The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, mom!
I just got home from the amazing Maisonnette with a bag full of yummy fabric to transform into curtains and crib bumpers. After spending a weekend in LA with Rebecca and seeing her vision for the babies’ room, I can hardly wait to sit down to my machine and start sewing. I will keep you posted as my creations come alive and perhaps do a tutorial. But even though the fabric is beyond delicious, you can’t eat it. So, back to food!
I must say, I am a tad bit confused as to how heirloom-tomato-babies can transform into banana-babies in one week. The size and shape seem a little disparate to me. Nevertheless, I'm going with this, so let’s talk about bananas!
I LOVE bananas. When I come home starving for lunch, the first thing I do is grab a banana and eat it. Only after finishing it can I think about making my lunch. There is no snack that is more perfectly packaged by nature. It’s so easy to throw a banana in your purse or diaper bag to stave off hunger pangs. But bananas are also fun to cook with. (ED: GGC, here. I feel the same way about watermelons. When I'm hungry, this first thing I do is grab an entire watermelon and eat the entire thing with a medium-sized spoon.)
Growing up, my mother often made caramelized bananas and rum. She would halve two bananas, lay them in a buttered baking dish, sprinkle them with brown sugar, pour some good quality rum around them, and bake them at 350 until brown and gooey. She served them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. There are many variations of this simple recipe. I like this one, too.
When I went to college in the 70’s, the UCSD snack bar offered a banana and peanut butter sandwich and it became my favorite lunch. All it consisted of was peanut butter spread on a whole grain roll topped with a layer of banana slices and alfalfa sprouts. Ever since then, I have loved the combination of peanut butter (or other nut butters) and bananas. For years I would cover a banana with nut butter and then roll it in sunflower seeds for a light lunch or snack. Now I prefer to slice the banana, drizzle it with a few tablespoons of tahini and perhaps a little honey, and sprinkle it with nuts or seeds.
And then, of course, there is banana bread. Great recipes for banana bread abound and I’m sure you all have a favorite one. When Rachel was in college, she asked me for a banana bread recipe. I couldn’t find my old standby so I sent her this one, taken from one of my favorite cookbooks, Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta. She loved how it turned out and it soon became her favorite recipe. It is a very dense, rich cake that tastes more sinful than it really is since it uses no butter, oil or added sugar. The pureed prunes keep it moist and healthy!
Rancho La Puerta Chocolate Banana Bread
(Makes 1 loaf)
2 cups water
12 oz pitted prunes
2 medium ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (can use gluten free flour and guar gum)
½ cup cocoa powder
1 T ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup banana chips, broken into small pieces
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter an 8-cup loaf pan and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.
(Drain any excess liquid.)3. Puree the prunes, bananas, and eggs in a blender until smooth.
5. Stir in the banana mixture and combine thoroughly.
6. Gently stir in the walnuts, banana chips, and chocolate chips.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan...
...and bake for 50-60 minute or until a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean (or with only a bit of melted chocolate chip on it).
7. Turn the loaf out onto a rack to cool, and remove the parchment from the bottom. Cut into thin slices to serve. Serve warm, sliced thin, with fresh fruit, or freeze for up to a month.