Showing posts with label Crooked Lane Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crooked Lane Books. Show all posts

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Baked Bananas with a Cuban Flair @LucyBurdette

a market in Havana

LUCY BURDETTE: You all are going to be reading a lot of Cuban recipes in the next year. I'll tell you why: The eighth Key West food critic mystery (coming out next summer with Crooked Lane Books,) takes place at a Havana/Key West conference. Hayley Snow's mother, Janet, has been awarded the catering contract and Hayley herself has been pressed into service for the weekend. I've just sent this off to the publisher--whoo hoo--and thought I would celebrate with this easy, sort-of-Cuban side dish.

Often in Cuba and in Cuban restaurants, fried plantains are found on the side of meat and rice dishes. But I discovered a version of this banana recipe in the Nantucket Open-House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase and loved it.(Confession: I don't love plantains.) And, it's a lot easier than frying individual slices of plantain, important if you are working on a lot of other dishes.


5 to 6 Bananas
Half a stick of butter
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or squeeze a half
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons rum
Cinnamon sprinkle if desired

Heat the butter and other ingredients in a small saucepan. Pour over the bananas, that you will have laid out in a 11 x 13 pan. Bake at 375 for 12 to 15 minutes until the butter is bubbling and the bananas are just beginning to brown. That's it!

These were delicious with the pork roast that I'd made but I could see them going with a lot of other main dishes. They look like you've gone to a lot of trouble when they're really easy as pie. (Not piecrust, as Sheila would attest.)

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...

Friday, December 30, 2016

Al's Wild Rice Stuffing

When I was growing up, there was only one stuffing for a turkey: Pepperidge Farm’s. Don’t get me wrong—I liked it then, and I still like it. But sometimes you want to change things up a bit, yanno? I made a few stabs at that years ago, when I volunteered to cook the turkey on quick trips home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but everybody made polite noises and then we went back to the Old Faithful bag of crumbs.

But I never give up. This year the stars aligned in a peculiar way. I know we’re trying to forget the recent political mess, but I started contributing online to Al Franken (U.S. Senator from Minnesota), mainly because he asked so nicely. He wasn’t even running himself, but he was raising money for a variety of other candidates. His emails were short, funny, and to the point, and I thought the emails alone deserved my support (so did the candidates, but that’s something else entirely).

After the election, he sent out a thank-you email—and he included recipes. No ask, no begging, just simple tasty recipes. So I decided to try one, in his honor. I did a little tweaking of the ingredients, based on what I had on hand, and I have no clue where to find the brand of rice he originally mentioned, but I did track down some wild rice locally. (Please don’t buy the “mixes” in a box, which in addition to the two kinds of rice contains a lot of artificial gunk.)

Al’s Wild Rice Stuffing


1 lb. wild rice (actually I cheated and used half a pound of wild rice and half a pound of white—wild rice is expensive!)

one stick butter
ten cloves of garlic
3 medium sized yellow onions
2 lbs. mushrooms (I swapped in some shitakes, and a package of dried porcini mushrooms I’d had for a long time)
salt to taste


In a colander, rinse the wild rice. Put the rice in a pot, and add 3 inches of water. Boil gently in a pot, uncovered, for about 20 to 25 minutes. 

Weigh a half-pound of white rice (which comes out to about one cup) and make it as you normally would (I do mine in the microwave). Stir when done to fluff it up.

While the rice is cooking, slice (do not mince) the mushrooms, onions, and garlic. (If you’re using dried mushrooms, soak them according to the package instructions, then drain—save the liquid, which is tasty and could go into your gravy!).

Melt the butter in a skillet, and sauté the onions and garlic until they begin to bleed a little liquid (Al’s description, not mine!) into the butter. Then add the mushrooms. The onions should not be totally soft.

Once the wild rice has cooked, drain it and add along with the white rice to the sautéed vegetables (you’ll need a big bowl!), and mix.

Add salt to taste, and stuff into the turkey before roasting (I'll spare you the picture of the naked turkey). The rest can be eaten as a side dish at dinner or saved to go with the leftovers.

How much does this make? Well, I cooked a 12-pound turkey, which is not very large, and used less than half of the stuffing. At the very least you could fill a bigger turkey!

Next book up: Cruel Winter, coming in March from Crooked Lane Books. I'd better use the snowy cover as much as I can before the daffodils bloom in Ireland!

You can preorder it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.