One of the first things that I ever baked in my life was a loaf of banana bread. There is something great about taking some bananas that are basically inedible and turning them into something very freakin’ delicious. What’s also nice about banana bread is that it’s very flexible. You can easily throw in a few things that you have in your pantry and kick it up a notch.
For this version, I threw in shredded coconut, walnuts, and currants. All of these worked wonderfully in banana bread.
Ok. This was good.
In my opinion, one of the most important things about banana bread (besides having really ripe bananas) is to make sure you address texture along with taste. The bananas have good flavor, but your bread will be kind of mushy if you don’t add in some nice textures. The currants in this recipe give some chewiness to the bread and the walnuts give a bit of crunch.
For the last week I’ve been working on getting Macheesmo on a respectable hosting account. After much searching and review reading and twittering, I decided to go with Liquid Web. So far I’ve been very impressed with them. I think I’m developing a little bit of a crush. I mean it’s only be a few days and we’ve only been on like two dates, but when I login to my new control panel it just feels… right.
They are about 3 times as expensive as the shared hosting account I was using, but so far this appears to be a case of you get what you pay for and possibly more.
It’s like a great weight has been lifted off the shoulders of my website :)
Now for some links!
Beef Made Easy – This is amazing. Some of this I knew, most of it I didn’t, but either way it is a cool reference. I want this on the back of my 8.5 X 11 business card. (@ Incredimazing)
15 Meals for $15 – After my post on the cost of cooking, a reader emailed me a cool experiment that he is doing. Basically, he is trying to go a whole week (5 days or 15 meals) on $1/meal. They are almost done with the experiment and it’s a pretty interesting read. Check it out! (@ Can I get a Sample)
10 Tips to Improve your Cooking Instantly – This is a really great list sent to me from Traci. I think I agree with pretty much all of these! I need to do number 4 and I think number 6 is maybe the easiest thing you can start doing right away to improve your cooking. (@ Chef Gui)
Brown Butter Ice Cream – Ok. So I really love ice cream and brown butter but the title of this post is a bit deceptive. If you title something “How to make ice cream in a blender” I expect to only have to use a blender to make the ice cream. Paragraph 9 line 4 of this post though (for you lawyers out there) broke my heart when I learned that I still need an ice cream churn to make this! OH well. Still looks delicious. (@ Chez Pim)
Have a great weekend everyone. Oh and by the way, I really enjoy it when readers send me interesting links throughout the week so if you stroll across something that you think would fit in my weekly Around the Internet Kitchen
Last week’s poll winner was an appetizer! I got very lucky with this one. I was a bit at a loss as to what to make and then I went to a great party on Saturday and one of the hosts, who has actually guest posted on Macheesmo before, made this awesome version of hummus with sweet potatoes!
Sweet potato hummus tastes totally different than your normal old hummus. It’s a bit sweet but still has that awesome sesame taste to it. It also has plenty of spice which really makes the dish in my opinion.
This recipe makes a good amount of hummus. You may want to double it though if you are expecting more than 10 people. I guarantee that it will be pretty popular.
I’ll say this much: The Italians knew the magical formula to making amazing food. Turns out you can layer anything between layers of pasta, marinara sauce, and cheese, and it will be delicious. I love a lasagna with meat in it, but for a lighter change during these summer months, I thought I would substitute some fresh vegetables for the protein.
I really liked the vegetables as a substitute. Veggie lasagna is awesome.
Good and healthy! Well, kind of healthy.
In my opinion, and I’m a quarter Italian(!), there are three important steps to making a really good lasagna: 1) Use really good ingredients. 2) Don’t overcook your pasta. In fact, undercook it slightly. 3) Be mindful of the water content in your dish. The last thing you want is a watery lasagna.
I was at a party last weekend talking to someone about Macheesmo and they mentioned that they probably wouldn’t read it because they don’t cook. Ignoring the point that I try to write for an audience that doesn’t cook frequently, I instead asked them why they don’t cook. They sited two of the most frequent reasons I hear for why people don’t cook: It’s too expensive and it takes too long.
I’ve talked about the time it takes to cook before, but I want to focus on the dollar bills for this post. If you’re an economist (I’m not) then you might argue that the time argument is really just a money argument. Depending on how valuable your time is, it may or may not be worth it to take the time to cook. Because really, time is money right? So I thought I would take a recent recipe I posted and go into the approximate economics of it to try to prove, more or less, that cooking really is a great way to save money.
Sometimes I’m in the mood for salad, but I also want something with a lot of flavor. Not that other salads don’t have flavor, but I often crave something with protein, some good rich vegetables and a nice dressing. Basically, I want a Nicoise salad.
Oh sorry. I mean Niçoise salad. And as I was corrected on many times, it’s pronounced [niˈswaz]. Not Nicoozy. Or Nicweese.
Anyway, the point is that Niçoise salads are delicious.
I'm embarrassed to say I ate all of this by myself.
Let me start by saying that I may offend some French readers by messing with this classic dish. I substituted asparagus for the traditional green beans in the dish and I completely left out capers by accident. That said, I thought my version was pretty darn tasty.
Every other weekend, I review a cookbook in an attempt to lend some guidance in a field that has become overrun. These days everyone is writing cookbooks and it is incredibly upsetting to buy a dud and have it sit on your shelf for years – staring at you, mocking your poor judgment.
I was looking for a book to review this week and noticed a small book tucked away on the shelf with all my other cookbooks. I think it’s Betsy’s because I don’t remember ever getting it. The book was “The Working Stiff Cookbook” by Bob Sloan. It got my attention because, well, I’m a working stiff and I like to cook! The perfect book for me right? Let’s find out.