Saturday, November 26, 2016

Excellent Banana Bread


This is the best banana bread ever, and fairly easy to make.

Ingredients:
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour (you can use ½ whole wheat or rye if you like)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup of full-fat Greek yogurt (use plain or vanilla – vanilla will make your bread sweeter)
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • Some cinnamon sugar (Plain sugar is an option)


Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a standard loaf pan.

Put your bananas in a food processor or blender and blend until they are entirely puréed.

Next, separate your eggs. Reserve the whites.

Get a large bowl, and stir together the melted butter and sugar, along with the vanilla. Stir in the egg yolks.

Mix together in a smaller bowl the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir this gently into the sugar and butter mix.

Now fold in the puréed bananas; fold in the yogurt.

In yet another bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed to stiff peaks. Fold these very gently into the batter.

Pour into the greased loaf pan. Sprinkle the top heavily with cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 350 for about an hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Eat with butter or plain, warm or cold. Also makes excellent PB & banana sandwiches.





Monday, May 30, 2016

Beef Stew (kind of)


This is like a beef stew. It's really stewed beef. My kid calls it "that meat thing," which I guess is as good a description as anything. It's a big favorite. Not very cheap, sadly.

Ingredients:


  • About a pound and a half of decent beef -- I use flank steak, or some cut like that
  • One onion
  • Three or four stalks of celery
  • Several dried mushrooms, whatever kind you like
  • One can of crushed tomatoes 
  • One can of beef broth
  • Spices -- I like fresh thyme and a bay leaf, pepper, and salt
  • olive oil, or some other good oil


Cooking:

(1) Cut up the beef into small pieces, like half-inch to inch cubes, somewhere around there. When it's all cut up, brown it in some of the olive oil over a medium heat. When it's all brown, skim out the blood and gunk. Pour in the can of broth, lower heat a bit, and simmer while you work on the rest of the recipe. Stir every now and then.

(2) Dice the onion. Put it in a different 4 or 5 quart pan with a little olive oil and cook over a low to medium heat, stirring frequently.

(3) Meanwhile, wash and cut up the celery. Cut it up nice and fine. Put it in with the onions to cook.

(4) Break up your dried mushrooms, and pour a cup of boiling water over them. Let them steep a bit.

(5) Once your onions and your celery are nice and soft, add the can of crushed tomatoes. Stir.

(6) Add your spices. Stir some more.

(7) Add that beef & broth mix that's been simmering away all this time. Stir some more.

(8) Add the mushrooms and the water they've been steeping in. Stir some more.

(9) Cover and simmer for three or four hours.  Taste toward the end, and adjust spices. You can add some more pepper if you like it spicy! I like to add some of this as well, about 1/4 a cup, but it's imported and very pricey -- you don't have to use it.


Serve over rice.  Very high in protein, and very tasty! I never have leftovers when I make this.




Thursday, May 19, 2016

Baps


I read about these in a British mystery novel, and they sounded so good I had to have some. Since I live in exile in Arkansas, this required that I figure out how to make them, and make them myself.
So: several hours of research and trial later, here is the bap recipe, adapted for Arkansas / American use:

Ingredients:

About 4 cups of King Arthur Bread Flour
2 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1.5 cups of milk
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbs yeast


Method:

(1) Put two cups of flour in a bowl along with the 2 tbs of unsalted butter. Rub the butter into the flour until it is all mixed in.

(2) Add the milk, sugar, salt, and yeast, and mix – if you have a stand mixer, mix it in that.  Start out with the paddle and shift to the dough hook as the dough gets stiffer.  But you can also mix by hand.

(3) Add more flour, a quarter cup at a time, until the dough forms into a dense dough. Continue to knead until it is nice and springy.

(4) Put in an oily bowl and let rise until doubled in size – about an hour.

(5) Start heating your oven to 400 degrees F.

(6) Divide into eight pieces, and shape each into a round flat disc.  Place each on a greased cookie sheet – I cover my cookie sheet with a greased parchment paper. Cover and let rise for about 20-25 minutes.

(7) Bake at 400 until brown – about 15 minutes, maybe a little longer.

Eat with cold meat, or with jam, or honey and butter. SO GOOD.