How to Follow The Hungry Pilgrim


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The Heaven Gourmet blog is now The Hungry Pilgrim blog. Why? Because we are launching a radio show on Relevant Radio about Food & Faith. Follow The Hungry Pilgrim blog at

And thanks for reading Heaven Gourmet!

How to Make Best Banana Bread – Heaven Gourmet Recipe Blog


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ImageWhen my mixer recently broke I had to rely on recipes that only require a fork and bowl. This has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Here is the first of Heaven Gourmet’s favorite fork-and-bowl recipes. This banana bread recipe consistently turns out a delicious loaf that is dense but not too heavy. The trick is to use bananas that are very ripe but not overly ripe (don’t wait for them to turn black) because HG found that the latter made a loaf that would not rise. Add flax seeds for a lovely crunch.

Best Banana Bread

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 medium very ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 c. Greek yogurt (or Dannon vanilla yogurt)

2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. flax seed

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and flour a standard sized non-stick loaf pan.

ImageGetting the bananas right takes a little practice. Your bananas should be speckled brown and easily break off their stems.

Bananas that are not ripe enough lack flavor but bananas that are overripe make it hard for the loaf to rise. HG also has found that baking powder works better than baking soda in this recipe.

ImageCombine sugar and vegetable oil in a bowl. Add eggs, banana, yogurt, vanilla, salt and flax seed. Mix lightly.

Spoon white flour into a measuring cup. Do the same for the wheat flour. Combine wet ingredients with flour and baking powder until just mixed.

Pour batter into pan and bake for 1 hour.

Cool in pan on a metal rack for 10 minutes. Loosen sides using a rubber spatula and turn loaf out onto rack to cool.

Can be stored for three or four days at room temperature and refrigerated up to ten days in an air-tight container. You can also slice the loaf and freeze the slices.

Horxata Tiger Nut Drink – Heaven Gourmet Friday Food Find


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horxata2-xlReal Spanish-style Horchata has landed on American shores.

What is horchata? It’s a delicious, refreshing drink that is typically made with rice in its Mexican version.

But this is Valencian horchata, made with tigernuts instead of rice.

Thanks to Brooklyn native Yoni Markman, Horxata (spelled a la Catalan) is now available at select retailers in the Big Apple and will soon be available at Whole Foods there.

Yoni tells Heaven Gourmet he’s working on lining up a Chicago distributor. Stay tuned. HG will be first in line to buy it!

Photo credit: Tasting Table

Raspberry Handmade Marshmallows – Heaven Gourmet Friday Food Find


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marshmallow1I discovered Butter Baked Goods’ marshmallows in Chicago last winter. I chose raspberry and added them to my hot cocoa. These puffs of pink perfection turned my ordinary cocoa into a heady brew of raspberry and chocolate.

I don’t know how they marble marshmallows but I’m glad someone figured it out. Each one is a work of art.

Other flavors include strawberry, vanilla, toasted coconut, mint, coffee, raspberry, passion fruit, rose, violet, pumpkin spice, maple, pistachio, chocolate, lemon, matcha tea, peppermint, eggnog and gingerbread!

Now that it’s summer I might try these with some fruit on a plate. What a delicious and elegant surprise for dinner guests!

Photo credit: Butter Baked Goods


New Recipes Coming Soon – Heaven Gourmet Recipe Blog


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HGbiscotti_eggwhitesHeaven Gourmet has been woefully absent from blogging due to a perfect storm that included the airline losing HG’s favorite camera and a broken electric mixer.

Rather than admit defeat, HG has chosen to make recipes that only require a bowl and a fork. Yes, that means we even beat egg whites by hand.

The results? HG will start posting our favorite bowl-and-fork recipes on our blog.

Also starting this week, HG is launching 0ur “Friday Food Find” feature to tell you about  our favorite food products and kitchen gadgets. First up: Raspberry handmade marshmallows from Butter Baked Goods.


Buy Brandy Soaked Monastery Fruitcake – Heaven Gourmet Recipe Blog


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Heaven Gourmet will soon be carrying brandy-soaked fruitcake from Our Lady of Guadalupe monastery in Oregon. Shop Heaven Gourmet on Facebook for more food and drink made by monasteries.

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

How to Make Classic Carrot Cake – Heaven Gourmet Recipe Blog


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This carrot cake recipe is a classic that perfectly balances moistness and flavor. It is lightly spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon, allowing the flavors of dried fruits and nuts to shine through. Best of all, it’s super easy to make and lasts for days when properly stored. This recipe is adapted from First Crack Your Egg!, a cookbook inspired by the BBC2 series Kitchen Criminals. You can thank Angela Hartnett, owner of the delightful Nonna’s in London, for the carrot cake recipe.    

