Cook’s Corner

Onetime Marcella’s baker shares garlic-roll recipe

 

Dessert

Rich Banana Cake with Whipped Frosting

2 cups cake flour, sifted (add 2 tablespoons extra if using all-purpose flour)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (3 to 4 bananas)

3/4 cup buttermilk or soured milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Dust and flour 2 round, 8-inch cake pans. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until no sugar granules remain. Beat in egg, yolk and bananas. Beat in dry ingredients in small batches, alternating with the milk. Beat in vanilla.

Divide batter between prepared pans, and bake 15 to 30 minutes, until cake tests done. Allow to cool on racks before turning out and frosting. Makes 12 servings.

Per serving: 286 calories (28 percent from fat), 9 g fat (5 g saturated, 2.5 g monounsaturated), 57 mg cholesterol, 4 g protein, 48 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 320 mg sodium.


Appetizer

Bahama Breeze Roasted Jerk Shrimp

If your skin is at all sensitive, use gloves to handle the chile.

1/2 cup beer

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon minced Scotch bonnet or other hot chile pepper

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

1 tablespoon sliced green onion

3/4 pound medium shrimp

4 tablespoons butter, melted

Small Cuban or French baguette

Heat oven to 500 degrees.

Place beer, allspice, chile, garlic, thyme and onion in a 1-quart baking dish. Add shrimp. Drizzle with the melted butter. Slice bread into 1-inch rounds.

Place the shrimp dish and the bread separately on middle rack of oven. Cook until the shrimp is bubbling hot and has turned color and bread is crisp, less than 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 560 calories (45 percent from fat), 28 g fat (16 g saturated, 7 g monounsaturated), 320 mg cholesterol, 40 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 605 mg sodium.


Rolls

Garlic Rolls like Marcella’s

1 pound bread dough or pizza dough

1/4 cup olive oil plus more for brushing

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

3 tablespoons minced fresh garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Make rolls according to package directions, or shape pizza dough by rolling into a long log an inch in diameter. Cut into 4-inch lengths and tie in a knot. Brush liberally with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Set aside to rise (about 30 minutes in a warm kitchen).

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper if you have it (cleanup can be a mess) or grease pans. Put the rolls on the pans, sprinkle with salt and bake about 15 minutes — less if you like really soft rolls, more if you like them crispy.

While rolls bake, put butter, 1/4 cup olive oil and garlic in a heavy saucepan over very low heat. Cook, stirring once in a while, until the garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Don’t let the butter brown. Cover and set aside to keep warm.

Remove rolls from oven and immediately drizzle with warm garlic butter. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately. Makes about 20 rolls.

Per roll: 101 calories (50 percent from fat), 6 g fat (2 g saturated, 3 g monounsaturated), 6 mg cholesterol, 2 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 259 mg sodium.


Frosting

Whipped “Cream” Frosting

4 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup margarine

1/4 cup shortening

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Place 1/2 cup water on low heat in a medium saucepan. As water heats, slowly whisk in the flour, cooking into a thick, smooth paste. Set aside to cool.

Beat margarine, shortening and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy, 4 or 5 minutes. Mix in vanilla and cooled paste, beating another 4 or 5 minutes, until very light and fluffy. Makes enough to frost a 2-layer cake.

Per serving: (based on 12) 114 calories (62 percent from fat), 8 g fat (2.5 g saturated, 3 g monounsaturated), 4 mg cholesterol, 0 protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 1 mg sodium.


LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com

We heard from several readers with fond memories of the garlic rolls at the late, legendary Marcella’s in North Miami. They were soft, yeasty and pleasantly afloat in a buttery, parsley- and garlic-infused oil.

“For those willing to drive a long distance just to salivate from the aroma of Marcella’s rolls, the place to go is Papa Giuseppe Pizza” at 660 Linton Blvd., Delray Beach, Stephen Steinbrecher wrote. “One of the Marcella’s bakers moved up to Delray and started this pizza joint. He makes the rolls the same way. Plenty of olive oil and minced garlic.”

“I worked there and made thousands of them,” said Mark F. “The secret was the dressing. Use fresh garlic finely minced, olive oil, fresh parsley and salt. Drizzle on the hot rolls. The rolls can be baked and frozen but the drizzle must always be fresh.”

Mark recommends Tommy’s Italian Restaurant, 4777 S University Dr., Davie, which does not make the garlic knot but does serve “the drizzle” for dipping hot bread.

The recipe here is from Willie Bianchini of Coconut Grove, who says he baked his way through college making rolls at Marcella’s. “We made huge batches, of course, but this works for home cooks. I don’t even bother making my own dough anymore. I either buy some fresh pizza dough or use frozen roll dough.”

Banana cake

Doris B. of Clayton, N.Y., provided the recipe for an absolutely delicious banana cake with a light whipped frosting for Susan Taylor of Knox, Maine. Taylor had never forgotten a banana layer cake “with a fluffy, sugary white frosting” that her mother bought in Fayetteville while her father served in Korea 58 years ago.

Make sure your bananas are overripe to get the most flavor in this wonderfully moist cake. The frosting is much like those used in bakeries — it has the structure of whipped cream but will maintain its shape. It takes some time to make, but if you are a fan of fluffy and flavorful, you’ll find the effort worthwhile.

Snowbird alert

Q. The weather up north has been so bad that our phone is ringing off the hook with announcements of visitors on the way. I need to come up with make-ahead breakfast and lunch menus and recipes for them. We need to accommodate non-meat eaters (fish is acceptable), high-blood pressure diets (low-salt meals) and diabetics.

Hope J.

I decided long ago that descending hordes should get a clean bed and my love but that the stress of trying to provide perfectly wonderful meals all the time would mean no time for visiting. So my advice is to have lots of cereal and frozen waffles on hand for breakfast, some purchased baked goods and perhaps prepare pancakes or a favorite strata recipe for a special gathering. Lunch? Let them eat sandwiches, salads or doctor canned soups.

But I bet our readers have lots of recipes and tales of entertaining snowbirds to share, so I’m turning to them for recipes and coping strategies.

Jerk shrimp

The trouble with most happy hours is that they end to early for those of us who don’t punch a 9-to-clock. Bahama Breeze Island Grille in Kendall, Sawgrass Mills and Pembroke Pines has a new late-night happy hour from 9 to closing Sunday through Thursday with half-price appetizers. We nabbed a modified version of one of the most popular offerings, Fire Roasted Jerk Shrimp. (At the restaurant they use fire rather than an oven.)

Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132. Personal replies are not possible.

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