Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Banana Sticky Toffee Pudding

Alabama is currently under a snowmagedden 2 warning.  Y'all remember snowmagedden 1, right?  2014.  Snow....ice....the one salt truck sent to another part of the state....panic, and pandemonium.  Fun times.  That's apparently happening again today.  Business and schools announced closings on last night's news.  The snow was arriving at 10:00am, the temperatures would start dropping and pandemonium would arrive by 10:01.  The grocery stores promptly sold out of everything you'd need to make your milk sandwiches, everyone made their liquor run (maybe that was just me) and hunkered down for a long winter's nap.  Except it's now 1:30pm and NO SNOW.  But I'm drunk, so........

I made Banana Sticky Toffee Pudding.  That's a lie.  I made this on Saturday.  But if I weren't drunk I'd make this again today.  It is hands down the best sweet I've made since I don't know when.  Maybe snowmageddon 1.  And I lurve the addition of the banana.  I'd never hate on plain ole sticky toffee pudding, but add in some really ripe bananas?  I mean.  Crazy good.  

And don't even think about skipping the sauce.  Or the whipped cream.  Because we're half-way through January and y'all know those resolutions are trash (again, maybe just me).  Drizzle half of the sauce on the cake while it's still warm from the oven and then ask your extremely tall husband to put the rest of it out of your reach until you're ready to serve the cake to your guests.  Or don't and keep dipping in for just one more taste until there isn't any left to pour over your guest's piece and you have to make that sauce AGAIN.  I swear that didn't happen here.

Here's the recipe:

Banana Sticky Toffee Pudding
Food and Wine Magazine
January 2018

Serves 9


1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided plus more for greasing
3/4 cup boiling water
6 oz pitted dates, chopped (1 cup)
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 medium-size overripe bananas, mashed (1 cup)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Whipped cream for serving


Preheat oven to 350 deg.  Grease a 9-inch square metal cake pan with butter.  In a small heatproof bowl pour the boiling water over the dates, stir in the baking soda.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat 1/4 cup of the butter with 3/4 cup of the brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  At low speed, beat in the flour mixture until just combined.  Add the date mixture and bananas and beat at low speed until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile in a small saucepan, combine the heavy cream, the remaining 1/4 cup of butter, and the remaining 1 cup of brown sugar.  Bring to a gentle boil over moderate heat and cook until slightly thickened and deep golden, about 3 minutes.  Keep warm.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack.  Using a skewer or toothpick, poke holes all over the cake.  Pour half of the warm sauce over the cake and let stand until absorbed, about 10 minutes.  Serve warm with the remaining sauce and the whipped cream.

(If you don't use all the sauce, it will need to be reheated to use.)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday Faves

Happy weekend people!  I'm so excited to introduce y'all to the blog's newest contributor......my fabulous niece, Annie!  She's here to add a younger, much hipper, voice to this space.  She likes all the dogs, sour beer, great books, weird tv shows and is oddly attached to her car, Rhonda.  You'll love her as much as I do.

She's the one on the left!  That chunk of cuteness on the right is Callan the terrific.

Let's get to this week's links, shall we?

I made this Chickpea and Fennel Ratatouille this week and my goodness was it tasty.  After reading the comments on the recipe I added in mushrooms and about a cup of red wine when I added the chickpeas and served it over some brown rice.  Mmmm
Photo from the New York Times

I ordered Bobby Flay's new book Bobby Flay Fit and promptly marked practically every recipe, but I'll be starting with this one next week.

I finished the Dirty John podcast....you MUST listen, and am on to this one.

Ten things Joy the Baker has learned in 10 years of food blogging.  Love her.  

What's In and Out in 2018 according to the Washington Post.  Mrs. Maisel is SO in!!

Alabama is apparently in the midst of a flu epidemic.  Yikes.  WASH PEOPLE!

Why you should keep your used dryer sheets.  Who knew?

Our family is obsessed with tiny houses.  We all want one.  Here of 75 of the best!

We talked about Miso earlier this week.  Here's Gwyneth's guide and a few more recipes.  Did you hear she's consciously recoupled?

