We Made The World’s Best Pancakes

Posted by on Jan 25, 2013 in Breakfast, Brunch | 13 Comments







Izzie picked up her pencil and paper and regarded both with great seriousness. At 8, she was small for her age and her thick glasses threatened to swallow her round little face. She faced her aunt over the tiny cafe table in the corner of her aunt’s tiny, yet stylish, apartment. Her aunt was tall and thin and still largely a mystery to Izzie, who had only been living with her a short time. 

Izzie faced the butterflies in her stomach and read the first question on the page. “What is the best part of being a grown-up today?” It was an assignment for school. Izzie did very well in school.

Her aunt sipped her espresso and tapped against the table. After a moment, she met Izzie’s eyes. “Guess.”

Izzie frowned. The paper did not indicate that Izzie should guess- it told her to ask a grown-up these questions and write down the answers.

An interview. Perhaps her aunt didn’t know what an interview was. 

Izzie might’ve wondered such things aloud to her mother. But her mother was no longer there. And though her aunt always answered her when Izzie mused aloud (which was often), her aunt’s answers tended to be more… peculiar. Izzie sighed and tried to think. The best part about being a grown-up… “You can wear nice clothes?” she asked hopefully.

Her aunt raised an eyebrow. “No. Not that.” 

Feeling a bit flushed, like she had said the wrong thing (but her aunt dressed so fancy! And she seemed to delight in her clothes!) Izzie tried again. “You can vote?”

“That’s a better guess.” But her aunt shook her head. “Sadly, no. Not the best part. Good. But not the best part by far.”

Izzie guessed several more times (you can have a dog!) (you can visit France!) (you can ride the subway alone!) but her aunt dismissed them one by one (No.) (That’s true, but no. Well… no.) (The subway?) Finally, Izzie drooped in her chair, defeated. “All right,” she said to her aunt. “I give up.”

Her aunt took a sip of espresso and smiled faintly over the rim. “Fine then. Write this down. It’s quite simple, really. I’m sure once you hear it, you’ll agree.” Inside Izzie’s head, she grumbled a bit. “The best part of being a grown up,” she said slowly, so her niece’s pencil could keep up, “is being able to eat truly excellent pancakes whenever one wishes.”  

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

Izzie was surprised by the answer yet not too surprised; her aunt was peculiar, after all. (And she did make truly excellent, excellent pancakes.)







There’s something comforting about having a blog and occasionally sharing quintessential  recipes. I’m not sure why… Maybe because of the sheer volume of recipes out there. So many variations and tests and special tricks and techniques. Not to mention the sources. So many sources. Endless sources. I don’t really need to go into how impossible it is to determine “the best possible” recipe in any category, do I?

Nevertheless, here I am, telling you that these are the world’s best pancakes. But maybe that’s a misnomer- let’s call them quintessential pancakes then.







They consist of white flour. Butter. Whole milk. Sugar. Baking powder. Eggs. Vegetable oil. And salt.

You’re trying to resist me, I can feel it. You’re trying to imagine variants with skim milk, soy milk, no butter, less butter, whole wheat flour, less white flour. No eggs. Maybe applesauce? Just… stop. Just for a second. I commend you for what you’re trying to do, I really do. (I do it myself! Hi!) But now’s not the time. Ruth and I (we’re friends, we’re so close.  We’re likethis.) would like you to just… take a break. Just for now. Just this once. Just for breakfast.

Because we made you pancakes. Crisp and chewy. Shiny with syrup. Topped with a pat of butter. We hope you like them as much as we did.







World’s Best Pancakes

Source: ruthreichl.com | Makes 8 large pancakes | Print Recipe

Ingredients

1 Stick of butter
1 Cup of whole milk
2 Large eggs
1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 Cup of flour
4 Teaspoons of baking powder
4 Teaspoons of sugar
1 Teaspoon of salt

Directions

1. Melt the butter. Whisk together the cup of milk, eggs, vegetable oil, then add the butter.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with baking powder, sugar and salt. Whisk into milk mixture until just combined. (Add a bit more milk if it’s too thick.)

3. Skim a good pan with butter or oil and pour in some batter (the size is up to you). Watch as the bubbles appear in the batter, grow larger, and then pop and vanish. When they’ve all popped, flip the pancake and cook the other side.

SKS Note: Eat the first pancake off the pan as a test. This is your right as the maker of breakfast.

 

Pumpkin Pie French Toast

Posted by on Oct 11, 2012 in Breakfast, Brunch | 3 Comments







“Tyler?”

“NO.”

“C’mon, buddy. Open the door. It’s okay.”

“NO.”

“No one’s going to yell at you. For, you know, locking yourself in the bathroom. With my purse. And my car keys. And my phone.”

“NO. I DON’T WANT YOU TO GO.”

“That’s very sweet, Ty, but I have to go home, okay buddy? Mom’s home now. And I really, really need to get home.”

“NO. I AM GOING TO LIVE IN HERE. WITH YOUR THINGS. AND YOU CANNOT GO. NO. I REFUSE NO.”

“TYLER.”

“NO!”

“TYLER. I will give you a cookie.”

“Five cookies, Ty. You can have five whole cookies.”

….

“It’s practically dinner time, Tyler! I think your mom is making broccoli! TAKE THE DEAL.”

… 

 “Tyler.”

“Make it ten.”







It’s been that kind of week, am I right, world? Right now I am facing a To-Do list that’s threatening to come down on me like an avalanche. I am wearing new jeans and they are too tight. Like, not this tight, but jussssst tight enough so that I feel a little bit like I’m dying all day and also can tight pants give you a headache? (and also, what was I thinking? Send the pants back! SEND BACK ALL THE PANTS). It’s been raining in fits and spurts for what feels like weeks. Plus, I keep waking up and thinking it’s Friday which is the worst on every day that it is not remotely true, not even close, sorry. And I know I’m not alone because Nicole sent me these pictures with a similarly hysterical “There’s too much to do, ahhhh!” undertone.

And you know what, I’m not going to apologize for complaining. No. I’m not going to make that prerequisite “I know, I know, there are real problems going on in the world and here’s where I’ll list them and pull myself out of my whining with a few sentences oh look, it worked.” Nope. Sometimes weeks are hard. Sometimes it’s colder than you thought it would be and you are tired. Sometimes you need ten cookies to be lured out of your room. Sometimes you need breakfast for dinner.

Sometimes you need pumpkin pie french toast for dinner. These are those times, my friends. Enjoy.

