; Supermarket Serenade: October 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Island Style Banana Cream Pie

For me the Pillsbury Bake off has always been elusive...I just can't seem to figure out what they're looking for. Sadly I did not make the cut for the 2010 bakeoff however, they are running an alternate contest on their web site called the "Monthly challange" where each month they have a recipe "theme" and consumers can enter recipes for the chance to win $2500. This month's theme was homemade pies.

Well...they picked my pie as a finalist!! I need your votes...I need your friends' votes...I need any kind strangers' votes!! My recipe is for Island Style Banana Cream Pie!

The pie is a luscious banana cream pie laced with toasted coconut and topped with a creamy mango whipped cream....it is divine!

Island Style Banana Cream Pie


1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups cold milk

2 boxes (4-serving size each) vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix

4 medium bananas, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted

1 ripe mango, seed removed, peeled and cut up

1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed


1. Heat oven to 450°F. Make pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell using 9-inch glass pie plate. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
2. In large bowl with electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sour cream until smooth and fluffy. Gradually add milk, 1/2 cup at a time, beating until smooth. Add pudding mixes and beat until well blended.
3. Spread 1/3 of the pudding mixture into bottom of cooled pie crust. Top with half of the banana slices. Spread another 1/3 of the pudding mixture over the bananas covering completely. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the toasted coconut. Top with the remaining banana slices. Spread remaining pudding mixture over bananas. Sprinkle with another 1/3 of the toasted coconut.
4. Using the food processor, puree mango. In small bowl, fold together the mango and whipped topping. Spread mango topping over top of pie. Sprinkle with remaining coconut. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to chill. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Avocado Party!

I have previously established that I think that avocados are quite possibly the world’s most perfect food. Compact, nutrient packed, avocados are a portable nutrient powerhouse and I love them. So it should come as no surprise that I decided to host an avocado party.

I decided to go with an Avocado Luncheon where each course included avocados. I had nine guests and it was a lot of fun!
First up was (of course) guacamole. Served with multigrain corn chips, my guacamole is laced with diced tomatoes, jalapeno and cilantro. Instead of the typical garlic-which I often find harsh-mine includes finely minced shallot. For an impressive presentation I highly recommend purchasing a molcajete (mohl-ka-hey-te) which is basically a giant mortar and pestle. Ingredients are combined and served right in the molcajete…it looks so rustic.
Quick Guacamole

2 ripe avocados, peeled, seeds removed, diced
1/4 cup finely diced grape or plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in molcajete or medium sized bowl; mash to combine.

Lunch was an avocado and citrus salad with a jalapeno vinaigrette. On the side were Avocado, Bacon and Sprout Sandwiches with Lemon-Pepper Crème Fraiche. Sandwiches were served on small Ciabatta rolls.

Avocado Citrus Salads with Jalapeno Avocado Oil Vinaigrette

8 cups mixed greens
2 seedless oranges, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large red grapefruit, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 ripe avocados, peeled, seed and coarsely chopped
Jalapeno Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup Avocado oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Arrange greens on a large serving platter. Scatter the oranges, grapefruit and avocado over the greens.

In a small food processor combine the avocado oil, vinegar, lime juice, shallot, jalapeno, salt and pepper; process until smooth.

Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad.

Avocado, Bacon and Sprout Ciabatta Sandwiches with Lemon Pepper Crème Fraiche

Lemon Pepper Crème Fraiche:
1 cup crème fraiche
1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lb. thick sliced maple flavored bacon
2 cups sprouts, rinsed and patted dry
3-4 avocados, peeled, seeds removed, mashed
10 Ciabatta rolls, split

In a small bowl stir together the crème fraiche, lemon zest, lemon juice, pepper and salt; set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange the bacon in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon on paper towels.

Spread the crème fraiche on the bottom half of each roll, top with the sprouts, followed by the bacon. Spread the mashed avocado on the top half of each roll and arrange on top of sandwiches.

Makes 10 sandwiches

Dessert was my favorite part of the party! I debated on how to serve the avocado for dessert-I had read online that in some countries avocados are mashed and sprinkled with sugar to be eaten as dessert. That was not particularly appealing to me. I love the combination of avocado and mango so I decided to go with those flavors in a sundae. Edy’s (Dreyers in some parts of the country) makes a Tart Mango Frozen Yogurt that is absolutely amazing!

