Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Bananas, Coconut & Pecans

This was a dessert I made this weekend. Wanted something different and was thinking about DH telling about how his Grandfather made fried bananas for breakfast. This was easy & quick. Made it after we finished dinner & served it warm. Have to admit the best part had to be those pecans! The ingredients were--
2 large bananas sliced lengthswise
1/4 C Brown Sugar
1/4 C Unsweetened Coconut
1/4 C Pecan Halves
2 Tablespoons Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (My new favorite yummy tasting oil) You must try it!
1/4 C Fresh Mandarin Orange Juice

Placed the oil & sugar in a warm pan. Added sliced bananas to the pan when the sugar started to melt. Added the pecans & coconut around the sides of the pan. Flipped the bananas over after about a minute, all the time stirring the pecans & coconut around the edges of the pan to keep them coated with the sugar & oil. This only takes a few minutes to accomplish. Add the OJ right before removing from the pan.

Notes--you can see there is a lot of room for your own variation in this recipe. You may want less OJ or none at all. You could substitute butter for the oil. I must tell you that the coconut oil is delicious all on its own. Make it to suit your tastes. I can see doing this & using orange sections instead of bananas or maybe using some of the mangoes I found this past weekend.

After the last post about tea I thought I would just add a note from time to time about any tea that was particularly interesting. Started the day with a very good Apricot Decaf from Republic of Tea. I could really taste the apricot & it was a nice mellow way to begin a busy day!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

My Journey with Tea

This is a "thank you" note to Mom, Dad, Grandma & Adagio Tea. I grew up in a time when the coffee pot was always on the burner of the stove & almost every adult drank coffee all day. The longer it stayed on the burner the stronger it got. Having spent lots of time in my pre-school years in my Grandmother's kitchen (which was conveniently next door to our house) I learned to love the smell of coffee on the stove. It was a warm & comforting aroma. Kind of a security. Grandma's kitchen was the center of the neighborhood & in those days the door was never locked. Coffee was always a part of those days. In those days my Grandmother would tell any child that drinking coffee would stunt your growth so as to try to keep us from being caffeinated I guess. That was no threat to me. I had tasted the strong potion & thought if it only tasted like it smelled it would be wonderful--but it didn't--& it wasn't. So I grew up never liking coffee & when I reached adulthood & everyone my age started drinking coffee I would just pass it by. I never cared for tea either. Having grown up in the south, there was always iced tea available & it was passable for younger people to drink that. That was no temptaion either as it always seemed bitter even with sugar.

Dad always liked coffee and would drink it all day, even at work. When he got older he switched to hot tea as it had less caffeine and he said helped settle his stomach. Mom finally told me after I was grown that I would never be able to "socialize" if I didn't drink tea or coffee! She was only half joking. I thought --now you tell me! Anyway, a few years back I embarked on my tea journey. Being pretty sensitive to caffeine, I decided not to travel the coffee route. My sister-in-law first hooked me on sweetened herbal raspberry tea. My brother-in-law thought it just tasted like kid's kool aid--good--more for me. I started branching out, and after a period of time I discovered I really did like real tea, herbal tea, fruity tea, and most any tea. I surprised myself--I realized I liked it even without sweetener. The result of what has now become an obsession (yes, I admit it) is a whole section of my kitchen cabinet devoted to a plethora of teas.

As I ventured into reading about tea, I discovered that people actually cooked with tea. That put me on the next leg of my journey. I experimented with lots of recipes. Some good & some disasters. One day while looking at food blogs I found a link to Adagio Tea and found they had recipes using tea. This was wonderful! I loved it. Then I found the part that said "Tea Chef". I was hooked. Adagio would send aspiring "tea chefs" a sample size tin of tea in exchange for them submitting a tea related recipe. I began submitting recipes. In the winter it was for Granita. In February it was a Tea Brined Pork Loin (which I posted on the blog). I was thrilled when the winner was announced--yes, my little loin of pork had won. Now the really fun part--the "fabulous tea related reward". They don't tell you what you win. I think that makes it better. I kept having flashbacks to the movie "The Christmas Story" when Darren Mc Gavin wins the hideous leg shaped lamp. I don't know what the other "winners" have received but I absolutely love my prizes. Adagio was very generous & I thank them. They mailed a wonderful IngenuiTea tea pot/brewer. It is fabulous for that 2 cups in the morning or even for a quick brew of tea to pour over ice. They also included a generous size of February's tea--Green Pekoe. All of the tea I have received from Adagio is of very good quality & I would recommend it to those who are tea drinkers. If any of you like tea & like to cook with tea you can check out the teas & recipes at http://www.adagio.com/

Thanks Mom, Dad, Grandma & Adagio!