Pumpkin Pie French Toast

Source: closetcooking.com | Makes 4 Servings | Print Recipe

INGREDIENTS

2 Eggs
1/4 Cup of milk
1/4 Cup of pumpkin puree
1/4 Teaspoon vanilla
1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon ginger
1/8 Teaspoon cloves
1/8 Teaspoon nutmeg
2 TBsp of brown sugar
8 Slices of bread

DIRECTIONS

1. In a low, flat bowl, mix the eggs, milk, pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and brown sugar. (I like a casserole dish, personally. – JC)

2. Heat your preferred French Toast frying pan over medium heat. (Tip: Drizzle a little bit of egg mixture on the skillet. If it sizzles a bit, it’s ready. If it burns, the pan is too hot.)

3. Dip the bread into the egg mixture on both sides and grill in a pan until lightly golden brown, about 2-3 minute per side.

Caramelized Banana Bread with Browned Butter Glaze

Posted by on Sep 26, 2012 in Breads, Breakfast, Brunch, Desserts | 4 Comments



caramelized_banana_1



At some point, there were no more tears to be shed. Polly wasn’t sure when it happened exactly but she caught herself mid-laugh and clapped a hand over her mouth. 

Her friend Anna smiled from her place on the floor. They were sitting cross-legged across from each other, the tin of swiped bread between them, the two forks sticking out of it like a pair of rogue antenna. A good portion of the sticky, sweet banana bread now resided in Polly’s stomach. She could practically feel it soaking up the homesickness she felt there- or she had felt, anyway, before Anna had appeared in the doorway of the cabin, stolen treats in hand and with understanding smile.



caramelized_banana_2



A lot of my stories lately seem to be about kind-hearted strangers bringing baked goods to people in distress. Have you noticed that? You haven’t? Well, you probably notice now that I’ve said it.

I don’t plan these things- I write what I want to write. And obviously I’m either feeling extremely charitable lately or I’m passive-aggressively trying to force you to bake me something and bring it to me so that I may eat it. If I were still in Chicago, I could just show up at Nicole’s house and demand that she hand it over. Alas, this is not to be. I have to make this Caramelized Banana Bread with Browned Butter Glaze myself, oh poor Judi with all the bread to eat.

Or maybe I’m just trying to reinforce an idea here. This notion of spontaneous kindness. Of the comfort you can bring someone just by caring a little bit more than expected of you. Of how much love is available to you and how much you have within you to give away to someone else. Maybe that’s it.

Maybe it just needed overstating.



caramelized_banana_3



Caramelized Banana Bread with Browned Butter Glaze

Source: Cooking Light | Makes one 9×5” loaf pan | Print Recipe

INGREDIENTS

Bread

4 TBSPs of butter, softened and divided
3/4 Cup of packed dark brown sugar
3 Medium-sized, ripe bananas, sliced
1/2 Cup of fat free buttermilk
3 TBSPs of canola oil
2 TBSPS of amber or gold rum
2 Large eggs
9 Ounces of all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
3/4 Teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon of salt
Baking spray with flour (such as Baker’s Joy)

Glaze

1/3 Cup of powdered sugar
2 Teaspoons of Half and Half

DIRECTIONS

Make bread:

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

3. Add brown sugar and bananas; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Remove from heat; cool 10 minutes.

5. Place banana mixture in a large bowl.

6. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

7. Combine buttermilk and next 3 ingredients (through eggs).

8. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

9. Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately to banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat at low speed just until combined.

10. Scrape batter into a 9 x 5-inch metal loaf pan coated with baking spray.

11. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging.

12. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack.

13. Remove bread from pan, and cool on wire rack.

Make glaze:

1. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.

2. Cook 3 minutes or until butter begins to brown; remove from heat.

3. Add powdered sugar and half-and-half, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

4. Drizzle glaze over bread.

5. Let stand until glaze sets.

Beggins Crumb Cake

Posted by on Sep 12, 2012 in Breakfast, Brunch, Desserts | 3 Comments







Oh, my bad. I think we’re supposed to be writing about fruit.

Delicious, in-season, late summer fruit. Surely this cake can wait until it’s February and we are drowning in root vegetables. Right?

Peaches and blueberries and apricots, oh my! And instead, we made you a crumb cake. A crumb cake that’s not really technically a crumb cake (it’s probably closer to a cake with crumbly shortbread on top). A crumb cake that I have eaten, at least a few times a year, for almost thirty years.







When Nicole asked if I had a recipe for crumb cake handy, I could practically smell this cake. There are certain dishes that provide a rush of sensory memory and this is definitely one of them for me. The kitchen and the oven and the very homes where both resided may have changed many, many times over the last thirty years but come by for a special occasion and chances are very good that this cake was cooling on the table; big, fat, buttery crumbs sinking into pliable yellow cake and a Cutrone child sneaking up to steal a bite. This is my mother’s cake.

Okay, really, it’s Mr. Beggins’ cake. Here are the exact notes from my sister Melissa when I asked for the recipe:

Mom got this recipe from Mr. and Mrs. Beggins (Jenn and my 3rd grade teacher).  It’s always been a crowd favorite.

My sister Jenn, incidentally, is practically a professional Crumb Picker. She can swipe a giant chunk of crumb from the top and make it look like no crime has been committed. Such is her gift (second only to her uncanny ability to be missing when it’s time to clear the table after dinner). Such is the beauty of this cake. Instead of those shaky, trembly crumbs from most crumb cakes, this topping will come off in giant nugget-form. You won’t be able to resist them. Just try it, I dare you.







Nicole, poor soul, came to this recipe with a little trepidation. “THREE STICKS OF BUTTER?!” she emailed back. “Um, are you sure that’s right? Most crumb cake recipes only call for a stick, maybe a stick and a half.” I assured her it was right.

When it came time to take the pan out of the oven, she IMed me. “The top is sinking,” she wrote. “Did I do something wrong?” I asked her to snap a photo and send it to me. What I saw made me grin. (Like in the last episode of Sex and the City when Charlotte sees a picture of her baby.)  I wiped a stray tear from my eye. That’s it. That’s the cake.