Tart Mango Frozen Yogurt with Avocado-Coconut Sauce and Toasted Coconut

1/2 avocado
1/4 cup Crème de Coconut (such as Coco Lopez)
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 cups Edy’s Tart Mango Frozen Yogurt
1 cup flaked coconut, lightly toasted

In a blender (Magic Bullet works great here) combine the avocado, Crème de Coconut and heavy cream and blend until smooth.

Place 1/2 cup of frozen yogurt into each 10 serving bowls. Drizzle the Avocado-Coconut cream over frozen yogurt and sprinkle with the toasted coconut.

Makes 10 servings

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Peanut Butter Lover's Cookie

I wish that I was one of those people that could eat anything. I wish also that when I baked cookies or cakes or even purchased them from the supermarket that I had that innate something that allowed you to perfectly portion treats without over indulging. What I am trying to say is that I have no self control...no ability to stop. An open package of Oreos (my true cookie love) can without much thought become an empty package. A plate of neatly stacked, homemade brownies, still warm from the oven, can become a plate of crumbs without as much as a second thought. It is for that reason that I seldom bake.

While creating irresistible treats is one of the pitfalls of baking for me, I do still enjoy baking. I love the feeling of success felt when a batch of cookies comes out just how it is supposed to. It is a great feeling when a pie recipe, once only made perfectly by my mother, comes out just how she would have made it (well, almost).

This past weekend I felt what I like to refer to as “the pull of the oven”. Not unlike the gravitational pull of the moon, the pull of the oven is the season, time of day or time of year, when for the taste of, the accomplishment of, or simply the smell of sweet “somethings” you are compelled to bake.

Given my temptation shortfall, I decided that I would bake something but it would be something that I probably would not eat. Consulting my (short) list of less-preferred baked goods, I fell upon peanut butter cookies. Not that I have anything against peanut butter-nothing tastes better on a Ritz cracker-I just for whatever reason, have never enjoyed peanut butter in baked goods. My other reason for choosing peanut butter-less self deprecating-is that I have a humongous jar of “natural” peanut butter that I purchased for my daughter to make peanut butter sandwiches for school which she has since decided is too “liquidy” and she would not use it (apparently she’s a Jif or Skippy only girl-who knew?).
Spatula in hand, I googled for peanut butter cookies looking for one that would use the most peanut butter. I found cookies that ranged from using as little as a 1/4 cup to as much as an entire jar of peanut butter. I ultimately settled on a recipe using an entire jar from AllRecipes.com. This cookie-not for the peanut butter faint of heart-packs a real peanutty flavor. Knowing that my kids would not like the crunch of added peanuts, I left out the listed 1 cup replacing it with milk chocolate chips for a “Reese’s-peanut-butter-cup-like” flavor. They came out so beautifully that yes… even I could not resist trying them. I really liked the texture; they were fluffy in the centers but slightly crisp at the edges. The taste was too peanut buttery for a non-peanut butter person such as me, but my kids really enjoyed them and recommend them highly.

My only critique of the preparation of these cookies is that when I went to make the cross marks using a fork, the fork kept sticking. Not being a regular peanut cookie baker I don't know if that's normal or not...anyway, just watch out for that! Also I followed the suggestion of one commenter on the Allrecipes site to chill the dough in a log that way you can slice and bake. It's a lot of dough though so you might want to make a few logs.

The Whole Jar of Peanut Butter Cookies
from Allrecipes.com Submitted by Kevin Ryan

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1(18 ounce) jar Peanut Butter*
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped peanuts (which I replaced with milk chocolate chips)

*Since I was using the "natural" kind of peanut butter which is very liquidy, I only used about 16-17 ounces of peanut butter.

In a large bowl cream butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, yolk and vanilla; mix until fluffy. Stir in the peanut butter. Sift together the flour baking powder and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture. Finally stir in the peanuts (or chocolate chips). Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. (I chose to line baking sheets with parchment paper-much easier!)

Roll dough into walnut sized balls.
Place on prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly with a fork.
Bake for 12-15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cookies should look dry on top. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.