Breakfast is not my favorite meal of the day. In the morning, forget a meal, what I really want is a cup of coffee. Followed by a second cup of coffee. Afterwards, we can talk about breakfast. Or we could, except at that point it is definitely time to head in to work. Scratch breakfast.
For more years than I’m comfortable admitting (it would be more than I’m able to count on two hands), breakfast out the door most likely consisted of some dark chocolate, maybe some milk chocolate if that’s all that was left.
Long before it was hip, a friend’s mom was turning out quickbreads loaded with zucchini and pancakes made of different sorts of flour. Try handing a seven-year-old a buckwheat pancake and you may be disappointed. Wait a decade or two and when that now 24-year-old is grabbing at alternative flours, you’ll can say, “I told you so.” You’ll also probably say something like, “I can’t believe you’re still eating candy for breakfast.” But it’s the small victories that matter.
Partly because our kitchen ran out of chocolate, and partly because it seemed like at least for a couple of days it’d be nice to have an actual breakfast ready on my way out the door, I went back to that zucchini bread recipe, graciously passed along. Motivated—most likely by the odd things a lack of chocolate and sugar will do to the brain—I swapped in honey and maple syrup for some of the sweetener and whole wheat for a bit of the white flour. Clearly, I should have reached for the buckwheat.
This zucchini bread is the non-chocolate breakfast that’s, truthfully, better than chocolate. It’s spiced, with just a touch of sweetness, soft and moist with just a bit of crunch from candied maple cinnamon walnuts.
Unfortunately, we froze half of the loaf thinking we wouldn’t eat it quickly enough. Two days later what was left is gone leaving me with a sad, half frozen loaf of zucchini bread only one option this morning . Chocolate raisins for breakfast.
Recipe on the following page.
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Tags: Breakfast, quick bread, quickbread, zucchini bread
Kitchen sink: the place where all the dirty dishes go?
Thankfully, the sink in the kitchen we use today is normally quite empty. Not because there is never any cooking, quite the opposite. There is a load of cooking but wouldn’t you know it, if dishes are done as the food is being prepared, there are left dishes leftover. It only took me 24 years to figure out.
This salad was yet another attempt at an appropriate work lunch. It started out as a faux-Niçoise. But then it lost the tuna, lost the egg, lost the olives…and gained every little bit of something left in the kitchen. Not the kitchen sink, more like the pantry, the refrigerator, the cheese box.
As far as lunch salads go, nothing works quite as well as a lentil salad, a sharp simple dressing, and various different odds and ends from around the kitchen. The key to making it all come together may actually be to cook everything separately. Roast the little potatoes with whole cloves of garlic and butter until toasty and soft. Sprout the lentils and cook until tender. Blanch the green beans separately. Thinly slice, thinly slice.
Toss it all together and there it is: a kitchen sink salad. And at the end, dishes clean and ready to be put away.
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Tags: lentil salad, work lunch
Going with yesterday’s theme (or apparent theme after giving that post a good re-read) is that food is a simple, great way to bring a place to you. If you can’t get on a plane, can’t hope on a boat, and certainly can’t drive (you haven’t seen me drive), then one of the best ways to bring back a vacation, or in the case of this mystikal Hot Green Sauce, bring back the place in which you grew up.
Some of you are saying, “Obviously. Have you even read a food memoir or literally any intro to any cookbook ever? That’s like the moral, ALWAYS.” To which I’d say, “Um. I should probably stop skimming things.”
Also, it’s particularly warm down here in South Florida, warm enough to make my brain go soft a little around the edges.
But this Hot Green Sauce from the Cheese Board Collective in Berkeley is…tremendous. It’s the quickest way to bring home right down to Miami, and as always, isn’t that nice when it’s also delicious?
I’ll admit, I am a recent convert to the hot green sauce in that I never actually bought a pint until my last trip back home. For those of you who are sadly Cheese Board-less in life, let me break it down, slice by slice by asiago cheese disc by cherry almond cornmeal scone. Yes, all those things reside in this magical place. Also every cheese you never thought you needed, daily rotating freshly topped pizzas, the homiest of baked goods, and hummus. Coffee, of course.
The Cheese Board is a Bay institution, and it also doubles as one of the most remarkable business models. It’s a co-op, and owned by its employees. That care carries through to every product. Some go to Cheese Board for the perfect pizzas (which you can drizzle green sauce on), those daily rotating pizza pies of perfection that sometimes are topped with cauliflower and pistachios, sometimes with kale, sometimes just straight up with cheese. Grab a slice, sit on a median, and…yes.
