Tag Archives: banana

Burgatory Bar

One day we look back at the Burger Bar Wars of 2010-2011 and think, “Really, why did we get so excited?” Granted, I have only been to two of the combatants in this fight, but they’re arguably the champions thus far: Brgr and, now, Burgatory Bar. In regards to a comparison between the two restaurants and the burger trend in general, I have two things to admit:

1) Honestly, I’d love to come down on one side or the other, but Brgr and Burgatory are about even when it comes to overall experience. Both have definite advantages on their competition, but when you tally up the highs and lows… it’s a draw.

2) How to put this… I don’t get the burger trend. I get having burgers. I get having places that specialize in burgers. I understand the appeal of having a focus that takes a very specific, beloved food item and experiments with it or classes it up. But why are people going so apeshit about these places? A good burger is not hard to find in any place whose culinary landscape is at least defined enough to have two or three quality diners (and that category basically includes every inhabited area of the USA). An inventive, classy burger isn’t even that difficult to find. But because these places are putting the burger out front, in the spotlight, and making a grand display of how creative they can be with this institution, suddenly we’re all about burgers.

Eateries specializing in a very specific food item are often right ahead or right in line with trends. Think cupcake bakeries, or donuts, or crepes. Maybe the burger thing confuses me because there have always been places that specialize in burgers – namely, most establishments that have mainstream American/diner food – and this trend is just attempting to create a classy culture around something that at its best is classless.

Burgatory Bar on Urbanspoon

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Good Morning, Vegan Banana Pudding

I once had a banana pudding so good it had to have been evil. I don’t mean “sinfully delicious” or so bad for you but so good-tasting. I mean that it literally had to be evil to be that good. It had to have communed with the beast. It had to have divined its powers from another worldly realm so deep, so far from the simple divinity of heaven.

It was heavy and sweet and body-possessing. As a follow-up to an already very substantial lunch in Athens, Georgia in mid-August, it was a little too much to take. It was a taste that knocked the wind out of me, and pretty much every ounce of energy I might have had left. Emerging into the well-baked afternoon, I promptly fell into what could only be described as a euphoric food coma. It might also have been described as heat stroke.

Anyway, I suffered the same fate as those who dare chase the forbidden fruit. To this day, I’ve never found the equal to this banana pudding (found at Peaches in Athens, GA, if you’re interested), and I’ve never really desired to. One encounter is enough.

Still, I love banana pudding. Serve it with vanilla wafers, ladyfingers, or whipped cream. My favorite preparation is simple: Pudding and banana slices. I had some silken tofu and bananas on hand, so I was set to make up a vegan variation, which me and my partner set about devouring as soon as it left the fridge. Thank goodness this only takes five minutes to make. Next time I’m saving it all for myself!

Vegan Banana Pudding

– 2 ripe bananas (Don’t forget to have an extra on hand for topping!)
– 1 12 oz. package of silken tofu
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
– 1/2 tsp Xanathan gum

– In a food processor or blender combine all ingredients until well blended. Chill for at least two hours. Serve with banana slices.

(Adapted from this recipe on Vegweb.com)

Good Morning, Monday Morning Muffins!

I will make a confession: I have never had a really good muffin from a bakery or grocery store. I’ve had good ones. I’ve had decent ones. And I’ve had ones that were downright awful (and really, is there anything worse than trying to get through a chalky, crumbly, mess of a failed muffin?). But I’ve never one that was to die for, and that’s a shame. I’ve been to a lot of good bakeries, had muffins in many cosmopolitan cities, dined in fine establishments worldwide… but I’ve yet to have a decent muffin that wasn’t directly out of someone’s personal kitchen.