Crumb Cake

Source: Mr. and Mrs. Beggins | Makes one 9 x 13 inch cake or two 8×8 inch cakes

INGREDIENTS

For the cake:

1 box of yellow cake mix (plus ingredients required on box)

For the topping:

2 Cups of flour
1 Cup of sugar
3 Sticks of butter (soft but not melted)

DIRECTIONS

1. Prepare box cake mix as directed.

2. Cook cake until ALMOST done (top of the cake should be firm but the filling a bit wobbly).

3. To make the crumb topping, combine the flour, sugar and butter and using a fork or fingers mix together.

4. Sprinkle on almost-finished cake and continue to bake until crumb topping turns brownish gold.

Coffee Chocolate Milkshake

Posted by on Jun 20, 2012 in Breakfast, Desserts, Drinks | 12 Comments







The story today is… Nicole is getting married. On SATURDAY. This Saturday! I know. 







We’re shaking things up next week (see what I did there? Milkshakes? Wordplay.) with some informal snaps from the wedding, which is taking place at Nicole’s grandparents’ old barn in Pennsylvania. Where, incidentally, a black bear has been spotted recently, no I am not at all worried about that why do you ask omg A BEAR you guys.

Nicole sent me a picture of said bear and laughed. The words city slicker may have come out of her mouth. And so the differences between us continue to make themselves known.

If I don’t make it back from this wedding, I love you all very much.

Anyway. It’s going to be awesome. I don’t know if you’ve noticed how creative and talented Nicole is but yeah… barn. Wedding. Food. Games. Bears. I promise to take a lot of pictures.

And in the meantime, Nicole’s going to need coffee. A lot of coffee. And because it’s suddenly 90 degrees (!) in Maine (!) and elsewhere, it’s going to come in the form of an icy, frothy coffee chocolate milkshake recipe. Buzzy, chocolatey joy.







 

Coffee Chocolate Chip Milkshake

Makes 4 Servings | Print Recipe

Ingredients

2 Cups of good coffee ice cream
1 Cup of whole or 2% milk
6 TBsps of hot fudge (more to taste)
1/3 Cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

1. In a blender combine all ingredients until smooth.

2. Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings if desired.

Bacon, Egg & Toast Cuplets

Posted by on Jun 15, 2012 in Breakfast, Brunch | One Comment







Act IV. Scene III.

Enter Octavia and her maid Palermo.

Octavia

Do not try to console me! I am beyond your council!

Palermo

My lady. Here. Rest thy head on thee’s pet lamb Rosalinda.

Octavia

Nay! Get thee Rosalinda from my sight! [Lamb scurries, squealing]

Palermo

I swear to thee, youth. Rest thy head and be silent but for a moment! All will be well.

Octavia

Palermo, get thee from my sight also!

Palermo

If thist pleases you, my lady. I shall take the cheese tray down, for you have no appetite to share your misery.

Octavia

Wait!

Palermo

My lady? Have you rescinded? Shall I fetch Rosalinda for thy cheek?

Octavia

Leave the tray. Leave me with the cheese and be of thanks that you are but a maid and share none of my troubles. 

 







There’s a book out there, in the world, maybe you’ve seen it: My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals by Melanie Dunea. It’s pretty self-explanatory. In portraits, recipes and interviews, chefs like Ferran Adria, Jacques Pepin, and Suzanne Goin share their ideal last meal. The clock is about to strike midnight, everything’s about to go dark and someone arrives with a tray- what’s on the tray? What do you reach for?

Mine resembles the recipe we’re featuring this week, although not nearly as precious and brunch-ready. A slab of freshly baked white bread, a farm-fresh egg or two fried in butter, a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, thick slabs of crispy bacon and a slice of ripe avocado. This is enough to make me purely, perfectly happy and it does not escape me that if I fall into a time machine and literally arrive in any other time in history, I can basically be assured of getting roughly this meal if there’s a farm or some peasants nearby. I like to be prepared for all hypotheticals, really.

So. The clock is about to strike midnight, everything’s about to go dark and someone arrives with a tray- what’s on the tray? What do you reach for?







Bacon, Egg, and Toast Cuplets

Source: Martha Stewart | Makes 6 | Print Recipe

Ingredients

3 TBsps of unsalted butter, melted
8 Slices of white or whole-wheat sandwich bread
6 Slices of bacon
6 Large eggs
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Lightly butter 6 standard muffin cups.

3. With a rolling pin, flatten bread slices slightly and, with a 4 and 1/4-inch cookie cutter, cut into 8 rounds.

4. Cut each round in half, then press 2 halves into each muffin cup, overlapping slightly and making sure bread comes up to edge of cup.

5. Use extra bread to patch any gaps. Brush bread with remaining butter.

6. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium, until almost crisp, 4 minutes, flipping once. (It will continue to cook in the oven.)

7. Lay 1 bacon slice in each bread cup and crack an egg over each.

8. Season with salt and pepper.

9. Bake until egg whites are just set, 20 to 25 minutes.

10. Run a small knife around cups to loosen toasts. Serve immediately. Nom.

 

Crumbly & Creamy Raspberry Scones

Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Breads, Breakfast, Desserts | 7 Comments







She played the words over in her mind, rolled them around. Arranged marriage.

Arranged marriage.

She certainly felt arranged. She’d spent the better part of the morning being pushed and pulled about like a roll of satin, cream-colored taffy. There was great deal of attention and concern dedicated to the comfort of the clothes that now draped her- the lightness of her dress, the looseness around her upper arms, the way the hem swung around her knees, the sweetness of her shoes (they did not pinch as she feared) but the women who dressed her were rough, like burlap. 

They had round, stern faces and they hummed around her like disapproving bees. She did not understand the words they muttered to one another. She thought perhaps that was for the best. 

She wondered if she would bruise. Already, there was a spot on her wrist where a woman had pinched to secure a glass bracelet- it bloomed there like a raspberry, like another decoration. 

She wondered if he would mind.







If you are particularly observant and have been around this site for a while, you should be able to tell which recipe picks are mine and which belong to Nicole. Mainly, the difference all comes down to… sugar. Sweet, glorious sugar.

We both love decadent sweets but I generally go for richness over sweetness. Nicole, on the other hand, chooses sweet. Every time. A constant refrain from testing one of my picks is usually, “It was good but it wasn’t sweet enough for me.” And my refrain for her picks is usually along the lines of “NICOLE, 3 CUPS of sugar?! PS this is really good. BUT 3 CUPS?” (From the sheer volume of our reactions, I know, it would seem like I’m the sugar hound. Sadly, my loudness is all genetics.)

So to offset the decadent sweetfest of last week, I chose a raspberry scone recipe.  Aren’t they lovely? They’re creamy and rich, yes but scant on the sweetness. I’m in the mood for that today.

