Tag Archives: Banana Bread

Could The Humble Banana Bread Generate This Much Interest?

By Lakshmi:

As a recent subscriber to Bon Appetit magazine, I’m loving the armchair journeys that I get to take to kitchens, dishes and places around the world.  I was thumbing halfway through the March issue when I glanced at a title that said, “A Slice of Paradise.”  The byline was “Twelve hours in coach for a loaf of banana bread.”  It took me seconds to be transported to Maui from the comfort of my home.  Once there, I discovered the magic created in so many places across the island by that humble combination of locally abundant bananas, sugar, eggs and oil.

Andrew McCarthy’s prose made me want to sample every kind available.  Why were you so late writing this Andrew?  We were in Maui twice and missed this local treasure.  On a day long trip on the Road to Hana, Julia’s banana bread would have added that perfect start to our day.

Julia’s roadside stand sells some of the best banana bread on the island.  Given that an actual meeting with Julia’s concoction may not happen for some time, I decided to pay her a virtual reality visit – I baked a loaf of her famous banana bread from the recipe provided in the article.

The bread was scrumptious.  Crisp on the outside, soft flecks of banana creating a mosaic like landscape on the interior.  A bread that was more indulgent and rich than the many dozens I had baked in the past.

I was not alone in my reaction to the article.  A quick web search revealed a legion of travelers and bakers opining on the merits and demerits of the bread….I discovered an entire discussion thread on Tripadvisor talking about the taste differences between various types of bananas.

If you’d like to escape to McCarthy’s Maui, you can read his article here:


Julia’s Banana Best Bread recipe can be found here:


PS:  The picture featured in this article is my output of Julia’s recipe:)

A “Molto Bene” Off The Beaten Track Italian Meal

By Lakshmi:

Last night, a dear friend made reservations for us to dine at Molto Bene, a small jewel box like Italian restaurant located in the heart of historic Cranbury in New Jersey.  Named for the Italian term “very good”, this tiny restaurant packs in a bar, a mercato (market) and a dining area in its compact space, which is always brimming with diners.

As we noticed the diners around us, it was clear that this place was different from many an Italian restaurant.  The plates coming on to the tables were diminutive with beautifully presented assortments of food.

Our native Italian friend decided that trying a series of small platters was the way to experience the full array of tastes available at our disposal.  The first bite of the Palline di Palermo (Chickpea Fritters) served with a lemon alioli yogurt sauce had our taste buds singing.  Reminiscent of the falafel (for its ingredients) and an Indian cutlet (for its texture), these crisp on the outside, smooth on the inside concoctions were awesome.  The Polenta Fritta (Polenta Fries) that followed were a simple rendition of polenta that paired beautifully with the mozzarella cream rouille.  Our vegetarian version of the Ricotta al Forno (Baked Ricotta) with homemade fig marmalade and flatbread blended the salty and sweet into a perfect mix of flavors.

From an impressive start of appetizers, none of which we had savored before, we moved on to their CICCHETTI chi-KE-tee (Small plates) dishes.  We started with a tomato bruschetta and followed it with a Ricotta Gnocchi Fatta in Casa (perfect pieces of gnocci in a very simple tomato sauce).

For those wondering if we were satiated at this point, the answer is…life is too short to not indulge in dessert.  So, out came the traditional Tiramisu, a warm banana bread pudding, crisp friend Zeppoles (Italian mini donuts) with chocolate sauce and some homemade cookies to compensate for our missing macaroni entrée.

A final shot of espresso capped a “molto bene” evening spent with friends discovering a new world of Italian cuisine.

If you’d like to learn more about Molto Bene or explore their off the beaten track menu for inspiration, click here: