Chances are you live a stone’s throw away from a Thai restaurant in your neighborhood, and you’ve got a go-to local favorite for pad thai. These days I often find myself traveling north of Berkeley, where there’s quite a few wonderful Thai eateries clustered in Albany, El Cerrito and San Pablo locales.
I’d never heard of Monkey Bread until a few weeks ago. The name immediately caught my attention. The image of monkeys picking at a loaf of bread as they would nits off each other’s backs came to mind. Charming, I thought. I wanted to know more about it.
Not that there’s much to know.
The etymology is vague. The term “Monkey Bread” has several possible origins: some people believe that the bread resembles the shape of a monkey puzzle tree, but I feel that these people are out of their heads, perhaps having fallen from the top of one the trees themselves. Other people believe that the name derives from the act of pulling the pastry apart with the fingers, much like monkeys might do, if they were presented with such a treat. I have ruled out the theory that this was a bread frequently baked and fan-mailed to the likes of Mickey Dolenz or Davy Jones by swooning teen-aged girls in the 1960′s because the spelling is all wrong. The timing, however, is only a decade away from being correct.
One of the things I love about cooking around the holidays is experimenting with all the ingredients in my refrigerator. Although I have a great time planning our Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s feasts, I think I enjoy the impromptu ones even more. Take Christmas breakfast this year: although I had every intention of making cinnamon rolls the night before Christmas so we could have freshly-baked ooey gooey deliciousness in the morning, an ill-timed head cold forced me to bed early. So there we were, Christmas morning with no buns. What we did have, however, was a fridge full of fresh and luxurious holiday ingredients.
But a recipe doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming to be delicious and look great. Case in point: Challah French toast stuffed with cream cheese and jam and topped with berries. Regular French toast is a universal favorite, but with just a little extra effort, you can make it exceptional. Even better, this breakfast couldn’t be easier to make and you can even prepare most of the dish the night before.
Noshing on sticky buns the approximate size of your head is a Midwest breakfast tradition. I came to this realization early in life when, on a trip Up North to a friend’s cabin, we had some relief from the constant yodeling (on the radio, not the parents, though it was the their choice of music for three hours straight) when we stopped at Tobie’s in Hinckley, MN. Halfway between Minneapolis and Duluth, Tobie’s is a famous rest stop/family restaurant where people mostly load up on enormous rolls, sticky with caramel and studded with nuts, while reading all about the famous Hinckley fire on informative place mats.
Sunday mornings are special at my house. Instead of rushing around and trying to make breakfast for my daughters while finding homework or soccer shoes, I get to lounge around, reading the paper while my husband cooks up a pot of steel-cut oats. I live for Sunday mornings, with my hot cup of coffee and steaming bowl of oatmeal.
My friend Mark, who knows about everything before I do, has been wanting to go to Brenda’s French Soul Food for months. He planned to take some people to brunch there a few Sundays ago. It was, however, closed. They don’t do Sunday brunch. Who can blame them? Unless drag queens are somehow involved, the […]
The most important meal of the day is too often ignored, lost amidst the grooming and rushing, a mere afterthought to caffeine. It takes hungry, curious children to remind us to slow down (acorn pancakes!) or friends visiting from afar to convince us to unearth our skillets. As someone who grew up slurping big bowls […]
I’ve never been a big fan of oatmeal, or any hot mushy cereal. Yik. But a few years ago, I discovered steel-cut oats, which are also known as coarse-cut oats, Irish oats, Scotch oats, and pinhead oats (I like that name the best). Steel-cut oats are chopped oat groats, which only have the outer hull […]