Wednesday, April 13, 2011

If you want breakfast in bed...

A poster I saw over at Keep Calm Gallery. Made me laugh.

Kings County Jerky Co.

image courtesy of Kings County Jerky Co.

I picked up a pack of Kings County Jerky Co. Classic jerky this weekend at Brooklyn Flea. It is really good jerky. You can really taste the difference that grass-fed beef and freshly ground spices make!

I've been eating jerky for as long as I can remember. I have these memories of my parents bringing back jerky (in both strips and crumbly bits form) from their New York day trips because they were of better quality than Boston's. (No, my parents did not travel four hours just for jerky. I'm sure they stuck around for dim sum as well).

And lately, I've been enjoying South African jerky, biltong, that my South African friend's friend is smoking in his hand-built smoke house outside of LA and shipping over to us. I bought this Classic pack for my South African friend, who said today, "This is the best American jerky I've had." This is a huge compliment coming from someone who's serious about meat.

You can buy Kings County jerky at the Brooklyn Flea on Saturdays, at the New Amsterdam market on Sundays, and online. The other flavors include Korean BBQ, Orange Ginger, and the vegan Portobello (not so sure about his one...).

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Gina's Half Birthday: Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie

Yes, it does sound silly. Half Birthday celebration? It's just that neither Gina and I can wait a whole year for each other's baked goods so we celebrate half way in between as well. Sadly though, I missed Gina's salted caramel apple pie since I was stuck late at work, but she did get to enjoy my creation: peanut butter banana cream pie.

When I asked her what she wanted, she said something with peanut butter and bananas (typical), so I went to Epicurious and found this recipe, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, the guys who run Baked (which I still have yet to go to). I like going to Epicurious for recipes because they get rated and I can read others' comments to see if I need to adjust anything to it.

A lot of the comments seemed to say that the crust was too thick or they had to increase the amount of filling. I didn't find this at all when I made it. In fact, I pretty much followed the recipe to a T (except adding some orange zest and used vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean), and it came out perfectly.

The peanut butter whipped topping is divine. I'm not a huge peanut butter fan, but it wasn't too peanut-buttery at all. It was light and fluffy and perfect. I would use this recipe if I had to make a peanut butter frosting for a cake. I also bought Whole Foods' 365 organic vanilla wafer cookies

Bravo to the Baked Boys! The recipe if below (with my modifications).

Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie
Vanilla wafer crust:
  • 6 ounces vanilla wafer cookies
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Vanilla pudding filling:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (I used 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 firm but ripe bananas, peeled, divided
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice, divided
  • zest of half an orange

Peanut butter layer:
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned or freshly ground)
  • 2/3 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
  • Purchased peanut brittle, coarsely chopped (optional)

  • For vanilla wafer crust:
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients in processor; blend until mixture resembles moist crumbs, about 1 minute. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish and press mixture onto bottom and up sides (not rim) of dish. Bake crust until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven; press crust with back of spoon if puffed. Cool crust completely.

  • For vanilla pudding filling:
  • Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in heavy medium saucepan until no lumps remain. Gradually whisk in cream, then milk. Add yolks and scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (or add 1 tsp of vanilla extract); whisk to blend. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until pudding thickens and boils, about 5 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted. Spread warm pudding in cooled crust. Chill until filling is cool, about 1 hour.

  • Thinly slice 3 bananas on diagonal. Combine banana slices and 2 tablespoons orange juice and the zest of half an oragne in medium bowl; toss to coat. Transfer banana slices to paper towels and pat dry. Arrange enough banana slices in single layer over vanilla custard filling to cover completely.

  • For peanut butter layer:
  • Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar in medium bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla, then peanut butter. Beat cream in another medium bowl until firm peaks form. Fold large spoonful of whipped cream into peanut mixture to loosen, then fold in remaining cream in 2 additions. Spread peanut butter layer evenly over bananas. Chill at least 3 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Keep chilled.

Thinly slice remaining banana on diagonal. Toss with remaining 1 tablespoon orange juice, then pat dry with paper towels. Arrange banana slices around top edge of pie. Sprinkle peanut brittle over bananas, if desired, and serve.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dim Sum Treat

I had this at Dim Sum when I was back in Boston. A never seen before treat! Tasted like light yellow cake. Delicious.