May 15, 2009

Banana Macadamia Crumbcake Muffins

Who doesn't like a good old-fashioned crumbcake? One of my favorite treats as a child was a Hostess crumbcake. Remember those? My consumption alone of these sweet little cakes most certainly kept the production lines very busy. So here is my tribute to one of my favorite childhood treats.......a quick and easy crumbcake muffin. I happened to have some really soft bananas, and a few macadamias that needed a new home. A little twirl in the mixing bowl and voila...a yummy crumbcake treat. You will like this.....I promise!

Banana Macadamia Crumbcake Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins

1 stick of butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup light sour cream
1 very ripe banana, mashed

1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup macadamia nuts finely chopped
4 Tbs cold butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cake liners

Cream the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla.

In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the sour cream. fold until blended after each addition. Once combined, fold in the mashed banana.

In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, cinnamon and macadamia nuts. Then add the butter and mix until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.

Fill the paper lined muffin tins 3/4 full with the batter. Sprinkle the brown sugar topping over each to cover generously. Bake until browned and toothpick comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Leave in tin for 5 minutes, and out they come to cool on a wire rack.


May 5, 2009

My Recent Restaurant Jaunts

Blanco Tacos + Tequila
This clean minimalist dining room offers a modern twist on Mexican/Sonoran food in a casual-chic setting. The guacamole was a great starter and the carnitas tacos were by far the best I have tasted. The spectacular views of the Tucson valley cannot be beat, as you finish your meal with the brown sugar caramel flan. Oh my yumminess! I washed this all down the the pomegranate-grapefruit margarita - an easy, refreshing and tasty libation.
2905 E. Skyline Drive, Located in the Shoppes of La Encantada, Tucson, Arizona

The Ivy Restaurant
As one of LA's leading celebrity hangouts, this charming french rustic restaurant is full of old world antiques and comfortably worn chintz. The open brick patio (where the highest-profile patrons are seated and dutifully ignore the stares) is filled with blooming flowers and roses.
The mussels with spicy ginger curry sauce were so good that we ordered them twice. They are known for their homemade chocolate-chip cookies and can be ordered to go and wrapped in their signature pink boxes.
113 Robertson Drive Los Angeles, CA

Tender Steak and Seafood
Chef KC Fazel offers an outstanding array of scrumptious dishes, one of which was an unforgettable american kobe wagyu filet mignon that was as tender as a piece of fish, and insanely delicious. We also had the grass-fed Durham Ranch bison strip loin which was perfectly cooked and delicious. With its warm rich environment, the cherry wood decor and soft intimate lighting, you are certainly taken away form the hustle and bustle of the casino excitement.
Located in the Luxor Hotel Las Vegas, Nevada

Majestic View Lodge
With the large picture windows throughout the dining room, you are surrounded by the outstanding views of Zion National Park in this very rustic lodge. The buffalo and elk burgers are a must try, however the buffalo burger was more to my liking as it was perfectly cooked, juicy and very tasty.
2400 Zion Park Blvd. Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah

Nobu New York
Nothing will beat the perfect creations of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa with his new style sashimi, yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno and the wagyu beef. All were simply and beautifully presented, with just the right amount of condiment to enhance the flavors. One taste of each just begs for you to savor every scrumptious bite. The atmosphere is fun and upbeat, and our gracious server helped to make our evening very enjoyable. The lychee martini is the best!
105 Hudson Street, Tribeca
New York, New York

This cozy space located at the end of an unused alley off the Bowery was opened in the Fall of 2009. The owners Taavo Somer and William Tigertt were looking to make a rugged, clandestine, colonial american tavern with an early american cuisine. It's simple and rustic. The Freemans burger with the special sauce was just what you wanted in a burger. I want to go back for the hot artichoke dip with crisp bread.
Between Chrystie and the Bowery, at the end of Freemans Lane.
Lower East Side, New York, New York