One day in the kitchen

I've had work, or a volunteer obligation, every day this week except Wednesday. My one and only day off.

Turns out it was my day home with my sick child, but as he was content to lay down most of the day, I was able to get into the kitchen and get a bit of my own rest therapy.

First up on my agenda was banana bread, partially the need to get rid of the 3 over ripe bananas on my counter. Not egg-less banana bread though. With the allergy notifications posted in my oldest son's class, and not an egg allergy among them, I went back to the family favorite banana bread recipe.

Augmented, as usual, with a handful of chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

The two loaves came out of the oven brown, and filling the house with aromas of melted chocolate and warmed banana. Mmmmmm. Even my sick son asked for a piece right away, not after it has cooled, but instantly please!

While this loaf freezes well, it rarely has to be frozen in this house.

Since I was getting a rare opportunity to do some baking, I also wanted to make some bread for the children's lunches. I had planned to make the honey and oatmeal bread they both seem to like so much, but a quick inventory of my flour supply showed me I didn't have enough flour to make that bread. What I did have, though, was a bag of rye flour, in addition to what was left of my regular flour. Carraway seeds were also on hand, specifically with the plan of one day making some light rye bread.

I had no idea if they children would eat it, but what the heck? Might as well try it.

Like my previous attempts at making bread, I used the recipe that came in the book with my stand mixer. This dough mixed together easily enough, though it came out of the bowl a bit sticky. It rose well and shapped easily into two, roundish loaves. The smell of bread baking wasn't the usual scent, but wasn't unpleasant. Instead it was rather nutty.

The verdict? The children would eat it. At home that is. I packed it into both their lunches the next day and both came home with most of their bread. The husband, on the other hand, seemed to enjoy it. Not only did he have some with his dinner, he had some in his lunch for the next few days. Personally, I preffered the light rye I occassionaly buy at the deli (and I find the honey oatmeal bread too heavy for my liking, so I seem to like making homemade bread, just not eating it much.) And piled high with smoked meat and a light slather of mustard. Course I could buy some smoked meat and try it. Maybe next time.

The last thing I made that day didn't involve baking, but dinner. I wanted a dinner that made use of the excess chicken I'd baked for dinner the night before, plus would be good on a cold, icky day. And with a sick child in the house, what better choice than soup?

A quick search of my pantry, in need of some restocking, showed I had some canned corn, diced tomatoes and one container of chicken stock. I also had on hand an avocado, some green onions, cilantro and tortilla chips. Sounds like the fixin's for a Mexican style soup to me?

The basic soup contained some sauteed onions, and white rice. The juices from the canned tomatoes joined in with the chicken stock as part of liquid, as did the juices from the can of corn. I seasoned the soup with a bit of salt and pepper and some cumin, one of my favorite spices.

I diced up the chicken and put it aside on a plate, along with the green onions, avocado and cilantro, shredded up some cheddar cheese, and turned soup night into a soup style bar. Served with a generous side of tortilla chips, these were lime flavored, some cheese melted on top, and my choice of add ins, my family had a healthy and hearty soup to warm on them on a cold day.

And I had some much needed time in the kitchen to relax me on what has been a very long week.

Banana Bread (sorry, no idea where I got this recipe from, it's just the one I've been using for several years)

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3-4 ripe, mashed bananas
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
handful each chocolate chips and dried cranberries (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.
In large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients until cinnamon is fully incorporated.
In smaller bowl, mix together the bananas, eggs, vanilla and oil. This will not want to mix together but will eventually come together, just be persistant. Add the banana mixture to the flour and mix until no more large lumps of flour are seen. If you want, add in the chocolate chips and cranberries.
Pour mix into two standard size bread pans that have been greased in advance. Bake for 50-60 minutes, checking after 45 if using a larger sized bread pan.
Remove from pans to cool on a wire rack. (Members of this household don't like to wait until the bread is cool before eating - and enjoy it with butter, especially warm with the butter melted into the bread.)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your bread looks fantastic! Very fluffy. Making banana bread is one of my favorite ways to use overripe bananas. That and banana muffins with cinnamon crumb topping. Yum!

Ari (Baking and Books)