Simple and Moist Banana Bread

I know it’s been quite some time since my last post, but with school, baby Elsa, the hubby, work and trying to make time for my parents and in-laws, I barely have time to sleep!

Anyhow, enough of me feeling guilty! Let’s get to the good stuff, moist banana bread.

My mother-in-law has a habit of buying way too much produce and then tries to force everyone to eat it before it goes bad. Well you guessed it, this time she bought way too many bananas and we didn’t eat them fast enough so they got extremely ripe. The only thing I could think of using ripe bananas for was banana bread. I got this recipe from joyofbaking.com¬†and I ‘m so glad I did. If you ever get the banana bread from Starbucks… well let’s just say the Starbucks version is crap compared to this. ūüôā

Ingredients:

1 cup (115 grams) walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 ripe large bananas (approximately 1 pound or 454 grams), mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place oven rack to middle position. Butter and flour (or spray with a non stick vegetable/flour spray) the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Set aside.

Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Let cool and then chop coarsely.  

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nuts. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightlyfoldthe wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients just until combined and the batter is thick and chunky. (The important thing is not to over mix the batter. You do not want it smooth. Over mixing the batter will yield tough, rubbery bread.) Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake until bread is golden brown and a  toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to60 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. This bread can be frozen.

Advertisements

Creamy Polenta Cups for Breakfast

Yesterday, I went to the farmers market here in Downtown Sacramento. Although the farmers market in San Francisco is more fun to go to, Sacramento has the better produce. The coolest thing about this farmers market is that there are two that go on literally a block away from one another. The bigger, more commercial market, is the Certified Farmers Market and the other is the homegrown farmers market. The latter is amazing, you’ll find Asian produce such as bitter melon, extremely hot Thai chili’s and small eggs that were laid for the first time by young hens, at dirt cheap prices! I happened to purchase the small eggs, a whole tray for $3.

eggs so fresh they still have poop on them

Since I came upon these delectable little eggs I thought I would make creamy polenta cups with hot Italian sausage. So delicious and fulfilling. I got the recipe from Muffin Tin Chef but changed it a bit to my liking. Hope you enjoy!

Makes 6, Serves 3

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup non-fat milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup polenta
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp grapeseed oil
  • 3 oz hot Italian sausage
  • 6 small eggs
  • 2 basil leaves for garnishing

Directions:

Line the muffin tin with paper liners and preheat the oven to 400¬į F.¬† Bring the milk and water to a simmer over medium heat. Add the polenta to the simmering pot and whisk for 3-4 minutes until it begins to resemble creamy oatmeal. Take it off the heat and stir in the rosemary, parmesan and salt. Set aside. Heat a little skillet with the grapeseed oil and cook the sausage until browned. Divide the polenta into the 6 cups and use your fingers to make a deep indentation. Crack one egg into each cup. Sprinkle the sausage over the cups. Put the muffin tin over a baking sheet to avoid leakage and put in the oven. Bake for about 15-20 minutes just until the yolks are slightly runny. Chiffonade the basil leaves, sprinkle over cups and serve!

Pho Anh Dao – Sacramento

If you don’t know too much about the Vietnamese culture, let me tell you a little bit about us. Here in California, we’re everywhere! We dominate San Jose, Sacramento and Orange County. The men love smoking cigarettes and drinking strong iced coffee sweetened with condensed milk brought to them by Vietnamese girls in skimpy bikini’s and lingerie. The women love to wear premium denim, high heels and Louis Vuitton bags. But all of us VN people share one thing in common, PHO! It’s a dish that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I’ve had pho in many different places all around Cali, but the one bowl of pho noodle soup that almost makes my heart skip a beat just thinking about it, is the bowl of noodles from Pho Anh Dao. I’ve been told from the owner that there is no MSG in their broth, it’s always fresh and piping hot. There are two different kinds of broth – chicken or beef. Pho Anh Dao is famous for their chicken pho but they sure know how to make the beef one too. In the photo above is my usual, beef pho with brisket and meatballs. I don’t care that it’s summer and 100 degrees outside, I can eat this anytime! If you ever have the chance to try this place, make sure you don’t get there too late… when they run out of their fresh ingredients, they close up for the day!

Father’s Day Weekend and Breakfast

If you live in the Bay Area and have never been or are a tourist looking for some daytime fun, I would suggest going to the California Academy of Sciences. Khanh, Elsa and I enjoyed a lovely day there on Saturday. Admission is $30/Adult. I definitely thought it was worth the money. We were there for about 3 hours, would have been longer but we didn’t get to go into the Planetarium because Elsa isn’t old enough. Anyway, there were many different exhibits and we walked around for a good while when I started getting really hungry. They have a restaurant there called The Moss Room, but there wasn’t anything we felt like eating on the menu so we had a nice little lunch in the cafeteria which had many different options. Khanh had fried chicken and chips and I had a reuben sandwich that I thought was pretty good.

After lunch, we continued on… my favorite part of the day was seeing the live animals. Even though it was Father’s Day Weekend, I couldn’t have asked for more. It was an amazing day with an amazing man and our baby.

After our eventful day yesterday, we just wanted to relax. I did wake up a little earlier than him to make a Father’s Day brunch. I recently learned how to make pancakes from scratch so I decided to make banana pancakes, a side of bacon (because he’s the biggest bacon fan I know) and blueberries to garnish.

I found a delicious recipe on the Food Network for blueberry buttermilk pancakes. I made those a few days ago and it was a success, so I used the same recipe but substituted the berries for a ripened banana. I hope you like them as much as we did.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 21/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter, plus some for frying
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • Serving suggestions: whipped cream and maple syrup

Directions

In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat the eggs with the buttermilk and melted butter. Combine the dry and the wet ingredients into a lumpy batter, being careful not to over mix, see Cook’s Note*.

Heat some butter in a skillet over medium heat. Spoon 1/3 cup of batter into the skillet and sprinkle the top with some of the blueberries. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and maple syrup.

*Cook’s Note: Over mixed batter will result in flat, heavy pancakes.