Sunday, February 27, 2011


Banana Yellow Cake with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

***** !!!!!! ALERT !!!!!! *****
1 stick butter
2 - 3 very ripe bananas*
2 T sour cream
2 T mayonnaise
3 eggs, separated
2 T lemon juice
1 T Meyers's dark rum
(*ripe but still yellow inside)

sift together these dry ingredients:
2 c. cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder (Rumsford)
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. sugar

•Preheat the oven to 300°. I know this sounds low, but you will turn it up when you put the cake in the oven. This helps the cake to rise and form a nice crust.

•Cut 2 T. of butter off the end of your stick of butter and THOROUGHLY and GENEROUSLY grease your cake pan. Put 1 to 2 T. flour into the pan, shake it around to coat all the surfaces, then tap out the excess flour.

•I used a Bundt pan. You could make the cake 9x13", two 8", or cupcakes.

•Put the lemon juice into a medium size bowl, and peel the bananas and put them into the lemon juice. Mash the bananas with a fork, mixing in the lemon juice as you go (this keeps them from turning brown. I like my banana cake nice and yellow, not brown like banana bread.) Add the egg whites and the rum.

•In a large mixing bowl (such as a stand mixer), beat the remaining butter until creamy (with paddle attachment if using mixer). Beat in the sour cream, egg yolks, and mayo. Mix in the dry ingredients until combined, then beat for 1 minute. Then add the banana mixture a bit at a time, beating for about 20 seconds after each addition, and so forth until all the batter is combined.

•Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.

•Put the cake into the oven, and turn the temperature of the oven up to 350°.

•Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

•Invert the pan to remove cake to cool on a rack.

•Frost when completely cooled.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Frosting

8 oz. semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips
3/4 stick butter
3/4 c. smooth peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
approximately 1 & 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar

•Melt the chocolate with the butter in a double boiler or microwave (low & slow!)

•When the chocolate and butter are almost completely melted, stir in the peanut butter and then the vanilla and salt.

•Add the powder sugar, a bit at a time, until of desired consistency.

•Frost the cake then sprinkle on topping(s) such as chopped Reese's peanut butter cups, crumbled bacon, dried banana slices, etc.

****UPDATE!!! After making both of these recipes, it is clear that this cake-mix version is better than the scratch-cake!! It tastes better and is MUCH easier! Elvis would approve!

this is the REAL Elvis cake:
Follow above instructions with these ingredients:
1 box yellow cake mix
2 large ripe bananas mashed with 2 T lemon juice & 1 T rum
1 stick butter
2 T sour cream
2 T mayonnaise
3 eggs

Frosting: mix together
1 tub chocolate frosting
1/2 cup peanut butter

Monday, February 7, 2011

Whole Grain Pastas

(This recipe is adapted from from Lidia's Bastianich's Family Table)
Pasta Ceci Nocciola (Garbanzo Bean Flour & Hazelnuts)
1 & 1/3 cup AP flour
2/3 cup garbanzo flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
3 T cold water
1/2 cup finely ground toasted hazelnuts (remove as much of the skin as possible)
Buzz the flours and salt in food processor briefly to mix.
Add the eggs, water, and oil and buzz until it forms a ball.
Remove to a lightly floured board and knead briefly.
Cut into 4 pieces, and roll each one out into thin sheets. (I used a pasta roller machine).
Cut into noodles of desired shape and length.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hilda's Chicken Corn Chowder with Dumplings

My Mama used to make this soup, and while it may not seem like anything special, for me it represents comfort and mothering. For years, I've tried to make it but could never make it like she did, and she could never really say how she made it.

When I made it today, it tastes like I remember it.

I bought two large fresh chicken breasts, and roasted them by cutting up two carrots and two potatoes and making a "rack" with them in an iron skillet, placing the chicken on top, sprinkling it with some salt and pepper and roasting in a hot oven (425°).

Later, after I ate the chicken, I put the bones in a pot and covered with water and simmered (with lid on) on low for 4 - 5 hours with a little garlic and onion. Let the broth cool, refrigerated it overnight, strained it (removed the fat that rose to the top). It made about 4 cups of broth.

Peeled & cut up two smallish potatoes, cooked them in the broth with a little bit of salt.  When the potatoes were soft, I smooshed them with my new antique potato masher, and added about 1/4 cup chopped celery (frozen, from my garden), about 1/2 cup frozen corn, S & P. Brought back up to a simmer.
before adding the dumplings:

Made dumpling dough with 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup milk, 1 T egg white (I used powdered), 1/2 tsp Fines Herbs, and a little S & P. Dropped small spoonfuls into the simmering liquid, covered the pan and cooked for about 5 minutes.

Friday, February 4, 2011

pesto quiche

What to do with a little container of tomato-basil pesto I found in the freezer?

Peel and slice a few potatoes, layer them in an oiled iron skillet, sprinkle with salt, peper & paprika, and bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Beat 6 eggs, add 1/2 cup milk, pour on top of potatoes, spoon the pesto on, scatter the last of the cherry tomatoes from last summer's garden (they have been sitting on my counter getting orange), turn heat down to 300° and bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until set in the center.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


This bread is dark and fragrant. It has coffee and cocoa in it so it actually is caffeinated.
I did not use a recipe or measure, so I don't think I can write a detailed recipe here.
This is my method:
Put 1/4 cup warm water in a cup, add a teaspoon of molasses, sprinkle 1 pkg of yeast on it and let stand about 5 minutes, until bubbly. I don't use Rapid Rise yeast, just regular. In a large bowl I mixed the yeast mixture, another 1 to 1 & 1/2 cups warm water and about 1 cup dark rye flour,  1/2 cup of unbleached flour,  and 1/2 cup gluten flour - mixed vigorously until it is very smooth and elastic. Then I added about 3 T dark molasses, 2 T unbleached cocoa, 2 tsp espresso powder (or you could use very strong coffee instead of the water), 1/2 tsp salt.  I then added about 1/2 cup each buckwheat flour,  whole wheat pastry flour, and a little more rye flour and unbleached white flour, mixed in the stand mixer with dough hook until it was of the right consistency (formed into a wet but smooth ball). Poured 1/4 cup canola oil over the dough, put a loose cover on the bowl, put in the fridge overnight. The next day I punched it down, mixed in the oil, and kneaded the dough on a floured board. Formed into batons or baguettes. Snipped the loaves (with scissors, but professional bakers use a razor blade) and left in a warm place to rise 30-40 minutes. Baked in a 400° oven about 15 - 20 minutes.                  

 into the oven:
 hot bread: