Mimi’s Ode to the Ripe Banana: Banana Bread

Celebrate National Banana Bread Day!  Although, there are no known origins of this holiday, it is homage to the banana!  It is a tribute to all the cooks who developed banana bread recipes to use up those overripe bananas.  Mimi’s bread always gets rave reviews.  It makes three large loaves or delicious cupcakes too!  You can even make a simple cream cheese icing to sweeten things up!  Now go make some banana bread!  

Mimi's Banana Bread
Mimi likes to talk about her banana bread and its special powers. Its ability to make your house smell like heaven, please the pickiest of eaters, keep your teenager at home on a weekend, make your housekeeper stick around for another hour free of charge, keep your postman delivering at the door, and your vendors ready to return on a moment's notice if they think you will give them a fresh-baked loaf or even one from your freezer.
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 50 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 50 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound (4 sticks) Unsalted Butter
  2. 4 Eggs
  3. 10 Ripe Bananas
  4. 4 Cups Sugar
  5. 4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  6. 4 teaspoons Baking Soda
  7. 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter and flour three loaf pans or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl or mixer bowl, combine the softened butter, eggs, sugar and bananas. Mix until somewhat smooth. Batter will have some banana lumps. In another large bowl add remaining dry ingredients of flour baking soda and salt. Sift dry ingredients together.
  3. Fold the flour mixture into the butter banana mixture until well incorporated. Pour into prepared loaf pans. Bake for approximately 1½ hours, checking with a wooden pick inserted into center at the one hour mark, until it comes out clean. Cooking time can vary depending upon whether you use glass or metal loaf pan.
Notes
  1. The secret to this recipe is very ripe bananas. Mimi has a freezer full of ripened to almost black bananas which she simply thaws to room temperature in the sink. They are so ripened that they mix into the wet ingredients without processing or smashing. They will seem very gooey but that is the secret to this recipe’s success. Add them straight to the wet ingredients from the peel.
Because I Say So http://www.becauseisayso.com/

Tempting Tapioca

TapiocaOh baby it’s cold outside! Let’s enjoy a warm comforting dessert on a cold night. This recipe is so easy, and the results are so yummy!

Tapioca Pudding
Serves 6
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 Egg
  2. 2 3/4 Cups Milk
  3. 1/3 Cup Sugar
  4. 3 Tablespoons Tapioca, (we prefer small pearl tapioca)
  5. 1-2 Teaspoons Vanilla
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk egg and milk.
  2. Add sugar and tapioca.
  3. Let set a few minutes.
  4. Stir.
  5. Bring to a full boil, over medium heat stirring constantly. (Be sure it's medium heat and not high as the tapioca will not fully cook and expand.)
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. Stir in vanilla to taste.
Notes
  1. Cool briefly and pour into small serving dishes if serving warm. If serving chilled, place plastic wrap directly on top of tapioca and refrigerate. You can serve with or without fresh or stewed fruit on top.
  2. For best taste use whole milk or 2%, but other milks can also be used.
Because I Say So http://www.becauseisayso.com/

Kringles to the Rescue!

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O&HKringle

Enough about the pie and the crust!

Mademoiselle’s here to talk about making the holidays easy with Kringles from O & H Bakery in Racine Wisconsin. It’s our recommendation that after cooking a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal every cook deserves a break so why not order in a couple of these Kringles for your crowd? Our favorite is the Pecan/Raspberry Pair. These make gift giving and feeding a crowd easy!

Bon appétit! Our 5 part primer

It’s back to school month, so for most of us, our summer cooking hiatus is over. You know how important it is to Mimi and Mademoiselle that everyone learn how to cook. Our first cooking post, Bon Appétit, stressed the importance of learning to cook. Our posts, Perfect Pantry- Part Une, Deux and Trois, schooled you on what to buy to be prepared to cook. We promised you in those posts that if you learned to cook five things well (breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and appetizer) not only would you get the cooking bug, but you would be inspired to expand your cooking knowledge!

We started you out with Mimi’s famous Banana Bread which triples as a breakfast, dessert and signature dish. We also showed you the best Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin recipe you will ever find. So, as it’s time for school, let’s master a quick and easy soup that can be your lunch or dinner! Mimi calls this “Christmas Soup” because her babies got used to having it for lunch on Christmas Day and thus the name was coined because of it’s bright hues of red and green. Mademoiselle calls it “Mimi Soup”. You can substitute most of the ingredients to fit your tastes and you can expand the recipe with ease. Serve it with crunchy French bread and you have a healthy, hearty and quick meal.

