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Posts Tagged ‘bread’

I keep thinking fall started months ago.  I blame the mornings for being gray since August because one month of gray skies has me thinking about stews and cider and cinnamon.  Actually, I have been thinking about cinnamon a lot lately, but it felt unfair to think about cinnamon when I had five-pound zucchinis and heirloom tomatoes sitting on my kitchen counter.

Okay, I still have one last five-pound zucchini on the counter, but it just feels like fall.  Maybe it’s the fact that I just read a book that gushed about things like apple cider.  Maybe it’s the fact that I have started work and the emphasis is on a “fall start date.”  I don’t know.  I guess the slight newness of routine finally nudged me towards believing the seasons have changed ;)

In the name of trying things new, I decided a cinnamon fig walnut bread would be in the works.  A toast studded with figs and walnuts and swirled with cinnamon sugar sounded like a good breakfast on-the-go.  Probably even better with cinnamon honey butter.  Mmm…

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As a child, I mused that people were ashamed to let the bananas turn black.  That’s why I rationalized banana bread was so gosh-darn-awful because people buried bananas with sugar and spices.  If the banana bread itself wasn’t overly sweet, it is often dry and dense.  It didn’t help that mother told me it was a last resort to squeeze another week of life for the poor banana before it hit the trash.  Most variations of banana bread tasted that way, which is why I turned my nose on banana bread for a long time.

However, I have a lot to be thankful for the banana.  When I started working, the occasional banana was the perfect mid-morning snack to keep me alert and functioning through lunch.  Sometimes, when the crazy really got going during busy season, it helped me stay focused before dinner.   In a way, I wanted to do bananas justice even when they turned black.  That is why after busy season, I decided to test another banana bread recipe to see if I can bring peace to the banana’s final resting spot.

Here, with Chang’s recipe, the banana flavor is front and center.  Gone are the bothersome spices and excess sugar that mask the banana’s flavor.    Instead, there is a lovely flavorful and moist loaf studded with walnuts.  Chang credits the tender crumb to Payard’s technique with genoise cakes, where you beat the eggs and oil together.  I think she is just thoughtful and intelligent in the way she brings out the best qualities of banana bread through her recipe, as she is with all of her recipes in Flour.

Don’t believe me?  I ate 1/4 of the loaf before I remembered I needed to take a picture :3

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Halfway through the semester, I have decided that I needed to broaden my understanding of the world, so I acquired this newly found interest in cheeses.  I am not sure the logic behind that because it is clearly unfair to a lactose-intolerant person to suddenly express fascination with cheeses.  There are limitations to my ability to experiment!

Still, I like the idea of bumbling around in a specialty shop and being guided around by an expert.  (Yes, please enlighten me!)  I like the idea of sampling cheeses and taking a small wedge to nibble on.  Okay, I am not sure how I am going to do that between exams or tax returns, but I will cough up time for this new hobby!

That brings me to this quick bread, which I first saw in the Food section of the New York Times.    It sounds like all of my favorite things in a panini in a more portable form, or as the New York Times article preceding it playfully entitled “The Hors d’Oeuvres that the French Call Cake.”

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