My friend Liz makes the best banana bread. It is moist, nutty with just the right amount of spices & banana flavor. Every Christmas a few lucky friends are gifted a loaf or two of her bread. Due to her acumen in this field of baking I am always a bit hesitant to make my own banana bread fearing the results will be disappointing.
Last week 4 very, very ripe bananas were either going to be tossed or turned into a loaf….I chose the latter. Not trying to copy Liz’s bread, but to try something different, I made this loaf without nuts and with the addition of peanut butter powder. Have you used this yet? We add a shake or two to our smoothies each morning. It has all the yummy peanut butter flavor without the calories.
Brown sugar, Greek yogurt & vanilla bean paste…all part of the batter….
….resulting in this lovely loaf of goodness using over ripe bananas that could have been tossed, but were saved for better things!
Speaking of “better things”….You may now be curious about the heading for this post…”I get the banana bread part, but what is the reference to this “Farm to Fork” dinner?”
Coming up very soon, October 27th to be exact, is a celebration dinner and fundraiser here in Nashville. The Cumberland River Compact’s 5th Annual “Farm to Fork” Dinner once again brings together local chefs, farmers, artists & musicians to celebrate the fall harvest and keeping our waters clean. This is a very important fundraiser for us all.
The job of the Cumberland River Compact is to work to create awareness of the need to keep the waters of our beloved Cumberland River and it’s tributaries clean and safe. This takes the time of many dedicated folks and money to keep the public aware. For more information on this fun and delicious night next Thursday, October 27th click here.
Just imagine trying to cook and run a kitchen without clean water? Imagine and be thankful.
Peanut Butter-Banana Bread
- 4 to 5 very ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup peanut butter powder
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, very soft
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup raw brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a regular size loaf pan.
- In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment mash the bananas. I leave them a little bit chunky.
- Sprinkle in the peanut butter powder and mix.
- Add in the softened butter, egg, vanilla bean paste & sugar. Mix well.
- With mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, along with the yogurt, and mix just until blended.
- Scrape batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the top of is a dark golden brown. Test with a cake tester to make sure the inside is baked. The tester should come out clean with just a few crumbs. Let loaf cool in pan on a wire rack before slicing.
This bread is yummy for a few days and is sublime toasted and smeared with butter.
Teresa Blackburn www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com
….’today, in October sun, it’s all gold—sky and tree and water. Everything just before it changes looks to be made of gold.’ (“The Wide Net” by Eudora Welty, The Collected Stories)
This “changing-time” is apple season…days are still sunny and warm, but the evenings are cool and crisp. It is time to once again crank up the stove and do some more serious cooking. Apple Sauce is a favorite of mine, but it’s almost impossible to find any canned or jarred product that is truly satisfying. The best in the world is homemade and a bit chunky in my opinion. I enjoy a bold flavor in my sauced apples so I often make my own.
A few years ago I bought a hand crank apple peeler that clamps onto my kitchen counter and is honestly just so much fun to use that I sometimes get a bit carried away and keep on peeling ’til there is not much left but the core! For making apple sauce this is one kitchen gadget/tool that you must have.
Beautiful apple peel ribbons.
Apples from a neighbor’s tree.
I made up a simple syrup using cranberry juice, star anise seeds and brown sugar. The peeled and chopped apples simmer and cook down in this very flavorful syrup making the final product uniquely delicious.
Apple sauce put up in wee jars so each bite is fresh.
Pick some local apples and make up a batch of this recipe…any type of tart, crunchy apple works…spread finished apple sauce on toasted bread, a turkey or grilled cheese sandwich or serve with your next pork roast. These little jars make very nice fall/winter gifts as well.
October Apples, Sauced in Anise-Brown Sugar Syrup
- 3-4 lbs tart fall apples – Honey Crisp, MacIntosh, Arkansas Black or Granny Smith
- 2 cups cranberry juice
- 2 cups raw/brown sugar
- 2 whole star anise seeds
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Peel apples & rough chop. Put in a stainless steel cook pot.
- Add the Star Anise simple syrup to the pot. Turn heat to medium high. Stir mixture until a soft boil begins then turn to simmer. Stir every so often to keep apples from sticking. Cook down until mixture has thicken but is still chunky.
- Remove pot from stove and stir in lemon juice.
- Spoon apple sauce into small glass jars with tight-fitting lids and process in a water bath for 20 minutes. Remove jars from water & set on a wire rack to cool. You should hear a soft “thump” when lids seal properly and they will be concave. Cool completely and store in pantry until ready to eat. Depending on the size of your jars this recipe makes 6-8 jars.
How to make simple syrup:
- Put 2 cups cranberry juice, 2 cups raw/brown sugar & 2 whole star anise seeds in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar has dissolved and turn heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes until mixture thickens slightly. Set aside to cool. Use immediately or chill in a glass jar with a lid.
How to do a simple water bath processing:
- If you have a canner then fill with enough water to cover the size jars you are canning up to one inch above the jar tops.
- Place filled jars in wire rack that comes with the canner pan and lower it down into the water. Bring water to a rolling boil. Process jars in boiling water for 20 minutes. Turn heat off and leave jars in cooling down water for 30 minutes.
- Remove jars from canner to a wire rack and let cool completely. Jars will seal as they cool making a soft “thump” sound. Jar lids will be concave when jars are properly sealed.
Note on canning:
I have used a large stock pot with a round wire cooling rack sitting on the bottom of the pan instead of a canner kit. You just put the rack in the pot, place jars, not touching, on the rack & gently cover tops of jars with water. Continue the processing as you would when using a canner from this point on.
Teresa Blackburn http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com