Wednesday, September 22, 2010

'Tis the Beginning of the End...

On the recommendation of a dear old friend from Florida, I am beginning this blog. Apparently, my views and opinions on food, food culture, and food life interest someone besides me and my (reluctant) husband, so...here goes nothing! WELCOME TO FOOD FOR LIFE.
   This blog will focus not only on my daily (okay, realistically, maybe weekly) dabbles into the creation of recipes and new dishes, but recreating old ones, helping out friends and family, bitching about what spices my daughter won't eat THIS WEEK, and in general, hitting the bigger issue of why is it - can someone tell me really? - that in this sorry food-cultureless nation, we eat ONLY TO FUNCTION?? I am a fervent believer, that one should not eat to live, but LIVE TO EAT. Hence the blog title : Food For Life.
   Why the beginning to the end? I am hoping, among other lofty dream sequences, that in the midst of writing to you I will gather the tools and experience to move on with my life into the world of culinary arts as a career, and not just an engrossing hobby. My dead-end job has me beyond depressed, physically and emotionally drained, and itching to beat someone in the face....just because it'd be fun.  Hmmm, blog, or therapy? You decide. Let's have a vote!
   So, with the mindset of "Hey, let's get the hell outta Dodge!", I am posting to you my first recipe ever considered for a national award! Yes, it's only banana pudding, but as of yesterday, I have been chosen to compete in the National Banana Pudding Cookoff in Lyles, TN on Oct. 2nd. This, loyal legion of fan(s), is the winning recipe. Wish me luck!
With love and good eats,
Christine

Roasted Banana Walnut Pudding
1 c. light brown sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
2 c. whole milk
1 c. plus 1 ½ c. heavy cream, divided
4 large egg yolks
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp.  dark rum, divided
1 c. whole walnut halves
1/2 c. white sugar, divided
45 Nilla wafers
5 ripe, firm bananas
In a heavy saucepan, mix together brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add milk and 1 c. cream, stirring over low heat to dissolve. When sugar is incorporated, spoon about ¼ c. of the warm milk into the egg yolks and whisk to temper. Add the egg yolks back into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Raise heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, strain into a shallow dish, and stir in vanilla, rum, and butter. Press a sheet of plastic wrap on top to prevent a skin. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, roast walnuts in a 400 degree F oven until fragrant and browning in spots, about 10 minutes.  Allow to cool.
In a large bowl, whip remaining 1 ½ c. heavy cream with 1 tsp. rum and ¼ c. white sugar until soft but firm peaks form. Cover and refrigerate.
Slice the bananas lengthwise, and lay cut side up on a baking sheet covered with parchment. Dust the tops liberally with some of the remaining white sugar. Run under a broiler until tops are golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Remove and let cool.
To assemble, lay 20 Nilla wafers in the bottom of a 9x9 inch glass baking dish. Spoon half the pudding on top of the wafers, and top with half the bananas. Spoon half the whipped cream on top, smooth, and sprinkle with half the walnuts. Repeat the layering of 20 Nilla wafers, pudding, banana, whipped cream, and walnuts. Crumble the last 5 Nilla wafers and sprinkle on top with the walnuts. Refrigerate and serve cold.


2 comments:

  1. Although you may not be cooking/blogging Julia Child's entire recipe book, I think that this is a phenomenal way for you to share your passion with others; or in the meantime, just me. I am looking forward to sharing some of my own culinary victories and defeats after I finish my formal education this December.

    Which of the culinary celebrities cooking styles do yo think you most closely resemble? Not to categorize you, but perhaps a blend of ethnicities, flavors and expression. I see hints of Paula dean, a pinch of Sandra Lee, and haven't figured out the rest yet.

    Happy cooking, happy typing. Looking forward to the next meal.

    Tuber

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  2. Tuber, I'm highly insulted...Sandra Lee? Come on! She can't even cook unless it comes from a box! I find myself more of a Lidia, Giada, Ina hybrid, with Alton's sarcasm and Gordon's anxiety. Besides that the locals call me "Martha"
    How's that!

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