Not sure why this is, really. Maybe it’s a muffin preference. I like mine to be a tad crumbly, not overwhelmingly large, moist, and not super sweet. I don’t want icing on the top or even sugared crumbs (good in theory, not so great when they’re dotting the front of your jacket and pants). Also, the window of time for muffin perfection from the time they come out of the oven to the time they go into your mouth is perilously tight. Maybe I like my homemade muffins better because they come out of the oven and as soon as they are cool enough to swallow, they get eaten. (I really have a patience problem when it comes to sweets…)

Get your Monday morning and burgeoning muffin top started off right with these banana nut muffins. They’re extra nutty, cause I’m just feeling that way these days.

Monday Morning Banana Nut Muffins

– 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 4 ripe bananas, mashed
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup applesauce
– 3 tbsp vegetable oil
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1/4 cup walnuts
– 1/4 cup pecans
– 1/4 cup shaved almonds

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12 count muffin pan.

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a mixer blend together bananas, sugar, oil, extract, and applesauce. Once completely blended, gradually fold the dry into the wet ingredients. Add nuts and stir until just mixed.

Fill each muffin cup to about halfway. Bake in the oven for 18 – 20 minutes.

(Recipe adapted from “Crazy Good Banana Muffins” on VegWeb.com)

Good Morning, Pancakes!

I woke up this morning with a serious craving for pancakes. This always seems to happen when I’m coming out of a sickness. I remember coming out of a really bad flu a couple of years ago, and on the first day I was able to leave my apartment, the only thing I wanted was Oreos and milk. Even in colds, I tend to eat very light when sick, so I think it’s my natural urge to indulge in something a little less healthy, a little more substantial, and like any childish adult, get a treat for undergoing even the mildest of ordeals.

Anyway, the pancake. Seeing as how I refuse to 1) get up at 6:00 in the morning so that I can get a decent diner pancake breakfast before work, 2) get up early enough to make my own pancakes before work, and 3) eat pancakes from McDonald’s or any other fast food institution, I’m going to have to wait till later in the day to get my pancake fix. (If I get it today at all – I may just wait for tomorrow morning, when I have off and can leisurely make my way into the kitchen for a proper homemade pancake breakfast.)

Till then, let’s indulge in some pancake-porn and recipe ideas. If you’ve got the time, maybe cook up a batch and save one for me, okay?

Food Lover makes some heart-shaped pancakes that are as adorable as they are delicious-looking. While I could go for some hearty American pancakes right now, my preferred pancake is the English style (as noted in the article, similar to the French crepe) as it is thin, versatile, and fast-cooking. Some might quibble about this being labeled as a “romantic dessert” (after all, it is a pancake), but I can guarantee that warm feelings would be stirring inside of me if someone whipped up a batch of these for me.

– Dee Dee @ Dee Dee’s Delights tried to raise morale at her family health center with this Pancake and Sausage Casserole . Not exactly healthy, but hey, everyone should be allowed a heavy dose of sugar and fats around the holidays. Wanna go veg? I’m betting this recipe would work just fine with soy sausage. Substitute the dairy products for full on veganization. Consider my spirits lifted already, Dee!

– Want something a little different, but still recognizably a pancake? Try this recipe for Taro Pancakes at My Kitchen’s Flavors. A little lighter and fluffier than the average pancakes, these look especially delicious accompanied by blueberries and homemade whipped cream, and they’re especially good for those on the lookout for gluten-free pancakes.

– Is there a better food blog name than Food Perestroika? If you haven’t considered adding Eastern Bloc cuisine to your repertoire, perhaps the knowledgable folks at this blog can convince you otherwise. They’ve got me salivating over Russian pancakes, namely their many variations on the Blini (called Oladi if yeast-free), especially the hearty potato blini (pictured above).

– How about a delicious vegan pancake, courtesy Jenn in Australia? Having relocated from Canada, she only recently reunited with molasses, an item that Australians are apparently too busy eating vegemite to have any knowledge of.  I’m making these Molasses Banana pancakes as soon as I get some spelt flour (although you can use whatever flour you prefer). Let’s hope I don’t burn the molasses!