Coconut Banana Bread

The weather is warming up! Do you know what this means?? Soon I’ll be able to use my pool! As an AZ native, if its not 90+ degrees I’m freakin’ freezing! Did you know that summer is actually sweater weather? Its true! While we can bake cookies or fry eggs on the sidewalks outside its always below freezing in ANY PLACE OF BUSINESS! Anyhoo….

This time of year always makes me happy. The trees are blooming, the air is clean, its not too hot to hike in the after noon and the fresh fruit overflows at the local grocery. My favorite thing to do around AZ is day trips and play tourist. This beautiful state 48 is ripe with small towns full of seriously interesting people. Last weekend, my gaggle of gals and I decided to take a roadtrip up to Pinetop. We like to refer to these as scouting trips for girls weekends. On the agenda? Nothing. Nothing but wine, food and perhaps some hiking. But for sure wine.

We woke early on Saturday because it is a 3 hour drive through some of the oddest towns in Arizona. People…do you know how strange the small towns in Arizona are? Like there will be nothing…NOTHING and then all of the sudden up pops a small, country grocery store, a dilapidated hotel, and an RV park. Pretty sure that Rob Zombie just drives around some of these towns collecting extras.

It was a long day of driving, scouting, and, drinking (don’t worry, we had a DD. Don’t drink and drive kids!) I’m sure that it was the DELISH Coconut Banana Bread that I had made us for breakfast that kept our spirits high and kept hangry from happening. Although, at the end of the day we all did crash out and spent our Saturday night zonked in front of the TV watching an indi film called ‘Bachlorette’….which was stinkin funny by the way. In hopes that you too will be inspired to go play tourist in your state, I’m posting the recipe for you. Next up? We’re day trippin to Wickenberg!

What you need:
1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1¼ teaspoon baking soda
3 Large ripe bananas, mashed
½ cup + 2 tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut
½ tablespoon coconut oil (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup of honey
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons skim milk
¼ cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup orange juice

What you do:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda together in mixing bowl. Shimmy a little with your hips. It makes the mixing fun.
In separate large mixing bowl combine mashed bananas, brown sugar, and vanilla.
Add egg whites and mix together until smooth. Next add oil.
Then, slowly add in flour and combine until moist.
Next add Greek yogurt and orange juice. (Depending on the consistency you can add two tablespoons of skim milk. If you like your bread more dense —omit the milk — but if you like it more airy or lighter you can add it.I added it.)
Add ½ cup of coconut and mix together.
Pour into greased, floured 9×5 inch loaf pan.
Joyfully cover the top with two tablespoons (or more) of coconut on top.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and the bread is golden brown.

I ate my piece drizzled in Raw Honey with a side of mango, strawberries and papaya. With a cup of my new favorite Coconut Hibiscus tea, I felt like I was on a tropical vacation!

But obviously I wasn’t, because I’m broke AF.  Here’s to dreaming!

Brownies Or A Boyfriend?

Code cracked. I am single because having brownies and watching Kill Bill while drinking margaritas at my house with my friends is infinitely more fun than going out. That’s true folks, I am spending my Saturday night watching tv and eating brownies….and I have no shame in that. Sitting on the couch in yoga pants, hot brownie with greek fro-yo in one hand and my 3rd margarita in the other is pure heaven! As opposed to going out in too tall shoes, in a too tight dress, and paying for more for one margarita than the 3 I just downed. And does it get any better than a Kill Bill marathon? Helz to the NO!

I love Kill Bill!

I mean, it’s the ultimate breakup movie! Look, I know its a Tarantino film and I know that its gory gory gory, but man is it good! I don’t know how you handle breakups but I usually watch a movie over and over again when I’m going through one. I assign a film to the breakup. There was the guy I dated that I watched ‘ZombieLand’ over and over. Then there was ‘Someone Like You’. Once I watched ‘Hope Floats’ over and over. Movies fix everything. They make everything better. The last breakup, I watched ‘Sex and the City’ over and over again. The tv series, not the movie. My favorite breakup movie of all time though is always Kill Bill. Well Kill Bill 2 too (say that in your head four times fast, its a fucker) It’s timeless, its classic, it works for everything.

