Saturday, December 29, 2018

Boozy Banana Bread for New Years Day

I didn't take any pictures or post any recipes over Christmas. We enjoyed having my dad and two of visiting for several days and I used all of my energy cooking for, and spending time with them. Of course there was food a plenty, and it feels like I've only just finished doing all of the dishes. I'm going to spend some time compiling the menus I served on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and I'll make time to share of few of the recipes as well.  Meanwhile, New Years Day is already upon us (how on earth is this possible?) and since I once again have an empty house I'm keeping myself company by baking.

One of the very first food blogs I started following about 15 yrs ago was Chez Pim, her blog is no longer active, but her instagram is fabulous.  Pim was one of the original food bloggers, now turned famous restauranteur in Thailand.  Back then we were all still happy to eat gluten and dairy for breakfast lunch and dinner, and I was 15 years younger so I could get away with it. One of my favorite recipes was for a very un-fussy, but delicately nuanced banana bread. She called it the morning after banana bread, due in part to the ingredients of rum and instant-espresso, but I also think because it tastes that much better after day.  Over the years I've tinkered with her recipe, using brown sugar for white, browning my butter, subbing rum for whiskey. I won't say my version is better, but it's just as good.

It's the perfect sweet loaf to serve on New Year's Day. It goes just as well with a cup of coffee as it does with champagne bacon and eggs.

Banana Bread - for New Year's Day


3 large ripe bananas
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon instant coffee or espresso
1/3 cup browned butter
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt


Pre-heat oven to 350F
Grease your baking pan or pans with butter. I used 3 small loaf pans, but a standard 8.5" x 4.5"pan will work just fine.

Brown the butter:  I've found the best directions for this on are here on Serious Eats.   cool while combining the first few ingredients. It doesn't have to cool completely - we'll add is slowly enough as not to scald the eggs. 

In a stand mixer mash the bananas for a few moments before adding the sugar.
Mix a minute more on high speed before adding the egg, and then the sour cream.
Add the instant coffee.

Turn the mixer speed up to high for a few seconds.
Slow the mixer to medium speed and even more slowly add the browned butter in a continuous drizzle.  The batter will become silky smooth. 

In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking soda.
Add this slowly to the mixture to avoid having flour go all over the kitchen.

Once this is thoroughly combined, add the rum, mix just a bit more.  

Pour the batter into your prepared pan (or pans).  Sprinkle the top with a teaspoon or so of white sugar (it will make for a nice little crust).
Bake at 350 for 1 hour. 
Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing and adding a slab of salted butter.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Danish Pebernødder (pepper nuts... or pepper cookies)

Pebernødder, served on traditional Danish Christmas porcelain from Royal Copenhagen

The first time I had these delectable Danish cookies was in Copenhagen, just a few days before Christmas. Thor took me to Hviids Vinstue, a 300 year old tavern where Hans Christian Andersen was known to frequent. They're known for their glög or mulled wine, which is outstanding, but I also remember the large glass bowls of pebernørdder for eating with the warm drink.  Danes celebrate Christmas better than anyone else and their traditions are long standing. Everywhere we went there were plates of cookies to be served with a cup of coffee or some glög.
Hviids Vinstue

a cozy corner inside of Hviids Vinstue

These Danish Pebernødder, translated as pepper nuts, are in my opinion the perfect Christmas cookie.  They're bite sized, not too sweet, and spiced to perfection. They're traditionally the size of a hazlenut and quite crunchy. I've tinkered with the recipe over the years to soften the cookie just a bit, and I make it just a little bit larger so you really get a mouthful of spice.

Merry Christmas
Glædelig Jul ! 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Southwest (style) Chicken Pot Pie

seriously, the only picture i took.... to busy tasting

I grew up eating chicken pot pie for dinner on a regular basis. My mother's pie crusts are legendary and she added a little curry in her chicken filling. I have never been able to replicate her pastry, and consequently never attempted her pot pie recipe, after all a flaky pie crust is at least half of the enjoyment of this dish.

Recently we visited friends in Santa Fe and I brought home a few jars of locally roasted green chiles. At first I thought to try my hand at posole, but found myself wanting something creamier and richer. The final result is what I'm now referring to as a Southwest Chicken Pot Pie. Instead of pastry I baked it with a cornbread top crust. I made this a few weeks ago for a luncheon on a cold winter afternoon and everyone went back for a second helping - which, if you've ever been to ladies' luncheon, you know is a good sign.