Friday, April 29, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons...

you're supposed to make lemonade right? Well that's all well and good, but what exactly are you supposed to do when life gives you a perfectly good bushel of bananas which you then proceed to maim with your bare feet?

 I didn't take this picture, but it's essentially a before/after shot.

     Let me explain. I was screwing around on the internet when my friend Jedels (as he shall be known from henceforth) messaged me on facebook and demanded that I call him. The newest Harry Potter trailer was out, and we had to watch it together.
     Now, I understand that I am twenty-one, and thus an adult, but my Harry Potter fandom puts many a Belieber and Twi-hard to shame. Not only have I been to every midnight premier, I arrived ten hours early for almost all of them. I dressed up. I attended book release parties and routinely engage in fierce debates with equally spastic obsessives. And yes, I have partaken in many a game of Quidditch. And so, I scampered as only a manic fangirl can do, into my living room to retrieve my cell phone from my backpack.
     But then, disaster struck. I cringed mid-leap. Below me, nestled so innocently on the floor beside my bag, was the bushel of bananas I had bought from Trader Joes earlier that day. I assure you, I would have turned in the air if that was at all possible. But no matter how many obscenities streamed though my lips in an attempt to move them via sound waves, there was no stalling the inevitable. My bare toes smashed down on their soft skin with such finality.
     I'd like to say I mourned their loss, but I was so hyped up on new HP material that I was cringing one moment and gone the next. Now, if you haven't seen the trailer, I suggest you scoot on over right now to here and take a gander.
    What I would not suggest is that you play it so many times that your ill, bed-ridden significant other cannot take it anymore and so chooses to drag himself into the living room to escape you. And I would really not recommend following him out there and forcing him to go through it with you again, mouse poised above the pause button so you can stop and analyze every twitch of Daniel Radcliffe’s nostril.
    I can however give you the perfect solution should you ever find yourself in possession of some ruined bananas. It's not a particularly revolutionary usage, but definitely one of the most tasty. Obviously, I'm talking banana bread.

   This is your basic recipe, but the nice thing about quickbreads such as these are their adaptability. Some additions I am particularly fond of are chocolate chips, toasted walnuts, roasted peanuts or a bit of peanut butter, and even a little cognac or dark rum if you're feeling particularly naughty. Imagine Banana's Foster in bread form.

Slightly adapted from Cooking Light's recipe.
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt (You could also use sour cream. Great for a moist bread)
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed (I love flaxseed in a lot of things. You can put it in oatmeal, smoothies, any breads, etc.)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I tend to eyeball this one. I like a bit more cinnamon than most.)
      1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ.
      2. Put your banana pieces in a bowl and get aggressive. You can use a potato masher, or a fork, or your hands. It's good stress relief. For example, I took out my frustration at my Ecology teacher for assigning us two seven page papers out of nowhere. Seriously.
      3. Add the sugars, butter, and the yogurt. Mix together with a mixer until well-incorporated
      4. Add the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl anf add slowly to wet ingredients as you mix. The batter will be thick and slightly lumpy, but remember that there are chunks 'o banana in there.
      5. Grease your baking vessel (I used a 9X5 glass baking pan, but you could probably make it work with most sizes as long as you watch the cook time). Pour the batter in, smoothing it out.
      6. Bake for 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick/butter knife comes out clean. Mine actually ended up taking about 75 minutes, but it had a beautiful color on it. Allow to cool before cutting.
      7. Optional: You can make several glazes. Most are just milk and powdered sugar, but I know Cooking Light has a nice peanut butter glaze as well. Personally, I prefer it plain. It's a great quick breakfast with a nice cup of coffee.

     I had a slice of this bad boy before I went to take my three hour lab practical this morning for Marine Botany, and it went alright, so this bread must be pretty good.

Note: Apologies once again for my lack of photography skills. I'll try to get better, although in my defense the lighting anywhere in my apartment is atrocious. If my sister were contributing, this would be the most beautiful blog ever.

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