Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Plancha-Grilled Skirt Steak and Eggs #FoodieReads


I ordered this book - Cucina Tipica: An Italian Adventure by Andrew Cotto* - because my older son left on a school trip to Italy and Greece this week and I had Italy on the brain. This will be in a different post, but we had a Buon Viaggio! brunch for him before I dropped him off to leave for the airport.


I didn't tear up that he could see. Really. I didn't! Watching him say good-bye to Jake got me, right after breakfast, and when I was driving away after dropping him off.


But back to the topic of this post! I chuckled when I received the package because the author's sur name is Cotto. That means 'cooked' in Italian! That just goes to show you my sense of humor. I read it in one sitting before breakfast on the weekend and, then, climbed out of bed, inspired to make steak and eggs.


I can honestly say that I have never had steak and eggs. I've had the combination of ham and eggs, bacon and eggs, and even chorizo and eggs; plus one of my favorite breakfast spots locally serves calamari and eggs. But steak and eggs hasn't been on my radar. And I certainly didn't have it when I lived in Italy because I didn't eat meat when I lived there! But after reading the book, I whipped up some skirt steak and eggs. My three meat-loving boys were so happy. "We love that book, Mom!" they declared. "Even though we haven't read it. We love what it inspired." Recipe to follow...

On the Page
The story follows a recently unemployed Jacoby who accompanies his travel writer fiancée Claire to Italy where he finds himself soaking up the food, culture and customs of Italy. And though they are there for Claire’s assignment for the renowned Haxby’s Travel Guide, Jacoby has his own agenda: to track down the story behind a photograph of a woman who may be his mother. The back of the photograph has faded handwriting that reads ‘Villa Floria-Zanobini 1939.’

What follows is an entertaining introduction to the food and culture of this part of Italy. You get chance encounters with cinghiale (wild boar), history of the area, comical interactions between the genders, and mentions of traditional dishes and regional wines. It's a rich, and fun, novel though his handle on the Italian language is clunky. But he did have me longing for a Negroni.

"'The house special is a Negroni.'
...
Bill smiled and whisked two long cocktail glasses from below the bar and added some ice. Bottles of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth were tossed into a glass and given a quick spin with a long spoon. Orange peel was sliced off and used as garnish. Bill presented the translucent ruby cocktail with a nod.

'To a magnificent day,' Bill toasted" (pg. 104).


On the Plate
Inspired by this passage, I made fluffy scrambled eggs in the double boiler with fresh dill from our garden...

"Back in the barn, the yolks were huge and orange, and Jacoby hummed as he whipped a half-dozen eggs together with the some chopped prosciutto left over from Paolo's welcome bounty. He added some sage taken from a bush behind the barn. He scrambled the eggs and prosciutto then slowly reduced them to a creamy consistency over a double boiler.... Jacoby loved cooking for people, then sharing the meal and mutual pleasure of being together. Eating the same food; drinking the same wine; everyone on the same stage. It was like sex when sex was good and mutual" (pg. 68).

And steak was inspired by how he knew that his engagement was over; Claire had lied about where she had been for days.

"'The steak is from the butcher in Panzano.'
'How'd you know that?'
'Sage.'
'What?'
Jacoby looked at Claire. 'Sage. The cows he gets his meat from are fed on enough sage that there's a hint of its flavor in the meat. I knew it that night in the restaurant..." (pg. 174).

Plancha-Grilled Skirt Steak

Ingredients
  • 2 lb skirt steak (approximately three 1/2" thick pieces)
  • 2-1/2 t whole peppercorns (I used a mixture of black, white, and pink)
  • 1 T coarse sea salt
  • Also needed: caramelized onions, roasted potatoes, fluffy scrambled eggs

Procedure
Prepare plancha grill for cooking over direct heat. While grill is heating, coarsely crush peppercorns with a mortar and pestle. Mix the crushed pepper with the sea salt and set aside.

Pat steaks dry and sprinkle both sides liberally with the salt-pepper mixture, pressing gently to help it stick to the meat. Grill steaks on lightly oiled grill. Cook approximately 7 or 8 minutes total for medium-rare, so 4 minutes on each side.

Transfer steaks to a cutting board and let stand, tented loosely with foil, for 5 to 10 minutes. Thinly slice steaks diagonally and serve with caramelized onions (process in this post), roasted potatoes, and fluffy scrambled eggs for a filling Cucina Tipica breakfast.