Look, art is open to interpretation. This I know. It’s a Rorschach test into how we feel. What we see is a reflection of how we feel. In essence we project our thoughts, feelings and desires onto the piece of art we are looking at. So I know that my views might be a little tainted by current feelings.

The poor bride. She was beaten, she was brutalized, she was shot in the head, she was left for dead. She was raped in the hospital, she got her ass kicked, she got cut by a samurai sword (that shit would hurt! I get a papercut and I’m like ‘I’m out!’, Secret Agent material I am not!)  and she was buried alive.

Her best friends turned on her.

And she kept coming.

She never gave up.

She kept going after Bill for what he did to her.

Pure revenge driving her on.

Uma Thurman is incredibly beautiful and wonderfully insane with rage. Hence why women love it.  Men can make us nuts.  I’m sure as hell not going to go on a rampage, at most I’ll cry into my pillow and run harder on the treadmill. But I can admire her anger and absolute drive for what she wants. Which just happens to be (well deserved) revenge.

Look, I could wax poetic about this movie so much.

This movie is the about your great, psychotic love. Everyone has/had one. The one that makes you crazy. That person that somehow got inside your soul and just sat there, fucking everything up because they could. A person that is seriously fucked in the head and you should probably run from as fast as your Jimmy Choo’s can carry you. Kidding. I’m broke as fuck. I can’t afford JCs. I’m running from him in Payless 75% off sneakers. You know what I’m talking about. No? Anyone? I guess the cheese stands alone?

She finally got Bill. She chased him down through two movies and countless murders and she finally caught him. She walked in on him. And she found what she had been looking for.

I find this part so incredibly sad and so true to life. Often in life we pick an end point and we focus on that. We become so laser focused on the way that we think we should be, should do, should achieve that we forget this is journey. We lose the point of the path and become so fixated on a single outcome that we miss a greater picture. A greater outcome that what we could have had.

With such a narrow view when we finally get where we though we wanted to be, it’s so different from what we had thought it should have been.

In the end. The Bride  kills Bill. She uses Pai Mei, the “Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique”. A Kung Foo thing (look, I’m not an expert on Kung Foo. I only know how to spell it cause everyone was kung foo fighting) in which you quickly strike five pressure points around the heart with the fingertips, the victim takes five steps, the heart explodes and he/she falls dead.

She does this to Bill and then he sits and just looks at her.

It’s in that moment when it’s too late, when Bill and she both know he is going to die that they both realize how far its actually gone.

I’m sure Bill realized it when he shot her in the head.

At least I hope so but he is sociopathic bastard after all.

Saturday Night Brownies  

What you need:

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (about 1 cup) or coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 8 pieces
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Any sort of chocolate candy that you like. Because CANDY!

What you do:

Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
Line an 8-by-8-inch metal baking pan with aluminum foil.
Combine the chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth.
Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
Combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and stir with a rubber spatula until just evenly incorporated.
Add the chocolate mixture and stir until evenly combined.
Add the flour and fold in until just incorporated, about 20 strokes (no white streaks should remain).
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, push it to the edges in an even layer, and smooth the top.
Sprinkle your choice of candy over top (and eat some of it too. Just to make sure its ok)
Bake until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. (Or just throw caution to the wind and eat those things when you feel like it! You are a grown ass woman! Or man. Or whatever your chosen pronoun is. DO IT!)
Remove to a wire rack and let the brownies cool for at least 20 minutes. (Or not but they might burn yo’ face)
To remove the brownies, grip the excess foil and pull it out of the baking pan.
Transfer to a cutting board and cut the brownies into 2-inch square (or just one giant brownie)

Serve with ice cream, chocolate syrup, and a bottle of red wine per person.

*Editor’s Note – (still just me, still too broke to afford one) The pics are from Kill Bill and Kill Bill 2, obviously. Insert some legal jargon here but they might make take them down. Damn the man! I do what I want. Unless their lawyer calls me. In which case (since you’re reading this) are you single?

