4/21/2009

Banana Crepes

This is another, and highly recommended way of dealing with bananas. Just one of many things you can do with that wonderful fruit. I make my usual crepe recipe, which I've just noticed does not fit the ratio of Ratio, Michael Ruhlman's new book. But it's a favorite, originally from my mother-in-law, revised by myself, tried and true over many years. So, first whip up the crepes, and set aside (which is good for the batter) then, saute some bananas in butter, the amount depends on how many people will be eating them. For two of us, I sliced up about 5 small ones. We grow what are called Apple Bananas and they are so sweet and flavorful. Add a bit of nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, (not all of the above) or get fancy and flame some rum.

We put a little trail of jam (this is Starfruit Marmalade) on our crepes, then the bananas, add a bit of sour cream or yogurt, roll it up and top with powdered sugar or syrup. Bob uses syrup and I like the effect of a dusting of sweet white on top. Eat, then do another, and on and on...

My Crepes recipe:
3 eggs
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups milk

Beat the eggs well and add in some of the milk, and the flour, whipping like crazy with a wire whisk til smooth (this is the tricky part - avoiding lumps) and enough remaining milk, so that the batter still coats your spoon. Beat in the melted, slightly cooled butter. Pour about 1/4 cup batter in a hot crepe pan, with a tiny bit of butter first, if necessary, swirling around to coat the pan's bottom. Flip and do the other side.
This amount usually makes enough for us to have crepes for breakfast and a crepes dinner of some sort later, so I don't add any sugar to the batter. Not necessary. It's also another very delicious way of using some left-overs, which I did last night.

I was reading in my journal of ten years ago this morning, and my entry for April 21 was:
We are tenants in the vineyard of God's love - designed to produce fruit for his kingdom.
And this quote from Marcus Aurelius', Meditations:
As the earth is a pinpoint in infinite space, so the life of man is a pinpoint in infinite time - a knife-edge between eternities.
A good reminder to make the most of what I'm given.

4/16/2009

Queen's Surf Banana Muffins

Well, after my silly rants on the last post, I thought I'd share these awesome banana muffins with you. They're an old favorite, and I do mean old. The recipe originally came from the popular Queen's Surf restaurant in Waikiki, which was torn down years ago. I've made a few updates, of course. There's crunchy, toasted macadamia nuts and chunky, crystals of raw sugar on top. I added some grated lemon zest, for a bit of citrus zing, and a little nutmeg and ground cardamom to heighten that mellow banana flavor.

What usually sets me off on a recipe quest is the sight of something like this. And the awareness of 4, yes four more large bunches of bananas in various stages of ripening. Have I mentioned just how good these sweet little Apple Bananas are? Got to be the most sought after variety for growing here in Hawaii.



So, out comes the faithful recipe card for banana muffins from the Queen's Surf. I'm also going to try Ilva's Chocolate Banana Bread, posted just the other day (her April 10th entry). Maybe with big chunks of dark chocolate. Yum.

Over the years, I've tried various and sundry additions to the basic recipe, dried or fresh fruits - pineapple is especially good, nuts in or on top, brown sugar, or honey, instead of the original plain sugar. This time I used brown sugar, a full, packed 1/2 cup, instead of the 3/4s cup sugar called for, which to me, is sweeter than I prefer. The flavors were heightened with lemon zest from one lemon, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom and 1/2 teas. nutmeg. Also, I used AP flour instead of cake, which I never seem to have on hand, and sifted only once with all the other dry ingredients, instead of three times. One day, I'm actually going to do what I'm told, just to observe the difference, if any. I may also separate the eggs and whip the whites to fold in next time. Here, I'll give you the historic, original version, for tradition sake, cut down to proportions for one dozen.

The Queen's Surf Banana Muffins
Ingredients:
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter (4 oz)
3 ripe bananas, mashed (a few bigger chunks are ok) and double the amount for smaller varieties like the Apple Banana
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 teas. salt
1 teas. baking soda
Cream sugar and softened butter, add bananas and well beaten eggs. Sift dry ingredients together three times and blend with batter. Don't over-mix.

Pour into greased muffin pan and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes. Cool on rack and enjoy!



These muffins were topped with sprinkles of raw Turbinado sugar and toasted, chopped macadamia nuts. If you don't happen to have macadamia trees in your garden, like I do, pecans or walnuts would be great. And, since the bananas, lemon and mac nuts are grown by us, I'm entering this post in April's edition of the Grow Your Own event.



For some background information, off the Hawaii for Visitors website:
Queen's Surf Restaurant and Nightclub
In the 1950's and 1960's there was a popular restaurant and nightclub in Kapiolani Park that was known as the Queen's Surf. It was shut down by Mayor Frank Fasi on December 31, 1969. His decision was appealed and then upheld by the Hawaii State Supreme Court, which terminated the nightclub's lease as of May 31, 1970. When the Queen's Surf was finally shut down, nearly 700 people tried to crowd into to the club to say goodbye. After the shutdown, the club's popular Tavana Polynesian Revue moved to the Hawaiian Hut Nightclub at the Ala Moana Hotel. The building that housed the Queen's Surf Nightclub was torn down in 1971.

4/11/2009

Good Griefs and Greetings

He Has Risen!
It's the Greek Easter greeting (in Greek of course). I'm supposed to be cleaning my house, but instead, guess what's being done? This. Meanwhile the windows are dirty and the mini-blinds are dusty. Though, I discovered today the origins of "Spring Cleaning" - likely not news to anyone else. It's the Jewish tradition of getting rid of all the chametz in the weeks before Passover. Anything with a possibility of yeast, mold, dust, dirt, etc. etc. All of which are symbolic of the yuck in our spiritual lives - sin in other words. That word no one wants to use anymore.

On another note - get ready for a rant. Observe this packaging. A lovely graphic, the product sounds good, apricot scented deodorant, pure, natural and organic. For sensitive skin. But go ahead, try to get it open. My sensitive skin is turning red. Do they try extra hard thinking up ways to make things difficult for consumers? Just for a laugh? This is similar to the "child-proof" aspirin bottles. Have you ever tried, in the grip of a raging headache, to get the top off one? Or pity the poor arthritis sufferer, with pain in her hands? Hey, and I've yet to meet the child who couldn't get those tops off in nothing flat.


The directions are there, if you can read them. They can be barely made out, tilting it at an angle, standing in good light. It's clear on clear, for easy reading. Then try to do what it says: "to remove dome twist up product." Right, if it only would. Twist, move, get off! I'm going to need my grandson for this. As a PS - I did try twisting from the bottom (at first I was afraid that would just smash deodorant up against the lid dome) so yes, success at last. It wasn't the obvious, and it wasn't clear. Clear directions don't necessarily clarify.


Here's another pet peeve - those labels in shirts made of unfortunate, synthetic, hyper-itchy materials, designed by their manufacturers to torment consumers. On purpose. You can buy a good brand of clothing, soft natural materials in the article, then they double stitch the label in, made totally out of skin irritants. On the right you see what needs to be done - rip, cut or tear them off. I've made holes in the back of a few nice tops, due to impatience. You need a decent seam-ripper. Okay, I'd better get back to getting rid of the chametz so we don't gross everyone out tomorrow with a dirty house.