Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Lifestyles

July 30, 2013

Lee Ward: Gone bananas; different take on onions; super salad: 7/30/13

ASHLAND — In the category of banana desserts, in my mind, nothing will top my grandmother’s banana pudding — a rich, warm concoction of homemade pudding layered with vanilla wafters and bananas and topped with fresh-from-the-oven meringue.

This recipe, from justapinch.com, takes a warm and cozy winter dessert and turns it into a cool summer treat.

BANANA PUDDING ROLL

Pat Duran, Las Vegas

4 large eggs, separated

3⁄4 cup granulated sugar, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3⁄4 cup cake flour

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

3-ounce package instant banana pudding

11⁄2 cups milk

2 or 3 bananas, peeled and left whole

Strawberry, chocolate or caramel topping

Combine pudding and milk, beat well until it starts to thicken. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottom a jelly roll pan (15x10x2-inches) with good waxed paper.

Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually beat in 1⁄4 cup sugar and vanilla.

Beat egg whites until almost stiff. Gradually add remaining sugar and beat until very stiff.

Fold yolk mixture into whites. Then add sifted dry ingredients, folding in carefully by hand with large spatula.

Bake in oven for 12 to 15 min. Loosen sides and turn out onto towel sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Remove wax paper from bottom of cake carefully. Trim off crusty edges to make easy rolling. Roll quickly with a fresh sheet of waxed paper on inside of roll. Wrap in sugared towel; cool.

Unroll, remove paper; spread with pudding.

Place 2 or 3 straight bananas near edge (2 inches) of long side of roll and roll up again.

Place seam side down on serving platter. Chill slightly (20 minutes).

Serve with any extra pudding and a scoop of ice cream with ice cream topping, if desired.

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Justapinch.com has some suggestions for introducing onions to palettes not used to such a bracing flavor.

‰Tasty Onion Chicken by Wendy Garnder: Combine mustard, Worcestershire, butter and French friend onions, crushed. Dip chicken breasts in the mixture and bake.

‰Onion dip by Jenni James: Combine sauteed white onions with sour cream and Neufchatel cheese. Toss in a pinch of salt, pepper and garlic powder and serve with vegetable sticks.

‰Deep Fried Onion Ball by Kathy Sills. Using pearl onions, Sills was able to achieve bite-sized balls of fried deliciousness without much of the hassle of traditional onion rings. Similarly, her accompanying Cajun Ranch Sauce is a dippers’ delight yet a breeze to prepare. A simple mixture of sour cream, ranch dressing powder, red pepper and Cajun seasoning, the sauce is cool and creamy with a punchy after-bite.

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I was recently a guest for lunch at a local woman’s house and was served something I’d heard of but had never tried: cornbread salad.

I’m not a beans and cornbread fan, although I’ll eat it in a pinch.

However, this dish, which contained beans and cornbread, was delicious.

When I got home that evening, I immediately searched the Internet for a recipe for cornbread salad and found this one from Paula Deen on FoodNetwork.

SOUTHERN

CORNBREAD SALAD

1 batch cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes, recipe follows

1 (14.5-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15-ounce) can niblet corn, drained

1 medium Vidalia onion, finely chopped

1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped

3 large tomatoes, chopped

2 cups grated sharp Cheddar

1 (8-ounce) bottle ranch dressing

Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish

In the bottom of a large glass bowl, place cornbread cubes. Layer beans, corn, onion, bell pepper, tomatoes and cheese on top of cornbread. Spread ranch dressing evenly over cheese. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.

SOUTHERN

CORNBREAD

1⁄2 cup vegetable oil, plus 1⁄4 cup for greasing pan

1 cup self-rising cornmeal

3⁄4 cup self-rising flour

1 cup cream-style corn

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 cup grated sharp Cheddar, optional

1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Generously season a cast iron skillet with up to 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil. Preheat the pan either in the oven or on the stove over medium-high heat.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until combined. Pour batter into the preheated cast iron skillet. Place skillet in the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.

If making individual size cornbreads in smaller pans, they will require a shorter cooking time.

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While I don’t claim to be an expert cook, I do like to cook and love to eat. Readers are encouraged to send questions about food and cooking; I’ll try to find the answers. Also, if you’re looking for a specific recipe, send your request, or if you can offer a recipe to someone looking for something specific, please send email to lward@dailyindependent.com.

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