delicious discourse

a belated happy new year

Posted in Uncategorized by delicious:discourse on January 21, 2010

Wow. It has been an embarrassingly long time since my last entry. As a feeble excuse, this summer, fall, and winter have been insanely busy with travel, unfortunately drama, and just LIFE. And with the explosion of food bloggers in Austin – and the egos that occasionally accompany blogs – disenchantment took its toll. But, 2010 – after 10 days in Hawaii – has started off fresh and slow and I’ve decided to pick up where I left off, blogging for me. And for you, if you’re reading. d:d was started as a tribute to my thoughts, values, and adventures in the kitchen and with food -a personal journal of sorts – simply because I enjoy writing. Such as it has been, such as it will remain.

One thought to leave you with. A friend of mine started a tradition last year – as a substitute for New Year’s resolutions – of sending a quote to each of her friends for the coming year. This year she picked one for all of us,

It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, ‘Always do what you are afraid to do.’ ( Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Happy 2010. Go big.

It’s good to be back.

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simply hummus

Posted in Uncategorized by delicious:discourse on April 1, 2009
simply hummus

simply hummus

I have wanted to make hummus for quite some time, but somehow I never got around to it. It wasn’t until this past Saturday when I was browsing recipes to find ways to highlight the wonderful feta cheese I bought at the Austin Farmer’s Market that I decided this weekend would be the weekend I finally made hummus. I know it sounds like a small feat, but as a “foodie,” you really can get excited about the smallest, simplest things. Being a foodie is like the adult version of the discarded card board box that becomes a fort after two windows are cut for doors, and two for windows, and provides for hours upon hours of play. I get excited about a new ingredient, the first strawberries of spring, the beautiful yellow yolks of happy chickens, a new restaurant, a new technique, a new combination of flavors, a new book, old recipes revisited—the possibilities and joy are endless. Like the cardboard box, the only limitation is your imagination.

Now back to hummus. I stumbled across a recipe for feta hummus sandwiches and that combination sounded fresh, easy, and right up my alley. With only 6 ingredients, making the hummus could not have been easier. And the result? Was delicious. With flavor from the garlic and tahini, creaminess from the olive oil, spice from the jalapeño, and a grainy texture from the chickpeas, this hummus is not wanting. And if it was? It is completely customizable. For my next batch I was thinking of adding some chipotle pepper …  Oh, and the hummus-feta combination? You must try it.
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Simply Hummus
Yields about 2 cups.

1 15-ounce can organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1 garlic clove, peeled
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño chile

Finely chop garbanzo beans and garlic in processor using the on/off buttons. Add 3 tablespoons lemon juice and remaining ingredients; process to a coarse puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper and more lemon juice, if you like.

Transfer to an airtight container and chill if you are not using right away.

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what i wish for you: real ice cream

Posted in Uncategorized by delicious:discourse on March 27, 2009

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On Monday, I entered every Texan ice cream lover’s dream land – the Blue Bell Creamery headquarters in Brenham, Texas. Since I was on a press tour, we got the royal treatment: greeted before we even entered the building by the Public Relations Manager, ushered into the board room for a special chat and Q & A with Paul Kruse, CEO, a VIP tour of the production facilities, and our very own exclusive ice cream tasting from 3 flavors that had just come off the production line. Life was good. Or so I thought.

Having inherited the ice cream gene (my grandfather is a notorious ice cream eater, known for satisfying late-night cravings sitting in a dark kitchen with a long-handled spoon, eating straight from the carton), I know a thing or two about ice cream. And ever since the ice cream attachment to my KitchenAid mixer came as a birthday gift last year, I have been a sort of home made ice cream connoisseur.

Now, home made ice cream has very few ingredients – the number really depends on the flavor pursuit as well as whether you are making French or American-style ice cream. French-style ice cream involves using yolks and cooking a custard that you eventually freeze. It is known for its silkiness and smoothness due to the emulsifying properties of yolks. American-style ice cream, better known as Philadelphia-style, is made with cream, or a combination of cream and milk, and no eggs. It tends to freeze a little harder and is said to have a chewier texture, but believe me it is good and so very easy to make.

Back to Blue Bell. I was pleased to hear Paul Kruse, whose family started Blue Bell (named after a long-stemmed flower that appears in July and August—peak ice cream eating season), talk about quality and authenticity. Three things he said come to mind. The first, “Ice cream can’t get any better than what you start with,” the second: “It is about making ice cream the way it should be,” and the third: “When people think of Blue Bell, they think of real ice cream.”

