Friday, January 18, 2013

New Orleans Carnival Time Recipe: "Flameless Bananas Foster Bundt Cake"

New Orleans is a city dear not only to me, but also to my husband. He was a Hurricane Katrina medical volunteer in NOLA days after that tragedy and went on to spend 6 weeks in the area taking care of patients many times out of a makeshift medical tent. When it came time to choose our honeymoon destination, New Orleans was our unanimous choice. We had an amazing time.

Last month, I returned to New Orleans for the first time since our honeymoon. This was a solo trip due to my husband's work schedule. I decided that life was too short to continue my bucket list wish to visit NOLA during Christmastime, so I checked it off my list! I had the most amazing time. I spent treasured time with my sorority Little Sister Susan. We both have December birthdays and it was priceless to be able to celebrate together. I stayed at our honeymoon hotel, Le Pavillon Hotel in the French Quarter and how wonderful it was to see some of the same staff again.

It is now a time of celebration in NOLA known as "Carnival". This is the pre-Lenten celebration that leads up to Fat Tuesday. One of my favorite desserts was created in New Orleans at Brennan's Restaurant. I've invoked the name of this restaurant beloved in my heart before. Bananas Foster is an amazing mix of bananas, caramel, cinnamon and rum. This dish is traditionally prepared by igniting the rum. I created a recipe for an easy, flameless version. I choose to cook the banana mixture until it thickens and has a syrupy texture. I decided to pay homage to this favorite NOLA recipe in a cake: a bundt swirl cake with a flameless bananas foster filling.
In the coming days, I will be sharing reviews of two fabulous New Orleans reads with you, including giving away an autographed copy of one of the books. I will also share about my visit to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. The food, the people, the history: this city has it all.

"Flameless Bananas Foster Bundt Cake"
2 1/2 cups King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup light sour cream
1 teaspoon Rodelle pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup "Flameless Bananas Foster Filling"
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 10 inch bundt pan with Baker's Joy spray or coat with cooking spray and sprinkle with flour. In large bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In separate mixing bowl, beat butter with mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add sugar and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream and mix well. Slowly add dry flour mixture to creamed butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Pour half of batter into the prepared pan. Add bananas foster filling mixture by the spoonful over batter around the pan, then lightly swirl together with wooden skewer or spoon handle. Cover with remaining cake batter. Bake 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert cake onto a plate. Enjoy!  
"Flameless Bananas Foster Filling"

1 medium banana, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon rum OR rum extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. When butter is melted, add brown sugar, cinnamon and rum. Stir to dissolve brown sugar. When mixture is bubbling at the edges, add chopped bananas and stir to coat bananas. Let bananas cook in the syrup, stirring often, until mixture has a thick and syrupy consistency.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Remembering Elvis' Birthday: "Peanut Butter and Banana Delight Cake"

I was brought up in an Elvis-loving household and I was taught full-well that January 8th was his birthday. Every year, this day doesn't pass that I don't reflect on my fond memories of his music and movies from my childhood years into adulthood. My favorite movie was "Blue Hawaii". Another favorite is "Viva Las Vegas". My favorite songs, well then this would be a very long post, so I will share a few at the top of my list: "A Little Less Conversation", and "Viva Las Vegas" and "It's Now or Never". This day also doesn't pass without memories of my late Aunt Arlena back home in Oklahoma. She had a personality as huge as her hair. She loved all things red. She drove a red Cadillac. When I was in the second grade, one day we were playing in the schoolyard and she drove by in the Cadillac, honked and waved at me. She was wearing a fur coat, so full of life and I thought to myself, "I want to grow up to be like her!" She was a huge Elvis fan and when she passed, her life was celebrated with me giving her eulogy, all of the family wearing red and her favorite Elvis songs playing.  I baked this cake to celebrate Elvis' life today. This cake made my husband so happy he was "All Shook Up". I see peanut butter and banana dessert combinations that tend to have a peanut butter frosting. I serve up my peanut butter and banana cake with a banana buttercream frosting and a light, fluffy peanut butter layer cake. I believe that tonight in the night sky, an especially bright star I see is my Aunt Arlena shining down a shout out from above because I made this cake on Elvis' birthday.
"Peanut Butter and Banana Delight Cake"
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter chips, melted
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon Rodelle pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups 2% milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and dusting of flour. In mixing bowl, add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In separate large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add vanilla. Add dry flour mixture in thirds, alternating with milk, until all of dry mixture and milk have been added. Set aside. Melt peanut butter chips on top of stove by placing chips in small saucepan over low heat and stir often until chips are melted OR in microwave by placing chips in microwave-safe bowl and microwave at Medium (50%) for 1 minute and stir. If chips are not melted, microwave at Medium an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and smooth when stirred. Add melted peanut butter chips to mixture and mix until well combined.  Divide batter evenly into baking pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

"Banana Buttercream Frosting"

1/2 stick butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons 2% milk
1 teaspoon banana extract

Place butter in mixing bowl. Blend with mixer on low speed until fluffy. Gradually add confectioner's sugar, banana extract and 3 tablespoons milk until all ingredients are blended. Increase to medium speed and beat 5-6 minutes until light and fluffy. If mixture becomes stiff, add additional 1 tablespoon of milk. Spread frosting over cooled cake. Enjoy!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Game Day Recipe Corner: "Easy Crockpot Sausage Queso Dip"

Tonight's going to be a big football game night, especially for Alabama and Notre Dame football fans as their teams play for the national title in the collegiate NCAA National Championship. My husband and I will be tuning in to this game. How about you? Here is a super-easy and tasty crockpot cheese dip recipe I will be serving up at kickoff while we cheer on...the Crimson Tide!

"Southern Fried Bride's Easy Crockpot Sausage Queso Dip"

1 lb. Jimmy Dean light sausage, browned and drained

2 lbs. American cheese, cubed

1 (10 oz.) can Rotel diced tomatoes 

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

Brown sausage. Drain. Combine all ingredients in crockpot. Place crockpot on LOW heat setting. Cover with lid and heat one hour. Keep on LOW setting until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Recipe Corner: "Stampede Trail Bars"

During this time of year which brings all the post-holiday organizing, taking down the decorations and storing them, here is a recipe for a quick and easy snack or dessert. These make great bar cookies or my favorite way of serving them is cutting them in bite-size pieces.   

"Southern Fried Bride's Stampede Trail Bars"
1/2 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter

1/3 cup honey

1 egg

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon almond extract

3 1/2 cups oats

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup white chocolate chips

1/3 cup raisins

Optional: ¼ cup coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix together peanut butter, honey, egg, oil and almond extract until well blended. Add in oats, brown sugar and salt. Mix well. Stir in white chocolate chips, raisins and coconut. Transfer mixture into 9x13 baking dish. Take spatula or spoon and gently shape mixture to fill entire layer of pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on wire rack. Cut into bars. Yield: 15 square bars or 30 bite-size bars. Enjoy!