In 2004 the California whirlwind to see everything in our state began. What I learned is that too many of us do not appreciate where we live until we leave. California has so much to see and one year is not sufficient, but we tried anyway. We had never seen Yosemite...I know for many of you your jaw just hit the floor, but it's true. Living so close we thought we would eventually get around to it. We didn't. Thus why before heading out to our new adventure in North Carolina we went to see what every tourist who loves nature or Ansel Adams travels thousands of miles to behold. It is as spectacular and jaw dropping as the pictures depict but in another realm, photos do not do the marvels justice.
This being one of our many adventures to conquer in the year before our big move we also decided to truly go Big and hit up the famous Thomas Keller restaurant in Napa. If you are a foodie you already know what I am talking about. Reservations are required two months in advance to the day and if you get in on the phone you jump for joy. Marked my calendar in January 2004 so as to set the speed dial early for the March date that we wanted for our anniversary. Low and Behold at 8 am on the dot a woman answered. The conversation went something like...
Her: "The French Laundry this is ---- thank you for calling how may I be of service to you?"
Me: "Oh. Hi. (LONG Pause because I was still only on my first cup of coffee and had not expected to actually talk to a person for at least an hour") Uhhm I wanted to make a reservation for dinner."
Her: Wonderful and what day would you like for the reservation?"
Me: (Me Again still thinking I dialed the wrong number) "Oh. Yeah March 29."
Her: "Of course. We would love to have you. Our dinner is at 6pm. How many will be coming?"
Me: "Oh yeah just for two." (Once more stumbling like a drunken bee.) "Oh cool yeah it's our anniversary. My husband and I are coming..." (I am sure you get the picture, I gave a mini life story about moving, wanting to get come to the restaurant prior to leaving California etc. Needless to say the woman (I wish I remembered her name- she knew mine after two seconds) listened through my story, made my reservation and managed to make me feel like I had just made plans with the Queen of England who was so happy to have me coming despite my broken, stuttering, lack of coffee speech.
Our dinner was mind blowing and definitely up there with Yosemite valley in my mind not that waterfalls and Half Dome can compare to a restaurant but let's just say 2004 will never be forgotten. My love affair with Thomas Keller's cooking continued although the budget stopped after the French Laundry and went into making my own food instead. So in case you are wondering what does Banana Nut Muffins have to do with my 2004 year of National Parks and fancy restaurants check out the author of the cookbook whom inspired me to make them.
Mr. Keller I have enjoyed your love of food, thanks for sharing with me and to my readers out there in the world wide web, don't miss out on your experiences of your hometown. They surround you, go out and find them!
Ingredients for muffin
- 168 grams Whole wheat pastry flour
- 3.6 grams baking soda
- 2.4 grams baking powder
- 4.4 grams kosher salt
- 120 grams unsalted butter at room temp
- 144 grams light brown sugar
- 80 grams eggs
- 7 grams vanilla paste
- 24 grams sour cream
- 256 grams mashed banana
- 100 grams all purpose flour
- 100 grams granulated sugar
- 100 grams walnuts, chopped finely
- 0.4 kosher salt
- 100 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
Sift the pastry flour,baking soda, powder, into a medium bowl. Add the salt and whisk together.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, turn to medium-low speed, and cream the butter, until it has the consistency of mayonnaise. Add the sugar and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla paste, and mix for 15 to 30 seconds on low speed, unti just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX.
Add the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for 15 seconds after each, or until just combined. Again, DO NOT OVERMIX. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that have settled there. Add the sour cream and mashed banana and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, until just combined. Transfer teh batter to a covered container and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 36 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line the muffin pan with the muffin papers and spray the papers with non stick spray. If using paper molds do not place inside muffin pans but do still spray.
Spoon the batter evenly into the papers, stopping half inch from the top. Sprinkle streusel on top of each muffin.
Place the pan in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F, and bake for 35 to 38 minutes, until the muffins are golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. set the pan on a cooling rack and cool.
Combine all of the ingredients except the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mi on the lowest setting. Toss in the butter and mix on low speed for about 1 minute, or until the butter is incorporated, with no large chunks remaining.
Transfer the streusel to a covered container or a resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for at least two hours, or up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 1 month. Use the streusel while it is cold.
- Muffins are best the day they are baked but can be wrapped individually in a few layers of plastic wrap
- You can freeze the muffins for up to one week, baked
- Do Not Overmix Dough or you will have dry and tough muffins
- Great way to use up old bananas or if you don't have time to make them freeze the bananas with the skin removed until you are ready to use then defrost
What restaurants, places, special spots do you find inspiring?
-thanks for sharing below with theWhiteradish