Banana Pie

Yelapa Style Banana Pie

Adapted from the Auguest 2018 issue of Food & Wine.

The recipe calls for a hot water pie crust because it is sturdy for eating on the beach. While it was good, I see no reason why a regular crust wouldn’t suffice if you are eating it at home. Also, The recipe calls for a 9 1/2″ deep dish pie pan. But the custard was a bit shallow for my pan so I increased it by 50%.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup water

3 large bananas, cut diagonally into 1/3-inch thick slices
3 large eggs, at room temp.
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 vanilla bean pod, split and seeds scraped
1/4 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, optional, for topping

Preheat oven to 375F. Whisk together flour & salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center. Set aside.

Combine butter, shortening and water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until butter & shortening are melted, stirring constantly. Bring to a simmer and cook 30-60 seconds.

Pour into well in flour. Working quickly, mix until a shaggy dough forms. Transfer to a clean surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute.

Roll out between two pieces of parchment. Remove top parchment and carefully flip dough into 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate, patching if necessary. Line with parchment and fill with pie weights.

Bake in preheated oven until crust is set, about 18 minutes. Remove weights and parchment and bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

Remove to wire rack and cool completely.

Reduce oven temp to 325F.

Line pie pan with banana slices.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until completely blended.
Add milk, condensed milk, salt and vanilla bean seeds. Whisk to combine. Carefully pour over bananas.

Bake 325F until edges are set and center is slightly jiggly, 45-50 minutes. Banana slices will rise to the top. Remove to wire rack & cool.

If desired, sprinkle with sugar and carmelize with a kitchen torch.

Serve warm or chilled.


Doctored Gefilte Fish

In memory of Shelly Rosenblum.

I assisted in the cooking for Passover this year, 2018. I would like to note that, being a Catholic, I have only attended Passover a few times. But I loved Shelly. I would have loved to have had her recipe to work from but instead I had the website of Sadie Salome. Adjusted below to serve the 28 people attending the Rosenblum/Guagliardo passover.

4 jars of Manischewitz gefilte fish in water or gel or a mix in my case
8 cups of sliced onions (sliced in the food processor)
8 super large carrots
A small bunch of Dill (do yourself a favor and tie up the bunch or mince it finely)
1 sweet potato peeled and sliced
Keep the onion skins

For this quantity I used a canning pot.

Place the pot over medium-high heat. Add a couple tablespoons of acceptable vegetable oil. Add about half the onion, carrots and sweet potato. Pour on the gefilte fish and it’s liquid. Add the remaining carrots, onions & sweet potato, the dill and the onion skins. Add enough water to barely cover.

Raise the heat to bring to bring to a simmer and cook about 2 hours.

Remove the gefilte fish and place in a large container (or two). Strain the broth and pour over. At this point you are supposed to save the carrots. Are you kidding me?! What a mess. So I strained off the solids and used the broth to cook another 5 or 6 carrots to serve with the fish.

Chill and serve with generous amounts of horseradish. (The Polish side of me can get behind the horseradish).

Brian’s French Bread

16 oz. all-purpose flour
16 oz. bread flour
1 tsp. Brown sugar
2 2/3 cups warm water
1 1/2 tsp. active yeast or 1 1/4 tsp. dry yeast
2 1/2 tsp. Salt
1 lb. old dough

In the bowl of a kitchenaide mixer, combine both flours and brown sugar.

Disolve yeast in warm water. Slowly stir into flour mixture. Let rest 20 minutes covered with a clean towel.

Add salt and old dough to mixer. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Let rise 30 minutes. Pull off 1 pound of dough and freeze.
Let remaining dough continue to rise another 1 1/2 hours.

Divide into two or three equal pieces and shape loaves.

Place on parchment covered, upside down cookie sheet or peal and allow to rise 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475F.