If you’d like to “go Nicole” for this one, sprinkle some turbinado sugar over the mounds of dough just before baking for an extra sugary crunch or try a simple glaze.







Let’s talk, for a second, about how I’m going to buy the hell out of the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. I pre-ordered that sucker so fast… is it possible to get whiplash in your fingers? I must make something from Deb’s site once a week and every time I do, the recipe is a winner. A friend even made this delicious monster for my birthday this year (and lo, it was good. So good. Did I even need to say that? Really?)

Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones

Source: Smitten Kitchen | Prep Time: 15 min | Cook Time: 15 min | Serves 9 | Print Recipe

Ingredients

1 Cup of whole wheat flour
1 Cup of all-purpose flour
1 TBSP of baking powder
1/4 Cup of granulated sugar
1/2 Teaspoon table salt
6 TBSP of cold unsalted butter
1 Cup of fresh raspberries
3/4 Cup of whole milk ricotta
1/3 Cup of heavy cream

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, sugar and salt together.

4. Using a pastry blender: Add the butter (no need to chop it first) and use the blender to both cut the butter into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas. Or with your hands: Cut the cold butter into small cubes and, working fast, work the butter into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas.

5. Toss in raspberries and use the blender again to break them into halves and quarter berry sized chunks. (Or chop them roughly and stir them into the mixture.)

6. Add the ricotta and heavy cream together with a flexible spatula until the dough comes together.

7. Using your hands, gently knead dough into an even mass, right in the bottom of the bowl.

8. Quickly transfer dough to a well-floured counter.  Flour the top of the dough and pat it into a square that is about 7-inches wide and about 1-inch tall.

9. With a large knife, divide the dough into 9 squares.

10. Transfer the scones to prepared baking sheet with a spatula.

11. Bake the scones for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges.

12. Cool in pan for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack. Best enjoyed day-of.

Honey Walnut Banana Bread

Posted by on Apr 27, 2012 in Breads, Breakfast, Desserts | 7 Comments







Lydie sat down at the stool behind the counter and then stood right back up again. She walked over to the window and moved the tiny, steel fire truck just an inch to the right. Now it stood gleaming and appeared to stare out onto the street, as if waiting for the next call. 

That’s it. That’s all. She took a step back away from the window, her hands raised. Done. Done. 

Her store was ready. It was gleaming and sat waiting, like her fire truck.  The counters were polished and shining. The floor was swept. The shelves and shelves (and shelves! who knew she would need so many shelves?) were filled with her wares, bright and clashing in color and height and perfect.Her friend Colleen, who owned the bakery next door, had surprised her with a tray of thinly sliced pieces of warm banana bread for her first customers, that now sat in the corner with a pitcher of ice water, lemon slices floating at the top.

Colleen had appeared in the teal blue doorway with the silver tray at dawn, just as the sun was making an appearance over the thatched roofs of their little commercial street and Lydie had almost cried over them, overwhelmed by the smell of the bread, feeling their warmth through the bottom of the tray, feeling the realness of this day, that it had arrived, hit her all at once like a wave. 

Colleen hadn’t said a word. She’d wrapped her arms around Lydie and held her tight. She’d whispered, “Congratulations,” in her ear and then ducked out, smelling of bread and raisins. 

Lydie was supposed to be opening the doors in just a few minutes and for someone who liked timing and schedules and the rigidity of knowing what happens when, she found herself with the strangest urge to delay it for just a few minutes longer. She wanted to just stand in the middle of the place and look. And look and look. Look what she had done. She wanted to look at everything, touch everything. She wanted longer to fuss and to polish. She held herself in. She turned around in a circle, once, twice. Then, she walked over to the door and slid back the lock. She turned the sign over in the window.

Open.







Last week, I went on a business trip for my new job.

You know how it is “on the road.” At one point, I ate a fistful of bran flakes and declared myself Winner of Healthy Breakfast Options. This is what the continental breakfast will do to a person who has been enslaved to the Weight Watchers point system for a full year.  And who maybe does not say no to after-dinner cake like she is supposed to but whatever, it was an official Maryland dessert, did you want me to be RUDE to the state of Maryland? (Can you guess the dessert? I’ll let it slip in our Facebook group later today but let’s see if East Coasters can guess. There is no crab involved, I swear. I’m not an animal.)

I also had the pleasure of traveling with a coworker who I am relieved to report is a DELIGHT THANK YOU GOD because I don’t think we left each other’s sight in forty-eight hours. By the end of the first day, I was conspiring on how I could secretly miniaturize her so I could keep her in my pocket always. By the end of the first day, she blurted out, “HOLY CRAP, you eat a lot of bananas.”

I had eaten, in fact, so many bananas over those two days that when I arrived home and saw two browning bananas on my counter, I let out a sigh that shook the whole of Maine to its core. Too bad there’s no good use for browned bananas or anything, right? Right.

Nicole, randomly, sent over this recipe a few days later. See how that works, people? That’s some serious synergy.







Honey Walnut Banana Bread

Source: Picture The Recipe | Prep Time: 10 min | Cook Time: 40-45 min | Serves 8-10 | Print Recipe

Ingredients

3 Bananas, ripe or over-ripe (best), mashed
1/2 Cup of butter (1 stick)
1/2 Cup of honey
1/2 Cup of brown sugar
1/2 Teaspoon of vanilla
2 Eggs, room temperature
1/4 Teaspoon of baking soda
1 Teaspoon of baking powder
1/3 Teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon of salt
1 and 1/4 Cups of flour
1/2 Cup of oats
1 Cup of chopped walnuts

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

2. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand up mixer, add the mashed bananas, butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

3. Using the paddle attachment on medium speed, mix all the ingredients together, until they’re combined. (Might be a few banana lumps, don’t stress.)

4. With a wooden spoon, add the flour and oats until just combined. Do not overmix. Don’t make me come over there.

5. Add 3/4 cup of the chopped walnuts and fold in with wooden spoon. Again, with the overmixing- don’t do it. Resist!

6. Pour the batter into a loaf tin and sprinkle with leftover nuts.

7. Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes.

8. Cool for a few minutes, then serve warm, preferably with a pat of butter or some cool cream cheese. A drizzle of honey would be good too.

Note: I bet adding chocolate chunks to this bread would make you super popular. Just saying.

Honey Butter

Posted by on Nov 23, 2011 in Breakfast, Brunch, Side Dishes | 2 Comments

 







“Honey?”