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.


Here's what everyone else read in March 2019: here.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Candied Cranberries #OurFamilyTable


Today we are sharing breakfast recipes. Christie encouraged the group: "We are guilty of having breakfast for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert! Um.... chocolate waffles? Hello? Show us how you serve up breakfast for your family."

We share Recipes From Our Dinner Table! Join our group and share your recipes, too! While you're at it, join our Pinterest board, too!


Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Candied Cranberries
If you've been following me for awhile, you'll know that I am pancake-challenged. I can make beautiful crêpes. My Dutch oven pancakes are dreamy. But try to make fluffy buttermilk pancakes and they are a flop. I finally created a recipe that makes pancakes that aren't unintentionally flat: ricotta pancakes! The lemon and candied cranberries in this recipe make them a little bit more fancy.

Ingredients
Pancakes
  • 2 C whole milk ricotta
  • 2 T  freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 T finely grated lemon zest from an organic lemon
  • 2 C flour
  • 2 T baking powder
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 4 T organic granulated sugar, divided
  • 1-1/2 C whole milk
  • melted unsalted butter for brushing

Candied Cranberries
  • 2 C fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1-1/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 3/4 C water
Procedure
Candied Cranberries
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar completely. Place thawed cranberries in a medium bowl or top of a double boiler. Pour the syrup over the cranberries. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook over very low heat until the syrup is pink and the cranberries are tender but still holding their shape, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and let the cranberries cool completely. Refrigerate until chilled. The syrup will thicken as it cools.

Pancakes
Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Beat egg whites in a medium bowl until frothy. Gradually beat in 2 T sugar, until stiff peaks form.


In another bowl, blend together milk, egg yolk, ricotta, lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining 2 T sugar. Gradually add dry ingredients to the yolk mixture. Whisk until just moistened.


Add in egg white mixture; fold just to blend.

Heat a griddle or heavy skillet over low to medium heat. Brush with melted butter. Using scant 1/3 C batter for each pancake, Scoop batter onto griddle and cook until bottom is golden brown, edges are dry, and bubbles form on top of pancake, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook until browned and just cooked through, approximately another minute.


Transfer pancakes to plates. Serve with candied cranberries.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Glazed Beet & Burrata Toasts + Alice Paillard #Winophiles


For the March edition of The French Winophiles, Julia of her eponymous website is hosting. You can read her invitation where she disclosed, "Our March event focuses on the Women of Champagne. Champagne has a rich heritage and we have many women to thank include Madame Moët, Madame Clicquot, and Madame Pommery. I am also excited to highlight amazing women in various roles in Champagne, including winemaking and business." I am very excited to look at champagne with a new lens this month.

The Other #Winophiles' Posts

In My Glass

Besides the obvious female to Champagne connection - Barbe-Nicole Cliquot Ponsardin - I wasn't sure where to begin. More on 'the Widow Clicquot' soon, I promise. So, I started researching and reading. Then, sourcing a wine to match my findings was another challenge.

Since Julia opened up the field of posts to women in any aspect of the Champagne business, I ended up turning my spotlight on Alice Paillard. A bit of background: Bruno Paillard bought his first vineyard in the mid-1990s. He aquired three grand cru hectares in Oger in the Côte des Blancs. Then he began to bolster his holdings and he now holds over thirty hectares, including a dozen grand crus. Those vineyards provide half of the grapes he needs; the rest he sources from independent growers.

In January 2007, his daughter Alice joined the family venture. After working her way up from the vineyards and the cellar, Alice now co-manages the Maison Bruno Paillard alongside her father and is poised to helm the business in the future.

Back in December, my friend Cindy of Grape Experiences posted a great piece about Alice Paillard. Read that here.


The  Bruno Paillard Première Cuvée is an interpretation of the region, comprised of a blend of 45% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay, and 22% Pinot Meunier. And it's aged longer than the legal requirement with three years sur lie and another five months minimum after disgorgement.

To the eye, this has a very pale straw hue with tight bubbles. To the nose, I got primarily citrus. But as it stood in the glass, it leaned towards the more exotic fruit such as pineapple. But it was on the palate that this Champagne really glowed. The citrus aromas were matched with the first sip. But it progressed to an almost earthy sparkler that reminded me of the best brioche you've ever had. It's simultaneously bright and filling. 

