Peach Bacon Jam

Bacon jam, yawn.  So last season.  Peaches and bacon?  Getting warmer, but I’m starting to see it everywhere.

Peach and bacon jam?  Disco.

This is a fever-dream of a recipe that came to me during a meditation practice.  No joke.  Kind of annoying, too.  You’re sitting there, trying to focus only on breathing, and wham you either have to stop and get a pen and paper, or just let those thoughts accumulate and blow up and take over.  And then you have to go get some bacon.

Can you still find peaches?  Awesome.  Make this at once.

Are peaches gone?  Save this recipe for next year.  In the meantime, substitute figs.  Or apples, pears, grapes, what-have-you.  Dried apricots.  Frozen blueberries.

What do you do with it?  Here’s some of my brainstorm:

  • *  Serve it neat with crusty bread and apples
  • *  Make canapés with goat cheese, bacon jam, and arugula pesto, in that order
  • *  Use in a grilled cheese with manchego and hot peppers
  • *  Spread on crisp toasts and use to garnish a raw fennel and watercress salad with a buttermilk vinaigrette
  • *  Dot on a pizza with shaved fennel, mozzarella, and arugula 

It’s fairly sweet, so take that into consideration when dreaming up new ways to use it.  It’s not quite a chutney, not quite a pâté, not exactly a jam, but somewhere in the middle of all three.  It’s awesome.

Peach Bacon Jam

Yield: about 2 cups

Peach Bacon Jam

I wanted a rustic texture, so I chopped everything as small as possible and let it do what it was going to do. The onions and peaches more or less melt into the jam, but the peach skins might be an issue if you don't cut the peaches into very small pieces (and I couldn't be bothered to peel them). Feel free to take the easy way after cooking and whizz everything up in a food processor for a smoother result.


  • 1/2 pound bacon, preferably thick-sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 pound very ripe peaches, diced
  • 1 teaspoon Serrano chile pepper
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
  • 1 to 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon until browned and just barely crisp, 10 to 15 minutes, flipping the bacon as necessary. Pour out all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of the rendered fat. Chop the bacon finely, and set aside.

2. Add the onion to the fat in the Dutch oven, and cook over medium heat until softened, 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add the peaches, chile, wine, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Stir to combine.

4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, low to medium-low heat. Stirring occasionally, cook until the mixture has thickened to a jam-like consistency and no longer looks soupy, 30 to 45 minutes. You will need to stir more towards the end of cooking to prevent scorching, lowering the heat as needed.

5. Stir in the bacon and lemon juice, and taste the jam. Correct the seasoning as needed with additional salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice. Let cool, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Strawbalsamic, and the Cocktails It Hath Wrought

A few weeks ago, I posted a salad recipe that I had developed for a client.  That recipe, as so many of my recipes often do, involved the use of a Very Special Ingredient: Strawberry White Balsamic Vinegar.  Or, as it’s now commonly referred to ’round these parts, “strawbalsamic”.



That vinegar is so smooth and sweet, you can practically drink it.  So let’s drink it already.

These two cocktails are in the spirit of the shrub renaissance that’s been sweeping the bars and blogs of our nation lately.  Our strawbalsamic, though, is much less sweet and less complicated than many of those shrub syrup recipes.  Because with cocktails, there’s no time to mess around.  Simplicity is key.

I mean, there wasn’t even time for a garnish.  We’re on a tight schedule around here.

Could you make that salad without strawbalsamic?  Yes, absolutely.  Can you make these cocktails without it?  I don’t recommend it.

Making the vinegar (recipe here) will take ten minutes of your time (including washing the strawberries, plus the hands-off time needed to steep), and will reward you for weeks: in cocktails, in green salads, to brighten up grain-vegetable mélanges, or anyplace you might use lemon juice and don’t mind a bit of fragrant strawberry.

The vinegar recipe calls for a food processor, which I used because I have one; but I imagine you could get the same effect by smashing the hulled berries with a potato masher or fork.  Or shoot, just chop them up with a knife.  Don’t let a lack of power tools scare you off.  This one’s too good.

