cookbook travels and banana bread squared

A show of hands here–who brings cookbooks home from their travels?

Even with the rise of the electronic recipe (my 11-year-old daughter Googles recipes, despite her mother’s large cookbook collection), paper cookbooks remain popular vacay take-homes. They give travelers return trips, even if just in mind and taste buds.

Opening Makers Markยฎ The Special Touch cookbook, a Kentucky purchase, I smell the bourbon of distillery tours. When the pages of Savoring San Diego are flipped, I see the ubiquitous flowers of that fair city. The Montana Cookbook brings back a sense of open land and Simply Colorado invites visions of rocky mountains.

While relatively close to home, the city of Duluth was another vacation spot worth remembering. (Culinary details from last summer’s camping trip recorded here.) An especially impressive restaurant stop was The Duluth Grill, and their cookbook told the tale of evolution from Ember’s franchise to one-of-a-kind comfort-food haven. The parking lot garden speaks volumes to their emphasis on fresh, locally sourced, and sustainably raised ingredients.

The book’s $30 price tag gave me pause and I left without, knowing I’d find it online for far less. Except I didn’t. The Duluth Grill Cookbook was available only on the restaurant website. I kicked myself (and certainly deserved a kick for not supporting small business when I had the chance), but found redemption in a friend who was making a quick trip that way. She, too, is a big fan of this much-loved restaurant and agreed to bring the cookbook back for me.

sauce with bookJust last week, then, I finally held a copy of this beautiful and lovely book in my hands. To prove its worth, I immediately set out to make Tofu and Walnut Marinara (taking a pass on the walnuts). It was hearty, flavorful, and packed with good-for-you veggies. Two days later it tasted even better and I know I’ll be making this sauce again.

now THIS is a tofu marinara sauce

now THIS is a tofu marinara

beet lemonade and it was really quite good

beet lemonade and it was really quite good

I have my eye on the Ratatouille recipe as well as the Buffalo Tofu Strips, both dishes I enjoyed while there. I’d also love to make their Beet Lemonade, though will have to riff on their standard Lemonade recipe as they do not share the beet version I was so enamored with during my visit.

Minnesota’s bitter cold winter called for a baking recipe, so I also made TDG’sr Chocolate Chip Cookies. In the same manner as an earlier cookie adventure, I experimented with each baking sheet, sprinkling some unbaked cookies with chocolate salt, some with vanilla salt and also mixing in marshmallow bits and even leftover movie popcorn that was sitting on the counter just asking to be poured into the remaining batter. Even without my improv, these cookies were amazing and hit all the right sweet, salty, tender, crisp notes.


because one photo of these amazing cookies would not have been enough

because one photo of these amazing cookies would not have been enough

So here’s to cookbooks and here’s to travel and here’s to those cookbook gems we find when we travel. If you’re looking for the recipe for either the sauce or cookies, let me know in comments or at deLizious facebook and I’ll pass them on your way.

And speaking of sharing recipes, I’ve been on a bit of a banana bread binge lately after finding two renegade recipes on favorite food blogs that demanded to be made. The Cottage Grove House rocked my world with Rye Whiskey Banana Bread

there's rye whiskey in my banana bread!

there’s rye whiskey in my banana bread!

and Shanna over at Curls and Carrots kept my spirits up with Rum-a-Dum-Dum Banana Bread. Thanks, ladies, for two fabulous loaves!

rum-spiked banana bread

rum-spiked banana bread

52 thoughts on “cookbook travels and banana bread squared

  1. I’d love the tofu marinara recipe! That sounds great, and like something my husband could eat (he is lowering his cholesterol naturally, so is on a very limited diet). Is the Duluth Grill Cookbook mostly vegetarian?

    • Will send the marinara recipe to the gmail address I see on your gravatar page–will that work? Yes, it’s mostly vegetarian, though some fish, chicken, and even a bison. All recipes are listed on the link above.