You can imagine my surprise when up in our private tasting room, where we were sampling fresh, not yet blast-frozen ice cream, I glanced at the ingredient list on the Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla container I was spooning Pralines & Sweet Cream out of and there, the second or third ingredient was HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP a.k.a. one of the most processed forms on sugar known to man. There is nothing about high-fructose corn syrup that is “quality, real, or as it should be.” If ice cream cannot get any better than the ingredients you put into it, Blue Bell has a serious problem and I highly doubt years ago when grandma was hand cranking ice cream on the front porch, she was using high-fructose corn syrup.

My suggestion to you? Invest in an ice cream maker. I really think the ice cream tastes better when you make it and you know that you started with REAL ingredients and that in every bite there is quality, authenticity, and craftsmanship.

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The recipe below is one of my favorites. And yes, it is this easy. I must tell you, this recipe comes with a warning – ignorance can be bliss – once you go homemade, you never go back.

You can’t say you weren’t warned. Now, get to work. And once you have some ice cream, take those strawberries you bought at the farmer’s market and slice them over a scoop and enjoy the teat on your front porch. I can’t wait for peach season … REAL homemade vanilla ice cream with fresh peaches, peach ice cream, peach cobbler with homemade vanilla … the possibilities are endless.
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Vanilla Ice Cream, Philly Style
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop

by David Lebovitz (a.k.a. my ice cream bible)

3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Pour one cup of cream into a medium saucepan. Add sugar and salt. Warm over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add remaining two cups of cream and vanilla extract. Chill mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready, freeze the mixture in the ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Note: This post was written as part of Fight Back Fridays with Food Renegade.

books to devour

Posted in Uncategorized by delicious:discourse on March 4, 2009

I read today on Orangette that the official release of her book, A Homemade Life, was yesterday. I look forward to curling up with a copy soon. If it is anything like her blog and columns for Bon Appetit, I am sure it will be wonderful, fresh, and intimate. Ever since I devoured A Trail of Crumbs by Kim Sunee, I have been looking for another sort of soul-searching memoir that reflects my own pursuit of focus and direction – something I like to call my mid-twenties-crisis that never seems to end. But as Rumi so wisely wrote, “Remember the looking itself is a trace of what we’re looking for…” Nicely said.

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california dreaming

Posted in Uncategorized by delicious:discourse on February 6, 2009

The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Hello there. It has been quite some time. My apologies, but I’ve been busy dreaming and adventuring. The Holidays were filled with Hawaiian sun, salty ocean air, fresh fruits, lots of fish, and the leisurely pace and passing of time on the islands. My latest adventure, or should I say our, took us up to San Francisco and Big Sur to celebrate a very special 3-0 birthday. (Not mine of course. Take another guess.)

Arriving Wednesday morning, after meeting up with two friends (B and R), checking into our Union Square hotel, and freshening up (which was hardly necessary with cool, infinitely sunny, clear as far as the eye can see, weather, which is refreshing all on its own), we headed to North Beach in search of a cozy cafe for some cappuccinos and some breakfast food. With impatient rumblings, we walked into Boulangerie. Any skepticism I may have had walking into a random cafe disappeared when they brought R’s large cappuccino in a bowl the size of my head, followed by my granola with fruit and yogurt proportioned to feed three. The homemade granola was fresh, nutty, and with big chunks of oat clusters and the yogurt was clearly Greek and so thick, creamy, and slightly sweet I contemplated painting the walls with it.

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Cappuccino & Croissant fron Boulangerie, North Beach

Granola w/fruit and yogurt from Boulangerie, North Beach

Granola w/fruit and yogurt from Boulangerie, North Beach

Later that day, Tartine Bakery in the Mission District proved the perfect restoration after a day of site-seeing (Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower, the Presidio and the Golden Gate Bridge). Small and packed, the place came recommended by a friend of a friend who knows his stuff after working in the Bouchon Las Vegas kitchen for a year. Deciding on hydration over caffeination, I skipped the coffee menu, which R, a connaisseur of sorts, opted for and I believe thoroughly enjoyed. The banana tea bread proved satiating with a thick and nutty crust. Matt and I shared the Jambon Royale & Gruyere pressed sandwich with Niman Ranch cured smoked ham and Dijon mustard, which arrived cut into three pieces and served with a whole, pickled carrot. Famous for their bread, the sandwich proved out of this world, with its thick crust and combination of flavors. For dessert, R, who diligently does not eat fruit of any kind, ordered a slice of the Passion Fruit Lime Bavarian cake, which is topped with coconut. The sponge of the cake was light, as was the sweetened cream frosting, all laced with the flavor of the passion fruit, and the flaked coconut adding texture. He does eat fruit after all. Needless to say, there was not a crumb left on that plate. Tartine, I will be back.