My Old Kentucky Strawberry

Yield: 1 cocktail

My Old Kentucky Strawberry

If you're a purist (or don't have a cocktail shaker), you can stir this drink together over ice, then strain into a glass. I like my drinks shook.

I tried this with both rye and Bourbon, and thought they were both delightful. Use something that has some personality to it. The Bourbon version is a touch more sweet, but not at all in a cloying way.


  • 1 jigger Bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 1/4 jigger white creme de cacao
  • 1/4 jigger Strawbalsamic (recipe here)
  • 1 dash orange bitters


1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

2. Shake vigorously, and strain into a rocks glass. Serve.

Strawberry Bullet

Yield: 1 cocktail

Strawberry Bullet

Again, if you've got something against drinks being shaken, then stir and strain it. There's no judgement here.

I specify Hendrick's here, because when I tried making this cocktail with a more subtle gin (Broker's), it seemed a bit flat. I'm sure whatever your preferred gin, it will be a-okay.


  • 1 jigger Hendrick's gin
  • 1/4 jigger Strawbalsamic (recipe here)


1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

2. Shake vigorously, and strain into a martini glass. Serve.

Strawberry, Watermelon, & Arugula Salad with Cardamom-Candied Pistachios

Recently, a dinner party client requested a strawberry salad for the meal I was cooking for him.  And I don’t know the last time you searched for “strawberry salad”, but 99.99% of the recipes out there involve two things:

1. Spinach

2. Poppy seeds

Not that there’s a thing in the world wrong with a good strawberry-spinach-poppy seed salad.  It’s a lovely little thing, simple, tasty, and pretty, which is why it’s ubiquitous.

But my clients don’t pay me to make exactly what the next guy is serving.  My clients hire me because they want something bespoke, something more thoughtful.  And I thought I could do better.

So I brainstormed.  At the top of the page, I wrote “NO GODDAMN SPINACH OR POPPY SEEDS”, just in case I needed a reminder.  I laid out some flavors: watermelon, arugula, pistachios, lime, balsamic vinegar, mint, shallot, cardamom, vanilla.

Peppery arugula made the base of the salad, while chopped watermelon and strawberries marinated in a bath of lime, herbs, shallot, olive oil, a splash of vanilla, and this incredible Strawberry White Balsamic Vinegar that I discovered from Our Dearly Departed Gourmet Magazine.  If you try nothing else from this recipe, make that.  You could practically drink it.

(Note to self: develop cocktail recipe using Strawberry White Balsamic Vinegar.)

(Edit: Done.)

The pistachios got candied with some egg white, sugar, and a heavy dose of cardamom.  They might seem like a fussy afterthought, but they go a long way towards tying everything together.  Besides, crunchy bits are requisite on moderately-fussy salads like this.  (And they’re a lovely little snack to boot, if you happen to make extra.)

These pictures are from the test run I did many weeks ago, and I can just about smell it through the screen.  This is one super fragrant salad, y’all.

We paired it with a punchy rosé, and oh my goodness if you make this salad, you really ought to have a bottle of rosé on hand.  It was one of those situations where one legitimately could not tell if the wine was making the food better, or the food was making the wine better.  There was a lovely roasted salmon too, but it became incidental.

My client, by the way, was thrilled.  And so was I.  I think you will be too.

Strawberry, Watermelon, & Arugula Salad with Cardamom-Candied Pistachios

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

If you choose to make the Strawberry Vinegar (which you absolutely should; recipe linked below), plan a little in advance, as it requires at least 1 hour to make. You can make it well in advance, and it's wildly versatile, so you have very little excuse.

If you don't have time for that, though, I specify white balsamic vinegar, only because regular balsamic vinegar will muddy the appearance a little. If that doesn't bother you, by all means use regular balsamic vinegar.

This strikes me as an ideal picnic salad, or contribution to a potluck dinner. While the strawberries and watermelon marinate in the dressing, that gives you ample time to get to, you know, wherever you're going. Once there, serve them with the arugula and the pistachios. Wham. You look like Martha Stewart.


    For the Cardamom-Candied Pistachios:
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 cups raw, shelled pistachios
  • For the Dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons Strawberry Vinegar, or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • For the Salad:
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 to 2 cups diced seedless watermelon
  • 3 to 5 ounces baby arugula, or as needed


To Make the Cardamom-Candied Pistachios:

1. Preheat oven to 300° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl, whisk the egg white with the water until foamy. Whisk in the sugars, cardamom, salt, and pepper until combined.

