Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mrs. Flint's Banana Bread

My friend Larry's mother made the best banana bread. I was thrilled when she gave me the recipe. She was one of those old fashioned cooks that didn't always cook with a recipe. Like the time I asked for her bread pudding recipe...all she could say was well I put a some bread, some eggs, cinnamon, etc. in a bowl, you know just enough of each until it seems right. I think the secret to good banana bread is really ripe bananas and glazing the bread while warm.

Banana Bread on Foodista
Mrs. Flint's Banana Bread

Cream together 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter. Add two eggs, 3 mashed RIPE bananas, pinch of sale, 1 teaspoon of soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1 3/4 cup flour.

Bake in greased and floured loaf pans at 350 for 45 - 60 minutes. Makes two medium size loaves.

Glaze while still warm with a glaze of powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and milk.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dr. Pepper Flank Steak

I am not much of a red meat eater. My husband, on the other hand, could eat it at every meal. He doesn't feel that a meal is complete without some sort of meat.

I do, however, like flank steak. Flank steak is a cut of meat that is best when marinated, cooked until rare or medium rare and thinly sliced against the grain. I've found several marinades that make this a flavorful cut of meat. One of our favorites is the Dr. Pepper Flank Steak marinade.

Dr. Pepper Flank Steak
Adapted from Grady Spears recipe

1 (16-ounce) bottle of Dr. Pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons of your favorite steak grilling seasoning
1-1/2 pounds of flank steak

1. In a large bowl, combine the Dr. Pepper, garlic cloves, and cinnamon sticks.
2. Add the flank steak, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 hours.
3. Prepare and light the grill, and heat to medium-high. Remove the flank steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.
4. Season both sides with the steak seasoning.
5. Grill the steaks from 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until done (never cook flank steak past the medium-rare stage or it will be very tough.)
6. Remove the steak from the grill, and let rest for 4 or 5 minutes, loosely covered with foil. Cut the steak across the grain into 1-inch-wide slices.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wine Country

My husband and I just returned from a four day vacation to the wine country. We stayed at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. This property is one of the most peaceful and relaxing places I have ever stayed. The flowers, trees and water features make this setting so beautiful.

We did wine tasting at 18 wineries in the area. It is hard to pick a favorite as most of them had their own character and charm. Two of my favorites were Imagery and Hop Kiln. Imagery is a combination of artwork and wine. Their wine labels are unique. Each label incorporates the parthenon as a part of the label. It's fun to try and find it. At Hop Kiln, the tasting room is the old hop kiln. Hops grow on the property today.

We had dinner at The Girl and The Fig. I am much more of a foodie than my husband. I was so looking forward to our dinner. Maybe it's because I am from the midwest or maybe I had built it up too much in my mind but I was really disapointed in the experience.

My favorite food experience of the trip was the Lemon Cottage Cheese Pancakes at the Big 3 Diner at the Sonoma Mission Inn. They were served with creme fraiche and were so light and delicious. They just melted in your mouth. I am looking forward to finding a recipe and trying these at home.

Many times you come home from a vacation feeling like you need another vacation. That was not the case with this trip, it was one of the most relaxing vacations I have ever taken. I look forward to another visit to this area sometime in the future.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Fresh Since 1923

Who doesn't love a homemade pastry on a Saturday morning? Not from your local Krispy Kreme but Schmidt's Bakery in St. James, Minnesota. Schmidt's is one of those places that takes you back to a simplier time when you might find a bakery like Schmidt's in your home town.

From their homemade candies at Christmas time, cream horns, cinnamon rolls and hamburger buns, everything is wonderful! If your travels ever take you to Southwestern Minnesota, Schmidt's is worth a stop!

Baby Carrots with Dill Butter

This past weekend, Nebraska was treated to a Spring blizzard. The ground was so warm here that we didn't really have much accumulation but just to the north of us, they received 11 inches. I am ready for warmer weather so I can plant my herbs. For my birthday this year, my husband gave me an AeroGarden. It's a nice treat to be able to pick herbs even when there is snow on the ground. I've never done a lot of cooking with dill, so I was anxious to try Baby Carrots with Dill Butter. In addition to being pleasing to the eyes, the flavors were yummy!

Baby Carrots with Dill Butter
Adapted from All Recipes

1 (16 ounce) package baby carrots
4 tablespoons margarine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place carrots in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook 20 minutes, until tender. Remove from heat, and drain. Gently toss with margarine, dill, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Gooey Butter Cake

My friend Trudy used make this cake for birthdays when we worked together years ago. Trudy always called it South Saint Louis Gooey Butter Cake. As I think back, it was at least 25 years ago when I first tasted this cake. Trudy now lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three children. I wonder if she still makes this cake?

For some reason, I never asked Trudy for her recipe. A couple of years ago, I purchased Paula Deen's, The Lady and Sons Just Desserts cookbook. Gooey Butter Cake is one of the many delicious dessert recipes in this cookbook. In addition to the traditional Gooey Butter Cake, Paula has recipes for variations of Gooey Butter Cake. Some of these variations are Lemon, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip and Banana. I tried the chocolate chip and Banana recipes. With the banana recipe, I felt like the bananas overpowered the flavor of the cake. The chocolate chip was okay but I think I am a Gooey Butter cake purist, I like the original recipe.

Paula Deen's Gooey Butter Cake

1 yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick butter, melted

1 8 oz package cream cheese (softened)
2 eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 16 oz box confectioners sugar
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 13x9x2 baking pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, egg and butter and mix well. Pat into the bottom of prepared pan and set aside. Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth; add eggs and vanilla. Dump in confectioner's sugar and beat well. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly pour in butter. Mix well. Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Don't overbake, cake should be a little gooey in the center.

Remove from oven and cool completely. Cut into squares.