Bites

I have a terrible habit of reading food blogs and news. Gasp, I spend more time looking at food porn than I dilly-dally on Facebook (sorry Mark Zuckerberg). However, my food-reading habit is just as great a procrastination tool as Facebook.

High Minded: A Tasting Tour of the Munchies (Good.is) Here’s an interesting look inside the land of munchies. From calling a frozen stick of butter lathered in sugar as “Eskimo Frosting” to fried shallots, this is the guide to high munchie eating.

Bananas: The Uncertain Future of a Favorite Fruit (NPR) I recently posted about my theory on Australian bananas (A Banana Theory). This NPR interview is a great discussion of the sexless, delicious fruit.

Pink Palace, Former Boston Common Bathroom, To Open as Restaurant (Huffington Post) I know of this no-longer-functioning bathroom for the sole reason that people were ironically urinating on the outside of the building after the Bruin’s parade. Oh, city of Boston. Now it’s being turned into a sandwich shop, with a lease of $50,000 per year.

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Breakfast for a Crowd

My mother makes some of the best blueberry muffins. Her philosophy is that muffins shouldn’t be too sweet but should have plenty of fruit. She used to make the muffins right at peak Maine blueberry season, when blueberries filled every corner of our kitchen for easy grazing access.

I took a trip to Myrtle Beach last summer and was in charge of making breakfast one morning for a considerably large crowd. I figured muffins would be a good choice, served with fruit salad and scrambled eggs. Without my mother’s blueberry muffin recipe on hand, I resorted to this Blueberry Cinnamon Muffin recipe from Epicurious. The final result was a muffin on par with my mom’s version, but with an added kick from the cinnamon. These don’t taste laden in refined sugar but still have a sweet, fresh blueberry taste. I think my mom would approve.

Blueberry Cinnamon Muffins

Source: Epicurious

Makes 12 muffins

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup whole milk

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups blueberries (7 1/2 oz)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place liners in muffin tin.

Whisk together butter, brown sugar, milk, and egg in a bowl until combined well. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bigger bowl. Add milk mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in blueberries.

Scoop batter into muffin tin and bake until golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean when inserted.

A Banana Theory

One of the disappointments about food in Australia is the sky-high prices for bananas. Rumor has it that a cyclone wiped out banana crops, but more likely, fruit is hard to import into Australia because of quarantines.

But I have a better theory about why bananas cost upwards of $AU 14.99 per kilo.

I have never been to a country that seems so enamored with banana bread. Almost every café serves the fruity bread, and most places have deals such as cup of coffee+toasted banana bread for “only” five dollars. If you have ever made banana bread, you would know that the best bananas to use are those that are overripe. Seeing as bananas are so expensive in Australia, I’m betting that most stores don’t sell out. Instead, the fruit becomes brown and not suitable for sale–except for those who want to make banana bread.

Typically a store will slash prices on food that is at the “sell by” date, despite the food still being perfectly good to eat. I hypothesize that someone, somewhere in Australia, who wants to make a lot of banana bread, stocks up on these cheaper overripe bananas.

I love eating bananas for breakfast or after a long run. Guess I will have to either savor every bite of a three dollar banana or make a loaf of bread while in Australia.

 

Strawberry Season

Fresh, local strawberries are unbeatable. These tasted like candy, and my Dad actually thought someone had added sweetener. Nope, just Mother Nature at her finest.

For dinner, I made Couscous with Artichokes, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Feta. As far as grains go, couscous is one of the healthiest options. With more vitamins than pasta, this semolina-related grain is a smart choice for a light supper. I intended to put spinach in the dish, but unfortunately my mom cleaned out the fridge, including my spinach, minutes before I started cooking. I substituted with cucumbers, though spinach probably would make for better leftovers.

Boil 1 1/4 cups of water with a teaspoon or two of olive oil. Stir in couscous and remove from heat. Let the couscous sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. (Be sure to check the couscous packaging for any specific cooking notes)

Drain a can of sun-dried tomatoes, then place the tomatoes in a small microwaveable bowl. Submerge the tomatoes in water and heat in the microwave for 3 minutes. Cover the tomatoes for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and chop.

Stir the tomatoes with couscous, add marinated artichoke hearts with the juice from the jar. Add spinach or cucumbers. Garnish with feta cheese crumbles and black pepper.