Slit tops of loaves, place in oven. Reduce oven temp to 425F. Bake 2 minutes, spritz loaves with water. Bake another 5 minutes and spritz again. Alternately you can place 1 cup of water in a cast iron pan that has been preheating in the oven.

Bake 30 minutes until internal temperature of bread is 205F

Joe Gorski’s Cream Biscuits

My cousin Joe makes these regurlarly and they are spectacular. Stolen straight from the Fannie Farmer cookbook.

2 cups flour
1 tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Baking powder
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1-1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 Tbsp. Melted butter

Preheat oven to 425F

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a bowl.

Slowly add 1 cup of heavy cream, stirring constantly. Gather dough together. It should hold together, if shaggy add more ceeam.

Knead 1 minute, roll out into 1/2″ thick, cut into biscuits.

Dip each biscuit into melted butter, place 2 inches apart on baking sheet.

Bake 15 minutes, until golden.

Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/2 cups ground Graham Crackers
1/3 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Crush graham crackers in a plastic bag or in this modern world, blend them in the food processor.
Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Press into a pie plate.
For baked pie: Bake 375F for 7-8 min.
For cold filling: Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before filling

Mussels in Butter and Wine

From Mastering the Art of French Cooking

2 cups white wine
1/2 cup shallots, minced
8 parsley sprigs
1/2 bay leaf
6 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. thyme

1 bag mussels, about 2 pounds, scrubbed and de-bearded

2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley

In a large pan with a tight fitting lid, add the wine, shallots, herbs and butter. Boil 3 minutes.

Add the mussels, cover the pot and steam until the mussels open, about 5 minutes. Remove the mussels as they open and place on a large bowl/plate. Pour the sauce over when done. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley.

You may strain the sauce through cheesecloth to get rid of any sand, we just pour it over.

Scoop some sauce into little bowls for dipping the mussels in as you eat them to rinse off any remaining grit.

Escarole and White Beans

Adapted from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero. New York, NY: Marlowe & Company, 2007.

I love this dish served over polenta.

1 head escarole, thoroughly washed and coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. capers, drained
1 cup cooked small white beans
Lemon wedges for serving

Preheat a large saute pan over medium heat. Saute the garlic in the oil until just starting to brown. Add the red pepper flakes, stir. Add the escarole and salt to taste. Using tongs, toss the escarole until it begins to wilt. Add the beans and the capers and cook until heated through (about 3 minutes).

Remove from the heat and squeeze on a little lemon juice. Serve with additional lemon wedges.

Apple Chili Verde

This recipe is adapted from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero. New York, NY: Marlowe & Company, 2007.  I find canned tomatillos work as well as fresh.

1 lb.potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, peeled if using russets
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 jalapenos, seeded and sliced thinly
2 chili peppers, seed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
1 lb. tomatillos, skins removed, washed, diced
2 red apples, cored and sliced thinly
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup loosely packed cilantro
1 1/2 cup while beans (1 can), rinsed
Juice of 1 lime

Cook the potatoes in water until tender. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot saute the onion and peppers until softened and the onions are lightly browned.

Add the spices and cook for a minute until fragrant. Add the tomatillos, and cook for a few minutes so that they release some of their juices (Veganomicon adds 1/3 cup dry white wine).

Add the apples, broth and 1/2 cup of cilantro. Simmer, covered, 20 minutes.

Partially puree the chili, leaving slightly chunky. Taste for tartness, if too tart add a teaspoon of sugar. Add the potatoes and beans and simmer until heated through. Add the remaining cilantro and lime juice.

Serve with sliced avocados and chopped scallions. If you are not vegan, some cheese is a great addition.

This also makes a good dip served cold with tortilla chips.

Pumpkin Cookies

This recipe is from Joy of Cooking, the first cookbook my mother bought every one of her children and grandchildren.

Preheat oven to 375˚

Cream together:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar

Add and mix well:
1 cup cooked pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Sift together and add to above mixture:
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice

Drop onto greased cookie sheet and bake 15 minutes.