Thursday, May 19, 2005

I'm Chiquita Banana and I'm here to say, I think you should make banana bread today.

Interesting factoids about bananas:
  1. Bananas are the world's most popular fruit.
  2. They are documented as being eaten as early as 6 B.C.E.
  3. When bananas were first discovered, they were as small as a man's finger. Hence the name Banana, from the Arabic word banan, for finger.
  4. The banana plant is not a tree. It is the world's largest herb.
I love bananas. In addition to being delicious and nutritious, they are also convenient and portable. They do not, however, make a good car snack if you drive stick. Believe me, I have tried. They are delicious in a variety of desserts, my favorites being fried bananas, banana fritters, banana splits, and the ever popular banana bread. While banana bread isn't liked by everyone, those who do are usually passionate about this sweet treat. Last night I baked a loaf of banana bread for a friend who claims not to have a sweet tooth, but is definitely a huge fan of banana bread. The smell of the bread baking is enough to make you a few new friends. It's warm and sweet and nutty and homey. Yum. After devouring two huge pieces of the bread still warm from the oven, this is what it looked like.

The reason I love this recipe is because it's incredibly easy and doesn't use any oil, nor does it require any kind of expensive kitchen equipment, such as a Kitchen Aid. Instead it contains yogurt and butter, and you can mix it all up in a few bowls. Since I was making this at my friend's house, it turned out a little differently than normal because I don't know his oven. But it was still great. If you like nuts, which I do, I recommend using toasted pecans in this recipe. You can also use walnuts if you prefer.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, chopped
3 ripe, soft, darkly speckled large bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup plain yogurt (you can also use vanilla yogurt)
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
6 tablespoons butter, melted then cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease bottom only of regular loaf pan, or grease and flour bottom and sides of nonstick 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan.
Combine dry ingredients together in large bowl and set aside.
Mix mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with wooden spoon in medium bowl.
Lightly fold banana mixture into dry ingredients with rubber spatula until just combined and batter looks thick and chunky.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan; bake until loaf is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 55 minutes.
Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.
Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for 4 days, on the counter for 2 days.

Recipe taken from The Best Recipe, from the editors of Cook's Illustrated a fun and informative cooking magazine where they experiment to find what they think to be the best recipe for many different kinds of dishes. I highly recommend the cookbook and magazine, not as the final word on recipes, but for excellent, thorough, well-thoughtout, logical, obsessively-tested, and fully-explained recipes. I have learned a lot from reading this book. I have also had great success with everything I've tried, particularly their pie crust.


Blogger shuna fish lydon said...

This is a great post! Informative, funny, and tasty. It looks like your oven and my oven are cousins. meaning that it looks like your oven runs hot on the bottom. I put pans upside down on my oven "floor" (but not to cover the holes.) and often bake what I'm baking on an extra pan.

One of the best things I saw on bananas was The Banana Chart which is often hanging behind the mysterious doors of the produce dept. It tracked the various stages of banana colors with percentages as to how many people like them at what stage.

My least favorite banana bread is the one made with bananas that are not black. That is where the flavour is.

And lastly you should check out The French Laundry cookbook. Not because I'm in it but because a dessert I helped create, the banana one, is brilliant. It utilizes bananas in a very interesting way. Not everyone has the time for such a thing as that but even if you pull a few of the tricks out you could have something deadly-delicious on your hands!

5/27/2005 11:14 PM  

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