This is a little awkward, the last recipe I posted was in February. I almost feel like a stranger on my own blog. Long time no see blog! The reason why I haven’t been posting lately is that I have been pretty overwhelmed with work. In fact I was traveling last week for a study on small-farmer Peruvian coffee cooperatives that produce and export organic and fair trade coffee to the US. Hey, maybe you’re sipping on a cup of freshly brewed Green Mountain coffee right now? Well I met some of your suppliers! Our objective was to study how connecting coffee smallholder farmers to international markets produced positive socio-economic impacts in the region and for the farmers of the cooperatives. Amazing experience in an absolutely gorgeous and breath-taking region (San Ignacio, Peru) named one of the best in the world for coffee; and for the first time in my life, I participated in a coffee-tasting. It’s kind of like wine-tasting, and believe me it’s serious business. They do it in a lab and test everything from aroma to flavor, uniformity, body. And you got to love the vocabulary of any specialty product-tasting profession when they discuss the results of each sample. Me: “slurp. Hmmm, wow, that’s some tasty coffee, batch number two seems stronger than batch number one, wouldn’t you say?”. The lab tester: “you’re right, batch number two was a little syrupy, with notes of aromatic cinnamon in cup, along with hints of mandarine acidity and quite lively on the palate”. Me: “…………yes, totally what I meant”.
This bread is AM-AZING, I just couldn’t wait to tell you. Oh-so perfectly moist banana bread with a decadent dark chocolate batter delicately swirled in and a caramelized pecan streusel sprinkled on the top. Oh my, look at that I’ve salivated all over my keyboard. I like long, extravagant recipe titles so this sounds more complicated than it actually is, trust me. The first time I had banana bread when I was a child was when we lived in New York, and my mom bought this divine banana walnut loaf, and I remember thinking that I had never eaten banana that way before but somebody was definitely on to something. Shortly after that, we moved back to France and that put an end to that – in fact we didn’t have oreos, pancakes, muffins, cupcakes, donuts, and lots of other American goods in France in the early 2000s. So nicely sheltered from the mass food industry as we swam in a sea of artisan-made cheese, cured meats and crudités. Anyways, when they started opening Starbucks coffee shops in Paris, I was pretty happy to rediscover banana bread and even set out to learn to make my own recipe. And then I stopped eating gluten. And THAT put an end to that, and a lot of the above-mentioned.
Well hello there January, my least favorite month of the year. People generally either hate January or September. Not very hard to understand why. Post-holiday blues, post-vacation stress, back to work, back to school, everyone’s all tired, the media are all talking about diets, there’s not much to look forward to for the next few months except maybe Valentine’s Day and that’s not even a real Holiday. And then there’s the pitiful weather, which is the worst whether you are in the Northern or Southern hemisphere. January in Brazil gets HOT. Not “ooh tropical breeze and sipping Mojitos under palm trees” kind of hot, no, more like “unsexy glistening face, I can’t even move my arms because it’s so freaking humid and tropical pouring rain” kind of hot. Bet that snowfall you’ve been having in the US almost sounds kind of nice now eh? Continue reading