To be fair, it was my fault. To be honest, he should have known better.
Most evenings my kitchen is filled with 20 or more people cooking a meal together. Cooking by the Book is a leader in culinary team building, so we have firms from around the world coming to learn and laugh and dine. Now, for that many people, I don’t shop. I order. And the orders arrive in the morning for that night’s meal.
I time the orders to arrive when I am here. And on Friday, they were to come after 10AM — because I was at the gym. [Once you find a great spinning instructor, life determines new priorities!]
It was only 9AM, the buzzer rang, the food delivery arrived, and only my husband Brian was here. I had ordered a, that is one, pineapple. He accepted delivery of a case of pineapples. A case.
“I’ll make it up to you,” he apologized.
“How are you going to do that?” I asked.
“One pineapple at a time,” he said. There was confidence in his voice and a bottle of 99 proof banana liquor in his hand. Clearly, he intended to drug me into calmness.
He succeeded. This drink is really not too boozy, although you can control that to your pleasure. This frozen beverage is thick, flavorful and quite capable of decreasing your anxiety. One pineapple at a time.
Brian’s Frozen Banana Pineapple Calmer
Yield: drinks for 4
- 2 ripe [but not overripe] bananas, sliced
- 1 cup freshly diced pineapple [about ¼ of a whole pineapple]
- ½ cup sugar syrup
- ½ cup banana liquor [or simply use rum]
- 2 cups of medium size ice cubes
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process for 1-2 minutes. Add ice to achieve the thickness you desire.
You can start with less sugar syrup and adjust to your taste. The driver here is the bananas: no matter how yellow, they can demand more or less sweetness to complete the beverage.
Source Brian O’Rourke
Constant communications confusion causes kitchen catastrophes.
Say that five times quickly.
Or, this one.
Big banana bunches briefly bring baking bounties.
Brian said something about getting bananas. As a favor, I did it for him. He did it for himself. We now had a bowl of rapidly aging bananas. Lots of them. And no longer yellow. They were getting brown and black. Which was good because that means they were getting sweeter, and easier to mash.
Brian suggested banana cookies. That was immediately vetoed with words so harsh I don’t even want to repeat them here. On his next bachelor week upstate, I’m sure he’ll make those cookies. I’m glad that house is a 100 miles away.
But, we did reach a delicious compromise: Banana Cake from Sweet Chic. Fruit is a wonderful addition to baked goods. It adds much more than flavor. There is increased density and moisture. This banana cake is wonderfully balanced in its proportions. It can be baked as layers, or in loafs. You can frost the cake, or do what we did: just serve a single slice topped with caramel.
This version of banana cake is pure: it’s flavored by mashed bananas with the tang of buttermilk. It’s not complicated by lots of spices. Just banana and tang.
Next time you pass the bananas in the market, grab a bunch. Don’t tell yourself that you already have enough. This cake is the perfect reason to banana up.
Sweet Chic, by Rachel Schifter Thebault of Tribeca Treats here in New York City, has just been published and is filled with lovely recipes. Rachel wrote this book with fashion as a metaphor, so each recipe has some fashion subtitle. This cake is her “Statement Necklace.” As a woman, I love the metaphor. Brian is clueless but he loves this cake.Banana Cake
Yield: one 8-inch, 3-layer cake
Ingredients for the Apple Cake:
- 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons [1 ½ sticks] unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups mashed bananas [2-3 large bananas]
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans or two 9-inch round cake pans with butter or nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a mixing blow and set it aside.
Beat the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment at high speed until it is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the sugar and mix on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula halfway through to ensure that the butter and sugar well mixed.
Add the eggs, on e at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Again, scrape down the side and bottom of the bowl to make sure that the ingredients have combined.
Add the bananas and vanilla ad continue to mix until combine, about 1 minutes
Add approximately half the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the buttermilk and mix until combined, about 1 5 seconds.
Add the remaining flour and mix until, combined, about 15 seconds. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom o the bowl with rubber spatula to make sure that the flour is fully incorporated.
Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. The batter should come about half-way up the sides of the pans.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway though.
When the centers of the cakes spring back to the touch, removed the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 to 10 minutes in their pans. Run an offset spatula or dull knife between the sides of the cakes and pans, and transfer the cakes right side up onto a wire rack to bring them to room temperature.
Once the cakes are at room temperature, ice as desired. Uniced the cakes can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3 days before icing and serving, or frozen for up to 2 weeks. Trim the layers flat before freezing them. Once frozen, the layers need to sit at room temperature for only 15 minutes before you start icing them, but allow 2 hours at room temperature for the cake to thaw fully before serving it.
Source: Sweet Chic by Rachel Schifter Thebault