Monday, May 3, 2010

Peanut Butter and Banana and Heather Trim

The Peanut Bureau of Canada recently partnered with food editor and writer Heather Trim to create easy and nutritious five-ingredient recipes that will help families on the go fuel up fast. I've long been a fan of Food & Drink magazine from LCBO, and Heather Trim has been a recurring contributor for that magazine.

In the Winter 2010 issue, she had two recipes published: Spicy Chickpea Tacos and Indian Chickpeas and Potatoes. I thought it would be interesting to do an interview with her.

Whisk: Can you tell me what it was that ignited within you a passion for food?

Trim: My passion for food probably started when I was a child – like many people who work with food. My childhood included trips to the St Lawrence Market with my dad, where the stall owner would let us taste the cheese and olives, etc. There was also a woman who lived on my street who entertained a lot. She made everything from scratch, including breads and pastry and I would often help her. Of course, like most kids, I loved making chocolate chip cookies.

Whisk: Could you share with me one of your favorite food memories?

Trim: What comes to mind is eating Penang Laksa in Malaysia – this unbelievably delicious thick noodle soup. I have tried to search it out here in Toronto and there is only one Malaysian restaurant that seems to do a form of Laksa (there are many different styles).

Whisk: Tell me a little bit about this project and how you came to be a part of it.

Trim: I think one day I was speaking with one of the women who works at Argyle, while slapping some peanut butter on some banana bread I had made. Reason for this – one of my girls was going off to hockey and she needed something nutritious to eat before leaving. One thing led to another....

Whisk: How do you find the time to cook from scratch?

Trim: I make it a priority, and find the time to cook from scratch. It doesn't need to be fancy – just simple, good food. As well, I don't feel guilty if for dinner the odd night we have scrambled eggs and a tomato salad or I'll make up some Peanut Basil Pesto – freeze some for later and use some for pasta that night. It’s quick, everyone likes it and it's nutritious.

Whisk: What are five pantry items that we should stock to make these five-ingredient recipes?

Trim: Five is tricky but olive oil, Parmesan, peanut butter, peanuts, carrots (and a host of spices)!

Whisk: What shortcuts can you recommend?

Trim: I have staples in my fridge, freezer and cupboard. I always have lots of fruits and vegetables (carrots, onions, pepper all last a while) and make use of leftover vegetables in stir-fries, soups or omelettes. Freeze some whole wheat pita – great for pizza as well as sandwiches or just to slather peanut butter over for a quick snack. I have quite a few Asian sauces (soy, rice vinegar, chili garlic sauce) so I don't need to run out and get them. They add a ton of flavor and last forever.

Whisk: What is your favorite recipe from your collection of five-ingredient recipes?

Trim: My personal favorite is perhaps the Grilled Peanut Butter and Spiced Banana Sandwich as it is fast, comforting and delicious. I always have bananas, peanut butter and bread. Both you can buy anywhere too.

Whisk: Did your children get to taste test or influence the recipes in this collection?

Trim: My kids and all the neighborhood kids taste test everything. In fact, one of the kids always asks me when I'm doing peanut recipes again. I have come home to find kids in the kitchen making my recipes. So yes, they do influence these stories. Both my children are good eaters and have pretty good opinions on these sorts of things.

Whisk: What do you make for yourself after a long day at work?

Trim: After a long day of work, if it's just me I make something super easy. Remember, I am often cooking and tasting all day so I am not that hungry. So it might be a tart apple with a slice of baguette and some sharp cheddar. Or, for this story, as I was testing the recipes, I had a lot of peanut butter so instead of the cheese I may have had peanut butter. So I do mean really simple. However, I still make dinner for the rest of the family.

Whisk: Would you define yourself as a cook or a baker?

Trim: I am both a cook and a baker. I love to bake but I don't have a sweet tooth. One bite is good enough. However, it appears the baking is now done by my girls – one in particular is excellent – and I don't mean just chocolate chip cookies. She pulls out the Julia Child baking book and makes things from that.

Whisk: If you could spend time baking or cooking with any figure in the food world--living or dead--who would it be?

Trim: That’s a hard question. I have to name a few. Julia Child of course, as I did some work on her book when she was here and she was unbelievably gracious, full of energy and experience. Then Biba Caggiano for her Italian cooking and lovely disposition. Dorie Greenspan as a baker as I love her recipes. Oh yes, and Claire Clark, the former pastry chef of the French Laundry (ranked as one of the must-go to restaurants in the world located in California). I worked for her in Toronto and she has so much knowledge. I guess I could go on – with food there is always so much to learn and the industry is filled with passionate people.

Whisk: Have you always wanted to be a food writer?

Trim: I actually consider myself to be a food person who has learned to write. My aim was always to work in food in some capacity. Then the writing part fell into place.

Whisk: How did you go about getting started in the food writing business?

Trim: I was working in the food business doing as much as I could, learning from great people in many facets (catering, food styling and testing), then I got a call from the former Food Editor of Chatelaine - Monda Rosenberg. Well, several interviews later, I was the Assistant Food Editor of Chatelaine. A great job where you are writing and testing so many recipes ensuring that they work, With Monda's trained eye mentoring you, you become experienced. Thus my start.

Whisk: Can you give some advice to food bloggers?

Trim: I have never blogged, so I am limited in my advice. However, the advice I do give to people who want to do my job – do everything and anything you can relating to food and try to do it with the best people, even if it does not mean a big pay cheque. You'll learn from the best – making you better.

Recipe for Grilled Peanut Butter and Spiced Banana Sandwich

Recipe courtesy Peanut Bureau of Canada

Makes one sandwich (can easily be doubled)

2 slices raisin, whole wheat or regular sandwich bread
butter, as needed
2 tablespoons (30ml) peanut butter
½ banana, thinly sliced
generous sprinkles brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger

Lightly spread one side of each bread slice with butter. Spread other side of each slice with peanut butter. Layer banana slices on peanut butter on one of the slices. Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger. Top with other bread slice, peanut butter side down.

Set a medium frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add sandwich. Cook until a deep golden on each side, adjusting heat as needed, about three minutes a side. Slice into quarters.

More recipes from the Peanut Bureau of Canada

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    Unknown said...

    mmm delicious!

    Unknown said...

    Wooo che buono,mangerei volentieri una fetta per dami tanta energia :)

    lisa is cooking said...

    I like her advice to just keep learning. And, the peanut butter sandwich looks fantastic!

    Katrina said...

    That sammie looks like heaven to me! LOVE banana and pb!

    Katie said...

    Looks delicious! I make these for myself if I've had a bad day or need some energy. Indulgant yet still healthy

    Lori said...

    Great interview! I need to get my hands on those chickpea recipes you mentioned. :)

    I love the spice combo in this pb/banana sandwich. This would go over really well in our house.