Our sleepover guests were lazy little oversleepers so we decided to use the time to start preparing an elaborate brunch. We started with fresh butter croissants slightly toasted in the toaster oven. We sliced ripe Haas avocados, vine tomatoes, red onions and Parma prosciutto arranged on a serving platter. We tossed a large green salad (spinach, arugula, watercress, fresh dill) and a vegetable salad (avocados, tomatoes, red onions, orange, red and yellow bell peppers) accompanied with homemade dressing (freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice, apple cider vinegar, 1 clove of garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and agave). For dessert, it was fresh bananas, molasses and what else? freshly whipped cream! Of course finished with freshly ground coffee beans brewed in a traditonal stovetop espresso maker (we use this Bialetti stainless steel model).
By now you must be thinking we must be tipping the scales but we’re actually pretty fit. My husband is 6’3″ and 185 lbs and I’m 5’9″ and 125 lbs. (though post-holidays we should probably add 5 lbs). But not because we exercise excessively (actually we could do with a little more) nor do we diet (against our religion… seriously). No, we follow the regimen of eat what you want when you want IN MODERATION and with discipline. For instance, my husband has a weakness for whipped cream so he only polishes off a quart of heavy cream once or twice a year. On the other hand, I have a thing for Italian prosciutto from Parma (the kind that literally melts in your mouth). So I proceed to buy myself a couple of lbs during the holidays of which I may go through in 2-3 days. Not very healthy but it keeps us sane and satiated in what is an otherwise very healthy lifestyle.
Our everyday consists of pretty simple and healthy food. And I’m not talking about only eating organic and free-range either. We choose not to eat a lot of red meat or carbs. Instead we eat a lot of fresh greens and salads, beans (our favs are mung, lentils, black eyed peas and chick peas) and quinoa — all home-cooked. We never eat out because we’re always disappointed that we could have done a far better job cooking the meal. My husband loves to cook and I love to eat so we’re a match made in a foodie’s heaven! More food sharings to come in the near future…
Since we had no leftovers (mainly due to our pigging out and not our expert use of measurements), we cooked an entirely new meal from scratch, which I’ll tell you about after I first gripe about spending half a day trying to hook up Netflix and Pandora wirelessly to my new Samsung flat-screen TV and Samsung Blu-Ray player.
Of course the salesperson at Radio Shack forgot to mention in his pitch that I had to purchase a Samsung wireless USB adapter separately to set it up properly for an additional $80. I couldn’t justify paying more than half the cost of the player just to get wireless so I bought a 25 ft ethernet cable off eBay for $4 and will settle on simply playing DVDs until the cable arrives. Meanwhile, I nursed my bruised technibility by baking a banana cream pie, what else?
Here’s the recipe I used:
Banana Coconut Cream Pie
Serving size: 8
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 3 ripe bananas, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon agave sweetener
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 6 oz block of bittersweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake crust 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.
Filling: Combine brown sugar, cornstarch, shredded coconut and salt in a bowl. Add egg yolks and 1 teaspoon vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Bring coconut milk to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk to yolk mixture in a slow, steady stream while whisking constantly. Then pour mixture into saucepan with hot coconut milk and cook, whisking until mixture is thickened (about 6 mins). Add butter and stir until melted then add bananas. Pour into crust and refrigerate for an hour.
Topping: Beat together heavy cream, agave, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, spread whipped cream over filling shaping into peaks.
With a vegetable peeler, shave chocolate and sprinkle over pie.
Enjoy this amazing pie!
We decided to try something different for Thanksgiving this year. I’m not very fond of turkey meat (too dry, too much leftover and too much work) so we substituted with Cornish Hens instead with fantastic results! It was the perfect portion, juicy, only took just over an hour to cook and was much tastier meat.
Here’s what we did: First, we marinated them overnight in butter, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, salt, pepper and some extra virgin olive oil. Then I started making the gravy. I peeled and chopped fresh celery, carrots, onion and garlic and sauteed in butter until caramelized (my fav!). I added organic chicken stock (from Costco), whole peppercorns and fresh rosemary and thyme. Then I poured the pan drippings from the hens into the gravy concoction and let simmer on low until the hens are toasty browned on the outside. I should mention that we found it helps seal in the moisture by pouring some water into the pan while cooking. It also makes more delicious drippings for the gravy.
I didn’t make my Cranberry Orange sauce this year because my husband bought dried cranberries instead of fresh cranberries. So I tossed a handful into the stuffing instead and voila! cranberry sauce and stuffing in one. Next time I’ll try adding freshly roasted almonds.
For dessert, I baked 2 sweet potato pies using organic pie crusts (from Whole Foods). Here’s the delicious recipe I used. I only added a tablespoon of vanilla extract to the recipe. My husband is Dutch so dessert in our house is unthinkable without freshly whipped cream. Using the handmixer, he whipped heavy cream until it was deliciously light and fluffy. The sweet potato pie with fresh whipped cream was a hit. Everyone was fighting for the last slice. Needless to say, no leftovers. I ate so much my limbs felt like unnecessary extensions just using energy that was needed to digest. I’m just glad Thanksgiving is only once a year.