On My Plate

My friend Pia made these and brought them over for the birthday dinner along with a bubbly-friendly cheese platter that included a blue cheese from Vermont, a creamy brie, Muscat grapes, and fresh berries. We like how the earthiness of the beets, creaminess of the burrata, and refreshing bubbles of the Champagne complemented each other. I will definitely be making this again when I have another bottle of Champagne on hand.

Glazed Beet & Burrata Toasts
slightly adapted from foodandwine.com

Ingredients
  • 3 organic red beets, approximately 3/4 pound
  • 3 to 4 fresh organic thyme sprigs 
  • 1 t peppercorns 
  • 1 T red wine vinegar 
  • 1/2 C sherry vinegar 
  • 2 T organic granulated sugar 
  • 1 rosemary sprig 
  • 1/4 C water
  • salt
  • sliced bread, brushed with olive oil and toasted 
  • 1/2 pound burrata cheese, cut into 12 pieces 
  • 12 small watercress sprigs 
  • olive oil, for drizzling 
  • flaky salt, for serving

Procedure  
In a medium saucepan, cover the beets with cold water. Add thyme sprigs, peppercorns, and red wine vinegar. Bring to a boil, then simmer, partially covered, until the beets are tender, approximately 45 minutes. Add water as needed to keep the beets covered. Drain the beets. Once cool enough to handle, peel and dice them.

Return the diced beets to the saucepan. Pour in the sherry vinegar. Add the sugar, rosemary, and water. Bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat until a syrupy glaze forms, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the rosemary and season the beets with salt.

To serve, top each toast with a spoonful of the glazed beets, a piece of burrata, and a sprig of watercress. Drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with salt and serve immediately.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Tourtière Landaise (Apple and Brandy Phyllo Pie) #PiDay


Happy Pi Day! Every year Coleen of The Redhead Baker invites her blogging pals to post pie recipes in honor of the day. And, in previous events, I've shared Lamb, Basmati Rice, and Grape Leaf Pi(e) and Matcha-Chocolate Pie. And I actually just did a round-up earlier this evening in my post Mathematics, LEGO, and a Pie Parade. But here's the pie rack for the 2019 edition of #PiDay with Coleen...

Tourtière Landaise
First, this dessert and this post, almost didn't happen. Almost. The first time I went to make it, I somehow managed to push the temperature to broil, instead of 325°F. Needless to say, by the time my husband mentioned the burning smell, it looked like this...


I almost cried. Second, in the package of phyllo dough that I had purchased for take two, the sheets weren't whole. They were cracked and tore in half as soon as I pulled them out of the wrapper. I might have rushed in defrosting them. But I decided that, since many of the sheets were crumpled anyway, I was running with it.

A note: traditionally the Tourtière Landaise is made with apples and armagnac which is a French brandy made with grapes. Similar to cognac, armagnac is a French brandy made with grapes. But unlike the former, armagnac is distilled once rather than twice; also it is aged in black oak barrels rather than white. I opted to go further away from traditional with a brandy made in Normandy. But this brandy - Calvados - is made out of apples. I figured that that spirit would actually be very complementary. It was!


Ingredients
  • 8 T butter
  • 3 T brandy (traditional is armagnac, substitute cognac or I used Calvados)
  • 2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 18 sheets of phyllo dough (that was an entire package for me)
  • 5 to 6 T organic granulated sugar
  • 1 organic apple, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer)
  • organic powdered sugar for serving
  • Also needed: a brush, a tart pan with removable sides and bottom


Procedure
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low to medium heat. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn't brown or burn.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove melted butter from heat and pour in brandy and vanilla extract.
Grease your pan. Using a pastry brush, brush one sheet of phyllo with the butter-brandy mixture and place it in the bottom of the pan. Repeat with three more sheets so that the bottom has four layers over it. Sprinkle 1 T sugar over the bottom and place half of the apples in a thin layer over that. Sprinkle with another T of sugar.


Brush 7 more sheets of phyllo dough and crumple them into a ball at the bottom of the dish, creating a crumpled layer. Sprinkle with 1 T sugar and place the remaining apples in a layer over that and sprinkle with another T sugar.  Brush the rest of the sheets and create another crumple layer. Sprinkle 1 T sugar over the top and gently fold any edges in towards the center.