Classic Carrot Cake

¾ cup sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour plus ½ cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 ¼ cup mixed raisins and nuts (walnuts or pine nuts work well)
2 cups grated carrot
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder or baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons nutmeg
1 ½ teasoons cinnamon

Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake tin. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and oil together. Mix in the flour, spices and baking soda (or baking powder) to create a batter. Fold in carrot, raisins and nuts until evenly distributed; the batter will be thick. Pour the batter into the cake tin, being careful not to fill it more than two-thirds full since the cake will rise as it bakes.

Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees F or until well risen. Insert a toothpick or knife into the center of the cake and remove it; if it’s clean the cake is done, if not continue baking another five or ten minutes and repeat the toothpick test.

Chef Hartnett suggests keeping the cake in an airtight tin for three or four days before eating it. I wasn’t able to wait that long and the cake tasted delicious the day it was baked! To serve, dust lightly with confectioners sugar. You can also serve it with whipped cream on the side, but my favorite accompaniment is mascarpone whipped with a touch of sugar and vanilla.

Provence Salad Recipe – Heaven Gourmet Recipe Blog


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This salad is best served after a main course as a transition to dessert.

In France it is often accompanied by a cheese plate.

This recipe was adapted from “Twelve Months of Monastery Salads” by Brother Victor.


Makes 6 servings


1 head baby chicory (frisée), torn into bite-size pieces
1 bunch arugula, stems trimmed off
1 small bunch watercress, stems trimmed off and cut into bite-size pieces
1 Belgian endive, leaves separated and torn into bite-size pieces


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil from Ganagobie Abbey (see Note) or other young fresh fruity olive oil
3 tablespoons raspberry-scented vinegar (recipe follows) or store-bought raspberry vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon, Meaux, or other French mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup minced fresh chervil for garnish

Combine the salad greens in a good-size salad bowl. Toss until well mixed.
Just before serving, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients in a measuring cup or a smallbowl until thickened. Pour ¼ cup of the dressing over the salad and toss lightly until the greens are evenly coated. Add more as needed. Sprinkle with the chervil and serve immediately.

Note:Extra-virgin olive oil from Ganagobie Abbey is not currently available in the United States. You can substitute your favorite extra-virgin olive oil.

Makes 3 cups
3 cups white wine vinegar (see Note)
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon rum

In a large pot, bring the vinegar to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for about
3 minutes. Add the raspberries and rum, reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 2 minutes more. Turn off the heat. With the help of a masher, carefully crush the raspberries, then cover the pan and allow the vinegar to cool for at least 1 hour.
Pour the entire mixture into a clean, sterilized glass jar. A large canning jar is perfect for this.

Refrigerate for 1 week.

After a week, pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bottle, discarding the fruit. Store the bottle in a cool, dark place or the refrigerator.

Note:Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette from Our Lady of the Resurrection Monastery near Millbrook, N.Y., makes white wine vinegars. They can be purchased in the abbey gift shop.

How to Caramelize Bananas with Beer – Heaven Gourmet Recipe Blog


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According to beer expert and author Jef van den Steen, Westmalle’s Tripel is a complex
beer with competing flavors: the fruity aroma of ripe banana, the delicate bitterness of hops,and the sweetness of malt. The creamy, mellow character is balanced by a fruity, acidic touch reminiscent of orange. He says a beer like this one calls for a bold, daring dessert. This recipe has been adapted from “Westmalle Trappist: Met Een-voudige en Lekkere Eenpansgerechten” (Delicious One Dish Meals Made Easy) by Stefaan Couttenye and Jef van den Steen.


Serves 4

1 cup sugar
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons Westmalle Tripel (see Note)
Zest of half a lemon, peeled in wide strips with a vegetable peeler
Zest of half an orange, peeled in wide strips with a vegetable peeler
4 ripe but still firm bananas
4 small slices of fruitcake (optional)
4 scoops chocolate ice cream or vanilla ice cream
Toasted sliced almonds for garnish (optional)

Combine the sugar, rum, beer, and zests in a large nonstick skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until a thick syrup forms, about 15 minutes.
Remove the zests and add the peeled bananas. Cook, spooning the sauce over the bananas often and shaking pan to gently the roll bananas for a few minutes, until they are well glazed.

Carefully remove the bananas from the skillet and arrange on four plates. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Briefly dip both sides of the cake slices in the syrup so it soaks up a little bit. Place the cake onthe plates with the bananas. Drizzle the remaining syrup on top.

Serve with a scoop of chocolate ice cream (or vanilla ice cream) and sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds, if using. This dessert can be served hot or cold.

Note:State regulations for beer commerce vary, so monasteries rely on a network of local beer distributors. Visit to find a distributor near you.


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