Creamy Plantain Pudding

April 29, 2012


Plantains are so widely available here in Central Florida, and I have really gotten accustomed to eating them a few times a week.  They can be baked, fried, boiled, or steamed.  I did a little research on them and Wiki says that plantains, like bananas, are believed to have originated in southeast Asia, having been cultivated in south India by 500 BC.   From there, ancient trade routes distributed it to Africa through Madagascar. By 1000 AD, plantains had spread eastward to Japan and Samoa.  They arrived in the Caribbean and Latin America by 1500 AD. Since then, they have spread widely throughout the tropics.  Each country adds something unique in terms of spice and combination. Plantains contain beta carotene, vitamins C, B1, B3, B6, B12, K, and folate. Minerals include iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iodine, phosphorus, chloride and selenium.

I had three tremendous and terribly ripe plantains in the kitchen today, and I really wanted to do something different with them!  I did a bit of research on the web and I decided on a sweet pudding.  This recipe was inspired by one that on found online by Melissa’s World Variety Produce.




Baked Plantain Pudding


Savory Gruyere and Corn Relish Bread Pudding

April 19, 2012

This recipe was developed with my Farmer’s Market customers in mind.  So many will ask me, well what do you do with this?  How can I incorporate this into my meals?   I researched some recipes on line and found a fabulous one that was written up in the LA Times which I have linked for you below.   I eliminated the ham entirely to keep this meatless, used the herbs I had here in my garden, and substituted a jar of my corn relish for the called-for carrots in the original.   This makes a hearty, sturdy bread pudding which makes a delightful side dish served with green salad or placed alongside a beautiful cut of beef.  The recipe called for using a bain-marie which is an age-old process for cooking with a gentle, steady heat and adds a smoothness to the end product.

The jarred corn relish gives this pudding a slight tang of vinegar, I just love it and hope that you will too!






Mom’s Custard Rice Pudding circa 1950

April 15, 2012

Rice Pudding

Mom used to make this rice pudding for us when we were kids, and I would love to eat it warm for breakfast.   She had a special pink pyrex casserole she used to bake this in,  and one year at a family gathering it was smashed to pieces…I mourned over it.   These objects take on a life of their own especially after a loved one’s death.  They seem irreplacable, but the healing is in the making.  So her recipe lives on through me and hopefully my daughter will someday make this same pudding and feel as gushy as I do about my “vintage” pyrex.   These past few months have been difficult for me, my brother has been horribly ill and is thankfully on his way back up.   He lost his swallow relflex and has been in a skilled nursing home working hard with a speech therapist to regain his ability to swallow and have his stomach tube removed.   I visited him this week, and he had been taken to the hospital to have the “official” swallow test done and he passed!  For now it is on to soft foods for him and he does not have to be tethered to a bottle of chocolate protein…and I am hopeful that he will continue to get stronger.    I asked him if he would like to have a bit of “mom’s” rice pudding, can you guess what he said?



Digging in to a Rice Pudding Casserole


Orange and Ginger Angel Food Cake #Baketogether

April 12, 2012

The Baketogether with Abby Dodge this month featured a Tangerine Angel Food Cake with a bittersweet carmel sauce.   I stuck very closely to her recipe this time, I only switched it up a bit and used my fresh picked oranges for zest and juice for the curd, and I added crystallized ginger to this batter.  Instead of a carmel sauce, I wanted to use up some of those egg yolks so I modified a fabulous recipe for lemon curd from my friend LiztheChef and substituted orange for lemon, omitted the cornstarch and added some chocolate!  It is more of a sauce than a curd, but it is really tasty and perfect with cake.  I have to say this is the lightest Angel Food Cake I have ever made, it melts in your mouth.  This recipe is a staple and keeper in my library.

I really love participating in the Baketogethers.  Taken directly from Abby, if you are new or would like to join the #Baketogether, please know that  we are a very inclusive  group of happy bakers.  You can  Subscribe to Abby’s rss feed so you stay in-the-know and check out this post for some info on how we #baketogether.


