Banana Blackstrap Molasses Cookies

Yesterday, in a pinch for a potluck, I made these cookies. It took about an hour. They were a big hit, so I figured I’d share them we you, just in case you end up in the same sort of situation.

They’re very similar to chewy gingersnap cookies without the bite that ginger has. Side note: I skimped out on the bananas this time. You should make bigger slices then I did to get better coverage on the cookie.


Banana Blackstrap Molasses Cookies

3/4 cup vegetable shortening

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup Blackstrap molasses

1 large egg

2 tsp baking soda

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp Kosher salt (heaping, I always like to add a little extra)

1 1/2 to 2 bananas

1/4 cup of sugar to roll the cookies in

A few sheets of parchment paper (line a half sheet pan or a cookie sheet with these)

With the paddle attachment on your stand up mixer, cream the shortening, sugar and molasses together until the mixture looks light brown and creamy (about 3 minutes).

Lower the speed on your mixer and add the egg. Beat for another minute and make sure everything is well incorporated.

At this point, take the mixing bowl off of the stand mixer. Sift together all the dry ingredients add them to the butter mixture. Using a rubber spatula fold everything together. Fold only until all of the ingredients are incorporated, do not over mix.

Chill the dough in the fridge for about ten minutes. While the dough is chilling, turn the oven on to 350 degrees.

Place 1/4 cup of sugar on a plate and get ready to roll your dough into balls. After ten minutes have passed, pull out the dough. Using a tablespoon, scoop out a portion of dough, place the unformed dough in your hands and roll into a ball. Place the ball on the plate of sugar and roll it around so that the ball is covered in sugar. Place the sugared dough ball on the parchment paper lined sheet pan. Continue until you’ve used up all the dough.

Slice the bananas. Try to cut them in long ~2 inch slices (longer than I did) and place them on top of the dough balls.


Although these slices appear to be the right size, they are not since the dough spreads quite a bit in the oven while baking. Now you’re ready to transform your dough into cookies. Place the sheet pans in the oven (center your sheet pan for better baking) for about 10 to 15 minutes. When done, the edges should be light golden brown and crispy. The center should still appear a little under cooked. Pull them out of the oven and let them cool off on the sheet trays. Once cool, peel them off and serve.

I ate a few of these before the potluck with a cup of ginger tea. The tea was a nice accompaniment.



Buttermilk Pancakes with Apple Cinnamon Syrup

Goooood Morning! One of my favorite things to eat for breakfast, besides eggs and bacon, is pancakes. Light, fluffy pancakes. This morning I made them with a warm apple cinnamon syrup.

Making these pancakes is easy as 1-2-3! I like to surprise my girlfriend in the morning with these pancakes and a side of bacon (she loves it). This recipe makes about 9-2oz pancakes. I’ll cook all the batter and freeze the pancakes I don’t use. Then, I can just pop one in the toaster oven if I’m in a rush in the morning.


Apple Cinnamon Syrup

 1 apple, chopped (I used a Pink Lady)

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp golden raisins

1/3 of a cup maple syrup (don’t skimp on getting the good stuff, it’s totally worth it)

First, macerate the apples with the sugar (combine sugar and apples in a bowl, this will bring out the juice of the apples) add cinnamon and mix in the golden raisins. Stir until well incorporated. Set aside. While the apples are doing their thing, start measuring out the ingredients for the pancakes.

Buttermilk Pancakes

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 tbs sugar

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

A full tsp of baking powder ( a little bit more than level)

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 pint of buttermilk

2 oz of melted butter (half of a stick)

2 eggs

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine all the wet ingredients in another bowl. Add wet to dry.


Use a rubber spatula to fold the wet and dry together. The batter should still be quite lump; this is the key to making fluffy light pancakes.


Let the batter rest for 2 to 3 minutes. At this point, pour the maple syrup into a small saute pan. Over medium low heat, add the apples (and the juice they’ve released).  Bring the syrup up to a boil, then turn off. The apples should still have a little crunch to them.

 Next heat up a large saute pan or griddle using medium heat. Let the pan get hot and coat it with a little vegetable oil or, I prefer to use a non-stick cooking spray. With a 2 oz ladle, scoop the batter onto the hot pan. Scoop in as many as you can fit in the pan without crowding.  When you see bubbles starting to pop, flip’em! They should be golden brown and are done when you they form a slight dome in the middle. Now you’re on your way to a delicious breakfast.

Stack them on a place and top with the apple cinnamon syrup.


Enjoy!! The bacon has already been eaten:p

Grapefruit Meringue Tart


Grapefruit is not my favorite citrus fruit but it makes a great pie, in this case, tart. As grapefruit season is coming to a close this is my ode to grapefruit.


Start by making the tart shell, then the filling and finally meringue. Here we go!

Tart Shell:

1 large egg

2 1/4 cup of flour (all purpose)

8 oz of sweet butter

1/2 cup of sugar

In a stand up mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar it should look like this.Image

At this point add the egg and mix well till all the lumps have been smoothed out. After the butter mixture is smooth, add the flour and mix until combined. The dough should come together to form a ball. Tear off two large pieces of parchment paper, set the dough in between the parchment paper and roll out the dough until it’s even, the dough should be a quarter inch thick. I like to chill the dough (in the fridge) to make it easier to work with. Set the oven to 375. Pull the dough out of the fridge after five minutes; it should be firm but pliable. Carefully lay the dough into the tart pan, if it tears, no big deal you can patch it up with the extra. (There will be a fair amount of dough left over which you can roll out and use any extra filling to make cookie sandwiches). Once you have the dough in the pan, dock it with a fork (only the bottom).


