Monthly Archives: February 2015

Banana Nut Bread with Maple Pecans and Candied Ginger








Banana Nut Bread with Maple Pecans and Candied Ginger

1/2 cup butter,softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons minced candied ginger
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cups chopped maple pecans, divided use (recipe to follow)
3 medium bananas, mashed
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 1 pound loaf pan.
In a stand mixer Cream together softened butter and sugar, mix until fluffy. Incorporate minced ginger making sure that there are no clumps, add eggs one at a time.

Mash bananas in a separate bowl making sure that there are no lumps. With the beater running add bananas and mix for about 1 minute.

Sift together flour and baking soda. Blend into wet mixture, do not over mix. Fold in 1/4 cup of maple nuts. Poor batter into prepared pan and top with remaining 1/4 cup maple nuts. Bake for 55 minutes or until knife inserted into loaf comes out clean.


IMG_1674Maple Nuts Recipe

1 cup pecan halves
4 tablespoons maple syrup (I used a bourbon maple syrup)

In a small nonstick fry pan combine ingredients. Over medium heat allow the maple syrup to evaporate. You will want to watch your heat so that the nuts do not scorch. Once the mixture reaches a sticky consistency, spread onto a Silpat or parchment paper to cool. Once cooled the nuts can be chopped.

King Cake



With Mardi Gras I just couldn’t include this recipe. I posted this one when I was writing under the Road Runner Cooks and it is an adaptation of a recipe by Emeril Lagasse. It is absolutely one of my favorite cakes.


IMG_0331King Cake

1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
2 packages dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
4 to 5 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon lemon oil
1/2 cup warm milk (105 to 115 degrees)
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter, cooled
5 egg yolks
1 orange, zested
Sugar cinnamon mixture:
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup melted butter
1 pecan half, or King Cake Baby
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Purple, green and gold sugar crystals
Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Combine the warm water, yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside to a warm place for about 10 minutes. Combine the 4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, nutmeg, lemon oil, orange zest and add warm milk, melted butter, egg yolks and yeast mixture. Beat until smooth. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place the dough in a well-greased bowl. Turn once so greased surface is on top.

Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 1/2 hours). Punch the dough down and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 6 x 12 inches rectangle.
Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Now cut the dough into three ribbons. These ribbons are then braided. Once the braid is completed shape the braid into a ring, tucking the ends into the braid. Place the ring onto a greased baking sheet. Press the King Cake Baby,or pecan half into the dough so that it is hidden. Cover the ring with a towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow the cake to cool. For the glaze: Combine the ingredients and beat until smooth. To assemble, drizzle cake with the glaze. Sprinkle the cake with sugar crystals, alternating colors.

Have fun today!

Spicy Creole Linquine


It’s Mardi Gras today and while everything outside my window is covered in snow I’m sure there a very warm party going on down in New Orleans! A visit to Frisco, Colorado last weekend was also great inspiration for the following dish. Lunch at the Boatyard was great and the staff there couldn’t have been nicer. Here to you guys, this is my interpretation of their Creole Linguine.


Creole Linguine

2 T Butter
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Onion, small diced
1 Red bell pepper, diced
4 T Tomato paste
1  Lb. Small Shrimp
1/2 Cup Heavy cream
1 Cup White wine
1 Cup Chicken stock
Salt, pepper to taste, (the Parmesan has salt don’t add too much)
2 Green onions, sliced for garnish
Grated Parmesan, garnish
2 Chicken breasts, flattened to 1/2″

16 oz. Dry Linguine

Serves 4.

Creole Spice Blend:

6 teaspoons ground cumin

4 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons Hungarian Half-Sharp paprika
4 teaspoons roasted ground coriander
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flake

These amounts for the spice blend will make more than you will need for just this dish.  Keep the leftover spice blend in a small air tight container.



Dredge chicken in spice blend and allow to dry marinate, at room temperate for 30 minutes.

Warm butter in a 12 inch skillet, add onions,and garlic. As they become translucent add the red bell pepper. Sauce time, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of spice blend, tomato paste, shrimp, sauté 1 minute. Incorporate wine, stock and cream. Allow shrimp to reach their pink point. Don’t over cook it.

In a grill pan, over high heat, sear the chicken breasts, 3-4 minutes per side, remove and keep warm.


Bring a stockpot of water to boil, throughly salt. Add linguine and cook until aldente.

Time to plate. Add the drained pasta into the pan sauce give it a moment, it need’s to soak up some of this spicy sauce.  Spoon into pasta bowls, add sliced chicken breast over and top with a little sauce.  Garnish with Parmesan, and green onion.