Monday, August 21, 2006

Banana Bread

C likes to eat bananas, sometimes. And often, one will remain and go brown. I don't like bananas most of the time, and usually only when they are just barely ripe, no spots but only a tiny bit of green at the top or else they are starchy. However, I do like banana bread. So I saved two brown bananas by freezing them, for use in the banana bread.

I thawed the bananas out because the recipe called for mashed bananas, and I didn't think I could peel or mash frozen bananas very well. I left them in a cereal bowl for a couple of hours, and as they thawed, they felt really really mushy. Gross, almost. And then once they were pretty much there, I peeled them and they slid off into the measuring bowl, in a slimy mess. They continued to thaw and exude banana liquid, which I disposed of because that is gross. Bananas should not produce liquid. The only time they do that is when you forget about them for so long that one day there's a brown mess on your counter and you think, "did someone spill tea?" but realize that no one at your house would have made tea, nor would they have spilled it on the counter and left it there.

Anyway, mashed bananas. Two frozen ones made 3/4 cup, just about perfectly. Mashing by stirring them up with a fork or knife and gently mushing them a bit was sufficient.

The recipe:
1/2 c shortening (I used butter, which made the baking time just about double)
1 c sugar (I used 3/4 and it was just fine)
2 eggs
3/4 c mashed ripe banana
1 1/4 c sifted cake flour
3/4 t soda
1/2 t salt

Cream butter and ugar until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating well afte reach. Stir in banana. Sift together dry ingredients, add to banana mixture. Mix until well-blended. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake in moderate oven (350F) for 30-35 minutes (with shortening, more like 45-60 with butter).

I used my kitchenaid mixer and ran into a little trouble. The white flat blade doesn't pick up things off the bottom of the bowl, so once the whole mixture was together and being poured into the pan, I found probably 1/3c worth of butter/sugar mixture that didn't make it into the rest. I mixed it in as much as I could, but next time should remember to take the time to spatula up the whole bottom of the bowl before calling it quits.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Stir-fried vegetables

After two weeks of busy work here and there, I finally had time to do some cooking again. I sliced up garlic, red onion, scallions, mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini and red bell peppers, and stir-fried the lot, starting with the onions, then peppers, then mushrooms, then broccoli and zucchini, added sauce ("Lemon Song Sass" dressing/marinade), then scallions, then three eggs, scrambled. The egg thing was a little weird, little eggy bits all through the dish, but added some non-meat protein. I think more might be a good idea, or some good tofu bits, somehow. The sauce was good, but could've stood more, and the whole dish needed salt, more pepper, more garlic probably. Served over rice.
This dish, mentioned on Slashfood, from San Francisco Chronicle Food, sounds interesting, and once I have tried it, I will add comments.

Roasted Chicken with Salsa & Poblano-Corn Hash

2 tablespoons olive oil + more as needed

2 russet potatoes, chopped in 1/4-inch dice

2 shallots, peeled and chopped in rough 1/4-inch dice

Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 ear corn

1 poblano or green bell pepper

1/2-1 cup mild or medium-hot fresh tomato salsa

Sour cream (optional)


Preheat the oven to 425° and place racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven.

Place 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large baking sheet and spread it evenly with your fingers or a brush (a paper towel absorbs too much of the oil). Lightly grease a second, smaller pan with more oil.

Place the potatoes and shallots on the larger pan and spread out all in one layer, then season well with and salt and pepper. Season the chicken breasts well on both sides with salt and pepper, and place on the small baking sheet.

Place the chicken and the vegetables in the preheated oven on separate racks and roast until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle, 12 minutes, turning once. Remove from the oven and let rest at least 5 minutes. Cook the potatoes until they begin to crisp up, 15-20 minutes, stirring once.

Meanwhile, remove the corn kernels from the corn and chop the poblanos or bell pepper into 1/4-inch dice, then stir them into the potatoes with more salt and pepper when the potatoes have cooked 15 to 20 minutes. Cook until the potatoes are tender throughout, another 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning.

Place the chicken breasts on plates next to the hash. Spoon the salsa over the top of the chicken, and garnish with dollops of sour cream, if you like.

Serves 4

PER SERVING: 355 calories, 38 g protein, 26 g carbohydrate, 11 g fat (2 g saturated), 94 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Baked Tofu with Cilantro Pesto

The baked tofu w/cilantro pesto from Whole Foods is delicious. Here are the ingredients, so that some day I might try to make the pesto:

canola oil
lime juice

the overall dish ingredients include tofu, wheat free tamari, cilantro pesto, and sesame seeds. I suspect that the tamari and sesame add some depth that the pesto alone might lack, and might be good to include in another version of this dish. Maybe fish or chicken made with this pesto? Or pasta, in which case some cheese (mild and creamy) or nuts would be a good addition..