Vegan (but you wouldn’t know it) Banana Bread

As I’ve mentioned before, I am not a vegan but I seem to attract people who are to some degree or another. Many of my friends are devoted vegans, others just until dinner, or on mondays, or until they travel to Argentina, or vegan because that’s how they justify their french fry consumption, in other words vaguely vegan….Vague-An. Regardless of how flexible my friends are in their commitment to eliminate all animal products from their diets, I still really enjoy having a recipe in my arsenal that I can offer them when they come over or when I’m invited to their homes.

This banana bread is vegan but you wouldn’t know it. It’s so easy to make, it’s moist, chocolatey, and even the non-vegans in the group will love it. It’s free of animal products but contains (are you sitting down?) WHITE all purpose flour because whole wheat, gluten free, and sawdust flour really alter the magical texture of this recipe. Also, just how annoyingly healthy do you want to be? The secret to this banana bread’s texture: coconut oil. Oh and the (vegan) chocolate chips don’t hurt one bit.  Continue reading (1942)

About Flycakes Kitchen

I was born in Argentina, spent the first ten years of my life moving around South America, and then arrived in Manhattan in the winter of 1975 to an East River that was frozen solid. Quite a shock from the balminess of Punta Del Este. I speak Spanish fluently and have a deep attachment to the foods of my childhood. Time spent sitting across my Abuela’s kitchen table watching her make apple strudel with dough so thin I could see her fingernail color, influences my cooking to this day.

I’m a wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt and consider myself a loyal, empathetic, thoughtful and attentive friend. I smile a lot, laugh loudly and never forget a birthday. I love my birthday, your birthday, everyone’s birthday and expect others to celebrate their birthday and my own like we’re all still six years old. I exercise every day and consider it a non-negotiable appointment I make with myself. Thankfully, I’m married to a man who feels exactly the same way and we rely on each other to get our asses to the gym on those days when the excess of the previous night (probably mezcal) is weighing us down.

My diet is far from perfect (I have a profound love affair with m&m’s and Nestle Crunch) but I try every day to take a long term view on my life, health, diet and the choices I make. I think the recipes I share reflect that balance: healthy, nutritious and simple meals followed by a little indulgence. Until recently, I considered myself a free lance pastry chef and I still very much enjoy that work but what I’ve come to understand is that desserts and sweets are a small part of my life and more importantly mine and my family’s diet. I’ve always felt very strongly that if we’re going to eat that dessert it better be the best tasting, explode-in-your-mouth-with-flavor sweet and it should be made with the purest and wholest ingredients. Ingredients that our bodies will recognize. Bring on the butter, sugar, eggs, and flour but deliver it  in such a way that ONE serving will scratch that itch.

Our son understands the importance of being active and when you live in a city with limited access to the outdooors, encouraging your kid to move can be a challenge. Our decision to spend our summers in Vail, CO is how we compensate for a school year in the city. Does he still play video games and eat crap every once in a while? Of course! But he spends the bulk of his time running, biking swimming, hiking, and playing sports and he is very aware that crap doesn’t count as food.  I strive for balance in my life and I’m trying to teach our son to self-regulate so that he can begin to make good choices in all aspects of his life starting with understanding the difference between ice cream truck ‘ice cream’ and an artisanal batch of gelato.

Flycakes Kitchen is about living life in balance. Finding it, mantaining it, and coming back to it when we’ve lost it.

Enjoy and always let your taste buds soar.

Hugs, Maria (1541)

You’ll-never-buy-it-in-a-jar-again Tomato Sauce

As much as I love cooking, I am here to tell you that there are certain products I will NEVER make from scratch and will shamelessly continue to buy from a store because let’s face it, they are just so good. Spending hours in the kitchen replicating the original gives you bragging rights yes, but it also inspires people to want to punch your smug face and it will NOT taste better than the original.  So, peanut butter, mayonnaise, sriracha (sorry GP), Oreos, Ritz, Mallomars, Graham Crackers, flour tortillas, are perfect the way they are. Move on people.

But if there’s one product that with just a teensy bit of effort can be improved tremendously it is TOMATO SAUCE.  Now, listen readers and listen carefully. If you are having one crazy military operation kind of day and jarred tomato sauce is all you’ve got, then by all means heat that sucker up, boil some pasta and call it dinner. It certainly beats the drive thru at McDonalds or KFC. This is a no judgment zone. Continue reading (2046)

Shannon’s Sesame Citrus Fish

I have a dear friend who is naturally good at everything. She casually decides to pick up a sport, say golf for example and a month later is hitting that ball like she’s been doing it her whole life.  She trains for her first marathon and has a magnificent race finishing way under 4 hours. So when she  invited us over to her house for dinner I wasn’t one bit surprised when she served an unbelievably flavorlful sesame citrus halibut and poured me an intoxicating cocktail :  The Shanny Fanny. Why the name? Because you will be flat on your ass after a just couple of these babies.

