Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter Baking

Too ripe to eat!
I love to bake and it seems like it happens more in the winter than the summer.  Today is a cold, cold, cold day ( -30 wind chill) and schools are closed, so I'm home baking away.

When I saw these on my counter, I knew what I had to make!

So, I looked to Pinterest and found Martha Stewart's Hummingbird Cake. It called for 3 (yes it was fate!) ripe bananas.  Luckily I had coconut and walnuts, so I was ready to go.

Hummingbird Recipe (Adapted from Martha Stewart.com)

  • Unsalted butter, room temperature, for pans and racks (I do not do)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans (I do not do)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar (I use 1 3/4 cup)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 large)
  • 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut, unsweetened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in the center. I use a baking spray to coat 2 - 9 inch cake pans.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat oil, vanilla, and sugar until combined, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each before adding the next. Beat at medium speed until mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  In a medium bowl, mix together banana, pineapple, walnuts, and coconut. Add to egg mixture; stir until well combined. Add flour mixture; blend well.  Divide batter between pans. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.  Transfer pans to a greased wire rack. Let cool 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges to loosen. Invert onto racks; reinvert, top side up. Cool completely.

  • 1 pound (16 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
  • 2 pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted
It is really important to have the butter and cream cheese at room temperature.  If not, you will have a clumpy frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and vanilla until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. With mixer on medium speed, gradually add butter, beating until incorporated. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add sugar, beating until incorporated.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas Dinner

Christmas Dinner is a family tradition. We have basically the same meal every year, sometimes there are a few tweaks.

2013 Dinner Menu
Beef Tenderloin - cover with olive oil, crushed pepper corns, and salt. Bake in a 450 degree over for 15 minutes, then lower to 375 for 15 minutes for pound depending on desired pinkness.
Lobster Tails - cut in half, brush with butter, broil for 6 - 7 minutes about 7 inches from broiler
Cranberry Sauce
Roasted Brussels Sprouts - toss olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, 400 degree oven for 25 minutes (if large, cut in half)
Gnocchi with red sauce (My father-in-law makes the Gnocchi and I make the red sauce-one day I'll post the recipe)
Citrus Salad
Clams Casino - a local friend and chef makes these for us
Brie with Currant and Cranberry Chutney (milky brie with currant, cranberry, and walnut chutney from Wegmans over it, served with tiny toasts)

Usually, I chop some garlic and rosemary for the tenderloin, this year I crushed peppercorns and rolled the tenderloin it is so that it was covered (first put a little olive oil and salt). It was perfect.

If there is anything I want my children to take from our food traditions, it is make Christmas special with food, family, and decorations. I use my grandmother's china, silver, and candlesticks. I also have the dinning room decorated and festive. Memories for them to take and use with their families.