Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer Fruit

I've been spending a lot of time in the kitchen this summer .. usually baking .. baking and daydreaming. It's lovely and luxurious .. and fleeting. It's already the second week of August, and soon, instead of dreaming about berry popsicles, strawberry compote and watermelon, it'll be pencils, screaming pre-teens and chalk dust. We've discussed the fleeting nature of summer and its natural goodness already, so I'll spare you the lament. Instead, I'll share a quick little recipe. I know, I know. That best way to enjoy summer fruit is to just eat it. Yup, I agree. I was going to make a watermelon and peach gazpacho inspired by the watermelon strawberry gazpacho I read about over at Delicious Days after I got a beautiful yellow watermelon from the local farmer's market ... but ... the watermelon was just soooooo good on its own. I also bought a little basket of peaches. Although I did eat most of them, I sacrificed a couple to make this bread .. twice ..

It's delicious. It's comforting, and easy. It's sugar crusted! It makes use of some beautiful late summer fruit and gives just a subtle hint of those warm fall flavours that are right around the corner. It's also vegan and wholesome. It's from Joy the Baker, who's by the way my baking hero. She made a vegan mango banana bread and it looked so beautiful that I had to try it. However, I didn't have enough mango left, so I added a peach. My fruit-cake ratio was heavier on the fruit, but it was still beautiful. I also used freshly grated ginger instead of the ground ginger that the original recipe called for and it gave the bread a beautiful warm glow. I also played around with flours. I used a combination of whole wheat, kamut and spelt flours. Delicious. The second time I made this bread, I used apple butter instead of canola oil (low-fat snack? yes!!) and it still tasted perfect. I could totally eat this cake for breakfast and feel no guilt. Nope. None at all. That deserves another coffee... (keep scrolling after the recipe!).

Vegan Banana Peach Bread

makes one little loaf adapted from Joy the Baker
*I halved Joy's recipe, so I'm sure the one below doubles beautifully

1 large ripe banana, mashed
1/2 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons of canola oil (or apple butter)
3 tablespoons of soy or almond milk
2 tablespoons of brown sugar (reduce to 1 if you're using apple butter)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour (or a combo of whole wheat, spelt and kamut)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom
a pinch of salt
2 peaches, skinned and diced, or a combo of peach and mango (go nuts with the fruit! blueberries would rock! so would sweet yellow plums!)
2 teaspoons of sugar

1. In a large bowl, mix together the mashed banana, ginger, soy/almond milk, oil or apple butter, brown sugar and vanilla. Mix it well!

2. Sift in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Gently this time, mix until just combined. Add in the peaches or whatever fruit you're using and give it one final mix.

3. Pour into a greased loaf pan and sprinkle the sugar one top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

4. Serve with coffee .. yes ... coffee

Coffee Update!
Sorry! I've been too lazy to update, but we've made tremendous progress!

Ella's Uncle: drip, americano and cappuccino, enjoyed with
their famous berry scones.. so fruity and light... trying to remake them...

Jimmy's Coffee: drip, cappuccino and americano enjoyed with a fruit and yogurt cup.. lovely space and delicious coffee! I've already make repeat visits!

La Merceria: drip, americano and cappuccino along with a spinach empanada, alfajore cookie and complimentary buttery biscuits (served when you order a coffee); very cute! lovely coffee and you can also shop for things like bath salts, linens and homemade jams..

Full of Beans: drip, iced coffee and cappuccino enjoyed with some scones

T.A.N. (in Baldwin Village): two iced americanos and an iced cappuccino enjoyed with a vegan cashew cookie and an oatmeal cookie; beautiful, dark, rich espresso.. yum!

Cafe Unwind: americanos and iced cappucinno (repeat visits .. once enjoyed with a freshly baked strawberry and banana muffin spiced with allspiced.. yum!); hidden away on a residential strip, well worth the search!

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