Monday, June 7, 2010

Best Ever Banana Cake

The last couple of times I baked this cake, I don't think it baked long enough!  So today is the last attempt at making this promising recipe, and what do you know, it turned out brilliantly!
Preheat: 275*
Category: Dessert, cake, bananas, PICTURES

1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed, ripe  (I had four bananas READY for use, so I used all four)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup butter, softened (I accidently left this out!  I found it in the microwave when I went to soften the frosting butter!!!!  Oops!)
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I substituted 1 1/2 cups skim milk + 2 t. vinegar, letting it sit for 10 min.)
2 1/8 cups sugar
3 cups flour

1.  Preheat the oven.

2.  Great and flour a 9x13 pan.  Or do like I did, Miss Fancypants herself, and use two 9" circle pans.  :)  I just sprayed it and it came out just fine.

3.  Mix banana with lemon juice; set aside.  I didn't bother reading directions.  I literally dumped everything in, flour last, and then poured the batter into the pans.  But I'll tell you what the recipe says to do just in case.

4.  Mix butter and sugar; beat until light and fluffy.

5.  Mix in baking soda, salt, flour, alternating with buttermilk.

6.  Beat eggs, then add one at a time.  Add vanilla.

7.  Stir in banana mixture.

8.  Bake for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Remember what I said about having problems with this recipe?  I didn't just use the toothpick test, I also tested it for LOOKING done.  I let it get a little more brown, taking probably 1 hour and 10 minutes.

9.  Put directly into freezer for 45 minutes.  Apparently this step makes the cake incredibly moist.  :)  I do it, but I don't guess you have to.  The nice thing is that when you pull it out of the freezer, it's all ready to frost AND the cake has separated from the sides of the cake pan so it's easy to remove.

10.  Frost on a cool cake.  I used a sour cream frosting.  I wanted to use, as you probably would want to use too, a cream cheese frosting.  But we're out of sour cream and are not going shopping until tomorrow.   :)  Here's the frosting recipe that comes with the cake, in case you're interested:  1/2 cup butter, softened, 8 oz. cream cheese, softened, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 1/2 cup powdered or icing sugar.

The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook

Title: The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook
Author: Mireille Guillano
Copyright: 2010
Publisher: Atria Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster
Pages: 298, including your obligatory italicized French words, and an index.

I've been lax in posting reviews; after finding the Food Nanny cookbook that had so many great recipes (that I'm STILL trying!!!), I haven't had motivation to find new cooking fodder.  I was poking around for French stuff for my kids (we homeschool) with French as the keyword, and LOOK at what I found.  Of COURSE I ordered it through the library.  I've been low-energy (ha ha, you can tell because I haven't posted hardly ANY recipes!!!) but the book is due this coming Thursday... I guess it's TIME.  :D.

Things I Like About This Book:
Well.  I like that there's an index.  I like that there are many recipes to choose from.  I like the idea that if I eat moderately what's in this cookbook that I could (finally!!!) lose weight.  The book is chic with modern illustrations. 

I liked the food she put into context.  She said that probably the two most unhealthy foods are doughnuts and bagels... and with bagels, we load them with cream cheese, sometimes jam.  We have cut doughnuts almost completely out of our diet (I have to say "almost" because my sister-in-law brought some homemade doughnuts over and we devoured them!!).  Bagels, we don't eat very often.  I like that she advocates eating breakfast, and that it be a balanced meal.  We don't just eat carbohydrates and call it good.  We need to have protein, maybe some fruit. 

This leads to the ONE recipe we might use, Magical Breakfast Cream.  It's healthy, it's complete, and it looks yummy, in spite of the flaxseed oil! :D

Things I Don't Like About This Book.
Man cannot live by modern illustrations alone.  I liked one recipe and the rest were too fancy for me.  Behold some recipe titles:

Fusilli with Spinach and Anchovies
Beet and Ginger Gazpacho
Carmelized Chicken with Vegetable "Pancake"
Prosciutto Wrapped Around Grissini
Mackeral with Curry and Leeks

I can't imagine my husband's face if I were to tell him we were eating "Prosciutto Wrapped Around Grissini!"  Maybe if we were fancier folk.  I am seeing a pattern to my cookbook reviews........  if it's too fancy, it's OUT.  :) 

Magical Breakfast Cream

This is borrowed from The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook.  :)  I like the idea of the recipe.  It's simple and so healthful!
Preheat: --
Category: Breakfast, yogurt

1 serving
4-6 Tablespoons Yogurt (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon flaxseed oil
1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
2 Tablespoons finely ground cereal with zero sugar
2 teaspoons finely ground walnuts

1.  Combine yogurt and oil, mixing well. 
2.  Add the lemon juice, mixing well.
3.  Add the honey and mix well.
4.  Finely ground the cereal and walnuts, then add and mix well.
5.  Serve immediately.

Arroz con Pollo

My mom and I thought this was fantastic!  It's flavorful and satisfying.  My HUSBAND, who doesn't like "saucy" rice, and my kids, who don't like... well, anything with vegetables and adult flavors... didn't eat hardly any of it.  I'm posting it here for the grown-ups who love flavor. :D

p.s.  This is a fantastic way to use leftover rice. :)

Arroz con Pollo

Preheat: --
Category: Mexican, comfort food, rice, chicken

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1/2" strips (I used the chicken breast I had in my freezer)
3 Tablespoon oil (I used olive oil--yum)
1/2 pound mushrooms, quartered (I bought mine pre-sliced and used what I had left in the package)
1 medium onion, diced (I used a whole large yellow onion--I subbed some things instead of using premade salsa)
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used four cloves, another sub for salsa)
2 cups salsa (In addition to the onion and garlic, I added a large can of diced tomatoes and minced some seeded jalapeno.  The seeds could have been left in, but I took out the heat for my kids.  If I made this again, I'd use TWO jalapenos, seeding one.  Oh!  I added some course-ground salt to this step, just shy of a teaspoon)
1 cup monterrey jack, shredded
1-2 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked rice
salt + pepper
parsley or cilantro, for color (I used some dried cilantro; perfect in a pinch)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 t. ground cayenne (unnecessary with the heat of the salsa/jalapenos)

1) Sauté the mushrooms, onion and garlic.  Oh, and I sautéed the jalapeno, too.

2) Add chicken, browning on all sides.  The recipe directions weren't very practical with the amount of sautéed vegetables in my skillet, so I settled for partially cooked.

3) Add salsa, rice.  Cook for about two minutes.  I went ahead and added in my spices at this stage.  Why not!  The cilantro needed time to freshen up.

4) Add broth.  I just used one cup of broth and it was still pretty soupy--I had to simmer down the liquid for a good 10 minutes.

5) Turn off heat and add cheese.  Mix in spices.

6)  Top with parsley and/or cilantro.  Serve hot.  We served this with broccoli, corn and peas.  :)