Thursday, February 21, 2008

More Banana Desserts

I couldn't decide which of these luscious banana desserts to make ... however, since I am experiencing an overabundance of bananas, I decided I was in a perfect position to just go ahead and make them both! They are called (from left), Baked Banana Crumble and Banana Crisp (Platanitos Horneados).

Baked Banana Crumble

Baked Banana Crumble
Mmm...this fruit dish is so rich and delectable. Guests just love this crumble. With a tart, but sweet, cream topping, this is a dish to please anyone.

3 Bananas, sliced ** You can also mix in some berries
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar (I used panela)
1 cup butter or margarine ; melted
1/2 cup nuts ; (optional)
1/2 cup coconut ; (optional)
2 Tbsps lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar
Grated ; nutmeg for topping

Spray 12 individual ramekins with Pam or a 9" round pan. (I used a pyrex pie dish)
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix lemon juice and white sugar, add sliced bananas and toss. Place sliced bananas in greased pan (add a few berries, if you wish).
Mix remaining ingredients (except for nutmeg) and spread over fruit.
Grate a little nutmeg on top and bake at 350° for about 20 minutes or until bubbly.
Serve topped with sweetened sour cream, ice cream or whipped cream.

*This recipe can be pasted into BigOven without retyping.
Easy recipe software. Try it free at:


Banana Crisp (Platanitos Horneados)

Banana Crisp (Platanitos Horneados)

Here's a classic Cuban dessert. You could eliminate the rum
if you like, but then it wouldn't be nearly as authentic.

4 -6 ripe bananas ; peeled and sliced
1/4 cup ; (60 ml) packed brown sugar
2 Tbs ; (30 ml) rum
1 Tbs ; (15 ml) lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ; (2 ml) vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ; (2 ml) ground cinnamon
A ; grating of fresh nutmeg
4 Tbs ; (60 ml) butter
1 -1 1/2 cups ; (250-375 ml) crumbled savoiardi, toasted
ladyfingers, ; or amaretti (I used graham crackers)
1/4 cup ; (60 ml) finely chopped walnuts

Combine the bananas, brown sugar, rum, lime juice, and spices
in a bowl, tossing to coat the bananas with the mixture. Place
the banana mixture in a greased 8x8-inch (20x20 cm) baking
dish. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in the
cooky crumbs and walnuts and sprinkle over the bananas. Bake
in a preheated 350F (180C) oven until golden brown, about 20
minutes. Serve warm. Serves 4 to 6.

** This recipe can be pasted into BigOven without retyping.
Easy recipe software. Try it free at:

Everybody agreed that both were delicious. However, after an exhaustive survey of all the lucky drop-ins during the afternoon, it was determined that, if a winner must be chosen, it would be the Baked Banana Crumble with its tart tingle of lemon. The next time I will make sure I have a big dollop of my homemade yogurt on hand ... or the Baked Banana Ice Cream that I will make tomorrow.


About Cookbooks and Nostalgia

"As anthropologist Arjun Appadurai concluded in an article on cookbooks in contemporary India, "cookbooks appear to belong to the literature of exile, of nostalgia and loss." Our recipes represent our often unsuccessful attempts to relive the past, to recover lost comforts or reclaim a forgotten heritage. We take them with us into foreign lands. We pass them on to our friends and children. We share them with strangers. The foods of our pasts are the most elemental artifacts of who we are: who our parents and friends and lovers were and are, where we have been and where we ended up, what we treasure, what we disdain, what fuels our endeavors, what comforts, what sustains. So powerful is food as an expression of the self that we even orchestrate favorite meals for those we execute. We want to honor at least that much of the worst criminal. Good food. Finally."

Patty Kirk, from "Starting from Scratch"


Monday, February 11, 2008

Bananas Foster Crunch Cake

I seldom buy, eat or cook with bananas in our home because of their high sugar content, but it became necessary this week for me to make allowances and find some recipes for dishes that we could share with friends and neighbors and that would use bananas. This Bananas Foster Crunch Cake caught my eye almost immediately, and I printed out the recipe and started on its preparation. When I realized that I didn't have cornmeal, I decided to try out the ramon flour (**see below for more information about this incredible product) for the first time. My sudden desire to cook with bananas began when ...

we discovered that the bananas that we had been watching grow on the palm tree out back were ripening at an ever increasing speed and had begun falling plumply to the ground. We asked around and soon learned that the way to harvest the racim of bananas is to cut down the entire palm tree .. apparently the banana palm produces only one racim of bananas in its life, then dies. However, before the bananas ripen, the palm sends up one or more shoots right beside it that will produce the next generation of fruit. If the shoots are cut down before the "Mama" bears her fruit, the Mama will die. So, we cut down the "Mama" palm, leaving the new 4 foot shoot growing in its place, and hung the bananas to continue the rapid ripening process hanging from my living room ceiling!

I have now printed out several recipes that will no doubt be appearing here over the next few days ... but started with this one yesterday. I didn't have all the ingredients that were called for, but found totally appropriate substitutions.

