Husoor is finally ensconced in Madison and one of the first things we had to do was find a Chinese restaurant that might replace Peking Ente in our hearts. Peking Ente was certainly the best food we ate in Berlin, if not exactly the best dining experience.
He chose a place called Feast. We were underwhelmed. The dumplings, both steamed and fried, respectively, were OK. Crab Rangoon. . . meh. Steamed buns were nice.
It was fine just not great. Nothing was spicy and the hot chili oil (he asked for extra) was hot in name only. His Chinese colleague suggested some other place—next time.
Also not Irish (that I am aware of) was the dessert I made for St Patrick’s Day. The crust is ground up Oreos and the Irish Cream cheesecake, is, well, cheesecake. The Irish Cream came from Cork, Ireland, so there’s that. I didn’t think it tasted at all like Irish Cream. And my 3.5 yr old grand nephew very anxiously said it was “upside down.”
When he got his piece he turned it over. But then he didn’t eat it anyway.
When I told his older sister it was cheesecake she looked at me in horror and said, “cheeeeese?” She didn’t eat any either. I should have just told her it was cake. But she’s pretty suspicious of food in general.
Fortunately the parents of young children are not unlike household pets, they swoop in and eat whatever is left behind never mind how goober-y the kid got it.
St Patrick’s Day is over and the flag is back in the closet, so, you know, sad face emoji. We had our Irish family dinner last night, Duffys, McCannas, Dillons, O’Gadicherlas. It was a day late since we’d had a long standing date with the DZs who have hosted a not-to-be-missed St Patrick’s Day party for decades minus a few COVID years. This was the first party since that mess, and really, I could not miss it inasmuch as LeeAnn makes the finest reuben sandwiches I’ve ever had. Oh sure there is also the social aspect of a party, but me, I go for the food, as if that’s any shock.
I made reuben sandwiches last night for my family meal, too. And to add more Irishness to the whole deal there were potatoes, and an Irish flag salad. None of these things are actually Irish. The sandwich was invented in Omaha by a Jewish deli owner. The potato thing is French, pommes Anna, via Julia Child, and the salad, it’s just the Irish Flag colors in veg with Italian dressing and it was invented in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by me, so maybe that makes it a little Irish-ish.
I think that while the sandwiches were pretty good, they were just no match for LeeAnn’s. Next year I will watch her more closely and try to discover her secrets.
My niece gave me this handy little ecological kitchen scraper dealio and threatened me with never seeing my grand nieces and nephew if I didn’t blog about it. Or possibly that she would leave them with me forever. I’m not sure which.
I have to say, as I am not the world’s tidiest person, it’s extremely handy.
As per usual I had some old bananas and really didn’t want to make banana bread again and as luck would have it I caught a YT video (that’s YouTube, FYI) where some guy made sticky toffee pudding with bananas. Sticky toffee pudding is really A#1 fabulicous.
Soaked with and then napped with salted caramel sauce and soft, lightly sweetened whip cream. OMG.
Normally I imagine that no one in their right mind would make many of the things I concoct but this one is really worth it. It’s not hard and it’s sooooooo good.
Banana Sticky Toffee Pudding
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided, 1/4 cup of the butter is for the sauce, plus more for greasing
3/4 cup boiling water
6 ounces pitted dates, chopped (1 cup)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cups brown sugar, light or dark—I used dark
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 medium-size overripe bananas, mashed (1 cup about—I used frozen, defrosted bananas which are very mushy and work better as far as I’m concerned)
1/2 cup heavy cream whipped with vanilla and a TB or 2 of powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9-inch square metal cake pan with butter. In a small heatproof bowl, pour the boiling water over the dates; stir in the baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
2. In a large bowl beat 1/4 cup of the butter with 3/4 cup of the brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. At low speed, beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Add the vanilla, date mixture and bananas, and beat at low speed until just combined.
3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the heavy cream, the remaining 1/4 cup of butter, and the remaining 1 cup of brown sugar. Bring to a gentle boil over moderate heat, and cook until slightly thickened and deep golden, about 3 minutes. Keep warm. (I added 1 tsp of vanilla and a TB of scotch)
5. Transfer the pan to a wire rack. While it is still hot use a skewer or toothpick to poke holes all over the cake. Pour half of the warm sauce over the cake, and let stand until absorbed, about 10 minutes. Serve warm with the remaining sauce and the whipped cream.
Coconut cream pie, in terms of complexity and mess, is not easy, FYI. But I guess the amount of time and required cleaning is made up for by the absolute perfection and deliciousness of a finished pie. Unless I happen to be the one making it. I followed the recipe to the letter. First watching 56 YouTubes then carefully crafting (HATE that word used in that context) my mise en place portioning, weighing and measuring everything, blind baking the crust and passing the filling through a sieve before it was cooked to get out unwanted chunks (there were none but there was an additional dirty sieve) and then this happened.
Coconut cream soup. And yes, it was refrigerated for 24 hours. It tasted pretty good but not gonna win the blue ribbon at the county fair.
I should also mention that I have made this once before and it worked out just fine.
This adorably cuddly hawk flew into my yard and I commented to my husband (more on that later) that nothing could make me happier than seeing him (or her, I dunno) rid me of a squirrel or two. But I realized that Donald Trump running as a third party candidate would make me immeasurably happier. I’d freakin’ let them into my house for peanuts and Crackerjack with Judy if that happened.