Tartine Bakery in the Mission District

Tartine Bakery in the Mission District

Jambon Royale & Gruyere, Tartine Bakery

Jambon Royale & Gruyere, Tartine Bakery

For the big birthday dinner we dined at Nopa for a casual, loud, energetic atmosphere and killer cocktails. Before I left for the trip, a wise colleague told me to stay away from the wine list, not because it wasn’t good (I am sure it is) but because they are known for their cocktails. The favorite among the several we tried was the Pirata, a brilliant concoction of tequila blanco, galliano, blackberry, creole shrub, lemon juice, and black pearl bitters. Boy, were they good:) The meal started with the warm goat cheese, pickled beets, frisee and crostini—a warm pot of goat cheese served with crostinis and pieces of beautiful pickled beets. Matt decided to celebrate achieving 30 (we are staying positive) with a grass-fed hamburger served with pickled onions and impressive french fries. However, it was evident that he was crazy with jealousy at the housemade cannelloni R and I both ordered, stuffed with sausage and cheese and smothered in a creamy tomato sauce. B swore by the Moroccan vegetable tagine she ordered accented with almonds and lemon yogurt, claiming she would eat it at least once a week if she could. Appropriately arriving with a single candle (to celebrate life instead of years), the pecan tart with “smoke and whiskey” ice cream proved comforting and intriguing. I had never had smoky ice cream before and it was oddly, with the combination of the pecan tart, like a take on a very different and much more complicated s’more.

The next day, 30 plus 1 as we were calling it, took us on a road trip to Big Sur and an inaugural sunset at Point Lobos. The following day after an 8-mile hike in the warm sunshine unusual for the time of year, we sought solace in another mesmerizing sunset and cold libations (a.k.a. painkillers) at cliffside-Nepenthe. I don’t know if it was the long day or if the bartender has major margarita talent, but the one I had went down just right and took all the aches and pains away.

Big Sur sunset from the patio at Nepenthe

Big Sur sunset from the patio at Nepenthe

Saturday sadly took us away from the big, serene beauty of Big Sur and back to the City, but not without a much needed stop at In-N-Out. My first fast-food burger proved to be a good one, maybe because I knew to order it animal style (grilled onions and special sauce), but I was more in awe as R downed two claiming he needed to stock up (they don’t have In-N-Out in Hawaii).

In need of a lite afternoon fix, at the recommendation of B’s sister who lives in the City, we took a walk up the Haight  to Coco Luxe, a hot chocolate bar. Thinking I was ordering just a regular latte, I accidentally ended up with a white-chocolate-hot chocolate with an espresso shot and I am glad I did. It provided rich warmth in the waning sunlight and its sweetness was pure and addictive. The Peanut Butter truffle was surprisingly not filled with just peanut butter, but a delectable blend of milk chocolate and peanut butter.

Truffles from Coco Luxe in the Haight

Truffles from Coco Luxe in the Haight

For our farewell-to-San Francisco meal, we drowned out sorrows at Mexico DF with good margaritas and strawberry mojitos. To accompany our drinks, we welcomed the Classico guacamole served with thick tortilla chips. Feeling adventurous, Matt and I split the Cabrito (goat) tacos made with Marin Sun Farms barbacoa-style, grass-fed goat. Never having had goat before, the flavor surprised me and I struggle to compare it to any other meat I have had. It is not sweet like lamb, gamier than beef or pork, and it has a very distinct flavor. The tacos were delicious and very unusual. Such a nice change form the Tex Mex we get around Texas.

The trip was filled with images, tastes, smells, joy, and freedom I will always remember. We did so much in four days, but there is still so much to do, discover, and inhale. I may be back in Texas, but for the time being, my dreams remain in California.

