melted butter

 

Cut 2 bananas into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Combine 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup water in heavy large skillet. Boil over medium-high heat until mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract and sliced bananas. Remove syrup from heat.

 

Whisk flour and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in large bowl. Mash remaining banana in medium bowl, then whisk in buttermilk and eggs. Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients (some lumps will remain). Mix in remaining 1/4 cup melted butter.

Preheat oven to 200. Heat griddle over medium heat; brush with additional melted butter. Working in batches, pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto griddle. Cook pancakes until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer pancakes to baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm. Serve pancakes with caramel-banana syrup. Makes 4 servings.

 

Bon Appétit, November 2005

 

BANANA COFFEE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE CHIP STREUSEL

1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (about 8 ounces)
2/3 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 1/3 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 large)
3 tablespoons buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan. Stir chocolate chips, brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon in small bowl until well blended; set streusel aside. Sift all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, room temperature butter, and egg in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in mashed bananas and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients and blend well.

 

Spread half of batter (about 2 cups) in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with half of streusel. Repeat with remaining batter and streusel. Bake coffee cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool coffee cake in pan on rack. Makes 12 servings.

 

BANANA CHOCOLATE STRUDEL

4 (17- by 12-inch) phyllo sheets, covered with 2 overlapping pieces plastic wrap and then a damp kitchen towel
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 firm-ripe bananas
2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Accompaniment: lightly sweetened whipped cream

Preheat oven to 425. Arrange 1 phyllo sheet on a work surface with a short side of phyllo nearest you, keeping remaining sheets covered, and brush with some butter. Top phyllo with 3 more sheets of phyllo, brushing each with butter. Arrange bananas one above the other, horizontally, on lower third of phyllo, leaving a 1-inch border on both sides (trim bananas if too long). Sprinkle chocolate over bananas, then fold sides of phyllo toward middle (over ends of bananas). Fold bottom edge of phyllo over bananas and roll up bananas in phyllo.

 

Transfer strudel, seam side down, to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or to a buttered baking sheet, then brush strudel with beaten egg. Cut 4 (1/2-inch-long) steam vents diagonally along top of strudel with a sharp knife. Bake in middle of oven until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly on a rack, and then dust with confectioner’s sugar. Makes 6 servings.

 

Gourmet October 2001

CHOCOLATE BANANA TART

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 firm-ripe bananas
1/4 cup apricot preserves

Preheat oven to 350. Blend crumbs, butter, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt in a food processor until mixture begins to hold together and pat onto bottom and up side of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake in middle of oven until side of crust is firm to the touch, 14 to 18 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips into hot crust and let stand 5 minutes to soften. Spread evenly over bottom of crust. Beat cream with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar and rum until it holds soft peaks. Cut bananas into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Whisk preserves and add bananas, tossing to coat. Spoon banana mixture into crust and top with whipped cream.
Serves 8.

Gourmet January 2000

BANANA WAFFLES WITH PECAN MAPLE SYRUP

1/2 cup pure maple syrup (not the fake stuff)
1/4 cup pecans, toasted lightly and chopped coarse
2 teaspoons orange juice or fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 ripe medium banana
1/3 cup water
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
vegetable oil for brushing waffle iron

Preheat oven to 200. In a small saucepan bring maple syrup and pecans to a boil and stir in juice. Remove syrup from heat and keep warm, covered. In a bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Quarter banana and in a blender purée with water. Transfer purée to another bowl and whisk in eggs and melted butter. Add flour mixture and stir until combined well.

Heat a well-seasoned or non-stick waffle iron until hot and brush lightly with oil. Pour half of batter into iron and cook waffle according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer waffle to a baking sheet and keep warm, uncovered, in oven. Make another waffle with remaining batter in same manner.

Serve waffles with syrup. Serves 2.

from Epicurious.com

 

PINEAPPLE BANANA MUFFINS

 

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons beaten egg

1/4 cup oil

2 tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 medium)

1/3 cup unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained

 

In a small bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In another bowl, whisk the egg, oil, milk and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in bananas and pineapple.
Coat muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray or use paper liners; fill three-fourths full with batter. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Makes 6 muffins.

Superbowl Update: We Dip, We Eat and Everybody Wins

Ok sports fans, it’s the end of the first quarter, the bases are loaded, one more goal and it’s a hat trick and the quarterback takes the snap. He runs down the court, the clock is ticking, ticking, ticking 5,4,3, 2…………he shoots, he scores and………………he was fouled!!! In my dyslexic world of sport this is how I see this Super Bowl being played.

Yes, surprising to most who know me, I’m a sports fan, sort of. It’s time for the annual Super bowl, you know that the annual game of who out lasted whom in the different football leagues (do they still have leagues don’t they?) or as it is less commonly known, the high holy day of chips and dips.

In keeping with the sports metaphors, dare I say puns, I feel are in keeping with the day, it’s a pretty much the same set up every year (only the players (re: guests) and game plan (recipes) change. Appetizers until half time and then sandwiches. Victory desserts after the game. This game plan gives everyone the ability to be “on the field” eating all day long and yet not feel as if they were not going to be benched for a foul like double dipping your chip or failing to stop passage of the “special” punch to an underage illegal receiver.

