Sunday, May 2, 2010


If you read this little blog you would probably think that I only eat bananas and baked goods.  I eat other things too, I swear.  But when Gold, I mean ripely brown bananas protruding with sweetness magically appear on my door step, I can't let them go un-baked.  (Thanks Brynn)  I make several Banana Bread recipes all with a slight variation either with chocolate chips, crystallized ginger or whole wheat flour.  But this time I decided to go with a classic James Beard Banana Bread Recipe.  It has the least amount of ingredients and least fuss of them all.  It is a little bit lighter and less sweet which is perfect for breakfast.  I don't like eating sweets in the morning when I wake up.  They leave my stomach a little unsettled all day.

I am still trying to decide if I like sweet breads made into muffins or a loaf.  The muffins cook faster and are easy to take on the go.  But the bread is moist, sweeter and crunchier and way more grown up.  I pretend to be grown up and responsible but all I really want to do is be a kid and go play in the backyard.  Can I get paid for that?  So I make both!  A happy medium, but I hate cleaning that muffin tin especially when I run out of muffin papers.  

Banana Bread


½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed, very ripe bananas (2 large or 3 medium)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans


Preheat oven to 350°. Lavishly butter or Crisco a 9-inch x 5-inch x 3-inch loaf pan.

Cream the butter and gradually add the sugar. Mix well. Add the eggs and mashed bananas and blend thoroughly. 

Sift or mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Combine the milk and lemon juice, which will curdle a bit.  Slowly and alternately fold in the flour mixture and milk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Blend well after each addition. Stir in the nuts.

Pour batter into the pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the bread springs back when lightly touched in the center.  For muffins bake for 15 - 20 minutes.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ready Set Eat

To Grandma’s house we go. Always something new to us to eat always at least 100 years old to Grandma. Something new to learn and always way too much to eat. This time it was (let the drum roll begin): minced beef roast sandwiches; banana nut cookies; manicotti stuffed with meat, spinach, onion, ricotta and parmesan; shrimp salad, bunt Cake with Brown sugar topping, overnight soaked French Toast, Ham, Scalloped potatoes, guacamole. Lot’s of wine and drinks. And that was all in about 24 hours.

But from this trip I took Banana goodness cookies. I have no clue where this recipe originates. But apparently it’s 100 years old and pretty good. The only deviation from the recipe was that I used butter instead of margarine. I don’t even know where to buy that stuff! The butter made the cookies taste a little sweeter and not as crunchy. I would probably add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of rolled oats to the batter as well.

Another addition to this blog is pictures taken with my new camera. Well it isn't that new anymore, I got it a couple of months ago. But I have been so busy with work and living that I haven't had a chance to sit down and document my adventures in the kitchen. But I love this camera! It's a 5D Canon, I bought a 50 mm 1.4 lens for the camera. It's been a lot of fun so far. I still need to sit down and figure out how to really use the camera too.

Banana Cookies

Cook 10-12 min at 400

3/4 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup fine mashed bananas
1/2 cup nuts or dates
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 6 oz pk butterscotch chips

Cream margarine (butter), sugar and egg with a hand mixer.  Add flour, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg.  Beat.  Add rolled oats, bananas, butterscotch chips and nuts. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Little Bit of This...A Lot a Bit of That....

While working in Yountville and managing a wine tasting room, pretty much the best part of my every day is Not the incredible wine I get to sell and taste every day, but the delivery of warm, baked, beige and brown, crunchy on the outside, moist and fluffy on the inside goodness that TK's Bakery makes every day. I am referring to Bouchon Bakery, by Thomas Keller, pretty much the best Bakery on the face of this earth (expect for Beverlywood Bakery, Chocolate Round, West Sider's know what I'm talking about).

Keller, as the story goes, shortly after he opened the French Laundry and Bouchon, wanted to have a Yountville bakery to supply his and other local restaurants breads and pastries on a daily basis. So every day the Bouchon Bakery delivery bike (yes a bike, with a giant, warming oven box on the front) comes by and delivers our epi baguettes to the tasting room for our featured Olive Oil tastings. At around 11:15, right around the time you are almost ready for lunch, the epi comes to our door fluffy and warm, almost with steam coming up as you break the bread apart. Pretty much the best snack ever!

We always have bread left over at the end of the day, and what better application of day old bread than delicious Chocolate Bread Pudding!!!!

The next evening, letting the bread get a little tougher, I spent all of 10 minutes putting this delicious goodness together. The recipe is an adaptation of Paula Deans incredibly unhealthy recipe, making it with just a little less butter. A friend passed this recipe on to me, but failed to provide me with exact ingredients, so if you feel there is too much of one thing (sugar) and not enough of another (Frangelico/Vanilla) ... feel free to add your own twist.

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

1-3 day old French Bread
2 cups Milk
1/2-3/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 1/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
2-4 handful of Chocolate Chips (depending on how big your sweet tooth is)
4T Frangelico
1-2T Vanilla Extract
Butter cut into cubes for top of pudding

5 eggs - optional if you want a custard like dish or exclude if you want creamy milky bread - either way is good.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Break up bread into small chunks, enough to cover a 9x13 pyrex
Combine all above ingredients, except for butter (egg is optional)
Pour over bread chunks
Let sit for 15 minutes
Put cubes of butter over top of dish
Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown on top