Sunday, February 5, 2017

Make it Easy Banana Bread

The three overripe bananas browning on the kitchen island called out to me. “Banana bread, banana bread,” they said.
So I cracked open “From the Heart,” the cookbook put out in 2016 by the Main Street United Methodist Church, “the church with a heart in the heart of Nashua.”
The book has a lot of the features that make spiral cookbooks so endearing; recipes for everything from artichoke dip to yam chips, and helpful tips, for instance, “to get more juice out of lemons, microwave  on high for 10-20 seconds, roll on counter, slice and juice.” Who knew? 

We found Judy Tipton’s Easy Banana Bread. Pretty basic, just a List of ingredients, instructions to mix them and instruction to “cook at 350 until done. “ Until done? Inspired by the Great British Baking Show on PBS, we lined the bread pan with parchment paper instead of buttering it and, in the interest of healthy dining, substituted whole wheat flour for all purpose. Both worked well.
The instruction  to “cook  until done” set us back a little,  but we left the bread in the oven for an hour, poked it with a toothpick to  make sure it had cooked through and it was fine, a great banana bread, unfussy, moist and tasty.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Milford, N.H. Bicentennial Cookbook

According to the introduction, “The woman of the 1790’s were heavily laden with responsibilities nearly insurmountable, the least of which was to frequently provide, in some cases, as many as five full meals each day. It was the woman’s job to cook, the men did not. The luxury of a ‘recipe’ was unthinkable; a woman’s time did not allow for such frivolity. Meals were ‘remembered,’ and women learned to cook at the apron strings of their mothers.”

The intro goes on to point out that Milford women in 1994 are “blessed’ with education for all, equal work opportunities and men who share in family responsibilities,” and one would conclude written recipes. The recipes that followed were donated by residents and many had been down through generations.
Step 1. Chop nuts.
Irene Sawyer contributed Mother Elliott’s Nut Cake, without any indication who the recipe was named for, but she does point out, “housewives did not consider themselves competent hostesses unless they could offer a visitor at least three kinds of cake. That flavorful era, 1910-1915, was the Golden Cake Period of our national history.”
With just a few clicks on Google we found that the same recipe was published in the San Bernadino (CA) County Sun on June 24, 1963 and attributed the dish to Mrs. Samuel Elliott of Sawyerville, Quebec. It described the Golden Cake Period as “Not quite so glorious as the Golden Age of Greece, but a wonderful era for a lad or lass to live through on the way to the disturbed world that came after the First World War. Seems as though life was more serene and "meaningful" in those long-ago days.”
We tried the recipe with a few variations. We used butter instead of margarine and we did not have a 10 x 10 pan so we used a ceramic pie pan that might have been a little too small.  The result was a crumbly confection with a sugary crust on the top and strong flavor of walnuts. Something grandma might make.

So far. Batter looks good.
There was a soggy spot the size of a teaspoon in the upper quadrant. That may be because we never turned the cake in the oven, or because we didn’t use margarine or the pie pan was too deep. But it’s really just a quibble, since the rest of the cake was fine.

We decided to take a pass on the frosting. 

OK - so it's a little "collapsed" but this recipe predates Martha Stewart. Perfect isn't always best. It tasted amazing.