Monthly Archives: May 2015

Surf’s Up Banana Almond Butter Pancakes

Banana Almond Butter Pancakes. Jack Johnson sold separately

Banana Almond Butter Pancakes. Jack Johnson sold separately

“Like waking up too early
Maybe we can sleep in
I’ll make you banana pancakes
Pretend like it’s the weekend now”

Let’s all agree on something. Jack Johnson is hot. Sadly, this recipe for banana pancakes will not bring him into your kitchen. BUT it will leave you plenty of time to fire up some of his music, and perhaps a video of him on youtube. And you will say, DANG I want to feel like a hot groovy surfer too. Or, DANG I want a hot groovy surfer to make me banana pancakes on a rainy day.

The best part about this recipe is its simplicity. 3 ingredients, and no measuring at all. Oh yeah baby. We’re talking weekend.

The original recipe calls for almond butter, which really is excellent, but my Cali sister informs me that using almonds is not cool with the drought. You can use any nut butter. I also tried peanut butter and tahini, and much preferred the tahini to the peanut butter. So do what you must, but file this recipe in your head (along with some Jack Johnson videos) for the next time you need some really healthy pancakes and something to make you smile.

Banana Almond Butter Pancakes


Makes enough for 2 people who like each other

  • 1 Tbsp Almond Butter (or good quality nut butter of choice)
  • 1 ripe but not overripe banana
  • 1 egg

dash of cinnamon or vanilla (optional), oil or butter for cooking


Stay with me here. There are some pesky details. Mash all ingredients up and mix until smooth. Heat griddle, but don’t make it sizzling hot.  Grease up the griddle or pan. I have the best luck with coconut oil but you can use butter or canola oil. Don’t skimp though.

Spoon batter on to griddle so you have roughly hockey puck diameter pancakes. They will be thin. Let them cook until you can romance a spatula underneath them all the way around. It takes some patience so make sure they have some integrity before you flip. Flip those babies and cook them a minute or so on the other side. Use your best pancake judgment on this.

Enjoy, as ever, with pure maple syrup. And some music.


Lemon Cauliflower Couscous Charade


Honest to lemony goodness!

I hate being duped. As when people say, “These black bean brownies or date/cocoa truffles or chickpea chocolate chip cookies will fool you!” I’m all about dates and black beans and chickpeas stretching themselves into baking pans, and dressing up as treats, but don’t try to pass them off as anything like the original. We’re friends. We can be honest on this.

So, with that little tirade out of the way we move on to cauliflower, the multitasking food imposter du jour. I tried in vain to make a palatable buffalo cauliflower, and my family breathed a fiery sigh of relief when I gave up. You have no doubt heard of cauliflower “rice,” made by pulverizing the florets in the food processor then cooking/steaming the whole shebang. It’s fine, but it’s not rice, and I resent being made to pretend it’s rice. However, when it comes to couscous, I’m all about pretending. After all, what is couscous but pasta pretending to be a grain? It’s such an understudy already that usurping its identity is almost a favor.

So cauliflower, come on in to my food processor and take the stage. A local Hanover High grad Ellen Jackson just came out with The Lemon Cookbook, and the Valley News published this recipe of hers. I’ve made it about four times, never entirely correctly, and loved it every time. Time #5 I actually took a picture. It’s great right away, a few hours later and the next day, and you have to work really hard to screw it up. I even made it with a bag of frozen cauliflower when the fresh stuff was going for $7 at the Coop. ($7? Do you have a hidden camera in the cruciferous section?) At any rate, all of the above makes it a Bring It all-star.

A few changes/notes, because we have to: The key to toasting the cauliflower well is ample surface area, so dig out your largest pan. (Yes, the one at the bottom of the pile. You’re a few weeks in to that beach body routine so I know you can do it.) Cauliflower heads vary wildly, and I got way more than 4 cups out of mine. I used it all, brushing that big, used pan lightly with oil and toasting the extra separately. I also don’t add the other 2 Tbsp of oil at the end of the recipe. Five Tbsp of oil in a vegetable dish puts us in the tempura range, and at that point you might as well just eat the fries you’d rather have anyway. Ok, here we go!

Toasted Cauliflower “Couscous” With Lemon, Parsley and Almonds

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 (2-pound) head cauliflower, cut into small florets with ½-inch or less of stem
  • 1/3 cup slivered or sliced almonds or pine nuts
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided (my version uses 3, not divided)
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated or minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped (I use the curly variety because that’s what I had and I prefer its sassy attitude)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Using a food processor with either the grating attachment or blade, grate or pulse the cauliflower in batches until it resembles grains of couscous. You should have about 4 cups. You can also use a knife to dice the florets, which will easily break into very small pieces as you go. (I got more like 7 cups from one head and used it all)

In a large, wide skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds, stirring frequently, until they smell nutty and are golden brown, about 7 minutes. Set the nuts aside and wipe out the pan.

Warm 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cauliflower and salt. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower pieces are toasted and tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the garlic and zest, stirring well to distribute the flavors throughout.

After the mixture has cooled slightly, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil (or not), the lemon juice, almonds, and parsley. (While this was happening I toasted up the rest of the cauliflower and added it in. You can add a little more lemon juice to taste if you like, but it’s already darned lemony.)

