My dog ate my post.

Actually, my dog almost ate¬†the report I’ve been working on for over a week now, but her eating my post somehow seems funnier. I’ve¬†come to believe she doesn’t appreciate my ‘working’ mode. She has attacked the laptop. Chewed printed copies. Body-slammed against me while I was sitting at the desktop. She’s a cutie, but she’s a handful!

In any case, I considered blaming her and not writing a post. Mamma’s tired. Mamma’s sleepy. Mamma’s got a buzz in honor of ‘Week Off’ week.

Aside: WHO is Ben Sargeant?!! I’m typing this and watching a new Cooking Channel show called Hook, Line, Dinner… and, Oh. eMM. Gee. Dude’s hot!

I digress. I’m taking a week off my ‘real’ job, using up my vacation time. But there will be no resting here. I’ll be working on my ‘dream’ job. Yep. Zee blog. Someone called me a blogging machine recently. Its not¬†true, but I won’t reveal the real story, I look better in that one.

Anyway. Food. Holidays. Turkey Day. Side Dishes. That’s what we got here. I’m bringing some Latin-Caribbean sabor to your holidays with this one. This is a good replacement for the standard mashed potatoes, just giving ya some options, you see?

The Hubbz was really surprised by these. He expected them to be heavier somehow. The trick with these is to get the bananas just before you use them, they go ripe pretty quick, so timing is everything. You could pick them up the day before Thanksgiving, peel and boil them, then reheat and mash the day of. There is no need for a recipe here. Pretty easy stuff.

Green Banana Mash

Green bananas
Butter
Bacon, cooked & crumbled (reserve some of the fat)
Milk
Salt & black pepper

Similar to green plantains, if you soak these in water for a few minutes, peeling them will be a breeze. So trim the ends, score it along the sides a few times and let them soak in cool water for 15 minutes or so. Mind the sap, though. It will stain your hands and clothes.

Once you peel the bananas, cut them into rounds, drop them into a pot filled with water, add salt and bring it to a boil. It will take about 12 minutes to cook them to fork-tender.

Drain the¬†bananas, in the same¬†pot, add milk and,¬†if you’re not opposed to it, use some of that bacon fat, it adds amazing flavor–1 or 2 tablespoons will do.¬†I usually do 1/2 butter 1/2 bacon fat. ¬†Return the bananas to the pot and mash away. Adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper. Mix in 2/3 of the crumbled bacon and top with some as you serve it.

That’s it folks!

For extra shots, check out the photostream.

Cookingly yours,
Anamaris

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Childhood Faves

What’s your favorite one? My mom did a.lot.of.cooking. And baking. And entertaining. She made us fun stuff, like PBJs, pancakes and doughnuts! She also made us eat the serious stuff like pumpkin, spinach and carrots. She wasn’t able to get okra passed me, though. I hope she’s not too hard on herself for that. To this day I can’t deal with that slimy veg. I best stop thinking about it before I make myself sick.

Yumness on a plate!

This is one of my fun foods. I remember pleading for this, then covering it with ketchup. I don’t do the ketchup part anymore, I honestly can’t tell you what possessed me to do that in the first place. I’m guessing I had a red infatuation, who knows. I’ve taken my mom’s standard and jazzed up a bit. It’s really yum!

Mom’s Spaghetti Omelette
If you have some leftover pasta, that’s perfect or you can cook some up for this (I do it all the time).
2 cps spaghetti or other noodle pasta, cooked
2 eggs
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp coarse black pepper
1/2 tsp Herbs d’Provence
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter

In a medium size bowl, whisk the eggs, salt, pepper and HdProvence. Add the pasta and mix it in.

Preheat a 12-inch frying pan over medium high heat, add the oil and butter until it melts. Dump the pasta in and spread it out evenly to cover the bottom. Allow it to brown, it will take about 5 minutes per side. Flip the omelette and brown the opposite side.

Slice it in quarters and top with parmesan cheese, if desired. Can you stand it?

~~

If only there was taste-a-blog code...

What’s in the bag, Part 2 – The side

Do you find artichokes interesting? I know I do. It’s like nature’s little secret hiding place. I wonder who was the first person to try to figure out if they were edible. I mean, they’re not especially ‘come hither and take a bite of me’ looking. Who do you suppose look at one and thought ‘I bet the heart of this unfriendly looking greenery is yummy’? I don’t know, I’m sure Wiki does, but I’m too lazy to look it up right now. What I DO know is that I’m glad that curious person went to town on that first artichoke and passed it on to his or her loved ones to enjoy.

When Lindsay came home with about 4 of these, my first reaction was panic. Then I remembered I had steamed artichokes about 12 years ago, so they weren’t completely foreign. The ones he picked up were different in that they had the stems attached. All 6-8″ of stems.

My first task was to find out if the stems were edible and look for suggestion on how to prepare both, stem and choke. I wanted something other than steaming and dipping them into butter, so imagine my elation when I read that the long stems were edible AND that sometimes they are fried! A meal was born.

The few recipes I found for frying the artichokes, suggested frying them in some olive oil. Nothing fancy. Just sorta pan frying. I decided to take a step further and bread them before deep-frying. I ended up with French Fried Artichoke Stems; a perfect accompaniment to the NY strip steaks in this recipe.

Now, I must admit that the preparation of¬†this side dish took some doing. First, I separated the stems from the chokes, then trimmed the inedible¬†bits. Finally sliced them into sticks before dipping them in buttermilk and panko¬†crumbs in preparation for the fryer. I also breaded the chokes themselves–or tried to. They didn’t really hold on to the buttermilk very well, but they were still delicious, particularly once you got to the hearts.¬† Here’s what I did.

4 artichokes with stems attached
1 lemon
1-1/2 cp flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cp buttermilk (or regular)
1-1/2 cp panko crumbs
Oil for deep-frying

Fill a bowl with cool water and squeeze the lemon juice into it, leave the lemon halves in the water. Cut the stems from the chokes. Pare the tough peel off the stems and drop them in the bowl of water as you remove all the bark. Then trim the chokes by removing loose leaves, and snipping the points of the leaves left. Quarter the chokes and dunk in the water bowl. Slice the trimmed stems into sticks.

Preheat¬†oil to 375¬į. ¬†Set up an assembly line. Combine the flour and seasonings. And put the buttermilk and panko¬†crumbs in 2 separate bowls/containers. First dredge the sticks in the flour, then dip in milk, finally roll through panko. Repeat. The chokes will pick up some of the breading, especially on the areas where the leaves are still tight.

Fry them in hot oil until golden brown, sprinkle some sea salt as you pulled them out of the oil. Enjoy!