Monthly Archives: May 2016

Olive Oil Banana Bread

Please forgive me but I have posted this recipe before.  It is Aunt Grace’s Banana Bread and if you haven’t had a chance to try it, I suggest that you do.  It is really delicious.  The only difference is that this time I made it with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  I used a medium oil not the usual delicate one.

Now, I know it sounds like it wouldn’t taste good.  Olive oil is somewhat strong and one can taste it in salads.  In cooking, it looses it’s distinguishing flavor and just enhances whatever it is that you are making.  All fats, whether they are an oil or butter have pretty much the same amount of calories, somewhere between 36 to 44 per teaspoon.   Butter has 36, olive oil 40.  Fats make food taste better and they make a person feel fuller.  I’m finding that fats are a major subject in all new diet and nutrition books.  I’ve been reading that there are good fats and bad fats.  I believe this.  I have believed this for a long time.  I only have two types of fats in my home, olive oil and butter.  That’s all I ever use, all that I ever need.  You can substitute olive oil for butter in most of your cooking and baking.  In fact, if you substitute the butter with olive oil, you will probably be lowering the caloric value of your dish because you use less.  Although using both in a sauté, for example, can be very delicious.  To substitute olive oil for butter just use 2/3 of the amount needed in the recipe and if baking, I tend to leave it in a few minutes longer.  It might just be my oven but I feel it usually takes a little longer to bake.  The product is always very rich and moist.  I have to say that this banana bread is more moist than the original one made with butter.  Try both and let me know which one you like best.  I have my favorite but would really like to hear what you think.  Just leave something in the comments below.



1 cup Sugar

6 Tbls. Olive Oil

2 Eggs

3 Bananas, very ripe

1 1/4 cup Flour

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 tsp. Salt


Combine the Sugar and Olive Oil.


In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients


In another bowl, whip the Eggs and Bananas. I try to get the Bananas to dissolve as much as possible and to make the mixture as light as I can.


Add the Egg/Banana mixture to the Sugar bowl.  Then add the dry ingredients until combined.IMG_5119Pour into a 4 x 8 greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.


Maybe a little longer.


The whole house smells wonderful when this is in the oven.  I hope you will try it and let me know what you think.

Sliced into 16 servings.  Each serving contains 159 Calories, 6 grams Fat, 25.1 grams Carbs, 2 grams Protein.

Strawberries and Cream Pionono

I’ve been thinking a lot about my mom lately which has led me to reminisce on family recipes.   My mom was an excellent cook.  She made wonderful meals and unbelievable pastries.  She wasn’t much into cookies or cakes.  She slept only 3 hours a night and in the mornings when everyone was sleeping, she would be making some delicious pastry for breakfast.  Mom included me in the kitchen a lot.  I was her official taster.  I had the last word on the al dente condition of pasta, the need for mustard in our Enslada Rusa (potato salad) and salt on any dish.  The funny thing about salt is that mom would season with salt perfectly and I am always stingy with it.  I think I got into that habit a few years back when salt was considered such an evil thing.  I guess I figured that people could salt their own plates after they were served.  My husband always salted his food without even tasting it, which might be reason number two why I use salt so sparingly.

This Pionono recipe comes straight from Argentina. I have been making this cake since I was a pre-teen.  Mom and I made it for both sweet and savory rolls. At some time when I was young, Mom just lost her touch with Pionono, at least that’s what she told me.  It just wouldn’t turn out for her and, so then, it became my job.  We made this often with a salmon salad or dulce de leche as a filling but I love Fruit Basket Cakes and thought it might be nice to make a filling for this roll with fruit and whipped cream.  I think it’s delish.

I call the batter my 4 + 4 + 4 dough.  So easy to remember, 4 eggs, 4 Tbls. flour, 4 Tbls. sugar and 1 tsp. Vanilla.  That’s it!  It’s a dream.



4 Eggs

4 Tbls. Unbleached Flour

4 Tbls. Sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla


Filling-Double this recipe if you would like to frost the outside of the cake.

4 oz. Mascarpone Cheese

1/2 cup Sugar (If you are doubling the recipe, use 2/3 cup of Sugar.)

1 cup Heavy Cream

1 tsp. Vanilla (Keep it at 1 tsp. of Vanilla if you are doubling the recipe.)

1 lb. Strawberries

8 oz. Blueberries

Or whatever fruit you would like

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 14 x 11 pan with greased parchment paper.  (I use the bottom of my broiler pan.  What can I say?  It’s tradition.)  The trick to working with parchment paper is to lightly grease the pan so the paper will stay in place.  Then, generously grease the top.