 

Hot Chef Friday: British Invasion

Its official.
I have my first ginger obsession. Not like the condiment ginger which I will inhale at every sushi place that I go to. But my first ginger obsession via the human kind.

Here’s how it started…. it was a cold and blustery day.

Kidding. It was a normal Tuesday and I was reading everything that I could about The Royal Family. Don’t question, just accept that I have a recent British fetish. I will read anything about them! I pretty much kissed the clerk when I found my local Trader Joe’s carries crumpets  I mean, really! How exciting is it to have tea and crumpets?! I’m practically hanging out in Notting Hill for pete’s sake!

Anyhooo…. I was reading about the exploits of the Duchess when I suddenly took a google detour and found myself staring into the broodingly handsome, unshaven in the best possible GQ kind of way, face of Tom Aikens.
Now you know me, while a pretty face is enough to give me pause I also need substance of some sort. I have to have some kind of seasoning in the broth in order for me to want to dip my pasta into it.

Luckily for me (and you, now that I have made you aware of this wonderful man) Tom’s talents extend past simply looking good. He was the youngest British chef to win two Michelin stars at Pied a Terre, in London’s Charlotte Street, in the 90’s. Since he graced the earth with his presence in 1970 this would out him barely in his 20’s when he accomplished this feat!
Swoon!

And his talents go even deeper! My tittering on food is positively childlike compared to his prose on the culinary experience in his restaurant. I wish I could hear him read a phone book in that sexy British accent of his!
On top of it all this hunk is seriously passionate about food! Insert heart emoji here *sigh*

Go here if you are lucky enough to get to London http://www.tomaikens.co.uk/
If you’re not, you can always check him out on youtube. I have to admit that I did watch one or two of the videos just to hear him talk about nosh.



What I wouldn’t give to have breakfast in bed with this fellow! I am a sucker for whiskers but on Tom for some reason they seem that much more manly! Imagine this hunk making you a sandwich. Cause hell yea, I’m a feminist and an equal opportunity sandwich maker!

Once You Find The Right Restaurant Nothing Matters.

This, my friends, is what we shall call a fable. A cautionary tale that acts as a mirror to modern dating life. This lil story actually happened several months ago and the whole metaphoric thing has been floating around my head since then. It was back when I still lived in LA for my brief foray into the movie business. I had just moved out there and my dearest chicks had come to visit me.

Something you should understand about me is that I am a planner, especially when it comes to vacations and restaurants  I will plan the restaurants  peruse the online menu and have what I want to order before I’ve even left for the vacation! I am that neurotic about my culinary adventures. So when my dearest gal pals planned a trip…I started to plan the restaurant. I googled, I yelped, I urbanspooned the hell out of my laptop until I found what looked like the perfect place. It was a Cuban restaurant that had reasonably priced fare that was well reviewed and had dancing! How could I go wrong?!

The online version of this place had a dark mahogany bar, with a wooden dance floor and happy, pretty smiling people dancing the night away. The food looked tempting and mouth watering. I called and made a reservation for all of us, congratulating myself on such a wonderful find!

The night arrived and we all primped and lotioned and perfumed ourselves. Stilettos and clutches at the ready we made our way to the heart of LA to dance and dine the night away with the perfect restaurant  Our expectations high. Our enthusiasm started to flag as we pulled into the parking lot….in a strip mall….next to the dilapidated Mexican restaurant and the apparently homeless convention.

We valet parked cautiously and made our way into the Cuban place….that had just opened for the evening.
And we were the only guests. There wasn’t even any music playing.
The menus were old and falling apart. The carpet and tables were dusty.
And did I say WE WERE THE ONLY CUSTOMERS IN THERE!?
Talk about awkward!
The last straw for all of us was the fact that prices were double what had been printed online. Talk about misrepresentation!
We blamed our hasty retreat into the night on our friend who had “forgotten” her (imaginary) inhaler.

Once safely ensconced in my car we drove into the night. And drove. And drove. And drove. One would think that finding a place to eat in LA would be fairly easy. But for some reason, we had a devil of a time. No places looked appealing  No place was showing up. We drove and drove and drove. And started to lose hope. Would we ever find the restaurant of our dreams? A place where culinary and atmosphere collided into the night that stories are written about?

