Friday, April 29, 2011

Saveur's 2011 Best Food Blog Finalist and Photo Feature On Nona Brooklyn

This week I have a couple nice things I'd like to share with you...First I was very honored to find Eating Brooklyn was chosen by it's editors as a finalist for Saveur's 2011 Best Food Blog Awards in the category of Best Original Savory Recipe, what a cool surprise! I am very thankful for all the nice comments and new followers I have received here as a result, I really look forward to hearing from you. You can vote here for Eating Brooklyn's Farro Salad with Roasted Red Grapes, Kale and Swiss Chard recipe to win in this category and you can also check out seventeen other categories and fantastic bloggers the culinary world has to offer. 

All images © Valery Rizzo

I would also like to let you know I will be shooting a monthly photo feature for a wonderful website and blog Nona Brooklyn. They are a resource for Brooklynites looking to discover local, artisanal, sustainably-produced and just plain good food in Brooklyn. 

My first photo story for them is about Brooklyn's urban farms and gardens. To see the full feature and photos on Nona Brooklyn click here

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Banana Bread with Walnuts and Flaxseed Crust

I went to see a friend of mine, who lives in a great loft apartment above an old cement company, in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Heather, a.k.a. camera girl, is a photographer and lives with her playwright, musician husband, their two dogs and a black cat, Arturo, Gertrude and Kitten.

Heather had me over so I could see for myself how she makes her delicious banana bread recipe which includes over ripe bananas, walnuts, whole-wheat pastry flour, Turbinado sugar, whole fat yogurt, a flaxseed crust and as Heather calls them walk around chicken eggs (free-roaming). Each time she’s left with an over ripened banana from a bunch, she stores it in the freezer. When she has enough of them collected she takes them out to thaw and they are then perfect for making sweet banana bread. This sort of reminded me of how Latinos make maduros with very ripe brown to black plantains.

We had a great afternoon, baking, talking and finally sharing some banana bread with coffee and tea. I’m not sure if your as crazy about flaxseeds as I am, so they might seem strange to you, but the flaxseed crust was truly the best part, giving a nice crunch to this very rustic recipe. 

All images © Valery Rizzo

3 over ripe (brown-black) bananas

½ cup butter, at room temperature plus more for the pan

1 cup Turbinado sugar

2 walk around chicken eggs (free roaming)

1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup whole fat plain yogurt

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 cup flaxseeds

Remove your over ripened blackened bananas from the freezer and let them thoroughly thaw.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter your loaf pan and then coat the bottom and sides with your flaxseeds. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until they are fluffy, then add your eggs and mix everything together.

Using a large wire strainer sift to integrate the flour, baking soda and salt over a piece of parchment paper. If some coarse wheat bits get sifted out just toss them back in afterwards. Picking up the two sides of the parchment paper pour the whole mixture of dry ingredients your bowl with the butter, sugar and egg mixture and mix until combined.

In a medium bowl, peel your thawed bananas and using a wooden spoon mush them up so they are more of a mixable substance rather than being banana pieces. Then add them as well as your yogurt and vanilla to your batter mixture and mix to combine and remove from your electric mixer. Then take your walnuts and using a large knife chop them into bits and then stir them into your mixture in your bowl.

Pour your entire mixture into your prepared loaf pan, leaving the batter rough and rustic. Bake for about one hour and 10 min. Test it’s readiness by inserting into the center of the cake a toothpick or cake tester, and if it comes out clean it’s ready. Let the banana bread rest in pan for 10 min. Then you can turn it out onto a rack to cool.

Slice into large scrumptious pieces and enjoy with your favorite hot beverage. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

Interesting Finds at the Food Coop

I love when I find new and interesting things at the food coop. This week for me it was assorted organic fingerling potatoes in all different shapes and colors. I love the dark purple almost black ones, which when you slice into them the color inside is so unbelievably vivid and juicy, its as if they could be used as a natural paint or dye color.

I also found some green radishes, which I later found out are also called watermelon radishes. I had planned to add them to a salad with walnuts and Parmesan cheese. After slicing one of them open and admiring the beautiful bright centers, each individually different in pattern, I tried one and was a bit shocked at the taste and not in a good way. I quickly did some research and found these radishes are primarily used in Asian cuisine and needed some soy sauce to make them tasty. So I abandoned the Parmesan cheese and instead thought a carrot ginger dressing would be perfect… so for the first time I used my blender and made a carrot ginger dressing, made with soy sauce and olive oil and sprinkled that on top of a salad made with organic green leaf lettuce, mustard greens, pulled pieces of roasted chicken, walnuts and watermelon radishes. The salad together with some elderberry juice was a perfectly beautiful lunch.

I have also been crazy lately for simple alfalfa sprouts salads. A simple recipe to throw together in a bowl with a bit of olive oil, soy sauce and a bit of salt and pepper. I make sure to get the organic kind because all the talk about genetically modified alfalfa lately is really scary. I like to then pair it with something just as simple to make, like some kabocha squash, roasted with garlic cloves, sage, extra virgin olive oil and some salt and pepper. Another great lunch.

All images © Valery Rizzo