Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rhubarb sauce and Bean dip

Rhubarb sauce and bean dip....two completely unrelated dishes, but both amazing nonetheless.

At the Farmer's Market no the Square last Saturday, I picked up a few stalks of rhubarb. They weren't particularly nice-looking, but I figured it'd be good as a taster -- it's been a while since I last cooked up a batch of rhubarb sauce.


Rhubarb, rinsed
Butter (optional)
Custard (for serving)

The important thing is to make sure you remove the leaves completely -- they're poisonous. The pink and white parts of the stalk are perfectly good to use. Chop them into 1/4 or 1/2 inch pieces and toss them into a sauce pan or pot with a bit of water (add more as needed, depending on how thick you want your sauce to be). Cook until you can still see the pieces, but they've fallen apart and are mushy and all things nice. I continually poured in sugar until it tasted good...rhubarb is exceptionally tart, so this is is one of the few dishes where it isn't possible to cut or skimp on the sugar. I also tossed in a pat of butter to round out the taste. I'll be serving it with Ambrosia custard...and maybe also frozen custard! This is Wisconsin, after all.

This bean dip recipe was featured on the back of the refried beans can. Since I had all the ingredients on hand, I figured, why not? And the results are fantastic! I'll definitely be serving this all summer.


1 can refried beans
1 cup salsa
1 cup cheese

Method: Heat in microwave stirring every 1 min til hot. That's IT!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The anti-everything: banoffee pie

Condensed milk ==> dulce de leche. Just heat and stir, right? Well, yes...if you have the patience to sit and stir continually for nearly 2 hours! 

(The alternative was to dunk the entire can into a vat of boiling water for about 3 hours, but I wasn't about to risk combustibles in my apartment. Maybe I'll try the slow-cooker method next time).

Regardless, the result? A sinfully delicious banoffee pie:

I used the cheaper Burton's -- tastes fine.
Ignore my "double boiler". At the start, the condensed milk was pale and soupy
This is about 2 hours in. It needed about another hour to get a nicer golden brown caramel color, but it had already lost a lot of liquid via this method. A pressure cooker or slow cooker might yield better results, if you don't want to boil the sealed can.
Layered in a extra bananas -- the dulce de leche is quite sweet
I don't own a springform pan, but this 9x9 worked reasonably well
Not very photogenic, but thoroughly made up in taste!
Last but not least, a non-banana version, for the allergic M
In the future, I may add a hint of confectioner's sugar to the whipped heavy cream, and a teaspoon of vanilla. I think coffee or dark chocolate dusting on the top would be nice as well, especially if crunchy (like oreo cookie crumbs). One version called for chocolate IN the whipped cream, which would likely be delicious as well... and with that, we're well on our way to diabetes and clogged arteries!

Last but not least, I don't like the dulce de leche to be chilled when serving this dish (it hardens a little, like caramel). It should be chilled enough to set, then brought out to near room temperature. The bananas should be chilled and sliced immediately before serving, along with the whipped heavy cream.

[recipe modified from Food Network UK]

Banoffee Pie

1 can sweetened condensed milk (about 400g)
12 crushed digestive biscuits
1/2 stick butter, melted
2+ large ripe bananas
1 pint double cream
Ground cinnamon
Dark chocolate, grated


1) Pour condensed milk into double boiler and cook over low heat for about 1.5 hours, stirring frequently. Be careful not to burn as it sticks to the bottom of the pan.

2) Crush the digestives (I hammered the biscuits in a plastic ziploc, but the original recipe called for a food processor -- pulse the butter in). Pour crumbs and melted butter into pan (knead until mixed, if you didn't use the processor) and press with your hands or a measuring cup to evenly distribute on the bottom of the pan.

3) Chill to set for about 15 minutes in the refrigerator.

4) Pour the dulce de leche over the digestive biscuit base. Spread evenly. Slice the peeled bananas and arrange over the top covering the entire surface. Whip the cream until firm and spread over the top. Sprinkle top with cinnamon and grated chocolate. Serve.

A twist on an old stand-by...

PBJ...sushi! Used sunflower seed butter rather than peanut butter. It tastes OK, but I prefer peanut butter. Next time we'll try cashew butter...I'm sensitive to almonds.