B&G Classic: Banana Bread

A classic...

It boggles the mind that I have yet to write about Banana Bread, as it is currently one of the most frequent products of time spent in my kitchen. It is so mind-boggling, in fact, that I had to go back through all my old posts to confirm I hadn’t written a post already and forgotten about it.

For some reason, this banana bread is a huge hit. I don’t know why, since it seems pretty basic, but people LOVE it. It is oft requested by my work peeps and since we get groceries and produce delivered to the office, over-ripe bananas are pretty easy come by. I have everything else on hand most of the time, and it takes maybe 20 minutes of active time to get this recipe together. Regular banana bread making is a no-brainer.

This recipe is mostly Martha’s, with a few B&G adjustments. I like to sub in some brown sugar for some of the white sugar in her recipe because, why not? Brown sugar is delicious and it adds some nice depth.  I also leave out nuts, but sometimes add in chocolate instead because chocolate is delicious.

This is just great, I am not sure if there is more to say about it, because I am pretty sure most of us have had banana bread. If you haven’t had banana bread because you don’t like bananas, I urge you to try it, or get someone else to make it and then try it, because while it is totally banana-y, it is also one of those things that people who hate bananas manage to love anyway, because it’s a different kind of banana-ness. Or if you don’t like it because you’ve only had bad ones, I recommend you try it because this is a good one, and I suspect it will change your mind. It’s very sweet, which I like, but could easily be adjusted if you preferred otherwise. The addtion of sour cream or greek yogurt makes it very moist, and it has great banana flavor. It is a delight when it is still warm, it is a delight when it is cooled the next day, it is a delight when it is toasted, it is a delight as a bed for an ice cream sundae, and I am pretty sure it would be a delight as the basis for a bread pudding, which, now that you mention it, I am TOTALLY going to try pretty much immediately. I am going to leave some of this out to get stale.

Next time you have bananas that got a little too ripe, don’t despair, make banana bread! You will be very popular.

breakfast of champions.

Classic Banana Bread (makes 2 standard loaves or one large tube cake – recipe can easily be halved)

Adapted from The Martha Stewart Cookbook

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar (not packed)

4 eggs

3 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp salt

2 cups mashed very-ripe bananas (about 6)

1 cup sour cream or greek yogurt

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup chocolate chunks (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350. Prep two loaf pans or a tube pan with butter or cooking spray, set aside.

Cream the butter and both sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. (A handheld mixer or by hand would work too!) Add the eggs in one at a time, beating well between each addition. Sift together dry ingredients in a medium bowl and add to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined. Add the banana, the sour cream and the vanilla and mix until combined. Fold in chocolate (or nuts if they float your boat) and pour into prepared pans.

Bake the banana bread in the center of the oven for at least an hour until golden and a cake tester insterted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Loaf pans will likely take an hour or an hour and five minutes, tube pan will take about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Enjoy!!

Ginger Scallion Sauce

Oh hello. It’s been awhile…

What’s new? Not much here. Except apparently time travel, because suddenly I looked at the calendar and it’s April, which doesn’t seem possible. Oh also? Apparently Chrissy Teigen – gorgeous lady blogger, SI swimsuit model, fiancee of John Legend – somehow discovered the recipe for Spicy Sesame Noodles with Chicken on here and made them and loved them and then posted about them and linked back to here, so B&G blew up today. So many thanks to her. One of her tweets earlier was that she was packing for a trip to Australia with Erin Andrews and Brooklyn Decker and the background photo on her account is a gorgeous picture of her in her unders – our lives are exactly the same, but opposite – but we can clearly both enjoy the hell out of some noodles! (update: mystery solved – my awesome cousin Danny and his gorgeous girlfriend Kellie brought these to a party that Chrissy attended – my family is fancy…)

Um, so the last couple of weeks (months?)  have involved a trip to Denver to see the littlest, a trip to NYC for a birthday, quality time with my tiny boyfriends Baby L and Baby Dubs, working, the gym, and the other usual stuff. I have been thinking about the blog a lot, but have not actually been cooking all that much because it’s been so busy, so even had I not been suffering from some serious writers’ block (or a serious case of the lazies, not sure which…) I wouldn’t have had much to write about. But things are turning around! And B&G got a bit of a facelift, in case you haven’t noticed…it is making some of the formatting a little wonky but I’ll work on that…

I want to tell you about Ginger Scallion Sauce because it is the greatest thing ever, but in order to do that, I need to start with an apology for my one true chef/celebrity love, Dave Chang…

Oh my heavens.

