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Posts Tagged ‘butter’

I’ve been eyeing the bunch of bananas my husband bought at the grocery, wondering what to do with them. Neither one of us is a big fan of bananas, but there was talk of making up some smoothies with them. Just the same, I had my doubts. Not a big fan, personally. It occurred to me that I enjoy bananas in every possible way except for the way nature intended – peeled and eaten like the piece of fruit that it is. Ick.

Bananas foster, banana cream pie, frozen bananas – that’s it! Frozen bananas! I peeled them, cut them in half, and jammed a large lollipop stick up the middle and placed them on a parchment-covered cookie sheet and whisked them off to the freezer to firm up while I made the chocolate. To my horror, and possible for the first time ever as an adult, I found there wasn’t a chocolate chip in the house. How did that happen?! So I rummaged around and found a package of chocolate batons, the kind you use to make pain au chocolat. Eureka! This might work! So here’s how I did it.

4 relatively ripe bananas, peeled and cut in half, with a stick of your choice shoved up the middle
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate batons
2 tbsp. butter*
2 tsp. canola oil*
mixed nuts, chopped up fine (I had a container of already chopped nuts intended for use as an ice cream topping, so I used those)

Dispatch the bananas and put them into the freezer on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for at least 15 minutes (but not enough to freeze them solid – the ice crystals that might form will totally seize up your melted chocolate and become claggy).

Melt the chocolate and fats together either in a microwave or over a double boiler. Spoon the melted chocolate over the bananas rather quickly, scraping off the excess gently. Sprinkle nuts (if using) over top and place back onto the cookie sheet.

Return cookie sheet to the freezer right away and allow bananas to freeze up firm. Enjoy!

* You could probably use 1/4 cup of cream instead, making it more of a ‘ganache’. But whatever, butter and oil worked just fine.

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My grandmother, Genevieve Zuchowska Zablotny, used to make this bread for the Easter holiday. All the Polish women in the neighborhood had similar recipes handed down from their mother or grandmother. My childhood friend, Alice, lived two doors down from my grandmother; she and I would carry loaves wrapped in tea towels across the street to the rectory so that they could be blessed by one of the priests. We’d have fits if a crumb fell to the ground – they were now HOLY loaves. Oh boy, funny memories.

I’ve attached my grandmother’s recipe. Note that it calls for FIVE POUNDS of flour. Yup, a whole sack. Her recipe makes six loaves. The first time I made this bread, I was a novice baker, it was my first attempt at bread baking, and I had no idea what a gigantic mound of dough this concoction produced. ‘Overwhelmed’ was an understatement. I’ve condensed the recipe down to make one loaf. Here’s how.

But wait! There’s more!

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There are lots of peach cobbler recipes out there, mainly due to the fact that so many people define a ‘cobbler’ differently. Lots of folks (especially north of the Mason-Dixon line) expect to be served a ‘crumble’ and are disappointed when the baked fruit doesn’t arrive with a crunchy topping.

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My birthday cake!

Ugh. I don’t know why I hate birthdays so much. But whatever. I’m making myself a cake today. Sort of counter-intuitive for a devout birthday hater, but it seemed like the thing to do. Since no one will probably be eating it but me, I’ve decided upon a classic yellow cake with white buttercream frosting and shaved coconut.

But wait! There’s more!

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Homemade croutons.

I realize you can buy them at the grocery. And yes, they cost maybe $.99 for a box. But they have nothing on what you can make yourself. This task is exponentially easier if you have a loaf (or half) of homemade bread sitting around getting stale. You could bake a loaf for this purpose, and I must admit, I have actually done so.

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Spring is moments away, it seems, but the produce section of the grocery is still somewhat lacking. If you just can’t face another
plate of mashed potatoes, here’s a low-starch, nutritious alternative: pureed celeriac. What in the world is celeriac, you’re wondering. It’s that Hobbit-like, gnarled brown knob that sits, piled rather anonymously, hiding in plain view, amongst the other winter vegetables at the market. Don’t be intimidated by it’s otherworldly appearance; it is light and gentle on the palate, reminiscent of mild celery, a hint of parsley, and yes, potatoes.

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There are fewer things more vile than cake frosting that comes in those cardboard canisters with the plastic lids; it’s bad enough that you’d want to put that on a delicious treat you’ve just baked. But saving any extra for later? Oh, God, no.

Nothing beats a classic buttercream frosting on a cake.  Nothing.

But wait! There’s more!

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