Exported from BigOven (*see below)

Bananas Foster Crunch Cake

1/2 cup butter or margarine -- softened
1 -1/2 cups sugar (I used half white and half panela or raw brown sugar)
2 large eggs
2 cups mashed bananas
1/4 cup light rum (I used the liquid that had collected on my preserved nances)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 -1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal (I used ramon flour ** see note below)
1 -1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped pecans (no pecans here ... but i found some walnuts)
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I used panela)
1/4 cup butter or margarine -- melted

Beat 1/2 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy;
gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after
each addition. Stir in mashed bananas, rum, and vanilla. Combine 1 1/2 cups
flour and next 4 ingredients; add to butter mixture, mixing until blended.
Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan; set aside.

Combine 1/2 cup flour and remaining ingredients; sprinkle over batter. Bake
at 350 degrees F. for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center
of cake comes out clean.

Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pan, and let cool
completely on wire rack. Yield: about 10 servings.

*This recipe can be pasted into BigOven without retyping.
Easy recipe software. Try it free at:


The flavor was deep, rich and chocolaty, even though it contains no chocolate, and the general texture is heavy like good gooey brownies. Everybody has been enjoying it.

Known as "Yaxox" in Mayan, the ramon tree (Brosimum Alicastrum) is a member of the fig family, which also includes mulberry trees. Referred to as "corn tree" by the Maya civilization, its nut was a staple food crop, capable of being stored for lengthy periods of time, that was roasted, ground into a flour and combined with corn for baking or boiled and eaten like potatoes. Ramon nuts are actually the seed of the ramon fruit. They have zero fat and can be ground into flour which is gluten-free making it a nutritious addition to gluten-free flours. Ramon flour is very high in potassium, fiber and tryptophan, the amino acid that helps calm stress and anxiety. Ramon nuts were used medicinally by the Maya to detoxify the liver and promote lactation in nursing women. Other common names for ramon nuts are ojoche, mojo. breadnut and mayanut.

Ramon was integral to the physical and spiritual life of the Maya as evidenced by their 4th day-sign glyph, KAN, meaning "the seed" ... which is a depiction of a ramon seed.

Enrique and I have been championing the re-popularization of ramon seeds since we first heard about them, and understood their importance, not only as a food, but as a way for the people of the rainforest to earn a living in harmony with the trees of the jungle (see Through the support of various organizations, the women's group of Ixlu (our neighboring village) now operates a full-fledged production/packaging facility for Ramon Flour and Ramon Beverage. (see AND ).


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Blackberry Chipotle Chicken Wings

These were about the yummiest chicken wings I have ever cooked! The sauce called for two ingredients that I have never cooked with ... balsamic vinegar (which is available in the new Maxi-Bodega in Santa Elena) and chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (that I hadn't even heard of until recently so I went looking for ... totally sure that I would never find them in Peten ... but Enrique found them at the Selecta!!). Those two ingredients were married together with a blackberry jelly (the recipe called for raspberry jelly, but alas, it was not to be found, and the blackberry seemed a close fit). The baking process melded the flavors perfectly, creating a tangy sweet sauce with deep smoky undertones.

Raspberry Chipotle Chicken Wings

These chicken wings are easy to make, but very tender and flavorful. As an added bonus, you'll end up with some awesome leftover chicken stock to use later in soups, stews, or sauces. The chipotle chiles lend a unique flavor to the sauce, so do use them, even if you cut back on the amount. If you've never tried them, they are described as having a spicy raisin flavor.


5 pounds large chicken wings ; separated at the joint (add the wing tips to the pot if you hav
1 -3/4 cups chicken broth ; (1 can or homemade)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 large cloves garlic ; cut in fourths
2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/2 bay leaf

2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 sweet onion ; minced
3 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons ; (canned) chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam or jelly (I used blackberry jelly and it was fantastic!)
Kosher ; salt


Place chicken wings in a large stockpot along with chicken broth, onion, celery, garlic, sage, thyme, and bay leaf.
Add water to just barely cover contents. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir and skim off any foam midway through cooking. Remove cover and let cool at least 10 minutes.

While chicken wings are cooking, make the sauce. Heat a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butter and sweet onion. Reduce heat to medium and saute until onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic and chipotle chiles. Stir-fry 2 minutes. Deglaze pan with the balsamic vinegar, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom into the sauce. Add raspberry jam and salt. Stir until smooth. Let cool until chicken wings are done.

Strain wings (discard wing tips, if any) and retain strained stock for other purposes. Toss chicken wings with raspberry chipotle sauce. (May refrigerate for one day at this point.)

Position baking rack in the highest position. Preheat oven to 450. Line a 15 x 10-inch baking pan with non-stick foil.

Arrange chicken wings fattest-side up on prepared baking pan. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.

Bake 25 minutes (30 to 40 minutes if refrigerated) in preheated oven until lightly browned. Serve hot.

Yield: about 8 to 10 appetizer servings.

The Verdict:

I served the Blackberry Chipotle Chicken Wings for dinner with creamy mashed potatoes, fresh steamed green beans, and dill pickles. The dill pickles were the perfect final touch. We both agreed that the flavor was deliciously addictive, and would have liked more sauce.

What I will do differently next time:

is to at least DOUBLE the quantity of sauce. By the time they had baked, most of the sauce had evaporated leaving delicious moist wings, but almost no extra sauce.


Newer Posts Older Posts Home