Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cooking with Magic

Sometimes baking tests don't come out well, and not only is there disappointment, but I blame myself for not having foreseen the flaw in the recipe, whether it be too many eggs, too little flour, not enough salt, etc.   When this happens, I say to myself, "You were cooking with magic," as if some celestial power could have saved my ill-conceived plan.

So in that context, I will post Daniel Rose's Grandmother's Banana-Zuccini Bread recipe as an example.  On the surface, this looks like a very ordinary quickbread recipe.  There is no reason to think that I might get a sublime result, yet I feel compelled to try it (as I did with the crack brownies) because I really admired the New York Times writeup on Rose in 2008 (watch the video especially) and have heard that he has been very successful since at his Parisian restaurant, Spring.  Feel free to try it at home, and let me know if you get a magical outcome!

Daniel Rose's Grandmother's Banana-Zuccini Bread
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf, about 10 slices
"For a long time, we passed this out to dinner guests ... to take home for breakfast," said Daniel Rose, chef of Spring restaurant in Paris. "It's an American classic, but perfectly unknown here," Rose said. 
2 ripe bananas
1 small zucchini
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup sunflower or canola oil
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 fresh vanilla bean, split in half
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon each: baking soda, baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mash the bananas with a fork in a large bowl. Grate the zucchini; press between paper towels to dry. Add zucchini to the bananas; stir in the eggs, sugar and oils. Scrape vanilla bean seeds into the bowl; mix lightly.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the banana-zucchini mixture; mix briefly until just incorporated. Add the cider vinegar to the milk; stir the milk mixture into the batter. Fold in the walnuts.
3. Pour batter into a buttered and floured 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Bake until a knife comes out clean, about 50 minutes; cool in pan on wire rack, 15 minutes. Store, wrapped, in refrigerator.
Nutrition information per serving: 371 calories, 44% of calories from fat, 19 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 43 mg cholesterol, 48 g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 239 mg sodium, 2 g fiber

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