Breakfast banana bread

preparation time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 40-50 minutes


There is no shortage of excellent banana bread recipes out there. This one doesn’t necessarily improve on the banana bread experience, but it is a relatively healthy version that makes for a great breakfast-on-the-run option. It’s a one-bowl deal, which is good for lazy bakers. Plus, it’s crunchy (we have a few fans of crunch in the family).
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Bitter melon with beef in black bean sauce

preparation time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 20 minutes
emergency contact: amy or arnold


Bitter melon is available at most Asian markets from spring through autumn. Choose melons that are firm, unblemished and 15 to 30 cm in length. Pale green melons with shallow grooves that are widely spaced are milder in flavour; deeply grooved, dark green ones are more intense (we like these).
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Tuthilltown Spirits

Hudson Rye

Tuthilltown Spirits is a small batch distiller in the Hudson Valley. Founded in 2003, it is the first producer (the first legal one, at least) of aged grain spirits in New York state since Prohibition. The distillery, nestled behind the old Tuthilltown Grist Mill (now a restaurant) in Gardiner, makes for a perfect day trip or weekend destination from New York. We enjoyed the tour, which takes visitors through the entire process from grain to whiskey, and were particularly impressed by the olfactory intensity of the fermentation room and the beauty of the copper stills. Other than a six-spigot filling apparatus, bottling is a pretty manual affair – corking, wax-sealing, inspection, and labelling are done by hand.
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Singapore noodles

preparation time: 30 minutes
cooking time: 20 minutes
emergency contact: carol or amy

rice stick

The trick to cooking dried rice stick noodles is moisture control. They need to absorb quite a lot of liquid to attain a chewy consistency, but if you douse them too much, they’ll turn into a sticky, soggy clump. Probably most well-known is the Cantonese dish called Singapore noodles (yes, you read that correctly), but this general preparation technique for dried rice stick noodles adapts easily to any combination of ingredients and sauces. It’s an excellent way to use up leftovers.
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Peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies

peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies

Adapted from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, the main modifications being a little less sugar, a little more salt, and the omission of peanut butter chips.
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Have you heard of Marie Tharp?

If not, find out a bit about her life and career here.

photo: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

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Quick pickles: cornichons

pickled okra

Above is some very tasty quick-pickled okra from Wholefoods. Below is a basic, quick pickle recipe adapted from that of a farmer at the Louviers market in Normandy.

tiny cucumbers (finger-sized is best) – 1 lb
coarse salt – 2 Tbsp
tarragon – 1 large sprig
shallot, cut in quarters – 1
small pearl onions, peeled – 1/2 cup
peppercorns – 10
cloves – 3
bay leaf – 1
white vinegar – 3 cups

In a large bowl, toss the cucumbers with the salt. Turn them out into a tea towel. Gather the corners of the tea towel and hang it from the tap over the sink for 2 hours, or set the cucumbers in their towel in a strainer in the sink.
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Sauces and brunch (updated!)

Update: See new Posh Nosh links below the first video.

For something a little different in terms of recipe posts, here are two instructional videos to enjoy and… um, be instructed by.

Meat isn’t curtains
Simon and Minty Marchmont explain how sauces are the foundations of dishes. They discuss the importance of using good quality ingredients such as wind-dried water, demonstrate advanced techniques such as wood-creaming stock and terrifying the peel of Seville oranges, and imply that if you don’t have an AGA and a Nigerian jus pot brought back from the slave trade, you might as well not bother.

Here are links to the complete run of Posh Nosh:
Episode 1: Architect’s Fish and Chips
Episode 2: Birthday Parties
Episode 3: Paella
Episode 4: Beautiful Food
Episode 5: Bread and Butter Pudding
Episode 6: Leftovers
Episode 7: Sauces
Episode 8: Comfort Food

It’s the perfect mimosa
And here is Hannah Hart on how to make brunch. In addition to showcasing her mad pancake- and mimosa-making skillz, she offers hosting tips (“At brunch, people whine about problems that aren’t actually problems, so let’s do a little bit of that. This morning the shower was not hot enough… I think Wholefoods has really gone downhill.”) and practical musings (“Part of me is fundamentally against the concept of brunch in that I wake up and I’m immediately hungry, and I also love lunch.”).

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Happy summer solstice

No matter what your alatitude, enjoy all the bsunlit hours and cvisible light today:

Fairbanks (64° 50′)a — 21h 49mb — 24h 00mc
Bergen (60° 23′) — 19h 01m — 23h 05m
Toronto (43° 40′ ) — 15h 27m — 16h 38m
Boston (42° 19′) — 15h 17m — 16h 26m
San Francisco (37° 46′) — 14h 47m — 15h 49m
Shanghai (31° 14′) — 14h 11m — 15h 07m
Hong Kong (22° 17′) — 13h 30m — 14h 20m

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Cape Cod roundup

the knob

Here’s a quick and dirty (and very incomplete) guide to Cape Cod — mainly eating and drinking, but a few sightseeing tips are thrown in as well. The towns are listed in approximate order moving from the Upper Cape to the Outer Cape (i.e., as if you were driving along from Boston towards Provincetown). For reference, it takes just under 1.5 hours to get from Boston to Falmouth and just over 1.5 hours to get from Falmouth to Provincetown in normal traffic conditions, which pretty well don’t exist between May and September.
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