Not-so-innocent whites

In our house, you really can’t go wrong with red wine, particularly a nice New World Syrah or Grenache – but we’re big on whites, too (well, really, we’re just big on wine, and sticking to one colour would be far too limiting).
White wine was actually taboo for quite some time with me, due primarily to a regrettable prom night during which I tried to look sophisticated by drinking white wine. Not only did I not achieve the desired sophistication credit, I awoke with enough headache for three people, and what I thought was a lifelong aversion to white wine.
Then I discovered oaky Chardonnay.
It turns out that there are many, many white wines out there, and not all of them are horribly cheap house wines served in small town bars. It’s true that in the dead of winter, a nice, deep red seems like the way to go, wine-wise, but we do have a few suggestions, starting with the oaky Chardonnay that sparked the whole rediscovery process…

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Use-up-the-bananas Brownies

In our house, bananas are popular – but it’s not uncommon to end up with two or three very sad looking bananas at the end of the week. What to do, what to do…
This is kind of a cheat, but at least it’s an alternative to yet another loaf of banana bread.
2 or 3 sad bananas
1 pkge brownie or cake mix
oil and eggs as per the cake mix instructions (if it calls for 3 eggs, use 2)
1 cup walnuts/choc chips/raisins
Use the food processor to mash the bananas, adding the oil and eggs. Once the banana mash is uniform, mix it into the dry cake mix, adding the nuts or alternative at the end.
Bake according to the cake mix instructions – mine took 25 minutes for a 9″ pan.
I plan on experimenting with this one, not least because I happen to have a box of white cake mix in the cupboard. I think it’s probably possible to add things like oats, but time will tell.
In the meantime, tell me – what do you do with your sad bananas?

It is easy, right?

As I tossed a handful of chopped fresh cilantro into the hot and soup soup I’m making for tonight’s supper, the thought crossed my mind that this soup, like so many of my stand-by recipes, is really easy. In fact, when I posted the recipe, I called it Hot & Sour & Easy.
Then I started to second guess myself. Not about the cooking that was actually underway, but about the casual “oh, that’s easy” attitude I have to most of the things I cook. Initially, I thought, well, it’s really just a matter of having a well-equipped kitchen and a well-stocked pantry – and these are certainly essential to the process, as I have mentioned in previous ramblings.
But then I thought about baking.
I have a well-stocked kitchen – a whole cupboard, in fact referred to in our family as “the baking cupboard”, filled with different flours, different sugars, different rising agents, different baking pans, and different dried things to throw in to one’s cookies/breads/muffins/cakes.
I have a well-equipped kitchen – a Kitchenaid stand mixer, a large oven with convection, whisks in a variety of shapes and sizes, a digital scale, and so on.
Yet the thought of baking, while it does not, perhaps, fill me with dread, certainly does not appeal to me the way cooking does. I love to cook, but I barely like to bake. My cakes are not spectacular. My cookies tend to be on one side or the other of ‘just right.’ My bread is great – but that’s because I let the Ferrari of breadmakers take care of it.
I do not bake to relax (which is probably just as well, at least as far as my waistline is concerned). Baking is not easy.
And custard is just plain mean.
So, when it comes to cooking, I wonder if the things that I think are easy are, in fact, not, really, or at least not for everyone.
And that led me to wonder two things about you (i.e, the two or three people who actually read my posts all the way to the end):
1. What do you find easy that other people might not?
2. What do you find perpetually not so easy?