Someone finally broke out yelp, even though it had led us astray, we decided to give it another shot.

It was there that our hope was renewed. A small Italian place (within our budget) was just around the corner. We drove, tentatively hopeful, to the place. We parked across a busy street from it. We walked in high heels and cute dresses across the street, braving the traffic. And walked into a fast food Italian place. We immediately realized that we were in the wrong Italian restaurant  And that we were REALLY overdressed. Really really over dressed.  Our feet aching, our stomachs complaining, we lowered our standards and ordered a plate of bruschetta and glass of wine to hold ourselves over. The bruschetta wasn’t bad but it wasn’t anything to write home about. It was run of the mill plain tomatoes and bread. We left the place and looked to our left as we exited.

Within walking distance was some sort of Moroccan style food place. It had belly dancing. It was food. It was late. We were tired of driving and searching. I want you to understand….we had been driving for 2 and half HOURS by this point. We were ready to settle. We didn’t care. We wanted food. It was time to lower our standards. We walked the 100 feet more and walked into the place. It was old. It was dusty. We wondered if every place in LA was old and dusty. We didn’t care. It would have to do. We were ready to give up. We asked for a menu.

It was a set menu for a set price.
No substitutions.
We looked at each other, the four of us in some sort of LA restaurant hell.

My sister said she had a stomach ache and wouldn’t eat anyway. She was done. She would stay here if we wanted.
My friend with the imaginary inhaler said she just wanted a drink. She was done. She would stay here if we wanted.
My food adventuresome friend said she liked the rice. She was done. She would stay here if we wanted.
My feet hurt. My back ached. I was tired of driving. I was done. I would stay here if the group wanted.

We looked at each other one last time. We each wondered if it really was time to settle. If we should give up what we knew we wanted because maybe, just maybe we couldn’t have it.

By silent, mutual, unanimous, agreement …. we rejected settling and walked out…once again into the cool LA air. We would find the restaurant of our dreams damn it! We pulled ourselves and our standards back up where they belonged, walked back up the street, across the street and back into my car.

1.5 miles later… we found “the restaurant”. The one that we had been searching for all night. It must have been waiting for us too because there was a parking sport right up front. We walked in, the owner greeted us…
“Good evening, do you have a reservation?”
We looked scared and replied that no, we did not. Would we be accepted? Or would we be cast out into the night?
“One moment.” he said to us.

Then….he did the most lovely thing….he picked up clean, new menus and led the four of us to a table by the window. A prime table. A table that looked out onto the beautiful LA scene. A table framed by trees. A table that had been waiting for us.

The restaurant played classical music. The lighting was soft and decor made you feel as if you were eating on a terrace in Italy. We fell in love.

They gave us bread. Warm, fluffy, toasty bread and a crusty herb bread.
The owner sent us over a complimentary appetizer. Crispy, fresh, homemade calamari. We ordered drinks and food and finally dessert. The meal was perfect from start to finish. When the bill came we realized that the place was exactly what it claimed to be, delicious and well priced.

We looked at each that night and knew….we just knew…. that once you find the right restaurant, nothing else matters. We could have been content with any of the 3 places we had left that night. We could have been ok, not satisfied but ok. We could have given up.

But we never would have known true restaurant bliss if we had.

And that was worth the hunt.

Risotto Man


Ever the optimist I have currently taken stock of my list of criteria on who I will date. I spent a lot of time of it and narrowed it down. Because I love you I’ve included it below so that you may learn from me. This is how it looks….

I kid, I kid. But in truth I do have a list. I actually have some ‘most haves’. Because all the dating gurus want you to have ‘must haves’. And I have all their books so I should probably listen to them. Really it all neatly boils down to the fact that I want a guy who I like to call my ‘Risotto Man’. And just like the ever temperamental and time consuming dish, my guy has been hard to find.

Let me explain how this term came about. I lived in LA for a few years and with roommates. One girl that I lived with was always cooking with her boyfriend. Once they had a ‘Bloody Mary Challenge’, our other roommate and I were the judges. And we took our job seriously! We made them make us several drinks one right after the other, you know, ‘just to be sure’. Then we declared a tie and made them start over. Come to think of it, I forget how that day ended.

