Friday, September 24, 2010

Birthday Dinner

I'm back! And better than ever. Ok that may be an overstatement. But I'm doing well and am putting up a long overdue post. In my defense I did loose my camera which slowed the whole posting business.

Anyhow, for my birthday last week I had family dinner with Chad(cousin), Lindsey (cousin's wife), Kenna (cousin), Evan (cousin's finance), and Mike (good friend from school). The original plan for the evening involved going out, but honestly I am more of a homebody than anything else, as you know Miss Xochi, and I love to cook for people and entertain, so this was the perfect way to celebrate my birthday. It was actually a gift for me to be able to cook and then just relax at home.

When deciding what to make I kept thinking of the Gordon Ramsay lamb shanks that I have posted on here before ( ). The sauce haunts my dreams it's so good. So, I made the lamb shanks, mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus, and for dessert drunken bananas. By the end of the meal I was so happy from all the good food vibes and happy family and friends time. I slept so deeply after everyone left, it was incredible.
Pictures from the meal are provided by Lindsey, my cousin's wife. She brought her camera over to take pictures of the food and I'm so glad she did. I LOVE Lindsey! She's the best. We forgot to photograph dessert though. I must had been too blissed-out over the food to remember, plus beer and things were consumed which make me relaxed and more forgetful.

Each of us had a whole shank for ourselves, which means that there was A LOT of food. Out of all of us, only Mike entered the "clean plate club". Everyone else had food left on our plates. That worked out just fine for Ruby though, she loved getting leftovers.

I wish you could have been there Xochi! I kept offering people tastes of the sauce as I was making it. I LOVED it! If I had been by myself I would have been a bit more amorous with the sauce. I think everyone else felt just as passionately as I did about the sauce, although it's hard to imagine someone equaling the intensity of feeling I have about that stuff. I wish I could make lip gloss out of it. *Yum*

So despite the lack of pictures of the final product, I would like to post the instructions for the "Drunken Bananas". It's basically just bananas foster, but I get a little scared/lazy to light it on fire. So it's simple, basic and completely delicious.


4 ripe bananas
2 shots brandy (you can use rum or any other brown alcohol I think, but I had brandy for cooking at my house so I used it)
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp brown sugar (I didn't use measuring utensils for this, but guessing worked out pretty well).
1 tsp cinnamon

Start by slicing the bananas. Then you melt the butter in a large sauce pan. Add the bananas. Coat the bananas with butter. After the bananas are coated add brown sugar and cinnamon. Add the brandy. Do not pour directly from the bottle to the pan. I guess this is a fire hazard. I just put the alcohol into a shot glass first. Then continue to cook the bananas until the liquid is a sauce-like consistency. This help the dessert from not tasting too much like alcohol and gives all the flavors the chance to saturate each other.

Serve over ice cream and enjoy! I've also found that these bananas make a great filling for crepes. You could even put the ice cream or nutella in the crepe with them, but that might be taking things just a little too far.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Raspberry Bavarian Cream


Tony is allergic to raspberries. I found this out this weekend when I decided to attempt Raspberry Bavarian Cream from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Tony and I had gone to the store and raspberries were ridiculously on sale- 16 ounces for $2.00. So of course we bought two containers. I needed a way to use up a bunch quickly because berries don’t stay good for long, so I pulled out Julia Child’s book and settled on this fantastic dessert (I was already thinking of doing this because I watched Julie and Julia this weekend). I used up almost all of one container and Tony scarfed down almost all of the other one. A few hours later the Bavarian Cream was done and a very red Tony and I rushed to Nugget to get Benadryl. *sigh*Looks like Chocolate Bavarian Cream from now on. ;)


Begin by thoroughly mixing 1 1/2Tbs gelatin (1 1/2 packages) with 3/4c orange juice. Set aside to soften. Separate 5 eggs. Place the yolks in a medium bowl along with 1/2c sugar and beat with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes or until the mixture is a pale yellow color and it forms a ribbon when pulled away by the beaters.


In a medium sauce pan, bring 1 and 3/4c milk to a boil on the stove. In the meantime, beat 1tsp cornstarch into the yolk mixture. When the milk is boiling, transfer it to a cup with a spout (I used my measuring cup) and slowly dribble it into the yolk mixture while beating with the electric beaters. Seriously, do this SLOWLY so the yolks don’t scramble. Pour the mixture back into the medium sauce pan and set over medium low heat. Stir slowly and constantly with a wooden spoon, scraping all along the bottom and sides until the mixture reaches 170 degrees (I used a meat thermometer) and lightly coats the back of your spoon. Don’t allow the mixture simmer! Remove from the heat and beat in 1Tbs vanilla extract. You could stop here and serve this light custard sauce warm, or you can continue on by immediately beating in the orange juice and gelatin mixture. Mix until it is completely incorporated. Rinse the medium mixing bowl and transfer the orange custard to it. Set aside to cool.


Puree about 12 ounces of raspberries in a food processor or blender. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove all seeds. You should have between 3/4c ~ 1c berry puree. Cover and set in the refrigerator. Using a wire whisk electric blender, whip 1/2c heavy whipping cream in a small bowl until stiff peaks form. Cover and set in the refrigerator.


Place the reserved egg whites in a medium bowl along with a pinch of salt. Using beater attachments on an electric mixer, beat the tar out of the whites until soft peaks form.


Sprinkle in 1Tbs granulated sugar and continue beating until the mixture becomes stiff and glossy and you can form stiff peaks with your beaters. Delicately fold this mixture into your warm custard by adding about 1/3 of the egg white mixture at a time and gently folding and scooping using a rubber spatula. The first addition will be lost in the custard, but the next two additions should make the custard noticeably lighter and fluffier. Be sure not to stir, but fold! Pop out a full tray of ice cubes into a large bowl along with 2 cups of cold water and place the medium bowl filled with the custard mixture inside to cool quickly. Gently fold the custard mixture frequently to keep it from separating.


When the mixture is cold, but not quite set, gently stir in the raspberry puree. You can leave it swirled or mix it in completely so it’s a uniform pink color (I kind of wish I’d left it marbled).


Gently swirl in the reserved whipped cream. Make a pretty pattern with this one, it’s all about looks now. At this point, Julia says to put the custard in a serving mold and then refrigerate for 3 ~ 4 hours or overnight, then pop the custard out of the mold and serve it on a chilled plate. I don’t actually have a pretty desert mold, so I left the custard in that yellow bowl and scooped out about half a cup full as I wanted it, served with a slice of Sara Lee pound cake and fresh raspberries. Oh my God Sarah, this was so good! The raspberries are just one option- you could do this with any pureed fruit, any juice, chocolate, whatever! It was rich and satisfying and took forever to make, but was so worth it. I wish you were here to eat it with me! After Tony’s rather scary immune response, he decided to not partake in the finished product. Bummer for him, but OH MAN I seriously enjoyed licking this bowl clean. :)