Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mme Arkadina's Gluten Free Banana Bread

Dear Mouse,

As you've pointed out, it's 2013. The year, I'm happy to say, has started with a bang - an influx of new newness: projects, insights, colleagues, experiences, and, of course, recipes.

I'm in my pajamas at 2PM, there is a sweet and nutty aroma coming from my oven, I'm somewhat lightheaded and optimistic from Day 1 of my now-monthly 'Juice til Dinner' 5-day cleanse, and I don't have to be anywhere til 9PM, when I will remove said pajamas and go sing 'Gold Dust Woman' at a Fleetwood Mac Tribute Night with these guys:

 "Mac Attack" to benefit spring music fest in Louisville KY
 (where I'll be blogging again late Feb - early April!)

It's a perfect winter Sunday afternoon.

Or, I guess, would be, were it colder outside. Or even cold. A friend of mine just tweeted that he saw a magnolia tree in full bloom on the Lower East Side. But why quibble? We are facing the End Times.  Let us focus on what we love. Let us fiddle while Rome burns. Let us eat cake.

Or this.

 Not your mama's banana bread. 
Unless your mama is gluten-free, then maybe it is.

Ok. Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. Or, to be more specific, the insanely, improbably, how-is-this-possible delicious, no butter, no sugar, no flour, I-dont-understand-but-I'll-bake-it-again chocolate chip banana bread recipe passed on to me by our mutual acquaintance and 'Downtown' Theatre Luminary Mme Arkadina (one more week to see Seagull FYI).

I freely admit my skepticism upon first hearing about it. Words like "cardboard" and "glue" came to mind, as did "crumbly" and "sad". But MmeA swore up and down that it was "amazing", and ever inclined towards treats both delicious and digestive-tract-friendly, I could not help but try it out.

I have now made it three times and tested it upon several people (though it occurs to me I don't know what YOU thought yet? but I've already started the post...) and feel confident in recommending. I mean, it's REALLY tasty and NOTHING in it is bad for you. Nutty from almond flour, moist from ripe bananas and a bit of coconut oil, sweetened (though not much) with agave syrup and vanilla, and flecked with semisweet chocolate chips, it is nothing short of a miracle. Eaten for breakfast, it will both delight you and keep you full, something that never happens to me when I eat baked goods.

A caveat: if you can't eat nuts, you can't eat this. Almond flour/meal is made from almonds. But if you can ...

The recipe came to me via Arkadina from this GF blog which looks intriguing. I'm going to post my version here below as I did make some tweaks and liked them.  Happy Baking!


The Boo

Mme Arkadina's Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
(based on "The Bomb" Banana Bread recipe at

(makes 1 loaf)

2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
2 tbsp agave syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil  
1 tbsp vanilla
2.5 C almond meal (or almond flour, but I found I prefer the meal)
1 scant tbsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 325.
Spray loaf pan with baking spray, or line with parchment. 
Squeeze bananas right in their skins over a bowl, mashing them up and then just peeling away the peel.   Add all other wet ingredients (eggs, agave, coconut oil, and vanilla) to the bowl and mash/mix up thoroughly. Mix all the dry ingredients (almond meal, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, chips) and add to the wet. Mix thoroughly. Spoon into loaf pan and bake for exactly 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (top will brown).  Let cool in pan. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

New Years Revolutions

Dear Boo,

It's 2013! I know, big news.

The other day one of my clients told me he only makes "New Years Revolutions," which I found supremely awesome and perfectly fitting. After all, the new year is just that--the commemoration of another revolution of the earth around the sun. So I'm making some New Years Food Revolutions for myself. Because research (and every single day of my life) has proven that small changes are more likely to last than an epic upending of everything all at once.

Here goes.

1) I will put my fork down in between bites. Sometimes I catch myself watching a stranger funnel food into his or her mouth, their fork moving in a continual circle from plate to piehole back down to plate again and I just want to be like, TAKE A BREATH, DUDE. And then I'm at dinner and somewhere halfway through my entree I look up from my plate and am like, oh, THAT'S what my husband's face looks like! How handsome! And I realize I haven't looked up from my food since it was set down in front of me twenty minutes ago. There's all sorts of scientific and philosophical arguments for eating slower that I don't need to bore you with here. Mostly, I think I missed out on some pretty awesome meals in 2012 (and the 30 or so years before that) by flying through them, and I really don't want to do that in 2013. There's just too many good bites out there to savor.

2) I will make pasta. At least once. I have this weird fear of making pasta. Which is so silly because its so simple and I've made far more complicated things. But something about this feels like something a "real cook" makes, and I'm just little old me, right? I'm not Someone Who Makes Their Own Pasta. Right? Wrong. Someone Who Makes Their Own Pasta is just someone who one day sits down and you guessed it--makes her own pasta. So face the fear and do it.

3) I will make at least one stinkin thing out of All About Braising by Molly Stevens. Much like the infamous hovercraft circa 1987, I put this cookbook at the top of my christmas list a couple of years ago (I think I even blogged about it. Oh--there it is! For shame.), and have hardly touched it since. Enough with the bad feng shui of items taking up space in my home that serve only to make me feel guilty. I will cook something from this tome or I will give it away to the first person who comments below. Guilt, I release you.

4) I will visit this store. Its ridiculous that I have still never been to Kalustyan's. And now that I have put that in print, the foodie police may come and drag me away in handcuffs made of garlic scapes. But really, I have to go. And it's right around the corner from my work so I have no excuse.

The actual and entire size of our kitchen in 2013, where the magic of Christmas lives. 
5) I will cook for my family more. Some day when we host our family for Christmas there will be enough chairs for everyone to sit down and there will be a big huge table to pull those chairs up to and there will be a real fireplace instead of the yule log on netflix and there will be a mantle with stockings over said fire and there will be about 100 times more counter space and room in the kitchen for people to visit and no ovens that die mid-turkey roasting, and a dishwasher so we can use real plates and maybe a few other things. But until then I will keep cooking and I will not wait for a holiday to share it with our family. Because it's just too freaking fun and joyful and gratifying to not do it more often.

6) I will eat more fruit. Okay, this one is pretty straightforward. I don't eat enough fruit and I need to.

7) I will turn off during meals. I'm not one of those people who answers my phone at restaurants, but I have been known to pull it out with my wallet at the end of the meal, or to get up from my kitchen table table to silence a ring during dinner. At work, I often eat in front of the computer. I have no doubt this is both bad for my brain and my butt. So, I will take mealtimes to consider what's happening between me and the plate, me and the person at the table with me, or me and my own thoughts. I will daydream, I will look at the forkful as it makes its way to my mouth, and I will silence and hide my phone (turning it off will be saved for next year. We're talking baby steps here.)  

I will know my fridge better. I have thrown out a disgraceful amount of food because I've let it waste away, forgotten, at the back of my fridge. Just this morning I cut up and used half an onion without looking first to see that there was already a leftover half an onion PLUS a leftover quarter of an onion, wrapped up and tucked away in the back of the bottom shelf. I will stop being ageist against my groceries, and will treat my elders with respect and dignity. And in this small, cold corner of my ktichen, I will wage a private war against consumerism and waste. Okay, well, at least I'll try to clean the crisper more often.

9) I will stop wasting money on bad food. And speaking of waste...Far too often, I hear myself saying, "Oh, we can't eat there, it's too expensive. And then the next thing you know, I'm blowing $30 three times a week on takeout and more money than I care to add up on drinks out with friends and overpriced lunchtime salad bars. 2013: the year of quality over quantity, delayed gratification, vs immediate semi-satisfaction.

Here's to a year of good taste and good company, and the peace and time to savor it all.


The Mouse