3. Add the pistachios and mix until coated.

4. LIft the pistachios out of the bowl, letting any excess liquid remain in the bowl, and spread in an even layer on the prepared pan. Do not crowd the nuts (use a second pan if necessary).

5. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until the nuts look dry, 20 to 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent them from sticking and clumping together. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

To Make the Dressing:

1. In a large bowl, combine the Strawberry Vinegar (or white balsamic), shallot, mint, basil, lime zest and juice, vanilla, and cardamom. Add a three-fingered pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

2. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil (it's okay if it doesn't emulsify). Taste. If the dressing seems too tart, add additional olive oil one tablespoon at a time until it tastes more balanced. When it tastes good to you, proceed with the recipe.

To Finish the Salad:

1. Toss the quartered strawberries and diced watermelon with the dressing in the bowl. Let stand for at least 10 minutes at room temperature, or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator.

2. When ready to serve, add arugula and toss to coat with the dressing. Divide into bowls or plates, top with Cardamom-Candied Pistachios, and serve.

Recent Food

I made some food recently.  Maybe you’d like to see it?

This was a smoked duck and soba noodle soup, made with an ultra-reduced rabbit and pork stock, and garnished with a heavy hand of cilantro and green onions.  AKA: stuff I had sitting around in the fridge (one of the perks of my job).

That stock was so thick with gelatin from being so concentrated, it did that gorgeous thing where it makes your lips all sticky, and you just sit there pressing your mouth together like a dweeb for five minutes just to feel it.

It’s a fried egg!  Can’t beat a fried egg.  This one seems to be on asparagus.  I actually have no recollection of cooking this, but I like the photo.

We snagged some of that phenomenal Copper River salmon when it was here, and served it with a raw kale-avocado-lemon salad.

Here are some blueberries.  They were lovely, but I didn’t do anything with them worth noting.

There’s a new recipe coming soon.  I think you’ll like it.

Good Hope Rusks: the Official Launch

I know it’s probably dreadfully boring, and I promise this isn’t going to become a blog about rusks.  But I thought I’d share photos from the Official Launch of Good Hope Rusks last Sunday at Dose Market, just in case some of you were interested.  Hope you don’t mind.

Did I mention you can now order rusks online?  Because you can order rusks online.  That is all.

the table
samples: anise & cacao nib, cardamom & coffee, triple sesame
letterpress 4 life

(And now, back to our regularly scheduled food programming.)

We had a Launch Party at a fabulous little restaurant, just the two of us, because I’ve never had a Launch Party for anything and it seemed like a wonderful thing to do.

Man, was it ever.

There was Champagne.  Lamb sweetbreads with sorrel, asparagus, and feta.  A hedonistically lush foie gras torchon.  Crisp-skinned trout and lentils.  After-dinner drinks.  And there was an impeccably textured cream cheese panna cotta with strawberry compote and housemade graham crackers.  With a candle, even.  I love that restaurant so hard.

forgive the iphone photo

Happy Launch, rusks.

An Introduction, and My First Giveaway!

You guys!  I’ve been working on something which, clearly, has not been this site.  And I’m not the slightest bit sorry, either.

I’ve been starting a new business!

(Yes, again.  Remember the first one?)

Introducing Good Hope Rusks, my updated take on a traditional South African rusk. What’s a rusk?  It’s a crunchy, baked biscuit, and it makes a fantastic breakfast or snack.  Coffee or tea is almost required with these guys, but they’re still awesome on their own.

If you think it sounds and looks like a biscotti, you’re nearly right.  They’re made in a similar way, but are much less sweet.  (Aside from being low in sugar, mine are also 100% whole grain, and come in three! cool! flavors!, but who’s counting?)

I first discovered rusks in 2009, during a little bread-making project I was undertaking that year.  Then last year, a dear friend of mine (who happens to be from South Africa) and I were talking.  I mentioned my pipe dream of selling my very own packaged food.  She mentioned her erstwhile plans to make and sell the rusks she often makes for her family and friends (somehow, running her own Interior Design business and raising two awesome kids and modeling and being generally kick-ass got in the way).