“Yes, sugar?”

“I just love you so, so much.”

“I love you too, Sug.”

“I’m so glad, Honey. One more thing though, if I may.”

“Yes, Love Muffin?”

“Now, you know I love you, right?”

“Mmmhmmm.”

“Well, you’ve got about a half a pound of butter on your face right now. Puddin’ Pop.”







I will admit, I’m feeling a little cracked out right now.

For one thing, I am old. For another, I went to a midnight showing of The Muppets movie last night. I got home late, crawled into bed, woke up to a sick dog and I’ve been in the kitchen ever since. I’m not going to lie- if you told me tomorrow was St. Patrick’s Day, I very well may believe you.







A quickie recipe for you today as you’re scrambling around for last-minute touches to your fantastic Thanksgiving feast (unless you’re not in America and tomorrow is, simply, Thursday. This recipe still works.) Two things you’re likely to have on hand- butter and honey. Combine them, spoon the lot into a little mason jar or shiny bowl, and serve them with your biscuits, your cornbread or a leftover crescent roll. It’s little touches like these that let the people you love know that you love them- that you think they’re special and deserving of these little moments of surprising sweetness. Love is in the details.

We’re thankful for you this year.

Happy Thanksgiving from Some Kitchen Stories.

Honey Butter

from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

3/4 Cup of butter, room temperature
1/4 Cup of honey

Prepare

1. Mix butter and honey in a small bowl until smooth.

2. Store in refrigerator. Or drop onto a piece of plastic wrap, roll up and store cold for a few days until chilled. Slice into patties.

Sticky, Sweet & Spiced Cinnamon Rolls

Posted by on Nov 21, 2011 in Breads, Breakfast, Brunch | 5 Comments







No story today. Because, you guys, Thanksgiving is almost here. How did this happen? Is anyone else wondering how this happened? Am I the only one who looked at the calendar this weekend and did a comical double-take?







I don’t mean to be competitive about this but Nicole’s cinnamon rolls came out better looking than mine. Which I suppose is fine considering she’s the photographer but still. STILL. I was the one who wanted to eat them the MOST. That should count for something. Also, I’m concerned that, after this recipe, you’re going to think that we have an addiction to maple glaze.

Also, when did I start sounding like Joy the Baker? Also, why do you think that’s a bad thing? Are you trying to start something with me, huh? Thanksgiving is in 3 days.







I’m going to go ahead and say “Screw wine” because showing up with a tray of homemade cinnamon rolls has to be the world’s best hostess gift. I’m not suggesting you make this for your family as you’re wrestling a 22 pound turkey into the oven (please stop crying) but I think it’s a lovely idea to make a tray for your host family, if you’re spending the holiday outside your own kitchen.

Think of it- they’ll wake up Friday morning and just pop these bad boys in the oven or in the microwave. And then the house will smell like nutmeg and cinnamon and cloaked maple syrup. Or they can wrap them up in foil and munch on them while on line at Best Buy at 4am (do you do that? I don’t do that.) Maybe they could even trade some for a better spot in line! And they’ll be so excited that they’ll buy a big screen TV that cost .48 cents and give it to YOU along with the free gift bag they received at the store? (I don’t know how Black Friday works).

These rolls take some time and attention and care but they’re light! And they have squash in them (squash!) so basically Congress will declare them a vegetable soon, that’s how healthy they are. Scant butter, loads of spice, flaky homemade bread. Put on some Lite FM, sing into some spoons and just devote your afternoon to them.







Cinnamon Rolls

Recipe from Cooking Light

Makes: 16 rolls | 5 pts. each (Weight Watchers) | Total Time: 2.5 Hours

Ingredients for Rolls

1 Cup of warm water (100° to 110° – test with a thermometer if you’re like me and you tend to panic over proofing yeast)
1 TBsp of granulated sugar
1 package of active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
About 2 and 1/2 cups of bread flour
About 1 and 1/4 cups plus 3 TBsp of all-purpose flour, divided
1 tsp of salt
1 and 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
Dash of ground cloves
1 Cup of mashed cooked delicata squash (about 1 [1-pound] squash)
1 TBsp of canola oil
Cooking spray
1/2 Cup of packed brown sugar
2 TBsp of butter, melted
2 tsp of water
3 TBsp of finely chopped walnuts, toasted

Ingredients for Glaze

1/3 cup water
1/2 cup maple sugar or light brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Note: Nicole had leftover maple glaze so she used that. The glaze in this recipe is delicious as well- it won’t be white but clear, in case you’re comparing to her photos.

Prepare

1. Roast the squash. (Grievance: Cooking Light didn’t include this little instruction, which drives me crazy because I then had to some Internet searching, adding to an already lengthy prep session.) So, preheat oven to 375°F. Slice squash in half, length-wise, and scoop out seeds. Lay in baking dish, skin side down, with about 1/4 inch of water in the dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Let squash cool and then scoop out flesh into a bowl and mash with a fork.

2. Prepare the yeast. Combine first three roll ingredients and let stand for 10 minutes. If yeast doesn’t bubble (it’s more like a dense foam top), toss it and get fresher yeast.

3. Get your flour. Bread making is exact so use the “spoon and level” method with your flour. Get your large bowl or stand mixer. Combine 2 and 1/2 cups of bread flour, 1 and 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour, salt, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, nutmeg, and dash of cloves in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.

4. Add your wet ingredients. Add yeast mixture, mashed and cooled squash and oil and stir until just moist. Do not overstir or the dough could get tough.

5. Knead, baby. Use the dough hook on your machine or turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes. Add 1 TBsp of flour at a time if you need it, to prevent dough from sticking to bowl/hands. After 6 minutes, dough should feel tacky.

6. Let is rise. Roll dough into a large bowl that’s coated with cooking spray, give the top a light spray too. Cover and let rise in a warm place (about 85%), free from drafts until doubled in size, at least 45 minutes. *Note: I put the bowl in the turned-off oven that was still slightly warm from cooking the squash. This worked well.

7. Preheat oven to 375°F.

8. Poke it and punch it. How do you know if the dough is ready? Poke it- if an indentation remains, the dough has risen enough and you may proceed. Punch dough in the face; cover and let rest for 5 minutes.

9. Make your filling & prep your dish. In a small bowl, combine remaining cinnamon, brown sugar, 2 TBsp of melted butter and 2 tsp of water. Take a 13 x 9 baking dish and coat with cooking spray.