      Glad you came over–good to see you ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Expect the tofu recipe soon ๐Ÿ˜€ The breads are way too much fun and Shanna’s even has whole wheat pastry flour, so it could pass itself off as at least a little bit good-for-you. Thanks, Ada!

  2. Beet lemonade? Totally intriguing! Also oving the Rum-a-Dum-Dum bread with the banana slices on top. And, of course, any baked good with booze is bound to be a hit with me. =) Would love the recipe for those cookies — now that the cleanse is over I need copious amounts of sugar and butter!

    • beet lemonade was indeed intriguing. I think it would’ve made a great base for vodka ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes, how pretty to slice bananas over the bread. Something that seems like a no-brainer, and I’d never heard it before or thought of it myself. Will circle back with the cookie recipe on facebook.

  3. Yum..I actually feel full and I haven’t eaten anything yet. I too am intrigued by the beet lemonade, and the Rum-a-Dum-Dum bread sounds awesome. Ok, never mind, they all sound awesome. Liz, you hit it out of the park again. Just heard that Cookie Monster is now expanding his food groups to healthier options, which has set my food world on its ear. Sometimes you just have to yell COOKIE!!

    • awww, I’m honored if this virtual meal filled you up. And no calories ๐Ÿ˜€ Appreciate your kind words. Yes, the cookie monster has taken a slightly different track. What’s next? Will Oscar the Grouch get his grubby paws on some hand sanitizer?

      Right back at you with COOKIE! And may I add MARSHMALLOW! BROWNIE! ICE CREAM! and COCKTAIL! Still, no calories.

  4. Such a delicious array of foods…yum! I also bring home souvenir cookbooks from my travels – keeping the taste of the destination fresh in my memories ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I don’t buy many cookbooks anymore, but I do so love them! Every now and then I turn to them for awesome recipes. Speaking of banana breads, I was finally able to make banana muffins yesterday…the kids always eat my bananas before I get a chance to use them! Stay warm and enjoy the rest of the week.

  6. Oh, my. Popcorn in chocolate chip cookies ?!? Liz, you’re a genius !!! Obviously, these sound amazing to me on several levels ๐Ÿ™‚ I actually tried a chocolate bar with popcorn in it over the holidays … now I’m imagining using it crushed up in the cookie batter instead of (oh who are we kidding, along with) the chocolate chips … and now I’m going to be distracted for the rest of the morning. Thanks for sharing as always!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Liz–you had me a cookbook. How could it have never occurred to me to buy cookbooks to remind me of my travels. What an awesome idea!!!!

    I recently pre-ordered a gluten-free cookbook that is coming out next month. It promises a gluten-free flour recipe that works just like wheat flour. I cannot wait!!!!

    Thanks for the shout out in your post.

    • Let me know what you think of your new cookbook when it comes, Tracy. Exciting ๐Ÿ˜€ Just looking at the cookies on that post made me hungry for them again. Hope you can make them gluten free, too.

      You have taken a trip or two, so you could potentially have some good ones. Thought of you the other day when I was off to my soy presentation. Drove by the Green Giant sign on the way through Le Sueur.

  8. Nice! I am so glad you had a chance to make the rye whiskey banana bread and you liked it! ๐Ÿ™‚ Makes me very happy. I love this post. I always imagine doing a post like them but never seem to have what it takes to put it together. Thank you for linking back to me!

    • Oh that bread was good! Still haven’t opened the Templeton, but ordered a drink when out that listed Templeton as in ingredient. It was lovely ๐Ÿ™‚ Trying to remember the other ingredients. Will circle back if I do.

      Curious what you mean about doing a post like this. What do you mean?

      Always enjoy reading whatever you launch into the blogosphere.

      • A post where you feature many things you have been making lately. ๐Ÿ™‚ There are so many dinners and impromptu things I make and never post. Feels like I am constantly thinking “I should post this!” and never do.