The New York Times 52 Places to go in 2018.  I see you Cincinnati, Ohio!

And I just can't walk away without giving you my thoughts on this season of the Bachelor.  First of all.....NOT happy about it being Arie (didn't like him during Emily's season) but I have to say that the women are all beautiful.  I mean stunning.  And, of course, I have my early front runners.....and ones that I'd like to see get immediate therapy.  Now, I have to admit that I usually enjoy watching after I've read Reality Steve's post on who wins.  Made my (former) friends cray that I liked to watch the season knowing who "won".  I put that in quotes, because.....well.  But this season snuck up on me and I hadn't read said post, so I decided to watch it green.  So, here are my thoughts after two episodes.....

Krystal....I just can't with that voice.  And does anyone else think it's like he's dating his mother??


Yup....Krystal on the left and Mama on the right.  I mean......

Others.....Bibiana is CRAY.....those eyes.  Tia or Becca (short hair) for the next bachelorette.  I'm glad that Jenny finally got broken up with....that'll serve her well later in life.  STOP fucking crying Annalise.  And that taxadermy girl tho!!!!

That's all I got

Annie's Faves:

'Dirty John' podcast-

Defnitely worth the listen, but will most likely make you hate the fact that people like John ACTUALLY EXIST. I wish I could meet him in a dark alley somewhere and have him try to get $25,000 from me and my lead pipe... 

While some of the issues in this book are tough, it is beautifully written with incredible attention to detail. Turtle Alveston is a character I will never forget. She is a 14 year-old badass. 

Do yourself a favor and watch this. If you've never watched a Black Mirror episode, I'm not sure what you're waiting on. I haven't watched every episode, but this one ranks among my favorites so far. Give it at least five minutes before you decide whether or not you will continue watching. 

My uncle hooked me up with the shades that I'm wearing in the pictures above and below. I think the last time I owned a pair of sunglasses was probably 10+ years ago. I've just never really been into them or felt like I needed them. However, I do love these ones. They're really lightweight and they have polarized lenses. I think they'll become part of my daily wardrobe (if the sun ever shines down here in Bama). Check out Maho Shades online. Oh, and isn't Callan the cutest thing you've ever seen in your whole life? I know. (Here's a better pic) 

photo from Epicurious

One of my goals during my stay here is to learn how to cook. Anything. My arsenal is empty. With Jill being a fantastic cook, I don't think this goal will be hard to reach. I learned this one last night and it was SO easy, and insanely delish. 


While back in Ohio during the holidays, I was able to attend a couple of OSU Men's basketball games with my dad. We saw them play Radford back in November, which was meh. And last Sunday, I got to watch Tom Izzo lose his shit while the Buckeyes took a 20+ point lead over the #1 ranked Spartans. Also watched them skate by Maryland last night, all under the leadership of Keita Bates-Diop. Not only do I love saying his name, but he has seriously proven to be a real PTP-er. Excited to see what the Buckeyes will do this season. 

In other news...

Rhonda will be getting an upgrade this weekend. Rhonda is my car, Rhonda the Honda. We will be celebrating 13 years together this spring. My uncle Ed and my cousin Barry are installing THIS on Sunday. I don't know if I've ever been so excited!

Jill and Ed taught me how to play Rummikub last night. Don't try to talk to me for the next seven nights, I'll be busy.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I will be leveling up in Pokemon GO in the next day or two, level 27. No link necessary!

*Weekend tip to anyone in the Bham area: Go eat at Seasons 52 at the Summit and ask for Brad. 


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Halibut in Miso Broth

Let's get the obvious out of the way.....the apology for the picture.  It's winter and in Alabama that means it gets dark at 5:00pm so I get no natural light for beautiful photography.  Moving on.

Now for confession time.  I've never cooked with miso.  Oh sure, I've eaten it.  Love it in fact, but never used it in a recipe.  What can I say?  New ingredientses (Real Housewives reference) intimidate me but I'm vowing to try new things this year,  So on January 8, it was miso.

The recipe called for white or yellow miso.  So I'm in the miso aisle at Whole Foods and all I see is Shiro Miso.   Damnit.  Why can't things be easy?

