Monthly Archives: May 2013

Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana Cocktail

I can’t help myself.  “There’s always money in the banana stand.”  Now I said it, and I can move on.

Have you been watching Season 4 of Arrested Development on Netflix?  I am such a huge nerd fan!  So of course when I started to think about cocktails that would use up some frozen bananas I had on hand, I wanted to G.O.B. ’em up (double chocolate with nuts and two sticks).  I kid.

But I’m not the first person to see a frozen banana and think “Let’s add rum.”  I found this recipe for a Dirty Banana cocktail, and after longing momentarily for a tropical island vacation, my wheels started turning.  Why not substitute the walnut liqueur, Nocello, for Kahlua as the nuts on the frozen banana?

So I sent the hubby to the store to pick up some crème de cacao for the chocolate part, because this drink was happening.  But he called me with an even better idea.  Adult Chocolate Milk.  Oh yeah.  Somebody tell me that you have tried the Adult Strawberry Milk and loved it.  Because I’m really hoping it’s loveable.

To top it all off, I added whipped cream and chocolate-covered banana slices.  And aren’t the his and hers paper straws too cute?  But don’t let the sweetness fool you; this drink is strong enough for a Bluth at breakfast.

Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana Cocktail

4 frozen bananas
4 oz. dark rum
1 oz. Nocello (walnut liqueur)
2 oz. Adult Chocolate Milk
2 oz. milk

Blend frozen bananas with rum, Nocello, Adult Chocolate Milk, and milk in a blender until mixture is smooth and frothy.  Pour in chilled glasses and garnish with whipped cream and chocolate-covered banana slices, if desired.

Makes 2 cocktails.

Linking to the awesome parties listed here.

Indi-Mexi-Italian Fusion: Mint Pumpkin Seed Pesto

I have yet to meet a chutney that I didn’t love, but mint chutney is on my must-have list.  Like ketchup is a must with hot, crispy crinkle-cut French fries.  So one would think that when I had both mint and cilantro in my fridge, whipping up a mint chutney would be a no-brainer.  Right?

Right.  Except that I was craving pesto with lots of olive oil and served up with a gluten-free crostini.  Especially after I found this  pumpkin seed pesto recipe from Flourishing Foodie.  My idea was to replace the fresh sage with cilantro to up the Mexi-flavor.

And then I did what I do and married all of these ethnic flavors into one kick-butt fusion pesto.  I crumbled farmer’s cheese over the top and served it up with Sesame Blues.  You could also stir this pesto into cooked pasta or rice, spread it on a sandwich, whisk it with vinegar for a salad dressing, or mix it into a compound butter.  The fusion flavors just make it that much more versatile.

Mint Pumpkin Seed Pesto

3/4 c. pepitas
1 c. fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 c. fresh mint leaves
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup olive oil, or to taste
1/2 lime, juiced
kosher salt, to taste

Toast pepitas in a skillet on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned on the edges.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Place the cilantro, mint, garlic, and ginger into a food processor and pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped.  Add the pumpkin seeds and process until combined.  Leaving the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil until the mixture reaches your desired consistency.  Add lime juice and salt and pulse a few more times to combine.

Store unused pesto in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Makes about 2 cups.

Linking to the awesome parties listed here.

Pantry Raid: Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Sauce

I wanted eggplant in garlic sauce.  But I didn’t want to go out, and we can’t get good takeout delivery in my neighborhood.  (Unless you know something I don’t know fellow near-Eastside Indy dwellers.)  I went online for inspiration and found this Sichuan Eggplant from Appetite for China.

Of course, I didn’t have all of the ingredients in my pantry.  Still not wanting to go out, I would have to figure out some substitutions.  To be honest with you, this is one of my favorite parts of cooking.  Behind the eating.  And making others happy.  And the compliments.

Making substitutions also allowed me to choose gluten-free and refined sugar-free ingredients.  And it gave me some small satisfaction to use what I had on hand.  If you don’t have the ingredients listed below, I encourage you to make your own substitutions.  Let me know how it turns out.

Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Sauce

3/4 lb. eggplant
1 T. chicken stock
1 T. red curry paste
1 T. tamari or soy sauce
1 T. balsamic vinegar
2 t. cooking rice wine
1 t. honey
1/2 t. red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 t. cornstarch
1 T. vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2-inch piece ginger, minced
Thinly sliced green onions, if desired

Peel and seed (if desired) eggplant and cut into 1-inch cubes.  (I used a thick-skinned Italian eggplant, and I prefer to remove both the skin and seeds.  For Asian eggplants, I would skip this step and simply cube it.)  Set aside.

To make the sauce, combine chicken stock, red curry paste, tamari sauce, balsamic vinegar, rice wine, honey, red pepper flakes, and cornstarch in a small bowl.  Stir and set aside.