(p.s. I think Grandma may have been right about coffee stunting growth--I only smelled it and despite the fact my Dad was 6'2" I only made it to 5"2")

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bok Choi Colcannon

Colcannon is something we have enjoyed around our table before I even knew to call it that. I have made many variations of this potato dish using cabbage of various kinds and onions of many kinds also. Being a tradition at this time of the year, I knew it was time to make it again, this time trying something yet different. I recently discovered an asian market not too far away and they have a wonderful produce department. We enjoy bok choi made other ways and since it is in the cabbage family I thought it would make a perfect combination along with green onions & potatoes for this year's colcannon. My "recipe" is not really a precise one but it works for me. I used several large russet potatoes--peeled, chunked and boiled in salted water. Stir fried about a pound of baby bok choi & 1 bunch of green onions in about 2 tablespoons of butter. The bok choi & onions were roughly chopped. Mashed the potatoes (this time with about a half stick of butter and a bit of half & half) & then added the almost browned greens to the potatoes & mixed them together. Very good as the bok choi is quite mild & the green onion added just the right extra something.

You will want to visit http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/ for all of the great Weekend Herb Blogging.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Here Endeth The Drought___

If you live in the Valley of the Sun in the Sonoran Desert you heard the wonderful sweet lullaby sound of rain early Saturday morning.

Not a big event in many places, but when you've not heard that sound since October 19, 2005, it was cause for celebration. The official Sky Harbor Airport reading was 1.4 inches. Where we live it was a gracious 2.4 inches. The parched earth just soaked it up like a sponge and you could almost hear the trees sigh with relief.

A friend who abandoned city life and moved away from civilization said it was so dry that even the cactus were perishing. No more of her delicious Prickly Pear fruit jelly.

Our wonderful Irish neighbor, K, was in her baking mood--preparing for St. Patrick's Day. She called & said to come take possesion of our annual loaf of warm Irish Soda Bread. I hurried over for a visit with K & her sweet puppy and took my prized loaf home. Soda bread is so named because it was originally devised as a bread that could be made without yeast. K is an excellent baker and is very generous with the raisins. We started eating ours last evening. We used it as the base for our dessert of strawberry shortcake with whipping cream. Delicious. There are lots of recipes out there for this wonderful bread. Try it, you will like it! Wonderful warm with butter & honey or jam. Can't do better than that on a rainy day--dessert in the desert!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Find the Kitty--WCB #39

Yes, this is a Tilly picture. She was a great helper this morning;) Originally, I wanted to post this just to show the daffodils and the story behind them. The flowers and the little journal were gifts to me last week on my birthday. They were hand delivered in the pretty yellow bag by a darling student of mine. Sometimes the perks we receive that are job related are not material but from the heart. This was just what I needed on this particular birthday. If you have read my previous posts, you know that the past 3+ months have included some trials--which I realize are not unique to me alone. If you could see the sweetness and sincerity with which the bouquet was delivered you would just melt. The surprise part of these flowers (a real bonus) is that they are all attached to pens!

Now to the Tilly part. Have any of you read that cats don't see color? I am convinced that Miss Tilly does indeed see at least green. She will try to eat anything that is green--lettuce, cabbage, spinach, corn husks and yes, silk plants! So now I guess I have given her hiding place away. She thought she would just slyly sneak around the back & take a little bite.

Today I am most thankful for job perks from the heart and one sneaky kitty!
Don't forget to go visit http://eatstuff.net today to see all of the weekend WCB's.