Mom and Grammy’s Banana Bread

17 02 2010

Continuing the week of love, today I’m doing Green Eggs and sharing one of my favorite recipes.  “How does it fit in with the love theme?” you might ask.  It’s my mother’s and her mother’s recipe, two people whom I love very much.  I say it’s both of theirs because my Grammy originally made it but I always think of it as my mom’s since she often made it for my brothers and I when we were growing up.

It’s a recipe that I love because it’s easy and I always seem to have the ingredients on hand.  What does it say about me that I usually have butter, sugar, flour, and bananas  on hand but rarely have ingredients at the ready for a salad?  Well, moving on…I think most people enjoy banana bread and if you’re the type who doesn’t make things from scratch or is afraid to bake, this is for you because it doesn’t get much simpler.  It’s a great recipe to make and share with the ones you love.

Mom and Grammy’s Banana Bread

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening or 1 stick butter, softened
3 medium bananas, mashed
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 3 tablespoons milk or buttermilk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
Blueberries (optional)
Chocolate chips (optional)
Chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Cream together butter and sugar.

Sugar + butter = sutter

2. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Now is also the time for walnuts, chocolate chips, or blueberries if you wish.  Toss any of these extras in a tablespoon of flour before adding to the mixture to ensure they’ll be evenly dispersed throughout the bread and don’t just fall to the bottom.

What I did: forgot to take a picture of ingredients added after sugar and butter.  Instead, got distracted and took pictures of Hamlet.  Decided to use the photo of ingredients laid on the counter as substitute.

Tip: frozen bananas work great, a trick from my mama.  At my house one or two bananas always seem to go brown before I can eat them.  I throw them in the freezer to save for banana bread (part of the reason I always have banana bread ingredients on hand).  The riper the bananas, the better the bread so if yours are totally black, score one for you!

Frozen bananas are a bit more difficult to peel.  With the peel still on, run them under warm water, making the peel easier to remove.  Be mindful of the stringy inner peel parts that stick to the banana even more when it’s frozen.  Feel free to microwave your bowl of bananas to make it easier to mash before adding to the bread batter.

Banana bread ingredients, ready for the party in the bowl.

Hamlet wanting in on the banana bread action.

4. Grease and flour a loaf pan or muffin tin and pour in batter. I used a 12-cup large muffin tin and I had exactly the right amount of batter.  Feel free to use a large loaf pan, a few smaller loaf pans, or whatever strikes your fancy.  I made half plain banana bread and half with blueberries.  For the blueberry kind, I filled the muffin cup halfway, added a few blueberries, filled the rest of the cup with batter, and put a blueberry on top (so once baked, I could tell the difference between plain and regular).

I sprinkled the tops of my muffins with sugar for extra deliciousness.

5. Bake at 350° F for one hour* (if in one loaf pan).  Adjust time for smaller loaf pans or muffins. I baked mine for 40 minutes and they turned out pretty well, maybe a bit more brown than I would have liked but still really yummy.  Just keep checking yours until they are the desired level of brown (probably golden brown) and a fork or toothpick inserted comes out clean or with just a few crumbs (no batter).  *Also keep in mind that I’m at high altitude so may require longer cooking time than those of you at sea level.

The finished product.

5. Taste test your muffins and share as desired. Give a treat to your dog in lieu of banana bread since butter and sugar are canine no-no’s.


Gridiron Grub

4 02 2010

Hopefully I’m not throwing all two of you loyal readers for a loop by introducing another feature on GE&H, but here goes.  Last week we started A Day in the Ham and this week it’s Green Eggs.  Yes, my friends, Green Eggs.  Derived from the title of this ol’ blog,  Green Eggs will provide recipes and food-related posts.  “Why food?” you might ask.  Because I like food (a girl’s gotta eat!) and I’m hoping you do too.

For our first foray into Green Eggs, we’re tackling gridiron grub.  In laywoman’s terms, that’s football food.  Super Bowl Sunday is this Sunday, people, so it’s time to prepare.  I’ve got the perfect recipe for you if you’re like me and like to go into a food coma during the big game.  Behold, the magic that is the Bacon Explosion.

1 package thick cut bacon
2 pounds Italian sausage
Barbecue dry rub
Barbecue sauce
Aluminum foil

Only four ingredients and I can attest that this baby is Super Bowl party gold.  How so?  The boy and I made it last year for the Super Bowl party we went to.  It’s as much a conversation piece as it is delicious bacony goodness.  Here’s how we got our bacon on last year.

Weave bacon into a mat in a lattice pattern.  I believe ours was 6 strips by 6 strips but do whatever feels right to you.  This is Green Eggs so it should be fun!  Sprinkle some barbecue rub over the mat.

Now layer your two pounds of Italian sausage onto the bacon mat.

Fry up the remaining bacon (just like you would for breakfast) and crumble it over the bacon-sausage mat.  Cover this in barbecue sauce and more barbecue rub.

Next roll the sausage all together at the edge of the bacon mat.  To do this, carefully separate the sausage layer from the bacon mat and begin rolling.  Include all layers in your roll except the bacon mat.  Keep the sausage as tight as you can and remove any air pockets.  Once the sausage is all rolled up, pinch the seams and ends together so everything stays inside snug as a bacon in a rug.

Now’s the time to get the rest of your roll on.  Move the sausage roll over the bacon mat until you end up with one cohesive roll.  Seal the ends as best you can.  You should end up with a bacony torpedo that looks a little something like this:

Line a casserole dish with aluminum foil (this  prevents the meat from sticking to the dish) and place the bacon torpedo seam side down in the dish.  Now put more barbecue rub and barbecue sauce all over your bacon torpedo.  Sorry, I don’t have pictures of this step but hopefully you get the idea.

The bacon explosion originators cooked theirs in a smoker.  I don’t have a smoker and neither does the boy so we cooked ours in the oven.  I think we set it at 375 degrees.  It took a while to cook through, maybe an hour and a half or two hours.  This isn’t an exact science – it’s cooking and it’s fun.  Just keep cooking and checking your bacon explosion until it’s cooked through.  We had to turn our bacon explosion over half way through because the bottom side of the torpedo (the side that was in contact with the casserole dish) wasn’t cooking as fast so watch out for this.

Once it’s cooked through, use a basting brush to brush barbecue sauce all over the bacon explosion for a nice glaze.  Cut into slices and serve plain or with rolls.   Here’s our finished product:

As you can imagine, this baby isn’t for the faint of heart – it has an estimated 5,000 calories and 500 grams of fat.  Keep in mind that you’re not eating the whole thing.  You’re having one small slice and sharing the rest of the explosion with friends.  I understand if you’re watching your waistline, so if the bacon explosion is too much for you, head over to my pal Amanda’s blog – Modernation – where she always has great recipes that are friendly to your figure.