Wednesday, May 19, 2010

FNCCC - Final Week - Warren Brown

For my last installment of Food Network Chef's Cooking Challenge I went all out. I chose Warren Brown's Mr. Banana Legs, which is featured in his Cake Love cookbook. I was just going to browse through the cookbook at Borders but after reading it I decided I needed it for myself (I had a coupon and a gift card...). I picked this cake for my husband's birthday, which we brought to my in-law's for Mother's day. It's outward appearance isn't anything special but it's very pretty when you cut into it, layered with fresh bananas, ganache, and Italian meringue buttercream. It was time consuming but perfect for a special event.

It took me many stores to find the potato starch and some websites said cornstarch could be substituted, but in his book Warren said no. I also never buy superefine sugar but luckily Publix carries that.

AND I am officially IN LOVE with Italian Meringue Buttercream. I cannot stress how much you need to try this. It is 87, 000 times better than regular buttercream. I cannot wait to try it again with different flavors.

This cake was fantastic!!!!

Mr. Banana Legs
Yield: one 12-cup bundt cake, two 9-inch-round cakes, or 26 Crunchy Feet*

unbleached all-purpose flour, 10 ounces (2 cups), or 10¾ ounces (2 cups + 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) at high altitude
potato starch, 1 tablespoon
turbinado sugar, 1 tablespoon
salt, ½ teaspoon
baking soda, ¼ teaspoon, or none at high altitude
whole nutmeg, 1

very ripe peeled bananas, 6 ounces (3 bananas) - to get 6 ounces I only used 1 and 1/2
half and half, ¾ cup, or ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons at high altitude
rum, 1 tablespoon (didn't use, didn't have)
vanilla extract, 1½ teaspoons

unsalted butter, at room temperature, 6 ounces (1½ sticks)
extra-fine granulated sugar, 21 ounces (2¾ cups), or 19½ ounces (2¼ cups + 3 tablespoons) at high altitude
eggs (large), 4, or 5 at high altitude
egg yolks (large), 3

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (conventional) or 335°F (convection). Set rack in the middle of the oven. To bake Crunchy Feet, place the oven racks in the upper-middle and lower-middle positions.
2. Set out the ingredients and equipment:
Sift the flour directly into a bowl on a scale for accurate measuring.
Measure the other dry ingredients into a separate mixing bowl, add the flour, and whisk for 10 seconds to blend. Set aside.
Combine the liquid ingredients in a food processor and process for 30 seconds or until smooth. Place in a separate bowl and set aside.
Measure the butter and sugar into separate bowls and set aside.
Crack the eggs and yolks into two separate bowls and set aside.
3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on the lowest speed for 2 to 3 minutes. The mixture should look white, fluffy, and aerated.
4. With the mixer still on the lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time followed by the yolks, fully incorporating after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl.
5. Add the dry ingredient mixture alternately with the liquid mixture in 3 to 5 additions each, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Move swiftly through this step to avoid overworking the batter. Don’t wait for the dry or liquid mixtures to be fully incorporated before adding the next. This step should take a total of about 60 seconds.
6. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl all the way down. Don’t miss the clumps of ingredients hiding on the bottom of the bowl. Mix on medium speed for 15 to 20 seconds to develop the batter’s structure.
7. Prepare the pans. For a Bundt cake, spray the pan well with a nonstick spray. For 9-inch-round cakes, line the bottom of each pan with parchment but do not spray the sides. For Crunchy Feet, place the brioche pans on sheet pans (16 per half-sheet pan is a snug fit) and spray them liberally with a nonstick spray.
8. For a Bundt cake, fill the pan about three-quarters full by depositing the batter with the rubber spatula in small clumps around the prepared pan instead of by pouring it into one spot. Level the batter with the rubber spatula. Bake any leftover batter as Crunchy Feet or cupcakes. For 9-inch-round cakes, deposit the batter into three separate areas of the pan and smooth out with an offset spatula, making sure the pans are two-thirds full. For Crunchy Feet, use a 2-ounce, trigger-release, ice-cream scoop to deposit the batter into the prepared pans so they’re three-quarters full.
9. Follow the approximate bake times listed below:
ITEM: 12-cup bundt - At Sea Level, bake 45 minutes; at High Altitude, bake 55 minutes.
ITEM: 9-inch rounds - At Sea Level, bake 26-28 minutes; at High Altitude, bake 42 minutes
ITEM: Crunchy Feet - At Sea Level, bake 15 minutes; at High Altitude, bake 32 minutes
10. Once the top of the cake doesn’t jiggle in the center and is golden brown across the top and edges, test for doneness by inserting a bamboo skewer in the center of the cake. When the skewer shows just a touch of crumbs or comes out clean, the cake is done. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a heat- resistant surface or wire rack.
11. For the Bundt cake, once the cake has cooled for 5 to 10 minutes, remove the cake by inverting the pan onto a flat surface. Allow it to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before glazing.
12. For Crunchy Feet, carefully invert the brioche pans to release the cakes 3 to 4 minutes after removing them from the oven—well before they cool completely. You may have to tap each pan firmly—or even slam it—against the sheet pan to release the cake. Place on a heat-resistant surface or wire rack to cool. Immediately soak the pans to make cleaning easier.
13. For the layer cake, cool to room temperature, 25 to 30 minutes, before removing from the pan. Use a small offset spatula to loosen the cake from the rim of the pan. Carefully invert each pan onto a flat surface to remove the layers. Remove the parchment from the bottom of each cake and wrap the cake tightly in plastic. Assembling a layer cake is easier if the cake is cold, so refrigerate the layers overnight or for up to 5 days before frosting.