Beat the 4 Eggs and Sugar with your whisk attachment of your standup mixer.  Beat until the Eggs are frothy like a zabaglione, about 5 minutes.  You should only see froth and no liquid in the bowl.


Gently fold in 1 Tbl. of sifted Flour at a time.  Make sure there are no lumps.


Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 7 minutes.

While the cake is baking, grab a tea towel, dampen it and spread a thin layer of sugar on it.


Take the cake out and place it upside down on the towel.  Gently peal the parchment paper.



While the cake is cooling slightly, gently stir 1/4 cup of Sugar into the Mascarpone in a medium bowl. In another bowl. whip the Cream on medium until soft peaks.  Increase speed to medium-high and slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup Sugar until it reaches stiff peaks.  Fold the Cream into the Mascarpone a bit at a time.

Prepare Strawberries and Blueberries.

Spread the Whipped Cream on the cake.


Place Berries on top.


Use the towel to roll.


Place on a plate.  Trim the sides and frost.  Then frost the top or decorate.


Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.  Sprinkle with some powdered sugar.


You are done in less than 45 minutes.  I listened to Andrea Bocelli’s CD “Romanza”.  I used a few of these songs in class when I taught Spanish.  It has some Spanish and some Italian songs that I lo

Serving size can vary.  I chose to use 8 servings per roll.  Each serving of the Pionono has 74 Calories, 2.3 grams Fat, 8.9 grams Carbs, 3.4 grams Protein.  The filling has 243 Calories, 17.4 grams Fat, 21.4 grams Carbs, 4.4 grams Protein.







Blueberry Scones

I’m sorry that I’m a little behind on my blog.  Well, I realize that it probably doesn’t matter much to you if I post regularly or not. So, I guess I should apologize because  you will be getting some stories and recipes more frequently this week.  Stories just swim in my mind until I get them down on paper.  I journal everyday to relieve some of that but when I have stories that I want to share with you, they just won’t leave me alone until I type them into words.

A few recipes back, if you recall the Lemon Glazed Monkey Bread, I wrote about my mom’s thriftiness and how I was developing this trait.  It really was an unexpected insight that I discovered as I put my thoughts down on paper, so to speak.  Well, now, I’m looking at myself through new lenses and I am becoming more aware of how much I am resembling my mother.  It became clear when I was asked about this scone recipe.  I brought a batch to the volunteers at the food locker where I help out.  The question was about topping the scones with sugar before baking.  I brush them with cream and sometimes sprinkle some sugar on top.  As I was describing this to my friends, I had the vision of me taking the pastry brush and running it on the sides of the measuring cups that I used for the dough.  I use the last little drops of cream from those cups to top the scones.  I’m too frugal to get more cream out from the carton.  I usually have just enough for the 12 scones.  What an “AHA” moment for me.  People say that we turn into our mothers if we are women or our fathers if we are men as we mature.  Well, I’m maturing and I see it!  It just makes me laugh.

This is a wonderful breakfast or brunch recipe.  It takes 15 minutes to prepare and 15 to 20 minutes in the oven.  It’s so fast and very little to clean up.  It might be a nice addition to your Mother’s Day breakfast menu.


2 cups Unbleached Flour

1/3 cup  Sugar

1 Tbl. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/2 cup Blueberries, dusted in flour

1 1/4 cups Cream

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Make sure the rack is in the center of the oven.

Whisk together the Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, and Salt in a large bowl.  IMG_3811


Rinse, dry and dust Blueberries with a little Flour.


Add the blueberries and gently incorporate.


Add the Cream and continue to stir with a rubber spatula until the dough gets too stiff.  Continue mixing with your hands.

Once the dough is formed, dust a little flour in a 12 inch round pan or cookie sheet.  Knead the dough right in the pan five or six times.  Be gentle with this dough if you want your blueberries to stay whole and plump.  There will be a few casualties but many can be saved.

Once you have kneaded the dough, roll it out to an 8 inch circle with a rolling pin or by hand.


Slice the circle into 12 pieces.  Pull triangles 1/2 inch apart.


Brush with cream. There is usually just enough in the previously used measuring cups.  Sprinkle with sugar on the tops if desired.

IMG_3828Bake in a 425 degree oven for 12 -15 minutes.  This scone will usually take the full 15 minutes because of the moisture of the blueberries.


There you have it.  Add a great cup of coffee or tea.  Until next time, eat well, drink well, live well.