I love fruit, especially stone fruit. Every year, as summer approaches, I look forward to enjoying months of apricots, plums, cherries, and of course peaches. Whether they’re served in salads, grilled, baked, or as is, stone fruits are both sweet and tart and pair well with a variety of ingredients.
My mom has never really had a sweet tooth, so there wasn’t a lot of baking tarts or pies growing up. My experiences and memories with stone fruit were therefore limited for many years to eating them as is or in salads. I’m not complaining. The fruits were so fresh that it was like eating candy anytime you took a bite out of one of them. And, summer breakfasts were often bowls of, what my brother called, ‘peach cereal‘ or peaches and milk. The weather was hot and humid, so this made for a refreshing way to start the day. Not to mention it’s quick, simple, light, and de-li-cious!
Banana Bread, as far as I know, is the first thing I learned how to bake. Like a lot of children, I’d help out or play with various ingredients while my mother was cooking, but I don’t recall ever actually uttering words like “I’ll be in the kitchen, baking” until after the discovery of this recipe. You’re now probably expecting the holy grail of banana bread recipes, and not that I’ve found any, but I’m sure there are better ones. What I can promise is that this recipe is simple, quick, adaptable, kid-friendly, inexpensive to make, and consistently yields a yummy loaf.
In writing this post, I tried to figure out what it is that makes me like this recipe so much. I’m sure to some degree, it has a lot to do with the fact that I grew up on it. I remember obsessively baking this, week after week, for years; I just couldn’t get enough of it. But it’s more than that. There’s a simplicity to this recipe that’s not out of laziness or a lack of creativity, but rather a true belief that the banana in banana bread should be the star. There are no extracts or spices added to alter or mask flavors, there are no secret ingredients, there are just bananas. And, in this case, that’s enough.
Sundays are synonymous with relaxation and comfort. The perfect day to enjoy brunch with your girlfriends, go to the Farmers Market, go for a bike ride or hike, catch a matinée, or simply have breakfast in bed with your favorite newspaper or magazine. Simple moments that allow us to breathe, clear our heads, and recharge.
Unless I’m going out or expecting guests over, Sunday meals are quite simple and begin with le petit déjeuner. Consisting classically of tartines, croissants, or other pâtisseries accompanied by a warm beverage, this type of quick and simple breakfast is my most favorite. Having made almond biscotti the day before, all I was missing was some hot chocolate and a travel magazine.
Despite growing up in Europe, I’ve never really liked biscotti. Usually rock hard and way too dry for my taste, it’s something that I never intended on or thought about baking at home. After all, how much better than what I’d tasted could it get? A few weeks ago, I was going through some of my cookbooks, and I came across a recipe for almond biscotti by Dorie Greenspan that just sounded so delicious and different, I had to mark it as something to try. Oh, how I’m glad I did. I could eat this all day, every day.
I’m a huge almond lover, probably because of my mom. Growing up, there were always almonds around the house. Whether in salads, rice, desserts or simply as snacks, my mother was always adding them to her dishes. As a kid, I didn’t always get it; I kind of thought nuts or fruit in salads was weird. Little did I know, my mom was just ahead of her time and that years later those same ideas would be changing American cuisine.
There are very few ways, if any, to go wrong with almonds or almond extract. There’s just something so comforting about the sweetness and aroma of this tiny little fruit. Combine that with a buttery, crunchy, yet moist cookie, and voilà! Lenox Almond Biscotti: a wonderful, but dangerous, treat.
I’ve tried these a few different ways: plain, dunked in hot chocolate or tea, dipped in semi-sweet chocolate, and accompanying ice cream and fresh fruit. Delicious, and not only easy to make, but versatile too, which makes it my kind of food. This is one of those recipes that you’ll want to memorize and make over and over again. As an added bonus, they look fancy, so you’re guaranteed to impress guests.