Food news roundup

A “healthy” cafe that serves barbecue? Sounds like my kind of health food – like when I went to the dear departed Porthole in Chapel Hill, N.C. and ordered ground beef sprinkled on top of my salad. Read more about the new downtown Raleigh, N.C. restaurant in News & Observer restaurant critic Greg Cox’s column, here.

Classic Southern banana pudding is on the mind of Charlotte (N.C.) Observer food editor Kathleen Purvis. Bananas don’t grow here, so why ‘nanner pudding? Learn some food history here. (It’s in the N&O today, too.) And as a personal aside, find out when Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, N.C. has banana pudding on the menu – it’ll make you forget all about the vanilla wafer kind. Now, if your mama always used the recipe off the vanilla wafer box and it tasted like it was created by heaven’s angels, don’t send me nasty emails – I’m sure it was as soft as clouds and the best thing ever.

Whew. Dodged that bullet. Now, in The Independent (Durham, N.C.), read about a student-led food revolution on college campuses. The story is here.

I’m contemplating a trip to Maine, so I checked out the Portland Press Herald. Its food section has an article on soda fans who are creating healthier fizzy beverages at home. Pop a cap and read here.

Is induction cooking worth it? The speed and heat level is said to be awesome. The New York Times explores the issue here.

Going coconutty

I was in the mood for something sweet this morning. Actually, what I really wanted was ice cream, but I was contemplating a baked good that the dairy-allergic husband could eat. There was a can of coconut milk in the pantry, so I adapted a buttermilk spice quick bread that I used to make a lot. It came out a little dense, so I think I will up the baking powder next time, but it’s pretty good. Only a hint of coconut flavor – not excessively so. See what y’all think. Mace is similar to nutmeg, but I prefer the flavor over nutmeg.

Coconut Milk Spice Bread

1/2 cup unsalted nondairy margarine, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon mace

1 cup canned coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the margarine and sugar together. Add the egg and mix well.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and spices. Canned coconut milk can separate, so pour the entire can of coconut milk into a small  bowl and stir it until it’s recombined. Then measure out 1 cup. Stir the vanilla into the cup of coconut milk.

Running the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and coconut milk alternatively, beginning and ending with flour. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.