4th of July!!

This weekend was a cook’s dream.  I’m not sure where to even begin.  The menu consisted of deviled eggs, two different types of banana bread, Cioppino with sour dough croutons, whole Snapper with four pepper ginger sauce, hot & sour cucumber salad, sesame bok choy, and Secondo Mama’s berry cobbler. There were so many wonderful recipes that it is hard to pick which one to write about.  Alright let’s see….  I’ll give you the recipe for one of the banana breads and post a link to some of the other things we made.

First on the menu, was Bobby Flay’s Fulton Fish Market Cioppino with Sourdough Croutons and Anchovy Butter.



Mom had made in advance some fantastic fish stock.  Forget the super market kind.  If you plan on making any type of soup, it is worth the extra step in making a homemade broth.  When she purchased the fish, she asked for two fish heads and put the shrimp shells in it as well.  Broths are super easy to make and they freeze well.

Next was Bobby’s Flay’s Grilled Whole Fish with Four Pepper-Ginger Sauce.



The fish was so incredibly fresh and the sauce that was on top had just the right amount of heat.  I know when Mom was making the sauce, she wanted to cut back on the “hot peppers” but don’t! It is the perfect match for the fish and besides…Bobby Flay isn’t making the big $$$ for nothing…so don’t be scared. That habanero pepper is all good! Just wear latex gloves when you are cutting it.  Mom rubbed her eyebrow after chopping it up and she still has a bit of that “joker” grimace thing going on.

One of the banana bread recipes I made was from a food blog called 101 cookbooks.  She does vegetarian food and her blog is wonderful.  The recipe is called Roast Banana-Pumpkin Bread.  I read the ingredients…raisins soaked in rum, bananas roasted in their peel, toasted pumpkin seeds, and coconut milk.  How could one not make that???  A changed up a few things because of the ingredients that were on hand.  I used currants instead of raisins and Kaluha instead of vanilla extract.


As I was checking out her blog for banana bread recipes she spoke of one by Art Smith (Oprah’s old chef).  It had only 6 ingredients in it and I guess due to copyright reasons back in the day she initially put it on her blog and then had to remove it.  Since anything is possible via Google these days,  I eventually found it and cut the recipe in half and used a brownie pan. My nieces inhaled it and even asked if I could make it for the older one’s birthday coming up…it was that good.  Not sure how all that copyright stuff works on these blogs, but unless I actually come up with a recipe, I’ll always refer back to who owns the rights to it.

So here is ART SMITH’S Banana Bread/Cake Recipe…or 6 quick ingredients to impress your nieces with!!

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake


2 cups sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

4 large eggs at room temperature

2 cups mashed, well ripened bananas

2 1/2 cups self rising flour

2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a Bundt pan.

Beat the sugar and butter together until light in color and texture. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Reduce mixer to low and add mashed bananas. Gradually add in flour. Mix in chocolate chips by hand. Spread evenly in pan.

Bake 1 hour or till a toothpick comes out clean and the cake starts to pull away from pan.

Cool 10 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July!


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