Plantain Bread & The Wonder of Quick Loaves
Plantain Bread & The Wonder of Quick Loaves

For some reason, I especially love recipes that turn old or ugly fruit and vegetables from trash to treasure. It’s almost like getting something for free. Rubbery zucchini? Zucchini Bread! Black, squishy bananas? Banana Bread! Dented Eggplant? Make Baba Ganoush! Bruised apples or strawberries? Perfect for a quick fruit sauce. When we had two soft, black plantains that were surplus to requirements for our Cuban dinner, I assumed they’d be a good addition to a quick bread, and I was more than thrilled with the result.

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Vive la Clafoutis!
Recipes Vive la Clafoutis!

Ah, the 14th of July! The season of fresh, local cherries. The celebration of Bastille Day. The time to bake a fruity dessert for this week’s Dessert Corps project. Oh, hey… look at that. It’s like a cosmic alignment of forces telling me it’s time to make a cherry clafoutis, the traditional custard pudding of Limousin in the heart of la belle France . As it happens, the fantastic Dessert Corps volunteer crew provided me with a half-dozen eggs and more than a pound of gorgeous, blushing Rainier Cherries — sweet, fragrant and fresh from the Greenpoint farmers’ market.

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Recipes Attack of the Monster Waffle Batter

Just in case you were wondering… yes. The rumors are true. Our Bee Sweet Bake Sale for Earth Day last week was a sweet success (probably one of our biggest in-office bake sales to date) with a menu consisting of such treats as: Honey Raisin Oatmeal Cookies Banana Bread with Honeyed Cream Cheese Chocolate-Honey Mini Cupcakes Spicy Ginger Brownies (honey-free) Honey Peanut Butter Cookies Whole-Wheat Honey Fruit Squares Honeyed Hot Masala Chai

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Recipes Preserved Grapes & Pecans: A Way with Les Conserves

On a trip to Paris a while back, I stopped in a bookshop on a quest for cookbooks. There were many fine volumes, but one in particular stood out as a must-have. Les Conserves is a glossy, photo-packed soft-cover (Produced by a French division of Reader’s Digest! Why don’t they make such lovely books for English readers?) is ideal for a French neophyte like me. Just look at this recipe for grape preserves.

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Recipes Pancakes: The Thick, The Thin & The Hearty

This week brings Shrove Tuesday, known to some as Mardi Gras and known to me as Pancake Day . While I grew up with the thick, pillowy pancakes that appear in diners and truckstops across the nation, J. was raised on a delicate, European-style pancake… something more along the lines of a crepe. I must admit, the discovery that not everyone ate the same kind of pancake was a bit of a shock to me.

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The Most Stylish Meal of the Day

I couldn’t help but notice that Esquire is into breakfast right now. I caught sight of their March issue, which contains a sixteen-page food porn spread of home-and-away brekkie delights chock-full of sexy, oozy breakfast glamour shots… so ya know, that’s kind of a tip-off. And why shouldn’t breakfast be trendy? It’s wintertime, and breakfast is comforting. Breakfast is important for good health. It’s the most important meal of the day.

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Recipes Lemon-Ginger Fairy Cakes

I think I’ve mentioned before that J is an alien creature who often resembles a normal fellow but occasionally exposes his true color (green, naturally). One of his little oddities I discovered recently is a propensity to refer to cupcakes as “fairy cakes.” Though there’s a little friendly debate about what constitutes a proper fairy cake in the comments over at Becks & Posh and Cupcakes Take the Cake, the Wikipedia lumps cupcakes and fairy cakes together on the same page.

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Recipes Wild Rice Porridge 2.0

Last January, I posted my personal take on the Mahnomin Porridge that the groovy Minneapolis restaurant Hell’s Kitchen makes for their funky brunch menu. That recipe was pretty rich, and it takes a while to make, so it’s not exactly easy to produce on chilly midweek mornings. Thus, I’ve made a new version that’s more quick and flexible. The secret, as with many things, is planning ahead. If you cook the grains for this porridge in the evening (maybe do it while you’re making dinner), it’s easy to wake up all zombie-like the next day, scoop it into bowls and microwave for a quick and hearty whole-grain brekkie.

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Recipes Day 21: A Festive Frybread

*This post marks Day 21 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar. Since today marks the first day of Hanukkah (as well as the shortest day of the year), I thought it’d be appropriate to commemorate the miracle of the oil with a frybread recipe… a treat for anyone, really. It’s interesting to note that just about any culture that eats bread has its own version of frybread. The classic Donut. Southern Hushpuppies.

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Recipes Day 20: The Scarborough Loaf

*This post marks Day 20 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar. Like me, you may know a few vegetarians. Like me, you may have once been one of those vegetarians. In those days, I was always a little befuddled at the holidays. I mean, feast foods are pretty proscribed for omnivores (1. roast something 2. add starchy sides). Those who shun meat are left without a lot of festive “center of the plate” foods.

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About Me

Miss Ginsu is a nom-nom-nom de plume of Leitha Matz, who worked at Tabla and FreshDirect in NYC, wrote about the food scene from 2004 to 2009 in Brooklyn and presently lives in Berlin. Occasionally seen on TV cooking segments, Leitha has also written for FreshDirect, contributed to Cee Cee Berlin, The Food52 Cookbook and has been interviewed/quoted in The Food Keeper as well as The Washington Times and Salon.

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