It all started with a failed attempt to make a healthy dessert… It was one of those days again,when I was trying so desperately to trick my sweet tooth with plain bananas…! One thing brought another,I realized I had in my pantry Malibu Rum and all the ingredients for a cake. It’s not any kind of cake! It’s one of the most moist,rich,fluffy upside down cake you’ve ever had! The caramelized bananas pair beautifully with the warm spiced and the coconut rum! The kitchen bathes with the aromas of the baked bananas… Try to refuse a piece of cake like this!
It’s neither a soup nor a stew, but it is a curry, and it’s one of those great dishes that simply feels good no matter what time of day you have it, but especially in the winter. It has long been one of my favourite takeout/delivery meals for a rainy/cold day and I love it as leftovers for breakfast on the weekends.
As with so many things that they are used in, the onions you choose can really make or break this dish. Be sure to use a nice flavourful Spanish onion for the best results.
My friend Lindsay was looking for his latke recipe, so decided I would write up this one. I make several variations on the theme of Latkes, but this is a good basic type, and my general favourite.
My preference is to fry them in chicken fat and have them with sour cream, but applesauce is also popular. If you plan to serve them at room temperature, or are making them for a Hanukah event, of course fry them in oil.
I first had this cornbread at Mr Rick and the Biscuits, CD release party for Cocktails & Cornbread in 2005 (here’s the title song, somewhat earlier at the Distillery Jazz Festival, where I met Lisa Shamai, local caterer extraordinaire, and the creator of this delicious, spicy, cornbread recipe.
A warm and gracious woman, Lisa has been cooking in Toronto for decades, at one time running a jazz club on weekends at her catering facility, Lisa Shamai Cuisinerie. Sadly, it was a brief candle, and the club blew out before I got to see it. Happily, the catering company is still with us.
I’ve always loved Johnnycake, aka cornbread and enjoyed this one a great deal at the show, going back to sneak extra helpings of the spicy, cheesy bread. Lisa was gracious enough to share it with me for this soup and bread edition of Eatin’s Canada and we thank her for it. I suggest you try it with the 3Bean Chili recipe from January…and lots of butter. Yummy.
Dolmathes are one of those things, like sushi, which look more difficult than they truly are. Take a platter of these to a party to look like a hero, and if you are using your own grapes, cut a length of vine to use as decoration for the tray.
I love making Dolmathes for the meditative qualities of the process. A mildly fussy series of simple tasks, that when complete lead to a sense of esthetic pleasure…at least for me.
There are commercially available preserved grape leaves and those are perfectly fine…but I am fortunate to have a grape vine in the garden and enjoy choosing the leaves right before making the wraps.
If made without meat, these are vegetarian and if served without the Avgolemono sauce, they are also vegan. For vegetarians make the sauce with either water or a vegetable stock.
My family recipe uses currants and raisins, which I have exchanged for cranberries…because Canada.
If made with meat, dolmathes are most commonly made with lamb…or possibly goat.
It’s also a great recipe to mess with and try different variations. If you are avoiding sugar: use honey. The general rule for honey/sugar substitution is replace by the same amount of honey if it is under a cup of sugar. (If the recipe calls for more than 1c sugar, then substitute 2/3rds to 3/4s of a cup of honey beyond the first cup). Remember: honey is sweeter and contains more moisture than sugar. The flavour and colour of the honey can have an interesting impact on the results. Honey also contains some great antioxidants.
Or you could replace the eggs with an egg substitute. Don’t feel like lemon? Use orange! Avoiding flour? Replace with a gluten free substitute. The flour is to help bind the cheesecake but it’s not as important an ingredient as it would be in a bread, so you can easily substitute it out.