Banana Pudding with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream Is a Great Idea

IMG_2362Banana Pudding with  Peanut Butter Whipped Cream!  I know, it’s January and we are supposed to be talking about salads and diets.  But I just read an amazing post from Anne Lamott about the fallacy of diets, and I just got The Southerner’s Cookbook for Christmas. And Banana Pudding does have a marketing backstory with Nabisco Nilla Wafers. Enjoy this Elvis-inspired version fit for the King.

Banana Pudding

4 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter
4 large ripe bananas, peeled and sliced in rounds (I used 8 bananas!)
4 large egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup whole milk (I used evaporated milk.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vanilla wafers
Peanut Butter Topping
2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons cold heavy cream
¼ cup creamy peanut butter (I used 1/2 cup peanut butter.)
3 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 cup crushed vanilla wafers

Pudding Preparation

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the sliced bananas, tossing to coat, and salute for 3 to 5 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the bananas are soft and lightly browned.  Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, ¼ cup of the sugar, the cornstarch, and salt until smooth and pale in color.  In a large saucepan, come the half-and-half, milk, and remaining ½ cup sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed and lightly steaming.  Temper the egg yolk mixture: slowly whisk ½ cup of the hot half-and-half mixture into the yolk mixture.  Return the mixture to the saucepan with the half-and-half mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until bubbles begin to form and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat; add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the vanilla and stir until the butter is melted.

Arrange a single layer of vanilla wafers in the bottom of a 2-quart dish or trifle bowl.  Top with half of the sautéed bananas.  Spoon half of the pudding on top of the bananas; layer again with vanilla wafers, bananas, and the remaining pudding.  Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Peanut Butter Topping

Put the 2 tablespoons cream and the peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until creamy and thinned, about 30 seconds.  Let cool completely, then transfer to a large bowl and add the remaining 2 cups cream and confectioners’ sugar.  With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.

To serve, line the rim of the serving dish with more vanilla wafers, dollop the topping over the pudding, and sprinkle with crushed vanilla wafers.

Recipes excerpted from “The Southerner’s Cookbook: Recipes, Wisdom, and Stories” by David DiBenedetto and the Editors of Garden & Gun (Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Peter Frank Edwards.



Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls Anyone? Yes, Please.

IMG_1882We are a little pumpkin obsessed, so when we found a super easy recipe for this gooey, deliciousness, we said gotta have some.  If Fall begins when Starbucks starts serving Pumpkin Spice Lattes, then we say the Holiday Eating Season begins with these little lovelies. And here’s a little pumpkin factoid:  While sales of pumpkin-flavored items grew 11.6% this year, the actual volume of real pumpkin sales dropped 5%. 








Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls


1 can Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations refrigerated seamless dough sheet
1/4 cup pumpkin butter (Or apple butter)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk (more if you like a thin frosting)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Unroll sheet dough into one large rectangle. Spread pumpkin butter evenly over the dough. Evenly sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over the pumpkin butter.

Starting with short side of the rectangle, roll up into a log. Using string, dental floss, or a serrated knife, cut the roll into 10 slices. Place slices, cut side down, in a greased 8 x 8 baking dish, or a left over Sister Schubert’s pan.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cinnamon rolls cool in pan for 5 minutes.

While the cinnamon rolls are cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. In a medium bowl, stir together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Whisk in the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and milk. If the frosting is still too thick, add a little more milk and whisk until smooth.  Spread frosting over cinnamon rolls and serve! I always have leftover frosting, but use as much as you like:)

A Recipe for Food & Travel: Chef Paulette Licitra

IMG_0288Some say the food can teach you everything you need to know about a culture.

Research shows that 39% of travelers say the key reason they recently took one or more trips was the availability of culinary activities. Chef Paulette Licitra, an Italian cooking instructor in Nashville, has combined that special love for food and travel by leading “live like the locals” Italian cooking adventures.  Paulette’s trips take small groups to experience Italy as an Italian.

She has taken women to Rome, Venice, and the Amalfi Coast.  The groups stay in apartments, shop outdoor food markets, visit butcher and produce stores, and then bring it back to their local kitchen to try their hand at local specialties.  Beyond cooking, they visit popular attractions and go on wine tours.

She shares a recipe with us that she found in Ravello on the Amalfi Coast from a local chef.  Buon Viaggio & Buon Appetito!