So I buy it and then take to Google.  This article is everything you need to know about miso.  It turns out that Shiro Miso is, in fact, white miso and the one that will work in most recipes.  Which could be why it's the only one Whole Foods carried.

With that roadblock out of the way, the rest of this could not have been easier.  This is an under-30 minute meal.....chop the garlic, ginger and scallions....slice a few mushrooms......and you're ready to go.  Whole Foods had some beautiful wild Halibut, but if you can't find that, substitute Cod.  I couldn't find scallions (I know, right) so I used shallot and garnished with some chopped chives.  Improvise, people.

This is definitely going into the fish rotation and with my favorite pescatarian arriving for a few month stay this afternoon, I'll need more just like this one.  Bonus info....this comes in at just 250 calories per serving and 9 grams of fat so it'll def fit into your New Year's healthy eating plan!

Here's the recipe:

Halibut in Miso Broth
Ellie Krieger

Serves 4

2 tablespoons canola or other neutral tasting oil
2 ounces shiitake mushroom caps (4 caps total) sliced
3 scallions, thinly sliced, dark-green parts reserved for optional garnish
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons peeled, finely minced fresh ginger root
3 cups water
3 tablespoons white or yellow miso paste
Four 6-ounce skinned halibut fillets (may substitute cod)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup loosely packed baby spinach leaves

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat.  Once the oil shimmers, add the mushrooms and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are browned.  Transfer the mushrooms to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium; add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan.  Add the scallion whites, garlic, and ginger; cook for about 30 seconds, stirring, until fragrant.

Add 2 3/4 cups of the water to the skillet and bring to barely a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low.  While the water is heating whisk the miso paste with the remaining 1/4 cup water in a liquid measuring cup until dissolved then whisk that mixture into the skillet.

Season the fish with the salt and pepper then place in the skillet, skinned sides down.  Cover and cook for about 8 minutes over low to medium-low heat, maintaining a gentle bubbling, until the fish flakes easily with a fork and is fairly firm.

To serve, place one piece of the fish in each wide shallow bowl.  Stir the sauteed mushrooms and the spinach into the liquid in the skillet then remove from the heat.  Pour the broth with spinach and mushrooms around the fish in each bowl.  Garnish with the scallion greens, if using.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sunday Stuff

Brrrr y'all.  Here's hoping things start to warm up this week.

These pictures of Charleston in the snow are so beautiful.  Snow on palm trees and Palmetto's.....

Who's is everyone pulling for in tonight's Golden Globes.  I have to admit that I've not seen ANY of the nominated movies because I hate going to the theater, but The Post and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri just  might change that.  Both look so good.

We loved The Crown (Netflix), The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon) and Big Little Lies (HBO) so it would be fun for them to win.  Although I swear I thought Nicole Kidman already won a Globe last year for her role in Big Little Lies.....must have dreamed that!

Speaking of The Crown, they NAILED the casting.

Is anyone else listening to the podcast Dirty John?  If you like true crime stories, give this a listen.  I'm getting ready to start episode 4 and I'm obsessed.  If podcasts aren't your thing, you can read the story here from the LATimes.

If you're looking for some of the best articles of 2017 these three lists are fabulous.  Click here, here and here.  And thank you Quartz for putting together this list of the 99 Best Things to Happen in 2017.  Maybe it wasn't so dark after all.

Are thank you notes a dying art?  We went to two weddings in 2017 and gladly purchased shower and wedding gifts for the brides and grooms.  Not one single thank you note.  Not.  One.  I'm sending the happy couples this article.  (Not really, but.....)

We're going to France in May to do a river cruise from Paris to Champagne and then back to Paris for a few days of the French Open.  We haven't booked a place to stay in Paris yet, but this hotel is stunning and what about this Airbnb?  Although......

I would love to start a cookbook club.  It just sounds so fun.  Who's in?

How pretty is this bowl?

These recipes are goals for this week.....

These Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk shortbread cookies are apparently very popular
I vowed to get better at bread making this year, so I'm taking the King Arthur monthly bread challenge
Pesto is my go-to sauce to toss with a big pan of roasted vegetables but I'm trying this lemon tahini dressing next time
And finally, this Halibut in Miso is happening (although I'll probably use cod since that's always available)

And finally, we'll be in San Fancisco and Napa during this time, but I'd die to go to this event at Blackberry Farm.   I mean, just listen to these ladies.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Good Riddance 2017

Anyone else ready to put a bow on 2017 and kick it to the curb??  Fucking exhausting, right?  And I live in Alabama so you can just imagine the last few months around here. (We did get that shit right, however.....thank you black women voters!!)

On top of the political shitstorm that was this year, it's not been so fabulous on a personal level either.  I got the slow-burn dump from my closest group of girlfriends this year.  THAT was pretty soul crushing.  The only explanation being that I'm apparently not a big enough Kenny Chesney fan.  I know!  At least woman up enough to have an adult conversation......believe me I asked.  Moving on.

That on top of two jaw surgeries in October.....beware of a simple crown on a cracked tooth that results in lockjaw that leads to some damn painful surgery and rehab.  Ugh.

I also subjected myself to this.....

Eeeek!!  That was three weeks ago and it's already MUCH better.  I might be ready to show some after pics in a month or so when the swelling is not as scary!

So that's the not so pleasant of 2017.  Let's review the good shit, shall we??

We travelled.....

A couple of fun weekend trips to Nashville

To Abaco in February

The Big Apple in June

And to our happly place, Colorado, for the month of July

But the best thing to happen this year was this....

Meet Callan Elizabeth Ansley who turned two months old on Saturday.  She's my great niece and I can't wait to watch her grow up!

And some end of the year lists, because I love them!

Hopeful images from around the world.

The most hilarious wildlife photos of 2017  Ha!

The Jealousy List.....all the stories Bloomberg wished they'd authored!

The best Longreads of 2017

New York Times 2017 in review

The 30 best Southern Albums of 2017 according to The Bitter Southerner

My favorite songs of 2017

Here's to brighter things in 2018......my nieces have pledged to help me resurrect this cadaver of a blog so you'll get the perspective of a 50+ year old, a 30 year old, and a new mother.  That should make things interesting!  Plus, we got some exciting trips planned starting in January.

Happy New Year, y'all.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Sweet Corn Risotto

You'll have to pardon the picture.  I originally posted this pic on Instagram like I do most other food pics.....it's what we were having for dinner that night....never intending to blog about it.  More than one friend asked me to post the recipe and I aim to please, so.......

Risotto is one of those things I can throw together on nights when there's not much to speak of in the fridge and I've already had a glass of wine and am not going to the store.  I've always got the basics in the pantry.....onion, garlic, arborio rice, WINE, anchovies, parmesan, and chicken stock.  Then I just scan the fridge or the freezer for something to "gild the lily".  If I can't find anything, Mr. B gets plain risotto, but most often I've got frozen peas, mushrooms, or another vegetable.  This night I had three ears of sweet corn that needed a home.  A trip to the herb garden and I've got dinner.

The rest is just time and stirring.

Here's the recipe:
Serves 4-6


4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion (either white or yellow), chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 anchovies, minced (add a pinch of salt to the chopped garlic and anchovies and mash them all together into a paste with the back of your knife)
1 cup white wine....nothing sweet.  I typically use Sauv Blanc, but Chard or Pinot Grigio also work great.  Whatever you like to drink
2 cups arborio rice
7 cups chicken stock
1 cup parmesan, grated
corn kernels scraped from 3 cobs of corn (or you could use 1 1/2 cups frozen corn that has been thawed)
2 tbsp fresh herbs...I used basil, but thyme or sage would work also
Salt and Pepper


Put the stock in a large pot and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to low and keep warm.  If you've scraped your corn from the cob, add the cobs to the stock while you bring it to a simmer and then remove them.  If you've used frozen corn, no worries.  Just skip that step.

Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  When the butter is melted add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add about a tsp of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.   Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic/anchovy/salt mixture to the pan and cook for about a minute.  Add the arborio rice and stir, getting the rice all coated with the onion mixture.  Stir for about a minute.  Add the wine.  Stir constantly until the wine has mostly evaporated.

