Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Whole Wide World

Saw this. Loved it. Sharing it with you.

Recipe-wise, I've been so excited for Thanksgiving (not enough attention is given to Thanksgiving, smushed as it is between Halloween and Christmas -- IT'S JUST NOT RIGHT!) that I've started making bits and pieces of my dinner ahead of time. Last night I made my cranberry sauce, which is an Emeril recipe I messed with, and canned it (more or less) in a freezer jam sort of way. Here it is:

1 (12-oz.) bag of cranberries
1 T. (big T) orange zest
1 t. (little t) lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute or a little of each
1 t. vanilla
2 cups water
3 T. cornstarch

Put cranberries, orange zest, lemon zest, juices, sugar and 1 1/2 cups water in a medium-sized non-reactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 8 minutes. Dissolve cornstarch in remaining 1/2 cup water and add to the pan. Reduce heat to medium and stir constantly until thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. (I use a whole package of cranberries; I like my sauce a bit more tart -- Emeril uses about 3/4 of a bag. Wimp! Plus, what are you going to do with a 1/4 cup of cranberries?) Also, feel free to add sugar to taste -- when I say I like my cranberries tart, I mean it.

I filled a quart jar about 3/4 full with water and got it boiling for a couple of minutes in the microwave. I pulled it out carefully, discarded the water and re-filled it with hot cranberry sauce. I placed the lid on top of the jar and waited until I got a seal! Voila! It tastes fabulous and it's not that can-shaped jelly that you roll out onto a plate to slice. (I don't mean to knock it, but -- come on -- REALLY?? Just because your mom did it doesn't mean you have to.)

Since I don't actually know how to can, I'm keeping it in the refrigerator until Thanksgiving because I am a germ freak and if I can boil the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of something or freeze a spore to death, I will do it proudly and without apology. Any comments on my preservation (or lack of) techniques is welcomed, but if you have a better idea (like how to REALLY can something), I'd prefer you come over and show me. :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

When Grown-Ups Take Over

LOVED Obama's speech yesterday! It's not often a president stoops to a craven campaign speech a full eighteen months before his upcoming elections. He must really be in trouble in the polls to bring out the "Republicans are going to smother your grandma with a pillow" and "they're giving babies the ebola virus" and "they eat puppies at their fundraisers." That's me: a Puppy-eating Baby-hater.

Meanwhile, the people who actually have A SERIOUS PLAN to pare down the deficit are called names by the president. This is one grown-up's response to the ridiculousness:

There is not a more serious, earnest Congressman in Washington, unless you count Allen West. I'm glad we have the adults on our side, even if it doesn't help with the voting populace-at-large, who generally lack the attention span and the education (gotta love our public schools!) to understand this is no longer a funny game.

But enough of that -- let's eat! Today I have a cinnamon crumb-topped Cream Cheese Banana Bread that is crazy-moist and beloved in my family, even by people who hate bananas (yes, there ARE such people, and I live with them everyday -- pray for me.)

3/4 c. butter
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 1/2 c. sugar (I do a split of sugar and Splenda)
2 large eggs
2 t. vanilla
3 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cinnamon
3/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. mashed, very ripe, peeled bananas
1 c. chopped pecans (optional)

1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. pecans
1/4 t. cinnamon
1 T. flour
1 1/2 T. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and flour and butter two 8 x 4 loaf pans. Stir topping ingredients together and set aside. Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until creamy, then add sugar gradually 'til light and fluffy. Add eggs until just blended. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to cream cheese mixture slowly at low speed until just blended. Stir in bananas, pecans, vanilla. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over batter in both pans. Bake for 55 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out cleanly. You may have to cover with aluminum foil the last 10-15 minutes of baking to ensure the bread doesn't come out too dark. Don't wait to eat -- it's fantastic warm!