We’re smart ladies.  We put two and two together.  A star was born.

Many months later, I’m ready to run these rusks up my flagpole and see if anyone salutes.

so much stamping

This Sunday is the official launch date, and if you’re in Chicago, you can come see (and taste) for yourself.  I’ll be selling my rusks for the very first time ever at the always-fabulous Dose Market on April 15!

Even if you’re crazy and don’t want to come see me and my rusks, you really shouldn’t miss all the other incredible vendors (see below for a full list).  Did I mention that there’s free cocktails, from one of Chicago’s top new restaurants (first come, first served)?  Because there’s free cocktails.

cardamom & coffee

Tickets to Dose Market are $10 at the door, or $8 if you buy in advance.  But I’ve managed to swing two free tickets to Dose Market to give away to one lucky Chicago-area reader!  Yep, it’s one for you and one for a friend, because sharing is awesome.  It’s my very first giveaway ever, yay!  *kermit arms*

triple sesame

How do you get these 100% completely free tickets to the coolest monthly party around?  Just leave a comment below!  In the comment, tell me what you think of Good Hope Rusks.  Give me the good, the bad, the ugly, and everything in between.  Love the look?  Think it sounds interesting?  Hate the whole thing?  Leave a comment!  (FYI, since you have to include an email address on the form to post a comment, there’s no need to publicly share your email address.)

anise & cacao nib

Jump on this one fast: the contest ends on April 12 (Thursday night) at 11:59 pm, Central time!  It’s only open to Chicago-area readers — or I guess anyone willing to drive/fly/walk to Chicago this weekend.  I’ll assign each comment a number in the order it’s posted, pick the winner via random number generator, and announce the winner on Friday.  The winner will be notified via email.

I’d love to see you all on Sunday!  If you can’t make it, though, you can stay in the loop with Good Hope Rusks on Facebook and Twitter.

So there you have it.  Good Hope Rusks.  I hope you love ’em like I do.

April 15, 2012
10 am until 4 pm
435 East Illinois Street, Chicago, IL  60611
[Edit: This contest is now over.  Congratulations to Jessica F, who has been notified via email!]

Salsa Verde

in situ

This sauce is something I mentioned in passing ages ago, but I assume nobody took much notice of it then.  And honestly, I almost forgot about it myself.

Flipping through my omnibus notebook now and then, I’d notice the quickly scribbled recipe – a vague list of ingredients, really – and remember how good it was.  I’d then remind myself that I should really collect the recipe gems out of that notebook at some point (which I will probably never do).  And then I’d proceed to go about my day, tra la la, recipes forgotten and languishing.

sauté some red cabbage with red onion and salsa verde

But in the span of the last week or so, I somehow managed to accumulate an embarrassment of herbs: basil, chives, dill, thyme, mint, and four (four!) bunches of parsley.  Clearly, some sort of fridge-cleaning pesto was in order.  And lucky me, I had just seen that salsa verde “recipe” again.

sear some gulf shrimp
after peeling: ghost shrimp

Originally inspired by the brilliance that is Ideas In Food, it’s an Italian-style salsa verde, parsley-forward, thickened with bread and spiked with vinegar, and not a lick of olive oil.  The result is a bright, punchy sauce that goes fantastically with eggs, grains, vegetables, and just about everything else I’ve slathered it on.

mix them together

I suppose you could throw in some olive oil if you really had your heart set on it, but the beauty of this sauce is its crisp freshness.  Oil, I think, would weigh it down, deaden the clean flavors.  Fat carries flavor, yes; but sometimes flavor is already there in abundance and needs no outside help.

add one of these

This is one of those play-it-by-ear recipes. This may terrify you, or excite you. I am in the latter camp. Measurements are all approximate, based on what I used, which was based on what was kicking around in my fridge.  Use whatever you have, or whatever you like.  It’s your sauce.

salsa verde on top before serving

Salsa Verde

Inspired by Ideas In Food

For the fresh herbs, I used: 1 large bunch parsley (picked from the stems, please), 1/3 cup mint, 10-15 chives, 2 tablespoons basil, 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, and 1 tablespoon dill. And I deeply regretted that I didn't have any cilantro. I understand salsa verde is traditionally made with mostly parsley, but let's not stand on ceremony.