Drizzle the pie with any remaining butter-Calvados mixture, then sprinkle the phyllo with the remaining sugar. Bake until the phyllo is golden brown and the apples are tender, approximately 40 to 45 minutes.


Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before unmolding the pie. Serve hot, dusted with powdered sugar.


I can't believe I've never had this pie. It's flaky, airy, and so, so delicious. I can't wait to make it again. Soon.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Vanilla-Mascarpone Popovers #BreadBakers


BreadBakers#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. This month the Bread Bakers are focusing on cheese bread.

Host Sue from Palatable Pastime gave us these guidelines: "Make a loaf with cheese mixed into the dough or batter (not simply melted on it like pizza or a cheese pull-apart loaf). If a cheese cube is fully enclosed or encased by dough, that will be fine. Any type of cheese is acceptable, including vegan cheese, also powdered/dried cheese."

"Yeast breads and quick breads (those using baking powder for leavening) and even unleavened breads are all great. Some examples of acceptable breads without yeast include sourdough, muffins, coffee cakes, crepes, doughnuts, dumplings, tea breads, pancakes, popovers, scones and waffles."


Wow! Cheese + bread is one of my favorite combinations. I had just posted a recipe for Flaounes (Cypriot Cheese Pastries); I considered re-doing the Casatiello I made or creating a savory version of my Chrysanthemum Bread


But, then, the boys were clamboring for popovers and I remembered that Sue had approved them. I have made Cotswold-Chive Popovers before. This time I wanted to lean towards the sweet side and opted to stir in some mascarpone cheese (my homemade version) to the batter. These were light, fluffy, and so scrumptious. First...

The Cheesy Bread Basket


Vanilla-Mascarpone Popovers

Ingredients makes 6 popovers
  • 1 C organic whole milk
  • 1/2 C mascarpone cheese (here's my homemade version)
  • 1-1/2 C flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T butter, cut into 6 cubes

Procedure
Preheat oven to 400º F. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat and whisk in the mascarpone.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs. Temper the eggs so they don't scramble or curdle. Whisk constantly until the eggs and milk are completely combined. Fold in the flour and salt until just combined. Then stir in the vanilla extract.

Place the popover pan in the oven for 3 minutes to preheat. At the end of 3 minutes, remove the pan from the oven, and add a pat of butter to each cup.

Once the butter has melted, pour the batter into the cups, filling each about three-quarters of the way. 

Bake the popovers for 20 minutes at 400º F. Reduce the temperature to 300º F and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes. 


Remove the popovers from the oven and serve immediately.  As they cool, they will deflate.


For more cheesy goodness, add a smear more of mascarpone and homemade jam in these. Yum!

Mathematics, LEGO, and a Pie Parade #FoodieReads


How to Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of Mathematics by Eugenia Cheng* has been on my bookshelf for years. I picked it up once, got distracted, and back it went. But, this past weekend, I dove into it and really enjoyed it. I needed a change of pace from novels that have been decent, but not fantastic. And non-fiction is always my default genre.


Cheng has a great editorial voice that makes a subject from which many people cringe seem much more accessible and even - gasp! - fun and funny.

She tackles the topic of  abstraction, as a blueprint for pie. She writes, "Cottage pie, shepherd's pie, and fisherman's pie are all more or less the same - the only difference is the filling that is sitting underneath the mashed potato topping. Fruit crisp is also very similar - you don't need a different recipe for different types of crisp, you just need to know how to make the topping. Then you put the fruit of your choice in a dish, add the topping, and bake it" (pg. 16).

She explains measurements in the context of relationships. "How big is a cup? Measuring with cups is less accurate than weighing on a digital scale, and then there's the issue of official cup sizes being different in different countries. But it's quite clever because as long as it's all in cups it doesn't matter how big the cup is - you just have to use the same cup for each ingredient" (pg. 183).


And because I already had LEGO on the brain from my Deconstructed Banana Mousse Pies for this month's Food'N'Flix, I really enjoyed her discussion of those little plastic blocks! 

