Cocktail O’Clock: Karamelized Banana


As you surely already know, it’s National Carmel Month!

We’ll drink to that.

Karamelized Banana

½ oz. Sobieski Karamel Vodka
½ oz. dark rum
1 oz. Marie Brizard Banana Liqueur
½ oz. half & half
Dash of ground cinnamon
Dash of ground nutmeg

Combine all the ingredients in and shake vigorously. Strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnish with an additional dash of ground cinnamon.

Crafted by Kim Haasarud.

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Cooking with Booze: Bourbon Bananas Foster

bananas foster

It’s never too early to start planning Valentine’s Day! And single folks, it’s definitely never too early to start planning a mid-winter, anti-romantic gorge fest, right? We’re thinking a weekend staying in Vegas, ordering up ridiculously lavish steaks and tracking down various booze-soaked desserts like the ridiculously good banana’s foster at Hugo’s Cellar in Four Queens Hotel and Casino Las Vegas. It’s prepared tableside, bananas served up over vanilla ice cream and then set on fire! Who’s with us?

Or you know, either way you could just stay home and cook up your own lavish mid-winter feast. Chef Nisa Burns of and author of the new book Kitchenability 101: The College Student’s Guide to Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Food, shares a sweet, spiked dessert. This bananas foster is made with bourbon rather than rum (we like), and is actually quite easy to make.

Easy Bananas Foster with Ice Cream

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Can this Banana Bread be Saved?

I have a confession to make.  Despite my mostly-vegetarian, quinoa-loving, local-eating lifestyle, I just don’t like whole wheat flour.  I think whole wheat pasta tastes just like the box it comes in, and every time I try to bake with whole wheat flour, I regret it.  However, we came into several bags of the stuff the other week, and after making some extra nutritious play-dough, I was still left with far too much of the finely ground fiber-fest.  I also had several black bananas, so the next step seemed obvious.

In retrospect, I should have used a combo of white and wheat flour, but in my zealous pursuit of using all of the WW flour, I went a little overboard.  The result was nothing short of brick-like.  It was so dense and dry that even putting a generous dollop of Nutella on every bite just made me wish I was eating the Nutella off a spoon.

Did I mention that I made two loaves of this nasty stuff?  I contemplated just chucking the whole thing in the trash, but I have had a few too many Friday-you-know-what’s lately, so I decided to persevere. 

The Joy of Cooking told me that for bread pudding, you should only use yeast breads, not ones leavened with baking soda, so I went online in search of a different recipe for bread pudding to redeem my sad banana bread.  Just a heads up, it is pretty much exactly the same as the recipe in the Joy of Cooking.  Oh, J of C, why you gotta lie like that?

Anyway, I cut the offending ‘nana bread into chunks, added a few other ingredients, and Voila!  The sweet smell of redemption.

Banana Bread Bread Pudding

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The Cookie Dough-Lympics: Banana Almond Poppers

Banana Almond Poppers

Have you ever witnessed the “law of attraction” at work? Like when you think about something for a long time, dream it to be true, and then voila! it shows up at your front doorstep? Well, ladies and gentleman, all my years of wanting, wishing, and longing for have finally come to light—in the form of a book full of raw cookie dough recipes.

Before you go singing the salmonella symphony to me, let me explain: this cookie dough is egg-less. What does that mean, my friends?  It means that you can stick your head right into that bowl and nom you way to the bottom, worry-free. And thanks to Lindsay Landis, creator of this cookie dough recipe and book full of desserts to make with it, all of our lives have now been touched.

With this new cookbook ES has entered the “Cookie Dough-Lympics,” where we come up with our own recipes based around this egg-less delight. I sat down with the book while brainstorming ideas and found cakes, ice cream, souffles…you name it, Lindsay created it. In brainstorming for my own recipe I realized I wanted a yummy, easy to make, minimal-ingredient summer treat with this dough.  I want the kind of thing that is bite-size so I can munch with ease. I want the kind of thing I can make on a weeknight, store in the freezer, and grab whenever I need a frozen pick-me-up. And then it hit me: the Banana Almond Poppers were born.

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Marshmallows Gone Wild! Top 10 Summertime Uses for Jumbo Marshmallows

Maybe I’m just sheltered, but I never knew about jumbo marshmallows until I saw a large palate of them in a grocery store near the shore a few weeks ago. As a proponent of campfires and burning marshmallows to a charred, crispy, oozing sweet goodness, you would imagine that I got excited.

