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Archive for August, 2010

My niece Ally lives in Hoboken, NJ and when she comes home to visit she would always brings a container of banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan for my Mom. My Mother raved about how wonderful this pudding was and of course I had to find a way to make this dessert for her so that Ally wouldn’t have to pay $8 for a small cup of this sweet goodness. A quick search on Amazon and I found the complete Magnolia Bakery cookbook recipes from the World-Famous Bakery and Allysa Torey’s Home Kitchen. I ordered a copy of the book for both my Mom and myself, and as soon as I gave her copy to her she promptly gave it to my niece Ally so she would have a copy. So I gave my Mom my copy and told her that I would get another copy for myself. Before I could order my copy, she gave that second copy to my sister Michele, which meant I needed to order more copies because my baby sister Stacey needed a copy also. I think all-told I ordered something like 6 copies that were distributed to family members.

Anyways after finally getting all the copies ordered I finally made the recipe for my Mom on Mother’s Day. It was a huge hit, so much so, I didn’t even get a taste of the stuff, nor did I get a picture of it to put here on the blog, nor did I get a picture of the pudding the second time I made it, but I did get to taste it, heaven, absolutely heaven. For yesterday’s family party, I made this pudding and made sure not only to get a taste of it, but also a picture of it so I could post the recipe on my blog.

Although the pudding recipe is wonderful as written, of course I’ve had to tinker with it, my slightly modified version is below.

Magnolia’s Famous Banana Pudding

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups ice cold water
1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix (preferably Jell-O brand)
3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 (12-ounce) boxes Mini Nabisco Nilla Wafers (no substitutions!)
8-9 ripe bananas, sliced

In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the sweetened condensed milk and water until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the pudding mix and beat well, about 2 minutes more. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight, before continuing. It is very important to allow the proper amount of time for the pudding mixture to set.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pudding mixture into the whipped cream until well blended and no streaks of pudding remain.

To assemble the dessert, select a large, wide bowl (preferably glass) with a 4-5-quart capacity. Arrange one-third of the wafers to cover the bottom of the bowl, overlapping if necessary, then one-third of the bananas and one-third of the pudding. Repeat the layering twice more, garnishing with additional wafers or wafer crumbs on the top layer of the pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours – or up to 8 hours, but no longer! – before serving.

* * * NOTE: we’ve found that the longer this pudding sits, the mushier the vanilla wafers get, and by Gawd are they yummy, so don’t be afraid to make this food of the Gods a day before your gathering, because contrary to what the recipe says, the pudding is still beyond delicious even though it’s sat in the fridge for a day or two.

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To die for…it’s the only way to really describe these jalapeño puffs.

I usually make homemade jalapeño poppers for family gatherings, but the jalapeño peppers at both the farmers market and all of the grocery stores looked beat up and not fresh and I needed a ton of peppers because well, there were going to be a lot of people to feed. So I had to find something else to make and it had to have jalapeño peppers in it, because we likes us some hot stuff for appetizers.

Off to the internets I go in search of jalapeño pepper appetizer recipes. I found a recipe on allrecipes.com called Puffs and of course I modified the recipe and made some yummy appetizers. My modified recipe is below. I made 8 dozen, 96 Puffs, and there was nary a one leftover for this mornings breakfast.

Jalapeño Puffs

12 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 pound thick sliced bacon, cooked and chopped
1 – 7.75 oz. can Green Jalapeño Wheels, drained and chopped
1 – 8 oz. bag Mexican Blend Cheese
2 pkg. Won Ton wrappers (4 dozen wrappers per pkg.)

Pre-heat oven to 350°.

In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, bacon, jalapeño peppers and cheese until nicely combined. Place approximately 1 tsp of filling onto the middle of a won ton wrapper, wet two sides of the wrapper, fold into a triangle and press edges down with the tines of a fork. Place on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray, then spray the top sides of the puffs with the cooking spray prior to putting them into the oven. Bake on one side for 5 minutes, turn puffs and bake an additional 5 minutes until puffs are golden brown.

Because I had to make the puffs ahead of time, I cooled them on a rack, then tossed them into a container and put them into the refrigerator. I was going to heat them when I got to the party, but hands started going into the container so I didn’t have time to heat. Everyone loved them just the same, and as I said, there was not one left over…thank goodness I had the presence of mind to take a picture of the puffs prior to taking them to my family gathering.

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Claremont Salad

I’m busy in the kitchen this morning, making tons of food for our family gathering tomorrow. Cousins from both the Philadelphia and Scranton area are coming up to visit with my Mom and we decided to turn it into a family party. Family party means lots and lots of wonderful food. One of the dishes my Mom wanted me to make is Claremont Salad. It’s a salad that I normally buy for her at Wegmans, but there is no way I can afford the massive amounts of salad from the deli to feed this crowd. So off I go on an internet search for the perfect recipe, and it had to be one that tasted as good or better than the salad that I purchase at Wegmans.

The salad needed to have cucumbers, peppers, carrots and red onion in it, even though I knew that I would in some way or another tweek the recipe, and I did. The recipe for Claremont Salad that I chose is one from allrecipes.com. My altered version is below, and mind you, I am giving you the proportions I used to make a HUGE amount of salad for our family gathering.

Claremont Salad

3-16 oz. bags finely shredded cabbage (or 1 large head of cabbage, shredded)
6 mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
3 carrots, thinly sliced
1 Bermuda onion, thinly sliced
6 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
1-1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1-1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
8 tablespoons water
6 teaspoons salt

Combine the cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, celery and onion in a very large bowl. I used my food processor to thinly slice everything, got some rounds and then some long thin slices…makes an interesting look for the salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, oil, water and salt. Pour over the cabbage mixture. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours. When serving, drain extra juices, or not if you like… and then totally ENJOY this wonderful salad!!

P.S. That small bowl of salad that I used to take the pictue…yum, yum in my tummy is goes!!

P.S.S. Edited to add, the salad was a big hit at the party. My cousins all asked for the recipe, and my Mom said it tasted better than Wegmans salad.

Printable Recipe

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