10. Roll dough out. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 20 x 12 rectangle.

11. Smear. Spread mixture evenly over dough and leave a border of 1/4 inch along each side. Sprinkle evenly with nuts.

12. Roll dough up. Take the bottom, long side of the dough and roll up.

13. Cut. Cut the roll into 16 equal slices.

14. Arrange rolls, cut sides up, in your baking dish.

15. Bake for 33 minutes or until brown.

16. Cool rolls on a wire rack.

17. Make the glaze. Combine 1/3 cup of water and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir so sugar dissolves. Remove heat and stir in 1 TBsp of butter, the half-and-half and vanilla. Cool for 5 minutes.

18. Drizzle over rolls.

Smitty & The Sweet Potato (Ep. 6)







Previously on Smitty & The Girl

Elvira saw her stomping up the walk in a tear. She turned away from the window and looked down at the sad-eyed redhead in the booth. “You wanted to see Sylvia Mathers,” she told her.

“Yes?”

“Be careful what you wish for.” Elvira could hear Letta’s high-pitched voice from across the diner, greeting their boss and expressing careful surprise at the unexpected visit.

“Oh, shut up, Letta.” Sylvia threw her bag at Aggie, who had a smudge of dirt across her cheek and looked like she’d seen better mornings, and stalked over to Elvira. “You called me, Elvira?” And then she did a double-take at the redhead in the booth, sucking in a breath.

Elvira bit her cheek, studying the pair of them as they studied each other. “Yup. Petula here came in a while ago, asking for you. Sorry for the intrusion of your morning.”







Sylvia’s lips pursed into a thin, tight line. “Thank you for calling me.” Abruptly, she grabbed Elvira’s arm and dragged her away from the booth. “You didn’t, erm, tell anyone about this, did you?”

Elvira glanced over the boss’s shoulder where Letta was practically sitting on top of the counter, straining to hear every word. She didn’t have to look to know that the work and chatter in the kitchen had stopped either. She looked Sylvia in the eye. “Well, everyone here knows.” She shrugged as Sylvia turned pink in the gills. “It’s a small di- restaurant,” she continued. “In a small town. She your daughter or something, Sylvia?”

Sylvia narrowed her eyes into slits and then, like a snap of her fingers, an expression of pure sweetness crossed her face. “Do you have any of that wonderful sweet potato bread leftover from yesterday, Elvira?” she asked, her voice dripping with honey.

They stared at each other. Sylvia batted her eyelashes. Elvira considered the stack of bills on her kitchen table. “Yes,” Elvira replied. “Would you like a piece brought to the booth?”

“The table, yes.” Sylvia smiled and smoothed down her sophisticated do, fixing her cat-eyed gaze on the girl who watched them from the corner, the girl with her very eyes.  “And then give us some privacy, would you, dear?”







A little respite from scary stories today- unless you find Sylvia mildly frightening. In my head, she’s a combination of Jane Fonda from Monster-in-Law and Miss Ouiser from Steel Magnolias (who knew that’s how you spell “Ouiser”? Is that a legit Southern name?).

Speaking of names, holy cats, you guys sent me some DOOZIES. I can write a whopper of a romance novel with characters like Adelynn, Penelope, Blanche, Beatrix, Hazel… The comment section started to look like a boarding house from the 1930s (which is where I’ve secretly always wanted to live- omg, you guys, you know me so well!) I promise to use them, they’re too good.

Nicole has been crazy busy with work and trips and wedding planning and I’ve been working until almost ten every night trying to get my (second!) novel done before Halloween- we both needed a recipe like this. Sweet, wholesome, bursting with fall flavors and comfort in every moist, delicious bite.







Sweet Potato Bread

From Mary E. Crain via AllRecipes

Yields: 1 9 x 5 inch loaf | Notes: Freezes well.

Ingredients

1 and 1/2 cups of white sugar
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 and 3/4 cups of sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp. of baking soda
1/4 tsp. of salt
1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. of ground nutmeg
1/3 cup of water
1 cup of cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup of chopped pecans

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray your 9 x 5 standard loaf pan.

2. Combine sugar and oil, beat well.

3. Add eggs and beat.

4. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients; flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

5. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture alternately with water until just combined. Do not overstir.

6. Stir in sweet potatoes and chopped nuts.

7. Turn away from camera to lick bowl and spoon and possibly countertops. Weep that you are a monster.

8. Pour batter into loaf pan.

9. Bake for about 1 hour.

Topping Ideas: Try mini marshmallows or sprinkle some brown sugar on top with a bit of melted butter before baking. Serve with a smear of cream cheese or mascarpone.

Mummy Pumpkin Muffins

Posted by on Oct 18, 2011 in Breads, Breakfast, Desserts | 9 Comments







Sarah had finally stopped laughing. There was nothing remotely funny about staring down a dark, ancient tunnel as a flood of icy water came rushing toward your small, helpless, all-too-fragile body. The water surged toward them as if eager to snuff them out.

Despite her agile laugh, Sarah had always been somewhat useful in a crisis. As the water came crashing and screaming toward them, she looked to her right and saw a small foothold and then another. Beside her, the professor had turned to run, though the tunnel they’d just traversed was long and winding and, she knew, held no refuge.  She grabbed him. “Climb!” she yelled over the rushing water and when he stared at her, she moved behind him and bodily shoved him up, her panic giving her strength she didn’t know was possible. Though the professor stumbled with his bum leg, she all but lifted him up by the shoulders and tried not to scream herself as the freezing water grabbed at her ankles and then up her legs, sending a shock of cold up her spine.

They scrambled up the rock face and Sarah ignored the professor’s moaning about having to leave the wall and his precious tools behind. She’d made the mistake of looking down and her heart dropped as the water climbed up and up. They would not be able to go back the way they came and if the water reached the ceiling of the dark tunnel… “Professor,” she said urgently, “Move!”

They climbed blindly, Sarah’s heart going a mile a minute as her boots easily found the next foothold and the next. This was put here on purpose, she thought, and thoughts of booby-traps and sabotage crowded her as she remembered what sent the water toward them in the first place. She grabbed the rock and tried not to let fear overtake her on all sides as she considered the cold death that awaited them below and the unknown terrors that lay ahead.