With the summer finally here, it’s time we break out the mallows and start toasting away. But wait…there’s more you can do with a marshmallow than toast it in a fire? Well yes, and here are ten favorite, craziest ways:

10. Chocolate and Caramel Covered Marshmallow Pops

Whenever we’re making caramel apples, I make sure no caramel goes to waste. I dip marshmallows in the caramel, then set them in the freezer. Why didn’t I think of then dipping in chocolate afterwards? I’m ashamed. The peeps (no pun intended) at the turtle’s life for me made these. A layer of crushed Oreos after the caramel and before the chocolate would MAKE these.

(Photo: A Turtle’s Life for Me)

9. Toasted Coconut Marshmallows

They sell toasted coconut marshmallows in stores — but I’m pretty sure they couldn’t even compare to homemade toasted coconut-covered marshmallows. Now imagine this: they are made with jumbo marshmallows. I’m thinking you can coat the store-bought jumbo marshmallows in melted butter and the toasted coconut would stick. Or just make them from scratch. Whoever said marshmallows are boring: you lose.

(Photo: PreventionRD)

8. Oreo Marshmallows

Again, they’re homemade so the first goal would be to make these oreo marshmallows double the size. Do I hear a challenge? Damn right.

(Photo: Raspberri Cupcakes)

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Endless Bananas

I think it’s safe to say that at some point or another, we’ve all been faced with spotty bananas that we knew we just weren’t going to get to before they turned that final corner into banana heaven (the compost pile). Not due to lack of ideas, but due to lack of time. Luckily, there’s a quick and easy way to extend the life of your ripe bananas.

First, peel the bananas and lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Put the sheet in the freezer for two or three hours, until the bananas are solid. This is called flash freezing. It will enable you to pull one banana at a time out of the freezer. If you just  put them all together in a bag they would freeze in one giant banana lump.

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Top 10 Break-Up Foods

For some, Valentine’s Day is a time of magic and romance. For the rest of us, it’s a pain in the ass. I’m not a big proponent of feeling pressured if you’re dating someone, or sorry for yourself if you’re not. Come on, we’re all gonna get laid sooner or later, who cares if it’s on V-Day, right? And most romances end in heartache, so let’s just indulge ourselves and talk about something more realistic than the perfect confections to buy your sweetheart.

Maybe you’re feeling bitter because you got dumped right before Valentine’s Day, maybe you found out through Facebook that your high school lover is engaged, maybe you just realized that every dude on this season of Mtv’s Real World/Road Rules: The Challenge somehow resembles one of your ex-boyfriends. (I mean…hypothetically, of course.) At least there is always food and sweet, sweet alcohol.

Just in time for everyone who is feeling bitter over this “holiday,” we present Endless Simmer’s Top 10 Break-Up Foods.

10. Bananas

I know, we’re starting off with a weird one, but bear with me. For a lot of us, when we’re upset or depressed or convinced we will die alone, sometimes it’s hard to see the point of eating. (If you are in this heartbroken place, don’t worry; in my experience, this unwillingness to stuff your face will pass soon enough.) While you might feel dramatic and slightly excited by the possibility of effortless weight loss, you need something to provide you with energy, or at least keep you from fainting at your desk. I read somewhere that the human body could technically live off bananas. I don’t know if this is actually true, but this “fact” stuck with me, and now whenever I’m depressed and have to force myself to eat, I choke down a banana.

9. Coffee

You might be waking up alone, but at least you have a daybreak companion to look forward to: coffee. If you’re been up until 4am crying, or maybe writing angry emails, or pathetic “I am so lonely without you” texts, it’s gonna be a rough morning. You need to force yourself to get out of bed and face the day somehow. What is the answer? Caffeine, of course. There is something about a sober, steaming mug of black coffee that is bleakly comforting.

8. Pizza

You’re in no mood to cook. Everything is too much effort. Nothing says “I’m lonely and lazy” like some cheap pizza. Plus it’s oily enough to soak up a boozy hangover if you’re been drinking away your sorrows. Whether it’s local delivery, late-night drunken desperation, or a cold slice out of a greasy box you find in the back of the fridge, pizza is a tried-and-true break-up binge classic.

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