Cowboy Candy Corn Bread

April 8, 2012


Rebecca of Foodie with Family fame, has a recipe for candied jalapenos on her site that is wonderful.   I adapted her recipe to make my own “Cowboy Candy”, aka candied jalapenos, and I use these candied gems to enhance a wonderful Corn Bread that pairs well with chili or a simple green salad.  This cornbread is sometimes sampled to my Winter Park Farmer’s Market customers so that they can get ideas for how to incorporate my canned products into their meals.   You can also use the leftover syrup for making your own salad dressing, or martinis….or simply adding some zippy flavor to some plain brown rice.  If you press on the link above, it will take you directly to Rebecca’s site so that you can make your own.   I made several modifcations to her recipe when developing mine which includes using fresh ground Guajilla pepper , along with about twice as much granulated garlic and some other “secret” spices.    Surely, you will add your own twist to these exciting bits!

The corn bread recipe below was taken from All Recipes and ever so slightly adapted, I used canola oil instead of olive oil and instead of using 3 fresh Jalapenos I used 1/3 of  a cup of my candied jalapenos along with a tablespoon of the juice from the jar to kick this recipe up a notch.   I also turned the heat down from 400 to 395 and this slight difference added a touch of moistness to the crumb, corn bread can really come out dry sometimes.  Follow the link above to see the original recipe, here is my adaptation.




Cowboy Candy Cornbread on a Sunday Afternoon



Fresh Orange, Soursop, Vanilla Bean and Bourbon Jam

April 6, 2012

I myself am not a great lover of marmalades.  My husband, on the other hand, loves the sweet bitterness they impart on the tongue….whereas I can only think of bile to be honest.   But I am so grateful to be living in the midst of citrus heaven here in Central Florida.  I have access to a small grove of orange and grapefuit trees in Apopka where I can go to pick oranges to my heart’s content.  I created a new jam this year combining these fresh oranges with frozen soursop pulp.  I am usually a purist and like to stick with fresh fruit only–but until I can grow my own soursop, I will be using the frozen pulp that I can purchase at our local hispanic store.   Soursop tastes like a combination of strawberries and pineapple and almost to me a bit “watermelony” with citrus undertones.   It is known as guanabana in the Carribean countries and is used to make fruit drinks, smoothies and ice creams.  I was introduced to this fruit by my Columbian friends who make glorious popsicles each summer using the frozen pulp.

This recipe does not even use any of the zest of the fruit and to me has all the sweet qualities that citrus has without any of the “tough” bitter bits!  The preparation is a bit intense, but it is so worth it when you tuck into your fresh preserves long after the season has passed.


Fresh Orange Soursop Jam with Ladyfingers and Expresso

For the preparation, I take the whole oranges, I cut them in half, then quarter them.  I place all of these orange quarters in a large working bowl,  and then I carefully cut the flesh out of the skin and “clip out” the membrane containing the seeds.  I save the seeds and membranes in a ziplock and then freeze, so I can use in my other jams that require more pectin.  These fresh orange sections have plenty of pectin and do not need the added seeds to help the jam come together to a beautiful consistency.  You will have lots of juice on your cutting board, keep scooping up the juice as you work and add to your completed bowl of orange flesh, all of these juices add to the flavor!  Do not worry at all about how the oranges look, just add all the tender bits that you can.  Once the fruit is added to your jam pot, you will use an immersion blender to break the fruit down into the bit size pieces that make this preserve so wonderful.  I cook mine in a large french copper jam pot, you may use any type of wide bottomed pot that you have in your kitchen–the heavier the better.  This jam will require standing and stirring towards the end of the cooking process, it cannot be left to cook on its own.



Droolworthy Orange Soursop Vanilla and Bourbon Jam





Orange, Soursop Vanilla Bean & Bourbon Jam on Punk Domestics