Fresh Orange Hummingbird Banana Bread

April 21st, 2018

Hummingbird Banana Bread

Anytime I see a recipe with hummingbird in the title I perk up.  I love hummingbird cake with its signature bananas, pineapples, nuts, coconut and spices.  As a follower of FOOD52, I was intrigued by a recipe entered in the contest for banana recipes.  At this point I don’t know which of the entries will win, but this is a winner in my humble opinion.

Hummingbird Banana Bread

I love the introduction of a fresh orange, including the pulp and zest.  It adds a moistness to the loaf.  The coconut is a fun addition.  Buttermilk is a big part of the mix and the buttermilk glaze makes everything work together. This is a stellar recipe and I hope that Carrie does well in the contest.  Keep checking on FOOD52 to see who wins.

Hummingbird Banana Bread

Check out Carries recipe here.  Note that she left out one ingredient; 1 teaspoon baking soda.

Country Captain

April 7th, 2018

Country Captain

This wonderful chicken casserole has been in my wheel house for a long time.  I first blogged about it here.  This version came from Sam Sifton at the New York Times.  I love the addition of lots of tomatoes. But the basics of the dish are still here: chicken,curry, dried fruit, almonds, and bacon.  It is perfect for a crowd.

Country Captain

The port of Charleston saw many products from the Orient in the 18th and 19th century.  Curry powder was one of them and this dish became popular with hostesses all over the south.  FDR was very fond of Country Captain and had it served to him often in Warm Springs, Georgia.  It is best served over rice.

Country Captain

We are back in beautiful Lake Lure enjoying our home and especially my kitchen, although David was the one responsible for this delicious meal.  So glad that he loves to cook as much as I do.

COUNTRY CAPTAIN

1/4 cup flour
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbls butter
3 pounds chicken pieces (We used thighs and legs)
4 slices bacon
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium green pepper, seeded and diced
2 tsps celery, diced
1 Tbls minced garlic
2 Tbls curry powder
3 Tbls dried cranberries or currants
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes and their juices
3 Tbls slivered almonds, toasted
Cooked white rice

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Combine the flour, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and the thyme in a bowl.  In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat until it foams.  Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off excess, and fry, in batches if needed, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the skillet.

Return the skillet to medium heat, add the bacon and fry until crispy.  Transfer to a plate.  Once cool, crumble and set aside.

Add the onion, pepper, celery, garlic, curry powder and 1 tablespoon of the cranberries or currants to the skillet and sauté over medium-high heat until soft and fragrant, about 7 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, bring to a boil and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of an ovenproof casserole large enough to hold the chicken snugly in one layer.  Arrange the chicken on top.  Pour the remaining sauce over and around the chicken.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes.  Remove the foil and cook for 15 minutes more.

Top with the crumbled bacon, remaining cranberries or currants and slivered almonds.  Serve with cooked rice and any condiments you wish.

Printable Recipe

Mystery Bars

March 28th, 2018

Mystery Bars

Recently we hosted our dear friends for bike week in Florida.  We enjoyed many great meals together, both at home and at the great restaurants in New Smyrna Beach.  I am never alone in the kitchen when we are together.  There are many great cooks in our group.  One day Barbara decided to spend some time preparing some of her favorite recipes.  One was her homemade biscuits with country ham which I will blog about some time after we get back to NC.  The other was her version of Mystery Bars.  We passed a plate of them after our meal of Beef Bourguignon.  They were an elegant ending to a great meal.

Mystery Bars

Elegant you say?  That was what struck me.  A small morsel of rich tasting flavor hit me immediately.  They are nothing more than lots of butter and dark brown sugar with what I consider the mystery; Black Walnuts.  All of it is rolled about in confectioners sugar.  Amazing.  You will always have what you need on the pantry shelf for a quick and easy dessert.

It was a wonderful week which also included one of the guys making two batches of boiled peanuts in a crock pot.  I also made Barbara’s Chicken Poppy Seed casserole, which I blogged about here.  Jackie brought a great smoked salmon dip and David made wonderful ribs and Big Charlie’s Gumbo.

Manatees

Last Sunday, after everyone had left, David and I went on an excursion to Blue Spring on the St. Johns River.  During the winter months Blue Spring, with its constant temperature of 73 degrees, becomes home to hundreds of manatees.  Manatees are marine mammals that live in the shallow rivers, bays and estuaries of coastal areas.  They rarely venture into waters below 63 degrees.  They are slow moving giants related to elephants, but totally aquatic; although they surface often to breathe.  I had a one on one experience with a manatee a few years ago when we still owned our Florida home on a canal.  One surfaced next to our dock when I was home alone.  I had heard that manatees appreciate fresh water so I turned on the hose and sprayed it into the water.  The manatee got under the spray and turned over onto her back and let me spray her stomach with water.  She was playful and huge.  I kept looking around hoping someone would come around to experience this amazing event with me.  But it turned out to be a one-on-one moment.

