Sunday, January 27, 2013

Banana Pudding

Easy, homemade and sure to please, Granny Koonce's Original Recipe has undergone many updates. This time, I did it mom's way and made it in the microwave.

Facil et fais maison, un classique américain "Banana Pudding" que on peut faire au four micro-ondes!

Microwave Pudding Procedure:

In a microwave-safe bowl combine:
2 eggs¾ c. sugar
2 tbsp. flour
¼ tsp. salt
2 c. milk

Place in microwave and zap for 2 min. Stir. Microwave in one minute intervals stirring each time until it reaches desired consistency. Remove from microwave. Stir in 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tsp. vanilla. 

Banana Pudding fait au four micro-ondes:

Dans un saladier mélanger bien:
2 œufs
¾ tasse sucre
2 cuillère à soupe farine
¼ cuillère à café sel
2 tasse lait entier

Placez à micro-ondes pendant 2 minutes. Remuez. Répétez intervalles d'une minute en remuant à chaque fois jusqu'à ce qu'elle atteigne la consistance désirée. Retirer et incorporer 1 cuillère à soupe de beurre et 1 cuillère à café de d'extrait de vanille ou du rhum. 

Dans un bol mettez un coussin de biscuits vanille et des rondelles de la banane. Vers le pudding dessus. Répétez jusqu'à il reste plus de pudding. Mettez des biscuits vanille et haut.

Placez le dessert au frais au moins 4 heures. Servir frais. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Polish Farmer's Cheese

Polish Farmer’s Cheese

I was lucky enough to have the chance to learn how to make cheese from a friend from Poland. It makes a soft tangy cheese that she uses to make a Polish style cheese cake. It is easy to make, has only 2 ingredients. It doesn't take much effort, but it does take time.

All you need is:
1 gallon whole milk
1 (16 oz.) tub of sour cream.

Whisk together these two ingredients in a non-reactive vessel. A lidded plastic tub or glass jar works nicely. Cover and let set on the counter for 3 days. On the 3rd day, dump the mixture it into a big pot and heat to about 90 degrees Celsius for 30 min to 45 minutes. Jiggle the pot a little. You don't want to boil it,but heat it gently so that the “serwatka” ("cheese water"—the whey) separates from the curd. The lower the temperature and the longer it takes you do this, the larger the curd you get.  So says the Polish lady that taught me to make it. Then, line a large colander with cheese cloth. When you have a good curd, strain out the cheese. Wrap it in the cheese cloth and hang it overnight.Then you should have about a little more than a kilo (about 2.5 lbs.) of farmer cheese. Store in the fridge.

I don’t know how long it keeps. I made it to make polish cheese cake. I want to make it again to see what else I can do with it....

***Disclaimer--- If you are a germphobe,or otherwise think this will make you sick, do not eat it… Just saying. If you work clean and use good ingredients, you should be OK!***

Finished Cheese in the Mixing Bowl 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Evolution of Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding
Mom’s banana pudding recipe is one she learned from her grandmother. I’m starting to think that Granny Koonce didn’t really have a recipe, because my aunt’s copy was slightly different than mom’s. Either way, it will turn out, and you will layer this delicious, smooth and velvety pudding with bananas and vanilla wafers.  It’s gone through some updates through the years. But we do not add whipped topping, and you will not use pudding from a box or you will get chased out of town….

Aunt Tutu’s recipe:

Granny Koonce's Banana Pudding

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbs. flour
1 1/2 cup milk
Mix flour and sugar together and set aside.
Whisk eggs in a saucepan, add milk and slowly add sugar - flour mixture. Continue to stir over low heat with the wire whisk.
After it thickens, add 2-Tbs. margarine and 1 tsp. vanilla.
Layer with sliced bananas and vanilla wafers.
Serve warm or chilled.
Double or triple recipe as needed. (Trust me, it will be needed.)

Mommy’s Recipe:

Granny Koonce's Banana Pudding

Mix 1 egg and ½ c. sugar in a sauce pan. Sift together ¼ c. sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, ¼ tsp. salt. Add to egg mixture. Stir in 2 cups milk. Cook over low heat until boiling or desired thickness. Stir constantly. Remove from heat add 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tsp. vanilla.

