Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Banana (and other stuff) Bread

This is one of those things that embodies fall to me, even if bananas are tropical.  And not just banana bread, but all vegetable-based breads, like zucchini and pumpkin and coconut.  Well, coconut is technically a fruit. So is pumpkin. Damnit, so is zucchini.

That is REALLY not the point.  They are all things that unexpectedly make great tasting bread that I like for breakfast.  In Barbados, coconut bread was a dense, crumbly, amazing local specialty that I ate with a little cream cheese.  I've never been able to recreate it.

And zucchini bread?  Who thunk that up.  Probably a desperate Pilgrim, those crafty frugal pragmatists.

This new banana bread came past a colossal failure with the texture of tofu. Following a recipe closely helped, although* I did add** a few drops of orange oil. *And half a teaspoon of coconut extract.  **And pecans on top, to avoid complaints from Taste Tester who doesn't appreciate my obsession with nuts.

Coconut Banana Bread

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

I used 3 bananas, and my coconut was toasted.  I also used less sugar because all things in moderation/weight watcher's suggestion/processed foods are bad/the hell ever you like.

After mixing all the wet ingredients, stir in the dry (easiest to premix those in another bowl too) and bake in a loaf pan for 1 hour at 350.  Check for a toothpick to come out clean to be sure it's done.

Sick Day / Halloween Preparations

So my pumpkin patch failed epically.  All the babies died in our summer heat.  Maybe next year.

Consequently, I have to decorate for Halloween without the benefit of a pumpkin patch yielding gourds of all shapes and sizes.  I shopped but, on a budget, these craft stores--and even Big Lots!--want so much for everything.  So it's back to basics--do it yourself or don't bother.

And then Rick gave me his flu, so I was stuck home today and the Hallmark channel wasn't cutting it.  I paper mache'd.  Or papier mache'd, if you want to sound like a snobby Gallic artist.  Point is: Martha Stewart would never be this creative on a sick day.

Paper Mache Pumpkins
Stage 1 Get messy with balloons and paper, flour, and water
Recipe for glue: 1 part white flour (wheat tears the paper), 2 parts water
Dip the newspaper pieces, use your fingers like a scizzors to squish off the excess, and stick to a balloon.  I read advice about what direction to lay the paper, but there's no rules.  Just stick it to the balloon and do it again.

Tomorrow I'll either have to re-layer or paint them!

Last Camping Meal

I made this breakfast on our last morning camping, and was really quite proud.  First I layered bacon like a pie pan in a cast iron skillet, then topped that with very thin slices of potato.  On top of a 2-slice thick layer of potatoes, I piled in the green chile + mashed potatoes + bleu cheese we'd had the night before, and created wells in them.  In the wells, I broke two eggs, then nestled the whole shebang into an open fire of coals, topped  with another cast iron.

In about 15 minutes, all was warm and done like a potato layered pie.  I wish I could cook everything in cast iron.