Cheng wrote: "When you sit down with a pile of Lego bricks, you have two things: a pile of objects, and some way of sticking them together. The great genius of Lego (or perhaps I should say one aspect of its great genius) is that it is so simple yet has so many possibilities. ...Math works like Lego. You start with some basic building blocks and some ways of sticking them together, and then you see what you can build. But there are two ways round you can do this: you can start with the bricks and see what you can build, or you can start with something you want to build, and see what bricks you'll need in order to build it" (pg. 118).

One year the boys made me a little LEGO, flower-topped cake for my birthday. I love how creative they get with those things. I am LEGO-challenged. I wonder if they'll remember the process they took - idea first or bricks first?


Well, for this post, I didn't actually make any new pies. But, in honor of Pi Day, in a couple of days, and this book, I'm hosting a pie parade - with previous pies that we have loved. Enjoy!

The Pie Parade
Every single time I get ready to write about pies, I recall this conversation from many years ago when we were discussing: What makes a pie a pie? It makes me laugh!

Sensibly, my Precise Kitchen Elf said, "A pie has no frosting." True.

My Love declared, "It's the crust." Okay.

And my sweet, Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf asserted, "A pie has a crust...and is low to the ground." Huh. "You know, a cake can be tall; a pie is short."

Employing all three of those criteria - no frosting, a crust, and low to the ground - a galette, a tart, and more can qualify as a pie. But I'm sticking it mostly traditional for this round-up. 

On the fruity pie front, this is a Peaches and Cream Tart and a Foraged Huckleberry Pie that were both posted for my first time participating in the Pieathalon.


For the chocolate lovers out there, here's a {Gluten-Free} Matcha-Chocolate Pie and our Chocolate Silk Pie.


For an added kick of booze or caffeine, how about D's Espresso-Pecan Pie or my Bourbon Chocolate Chess Pie.


But my two favorites are always going to be a Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie and a Rhubarb Pie, not a strawberry rhubarb, just plain, tart, delicious rhubarb!


What's your pie of choice?

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.


Here's what everyone else read in March 2019: here.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Flaounes (Cypriot Cheese Pastries) #BakingBloggers


The Baking Bloggers have taken to their ovens to bake up a Greek, Turkish or Cypriot recipe. Hosts Sue and Wendy said, "[It's your] choice of sweet or savory. It can be whatever you like, as long as at least part of it is baked- breads, baklava, oven roasted potatoes, casseroles (such as moussaka or pastitsio) and so on." Here this month's bread basket...


I really wanted to make a version of Eliopitakia (Olive Pies from Cyprus), photo above, which was a favorite back in 2012. I even taught it during my Culinary Adventurers class in early 2013. But, for some bizarre reason, he's decided that he doesn't care for olives anymore. I figure he'll go back to them eventually. I don't fight with them about food too much because they are pretty flexible. However, eliopitakia were off the table for this event.


Flaounes 
Cypriot Cheese Pastries

When I found a recipe for Flaounes (Cypriot Cheese Pastries), I knew I had to try them. These are not totally traditional - surprise! - as I didn't have any halloumi and we skipped the raisins. But these were a hit! I loved the combination of fresh herbs and tangy cheese wrapped in a pillowy dough. Pure deliciousness.
Ingredients

Dough
  • 13 g dried/active dry yeast 
  • 250 ml whole milk, warmed to steaming but not boiling
  • 100 g butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 40 g organic granulated sugar
  • 450 g flour + more for kneading
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 2 t ground cardamom (this results in a strong flavor, reduce if you prefer)
  • 1 t salt (I used a Danish flake salt, but use whatever you have)
  • 1 egg, beaten

Filling
  • 1 pound mix of cheeses, e.g. halloumi, feta, parmesan, pecorino, manchego, grated (I used feta, pecorino, and an aged mozzarella)
  • 1 t flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 C fresh organic mint, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 t black pepper

To Finish
  • 1 beaten egg
  • black sesame seeds (white are traditional, but I use that I have)

Procedure

Dough

Pour warm milk into a large mixing bowl, stir in sugar, and sprinkle yeast over the top. Let bloom for 10 to 15 minutes. It should be foamy and frothy. Add in the butter and egg. Whisk to combine.

Add in the flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt. Knead until a scraggy dough forms. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 30 to 40 minutes. It should be doubled in size. In the meantime, make the filling.

Filling
Place all of the ingredient into a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside


Baking
Dust a workspace with flour and turn out the dough. Knead the dough, dusting to prevent sticking if needed. Divide the dough into 6 to 8 balls. Roll out each ball to a rough circle shape and place 2 T filling in the center. Fold up the sides to form a triangle, pressing on the seams, gently, to seal the pastry rim. 




