Best Banana Bread Ever

I had a few overripened bananas, so I decided to whip up my favorite banana bread recipe this afternoon. I've made this a few times already, and it is now my permanent recipe. The crumb is moist and spongy, and I always have the ingredients on hand -- including brown bananas, now that this bread is a must-have at all times. It freezes unbelievably well too. Here it is: Beth Hensperger's Banana Bread, from "The Bread Bible":
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 medium overripe bananas, mashed
1 1/4 cups unbleached AP flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, sugar and eggs. Beat with a whisk or electric mixer until light-colored and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and mashed bananas and beat again until well combined.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and baking soda. Add to the banana-egg mixture and stir to combine. Beat well to make a batter that is evenly combined and creamy in consistency.
3. Spoon the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes on a centered rack. Posted by Hello


Mailable Chicken Soup?

So I gave my dear little brother James the awful tonsil infection I had last week. He ended up in the ER during his first week back at college. Poor guy. When he asked me sweetly if I could send him some cookies, how could I say no? Three dozen of these oatmeal raisin and chocolate and peanut butter chip cookies are headed his way tomorrow. Of course, I had to do a little taste testing to make sure they met quality standards. The oatmeal cookies are some of the finest I've tasted, from a Cook's Illustrated recipe Brian kindly shared. The chocolate and peanut butter chip cookies are just the way I like them -- very chewy and fairly soft. I based them on the following recipe, except I used a combination of milk chocolate and peanut butter chips in mine: http://cookie.allrecipes.com/az/BstBigFtChwyChcltChipCki.asp?lnkid=563 James, make sure you have some milk in the house -- and I'm awfully sorry about the tonsil chaos! Posted by Hello


Almost Indian Food

Well, I didn't bake anything pretty this weekend but we still ate well! Since we're a bit homesick for the ethnic restaurants we frequented before we moved, in particular our favorite Indian place in Montclair, I decided to attempt a curry. We both agreed it was the best at-home pseudo-Indian food we've tasted. I got the recipe from Allrecipes, though I didn't really measure the spices precisely. I went by taste, and definitely added extra cayenne! Also, I wanted this to be a one-dish meal, so I added frozen peas and some peeled, quartered and boiled potatoes. Now you see why I call it pseudo-Indian. . . but trust me it's good! Next time, I'll make it with chicken thighs so I won't have to be so careful to keep the meat moist. Mmmm, and maybe I'll even attempt to bake some naan. Here's a link to the recipe: http://chicken.allrecipes.com/az/IndinChicknCrryII.asp?lnkid=563


Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Here is a slice of the gigantic coffee cake I baked yesterday. I think I finally found a recipe that Will and I, dutiful treat eaters that we are, cannot finish on our own -- which is good news for his coworkers! This cake is another recipe from Hensperger's "Bread Bible", which I am ready to step away from for now, though I have been very happy with all of the recipes I've tried so far. Next up, I think I'll revisit the focaccia I botched last month.  Posted by Hello


Commercial Break

There's going to be a brief baking and blogging hiatus for me. I just got put on some STRONG antibiotics today and don't feel like eating much, plus I have a few commitments in Northern Jersey this weekend. I'll be back as soon as I can!


I made another recipe from "The Bread Bible" yesterday. This one is Buttermilk Honey Bread, and it was great! Will and I ate nearly a whole loaf with dinner last night. It was still a bit warm from the oven. Today, I took this slice of bread and made a very childish lunch -- a chunky peanut butter and nutella sandwich. Mmmmmm. Posted by Hello


I made some simple cornbread today using a recipe from Beth Hensperger's "The Bread Bible". I was pretty pleased with it. Now if I can just get my hands on a cast iron skillet. . .  Posted by Hello


Here is a coconut cake I baked for our New Year's gathering. I got the recipe from Mark Bittman's "How To Cook Everything" and was very pleased with the crumb - it was moist and not too sweet. Unfortunately, I was a bit lazy about the frosting and instead of going to the store for cream cheese or whipping cream, I decided to make buttercream frosting with ingredients I had in the house. Although the icing was fine, it was definitely too sweet for me. I don't doubt I'll make this cake again, just with a different frosting. Posted by Hello