Serve naked or with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar or use
Glazing Chocolate. For a dressed-up version, serve assembled with rum-flavored Italian Meringue Buttercream, Ganache, and fresh bananas.
Store under a cake dome at room temperature, or wrapped in plastic in the fridge for up to 1 week. If frosted, store under a cake dome for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for up to 1 week. To store unfrosted cake longer, label, date, and store the plastic-wrapped cake in the freezer for up to 1 month.

So what sweet treat did you pick? Link your sweet treat to MckLinky below. I'm sad that this is over but if you have any ideas for a future challenge, let me know! I'm going to take a summer hiatus as we are going to be gone for 6 weeks this summer. I'll be back though :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Frozen Fruit Roll Ups

What works for me is an easy nutritious breakfast. If you haven't checked out Once a Month Mom, you really need to. While I am not yet on board to cook a entire months worth of meals at a time, she has great freezer recipes. We tried two breakfasts and they are both a hit! I felt the need to turn you on to this site :)

These are the Fruity Breakfast Burritos that are easy enough for your kids to make and are a big hit in my house. Author/Source:
Tricia @

10 flour tortillas, small
1.25 cups vanilla (or fruit flavored) yogurt
8 oz DOLE frozen blueberries (or sub .5 pints fresh)
8 oz DOLE frozen raspberries (or sub .5 pints fresh)
.5 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
Spray butter (I used real butter spread on very thin)

In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon well. Pour it out on a large plate. Set aside. Spray one side of each of the tortillas with butter, coating the entire surface. Flip the tortilla over, butter side down, on the cinnamon sugar mixture. Push it in until the entire surface is covered in cinnamon and sugar.

Place the sugar covered tortilla on another plate, cinnamon/sugar side down. Measure .125 (1/8 cup) cups of yogurt and spread across the tortilla a little left of center (see pictures below). Place fruit on the yogurt strip. Wrap the tortillas tightly from left to right. Place on a cookie sheet to flash freeze. When completely frozen through, place in a zippered freezer bag for storage. I cut mine in half at this point.

To serve: Take out of the bag and eat immediately. If you would like you could also let them thaw for a bit. Thawing overnight or for too long can result in a mushy burrito, but can be done.

I also made the french toast. I have two huge freezer bags full and they are going fast :)

Head over to Confessions of a non-domestic Housewife for some more great Kid Friendly Friday ideas.
Go check out other Tempt My Tummy recipes at Blessed With Grace!Check out We Are THAT Family for more Works For Me Wednesday ideas!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thousand Word Thursday - One Very Long Line

So Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, had a book signing in Orlando last night and it was jammed! Hundreds of people in line and she chatted with each one of them. I was lucky enough to be on the upper level, which means I only stood in line for 2 hours (I finally had quiet time to finish a book!). There were another few hundred people behind me. She was very friendly and personalized each book. I'm impressed but most of all I love her blog and recipes. If you have never checked it out you must go do so now!

Cheaper Than Therapy holds A Thousand Word Thursday each week. Go visit to check out other pictures!

FNCCC Assignement #36 - Warren Brown

Warren Brown is the featured Food Network chef for next week. This is our LAST CHEF and what better way to leave FNCCC but with desserts!

"Warren Brown is the founder and owner of CakeLove and Love Café. His organization includes seven retail storefronts in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Mr. Brown left a career practicing law to start his bakery in 2002. He has been recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit by a number of local and national media outlets including the Oprah Winfrey show, the Today show, and national advertisement campaigns for American Express and Dell computers.

