Over the last few days, I’ve watched my bananas go from a bright yellow, worthy of wearing the leader’s jersey in the Tour de France, to a soft brown, like a tattered and mud-splashed elementary school bus.
Banana bread and banana muffins are always easy options for an overripe bunch. But banana bread is – let’s be honest – closer to cake than either bread or a trip to the bottom of the food pyramid. For that reason, I took my overripe bananas and turned them into real banana bread – not the quick kind. Indeed, if you know me, you know that I often enjoy taking the long and meandering route, passing through several culinary steps and preparation detours over what might have otherwise been a one-step, ten-minute trip, down the intercity highway (see curried couscous).
While this banana bread requires kneading and resting, rather than mixing and pouring, it is Continue reading
Mornings here in Cincinnati – the new headquarters of Judicial Peach - have been surprisingly cool, making the early morning walk to work all the more inviting.
But as the days goes on, the sun heats up the city sidewalks, letting you know that the days of summer have not yet set on the cityscape.
Which makes a blueberry smoothie the perfect after-work treat. Continue reading
Spare thoughts can reveal a lot.
Like anyone, my mind can often wander. Sometimes it wanders to far-off and unknown places, which leaves me looking lost and confused. These thoughts are stray thoughts, without any purpose or sense of direction. These stray thoughts require a passing hand or snapping finger to direct my attention back to the well-worn path.
But other times, my mind moves with a sense of purpose. Pushing past the brush and trekking towards a clearing. More often than not, these directed thoughts focus on finding either legal or culinary clearing.
When I’m folding laundry or putting away dishes, my mind goes in one of two directions. It goes Continue reading
I tend to stock-pile bananas. Every weekend, without fail, I buy enough bananas to get me through the work-week. Unfortunately, I tend to overindulge my banana enthusiasm. And before I know it, I’ve tossed another two overripe bananas into the freezer – with the idea that some day soon they would find themselves in banana bread.
“Soon” soon took on new meaning.
Last week I opened my freezer to a veritable army of frozen bananas, their ranks having swelled over the Continue reading
I don’t quite know what prompted it, but for an entire summer, my youngest brother had to have French toast before camp. What might have started as a special breakfast soon became the breakfast. Every day. And with time, his demands seemed only to grow. It had to have the crusts removed. It needed to be in the shape of a circle. It had to come with powdered sugar.
Sometimes we’d all have French toast, but more often than not, we were content with cereal. No matter. He stuck to his guns. And Mom faithfully complied, serving up French Toast, then rushing us all off to camp.
On this Mother’s Day, why not Continue reading
We live in an era of convenience, where promises of easier and faster abound. We have drive-through windows for almost every facet of our life – from the pharmacy window, to the bank window, to the fast-food window. Indeed, the specter of convenience is particularly pernicious when it comes to the kitchen and our collective eating habits.
In the 1950s, one out of three Americans was overweight, and just one out of ten Americans was considered obese. But with the advent of Jack In the Box (founded in 1951), McDonald’s (1955), and others of its kind, obesity rates have skyrocketed. At last count, 65% of Americans were overweight, and 30% of Americans were obese.
And hamburgers are not the only culprit. Continue reading
The modern banana may be a dying breed.
Unlike apples and oranges, supermarkets only carry a single variety of banana – the Vietnamese Cavendish. And unlike other fruits, domestic production of bananas is virtually nonexistent. Instead, the vast majority of our bananas come from Latin America; Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Colombia represent three of the four largest banana-exporting nations.
The concentration of a single banana variety in a single area helped popularize the banana by creating large economies of scale with respect to harvest periods, and shipping and distribution routes. These economies of scale made the banana the cheapest fruit in the produce section – a modern miracle considering that the banana has traveled thousands of miles, in cooled containers, and has a shelf life of but a few weeks.
This concentration and homogenization may, unfortunately, also lead to the banana’s demise. In the early 1900s, the banana of choice was the Gros Michel – a banana superior in taste, size, and texture to today’s Cavendish. Sadly, the Gros Michel was all but wiped out by Panama disease, a resistant fungus.
Today, the Cavendish is threatened Continue reading
Bananas Foster is a New Orleans original.
The dish was originally created in 1951, by Chef Paul Blangé of Brennan’s Restaurant. Owen Edward Brennan, the owner, had challenged his chef to create a dish that would highlight bananas. At the time, New Orleans was the principal port of entry for Latin America’s banana crop. The recipe also served as the feature article for Holiday Magazine, which had asked Brennan for a recipe to accompany an article about the restaurant.
Bananas Foster is named for Richard Foster, who Continue reading
This is my pick-me-up drink. In law school, I used to reward myself with one of these at the end of every final exam. Now that I’m working, I don’t make this drink nearly enough. But when I am feeling, lethargic, grumpy, or just plain sick, this does the trick. There’s just a certain comfort that comes with drinking a cold smoothie out of a tall glass.
Keep this recipe in mind the next time Continue reading