How lucky am I that both of my grandmas are amazing cooks?!
I could really talk about any of those memories and so many more, but this is a food blog so of course I am going to talk about my grandma's food!
Like anybody else's grandma, the food she made for us was always wonderful! Some of the best meals I have ever had in my life took place at my grandparents' houses. Whenever we happened to spend the afternoon at her house, my grandma would make us spaghetti and creamed corn. No matter how many times we had it, we would always ask for the same thing because it was so amazing! The spaghetti was not your ordinary spaghetti and tomato sauce, though. Oh no! She had to add her special touch to it. To be honest, I am not exactly sure what all she put into it, but I am pretty certain that the ingredient list included ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar! No wonder we liked it so much! And don't even get me started on the creamed corn! It was made with fresh corn she grew herself and was so creamy and sweet and salty at the same time it was amazing! I still love it to this day! After we had finished our lunch we always knew what was next...DESSERT!
While there are so many great desserts that my grandma makes, the one she is famous for is her custard pie. It is so amazing I don't even know where to start! It is so satisfyingly sweet and creamy, and there's this layer where the custard and crust meet that is almost fudgy from the custard soaking into it. It is to die for! Everyone in my extended family knows and loves this pie. Many have tried to replicate it with varying levels of success, but none come close to the real thing. Chalk another one up to the magic of grandmothers!
One of the other desserts that my grandma makes regularly is a simple yet delicious banana cake that is topped with a delicious caramel frosting. I remember having this cake countless times throughout my childhood with homemade ice cream and it always hit the spot. I recently got the recipes of several of my grandma's famous dishes and this cake was one of the ones that I was most excited about making for myself. When the cake was finished and I took my first bite, I was instantly transported back to my childhood; sitting at my grandma's dining room table playing games and eating food. I find it so amazing how food can do that. No matter how much time has passed, or how much you've grown or changed, food can take you back to simpler times and memorable places in an instant.
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup mashed bananas
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add in the eggs on at a time, making sure to fully combine each egg before adding the next.
Add the vanilla and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl so everything is incorporated.
In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients.
In a smaller bowl combine the buttermilk with the mashed bananas.
Slowly add a third of the banana mixture to the mixing bowl mixing to combine.
Then add a third of the dry mix, mixing to combine.
Continue to add the rest of the ingredients alternating between wet and dry until everything is just combined. Do not over mix.
Pour batter into a greased 9x13 pan and place in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.
Allow the cake to cool, then cover in the caramel frosting.
1/2 cup butter
1 heaping Tbsp of flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
In a heavy sauce pan melt the butter of low heat.
Once completely melted, add the flour and stir to combine and get rid of any lumps.
After a minute, add in the milk and the brown sugar and stir frequently until the sugar has completely dissolved. (about 2 minutes)
Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.
Allow the frosting to cool to room temperature.
Once cooled, add enough powdered sugar to thicken to your desired consistency and spread over cake.
Serve and enjoy.
With summer in full force
Fortunately, we have a grill in our backyard which has really come in handy the past couple weeks. While using the grill is obscenely hot, it keeps the heat outside while also embedding our dinners with wonderful summer flavors. Most recently, we had vegetable kababs and roasted Brussel sprouts on the grill. They get this wonderful char on them and the caramelization adds great flavor to an already delicious meal. I decided to make a simple pasta salad to go along with the kababs. I was inspired by several recipes I found online and developed this recipe of my own to fit the ingredients available and the flavors I wanted.
In my opinion, pesto is always a great addition to a meal so this summer pesto pasta salad hits the spot. The fresh cherry tomatoes and cheese compliment the pesto and greens nicely. I really enjoyed this dish and will plan to make it more often throughout the summer. I highly recommend trying it for yourself. You will not be disappointed! Try to stay cool out there!
Summer Pesto Pasta Salad
8-10 oz. short pasta of your choice
2 cups cherry tomatoes
10 oz. fresh greens
8 oz. feta, mozzarella, or parmesan cheese
1/4 of a red onion thinly sliced into strands
3/4 cups prepared pesto
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper to season
Cook the pasta until al dente and set to the side to cool
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add to a large bowl
Take the cheese and cut into small cubes and add to the bowl.
Add the cooled noodles and the red onion to the bowl.
In a separate bowl add the pesto, vinegar, sugar and olive oil.
Mix well until everything is combined and smooth.
Add the dressing to the large bowl and mix everything together.
Add the salad greens in handfuls until there is enough to your liking.
Season with salt and pepper and place in the refrigerator to let the flavors meld together and enjoy.