The five little things that made my week…
1. We’ve been waiting four years for our mandarin tree to bear fruit, and finally this week… the first ripe mandarin! (With many more to come.)
Every time we harvest our bananas (an entire bunch at a time), it means we have to clear some space in the freezer for the bananas that inevitably turn brown and mushy because we can’t eat them fast enough. While unappealing at first, brown and mushy bananas are actually the perfect ripeness for things like banana bread and banana ice cream, which only taste better the browner the fruit becomes.
You know what else they’re perfect for? Two-ingredient banana pancakes. We usually use peak-of-ripeness bananas in pancakes because we like to fold firmer slices into our batter, but I’d been hearing about two-ingredient pancakes for a while and thought they’d be a good way to use up our stash of frozen overripe bananas (because we spy two or three more bunches in the backyard about to ripen soon!).
When I first heard about two-ingredient pancakes — which are made with only bananas and eggs — I wasn’t too excited about the idea and, well, I thought they’d taste like a banana omelet. They’re dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, and even paleo; one might even say they’re fun-free because honestly, dairy, gluten and grain are some of my favorite things in the food world and eating like a cavewoman is not.
Happy Friday, friends!
I swear that just last week, we were still in October. But here it is, almost the end of the year. November and December have flown by so fast with cooking and eating and entertaining that if I don’t slow down to take it all in, I feel like I’ll miss it. So here I am. Slowing down, and taking it all in, or at least the last couple weeks of it.
I’ll have a new post on Monday for delicious, quick and easy pancakes you can whip up on Christmas morning, and the usual Five Things Friday, and a year-end wrap-up to reflect on 2013… but for the most part, I’ll be taking these next two weeks off from the blog to enjoy family and friends.
Ah, ’tis the season. Even here in Southern California, where we don’t have as much differentiation between the seasons, I’m always surprised at the turn of weather when I’m no longer sitting on the porch sipping rosemary lemonade. Instead, I find myself cozied up in the kitchen, pouring myself a steamy hot toddy scented with cinnamon and cloves when the sky looks like this…
Hot toddies — or hottie totties, as I sometimes like to call them — were one of the original hot cocktails and while the exact origins are unknown, it’s widely accepted that hot toddies were invented in Scotland in the 1700s.
I’m quite fond of hot cocktails as they always remind me of snowy weekends in the woods or nights spent in front of a fire. I like them all, from mulled cranberry-apple cider to Irish coffee topped with cream, but hot toddies really are the perfect nightcap: not too heavy, not too sweet, with medicinal benefits to boot. Hot toddies have traditionally been used as a folk remedy to cure the common cold and flu, thanks to the healing and soothing properties of its ingredients.
This is the kind of salad I make after I’ve pruned a row of fava bean plants. Now that you know you can actually eat them, fava greens make an excellent salad green, tasting faintly of favas — very mild and slightly sweet.
The blossoms themselves are one of my favorite edible flowers. I don’t always get fava flowers when I prune my plants, but when I do end up with a few on the stem, I like to scatter them across a plate. Think of them as silky little hints of spring peas!
Exciting news! If you’re a subscriber at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, you may have received your pre-ordered copy of The Whole Seed Catalog a few weeks ago… but if not, you can find this special edition on your local newsstands now!
Did you know that the leaves from fava bean plants are edible? How about the flowers?
Often with fava beans, I can take ’em or leave ’em. They have a wonderful light, nutty flavor, but after a day spent shelling beans, sometimes I’m simply content with getting that same light, nutty flavor from just the leaves.
With our normally balmy weather consistently in the 50s for the past week, I just want to turn up every heat source I have in the house — and that includes my stove. Of course, it would be silly to leave the stove on all afternoon without something actually simmering on it, and this drunken pumpkin chili is just the thing.
I love to make a massive pot of this and graze on the chili all day long… sometimes with rice, sometimes with chips, and sometimes with a loaf of crusty bread. I make this when I know I’ll be home working all day with not enough time to make myself three different meals every three hours.
It’s the kind of communal meal you can cook over a fire in a Dutch oven when you’re car camping. Or, combined with my mulled cranberry apple cider and a hot tub session under the stars, it’s the ideal evening to come home to after you’ve spent all day on the ski hill, achy and cold. And, it will feed 10 of your achy, cold, powderhound friends as well (or just 8 of them, if you’re all really hungry.)