Why the change between butter and margarine, one egg or two? Why is there is a difference in the amount of milk or flour? My guess, that’s what was in the house the day each girl was taught to make it. I really don’t know.
Basically, you are going to need: eggs, butter, flour, sugar, milk and vanilla. I don’t recommend using margarine, ever! Use the best vanilla you can get. Add another egg if you want a richer pudding. Use whole milk, or replace part of your milk with half and half or cream for a richer texture. Mom has been known to use canned milk, and it turns out just fine.
OK, I know it says stir constantly, but dont freak out yet! Like I said over the years, it’s gone through some updates.  Mom now makes hers in the microwave and it turns out great. I usually use the same procedure as making pastry cream. I get to use the stove and it doesn’t take as much time stirring.
Microwave Pudding Procedure:

In a microwave safe bowl combine:
2 eggs
¾ c. sugar
2 tbsp. flour
¼ tsp. salt
2 c. milk

Place in microwave and zap for 2 min. Stir. Microwave in one minute intervals stirring each time until it reaches desired consistency. Remove from microwave. Stir in 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tsp. vanilla.

Pastry Chef procedure:

In a heavy sauce pan, heat 1 ½ cups milk and ½ cup half and half to boiling. If you have a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds out and place seeds and bean in the pan with the milk.

Place a mixing bowl on a towel and just before your milk is boiling, whisk together 2 eggs, 2 tbsp. flour, ¼ tsp. salt, and ¾ c. sugar.

When milk is boiling. Temper eggs (while stirring quickly, add hot milk to egg mixture). Return mixture to sauce pan over high heat and stir until it thickens. Remove from heat, pass mixture through a strainer (in case you have any cooked egg bits).  Add a tablespoon of unsalted butter. Add vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste if you did not use a vanilla bean.

Ok now that you have your pudding. Put down a layer of vanilla wafers and sliced banana. Top with pudding, repeat layering until you have no more pudding. Top all this with another layer of vanilla wafers. Sure, you can dig in now, but it will be much better later when it’s cold and the cookies have softened. Store in the refrigerator. J

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sangria Tea

I think I'm going to try this. It looks interesting....

Update: I made it and it's pretty good. Only suggestion from me is to add sweetener... Yummy! I think using ginger ale instead of sparkling water would be okay.

Lipton’s Sangria Tea
3 c. boiling water
3 Family-Size tea bags
2 c. 100% grape juice
1 medium orange, sliced
1 medium lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
1 ½ c. Seltzer, Club Soda or Sparkling Water

Brew tea in boiling water for five minutes. Remove tea bags. Stir in sweetener, if desired (I added ½ c. sugar).  Stir ingredients except seltzer water and chill at least 2 hours. Right before serving, add soda. Serve over ice. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year & Cheesy Mushroom Pull-Apart Bread

This recipe was floating around Facebook, so I gave it a shot for our New Year's Eve party. Not too bad, it had a pretty presentation, and it tasted o.k. It was very easy to make. 
I'm not sure it was all that I thought it would be. **shrug** 
I did vary it a little by sautéing some onion with the mushrooms.

My guests ate about half of it but that could have been because we had about 6 tons of food for a dozen people... as usual! 

Cheesy Mushroom Pull-Apart Bread
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
For the Mushrooms:
12 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme

For the Bread:
1 unsliced loaf sourdough bread
12 ounces Provolone cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup finely diced green onion
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
For the Mushrooms:
Heat a medium skillet on medium. Add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the mushrooms. Cook 4-5 minutes until they start to sweat. Add the thyme and continue to cook another 2-3 minutes.
Set mushrooms aside and allow to cool.
For the Bread:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the bread lengthwise and widthwise without cutting through the bottom crust. This can be a little tricky going the second way but the bread is very forgiving.
Place loaf on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Insert cheese slices between cuts. Pour the mushrooms between the cuts. Use your fingers to push the mushrooms down into the loaf.
Combine butter, onion, and poppy seeds. Drizzle over bread. Wrap in foil; place on a baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Unwrap the bread and bake 10 more minutes, or until cheese is melted.