Good Smells

Hard to believe in a house full of testosterone, but there were lots of good smells in The Zone this weekend. Last night, I made marinated skirt steaks with chimichurri sauce and homemade french fries (baked in the oven). By the time I served dinner there was a smoky haze of garlic, lime and sour orange hanging over the kitchen. This morning, the house still smelled of smoke grilled meat, so I decided to bake. A few things. All day.

You see, I rarely bake. Baking is an exact science, unlike cooking. Baking makes you pay attention to the exact proportions and mixtures of ingredients, where cooking is far more forgiving. I prefer the laissez faire aspect of cooking to the rigors of baking. But I digress.

Baking . . . why was I baking? To begin with, there were a half dozen overripe bananas on my counter threatening to call the fruit flies. I either had to make banana bread or throw them out because the boys refused to eat them. Banana bread thrift won out. Wild Thing and I made two different recipes, one from The Silver Palate Cookbook and another from a big cookbook of Cookies, Cakes, Pies and Breads. The boys agreed that The Silver Palate banana bread tasted better than the other one. Then the house smelled like bananas and toasted pecans. Mmmmmm.

I offered to bake something else while the oven was on, the mixer was out, and the kitchen was a mess. I gave WT the choice of cookies or brownies. Chocoholic  that he is, he requested brownies. Not your ordinary chocolate brownies with cocoa powder and sugar, but the Triple-Chocolate Fudge Brownie recipe I clipped from “Gourmet” magazine umpteen years ago. The one that required melting the (expensive) Ghirardelli baking chocolate in a double boiler, which I don’t have, or in a metal bowl over simmering water. I learned I do not own a metal bowl suitable for this task, so I improvised:  I used the mixer’s copper liner over a pan of simmering water. Voilá! Chocolate ganache in no time. [Note to self: buy a metal mixing bowl. Second note to self: buy copper cleaner.] Thirty minutes later the most luscious, intense chocolate fudge brownies emerged from the oven, filling the house with mouthwatering cocoa vapors. mmmmmmmMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

The brownies actually cooled in their pan so I could cut them and put them away.  Wizard swiped one this evening. I hope they’ll last until WineGuy returns home tomorrow afternoon. He’s over in South Beach this weekend for the Food Network Wine And Food Festival. Once upon a time we would have attended something like this together. We don’t anymore — don’t get me started — because we have no one to leave the kids with for a weekend away. WG refuses to ask his parents, refuses to accept one of the single teachers from the Snooty School, and refuses to ask anyone from his office. Don’t. Get. Me. Started. So, WG goes on his own and enjoys himself but laments his lonely pursuit. (Tough Trefethen, sweetheart.)

Now, it’s late and I still haven’t read today’s or yesterday’s papers. I may just toss them and turn in. This is The Zone Gourmet wishing you ¡buen provecho and buenas noches!

7 thoughts on “Good Smells

  1. I love banana bread, but I have not found a recipe that makes it come out nice and moist the way I want it to. I’ll have to check out the Silver Palate recipe.

  2. Oh, oh, you know how I struggle with planning meals! Please, can the Need to Feed give recipes for the marinated skirt steak and chimichurri sauce?

  3. Oooh! Post the banana bread and brownie recipes, please. My default for over-ripe bananas is banana chocolate chip muffins, which my kids love, but I’d love a good bread recipe.

  4. Yum…maybe I’ll make banana bread tomorrow. May the brownies last through tomorrow for WG even if he did get away on his own. Harumph!

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