From 2005 to 2007 Mr. Brown was the host of TV show "Sugar Rush" on the Food Network. He is the author of two cookbooks, CakeLove-how to bake cakes from scratch and United Cakes of America celebrating recipes from every state and published in May 2010."

There are not many recipes on Food Network site so you may also want to try

If you cannot find one from him that looks like your thing, ANY dessert will do :) I'm off to see if the library has his cookbooks. United Cakes of America, how cute?

We will post his recipes on Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Can't wait to see what you are cooking!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

FNCCC Week 35 - Tyler Florence

While Tyler Florence has all sorts of complicated dishes that I would love to try, I made a simple Garlic Bread instead. My daughters had watched an episode of Down Home with the Neely's (this is sometimes how they get me to agree that they can watch TV - they watch Food Network) in which they make a great looking garlic cheese bread. They immediately wanted me to make it.

I just happen to come across this Tyler Florence recipe that is exactly the same (with different amounts and minus the cheese). I turned out perfectly. It was just us girls so we had garlic bread, watermelon, and fresh veggies for dinner. It was an excellent meal. Using tons of fresh herbs on this bread makes it outstanding. Try it with whatever herbs you have growing! It's hard not to devour the entire loaf :)

Herbed Garlic Bread
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

1 stick butter (1/2 cup), at room temperature
2 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste with a pinch of salt and extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf crusty baguette
Extra-virgin olive oil

(I also added Parmesan to the butter and mozzarella to the top)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
For the bread, stir together the butter, mashed garlic, and herbs in a small
bowl and season with salt and pepper. Tear open the loaf of bread
lengthwise, spread the herb-garlic mixture over both halves and sprinkle with a little olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes.

I just doesn't get any better than this! What did you find? Can't wait to see what you are cooking! Link with MckLinky below. Next week is our last week of FNCCC with chef Warren Brown. This year has flown by!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

FNCCC Assignment #35 - Tyler Florence

Tyler Florence is the featured Food Network chef for next week. There are over 1,200 recipes listed so you shouldn't have a problem finding one you like (this isn't the case the following final week, so please read below). He has been with Food Network for over 12 years, Tyler's Ultimate is his signature series. He has lots of cookbooks, cookware, and whatnot. Although he isn't the "simple chef" that I tend to like, his recipes look amazing.
Check out his site as well:

We will post his recipes on Wednesday, May 12, 2010. Can't wait to see what you are cooking!

Just for a Heads-Up, the last chef, Warren Brown, doesn't have many recipes that I can find on-line but he does have two cookbooks out. You may want to check if they are available at your library. Not only will that be the last FNCCC it is also all about desserts!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Well Into Our Terrible Twos at Twenty Months

I see a lot of this.Which turns into this. So much fun!

FNCCC Week 34 - Sunny Anderson

This week's chef is Sunny Anderson, the host of Food Network's Cooking For Real. I have never made wings before but my husband and oldest daughter love them so I chose Caribbean Chicken Wings . I'm not a big fan of meat on the bone so this was a stretch for me.
They were very easy to make (despite trying to separate the drumette from the wing and wing tip). Marinate, bake, done. I didn't add the habanero or cayenne because my babies don't like spicy. They were very tasty. I also made Giada De Laurentiis' Balsamic Chicken Drumettes. YUM! These were liked better than Caribbean flavor, because they were sweeter. I would make both again.
Caribbean Chicken Wings
Recipe courtesy Sunny Anderson, 2008

1 habanero, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons fennel seed
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons allspice
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
7 pounds chicken wings (not even close - maybe 2 pounds even without reserving the 1 cup of marinate)
In a food processor, blend together all the ingredients but the chicken until smooth. Reserve 1 cup of marinade (** I used it all because it didn't look like nearly enough to marinate them). Place chicken wings into a large resealable plastic bag and pour remaining marinade over them. Seal and marinate in the refrigerator 4 to 6 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 sheet trays with parchment. Remove chicken from bag and place on the baking sheets. Bake 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan bring reserved marinade to a boil. Reduce by 1/3 until it thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove chicken from oven. Brush chicken with the glaze. Raise the heat to 400 degrees F and cook chicken until cooked through, another 20 minutes.
I am no longer afraid of making wings! What did you make? Link up to M. Linky below!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

$25 Walmart Giftcard Winner

On the gift card provided by P&G for the 24-Hour Cascade Challenge, it stated to give the $25 card to the first person who commented on my blog about the challenge. Hadley from Life of a Dairy Queen was that lucky commenter!