Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mixin' It Up

We're having a little fun with mixed fruit for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie! And wouldn't you know it that I picked the same mixture of mixed fruit as this weeks hostess! Beth, who is the wonderful creator of Our Sweet Life chose to make Dorie's Mixed Berry Cobbler. And what better dessert says summertime like cobbler? This recipe was so easy to put together, because it's all based around frozen fruit, and seeing as how I am a huge fan of frozen fruit, my freezer was packed with plenty of options.

I don't know what it is about the mixture of peaches and blueberries that always gets my heart...and stomach...pumping, but it does! So of course I grabbed those two fruits right away. It wasn't until I lifted up my frozen bag of peaches that I saw the little leftover bag of frozen blackberries peeking out at me. I figured that the addition of these deep purple-y sweet fruits couldn't hurt the cause, so I pulled that bag out as well. I also wanted to give me crust a little bit more of a homey flavor, so I added cinnamon and nutmeg to my batter...awesome choice!

After about 25 minutes of baking my house was smelling so amazing. Andy came home half way through the baking time and about died when he stepped in through the door. "What are you making? And is it ready for me to eat?", were the first two questions out of his mouth. And I must say, despite some other baker's complaints about the recipe, I found it to be a very delicious, easy and comforting dessert to turn to. Dolloped with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, this dessert totally made my night!

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Birthday and a Trip to Paradise

I must say, life has become a little different now that I am all grown up and living on my own. Signs of adulthood are definitely seeping their way into my life. Today is my 24th birthday and I just can't believe how quickly time has passed. I remember being a little girl, seeing women who were around the age of 24 and just being in awe. I was so envious of them, I wanted to be grown up and where high heels, drive a car, have a job, and be able to do "grown up" things. I feel, in a way, I cheated myself out of childhood because I wanted to grow up so badly. And now that I'm grown up, it's not all it's cracked up to be :)

My younger days were spent worrying about who I would hang out with at recess, whether or not I should spend my allowance on the Boys II Men C.D., and making sure to get all the Disney character's autographs every summer that we went to Disneyworld. Now, being a grown-up, my yearly family vacations have come to an end :( With everybody working it's so hard to coordinate schedules, and to find somewhere to go that fits into every one's budget. So although this year had some great milestones, it also brought up milestones that I never thought I would've encountered.

Seeing as how I badly need a vacation and don't have the time, the money or the company to go with, I made myself a little mini vacation to Jamaica...and I didn't even have to leave my apartment! I had recently purchased "Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey" and saw a great recipe for a Banana Rum Cake. So I figured that if I can't go to Jamaica I would bring Jamaica to me. This cake was my saving grace for my stint of adulthood depression, and one I'm sure I will turn to frequently as the years start accumulating!

Bahama Mama Banana Rum Cake
Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O'Connor

Dark Rum Glaze
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 c water
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c dark rum
(I was short on time when making this recipe so I actually made a glaze out of powdered sugar, milk and some rum)

1 1/2c toasted chopped pecans
3 sticks unsalted butter
2 c sugar
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temp
1 c mashed, ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp dark rum
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 c sour cream

For Glaze
Combine butter, water and sugars in heavy bottomed saucepan over med-high heat and bring to boil. Immediately reduce heat to med-low and simmer for 5 min. Remove from heat, stir in rum, set aside and keep warm.

For Cake
Position rack in middle of oven, preheat to 350 degrees F. Spray a 10-cup tube pan with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle pecans in bottom of pan and set aside.

In large bowl with an electric mixer set on med speed, beat butter and sugars until mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in mashed bananas, vanilla and rum. Sift flour, baking soda and powder, and salt over the batter and fold in using a rubber spatula, just until no streaks of flour remain. Fold in sour cream. Spoon batter over nuts in the pan and spread to the edge using the back of a rubber spatula.

Bake until wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 60-80 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Use wooden skewers to poke holes all over the cake and pour 1/4 c of glaze over the cake. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes more. Place a serving platter of the cake and invert to release the cake onto the platter. Spoon the remaining glaze over the cake, a little at a time, and let stand until the glaze is completely absorbed in the cake. As the glaze hardens, this will encase the cake in a rummy, sugary shell.

Let the cake cool completely before cutting into wedges and serving. This cake will last 2 to 3 days when covered well.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Where Have I Been?

OMG! I can't believe I've neglected my poor little blog! But, it was for good reason, I've had some family members fall ill that need some lovin', which left no time for bakin'. Everyone is doing much better now though, so here I am, back in action. And of course I'm starting my return with the latest Tuesdays With Dorie, brought to you by Caroline of A Consuming Passion. She chose the lovely Peppermint Cream Puff Ring, which I must say I was a little nervous about. I have always wanted to make cream puffs, but for some reason was a little nervous to give it a try. To my amazement this was actually a really easy recipe to make!

Since it is just Andy and I, I did make some adjustments to the recipe. First off, him and I are big mint fans, so I nixed the peppermint. Second, there no way the two of us would've been able to eat the whole ring, and I didn't want it to go to waist, so I decided to just make individual cream puffs. And third, seeing as how I live in freakin' New Mexico, which at 9:00 in the morning is already in the upper 80's expected to reach 97 degrees by 2:00pm, I opted for vanilla ice cream instead of the cream.

The moment my mouth was filled with the creamy, slightly crunchy, caramely goodness, I about died, and then asked myself why had I never made these little goodies before? I hate when you think something is going to be really difficult to make, so you put it off and put it off, then you make it, and you kick yourself for letting all those days go by, that could've been filled with cream puffs.

The only downside is that since they're so easy to make, I'll probably be making them often, and starting to see my tummy begin to grow :( But...what can you do!