Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blissing out in Bellingham

It is such a nice day out - SUN - just breaking sixty degrees - blue skies. I have my running pants and wind shirt on, trying to summon some motivation to go out and play, or at least walk the dog around the island. I know the weather is about to change, change for a long winter. Instead, I am finding every excuses not to step foot outside (sorry Natasha) and the biggest excuses is that Bellingham and all its great parties gave me a cold and my body aches awfully bad.

When I was a child I never lost my appetite when I got sick, and still to this day I get sick and try to eat it away. I sit here today and just tried to vanish a cold through some comfort food. Today the choices have been less than productive to a compromised immune system (what - a bag of Sun Chips can't be that bad - I am just saying - garden salsa in a compostable bag).

Yesterday I had company in trying to win over the cold by feeding it sweets and creamy spicy tea in a fancy new little bakery/coffee bar/wine/beer/port cute and cuddly space.  My sweet friend and Bellingham hostess for the weekend ventured down to Pure Bliss Desserts, a friends' newest addition to the core of Bellingham's downtown. 

Pure Bliss is the cute, hip, fancy, and welcoming intimate gathering spot that Bellingham can use. Open in the evenings, we can now venture out for a slice of cake (chocolate of course) and a glass of port, pure bliss (that is if I was still in the frumpy town). I can't forget, one of the best parts of this experience is that the dear writer of One Hungry Soul (she is a gem) a local, here in Bellingham by choice (it seems) is the cuttie pie behind the counter along with her darling younger sister. Do I have your attention now!?!

The colors are cohesive, crisp and cheerful while creating a warm space dotted with glittering chandeliers and pulled together with fresh flowers. The selection of dessert ranges from bars, a handful of cakes, a few cupcakes and several choices of cookies. I had a molasses cookie that was a texture that I enjoyed, not too sweet, buttery, or heavy. It was gone in just a few minutes, I approve. I brought John home three different varieties of short bread (the verdict is yet to come in).

Next time you happen to be wandering the streets of Bellingham, pop in and give the ladies a warm smile, they are sweet as the treats and cute as can be.

Cookies couldn't make me feel better, savory chips didn't do the trick, I needed to bake something myself. I needed something out of my (temporary) kitchen. I needed banana bread. I made banana bread. I put flax in it because I needed crunch and it makes the dough pretty.

Tuck this away. It soothes colds, with butter it can comfort a hangover. Tuck it away. 

Banana Bread
Makes one 9-inch loaf

Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
If you don't own this book yet, get it, thank me later. 
The key to great banana bread is ripe bananas. If your naners are yellow, which are too starchy to cook with, you can give them a 15 minute sunbath to really bring out the sugars that have develop in brown, ripened bananas. When you start to preheat the oven, plop the unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet in the oven and let them roast for 15 to 20 minutes, remove, cool slightly and peel. Sweetness!

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas, 1 1/2 cups mashed
6 tablespoons butter slightly melted
2 large eggs
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup whole flax seed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan.

2. Whisk flour sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the mashed bananas, melted butter, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla together in a separate bowl. Gently fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture with a spatula don't forget the flax. Do not over mix, just let it be bumpy and frumpy.

3. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake until golden brown and the tooth pick inserted into the center comes out close to clean, about 50 - 55 minutes.

4. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack for an hour.


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