Big Sur, California (a.k.a. my current desktop background)

Big Sur, California (a.k.a. my current desktop background)

ginger-pumpkin muffins

Posted in Uncategorized by delicious:discourse on November 15, 2008

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Most people would sleep in, some might opt for a morning jog, others the opportunity to get some work done at home or catch up on the Daily Show they missed the night before. But when faced miraculously with a few and extra hour one morning, me, I bake. This time, muffins, Ginger-Pumpkin Muffins to add some spice and comfort to these fall mornings. They are just fall-ish enough to fool me into thinking that maybe this mid-November day may fail to reach eighty-degrees….oh to dream….

I know I complain a lot about the weather here, but you have to imagine my jealousy when everywhere else the leaves are changing, the breeze is getting a little bit cooler, everyone is enjoying soups and hot toddies and I am still here sweltering in 90 percent humidity hoping that Thanksgiving will be cool enough that I will actually want to eat turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. And yes, in a couple of months, I will be complaining about how I cannot wait for summer and I am so tired of being cold, but you know what, that is just the way it is. Weather exists for two things, well three things. First, to provide us with something to talk about when we run out of things to say or have no idea what to say to this person standing before us. Second, to give us all something to complain about. And third, to provide a natural sense of change and diversity from our mundane, everyday lives. I am a shameful cynic. Can you see why I needed these muffins?

Anyway, it is November and regardless of what the Mother Earth is doing, I plan on eating as much pumpkin as I possibly can. One of my very busy and productive days at work led me to the trusty epicurious.com, browsing through hundreds of pumpkin recipes and daydreaming of pancakes, quick breads, pies, raviolis, and whatever else can be made with pumpkin.

The Ginger-Pumpkin muffins, which struck me as balanced yet mysterious, should really be called Gingerbread-Pumpkin muffins. In each bite I am 18 years old, sitting at the kitchen counter, fresh on the plane for Thanksgiving break, devouring a slice of my grandmother’s devilishly good gingerbread. Each ginger-pumpkin mound puffed up beautifully with brown sugar and crystallized ginger scattered across the deep brown top. I recommend putting more batter in each muffin tin in order for the muffins to have beautiful, tall, mushroom-like tops. Of course, this will decrease the yield, but less is more. Quality over quantity.

Speaking of quality, there is no better way to start a Thursday morning with warm muffins fresh out of the oven. Matt didn’t seem to think so either. Waking up to the smell of ginger, pumpkin, and molasses being deliciously bound together by the heat of the oven could never, ever, be a bad thing.

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Ginger-Pumpkin Muffins
Courtesy of Bon Appetit

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line muffin tin with paper liners.
5 1/2 T minced crystallized ginger
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
2 T brandy (optional)

Mix 2 1/2 tablespoons (T) crystallized ginger, currants and brandy (if using) in small bowl.
2 cups flour
1 T ground ginger
2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt

Sift flour, ground ginger, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt into medium bowl.
3/4 cup plus 2 T cooked canned solid pack pumpkin
1/2 cup plus 2 T low-fat buttermilk
1 t vanilla extract

Whisk pumpkin puree, buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl.
2 large egg whites
1 large egg

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and egg in large bowl until foamy.
3/4 cup plus 3 T (packed) brown sugar
Add 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar; beat until light, about 2 minutes.
1/2 cup unsulfured (light) molasses
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Beat in molasses and oil. Beat in dry ingredients alternately with pumpkin mixture. Stir in currant mixture.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Mix 3 tablespoons crystallized ginger and 1 tablespoon brown sugar in small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over muffins.

Bake muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool on rack.

pumpkin for the soul

Posted in Uncategorized by delicious:discourse on October 29, 2008

When you live in a place like Texas and the only real indication of the arrival of fall is the increasing shortness of daylight, you need other reminders to get you in the mood, otherwise winter arrives and hits you rock-solid loaf of quickbread. Sometimes there is no easing into the 40-degree weather, it just happens. We Texans are just now getting our first fall weather here in Austin, which may be why I was inspired to make pumpkin quick bread for my weekly Sunday baking therapy.

Gourmet’s Cookbook Club pick for October was The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet, paired with a Pumpkin Walnut Bread recipe, which is the recipe I chose to feed my Sunday soul. My first taste of pumpkin for this fall season was about a month ago when I smartly ordered Kerbey Lane’s seasonal pumpkin pancakes for brunch. Orange and dense with pumpkin and just a hint cinnamon, they were the perfect cue that we had entered into fall; that in other parts of the country and world leaves were changing, people were wearing sweaters, and making comforting soups. Maybe it was the 90-degree heat or the fact that I was going out on Lake Austin that afternoon, but I was oblivious, even though they were deliciously tasty and inspiring. I have been thinking pumpkin thoughts ever since, which is why when I stumbled across this recipe it seemed like fate.

