A Couple of Tarts

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink, for dining alone is leading the life of a lion or wolf. ~ Epicurus

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Variations on a Theme

My power was finally restored last Saturday, five days after it fizzled out. But not before I used it as an excuse to try one more place in Astoria, the taco truck on 30th Avenue and 33rd Street, El Rey del Taco.
It is usually out there in front of Rite Aid every night after 8 pm. I've looked at it longingly on a number of late night returns from Manhattan, but this night I made a special trip from my apartment just to get food there. I had tacos al pastor and they were delicious. The pork was seasoned just right and slightly sweet with pieces of pineapple. The meat was on corn tortillas, simply presented with a bit of lettuce, radish, and a wedge of lime. The also have burritos, quesadillas, tamales, and what I want to try next, tortas.

Once the AC could be turned on again, I was back in the kitchen. I seem to be on a quick bread making kick. There's the zucchini bread I made before and the following recipe is the second batch of banana bread I've whipped up in recent weeks. I have cocoa nibs on hand from Scharffen Berger and I have been trying them out in different dishes. I added a couple handfuls to the banana bread and I really liked the results. They taste like chocolate chips, but with just an edge of bitterness. This recipe calls for whole wheat flour, as well as white, which gives the final product a coarser crumb and a heartier texture.

Banana Bread with Cocoa Nibs

1 cup AP flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup cocoa nibs

1/2 cup butter, soft

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup banana, mashed

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Butter and flour a loaf pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the first five ingredients. Stir in the cocoa nibs and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the softened butter. Add the sugar and then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the banana and vanilla. Fold the dry mixture in to the wet and when thoroughly combined (but not over mixed) scrape into loaf pan. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.


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