I feel like I have been incredibly busy lately. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that, but when I get home, I am just completely done with the day. All I want to do once I’ve stepped past my door mat is put on pajamas, sink into the couch, and zone out watching television until it’s time to go to bed. This morning was a particularly difficult start in that I just could not get out of my nice, toasty bed and step foot into my apartment, where I had turned the heat off the night before. I went into the living room and the heating unit just read “low” instead of a temperature, because I don’t think that the thing reads past 40 degrees F. Anyway, I’ve got my heat on now, I’m sipping my coffee and eating some yogurt, but I know that I have to get up soon. Life is rough. This winter is has been so unbelievably cold and I think New Yorkers have about had it. I would wager that we all have about two or three more really cold days left in us before mass rioting ensues. It’s 13 degrees F outside right now, so let’s count this as day one, shall we? At least it’s sunny outside, and Accuweather tells me that we’ll be in the 40s by Saturday. I’ll keep dreaming. Whatever the temperature, we keep going outside and trekking around, so some of my bitterness is most certainly self inflicted. This past Friday night, we went out with two other couples to M. Wells Steakhouse, where Kramer and I had been dying to go ever since we read about its impending opening. That meal definitely warmed us up. We shared an enormous tomahawk steak with the table, which was plated on top of the smoothest, most cheese-laden potatoes that I have ever eaten. We had sweetbreads, uni with uni custard and toast, French onion soup with bone marrow, a Caesar salad with tons of soft Parmesan cheese, a variety of sautéed mushrooms, a lobster roll, a stack (yes, stack) of tender pork chops, and my genius friend Valerie ordered some kind of enormous pot pie with tons of meat inside that in itself could have fed the whole table. Of course, we had to get dessert, which itself would have been a fantastic dinner. We ordered a profiterole the size of my face, which had little caramel crunchies on the inside, an impossibly thick and creamy New York style cheesecake, and my favorite, a big slice of cinnamon cake, which was white cake with layers of cinnamon crumb cake topping in between. It was, without a doubt, one of the best meals that I’ve ever had in the city. I highly recommend going over there immediately if you have the opportunity.
Running around the city, my face when my friend told me that she had her baby and a relaxing night in with a book and a martini.
Saturday was a day of work for Kramer and I. He had a big project for school to work on, while I had more to do with my freelance project. Kramer sets up a cute little work station with a folding table in a small corner of our living room while he has to do homework, so we listen to music and he does that while I putz around in the kitchen, both of us having tastes of whatever it is I’m making along the way. That night, Kramer decided that he was going to show amazing reserve and self-restraint by staying in and continuing to work on his project instead of going out with me. Brave little guy. I headed out to try to go to the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club with some friends, but even at 9pm, the place was packed with a crazy line out the door. Bummer! I really wanted a tropical cocktail and some life-sized shuffleboard – usually we have to make do with the table version in bars. We bar hopped around a bit before heading back to our side of town, where Kramer was finally ready to take a break and join us for a drink or two. I’m glad that he got out for just a little bit. I couldn’t imagine being back in school, having those kind of nerve-racking deadlines and working with groups to finish papers and presentations. He is incredibly brave, that husband of mine. On Sunday, we slept in pretty late, which was wonderful, then got back to work. I am only three recipes away from finishing the thing that I’m working on, and Kramer gave his presentation yesterday (to rave reviews), so I think that we did a good job, indeed, this weekend. In between actual work on Sunday, I managed to crank out some things for our small Oscar gathering that Sunday night, all of which will be posted on here soon enough. I really enjoyed the Oscars this year. Ellen was adorable and hilarious, and I got to see my hair-inspiration Jared Leto win an award, followed by my abs-inspiration Matthew McConaughey win another award. When he said “alright alright alright,” my entire apartment erupted into applause, cheers and laughter. It was just so perfect. I really want a white suit now, though. They made them look so damn appealing (as did Ellen). The only problem with the Oscars, though, is how damn late they end! When everyone left around 12:30, we couldn’t help ourselves – we stayed up until almost 2am watching the second to last episode of True Detective. Needless to say, I was exhausted on Monday morning. My alarm usually rings around 6:30, but I snoozed until 7 and still had a rough start to the day. It was worth it though…right? Yes, yes it was. True Detective is so weird and creepy that I need my fix ASAP.
I love banana muffins, banana bread, banana candy…anything banana, really. I never get tired of baking with bananas or eating plain ol’ bananas. They are nature’s most perfect food (well – 2nd most perfect, after the trusty egg). If I had the time, I’d probably make a loaf of banana bread every weekend. Obviously I had a bit of extra time on my hands when I made these muffins, because I decided to roast the ripe bananas in rum, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon before mashing them and adding them to the batter. The result was a deeper banana flavor, with an added depth from the rum and caramelized brown sugar and butter. I added a healthy amount of raw sugar on top of the muffins for a coffee shop-esque crunch. If you’re brave, go ahead and overfill the muffin cups a bit. Kramer insisted that I do this with the remaining muffin batter. I was adamant about the fact that they’d overflow, collapse, and burn to the pan, but Kramer begged me to make some “giant” muffins. I did it, and you know what? They were awesome. They looked like they came straight out of Starbucks. So thank you, Kramer, for ridding me of my overfilled muffin fear. Granted, this doesn’t work with every recipe, but the batter for these is just about perfect and therefore was able to stand up to rising and rising and rising in the muffin pan. I brought a bunch of these into work, then left a few at home for Kramer and I to nibble on throughout the week. They were still good on day five, to be quite honest. Maybe there was some kind of magic that went on during the roasting process, but I have to say, these are some damn good banana muffins.
Roast your bananas with the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and rum, then beat them into your batter.
Fill your muffin cups 3/4 full, then sprinkle with raw sugar and bake.
Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tins.
- 2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed and divided
- 4 bananas
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons dark rum (feel free to sub in bourbon)
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature and cubed
- 2½ cups packed brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- raw sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Place 2 tablespoons of cubed butter in the bottom of a heavy bottomed, oven proof pot or pan. Add in your bananas, then your brown sugar, rum, cinnamon and an additional tablespoon of cubed butter. Roast the bananas in the oven for 10 minutes, then turn the bananas over and roast for another 8-10 minutes, until the brown sugar is bubbling and golden. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, then mash the banana mixture together and set aside.
- Reduce the oven's temperature to 375 degrees F. Beat together the butter and brown sugar until creamed and well mixed, at least 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the milk and the vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in the mashed banana mixture. Mix together the flour and baking soda, then add to the wet mixture, mixing until just moistened. If the batter looks too thick, add a tablespoon or two more milk.
- Grease and/or line 24-28 muffin cups. Fill the muffin cups ¾ of the way full, then sprinkle generously with raw sugar. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden and set. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the pans. Serve warm or once cooled, store in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.