Me, I like this sauce with a pretty decent heat level, provided here by half a marzano chile. Remember, every chile is different, and you can't remove it once too much has been added in. Start with a little, and add more as you like.

If you don't have panko, use slices of whatever bread tastes good (crusts removed). I always have panko, and would rather use my bread to accompany dinner instead of using it as an ingredient.


  • 1/3 cup panko, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • About 3 cups mixed fresh herbs, loosely packed
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Fresh chile to taste, chopped
  • 1-3 anchovy fillets, to taste
  • About 1/4 cup water, or as needed
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste


1. Mix 1/3 cup panko with the apple cider and sherry vinegars. Stir in enough water (2-4 tablespoons) to make a slightly-thick paste. Set aside.

2. In a small food processor (or mortar and pestle), purée the herbs with the scallions, garlic, chile, and anchovy. Scrape down the sides of the processor workbowl.

3. Add about half of the vinegar-panko goo, and 2 tablespoons of water. Purée again briefly, and check the consistency. If you'd like it thinner, add more water. If you'd like it thicker, add more panko (vinegared, or plain). Season with a pinch or two of salt and some black pepper.

4. Give it another whizz, then taste. The vinegar flavor should be very present, but not overwhelming. Correct the seasoning as needed with more vinegar-panko goo, chile, salt, and/or pepper. Thin as needed with more water, or thicken with more panko. Add some more herbs if you need to. It'll taste okay at this point, but you should really let it stand at least 1 hour at room temperature before using. Store in the refrigerator with a little olive oil drizzled on top to help keep the color fresh and green (or use it all up in a few days, like I do).

New Year’s Eve Dinner

Some scenes from my wild New Year’s Eve, pleasantly spent at home in the company of a slightly under-the-weather boyfriend.  I lit candles, and put on a dress and heels, because it just isn’t New Year’s without some fancy-pants luxury.  He put on a suit, bless’im.

First, a Sazerac…

…which went nicely with the requisite black-eyed peas and cabbage (for luck and money, respectively).

like a good southern girl

Breaking with tradition, I made corn-buttermilk popovers instead of cornbread to posh things up a little.  These didn’t quite pop over perfectly, but they tasted good all the same.

We watched a movie, and shook up another cocktail to toast with at midnight.  After some Auld Lang Syne, it was video games until bedtime.

No cabs.  No crowds.  No hangover.  Simple.  Easy.  Perfect.  Exactly the right start.

Happy New Year.

Fennel and Beet Relish, with Salmon

My oh my, I haven’t given you all a recipe in ages, have I?  Poor darlings, here you go.

Over dinner the other night, I helped a dear friend brainstorm ideas for her family’s Christmas feast.  They planned on salmon, but needed ideas for something festive to dress it up.  Fennel immediately sprung to mind, in a sort of raw relish, with a heavy dose of lemon.

Which would be, you know, okay, but it’s not good enough.  Not for Christmas.

A quick google didn’t turn up exactly the soignée dish I had in mind, just page after page of fennel and cucumber summat-er-other.  I wasn’t inspired at all until one word caught my eye: beets.  Yes!  Beets!  Fennel and beets!  Anise-y crunch with earthy sweetness.  Perfect.

I wrote my friend an email, containing a sort of recipe that came out as a stream of consciousness, as I pictured what I might reach for were I making it right then.  Roasted beets.  Raw fennel, small dice. Toasted fennel seeds.  Shallot.  Lemon.  Garlic.  Olive oil.  And loads of herbs.  I was confident.

i love staining my cutting board on occasion

Of course, I had to try it out for myself.  (Can’t let everyone else have all the fun, right?)  A couple of filets of sockeye later, cooked according to my latest go-to, foolproof, perfect-every-time method, which you should absolutely try as soon as possible, my confidence turned into unabashed pride.

It’s crunchy, it’s sweet, it’s raw, it’s roasted, it’s bright, and it’s just killer with a fine piece of salmon. It’s exactly what I was going for.