Mimi Soup
Easy and delicious Italian style soup.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 shallot
  2. 1 clove garlic
  3. 1 tablespoon butter
  4. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. 2 Boxes (32 oz.) Chicken stock
  6. 2 Cups Water
  7. 2 Cans Diced Tomatoes with Basil and Oregano (Hunts)
  8. 1 small bunch, bag or box of baby spinach leaves
  9. 2 cups tortellini, gnocchi or pasta of choice
  10. 2 cups cooked chicken (rotisserie)
  11. Parmesan Cheese (Optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine butter and oil in stock pot or dutch oven, melt
  2. Chop shallot and garlic very small
  3. Sauté in butter/oil for 3-5 min
  4. Add stock
  5. Add diced tomatoes
  6. Heat to a boil
  7. Add pasta, cook according to directions on pasta, only to al dente
  8. After pasta cooked, turn to low heat
  9. Add cooked chicken, stir to heat through
  10. Add spinach leaves, stir
  11. Serve immediately. Garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese.
Notes
  1. Hint: If you want to make enough for leftovers, make the pasta separately in water, rinse and set aside. Add to bowls separate from broth. It will keep the pasta fresher for use in leftovers and from absorbing all the liquid in the soup when you reheat.
Because I Say So http://www.becauseisayso.com/

Mimi is Still Out of the Kitchen

Cut 432 Interior

Mimi still thinks it’s too hot to cook so she is sharing another of her favorite “out of the kitchen” destinations, CUT 432 in Delray Beach, Florida. Normally when in Florida you do not think of a steakhouse for dinner, but fear not, this is not just a great steakhouse, it is an awesome steakhouse with many other offerings other than just USDA Prime dry-aged beef sourced from the country’s top ranchers and artisanal producers. It is worth the drive from any surrounding south Florida destination, plus it’s a very pretty drive down highway A1A.  

First, you must know that the restaurant serves homemade biscuits with jam and honey. Yes, biscuits. The good kind. And you can get as many as you want. Yum! The MDC recommends an appetizer of the lobster bisque or the seafood tower; dinner, the 12 oz. filet and as sides the Parmesan truffle fries and jumbo asparagus.

Mimi recommends the foie gras sliders and the wedge salad to start, small filet (with any of the recommended sauces) and creamed corn.

Cut 432 Filet

Mademoiselle recommends the grilled artichokes, shrimp cocktail, Atlantic salmon and either the truffled or lobster mac -n-cheese. Admittedly, every time we have eaten there we have been too full for dessert, but we are assuming they are fabulous.

Cut 432 Mac n Cheese

However, if you want to take home a dessert we do have a secret. A few doors down from CUT432 is a famous candy shop, Kilwin’s Chocolates. You can get delicious chocolate covered anything or homemade ice cream for the ride home or after you have recovered from the meal at CUT432.

Enjoy your out-of-the-kitchen time at CUT432 or Kilwins! They are not to be missed!

Mimi’s Out of the Kitchen

Renato's Palm Beach

It’s too hot to cook and Mimi wants out of the kitchen! First up is Mimi’s favorite Palm Beach restaurant so far: Renato’s. This fancy but friendly Worth Avenue gem has a lovely open air atmosphere in season and an elegant intimacy in the off season. The menu has great seasonal offerings as well as established dishes.

Since Mademoiselle is blazing her own epicurean trail in Paris this summer, the MDC and Mimi took the boys and our friends to experience both Renato’s on Worth and their more casual sister restaurant, Al Fresco. Al Fresco not only makes delicious pizza, but also serves breakfast!

Although Mimi says you cannot go wrong with any dish at Renato’s she recommends her favorites, the Insalata Di Barbabietole (beet and goat cheese salad), the Pappardelle Con Vitello e Funghi (pappardelle pasta, mushrooms and veal) and of course, the tiramisu. The MDC likes the Risotto all’Aragosta (saffron risotto and shellfish), but ends up eating what’s left of the truffled papperdale. Our friend’s spinach ravioli was rich and delicious down to the last bite. Renato’s has a very extensive wine and cocktails list. The Maitre’d and staff are friendly and service-oriented. Mimi highly recommends it when you find yourself in Palm Beach. In season or not, get reservations as the good places are always busy!

Next Stop… CUT 342, Delray Beach!cool

The Modern Day Courtier Grills

Summer is in full bloom so let’s get our grill on with our “MDC,” the Modern Day Courtier. July at Say So HQ belongs to the MDC. Yes, the master of all summer entertaining and grilling is going to share some secrets with you this month! So, for all the men in your life that received a grill for Father’s Day, or all you girlies that want to learn to make a tenderloin like your dad (or skilled mom), take a lesson from the MDC on how to grill the perfect whole beef tenderloin.