Season with additional salt and pepper, and allow the cauliflower to sit for at least 15 minutes, partially covered, for the flavors to develop.

It is excellent at room temperature or can be rewarmed briefly over medium-high heat before serving.

Bringing it:

As with the making of this salad, you have to try pretty hard to mess it up in transport. And it’s good at room temperature. Hello picnics!

Indian Spiced Quinoa over Portabellas

Quinoa plant

Quinoa plant

I found a recipe for Samosa Inspired Quinoa Stuffed Portabellas.  I almost flipped past the recipe given the lengthy title.  But, the recipe intrigued me so I pushed on. Taken individually, I really liked each part of the title of this recipe….

  • Samosa equals Indian spices which I love.
  • Quinoa equals super grain which is always a bonus.
  • Portabellas equals, well, just delicious.

Then came my hesitancy, because, taken individually, I was not so keen with other parts of the title of this recipe…

  • Samosa also equals pie crust and you all know I don’t do pie crust.
  • Stuffed sounds like extra work and I like easy peasy.

Weighing both sides, I decided to forge ahead and make these but with my own twist.  I re-tooled the title to call it “Indian spiced quinoa over portabellas”.  That way, I didn’t have the whole pie crust thing looming over me.  I also thought, why stuff when you can layer which is so much easier! And so, here it is Indian spiced quinoa over portabella mushrooms.   It’s a winner – enjoy!


6 Portabella mushrooms
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
1 cup dry quinoa
1 medium onion
2 medium carrots
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp ginger, minced
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 can chickpeas
Sharp cheddar or other cheese for topping


Clean portabellas with damp paper towel, cut off stems and scrape out black gills. Coat both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on oiled baking sheet, underside up and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Rinse quinoa thoroughly and cook according to package directions.

Heat olive oil in heavy bottomed skillet. Saute onion and carrot until softened (maybe 7 – 8 minutes). Add ginger and cook 2-3 more minutes. Add spices and toss to coat. Add chickpeas (you can mash them a bit if you like). Stir in cilantro.

Spoon veggie mixture over cooked portabellas, sprinkle with cheese and put back in oven until for 20 minutes. Oh and the quinoa that falls off the mushrooms will be extra crispy – this is a huge bonus (save this part for yourself!)

Love the One You’re With Pineapple Salsa


A picture of restraint. Pineapple salsa with Taco Works chips, imported from San Luis Obispo, CA. At left, all the ingredients that did not go into it.

What? Don’t tell me you forgot it was Cinco de Mayo. True, having it fall on a Tuesday is just plain sad (see Marcharitas and weep). Sadder yet is that this is the very first time I realized my birthday day of the week syncs up with Cinco de Mayo. I’m not sure what that means, but it must have something to do with a cicada-like cyclical intensity of birthday season. Regardless, it’s tough to rally for a Tuesday.

BUT, we can get a little tropical and sassy with pineapple salsa. This came about because I had some leftover fresh pineapple from a pineapple avocado salad that I will share with you as soon as I sort out the spice thing. (Suffice to say, habañero and jalapeno are different animals.)

Making salsa is neither complicated nor precise, but it can be messy, especially when you are working with juicy fresh pineapple. The prospect of a sticky cutting board and floor made me turn to the food processor. While that made the pineapple more pulpy than chunky, it makes the finished product easier to eat. Bottom line: you can wrangle even more of it onto a chip, which is the entire goal when a good dip is involved. (See also Ollie’s Trip Salsa, mango jicama guacamole, balsamic black beans.)

Even thought the pineapple gets pulverized, the other key elements stay appropriately chunky so you feel like it’s salsa and not just sauce. I am pretty happy with this salsa for what went in to it, but also for what didn’t. I’m looking at you, mango, avocado, garlic and jicama. Just because I had every Mexican fruit and vegetable didn’t mean I wanted to make you all go get them. Finally, here is the very loose recipe for…

Love the One You’re with Pineapple Salsa

As the name suggests, this salsa is a consequence of what I had in the house. Don’t be shy—go with what you’ve got. LTOYW


  • ½ fresh pineapple (or less), cut into whatever slices you know how to make
  • ¼ red onion (or more if that’s your thing)
  • 1 small or part of a large jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 chunk fresh ginger, chopped (about 1 Tbsp)
  • A responsible amount of fresh cilantro (a healthy handful), chopped. Go with your gut on this. And if you hate cilantro (Beatie) grab some mint instead.
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (totally optional but it was there)


Put the pineapple in the food processor and pulse until all the big chunks are gone and it is the consistency you can imagine eating.

Pour the pineapple into a bowl.

Put the onion, jalapeno, ginger and cilantro in the processor and pulse until desired, edible consistency.

Scrape those veggies into the pineapple. Stir in syrup (if desired) and lime juice. Add salt to taste.

Enjoy with chips, on fish or chicken, on a sandwich, on a spoon…whatever. And while you’re staring at the jicama you didn’t use, cut that baby up and squeeze the other half of the lime over it so you have another thing to dip in the salsa. Happy Cinco de Mayo. May it make your Friday come all the faster!