One night in spring, I came home and my roommate had made a simple mushroom risotto for her boyfriend. They took the plates of steaming cheesy goodness outside by the pool with glasses of red wine. They lit a single short fat candle and as the light bounced off the water and they softly talked, enjoying the simple pleasure of each others company, I thought …

“That’s what I want, I want a Risotto Man.”

In honor of the promise I made to myself is a delicious and simple Mushroom Risotto Recipe. Here’s hoping.

Mushroom Risotto Recipe67f02-mushroom-risotto

What You Need

4 Tbsp butter
2 cups flavorful mushrooms (I really like oyster mushrooms) cleaned, trimmed, and cut into half inch to inch pieces
2/3 cup dry white wine (but buy a bottle and make sure to drink a glass or two)
3/4 cup heavy cream 7 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup of peeled and minced shallots
1 3/4 cups arborio rice
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

How You Do It: 

  • Pour yourself a glass of the wine and make sure to drink it as you make this
  • Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add mushrooms and sauté about 5 minutes.
  • Add white wine. (Also you should pour yourself another glass of the wine to make sure that’s still good between the time that you opened it and now. You know, just in case)
  • Bring this delicious concoction to a boil, and reduce liquid by half, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Lower heat to medium, add cream, and simmer 5 minutes
  • Remove skillet from heat and set aside.
  • Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a saucepan.
  • In a deep, heavy, medium sized saucepan, heat oil and remaining butter on medium low.
  • Add shallots and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. (Fuck this smells SO GOOD! More wine)
  • Add rice and stir to coat with butter and oil.
  • Add simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring enough to keep the rice from sticking to the edges of the pan.
  • Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup.
  • This is the time consuming part and will probably take you about 20 minutes. (This why you have a whole bottle of wine. No, not for the rice. For you!) The rice should be just cooked and slightly chewy.
  • Stir in the mushroom mixture and the Parmesan cheese.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve garnished with parsley

Also – NEVER COOK THIS ON CHOPPED! You don’t have time. For fuck’s sake.

Adapted from the always lovely http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/mushroom_risotto/

*Editors Note: (which is really just me because I don’t have an editor, I’m too damn poor.)  Said roommate and that guy broke up. He was fucking insane. But not to worry she’s happily married now to a guy who is not insane and they have foodie adventures that make me cream in my pants. So the the story still fits.

 

The New Single

IMG_3218I’m horrible at dating. Its true I really am. I can give fab advice but when it comes to my own life I absolutely lack the social skills to flirt. I used to be good and sometime after high school, I lost my mojo.
Here’s the thing. I’m not the only one. There’s a whole group of uber successful women out there and while we are boss bitches, we have a really hard time dating. And this is the new normal. This is the new single. We have to contend with unsolicited dicks pics (seriously guys??), a minefield of when to call and when to text and did I text too much? How many emojis is too many? Does he pay for the date? Do I pay for the date? Not to mention the massive amount of dating lexicon there is now! Ghosting, Zombie-ing, Stashing, Benching, Bread-Crumbing, Slow Fade, Cuffing Season, Catch and Release…UGH!! There are too many! Just send me flowers, tell me I’m pretty, and don’t send me pictures of your junk.
I have a financial planner and a 401k, can someone please explain to me why I can’t seem to navigate the the dangerous waters of dating??
The nice thing about being really bad at dating is that it makes me really good at cooking. Ok,ok, I’ll be honest. I loved cooking before this whole stunted growth in dating happened. At least it provides me with a great way to stay occupied while I wait patiently for what I lovingly call my ‘Risotto Man’. What exactly is a ‘Risotto Man’ you ask? Its all explained in the next post.
I’m almost a pro at online dating and I’m hoping that it one day it will lift my dating life up out of the primordial soup that its been languishing in.  Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy cooking and eating and YOU are going to enjoy the exploits of my rather interesting dating life. Because while it’s a total failure for me, it does provide endless entertainment for those around me.
As long as I have my wine and my Xanax I should be fine, right?