The following recipes are all winners no matter which team you’re rooting for to bring home the Turner Cup. It is the Turner Cup isn’t it?

HOT ARTICHOKE DIP

1 can (14 ounce) artichoke hearts, drained

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 teaspoon minced garlic (or to taste), minced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoonTabascosauce or other red pepper sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Coarsely chop the artichoke hearts, and combine with all other ingredients. Stir to mix well. Spoon mixture into a 9-inch pie plate.

Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve with assorted crackers, bread, or other dippers. Makes about 12 servings.

HOT CRAB DIP

6 tablespoons mayonnaise

3 tablespoons Creole mustard

1 tablespoon horseradish cream

2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

1/4 cup minced celery

1/4 cup minced onion

Tabascosauce, to taste

1 pound fresh crabmeat

1 cup coarsely crumbled cornbread (I use store bought)

Heat the oven to 400 and arrange a rack in middle. Place mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish cream,OldBay, celery, and onion in a small bowl and mix until well combined. Season with salt andTabascosauce, add crab, and mix until well incorporated. Place crab mixture in a 3-cup ovenproof dish and top with crumbled cornbread. Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately with toasts or celery sticks. Serves 8 to 10.

Submitted by Bettie Aldich-WagnerOak ParkIL

BROWN SUGAR DIP

1 3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup pecans, toasted
3 pounds pears, cored and sliced
3 pounds apples, cored and sliced

Combine first 4 ingredients in a heavy saucepan; cook over medium heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with pear and apple slices. Serves 12 to 14.

HOT PIZZA DIP

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese
1 (8 ounce) can pizza sauce
2 tablespoons chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons sliced green onion

Heat oven to 350. In a bowl, combine cream cheese and Italian seasoning; mix well. Spread mixture in the bottom of a medium-size casserole dish. Combine mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Sprinkle half of the cheese mixture over cream cheese. Spread pizza sauce over cheese. Top with remaining cheese, pepper and onions. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until bubbly. Serves 12. Can be heated in the microwave.

HOT BRIE DIP

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
8 ounces Brie cheese, trimmed and cut into pieces
8 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce salt and pepper to taste
1 (8 ounce) round bread loaf

Heat oven to 400. Saute onion and garlic in butter until golden. Set aside. Put Brie and cream cheese in a bowl and microwave until soft. Mix in onion and garlic, sour cream, lemon juice, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce; season to taste with salt and pepper. Hollow out the middle of the loaf and fill with mixture. Wrap in foil and bake in oven until bubbly, approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Dust with paprika if desired. Serve hot with bread pieces or crackers. Makes 2 cups.

 

HOT RUBIN DIP
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 large onion, finely diced
1/2 pound corned beef, sliced and shredded
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, drained and chopped fine
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cups grated Swiss cheese

Melt butter or margarine in a 4-quart sauce pot. Add diced onion and cook until golden brown. Add corned beef and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often over medium heat. Drain excess fat. Add cream cheese in chunks, stirring after each addition. Add sauerkraut and pickle relish. Add ketchup, mayonnaise and Swiss cheese. Stir until well blended and melted. Serve in fondue pot or chafing dish with toasted mini rye triangles. Serves 6 to 8.

From an old SUNSET Magazine in my files.

SPINACH BACON DIP

1/2 cup pecans
1 pound fresh spinach, stemmed, 8 oz. frozen, thawed and drained
8 slices bacon
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
3 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced pickled jalapenos
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Heat the oven to 300. Spread the pecans in a cake pan and toast them until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool, and then coarsely chop the nuts. Set aside.

Wash the spinach well. Drain the spinach and immediately transfer the damp leaves to a large pot set over high heat. Cover and cook until the leaves are just wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Strain and let stand until cool. Squeeze the spinach and dry on paper towels. Chop very fine and set aside. In a saute pan, fry the bacon over until crisp, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels, then cut each slice crosswise into half-inch pieces. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, cream cheese and mayonnaise, and mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the spinach and jalapenos and mix well. Stir in the pecans and bacon. Add the Worcestershire sauce and salt and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Cover and refrigerate the dip for at least 1 hour. Bring it to room temperature before serving. Serves 12.

BUFFALO CHICKEN WING DIP

1 can chicken (large size)
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
1/4 cup cayenne pepper sauce
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
celery sticks, crackers or corn chips

Preheat oven to 350. Melt cream cheese over low heat. Once creamy, add blue cheese dressing, hot sauce, and chicken. Remove from heat, fold in 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Pour into square 8×8 oven-safe dish. Top with remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks, crackers or corn chips.

Submitted by Carlos RaminezNY,NY

NAUGHTY NACHO CHEESE DIP

1/2 cup beer

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 16-ounce can refried beans

1/2 cup purchased chunky hot salsa

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Tortilla chips

In a saucepan combine the beer, cumin, dried oregano and garlic powder. Bring to simmer. Add beans and salsa; stir until heated through. Add cheese; stir until cheese melts, about 3 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Transfer to bowl. Serve warm with tortilla chips. Makes about 4 cups

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