Simmered Cod in Acqua Pazza (Crazy Water) with Tomatoes, Garlic & Parsley.

2-3 large ripe tomatoes, coarsely diced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

A pinch of hot pepper

1/4 cup minced parsley

salt & pepper to taste

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups water

4 Cod fillets

1/2 loaf baguette, sliced

In a large sauté pan, with a cover, add all the ingredients, except the fish. Cover and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for about 30 minutes. Take the cover off and let liquid reduce to at least half. Add the cod fillets. Season fish with salt. Cover partially (askew), and cook until fillets are done and cooked through — about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, toast the bread slices. Serve a toasted bread slice to each person with a cod fillet and juices.

Paulette Licitra teaches cooking classes, and leads food-focused tours in Italy, Nashville & New York. Paulette completed her professional culinary studies at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in NYC. She was Chef at Rustico Cooking in New York, cooked in Mario Batali’s restaurant Lupa, and her catering company Chez Paulette specialized in appetizer parties for private and corporate events. Paulette has traveled extensively in Italy for culinary research, and studied with home cooks in Lazio, Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Piemonte, Campania, and the Veneto. She can be seen on Nashville’s Channel 4 WSMV’s “More at Midday.” Paulette is also the publisher of the online food journal, Alimentum.

Tailgating Started During the Civil War?

Our Two Favorite Sports – Football and Eating!  See our recipes below.

IMG_9827An American pastime that dates back more than 100 years, tailgating brings together two favorite activities – sports and eating.  The original tailgate has been traced back to the civil war at the Battle of Bull Run.  Civilians from the Union arrived with baskets of food shouting “Go Big Blue” as a way to show support for the soldiers as they went into war. A far cry from today’s tailgates, this was the first documentation of people using food to celebrate a specific event.

Tailgating was introduced into sports in 1869 at the first football game ever played between Princeton and Rutgers.  Prior to the game, a cross between modern-day football and rugby, Rutgers’ fans brought food to feed the players and other fans.  They wore crimson scarves as turbans to distinguish themselves from the Princeton fans and show pride for their university.

Since that first competitive collegiate game, the traditional form of tailgating has been practiced at sporting events everywhere. However, today’s tailgating experience has become almost as important as the game itself.  Friends, family and sometimes even foes gather together dressed in their favorite teams’ colors to share food and beverages, play games, and socialize as they prepare for the start of the big game.

While a stadium parking lot is still the most popular location for a tailgate party, many people are now bringing the spirit of the game into their home with homegating, the term used by the NFL for tailgating at home.

So whether your heading out for a pre-game celebration in the stadium parking lot or settling down in front of the TV to watch your team with family and friends, here’s a few of our favorite tailgating recipes that are easy to make and a hit with all the fans!

Ultimate Tailgater Bloody Mary

What tailgate party is complete without a Bloody Mary?  This recipe features our friend Tom Laffey’s Tilted PalmUltimate Tailgater Bloody Mary Mix.  Made with 100% natural ingredients, this mix was developed locally and is produced in Tennessee – and it makes one delicious Bloody Mary!


2 ounces premium vodka

4 – 5 ounces Tilted Palm Ultimate Tailgater Bloody Mary Mix


  1. Mix in shaker
  2. Pour over ice
  3. Garnish with a leafy stalk of celery and a wedge of lime


IMG_9889Luv Ya Blue! Cheese Biscuits


2 cups self-rising flour

1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

½ cup butter, melted

1 (4-ounce) package crumbled bleu cheese (or more if you like them tangy)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425° and lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Stir together all the ingredients until just blended.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Pat dough to a 3/4-inch thickness; cut with a 2-inch round cutter.  Place dough rounds onto the baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 12 biscuits.

Beef Tenderloin


1 (5 lb.) beef tenderloin, trimmed

3 tbsp. butter, softened

5 – 7 tsp. kosher salt

3/4 tsp. cracked black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Place beef on a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan.  Rub butter over beef and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Bake at 425° for 25 – 35 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 135° (medium rare).  Cover loosely with aluminum foil; let stand 15 minutes before slicing.

*If you aren’t serving many people, you can prepare and cook a couple of filet mignons using reduced amounts butter, salt and pepper.


Horseradish Cream


1/3 cup plain yogurt

2 tbsp. Prepared horseradish

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 large garlic clove, minced


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Cover and chill.