David, I need to confess something. I’ve been unfaithful. I wanted to make this sauce the minute I first saw it, lo those several Christmases ago when I got your book. And I did, almost immediately. And it was fine, but not great, and I was sad, but wasn’t going to let it turn me away from you. It had to have been my fault right? I couldn’t blame you, I must have executed incorrectly, and you were likely as disappointed in me as I was in you. But it was ok, we would get through it. But then…my eye wandered, and THIS caught my attention. Deep down in my heart I knew it would be Francis. I’ve always had a wee bit of a crush on him too. And so I made his version. David, I’m sorry. It’s better. It’s heaven. But I hope you can forgive me the transgression. You’re still first in my heart. But I can’t promise it will be just that one time. This stuff is too good.

The ingredients

This is a condiment. One of the most flavorful condiments ever. I have mixed it with plain noodles and fried rice, and I’ve eaten it with steak and I’ve eaten it with fish. It would be awesome in soup, and I will add it to the ramen I plan to make later in the month. It is so good that I plan never to be without it again. It is equal parts minced scallions and minced ginger, both of which I did in about 30 seconds in the food processor. Then it gets an almost ungodly amount of salt, and hot oil is poured over it so it sizzles and removes some of the bitterness that ginger and scallions can have raw. It mellows them a little. That is where this version is better than the Momofuku version. I actually finished mine with a splash of light soy sauce as a nod to the version that inspired me, and it is perfection.

With steak and noodles.

Really I can’t say enough good things about this. Just make it and you’ll see.

With noodles and tuna.

Before we go on…

First things first. Please check out my awesome cousin Sam…wish I was half as talented and adventurous!

How come I’m not dating Seth Davis? How have I missed this guy? Anyone know anything about him? Like, for instance, his phone number? Now that March Madness is over he must have some free time, right?

I accidentally saw Tiffany in concert last weekend in New York. It was awesome. I love New York.

What I am reading right now: I am actually too embarrassed to tell you the trash book I’m reading, so let’s just leave it at The New Yorker…

What I am listening to right now: Portraits by The Wheeler Brothers – the band of a guy that studied with my sister in Spain…they are very good.

Craftiness of the week: pillow covers for Al and Dyl and their new apartment…pictures later.

I am in for a few nights of revelry over the next couple of days. It’s my birthday, and I decided drinking is a better option than crawling in a hole and crying. See you on the flip side.

Ginger Scallion Sauce (makes about 1.5 cups)

adapted from Francis Lam and Momofuku

1 ounce ginger, peeled and cut into one inch pieces

1 bunch scallions, roots and ends trimmed, both white and green parts cut into one inch pieces

1/2 cup peanut or grapeseed oil

Splash of light soy sauce

More kosher salt than you think you need

Pulse ginger in a food processor until finely minced. You do not want to puree it, so pay close attention as you are doing it. Put ginger into a large heat proof bowl. Not kidding about the large part or the heat proof part. Do both of those things for real. Pulse the scallions in the food processor (no need to wash it in between) until they are finely minced and add them to the ginger. Throw a good pinch of salt in the bowl and set aside while you heat the oil.

Heat the oil over medium heat just until you see the first wisp of smoke. Be careful. It will be quite hot at this point. Pour the oil over the ginger scallion mixture and step back because it will splatter and smell awesome. Stir the mixture together and add a splash of soy sauce and more salt and let it cool. Add it to everything in the world because it is so delicious.