Heat wok or non-stick skillet over high heat, then add oil and swirl the pan so that the bottom and sides are coated. Add cubed eggplant and stir-fry until golden-brown, approximately 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 30 seconds.  Pour the sauce mixture in the pan and stir to coat the eggplant.  Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Serve eggplant over rice and garnish with sliced green onions, if desired.

Makes 2 servings (or 1 large serving)

Linking to the awesome parties listed here.

Create and Inspire

Sweet & Savory Cornmeal Pancakes (Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free)

Do you ever have cravings for a particular food that you haven’t eaten in years?  Just out of nowhere?  That’s me with these cornmeal pancakes.  So when I found this gluten-free recipe for sweet or savory cornmeal pancakes, I was a happy camper.

Except why, I thought, do I have to choose between sweet or savory?  Why not both?  And that, children, is how we got Sweet & Savory Cornmeal Pancakes.  You are welcome.

Sweet & Savory Cornmeal Pancakes

1 1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
1 t. salt
3/4 c. milk, or more as needed
1 c. dried cranberries
1 tsp. grated orange peel
1/4 c. chopped chives
3 slices crispy bacon, crumbled
2 T. bacon drippings
1 large egg
1 T. walnut oil, or preferred oil

Combine the cornmeal, salt, and 1 1/2 cups boiling water in a bowl. Stir and let sit until the cornmeal absorbs the water and softens, approximately 5 minutes. In a small bowl, beat the egg and set side. Stir cranberries, orange peel, chives, bacon, and drippings into the cornmeal mixture. Add the egg and stir until combined. Slowly add milk, until the batter is the desired consistency — thin enough to spread on the pan, but not too thin.

Put a large non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add a drizzle of oil to the pan. Spoon out the batter, making any size pancakes you like. Cook until edges and underside are golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, then turn and cook on the other side until golden.  Serve with maple syrup.

Makes 4-6 servings.

SeeKarenFollow: This Week

So, yeah, it’s been a while.  And you would think that I would have lots of pictures from Instagram to share during my absence.  But when this lady takes a break, she means it.  So here is what little I have to show and tell from the last two weeks.

I saved some of my hubby’s old t-shirts from the donation bin to make some t-shirt yarn.  I have no idea what I’m going to do with it yet.  There are just so many options to choose, it overwhelms me.

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brunch #seekarencook #annumography

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The hubby made me a brunch sammie on gluten-free bread and served it up with some pickled shrimp.  Yum!  Who’s a lucky wife?

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137/365 do-over #365project #seekarencook

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This is the only evidence remaining of my latest epic recipe fail.  Crab-stuffed something sounded good, I had some zucchini in the fridge, and quinoa would make it all gluten-free.  Long story short, do not try to talk yourself into thinking that canned crab meat will work in a pinch.  It doesn’t.  Didn’t I learn anything from Top Chef?

Fortunately these lovely people have been much more productive than I over the last couple of weeks, giving me lots of goodies to pin on Pinterest.

  1. Okay, so if I had this blooming monogram on my wall, do you think I would keep my promise to always have fresh flowers in the house?
  2. This bulldog corkboard mural is too cute to be confined in a kid’s bedroom (though it is awesome there).  I say do some excellent pop art installation on your living room wall with it.
  3. I want one of all my favorite animals as framed fabric art.
  4. Direct your attention to your best asset with this lace-embellished t-shirt.  (Yes, I mean your booty.  Don’t you think the lace draws your attention down the line?)
  5. I need these rummage sale tips to get my resale mojo back.  More selling = more buying, so I need to get to it.
  6. Really, do I need to say anything else except strawberry margarita cupcakes?
  7. I know that I don’t need to say again how much I love bacon.   Besides, I will just be reminding you again in a few days.  But don’t you want some of these maple-bacon muffins with crumbled bacon glaze right now?
  8. I think I will have lots more success with this crispy buffalo quinoa bites salad.  No canned crab to make it go oh-so-wrong.
  9. Shut up!  Peanut-butter-cup-stuffed chocolate-dipped Oreos?  I might be salivating like Pavlov’s dog.
  10. I experienced another great minds think alike moment with this chocolate sour cream tortilla cake.  I have some leftover corn tortillas that I know would make a kick-butt dessert.  Once I get it down, I’ll be sure to share it with you all.

I also wanted to encourage everyone in or around the Indianapolis area to attend An Enchanted Spring Market this Friday and Saturday, May 24-25th.  Nicki has been posting about all the great vendors who will be there, and it sounds like it’s going to be great.  Memorial Day Weekend is a busy one around here, more because of the Indy 500 than my birthday of course, so don’t forget to make some room in your calendar for this vintage/crafty shopping opportunity.