Oh and did I forget to mention that she’s 5′ 10″, has thick brown hair like Jacqueline Smith, legs as long as my whole body, can dance like a pro, is fiercely loyal, imitates people like a stand up comic and would die of embarrassment knowing that I am unabashedly singing her praises?

I know, could she be any more flipping enviable? I’m a secure woman otherwise I might just hate her a little bit. This is my love letter to you Shannon!  Continue reading (1147)

The Marinate Anything Marinade

To feel comfortable in the kitchen it really helps to have one or two basic recipes committed to memory. It just builds confidence. When you can make a quick marinade with just a few ingredients, one that pairs perfectly with fish*, poultry, pork and flank steak and also works on the grill, under the broiler or in the oven, you will feel like a rock star.

And it is so unbelievably easy.  Continue reading (1796)

Marathon Brownies

It’s marathon Sunday here in NYC and I am sitting at my kitchen counter, staring at my computer asking myself how I can pay tribute to and honor the unbelievable and awe inspiring physical feat that is the ING New York City Marathon.  I’ve cheered my friends on, gotten choked up at the sea of warriors refusing to give up, sent out all the congratulatory texts and emails, and have high fived runners walking home wrapped in their orange blankets. But what more can I do? Bake some kick ass brownies of course because that’s just what I do. Those who can’t run (this year) bake!

These brownies are easy, quick, require few ingredients, and elicit loud and wildly inappropriate moans from all who indulge. And to all of you who ran 26.2 flipping miles today…. INDULGE THE CRAP OUT OF YOURSELVES

Marathon Brownies

Continue reading (1216)

It’s (finally) getting to be turkey chili weather

Here we are with October virtually behind us and only now will day time temperatures dip below 60. Yeah, yeah, yeah everyone around me loves it and I just feel like I’m being cheated out of that perfectly crisp New York weather. It’s just not natural to go apple picking in shorts people! Fall weather to me means new boots, outdoor running, good hair, and turkey chili. This is a recipe I can comfortably claim as a Flycakes original. I’ve tweaked and adjusted it over the years and honestly I barely even measure the ingredients anymore. It’s simple, healthy, delicious, makes your apartment smell like a spice market and yields so much you can freeze the leftovers for a night when you don’t feel like cooking.

Flycakes Turkey Chili  Continue reading (1008)

Are we sick of chicken yet?

I rarely make red meat at home since a) I don’t eat it b) my husband watches his diet like a girl (no offense honey) c) burgers and steaks are so much better on an outdoor grill and d) steak dinners just masochistically taste amazing when the markup is 500 percent and you’re being served by cranky waiters in ugly suits. So, I buy enough organic chicken to feed an army at Costco and within two weeks it’s gone. Yes, this is another flipping chicken recipe. But it’s delicious, so so easy (have I lied to you about that yet?), and perfect for a fall night when you don’t feel like cooking but feel like a shitty wife and mother if you don’t.

Roasted Red Chili Paste Chicken Curry Continue reading (2265)

“Grandmother’s” Chicken

I’ve been debating since I started this blog if I should share this recipe. Why? Because it’s the type of ‘Good-Housekeeping-Sandra-Lee-semi-home-made” recipe that I hesitate to admit I love. Let’s face it no one REALLY reads this blog (yet?) and other than my family and friends (that I generously bribe), no one really gives a rat’s ass what I have to say. I’ve got nothing to lose so here goes.  Continue reading (911)

It’s Vegan Pumpkin Muffins Charlie Brown

NO, you haven’t mistakenly stumbled upon someone else’s blog. Yes, I am still passionately in love with butter and eggs and I am far from vegan. But, perhaps I am vaguely vegan: a vague-an.  I rarely eat meat these days, but the Argentine in me suspects I haven’t given up steak for the rest of my life. I can go days living on vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts but then find myself craving fish or chicken. When I bake I’m usually very stubborn about avoiding substitutes for the butter, eggs, dairy because since sweets should only account for a small fraction of your daily caloric intake why not make it really count. And, sorry folks but something made with dates and almond milk just isn’t going to scratch my itch. Until now…. Continue reading (1268)