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Posts Tagged ‘lime’

“The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Montana is known as Big Sky Country, but here in Washington, we have our fair share of big skies too.  Believe it or not, Washington offers up much more than Pike Place Market, rainy days and coffee junkies.  Upon moving to the Pacific Northwest, we had no idea we’d be greeted with glorious warm, sunny summers, the calm waters of the Puget Sound and access to not one, but five majestic mountain ranges.  The Cascade Mountains and Mount Rainier to the East, Mount Baker to the North, Mount St. Helens to the South and last, but not least, the Olympic National Park to the West.  Our favorite hike of them all lies in the Olympic National Park at Hurricane Ridge.  This park rivals any other in our great National Park System.  Atop the summit, you can see clear across to Canada.  It’s surreal.

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The other weekend, before we headed out, I decided to bake a loaf of banana bread.  It was early morning, so I figured it would be nice to start the weekend off with a slice (or two) of fresh, warm bread straight from the oven for breakfast, and then some more later for a post-hike-celebratory treat.  Ahh, yes, the ubiquitous banana bread recipe.

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Everyone has a favorite version.  Whole grain, low-fat, vegan, quinoa, eggless, sourdough, or Mom’s spiced with cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cocoa, ginger, or bourbon and combined with cherries, blueberries, mango, apples, peanut butter, pecans or zucchini.  It’s the sort of recipe that’s been picked, poked and prodded – and then prodded some more.  Around here, our favorite version comes in the form of a loaf laden with dark chocolate chips and…well, … more chocolate chips.  C’mon now, it’s more like a dessert than a ‘bread’, since a scoop of vanilla ice cream seems to somehow always make its merry way onto the plate (especially Tony’s plate), as a welcomed accompaniment.

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So I figured having dessert for breakfast before or after Hurricane Ridge, might not be the smartest idea.  Instead, I decided to try out (yet) another new recipe that didn’t involve too much butter, sugar or chocolate.  But had plenty of coconut, walnuts and lime juice.  Yum, yum and yum again.

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The results:  a light, moist, sweet and tangy bread with a delectable coconut topping and lime glaze.

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On any ordinary day, this would have been a shining moment.  However, when you’re up 6000 feet, above the clouds, with nothing but staggering, awe-inspiring beauty completely surrounding you, it’s hard to think of much else.  It was so insanely beautiful and the silence so piercingly deafening…I could barely believe what I could not hear.  I realized, for the first time in my life, I heard silence.  True silence.  This must be the language of the sky.

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Hurricane Ridge Banana Bread
Tweaked from Cooking Light

The lime glaze is key to the scrumptiousness of this banana bread, so don’t even think about leaving it out.  I even kept the extra to smear on each slice for an extra punch.  I’m crazy like that.

Music Pairing: Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup + 1/8 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 3 tbsp dark rum
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp  flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice

Method

Preheat oven to 350°.  Sift flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, rum, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Stir in toasted coconut and walnuts.

Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon coconut. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Combine powdered sugar and juice, stirring with a whisk; drizzle over warm bread. Cool completely on wire rack.

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Endless Summer Jam

Summer’s winding down.  Days are getting shorter.  Nights becoming cooler.  Even the air smells different.  It’s around this time of year when everyone starts to smile sadly at what’s left of the warm sunny days, knowing the inescapable ‘F’ word is just around the corner.  It’s also around this time of year that I launch into a state of full-blown, vehement denial.  The flip flops will stay on my feet.  I will not need a jacket.  I will ignore those pesky baby pumpkins perched next to the last of the heirloom tomatoes.  They have no business being there yet, and they know it.

My denial takes many forms, though one of my favorites is to bottle up summer.  Literally.  Bottle it up in pretty glass jars, so on the coldest and dreariest of winter days when I’m craving sunshine on my face and freshly picked summer berries on my plate, I’ll have a secret weapon to bust out.  I will not be defeated.

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Luckily, the beach across the street from our house provides the perfect ammunition for my secret weapon – row after row, after glorious row, of wild blackberry bushes.  During my parents most recent visit, we had a chance to head down and pick away to our heart’s content.  Pick one, eat one.  Pick one, eat two.  Admittedly, I’m not the most efficient harvester.  The goods are carefully carried home and prepped for my Endless Summer Jam.  It’s a jam that tastes like summer, looks like summer and smells like summer.  Denial can be a good thing, especially when it comes in a pretty jar.

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Endless Summer Jam
Kiss My Spatula’s version of her favorite jam, yields about 1 pint

This jam is on the thicker, chunkier, and seedier side – just how I like it.  There’s nothing polite or demure about this one.

Music Pairing: Theme from Endless Summer

Ingredients

  • 3 cups blackberries
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 small apple, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • juice and zest of 1/2 lime

Method

Place blackberries, sugar, lime juice and zest in a non-reactive, deep pot.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Add diced apple and blueberries and continue to keep mixture at a rolling boil, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes or until thickened.  Gently mash fruit with a potato masher.  Spoon into favorite jam jars and allow to cool to room temperature.  Store covered in refrigerator for several weeks.

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