18 June 2012

too hot for real cooking

At 97ºF (36ºC), it is too hot to cook. Naturally, I have time to cook for the first time in months, but can't get myself to do more than blanch asparagus (good stuff too, it's from the local farmer's market).

Blanch asparagus, drop 'em in an ice bath. Drain them and toss with paper-thin spring onions and lemon juice. Top with parmesan and tuna and finish with a nice fruity olive oil.

It's very refreshing. Especially with an almost effervescent vinho verde.

17 June 2012

banana cakes

Dan Lepard's banana bread recipes are pretty great (Dan Lepard is the Guardian's dreamy baker-writer); this is the first one, which is akin to a pound cake. It's very moist and has great texture. Beating melted butter, sugar and flour sounds like an odd process (and does not resemble the traditional method for pound cakes) but the result is truly wonderful.

The second recipe, a ginger banana bread, is really great. It uses whole wheat flour, muscovado (I used brown sugar instead) and candied ginger. Below is the first try; the second time I beat it a bit more which I think more fully hydrated the whole wheat flour — I also let it sit for about five minutes before going in the oven — these two things gave it a really great texture. It's a perfect afternoon snack with coffee or tea.