They climbed, moving inward as they did and the professor whimpered over the rocks that jabbed at their palms and wrists, Sarah nudging him on from behind. It grew darker and tighter and she wondered, as her head brushed the slick ceiling, if this wasn’t a gruesome error on her part, a smaller death she had pushed them towards. At one point, as the sounds of the water grew fainter, Sarah could swear she smelled the musk of cloves and cinnamon in the air. She wondered if she was going mad.

On and on they climbed, first upward and then on their hands and knees, Sarah squeezing her eyes shut to ignore the little voice that emerged at times like these, when breathable air seemed slight and quarters especially close. She ignored the tightness in her throat, the sweat that dripped from her temples and when the professor stopped his crawl and she slammed into him, she opened her eyes, blind in the dark, ready to urge him on, needing to urge him on.

Only when the cold hand dropped on her shoulder from behind did Sarah finally scream.







Recognize these little nuggets? They graced our September calendar and Nicole decided she likes you enough to share the recipe. They’re perfect for a cool October morning and an ideal morning treat for a school day when your eight-year-old has a big spelling test and words like “pumpkin” and “autumn” on the brain.

Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Crunch & Maple Glaze

Adapted from In Praise of Leftovers & Recipe Girl

Ingredients

For the Muffins

2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. of salt
1/2 tsp. of baking powder
1 tsp. of baking soda
1 tsp. of ground cloves
1 tsp. of ground cinnamon
1 tsp. of ground nutmeg
1 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
3/4 cup (that’s 1 1/2 sticks) of softened, unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 15 ounce can of 100% pure pumpkin

For the Topping

3 TBsp of all-purpose flour
3 TBsp of melted, unsalted butter
1/4 cup of turbinado or raw cane sugar
1/2 cup of chopped pecans
1/4 tsp. of ground cinnamon

For the Glaze (I accidentally typed FOR THE WIN at first which I actually think is pretty apt, when talking about glaze)

1/3 cup of powdered sugar
2 TBsp of maple syrup

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray two standard muffin pans.

2. Make topping first: Combine flour, butter, raw sugar, chopped pecans and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Prepare muffin batter. Grab a medium bowl and combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well.

4. In a large mixing bowl or your stand mixer bowl, beat butter, white and brown sugars at low speed until just blended.

5. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Once all eggs are in, beat well at medium speed until batter is very light and fluffy (a few minutes total).

6. Add pumpkin to wet ingredients and beat until combined. Occasionally, scrape down sides of bowl so everything is incorporated.

7. Turn speed to low and slowly mix in flour mixture- mix until just combined (or muffins will get tough).

8. Fill muffin tin about 3/4 full and sprinkle topping over batter.

9. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to wire rack or plate to cool completely.

10. While muffins are cooling, make glaze: mix sugar and syrup well. Drizzle over cooled muffins. Let set. (Does anyone ever let anything “cool completely” or “let set”? Yeah, I didn’t think so.)

Smitty & The Breakfast Special (Ep. 5)

Posted by on Sep 15, 2011 in *Smitty & The Girl Series*, Breakfast, Desserts | 5 Comments

Previously on “Smitty & The Girl”

They heard the car first, of course.

Tom leaned back against the wall of his shop and put a finger in the air. “Hear that?” he said to his son.

Bobby was sixteen, had his hands full of grease while working on an engine that refused to turn over, and he rolled his eyes. “What?”

“That,” Tom said with his signature slow drawl, “is the sound of trouble.” Father and son looked up and over the porch rail as the antique car came roaring around the corner and down the road, though it was more like jerking and heaving down the road. They winced at the same time as the old jalopy chugged out a sinister puff of black smoke behind it. Puff, puff, croak, puff, boom.

Tom wasn’t surprised when the heap swerved toward his shop, sputtered and stopped. He shook his head and pushed the cap back on his head as the woman driving tumbled out of the front seat, the fashion plate next to her trying to be graceful even though her hair was sticking up and her sunglasses had a leaf stuck in them. “I told you not to drive this car anymore, woman,” Tom yelled out to her, over the engine’s roar.

They were like a cartoon- one tall, one squat. One in heels, the other tennis shoes. One shaking her head and looking regretful and the other tripping over her heels, looking ragged and like she was trying to slice him open with her eyes.

“Mr. Mulpepper,” the tall one said. She had on too much lipstick if Tom Mulpepper’s opinion counted for anything. She ripped the sunglasses off her face and glared, stumbling as she approached the porch. “I thought you were going to fix my car- not cut the breaks and put my life in mortal danger!”







Tom crossed his arms over his barrel chest. “I fixed it fine.”

“You call this,” Sylvia Mathers hissed, waving her arms at her antique car, “fixed?” The car coughed. “I pity the poor souls who are driving around with children and small dogs in cars that you claim are fixed!”

“Woman,” he said, taking a step forward. As he expected, she recoiled from his grease-stained hands like he was on fire. “I told you it was not safe for driving. Not the way you drive it.”

“Hey!” The short woman said now. She put her hands on her hips.

“No offense, Aggie,” Tom said with a friendly wave. “It’s not your fault she’s always screamin’ ‘Step on it!’ in a car that’s not suited to go more than twenty miles per hour!” Sylvia narrowed her eyes at his high-pitched impression of her.

“Sadistic oaf.”

“Shrill cow.”

Sylvia glared and threw the keys at him. They hit Bobby in the shoulder. “If you weren’t the only mechanic for thirty miles, we would have words, sir. Gah, I can’t do this now. Aggie, my things! Let’s go!” And she turned and flounced off, aiming for the diner she owned across the street. “Move!”

Tom watched her go, a skinny mess in heels and a dress that was far too fancy for a regular Monday morning. He shook his head.

Bobby picked up the keys, they had a feather sewn into the key ring, and handed them up to his father. “You about done with your morning fun?” his son said wryly and Tom snatched the keys back.

“Don’t be a wise guy.” He sighed and looked at the old heap that was blocking his drive. It suddenly gave one last sputter and seemed to shudder, dark smoke billowing out from its hood. Not only that, it had disturbed the great tree behind it and a cascade of figs suddenly rained down, pelting the windshield.  “Great.”







I have a special place in my heart for figs. Whenever I see them, they make me smile.

They remind me of one summer when I was living in Los Angeles- our friend Raj was staying with us for the summer and one day she came home with her hands full of figs, which I’d never eaten before in my life or even seen up close. When I asked her where she got them, she said she stole them from the tree in front of our neighbor’s place- our incredibly creepy and frightening neighbor who had an overgrown, wild garden in his front lawn (the kind that either says “I am a young Martha Stewart and I am making due with my incredibly inappropriate amount of front yard space” or “If you touch my precious gnomes, I am going to eat your skin, just fyi.” Neighbor’s place was the latter).  Raj shrugged. She had a long day and just wanted some damn figs. Oh, sweet, delicious contraband.