  9. I also bring cookbooks with me to read – what’s more fun to read than a cookbook? I shall have to check this out. Oh, and as for marinara with tofu – it’s been on my mind lately – I have read how great it can be when shredded and sautรฉed, then added to a sauce. Liz, thank you so much for the kind mention – and showcasing the rum banana bread from Curls and Carrots. Very, very sweet of you. I hope you have a wonderful day! Best, Shanna

    • Marinara sauce recipe to follow ๐Ÿ™‚ Crazy that you were thinking tofu marinara, too, though is it? We’re sharing culinary brainwaves here. Have you tried freezing tofu before? The texture change is irreversible, but makes it more spongy and able to soak up sauces, etc.

      Hope things go well on your end.

  10. i do like to buy cookbooks when i visit places, and for some reason, i’m often fascinated by those local cookbooks created by church groups, schools, women’s groups, etc. they usually contain little tidbits about the contributors or the town’s history or unusual local trivia. i see it as a great reminder of where i’ve been. ps – love the leftover movie popcorn addition to the cookies )

  11. I’m so glad you ended up getting your book! It’s sounds great! The cookies do sound lovely but what really caught my eye was chocolate and vanilla salt- I’ve not tried those but love the sound of them, did you make them?

    • Hi, Jayne! Thanks for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚ I bought the vanilla and chocolate salts from a local shop: Might be available mail order somehow? Though vanilla salt should be as easy as storing vanilla beans with salt for a while. They’re both amazing additions to sweet baked goods.

  12. I love to buy/own cookbooks but have to admit when following a recipe if it’s available online thats where I look it up. Tofu Marinara, beet lemonade. Really creative and I bet they really are delicious. I love beet juice, it’s my favorite mixed with carrot, apple and other good stuff.

    • Even as someone who is paid to work with cookbooks, I also turn more and more often to the internet for recipes. Much easier to google than flip through dozens of indexes.

      The concept of beet lemonade blew me away for sure. Thanks for coming over, Miss Suzanne ๐Ÿ˜€

  13. Tofu marinara that gets better with time? I’d like to try that recipe! A favourite for me is ‘Scarista Style’, about / from a restaurant and B&B in the Outer Hebrides that was near where we stayed. I didn’t get a copy while we were there as had to find a second hand copy online, but it still brings back memories of that incredible place.

    • I’ll be in touch soon soon soon and will also send the tofu recipe. Sounds like you went to great effort to find a souvenir book. Must have been a thrill to finally find it ๐Ÿ˜€ Love how food connects so directly with memories.

      • Thanks Liz, and no worries, I can see you’ve been busy! Food can create such powerful memories. I was just talking to a friend about his recent trip to Vietnam, and one of the first things he said was “We had pho for breakfast almost every day”, with that look on his face! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • You’re killing me here, Becky. First off: Who hates banana bread? No one, that’s who ๐Ÿ˜‰ (just kidding, if you put walnuts in it, I’d hate it, too) And second: So glad you’re here! You’re welcome to climb into food for fun for (virtual) eating anytime.

      • I hate banana bread. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it’s sadly true.
        But don’t tempt me to climb into ANYTHING for some food, because I WILL turn up at your house and make myself comfortable at your fridge…:)

  14. I need to cook more. There I said it. Will I make it happen? Hmmm. I have tons of cookbooks that I love and my favorites of course are two wooden boxes of recipes of my mom’s, in her handwriting. SHE was a fabulous cook and knew how to do it in style too. I should make a point of trying at least one of her recipes a month, huh? I have 4 days left for January…maybe a Feb start? Interesting consideration Liz..look what you may have started! ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh, and popcorn in cookies. I am all in! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Love that recipes connect you to your mother, Bonnie. Aren’t the hand-written cards the best? For sure you should do a one-a-month project. And you could even blog about it ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Yes to popcorn in cookies. Yes yes a resounding yes.

  15. Pingback: Musings, and road trip #1 | Saucy gander


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