As usual with my quick breads, I slightly undercooked the loaf to ensure it would be moist and ever-so-doughy in the middle; it is best when it sort of melts in your mouth. Also, I recommend using organic pumpkin puree. Make sure pumpkin is the only ingredient.

Pumpkin Walnut Bread
The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet
Makes1 loaf

Preheat the oven to 350°F and position an oven rack in the center. Lightly coat the loaf pan with melted butter.

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t allspice
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 t salt
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, and salt until thoroughly blended.
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup water
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and water.
1 1/2 cups sugar
Add the sugar and blend well.
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup neutral-flavor vegetable oil (such as canola)
1 t pure vanilla extract
Add the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract and blend well.
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until blended and smooth. Add the walnuts and stir until they are evenly distributed. Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and level the top.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until the bread is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Any leftovers should be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Getting ahead Pumpkin Walnut Bread freezes beautifully for up to 8 weeks when double-wrapped in plastic and placed inside a resealable plastic freezer bag. Defrost, still wrapped in plastic to avoid condensation on the cake, for at least 2 hours before serving.

Photograph by Romulo Yanes, Courtesy of Gourmet

Photograph by Romulo Yanes, Courtesy of Gourmet

the BIG question

Posted in Uncategorized by delicious:discourse on September 24, 2008

“Where do you eat seafood in Austin?” It was one of those moments where my mind went completely blank. I never thought such a question would be so difficult to answer. I started stammering.  Where do I eat seafood in Austin? Then it hit me, I really don’t, unless it is in the comfort of my own home. Austin being landlocked and all, I have always felt weird about eating seafood here unless it was trout or snapper from the Gulf. It has to be my Hawaiian roots. I am a fish out of water and I don’t really plan on eating other fish that have been too long out of water.

But sometimes, I just get a craving for the light texture of fish, and I have to have it. This will lead me to the grocery store to interrogate the fish guy at Cenral Market about what is the most fresh, when it came in, was it frozen, what HE would eat himself, and what has not been injected with color. This weekend, I found myself walking away from the seafood counter with some good looking salmon (obviously not local, but what is a girl to do) and heading home to make salmon tacos with my local organic peppers and onions.

Fish tacos usually consist of poor quality mysterious white fish either drowned seasoning, bland as can be, or battered and fried. Not mine. Hey, its not bragging if its true. With the help of Matt’s grilling skills, the salmon was center stage in my version of fish tacos, accented with a kick of red, green, and orange peppers, juicy onions, sliced avocado, a sprinkle of cotija cheese, and finished off with a key lime, which was locally grown I might add. Not only does it look vibrant and colorful, it tastes lively and fresh.

Salmon Tacos
Makes about 6 tacos

1lb salmon with skin on (avoid farm-raised)
olive oil
salt
pepper

Lightly brush salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through. Stick a fork in the middle of the fillet and twist, if it is done, the meat will sort of flake away.
Assortment of peppers & chiles ( bell peppers, I used New Mexican chiles)
1 onion, cut into thick slices
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Slice peppers and onions. In a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until onions are soft and translucent.
6 tortillas (corn, flour, multigrain, your choice)
1 avocado, sliced
cotija cheese
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges

Warm tortillas either on the grill, in a pan on the stove, or in the microwave. To assemble, place a tortilla on each plate. Cut salmon into either strips of chunks and place down the center of the tortilla. Add peppers and onions on top of the fish. Add two slices of avocado. Crumble cotija cheese and sprinkle generously over fish, peppers/onions, and avocado. Garnish with a lime wedge.

