Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Banana Piña Colada... not a drink!

As I mentioned yesterday, we baked two types of muffins for Jeff to bring for the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day we do for his co-workers. To go with those Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins, I also made a batch of these tropical Banana Piña Colada Muffins!

These muffins need about 3 ripe bananas - we buy bananas each week and I try to overbuy what we will eat by one or two to let them go nice and dark. When they are ready, I either mash them in 1 cup servings or just toss the whole banana, skin and all, into the freezer so I always have them handy if I need them. Both ways work well - if you leave them in their skin, all you need to do it thaw them, just snip off the end and the insides will easily squish out and be pretty much mashed already.

Besides adding sweetness, those ripe bananas we used keep these muffins quite moist, yet does not make the crumb gummy. You do need some additional sugar for structure and a bit more sweetness - you can either use light or dark brown in these muffins. However, I recommend that you use dark if you have it - it is slightly more rich and the extra depth it has is favorable in these. With Piña Colada in the title, you might expect some sort of rum flavor, right? Instead of having to add a bunch of rum, which may make the batter a little too runny, the recipe pairs a bit of vanilla with a splash of rum extract to highlight that flavor. To keep that tropical theme going, a good handful of diced chewy dried pineapple is added to the batter and before these go into the oven to bake, the batter of each muffin is topped with shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened is fine, whatever your preference).

Since I already had to buy lemons for those poppy muffins, I picked up an extra one to use in tonight's dish of Fettuccine with Parmesan, Pine Nuts and Lemon we made for dinner. With flavors and ingredients close to a regular pesto, this recipe combines them in a different way to moisten the al dente pasta.

Minced fresh parsley, olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest are combined and left to marinate together for about half an hour. About 10 minutes before the time was up on the dressing, we dropped the pasta - when it was done, but before we drained the water away, we saved about three-fourths cup worth of the pasta water. The pasta went back into the pot and was combined with the marinated parsley, pasta water and a generous amount of fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. To serve, more fresh parsley and a few toasted pine nuts are scattered across the top. Clean, zesty and the sharp cheese provided a nice counterpoint to the buttery pine nuts.


  1. I love the idea of those muffins. Probably because I love Pina Colada muffins.
    The pasta dish is so simple yet it looks so good. It just reminds me that whipping up something after work does not always require a lot of time! Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Those muffins look great -- I love all those flavors together. The pasta dish looks wonderful as well, as do all you dishes!

  3. You could probably soak the dried pineapple in rum the night beofre you are going to make them for an extra punch. I like to soak raisins before putting them into cookies to make them not so hard.

  4. Annie - Yes, definitely good for a quick weeknight meal!

    Anj - Thanks!

    Amber - that might be a nice way to inject some more rum! Though, the pineapple softened up quite well on its own.

  5. these look very good...:)

  6. I tried the pastadish - lovely! Really light and fresh!

  7. Mokki - Great! I'm glad to hear you liked it!