Baked Bananas with Rum Sauce

February 24, 2008
Aruba
Aruba (Image: Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa)

I feel guilty.  Who am I to deny Harry and Sam a simple, straightforward honeymoon in a tropical paradise?  So today I’m sending them to Aruba, and I’ve invented a new recipe for them so they can enjoy a typical Aruba treat (baked bananas) made extra celebratory with a wonderfully-Caribbean rum sauce to go on top.  Enjoy! – Almostgotit 

Baked Bananas with brown sugar rum sauce

6 firm, but ripe bananas
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
 
Sauce
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons rum
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put butter and lemon juice in 9” x 13” baking dish, and place in oven just until butter is melted.  Stir lemon juice into the melted butter until mixed. Split bananas in half lengthwise and arrange bananas in baking dish, rolling in the butter mixture first to coat. In small bowl stir together brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle sugar mixture on top of bananas. Bake 20 minutes or just until bananas are heated through and butter begins to bubble. Don’t overcook.

Meanwhile, stir all sauce ingredients together in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. The mixture will foam, so watch that it doesn’t boil over.  Cool sauce to room temperature.

To serve, spoon sauce over bananas; garnish with a sprinkle of lemon or orange zest and/or some shredded coconut.

Wouldn’t these be good cut up and served over vanilla ice cream, or stuffed into crêpes?


Turkish Wedding Soup with Spiced Sauce

February 23, 2008


Image: Kadir’s Treehouses in Olympos, Turkey

I hope you were lucky enough to have a treehouse when you were little. If Sam and Harry were looking for an unusual place to spend their honeymoon, they may have discovered a number of treehouse hotels scattered around the world in interesting places. There’s also a wonderful (and enormous!) treehouse restaurant in England’s Alnwick Garden, but we need a place where Sam and Harry can also spend the night. We’ve already imagined them on a safari so I ruled out this treehouse in a Costa Rican Jungle; and while I enjoyed the very punny website for these treehouses in Oregon , I thought these treehouses in Turkey sounded like the most fun!  There are such good things to eat in Turkey, too, including this variation of the traditional “Turkish Wedding Soup.”  Appropriate, or what?? -Almostgotit

Turkish Wedding Soup with Spiced Sauce

Serves 8

2 onions
7 carrots
4 pounds lamb neck bones
10 cups beef broth
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound butter (2 sticks, divided)
1 cup flour
6 egg yolks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 1/2 teaspoons paprika

Peel the onions and carrots, cut into quarters, and put into a soup pot with the lamb bones, broth, and salt. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour, or until the meat is soft. Strain the broth into a bowl. Remove the meat from the bones and cut into thin strips or dice.  Return meat and broth to soup pot.

Melt 12 tablespoons butter and work in the flour. Slowly add 1 cup of the warm broth while mixing well. Gradually stir this butter-flour mixture into the rest of the soup, then bring soup to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and cook for about 10 minutes. Keep the soup warm.

Beat the egg yolks with a fork and mix in the lemon juice. Add 4 tablespoons of hot soup. Stir this mixture briskly into the rest of the soup: egg yolks will “cook” immediately. Reheat over a very low flame, or you may even turn off flame and cover pot to keep it hot. Do not boil or soup will “break” and become watery.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter, remove from heat and add cayenne pepper and paprika. Pour the soup into serving bowl or individual soup bowls. Swirl spoonfuls of spiced butter over the top of each.  

Adapted from New York Times Bread & Soup Cookbook by Yvonne Young


Shrimp Butter

June 25, 2007

rrfennelfronds.jpg

A fine way to set the tone for romance … The original recipe calls for dill weed, but I’ve gotten very attached to red fennel. The flavor is deeper and more dramatic than dill. ‘Reminds me of those big, sour kosher dills we used to get in individual packets—I loved those pickles! If you’re lucky enough to have a small garden, fennel pretty much grows wild. The fronds are also great snipped into summer salads. I’ll work up some recipes. SAM

1/2 pound small shrimp, cooked, shelled, and minced
4 tablespoons butter
1 small clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon finely snipped dill weed or fennel fronds
English water crackers

With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and add the garlic and dill or fennel, blending well. Beat in the shrimp gradually, until well blended. Cover and chill. Serve on water crackers.
Makes 1 1/3 cups.


Buttermilk Biscuits

June 12, 2007

Set a plate of hot Buttermilk Biscuits on the dinner table and people will think you’re a genius. Just don’t admit they’re easy as pie. Most recipes call for vegetable shortening. The old ones even call for lard. I much prefer butter. Soft Southern wheat, like White Lily, makes them light and fluffy, but bread flour works, also. The only caution is to handle the dough as little as possible. Overworking makes for tough biscuits. If you’re really in a hurry, use self-rising flour and omit the baking powder, soda, and salt. You’ll still need butter on the table, and if any biscuits are left over—which isn’t likely—you can have ham biscuits for breakfast. SAM

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
2/3 to 3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Cut the butter in half lengthwise, flip it one turn, and halve again. Chop into 1/4-inch cubes and sprinkle over the flour mixture. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles very coarse meal. Make a well in the center and pour in 2/3 cup buttermilk. Stir quickly but gently with a pastry fork, adding additional buttermilk if necessary, until the dough forms a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch biscuit cutter or small juice glass, dipping it occasionally into flour. Gently press together the scraps, then roll and cut them also. Roll the last scraps into a ball and flatten to make the cook’s biscuit. Place biscuits 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes about 2 dozen biscuits.