This morning W woke up smiling, sat up and gave me a hug and asked for eggs on toast and to go to the beach. And I had to say actually no, we’re packing up and leaving now, like right now, because Grandad wants to make the noon ferry. And we’re out of eggs.
So the plan was to leave Tofino this morning (which we did) and take the ferry over to Vancouver (check) and drive to Kelowna, where my Dad has a conference, and where my Mom and Dad were going to stay and golf for the weekend while W and I went to visit my very excellent friend Sue, who lives on the top of Silver Star Mountain, above Vernon. There we were going to drink wine, and she would have unoubtedly fed me (very well), and we would have gone down the moutain on Saturday morning to the Vernon farmers’ market, where after Americanos and non-crap scones (hard to find, but available) we would have strolled back and forth, selecting enough interesting things to head back up hill and keep us occupied in her lovely open kitchen while W placated himself with Disney/Pixar movies and peanut butter spoons and a yellow lab named Lola. And we would have discussed important culinary issues like what to do with twenty pounds of cherries, home-dried to the point of being concentrated and chewy, but not yet raisiny. Sue is one of the very best cooks I know (and I am aquainted with a few professionals) and a brilliant writer – although she doesn’t do it for a living, she should. I was going to ask if she might do a guest post here. She should totally have a food blog.
But. Our plans were kyboshed by the swine flu, namely that her daughter goes to the school in Vernon where one of the students contracted the virus and the entire school was shut down for a week. So perhaps not the very best idea.
Instead, W and I are tagging along to Kelowna, crashing my parents’ hotel room for the weekend. Not the worst way to spend a weekend, but it will involve me killing 6 or so hours with W tomorrow afternoon after checking out of the hotel and before my folks finish their golf game. There is a lake outside – perhaps he won’t notice that it’s not actually an ocean, considering he kept calling the ocean “the pond” (as in, “I’ll throw the shell in that pond!”). When my Dad told him, with that educational slant that Grandads tend to take, that the body of water we were visiting was actually called the Pacific ocean, W started calling it “the Specific Really Big Pond“. When my Mom explained that their new house was overlooking Clayoquot Sound (pronounced Cla-kwhat Sound) he repeated “quack quack.. what’s that sound?” which of course received an awww, how adorable laugh, which he has been receiving in spades this week. When we get home, he’s going to go into serious Grandma withdrawl.
As for how we nourished ourselves on the road today, there wasn’t much junk, as far as days spent eating in the car go. (We left Tofino at 8am and arrived in Kelowna just after 7; it was a day-long drive-ferry-drive. Amazing that you can travel all day and still be in the same province.) I packed up the last of the broccoli-slaw my Mom bought but we never got around to eating (note to self: make Asian sesame-orange vinaigrette for next bag) and ate it in the car at the ferry terminal instead of going in for pizza. We had some surprisingly delicious curried chick pea soup on the ferry. And last night I made muffins with the overripe bananas and pears that had been bashed around in our beach bag but not eaten. I made a couple batches this week, actually, enjoying the novelty of working in a sparse kitchen with limited ingredients – a Kinder-size bag of all-purpose flour, baking soda, sugar, eggs, vanilla and oil, mashed together with a wooden spoon and baked in the only baking tin up there – a jumbo-sized 6 cup muffin tin. When I went into town for espresso I would grab a packet of coarse turbinado sugar (hey, I wasn’t putting any in my coffee; at $4 I figured I was entitled to a packet of sugar) to sprinkle over their tops before they baked.
We ate lots of muffins out of small paper bags this week; hard to resist when you stop for coffee, and it’s something W has taken comfort in. Just so you know, Jupiter has by far the best muffins in Tofino. It’s in the bottom half of a house sort of behind the ice cream shop. They also sell them out at Beaches grocery on your way into town.
Tofino Banana-Pear Muffins
These simple muffins are a perfect canvas for any type of fruit – berries, chunked apples or peaches – everything goes with banana. Or go for chunkily chopped walnuts or a handful of chocolate chips. Plain, they are briliant split while still warm and smeared with peanut butter. If you use pears, don’t bother peeling them – not only is it extra work, you lose a lot of the fiber and nutrients.
2-3 large very ripe bananas
1/2-3/4 cup sugar, white or brown
2 large eggs
2-4 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
1 tsp. vanilla (if you have it)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or half all-purpose and half whole wheat
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ripe pear, roughly chopped (don’t bother peeling it)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 375F.
In a medium bowl, mash together the bananas, sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla with a potato masher or spatula until blended and the bananas are well mashed – don’t worry about getting all the lumps out. Add the flour, baking soda and salt, and stir just until the batter starts coming together; add the pear and walnuts, or whatever additions you are using, and stir just until combined. Don’t overmix, or your muffins could be tough.
Spoon the batter into muffin tins that are lined with paper liners or sprayed with nonstick spray, filling them about 3/4 full. If you like, sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar. Bake for20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your muffins, until golden and the tops are springy to the touch.
Makes 6 jumbo or 10-12 regular muffins.
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