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banana bread is for sundays

Posted in Uncategorized by delicious:discourse on September 21, 2008


I have a confession to make, Matt and I eat bananas all year long. We love them and every time we go to the grocery store we buy a bunch, usually more than we can eat. When we have time we make banana bread from the ones that are too ripe. I wouldn’t feel bad about eating all these bananas if I still lived in Hawaii and my Dad could take his machete and hack off the latest bunch from one of the banana trees in our yard;or if I could drive up the road to see Wilson and pick up a bunch of what we called apple bananas (smaller bananas with an almost sweet apple taste, hence the name), which he had clearly grown on the land behind his fruit stand. This would be obvious to most, but bananas do not grow in Austin. It takes a lot of fuel to transport them from Latin America so that I can slice one over my granola every morning. So, if we are going to continue to buy bananas, I plan not to let any go to waste. Matt and I might be eating a lot of banana bread. Good thing I have a great recipe, which is always a hit. People at my various past offices have loved it; it makes a great boating snack for energy in between wake-boarding sessions; and it is great toasted at home with a little bit of Kerrygold’s Irish butter. The chocolate chips are optional, but they add a certain sense of richness. Also, walnuts are a great addition.

I often find myself baking on Sundays. The past two times I have made banana bread it has been a Sunday. Maybe it is because Sundays I try to be lazy, which for me, means being productive, but just in a different way than I am the rest of the week; getting organized for the week, reading a book, going on a bike ride, trying a new breakfast place, doing all the little things I enjoy, but hardly find the time or the energy to do during the week. Banana bread is sunny; think tall green banana trees soaking up the sun and blowing in the sea breeze, so we can consume the white meat of the fruit at any time we like. Banana bread is comforting, and provides a great warmth with a glass on milk and curled up with a good book on a cool day, or any day for that matter. Banana bread is nutritious for the body as Sundays are the the soul. A wise woman once told me when I first moved to L.A., “LA is a great city, but make sure you take time to feed your soul.” At 18, I had no clue what she was talking about, but today, I know the importance all too well.

Sunday Banana Bread

Preheat oven to 350F.

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
Combine in mixer.
2 large eggs
Add one at a time to the sugar-butter mixture. Beat after each addition.
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon  vanilla extract
Combine the banana, yogurt, and vanilla in a bowl and add to the wet mixture. Mix well.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in another bowl. Add to wet ingredients and mix well.
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Stir into batter. Mix until evenly distributed.

Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes. I like to slightly undercook the bread to ensure  the bread stays moist. Let bread cool in pans for 10 minutes then roll out onto racks to cool completely before storing.

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chocolate & zucchini

Posted in recipe, Uncategorized by delicious:discourse on September 9, 2008

Look very closely. Can you identify my secret ingredient? The tiny green flecks floating within the sea of cookie and chocolate chunks??? Zucchini! Now I understand the brilliance of the unusual combination. I have long wondered how Clotilde Dusoulier’s blog Chocolate & Zucchini came to be named. However, after reading her About page, the name combination came together completely by accident, both chocolate and zucchini meaning entirely different things to her, but together representing her approach to food and food things.

The goodness of chocoalate and zucchini in the same dish would have to come together quite by accident because (I am making an assumption based on my average brain here) you normally would not think to put the two together. To state the obvious, one is a vegetable and the other is commonly treated as a dessert. How they could come together in unison only a highly dangerous and volatile chemistry experiment could determine. One of the brave souls turned out to be Camille, Barbara Kingsolver’s oldest daughter, as documented in my latest read Animal Vegetable Miracle: A Year of Food Life. Deep into the chapter titled “Zucchini Larceny,” in a effort to get rid of an overabundance of zucchini, Camille devises shredding fresh zucchini and adding it to chocolate chip cookie batter and then devilishly serving them to her younger sister and all her friends, while toying with them to guess the secret ingredient she never would tell. Her cookies were a wild success with only one or two remaining.

Inspired by the zucchini at my local farmer’s market and the lip-licking memory of my zucchini bread of last weekend, I decided to give the combination a go. A sweet, soft, and spongy summer emerged with pockets of earthy chocolate. I strongly recommend serving them with a side of sunny Saturday afternoon, preferably in early September when you are mourning the loss of an endless summer, but there is still an abundance of fresh, local zucchini.

ZUCCHINI CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (courtesy of Animal Vegetable Miracle)
(Makes about two dozen)
1 egg, beaten
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 T vanilla extract
Combine in large bowl.
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ t baking soda
¼ t salt
¼ t cinnamon
¼ t nutmeg
Combine in a separate, small bowl and blend into liquid mixture
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
12 oz chocolate chips
Stir these into other ingredients, mix well. Drop by spoonful onto greased baking sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350°, 10 to 15 minutes.

Note: I accidentally used bittersweet chocolate, silly me, which was slightly overpowering to the subtle but present zucchini. My recommendation would be for semi-sweet chocolate chips for the sake of very importantbalance.

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