Banana pudding holds a special place in my heart. It was one of the first things I made with my husband when we were dating. It’s incredibly easy to make and there is almost no way to make it not taste delicious.
That’s why when I was assigned Wendy from “A Day in the Life on the Farm” for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, my decision was easy. Wendy and her husband Frank are retired police officers that escaped the city and live on a 12-acre farm. She made this pudding for brunch after Christmas which reminded me that it’s a great crowd pleaser. It fit the bill perfectly for my brother-in-law’s girlfriend that was visiting from out of town for a dinner party at our place.
It’s impossible not to like banana pudding! It’s absolutely delicious. To elevate it a little bit more I drizzled some salted caramel sauce on top. I served these in highball glasses as dessert. I can also attest to the fact that they are good in the morning because I ate all the leftovers for breakfast the next day — Wendy was smart serving this at brunch!
After I moved into my new home last year, my friend gifted me with a box of last Harry & David Royal Riveria Pears. I used the very last one to make these muffins and took them with me on a bus trip up to New York City, where I attended the Coffee & Tea Festival with her.
These muffins are extremely straightforward to put together. Unlike some recipes, they do require creaming together butter and sugar, but even with that step, the batter comes together in about 6 minutes. Buttermilk keeps the crumb moist and helps to offset the earthy flavors. To further balance the cardamom, which can be strong, especially if you grind it straight from the pod, I added just a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg.
The muffins are light and tender of crumb and a bite that marries the pear with cardamom has a sweet, fruity, lightly spiced flavor. They make a great breakfast that won’t send you crashing from a sugar high, and pair nicely with green tea.
It’s been sticky and humid this summer so it’s refreshing to bite into something that doesn’t require heating up the whole house. I don’t typically like salads because I start feeling like a rabbit chomping on grass. The addition of protein-rich (and easy to cook!) quinoa into this salad mix mixes it up. One scoop is good as a side along dinner, or a big bowl of it will make a tasty lunch.
The vinaigrette made out of shallot and red whine vinegar is acidic and robust without being to pungent. It’s easy to add whatever pits of crunchy, sweet, or salty items you have laying around the house too. Any dried fruit or nut mixture will work, but make sure not to skip the cucumber — it’s crucial to the lightness of the salad.