The shell needs to baked blind, so lay a piece of parchment paper on the dough and top the parchment with dry beans. Pop the dough in a 375 oven for 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Grapefruit custard:

3/4 cup of sugar

a scant 1/3 cup of cornstarch

a heaping 1/4 tsp of kosher salt

1 cup of fresh grapefruit juice

juice from 1 tangerine (or half an orange)

juice from half a lemon.

1/2 cup of water

4 egg yolks (separate the eggs and reserve the whites for the meringue)

1 heaping tsp of grapefruit zest

4 tbsp of sweet butter

Mix ingredients in a medium sauce pot, except for the butter and the zest. Heat the sauce pot over medium low heat. Stir occasionally with a whisk, once the mixture starts to boil and thicken, stir constantly. Turn the heat down to a low flame and stir for 3 minutes then remove from the fire. Add the butter and zest, stir with the whisk until the butter has melted and is fully incorporated. Set your custard aside and be sure to place plastic wrap directly on top of the custard to prevent a skin from forming.

By this time your tart shell should almost be done. Once the shell is fully baked pull it out of the oven and let it rest. Now is the time to make the meringue.

Basic Meringue:

4 egg whites

a pinch of cream of tartar (this helps stabilize the whites)

3 tbsp of sugar

In a stand up mixer bowl mix the four egg whites and the cream of tartar, on medium high speed whip the white to soft peaks (the whites should be about three times the original size). Turn the mixer down to low and add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, once the sugar is mixed in completely, add the next tablespoon. Whip until you can see noticeable ribbons forming in the mixing bowl while the whisk is moving. Stop the mixer and pull the whisk out. You should have stiff peaks that look like this:


If they do not hold a peak, whip them a little more until they hold a nice peak. Be careful not to over whip the whites. Over whipping will cause them to curdle in a sense, and once they get to that point they’re unusable and you will have to start over. If you do find that you need to make a new meringue try to bring the new whites up to room temperature then start the process again.

Now that you have everything ready to go you can assembly the tart and get ready to bake it. First, put the custard into the tart shell so that it comes up to the top of the shell. Second, Spoon the meringue on top of the custard, covering it fully. The meringue should stand about one to two inches above the custard. With the back of the spoon create small peaks (or leave it smooth if you like). Now your tart is ready for the oven. Pop it in the oven, still at 375, for seven to ten minutes or until the top is golden brown. Pull the tart out of the oven and let cool completely before cutting and serving. This will be hard but it will be worth the wait!


Grapefruit Meringue Tart.

This can also be made into a traditional pie using the dough above or any standard pie dough.


Cardoons are thistle-like stalks which come from the Globe Artichoke (at least mine did but there are different varieties of Cardoons). The Cardoon is native to the Mediterranean, where they have been used for thousands of years by the Greeks, Romans and Persians. And now it’s our turn!


These particular Cardoons came from the backyard. I’m pretty lucky to have a few Artichoke plants. Before the flower buds start to grow I’ll cut off a few stalks and get busy in the kitchen. Cardoons are hard to find, try your local Farmers Markets or maybe a higher end grocery store. They’re a little more labor intensive then most vegetables and need to be trimmed of all the leaves on the sides before being peeled.


Note: When peeling Cardoons it is important to peel off all of the outer skin of the stalk. The fiberous stuff looks almost like string and you should remove as much as possible. Whats left of the stalk should be cut into 3 inch pieces and the wider parts should be cut in half so all of the pieces are as close to the same size as possible.


Next, make a brine to poached them. Poaching time is around 20 to 30 minutes. Because they are so fiberous they need a longer cook time to turn them into tender and delicious pieces.
Poaching Liquid:
6 cups water
1/3 cup Sherry Vinegar
1 tsp Chile flakes
2 Bay leaves
1/2 an Onion (sliced)
6 cloves Garlic (still in its husk)
4 sprigs of Thyme
3 tbsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp of Black Peppercorns
Combine all ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid and put directly over Cardoons in a another pot. Bring to a boil and and cook the cardoons for a half an hour. Or let the poaching liquid cool and reserve it for later. After cooking the cardoons for a half an hour let let them cool down enough so you can handle them. Next, dredge them in flour (seasoned with salt and pepper) then eggs (also seasoned with a little salt and pepper) then coat with bread crumbs (bread crumbs with 2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves chopped and mixed in). Now you’re ready to fry them. I like to use a blended oil; half olive oil and half canola oil. Fry until the outside is deep golden brown. Remove from oil and drain (I’ve used a brown paper bag to drain them). As soon as I get them out of the oil and on the bag, I grate some cheese over them.


Crispy fried Cardoons with grated Parmesan.


Lamb Dinner

I was inspired by Split Rail Farms rack of lamb at Saturdays Farmers market in Larkspur. Split Rail Farm is relatively new to the Larkspur framers market this being their third market. They have a 3 acre farm in Penngrove, CA which has on it lambs, goats, chickens, cows, and pigs. The Farm is owned by Ben Angulo and Jane Kennedy. Here is the web address for more information. Split Rail FarmsImage

Tossing on the dry rub.


Coriander Rub

1Tbsp Ground Coriander

1tsp Ground Mustard

1/4 tsp Ground Thyme

25 Grinds from a pepper mill or 1/8 tsp ground black pepper

2 pinches of salt (kosher)

1/4 tsp of raw sugar

a small dash of Cayenne pepper


The squash was pan roasted with two sprigs of thyme a pinch of salt and a few grinds of  black pepper. I cooked the barley the same way you’d cook rice. For one cup of barley I used a two cups of chicken stock, small diced mirepoix (about a 1/2 a cup) a little rosemary and a half cup of white wine. I folded in a teaspoon of freshly grated lemon zest to the barley right before putting it on the plate. 


Split Rail Farms Coriander rubbed rack of lamb, pan roasted Blue Hubert squash and lemon scented barley with a rosemary red wine reduction.