Grilled Beef Tenderloin
Serves 8
The most delicious beef tenderloin you have ever tasted!
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Prep Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 45 min
Prep Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 45 min
Tenderloin
  1. One whole peeled beef tenderloin (Your butcher will know what to do). Alternatively, 8 6-8 oz. filets.
  2. Szeged Steak Seasoning (See Serendipitous Finds)
  3. Allegro Meat Marinaide (See Serendipitous Finds)
Garlic Butter
  1. One stick unsalted butter
  2. Garlic Salt
Truffle Butter
  1. 1 stick softened unsalted butter
  2. 1 -1/2 teaspoon truffle oil
  3. Soften butter, add oil, roll softened butter in plastic wrap into a log. Refrigerate until hardened. Once it is hardened, slice into disks, re-refrigerate until steak is ready to be plated and served.
Optional
  1. 2 Manly Sausages (Your Choice or MDC's favorite, Jalapeño Cheddar)
  2. Margarita
Instructions
  1. Heat grill to 350 degrees. The MDC prefers lump charcoal, never briquets or gas. Sometimes the old ways are the best.
  2. Find a meat thermometer and see chart below for preferred serving temperatures.
  3. Remove loin or steaks from packaging.
  4. Coat tenderloin by pouring 1 cup Allegro over tenderloin or filets, marinade on all sides.
  5. Sprinkle to coat tenderloin or filets with Szeged seasoning on all sides. Gently press seasoning into meat.
  6. Cover meat with foil or plastic wrap and let it come to room temperature. About an hour.
Make garlic butter for basting
  1. Melt one stick of unsalted butter
  2. Stir in 2 Teaspoons of Garlic Salt
  3. Set aside for grilling
  4. When grill is hot, place loin in center of grill or arrange filets in a circle over hottest part of grill. Set timer for 8 minutes. (See notes below for specific timing for your choice of rare to well-done)
  5. Begin basting meat with garlic butter. Be careful as this will cause the flame to flash.
  6. Turn over according to your desired cooking time, baste again on each side of the tenderloin or filets. Generally, one turn after the first 8 minutes of a filet suffices and the next cooking time is roughly 6 minutes depending upon the thickness of the cut and preferred temperature of you and your guests. Rare takes less time and well done more time.
  7. Remove from grill and cover with foil on serving platter.
  8. Optional: If you are grilling MDC style, add sausages to grill when you put tenderloin on. Cook 10-15 minutes. Remove from the grill and slice and eat while cooking remaining tenderloin. Remember to also enjoy your margarita while cooking.
Notes
  1. You must remove tenderloin from grill, cover and let it rest 10-15 minutes before serving. This will ensure that the juices will stay in the meat. Basically, be sure and take the meat off as it approaches the desired temperature (you can tell by doing a test slice through the middle of the thinnest filet and/or part of the tenderloin and if that seems done, then you know the larger cuts of meat and thicker part of the tenderloin still have some time to go). You can remove the filets one at a time for desired temperature preference and also cut the tenderloin into segments for different temperatures. It's very difficult to avoid not cutting up the tenderloin as the thin part or "tail" cooks much faster than the thickest part. So, don't fret about carving up the tenderloin on the grill as opposed to on the platter. Bobby Flay might disagree, but the MDC has never had any complaints!
  2. Rare 120-125
  3. Medium 140-145
  4. Well Done 160
Because I Say So http://www.becauseisayso.com/

Mademoiselle’s First Kitchen Essentials

Kitchen Essentials

Mademoiselle just set up her first kitchen! She went to her local home goods store with the following list and was able to obtain all of the listed kitchen essentials simply and inexpensively. These are the minimum must-have implements and appliances for daily cooking. Although, there are many additional small appliances and kitchen gadgets to tempt you. If you start with these, you can cook just about anything, but not break the bank with unnecessary cooking tools.

Pots and pans

Sauté pan with lid

Teflon skillet

Pasta pot with strainer

Dutch oven

Sheet pan

9×13 baking pan/cookie sheet

Grill/griddle pan

 

Prep tools

Mixing bowl

Colander

Cutting board

Measuring cups and spoons

Liquid measuring cup

Can opener

Meat thermometer

Tongs

Silpat

Whisk

Peeler

Turner

Wooden spoons

Spatulas

 

Knives

Chef’s knife – 8”

Paring knife – 4”

 

Kitchen linens

Towels

Potholders

 

Appliance essentials

Hand mixer

Coffee maker

Toaster

Blender

Perfect Pantry: Part Trois, Kitchen Contessa

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One of Mimi and Mademoiselle’s favorite cooks is Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. She makes food simply, elegantly and her recipes are always delicious! The larder staples we discussed in parts une and deux, in addition to those listed, will most certainly put you in her league or at least allow you to have the ingredients on hand to make most of her recipes or delicious ones of your own.

Click here to download our handy shopping guide!

PerfectPantryShoppingList3-DryPantry

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This level of cooking also requires a well stocked bar! Be sure to include:

PerfectPantryShoppingList3-Alcohol

Next time, look forward to a new recipe and SaySo recommended kitchen tools!

Now, devotees, you have no excuse. Go cook something fabulous!

Perfect Pantry: Part Deux, Cuisine Assuree

Perfect Pantry logo

In our last post, Perfect Pantry: Part Une, Mimi shared the basics of stocking your scullery for culinary success. If you are confident in the kitchen, have a bit more extra space and a little more time on your hands to shop and prepare your meals, you are ready for a slightly more robust pantry. In fact, your friends may start calling you Martha and even your mother may envy your pantry!

Click here to download our handy shopping guide!

Perfect Pantry Shopping List Dry Pantry

 

Perfect Pantry Shopping List Spices

 

Perfect Pantry Shopping List Baking

 

Perfect Pantry Shopping List Fridge