Happy (belated) St. Paddy's Day everyone!
I hope you enjoyed the sunny weekend and indulged in some corned beef, tipped back some good Irish whiskey and perhaps found some luck of the Irish. I took advantage of the beautiful weather and hit up the Sunday's farmers' market for fresh spring fruits and veggies and then lounged around on the back patio of one of favorite coffee shops, soaking in some Vitamin D while completely absorbed in my latest read, Nancy Singleton Hachisu's, "Japanese Farm Food." If you haven't checked out this book yet, please do so. Hachisu is a California Bay Area native who moved to Japan, married an Japanese egg farmer and raised a family in a charming 85-year old farmhouse in Kamikawa in the rural Saitama Prefecture. Part cookbook, part memoir, her book is a wonderful example of true farm-to-table cooking and her traditional recipes are simple to follow. The photographs are stunning and the detailed narration makes you feel like you're right there- whether it be in the midst of her garden, scrubbing root vegetables at her kitchen sink or just talking with the quirky fishmonger at the local market. I can't wait to attempt one of her recipes! In the meantime...
Post-caffeination, I strolled back to my car and noticed this cool old wall mural. I must have passed by this building in Curtis Park a million times over the years but never took notice. I'm sure there's more of these charming bits of artwork squirreled away around town, which one's your favorite?
After I got home, I had the urge to open all the windows in the cottage, get some fresh air circulating and bake something...possibly some sweet, moist, spongy banana bread? Yup. Now I've always been loyal to the banana bread recipe I discovered in my well worn copy of "The Joy of Cooking," long ago; but earlier this month, I came across a tiny recipe at the bottom of a page in my issue of Bon Appetit. The recipe was called, "Julia's Best Banana Bread," and originated from a small roadside stand in Kahakuloa, Maui. Intrigued, I decided, "Why the heck not?" and clipped it. Well yesterday I decided to give it a whirl. I'm glad I did, the resulting product was delicious...a loaf of warm perfection. So perfect, in fact, that I'm making more today.
Julia's Best Banana Bread (Bon Appetit, March 2013)
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 3/4 cup AP flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
2. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, bananas, and oil in a large bowl until smooth. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and stir just until combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.
3. Bake until a knife inserted into the center of bread comes out clean, 60-70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let bread cool in pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around inside of pan to release the bread. Turn out onto rack and let cool completely.