Honey-Scented Yogurt with Figs and Granola

adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 large egg white
1 1/8 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
3/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons honey, divided
9 firm, fresh dark-skinned figs, stemmed and quartered
3 cups plain fat-free Greek yogurt

Directions

[Note: Obviously, you can use store-bought granola here (cheater) or you can make my personal fave granola (I love you).]

Preheat oven to 300°.

Combine oats and pecans in a small bowl. Combine egg white and 1/8 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl; beat egg mixture with a mixer at medium speed until foamy. Fold oat mixture into egg white mixture.

Combine brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and nutmeg; fold the sugar mixture into oat mixture. Fold in maple syrup.

Spread granola evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 300° for 25 minutes, stirring once. Remove granola from oven; stir to loosen granola from foil. Cool on a wire rack.

Increase the oven temperature to 350°.

Combine 2 teaspoons honey and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla in a large bowl, and add figs, stirring gently to coat the fruit.

Arrange the figs, cut sides up, in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle figs evenly with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until juices begin to bubble.

Remove from oven, and cool completely. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons honey and yogurt in a small bowl. Spoon 1/2 cup yogurt mixture into each of 6 bowls; top each serving with about 2 1/2 tablespoons granola and 6 fig quarters.

Iced Coffee Pops

Posted by on Aug 17, 2011 in Breakfast, Desserts, Drinks | 9 Comments







Martin saw her outside on the sidewalk seconds before she was to blow through the door. He sighed. “Batten down the hatches,” he muttered to Chelsea, who was new and twelve years old and knew nothing.

She blinked. “What?” Chelsea was short and had dull brown hair and eyes to match. Whenever he said anything, she reacted as if he was speaking a different language. Martin sighed again. He missed Heather.

“You’ll see.”

She came in like a tall, blonde tornado, her giant purse flapping against her side. Her sunglasses were askew as she wedged the door open with her hip and she called out her order, as she always did, from the door as she struggled through it. “Mocha Frostie! Large Mocha Frostie! Jenna!”  The long line of people waiting to place their orders turned and stared at her blatant disregard for ordering protocol.

Martin bit his lip and waved to the thirty-something lunatic who had been a staple of his morning shift for the past eight months. “Good morning, Jenna,” he said with a smile as he prepared the next drink. And so began their game.

She shuffled forward and drew down her Prada sunglasses, eyed him. “Is it ready?”

“No, Jenna. If you would just get in line, I’m happy to make it for you in a jiff when it’s your turn.” The people on line looked relieved.

“Martin,” she said with a smile that could cut glass, “I’m in a hurry.”

“I know, I’m so sorry. The morning rush and all…”

“Martin.”

He ignored her, politely took the next customer.

“Martin.”

He made change, smiled widely at the next customer.

“MARTIN. MOCHA FROSTIE.” As if he would respond to her order like that was really his name, like it said Mocha Frostie Sullivan on his birth certificate. He went on with his business.

And so she waited. She stood in line, coat swishing, and tapped her heels on the faux wood floors and sighed and checked her watch, which jangled, and flipped her hair over her shoulder, the blonde strands hitting the man behind her in the mouth, and sighed again. Her purse wriggled, her tiny dog nestled inside and fighting his way out with desperate yips.

When it was finally her turn, Martin smiled sweetly at her as if seeing her for the first time. “Good morning, Jenna. The usual?”







Well, here I am- writing to you from New York. As we speak, my roommate has just walked into the room to collect some laundry and offer me water. (Note- if your roommate is a stranger from Craigslist, do not accept these little niceties as they will probably try to murder you later. But if that roommate is a wonderful woman who gave birth to you many moons ago, by all means! Yes! A water with lemon please! What’s for lunch!)

It’s going well. It’s beautiful here today and we’re going to the Hamptons this afternoon to walk around and stalk Ina Garten (obviously). Though I do miss my Chicago kittens. It’s hard to believe that just a week ago today Nicole, Mike and I were eating these popsicles on the roof of their building. Time, you bitter mistress. (Note- these pops would also be killer as a replacement to your next ice coffee break. You’ll be the envy of your coworkers as you sit at your desk, delicately chomping on a homemade mocha popsicle as they half-heartedly stir their Starbucks brew, which by now is nothing more than coffee-flavored ice cubes.)







Iced Coffee Pops

via A Cozy Kitchen (Who adapted recipe from David Lebovitz)

Ingredients

2 cups extra-strong coffee or espresso
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 TBsp of unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions

Mix the coffee with the sweetened condensed milk. Add tablespoon of cocoa powder and adjust to taste (A note from Adrianna- a spoonful or two is fine, but any more and the popsicles won’t freeze as hard.)

Pour into molds and freeze until solid. We froze ours overnight.  To get the Popsicle out of its mold, hold under warm water for a few seconds. Makes about 8 Popsicle. Also, those cheap Popsicle molds with the cups at the bottom are fantastic- they catch the drippier bits.

Avocado No. 1- Avocado on Toast

Posted by on Jun 7, 2011 in Breakfast | No Comments







No fictional stories for these avocados, sorry. You just get me.

My friend Lindsey (who keeps me in Amy Sedaris books and food blogs) has a mom. Not just any mom- the kind of mom who has an avocado grove in California. Better yet, the kind of mom who sends boxes of her avocados to people she knows in the MAIL. Such a woman is to be LAUDED. There should be PARADES. IN ALL CAPS. I don’t know how I got on this list but I’m pretty sure if Tina called and told me she just murdered someone and needed help getting rid of the body, I would promptly hang up and get my shovel, let’s do this.

I decided to document the use of my avocados here. To taunt you. For I am cruel. I also refuse to make guacamole with them (a fact which caused Lindsey to briefly stop talking to me yesterday) until, well, I absolutely have to make guacamole with them. But we can be more creative than that, right?

Avocado No. 1- Avo on Toast

Avocado on whole wheat toast, sprinkle of sea salt. Maybe not terribly creative but, seriously, nothing so simple could make you happier than this. (Also pictured- Fiesta Frittata. Eggs, corn, black beans, hot sauce and seared tomatoes. Clearly not as important as avocado on toast)

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