Here’s hoping it can liven more than one holiday table this year.  Bon appétit!

Fennel and Beet Relish

Yield: makes about 6 cups, to serve 8 to 10

This relish is stunning served with a simple roast salmon, though I suspect darn near any fish would work quite well too. I can also see this as an hors d'oeuvre, with crostini and a tangy goat cheese, or even as a topping on those dreadful endive boats (if you insist on using them).

You may notice that the recipe calls for golden beets, while I clearly used red beets in the photos; if you don't mind a little staining, it doesn't matter which you use. Use both, if you like.

If you can, make this several hours or even a day in advance. It's one of those recipes that drastically improves with a little rest.


  • 3 large or 5 small beets (preferably golden)
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 1 lemon (preferably organic)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 to 8 tablespoons olive oil, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 whole fennel bulbs, with leafy tops attached
  • Freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Scrub the beets well, and trim the leafy tops which are hopefully still attached (save those for eating another time). Wrap each of the beets tightly in aluminum foil, and pop in the hot oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how big they are. Small ones will, of course, cook faster.

2. Meanwhile, mince the shallot finely and put into a large bowl that won't stain (you know, glass or metal). Zest the lemon into the bowl, and squeeze in all the juice.

3. Smash and peel the garlic clove, chop into very small bits, and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt. Using the side of your knife, smash and scrape the salted garlic into a paste. Add this paste to the bowl, along with the Dijon mustard.

4. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the olive oil. Use only enough to take the harsh edge off the dressing, while still letting the lemon flavor shine. This doesn't need to be perfectly emulsified, so don't worry about whisking it to perfect smoothness.

5. Toast the fennel seeds in a small pan over medium heat for a minute or so, just until fragrant. Either throw them in whole, or crush them up in a mortar and pestle, depending on preference.

6. Chop the thyme, mint, parsley, and a handful of fronds from the fennel; add to the bowl.

7. Remove the tops from the fennel, and any brown spots on the outside. Cut the fennel into a small dice, and add to the bowl with a few grinds of black pepper. Toss well, and let stand until the beets have finished roasting.

8. When the beets are done (they will feel slightly soft when squeezed through the foil), let cool until they can be handled. Peel the beets, chop into a small dice, and add to the other ingredients. Toss together, and taste to check the seasoning. Correct as needed with additional salt, pepper, olive oil, and/or lemon juice.

My Favorite Banana Bread

A banana bread muffin, split, toasted under a broiler, with fancy butter and a cup of tea.  This is a breakfast for a gray, rainy day, one that never manages to crawl above the mid-40’s in temperature.  Three months from now, these temperatures will feel positively quaint.


My Favorite Banana Bread

Yield: one 9 x 5 inch loaf

Adapted from Bon Appétit Magazine

This is my all-time favorite banana bread. It's not too sweet, it's not too rich, it's full of banana flavor and a little nuttiness from the whole wheat flour and flaxseed. It toasts gorgeously; and though it doesn't need it, a little pat of butter is a luxurious accompaniment. Some days require luxury.

If you'd like to make this into muffins, increase the oven temperature to 350º F and bake for about 30 minutes. I always seem to get 15 or 16 standard size muffins out of each batch.


  • 127 grams (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting the pan
  • 85 grams (2/3 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 25 grams (1/4 cup) ground flaxseed
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 148 grams (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 1 cup smashed very ripe bananas (2 to 3)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Lightly butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, and sprinkle with flour. Shake the pan around to coat evenly with flour, then turn the pan upside down over the sink and knock on the bottom to remove any excess.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices; set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, whip the eggs and sugar together until fluffy and light, about 5 minutes. In a liquid measuring cup, smash the bananas until smooth (a fork works well here). Make sure there's at least 1 cup; if it measures more than that, don't worry one bit. Add buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and stir until combined.

4. Add the banana mixture to the eggs and sugar. Mix until just blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Stir together just until the flour is moistened and no large pockets remain; do not overmix. Transfer batter to the prepared pan, and lightly smooth the top.

5. Bake at 325° F until golden brown on top and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool briefly in the pan before removing to a rack to cool. Excellent served warm, or sliced and toasted.