Not possible in Miami. But that Hot Green Sauce is. It’s cilantro and spice and garlic and more, and while it sounds like just another salsa, it’s so. Much. More.
So get with it, and get a little Cheese Board, right at home.
Filed under: Savory | 3 Comments
Tags: cheese board, cilantro, hot green sauce, hot sauce, salsa
If you’ve ever been on a cruise then 1) lucky you. I know cruises are the vacations most frequented by the AARP-crowd, and some *may* critique them as trips for those too lazy to book and make their own fun-filled vacation. Hm. But the truth is that the cruises like my family occasionally partakes in are phenomenal, food-filled trips through different parts of the world that can accommodate many different branches of extended family, cater to all physical abilities, and ensure that cousins have many and more corners of the ship to run around in.
Plus, boats are cool. So is having circular windows.
To be honest, we’ve only ever been on a few of cruises, and none were the multi-thousand behemoths that I frequently see leaving PortMiami. They were respectable cruises, small cruises, tasteful cruises that also had a lecture and educational component. (Coming from a family where math tests were sometimes administered on play dates, vacations with an attached lecturer is not strange.)
One of the great parts about cruises though, are the tours through different cuisines afforded by the frequent jumping from one port to another. On our first, we made our way through Italy and Greece, which meant everything from pastas on the piazza to baklava at breakfast and dessert. And snack time.
There was one dish however, that really stuck out. Fava. While its favorable review may have been affected by the location (cliff-side in Santori, blue seas, whites houses. Donkeys.) the multiple times its showed up on the dinner or lunch table stateside more than reaffirms its tastiness. Even though it was seemingly plain, it’s still a standout. Fava, which is essentially a loose hummus served warm, is made with yellow split peas. (Not those green fresh fava beans, which would also make a similarly delish dish.)
Making it is easy. Boil, simmer, blend. Maybe drizzle. Something magic happens when you process warm mushy peas with a stream of olive oil. (It may be emulsification which lends that creaminess, but I’ll stick with food processor magic, thank you.)
It’s a dish that is forever tied to the place where I first ate it, and sure, it helps that it was a trip through Greece. But there’s nothing wrong with bringing a little Greece along to your kitchen, wherever that may be.
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Tags: fava, greece, hummus
First batch of homebrew. Things have been fermenting down in Miami. (Oh yeah, I live in Miami now :-)
A New Year’s Brown IPA that was brewed on Jan. 1, bottle on Jan. 18, and drunk for the first time on Jan. 27.
Quite tasty, a delicious. I’ve already brewed up a batch of Kumquat Saison, to follow.
Gotta any beer tips? Shoot them my way!
Recipe over here, on my roommate’s and my own shared project.
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Tags: beer, homebrew
A lot of the best things you can eat are remarkably simple. Beer, bread, cheese, that perfectly grilled piece of fish. All require few ingredients, a lot of patience, but very little doing in the manner of stirring, whipping, and tenderizing. (Let’s hope no tenderizing…)
But for things that are remarkably simple, yet fantastically delicious, chances are there’s one or two tricks required to yield the perfect result.
With gravlax, there are no tricks, unless of course, you count faith in your refrigerator. But with faith, there really isn’t any trick. Just forget about the piece of fish hopefully not rotting on your bottom shelf, and wait for breakfast a day and a half away.
Smoked salmon, or lox, are undeniably one of the true pleasure of the breakfast/brunch canon. Don’t even try to argue that a lox benedict isn’t the supreme, the queen of all Bennies.
Because you’d be wrong.
Gravlax, or lox’s fresh, slightly more delicate sister, may subvertly challenge lox as the premier bagel topping. (May. I’ll have to do a thorough round of testing before I can present you with any sort of accurate conclusion). Lox really is just gravlax, or cured salmon, that’s been taken a step further down preservative lane and been smoked. Slightly more stable, but a little more work.
Gravlax as it turns out, requires little to no work. If you can successfully wrap something in plastic wrap, you can make gravlax. And in the realm of impressive cooking techniques, whipping out homemade, freshly cured gravlax on a Sunday morning surely ranks.
Gravlax has appeared as an appetizer on the family table before, and it was always very impressive. It is after all, a full filet of fish, ready to be eaten straight from the knife. On a hot New York City night out in a backyard, are you really going to opt for too-ripe creamy cheese over chilled, dill-laced salmon? (Thanks to Irene, and the best Upper West Side backyard.)
No, because you’d be an idiot to. And ten years later, displaced in Miami, a slice of gravlax on homemade sourdough is just as perfect as it sounds.
Even better than perfect, because it’s so goddamn simple.
Recipe on the following page.
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Tags: Breakfast, curing, gravlax, lox, salmon