Saturday, April 25, 2009

Olivia's Banana Bread

This is my go to recipe for banana bread. I got it from my dear friends Jimmy & Olivia. They are great cooks and bakers. Jimmy is always bringing in lovely baked bread, pastries, muffins baked by his lovely wife Olivia. He is so sweet, always has a smile on his face and reminds me that work is just work, and not to stress about the little things. He spoils me rotten and I love him! :)

So I wanted to share this bread recipe with you! Give it a try, it is really good!
1 c Very Ripe Bananas (about 3 or 4)
1 c white sugar
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/2 c sour cream
2 Eggs
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl, combine bananas, sugar, oil, sour cream and eggs:
In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. add to banana mixture just until combined.
Pour into 9x5 inch loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/4 hours or until tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

I doubled the recipe and used one of my favorite bundt pans, given to me by my SIL Claudia. I love this one!

I am going to make a cupcake out of this banana bread, as soon as I find a good icing for it. I know a straight up cream cheese icing would work, but I want to be a little more thoughtful and unique about flavors if I can.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring Fling

I know I live in Florida, and the weather is always warm...but there is something about the spring time...the colors, the flowers, the fresh fruit!


My friends Kristy and Sara came over for Easter so I put together some good eats...first, my simple spring table setting:

Then, Kristy came up with a great cocktail for us. We were in St. Augustine the week before, and had a Cava (Spanish Champagne) Sangria at the Columbia restaurant that was fantastic. Kristy created these tasty drinks for us...
Champagne, fresh fruit, white wine, peach puree, triple sec...Gorgeous and delicious!!

Next food:
Simple spring salad with fresh fruit, arugula, goat cheese, toasted walnuts and balsamic vinagrette:
The main course was a baked ham and a roasted pork tenderloin:
I made a reduction of the pork juices, orange juice, plum cherry jam and balsamic that was fantastic!

This is my new favorite pasta salad for the summer. Roasted garlic oil, orzo, fresh spinach, toasted walnuts, roasted garlic, goat cheese and salt and pepper. I had a salad similar to this at Whole Foods, this time, I added dried cherries for some chewy simple and delicious!!

Roasted asparagus with roasted veggies...thanks Ina Garten!

For dessert, I made these Espresso Caramel Bars, a recipe by Giada DeLarentis...really good...more like eating a chewy candy bar. I sprinkled the top with flake salt...SO GOOD and decadent. Served them with espressos and lattes.

Hope you are all enjoying your springtime!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Project Wood

OMGoodness...I haven't blogged in forever! The truth is, I have become a social networking butterly at work, tweeting and blogging for Ripley's...I have left myself little time to share my life with all of you...I am still cooking and entertaining, so I do have a lot to share.

First I want to tell you about a little project I helped my friend Sara with. She is the sister of my good friend Kristy...and we all have become fast friends. Kristy called me one afternoon and said her sister needed help with creating a flyer for an event she was planning...her designer dropped out and she needed help quick!

After a couple hours and a few bottles of wine, I cranked out this flyer for Project Wood, an art show for a local artist Steph Wood:

So I place the order for the flyers, and I think I am done. Then Kristy proposes that we help Sara make some food for the event, and wonders if Paul would photograph...They expected 100 people, didn't sound too difficult...sure, why not?

Kristy suggested skewers with mozzerella, basil tomato, and I recommended chocolate fountain. The budget was very small, and these items worked perfectly for this party. Here are some highlights:

Here is one of the servers passing some of our food...We served them on silver trays, and used stemless wine glasses with olive oil and balsamic on the plate for some interest.


The Chocolate Fountain was the best purchase I have ever made...I have used this so many times at parties, and people love inexpensive too.



Kristy created a peach basil martini that was to die for...she was so busy that night, making that cocktail...everyone wanted it!


Here are some party shots:



Sara took a hair salon downtown and turned it into an art gallery...the space was perfect for an event like really felt like an art gallery!
Here are Sara, Event Producer on the left and Steph Wood, the artist on the right.

One of the highlights was a performace by musician Peter Baldwin. He was really great:
I have a feeling you will hear more about him soon!

Project Wood was a great time, Paul snapped some great shots!