When the pastry is completely closed, place it on parchment paper or silicone mat-lined baking sheet. Brush the dough with beaten egg and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Let them rest and rise for 20 to 25 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 395 degrees F. Place the buns in the oven. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on the sheet for a few minutes before serving.

Deconstructed Banana Mousse Pies + Playing with Our LEGO Banana Manns #FoodNFlix


Welcome to March 2019 edition of Food'N'Flix. And this month, Kelley at Simply Inspired Meals is hosting is hosting. You can read her invitation, but she's invited us to watch The LEGO Movie or The LEGO Movie 2.* 

Let's start with this: my boys are LEGO fiends and have been for years. When they were smaller, we took them to the annual Bricks by the Bay event about an hour north of us. And we always left there with lots and lots of specialty LEGO bricks that they couldn't find anywhere else.

One year, when we took some friends, the girls and I bought matching LEGO rings and LEGO barrettes. I dug mine out of my jewelry drawer while we watched this movie.


Once while R was busy at a school event out of town, D and I popped over to the LEGO store at the mall in that city, while we waited, and he happily hand-picked colors and shapes that he didn't have at home.


And even though LEGOLAND® Billund Resort in Denmark was closed for the entire time we were visiting over the holidays, so we couldn't visit, D was pretty excited about this enormous LEGO Viking that was at the airport. Needless to say: We've seen all of the movies, including LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Batman, and LEGO Ninjago films. But, for this event, they said they'd watch the first one with me, again.


On the Screen
If you watched the trailer, you might be picturing a stop-motion animated Lego movie. Not quite!
The LEGO Movie is a kick. It brings back a lot childhood memories, if you grew up in the 80s like I did. The story was amazing, the jokes were hilarious, and the filmmakers have great attention to details. I would suspect they grew up in the 80s, too.

This is a great kids movie, but it's highly enjoyable for all ages. And I really like the message: do your best; follow the directions; but sometimes you have to work as a team and be creative. That last one is the clincher because as we grow up, sometimes we stop being creative and just follow the rules.

So I decided to get creative with my dish offering, too. When I started making it - and pulled out the LEGO Banana men (title of Banana Manns is a play on my last name, by the way) - my youngest, objected, "Mom, they didn't have banana parfaits or whatever that is in the movie." Well, no, they didn't, but it's what I'm inspired to make.


On the Table
They giggled about having a LEGO Banana Manns scene in the middle of the dining room table for the day. I thought about making Banana Mousse Pies. But, in honor of our Banana Manns, I decided to deconstruct (LEGO-style, LOL) a banana mousse pie and put them in glasses. Easy peasy!

Deconstructed Banana Mousse Pies
makes 4 twelve-ounce desserts


Ingredients
  • 2 C organic heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1/2 C organic condensed milk
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cream
  • 1/4 C banana liqueur
  • 1/4 C warm water
  • 1 pouch gelatin powder
  • yellow food dye (I used a brand that is naturally derived from turmeric, so no chemical dyes)
  • 2 organic bananas
  • 2 C crushed graham crackers
  • 1/2 C semisweet chocolate chunks or chips
  • cocoa powder for garnish
  • Optional: LEGO Banana Manns



Procedure
Place condensed milk, mascarpone, and liqueur in another mixing bowl. Whisk until well-combined. Set aside.

Place water and gelatin in a small saucepan and heat until the gelatin is dissolved. Keep warm.

Place 1 C whipping cream in a large bowl. Beat until stiff peaks form. Pour in the condensed milk mixture and beat for a minute or two. Pour in the warmed gelatin and beat until peaks form, approximately 5 minutes or so.

Now you're ready to assemble. Place your four serving glasses on a tray and scoop in some of the banana mousse.


Add in banana slices, graham crackers crumbles, and chocolate chunks.


Repeat with the layers until your glasses are full. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.


To Serve
Whip the remaining whipping cream into stiff peaks. You can just scoop the whipped cream over the top and sprinkle with cocoa powder. Or, I opted to pipe the whipped cream with a decorator tip.


Serve immediately. And don't forget to play with your LEGO Banana Manns, if they're at the party!


*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.


 

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