Saturday, December 8, 2007

Fannie Farmer's Banana Nut Bread -- Illustrated Recipe


  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar (regular, or turbinado works fine, too)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup nut meats, coarsely chopped (I prefer walnuts)
  1. Mix in a bowl 3 ripe bananas, well mashed, and 2 eggs, beaten until light.
  2. Sift together 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon baking soda.
  3. Add to the first mixture.
  4. Add 1/2 cup nut meats, chopped.
  5. Stir well.
  6. Put in a buttered loaf pan 9 by 5 inches.
  7. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 Celsius).

The bread is delicious served warm, with a butter dish nearby. It makes a nice breakfast quick bread or snack. It keeps well for 2-3 days, and is very nice toasted.

Tip #1: I have substituted homemade applesauce for a portion of the banana puree when I was short on bananas with excellent results.

Tip #2: If you like especially nutty breads, use one cup instead of 1/2 cup nut meats. I also usually double the nuts (actually, I think I use even more than a cup) because I love walnuts.

Tip #3: I often have substituted 1 cup or even all of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour with delicious results. I tried it with half buckwheat flour this last time, and that worked out nice, too. I tend to add a bit less sugar (about 1/2 a cup, usually), and substitute turbinado for regular white sugar with fine results.

Tip #4: Some like to add 2 tablespoons melted butter to the batter. I make it without, according to Fannie Farmer's original recipe. It is delicious without the added fat.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Grown-up Mac & Cheese

I had a chunk of ever-so-stinky old raclette in my fridge, some leftover heavy cream from my pumpkin pie expedition, and some mushrooms that were really needing use. And, I had some leftover roasted acorn squash. And, I'd been craving something creamy and starchy, since the snow is currently dumping all over the Midwest. And, since necessity is the mother of invention . . . I created my new invention, something I'll try freezing and thus may be eating for several weeks: Grown-up Macaroni and Cheese. All I can say is, Yum. It may sound kind of odd, but man it's rich and delicious, without being very cheesey.

Grown-up Macaroni and Cheese

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked (with ample salt in the water) and drained
  • 1 chunk raclette, trimmed of rind and chopped into small pieces
  • Small amount of creamy blue cheese (I used a little hunk of leftover cambozola), cut into small pieces
  • some heavy cream (about 3 Tablespoons)
  • some butter (about 3 Tablespoons)
  • 3 zucchini squash, thinly sliced in half-circle shapes
  • 1 acorn squash, roasted
  • 1 bunch of broccoli, steamed, drained, then chopped into small pieces
  • 3/4 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • meat from 1 Amish rotisserie chicken, chopped into small pieces (omit for vegetarians)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • a little olive oil

  1. When the pasta is finished, empty out the pot and put it back on the burner over low heat.
  2. Put the butter in the bottom of the pot, pour in the cream, and add the cheese, stirring frequently to prevent any scorching or other troubles.
  3. In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms and zucchini in olive oil. Season with a little fresh-ground pepper. Saute until they are nicely browning and the zucchini is getting soft.
  4. When the cheeses are melting nicely into the cream and butter, scrape the acorn squash out of its shell and mix into the pot. Add the cooked pasta, mixing well.
  5. Add the sauteed mushrooms and zucchini and the steamed broccoli.
  6. Add the chicken pieces, if you're using them, and mix it all up.
  7. (I'm contemplating an added step of putting it in a baking pan covered with parmesan and other Italian cheeses and baking it for a while. But honestly, it's so good just like this, I'm not going to bother right now!)
This makes such a big batch, it would be a good potluck dish. I'm going to try freezing individual portions for lunches and I'll let you know how that goes.