Now comes the tedious part (I, however, find it relaxing).  You can't leave the stove for 30 minutes!  Get yourself (a large glass of wine) and ladle or a measuring cup and add that stock to the risotto a cup at a time, letting the stock evaporate between each addition......add a cup of stock and continuously stir until the liquid in the pan is gone, then add another and stir until evaporated, etc, etc. until all the stock is gone.  It should take 3-4 minutes for each stock addition to evaporate.  The whole process should take about 30 minutes.  Adjust your heat accordingly.

When all the stock has been added, add in the corn and parmesan and stir to combine.  Taste for seasoning and adjust.  Stir in the fresh herbs, saving a few to sprinkle on after plating.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Grilled Cauliflower with Tomato, Dill, and Capers

The Food52 website recently started a couple of cookbook clubs.....one for baking and another for cooking.  This month's cooking selection is any book by Yotam Ottolenghi.  I have four out of his five books and have frequently cooked from them, but they'd been gathering a little dust, so when they were selected, I decided to knock off that dust and revisit them.

His books are vegetarian....which is interesting because he says he's not one.  Neither am I but we try to eat vegetarian during the week.  We often only achieve pescetarian (hey Annie!), but it's an effort, at least!

These books are great for summer....tons of ideas for fresh bright sides and salads along with grains, legumes, pasta, etc.  I highly recommend.  

This particular dish could be either.  It's hearty enough to stand alone for dinner but also makes a great side.  It was a Saturday night dinner party over Memorial Day weekend when I served this and it was fabulous with some grilled ribeyes and a big fruit platter.  

Full disclosure.....I couldn't find my vegetable grill pan, so I pan roasted the cauliflower.  Shoot me.  The dressing and dill in this is scrumptious.  Make sure you dress the cauliflower right out of the oven (or off the grill, if you're a rule follower) so that it really soaks into the veg.  Toss it with the rest of the ingredients and add more dressing to your liking.  I don't love a heavily dressed salad, so I served the leftover dressing on the side and everyone added to their taste.

Here's the recipe:

Grilled Cauliflower with Tomato, Dill, and Capers
Ottolenghi, The Cookbook
(I doubled this as I was serving a crowd.....and maybe wanted leftovers!)


2 tbsp capers, drained and coarsely chopped
1 tbsp French whole-grain mustard
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 small cauliflower, divided into florets
1 tbsp chopped dill
1 2/3 cups baby spinach leaves
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


First make the dressing, either by hand or in a food processor (I used my Vitamix).  Mix together the capers, mustard, garlic, vinegar, and some salt and pepper.  Whisk vigorously or run the machine while adding half the oil in a slow trickle.  You should get a thick, creamy dressing.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Add the cauliflower florets to a large pan of boiling salted water and simmer for 3 minutes only,  Drain in a colander and run under a cold tap to stop the cooking immediately.  Leave in the colander to dry well.  Once dry, place in a mixing bowl with the remaining olive oil and some salt and pepper.  Toss well.  (I skipped this step and spread the florets in a single layer on a sheet pan and roasted at 400 degrees until charred and tender.)

Place a ridged grill pan over the highest possible heat and leave it for 5 minutes, until very hot.  Grill the cauliflower in a few batches  -  make sure the florets are not cramped.  Turn them around as they grill, then once nicely charred, transfer to a bowl.  While the cauliflower is still hot, add the dressing, dill, spinach, and tomatoes.  Stir together well, then taste and adjust the seasoning.  

Serve warm or at room temperature, adjusting the seasoning again at the last minute.

Here are a few other recipes from the books that I've posted in the past.....

This safron pasta in a decadent butter sauce is amazing.

Another cauliflower offering.....in cake form!  Delicious and makes an impressive presentation!

The group is cooking from these books through the month of June, so I've got my eye on a few more recipes to try......pistachio shortbread cookies because I lurve anything pistachio, a ton of tomato salads because the farmer's market tomatoes are here, and a salmon and asparagus bruschetta that was posted on the facebook page that I think would be perfect for my mama's mahjong group!

Stay tuned.

There was an error in this gadget