Monday, May 30, 2011

Catching Up

Things have been so dang busy these past several weeks that I’m realizing Spring Fever isn’t necessarily about getting excited for Spring…it means you’re completely caught up in the whirlwind of activity that arises after the sleepy quietness of winter.  Did you know that almost everyone and their mother (mine and Roni’s included) have birthdays in May? And that it's also the month of Graduations and Weddings and Very Important Events?  At least it seems that way, and I’m never one to turn down a righteous birthday/graduation/wedding celebration.
I kind of love the hubbub that has come with all this great weather…people in their plaid shorts, dudes in brown flip flops, summer dresses, sandals, and this carefree way of laughing and getting together that suddenly makes life so brimming with fullness that you (accidentally) don't do laundry for two weeks and also forget to go to the grocery store for just as long.
Do you know what that calls for? Emergency meals that feed you for at least 4 days and are kind of great for the odds/ends left in your fridge.  Like a ridiculously easy Pasta Puttanesca, which takes those odds and ends and delivers something authentic between all of the glasses of white wine and runnings-about-town that usually replace real meals with fun goings-on.

Canned tomatoes.  Some olives and garlic.  Parmesan and some parsley. Tuna (in this case I got real with it and did anchovies, but I feel everyone has a can of anchovies or tuna somewhere in a cupboard), leftover dried spaghetti noodles from the last time you made spaghetti noodles, and voila! Pasta Puttanesca, and it is very, very good.  It’s even better the next day (bonus!) and sounds a bit fancier than what it actually is.

Also, happy Memorial Day to everyone!  I'm currently writing you from sunny San Diego (more on that in a future post) but I'd like to take this quick second to congratulate my brother Christian on his high school graduation (Go Hawks! and now...Go Sun Devils!) and also Brennan and Julie on their wedding.  Love you guys. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Secret's in the Crust

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster these past few weeks.  Being apart from my fam, it’s been even harder, but, I think, things are starting to buck up again.  It also helps that my street is drop-dead gorgeous with its tall arching trees, old houses, and a winding, dipping path down to the zoo.  Families and young people are out, dogs are being walked, people are laughing, and, thankfully, the humidity hasn’t set in so I’m not quite looking like Sideshow Bob yet. 

I’ve also re-encountered a new, easy, and favorite breakfast food.  I think I’d accidentally forgotten about it, but thankfully, Banana Bread hadn't forgotten about me.  I like to think it's been lingering around in the back of my mind, waiting (just like the frozen bananas in the back of my freezer) for some months now, and the gift of a week of real and true Spring (!) was the perfect time to make this Coconut Banana Bread,  slather on some butter, and watch the happy wanderers below my window.

This bread is good, with a spattering of sweetened coconut inside, a whisper of rum, and a crackly crust. To be honest with you, it's the rustic and uneven crackly top (thanks to a hefty sprinkling of sugar) that absolutely made me fall in love with it.  This was also the first time I used frozen bananas in a quick bread, and it was kind of nice knowing I had the foresight to save overly ripened fruit in my freezer for further works of baked goods.  It's also reassuring to open my freezer and still see three frozen bananas waiting for their next repurposed dessert... banana cake perhaps?  The options are endless, as is my love of banana bread for breakfast.