It was a long, cold winter and a little break in the Mexican sunshine could not have come at a better time. My husband and I recently snuck away for a few gloriously relaxing days to an idyllic coastal area in Baja California Sur about an hour to the north of Cabo San Lucas. It's where the desert and mountains meet the ocean, speckled with organic farms. Yes, it is a far cry from whatever big-resort-margarita-soaked-carnage you might typically associate with Cabo.
We stayed just south of Todos Santos, a 250 year-old fishing village turned artist colony, at a small resort called Rancho Pescadero. From the moment we arrived at the hotel, our shoulders began to melt away from our ears. After a somewhat harrowing ride via a "detour" through a hurricane-ravaged village on the way outskirts of Cabo (signs are apparently optional in these parts), we were met with the most kind and chilled-out reception a Cornell professor could only dream about. The rancho is blessed with the most amazing natural setting; meandering sandy paths thick with majestic cactus (and the occasional extra-large jackrabbit), a wide, pristine beach flanked by mountains rolling into the sea, and views to the east of the soaring Sierra Laguna Mountains.
They also have a really good restaurant on-site that benefits directly from their burgeoning organic garden. Yes, this is one serious farm (and sea) to table scenario. In the evening, they take full advantage of the abundant supply of gnarled driftwood and dot the beach with roaring fires, a perfect match for the cool desert nights, with a cocktail in hand, of course.
One particularly dreamy thing the hotel does is a daily morning delivery to the room of locally roasted coffee, a plate of local fruit, and a small-but-perfect bite of some tropical-inspired bread. Having spent the winter alternating between a gluten-free and paleo diet, a little respite from all that felt beyond decadent. As it inevitably happens, when we returned home, I longed for a little warm and sunny treat.
As I was re-stocking and running around this weekend, I spied some nicely ripened Thai bananas at the Asian market. I love the layer upon layer of subtle flavors that these guys pack and immediately knew how this would go down in my kitchen. The coconut yogurt contributes in a big way to the texture, making the bread dense and more cake-like; a very good thing should you decide to toast a slice and serve it with ice cream. If the nutty taste of the coconut flour isn't enough to convert you, it also comes with some other charms like high fiber and a decent amount of protein. Lastly, I added some alder-smoked chocolate chips (my latest obsession) for a little nod to the sweet, smoke and sea-scented evening air of the ever-lovely Rancho Pescadero.
coconut + banana bread
makes 1 loaf
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter at room temperature
1 t vanilla
1 c really ripe mashed bananas (I use Thai bananas)
3/4 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c coconut flour
3/4 t baking soda
8oz full fat coconut yogurt (I used Noosa)
1/3 c smoked (or regular) chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350º
In an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until smooth.
Add the flours and baking soda just until things come together. Add the bananas, vanilla, and yogurt. Fold in the chocolate chips and pour into a prepared loaf pan.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until done.
**You can absolutely make this recipe with regular or all whole wheat flour by adjusting the baking soda to 1 t and the yogurt to 1/2 c. Because if the high-fiber content, coconut flour absorbs much more liquid than regular flour.