Alligator

Alligators are afraid of manatees.  Manatees are much too large to attack.  Even so, mother manatees must protect their calves from alligators.  If an alligator threatens a calf, several female manatees will coordinate protection by attempting to crush the alligator between their bodies.

Our trip to Blue Spring brought us close to many species including manatees, alligators and great blue herons.  We enjoyed a picnic on the grounds and came away appreciating nature on a beautiful spring day.

Mystery Bars

We head home in a few days.  I have a few mystery bars left to munch on in the car.  I appreciate Barbara sharing this wonderful recipe.  There are many Mystery Bar recipes on the internet, but I haven’t found one like this one.  It is a keeper, an elegant keeper.

MYSTERY BARS

2 eggs
2 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
Dash of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped black walnuts
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Beat eggs.  Add brown sugar.  Beat.  Add flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in nuts.  Pour into 9×13 inch dish.

Bake at 300 degrees F for 45 minutes.  Cool completely (Very important).  Cut into squares.  Roll in powdered sugar.

Recipe does not turn out right with store brand dark brown sugar.  Use name brand such as Domino.

Printable Recipe

Buttermilk Cornbread

March 8th, 2018

Buttermilk Cornbread

Crumbly, rich cornbread always has a place of honor on my table.  My favorite is Rosa’s Cornbread which I blogged about here.  But Rosa’s Cornbread is almost too rich for most meals.  I save it for our yearly New Year’s Day celebration.  I found this recipe in a Southern Living Cookbook.  It has much less fat and more buttermilk.  Since I had a carton of buttermilk in the refrigerator that needed to be used, this was the perfect way to accomplish that.

Buttermilk Cornbread

This is a winner with its golden crust and tender crumb.

Blue Wave

We are enjoying the restaurants in New Smyrna Beach.  I loved this wall of herbs at the entrance to The Third Wave Cafe.  The secret garden behind the restaurant is a favorite place to eat.

Third Wave Cafe

It is a magical spot at night.

Chicken Salad Third Wave

The food is sourced from local farmers.  The chicken salad croissant is made from organic chicken, dried cranberries, orange mayonnaise, apples and mixed greens.  The evening menu includes tapas, wood-fired pizzas and full entrees like Shrimp and Grits and Shrimp and Scallop Scampi.

Forgive me for not blogging more often, but we have been very busy this winter.  Our friends will arrive for bike week tomorrow so I probably won’t be on my blog for a little while.  We return to Lake Lure the first of April.

If you like cornbread, I think you will like this one.  Hope you give it a try.

BUTTERMILK CORNBREAD (Southern Living)

1/3 cup butter
2 cups self-rising white cornmeal mix like White Lily
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs

Place butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, and heat in a 425 degree oven 5 minutes or until melted.

Combine cornmeal mix, flour, and sugar in a large bowl.

Stir together buttermilk and eggs.  Add to dry ingredients; stir just until moistened.  Pour over melted butter in skillet.

Bake at 425 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden.  Cut into wedges.  Makes 6 servings.

Printable Recipe

Harvard Squares

February 20th, 2018

Harvard Squares

As a former school librarian, there is nothing more fascinating that visiting a local library in the town where I happen to be at the moment.  I recently got a visitor’s card to the New Smyrna Beach Library and have since checked out over 12 books.  I am like a gourmand in a food emporium when visiting a library and this library delivered.  All of the latest cookbooks where available.  Both David Leibovitz’s books,  My Paris Kitchen and L’Appart were on the shelves.  I also found Ottolenghi; The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

On a lighter note, I starting reading a culinary fiction series.  Katherine Hall Page is the author of the Faith Fairchild books about a caterer with the business “Have Faith in your Kitchen” who is also married to a minister.  She cooks up delicious food while solving mysteries and dealing with the challenges of being a minister’s wife.  In the book, The Body in the Attic, Faith and her husband make a temporary move to Boston where he is an interim Divinity Professor at Harvard.  I love the play on words of these Harvard Squares.  This is basically a bar cookie and allows you to make 48 cookies in one batch.  A great idea for a caterer or anyone not wanting to deal with batch after batch of cookies.

French Kande

I received a very special Valentine’s present this year.  I have been admiring the French Kande line of jewelry for a long time.  David gave me this necklace, although mine has a different Medallion.

French Kande Necklace

The designer, Kande, found French Medallions at a Paris Flea Market years ago and became inspired to create beautiful jewelry with them.

French Kande Medallion

My medallion is a  Silver Champagne medallion from the  Champagne region of France.  I love it.

Give the Harvard Squares a try.  I used a combination of chocolate chips and butterscotch chips.  The next time I would cut down or eliminate the butterscotch chips.  They overpowered the flavor profile.

HARVARD SQUARES

1 cup softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips (See above comment)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream the butter, then add the sugars and beat until fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing well.  Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, then add to the batter.  Combine the chocolate chips and other chips.  Stir them into the batter.

Spread the batter evenly into a well-greased jelly-roll pan (approximately 15 1/2 inches by 10 1/2 inches).

Bake in the oven until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool in the pan, then cut into squares.  Makes 48 squares.

Printable Recipe

 

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.