If the grocery store isn't your favorite place, it should be. We're sleuthing for the best back-of-the-box recipes and every Sunday, Posie Harwood from 600 Acres will share our latest find.
Today: We interrupt our regularly scheduled Back of the Box content to bring you the next in our "Meet Our Contributors" series—Food52's version of show and tell. We're asking some of the voices behind your favorite columns to share a recipe that represents them (and explain why). Here, Posie talks about why milking a cow makes for better desserts and argues for three-ingredient dishes.
Tell us about this recipe—what about it makes it you?
Have you ever tasted raw cream from a Jersey cow? It’s unbelievably good. If you’ve never had it, I imagine that tasting it will be like living in black and white and suddenly seeing the world in Technicolor.
My sisters and I were raised on Jersey milk and it is single-handedly responsible for this dessert.
We ate this dessert so often when I was little, I honestly thought that everyone else did, too. I also thought it was all one word. Sadly, “bananasbrownsugarandcream” will get you nothing but quizzical looks in a restaurant.
These flavors—cream, bananas, brown sugar—meld together to form something much greater than the sum of its parts. The heavy cream coats the bananas and transforms the brown sugar into velvety, sticky clumps. After a few minutes, the cream turns syrupy. A brown sugar-heavy cream syrup—that's a beautiful thing.
Our Jersey cows, makers of the best cream around
Here's how to make it:
First, you slice bananas thickly into a bowl.
Next, crumble some dark brown sugar over the bowl. Don’t be shy about it.
Finally, douse it all with a few ladle-fulls of raw Jersey cream. If you don’t have Jersey cream, try and get your hands on the freshest, best quality cream you can. If you can only find regular store-bought cream, this will still be excellent. Cream is good in any form!
This dessert is very humble. But the flavors are worth sharing, so if you want something more presentable, you could finesse it. Whip some cream and layer it with brown sugar and sliced bananas in a shallow glass or tumbler.
Tell us about your hometown and share a few snapshots (Instagram or otherwise) that represent your world, who you are, and where you live?
I grew up on a farm about forty minutes north of Baltimore. This part of Maryland is all steeplechase country and farms: lush pastures, dark, tangled forest, and low, rolling cornfields. My mother is a mechanical engineer-turned-stay-at-home-farmer. She milks a cow and makes her own yogurt and butter. My three sisters and I grew up running wild: stream-walking and treasure-hunting and fort-building. We had pigs and sheep and chickens and a huge garden and three ponds to swim in. The farm is miles from any grocery store or gas station, so we made most things from scratch and had a lot of adventures.
What is your desert island food (practicalities aside)?
Oh, hummus and pita I suppose. Or frozen grapes. Or lettuce sandwiches (iceburg lettuce, thick grainy bread, mayonnaise, and Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt).
What is your vegetable spirit animal?
I do love a good sugar snap pea: crunchy, sweet, juicy. I like the feeling of walking in bare feet through our garden in summer to pick them—the cool dirt on my toes and the warm tangles of vines and pea tendrils. I search through all the greenery to find the peas, then snap them off at their base. I eat one for every three I collect in the bowl for later.
What's one food you pretend to like but secretly hate?
This isn’t strictly a food, but I’m really not that into wine. Sure, I'll drink it (twist my arm!) but I’ve yet to form a real appreciation for it. I usually fake it—because what sort of person doesn't enjoy wine?!
Here's what I do: Accept a glass and take a few sips. Nod knowingly and murmur things like, “mmm, oak-y” and “look at those legs!” while swishing it around a bit. All the while, wish the drink was bubbly and lemon-y and laced with tequila.
What is your greatest/most exciting culinary failure?
For a birthday party recently, I made an ice cream cake in advance. I planned to whip up some icing and frost it right before serving. By 10 P.M., I had perhaps had one too many margaritas (yikes, tequila is a theme in this article!). I put cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and COLD butter in my stand mixer and turned it on at full-speed. The dry ingredients went everywhere. I was completely covered in a fine mist of cocoa and sugar, and so was my kitchen. Months later, I can still detect a slightly sugared grittiness to my counters.
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream (the best quality you can find)
Photos by Posie Harwood