It’s well known amongst my friends and family and, well, roommates, that I, in general, abhor bananas. I walk into a room, ask “Who the hell at the banana?!”, and the poor potassium-loving soul meekly steps up. “I did.. but it was 12 hours ago! And I threw the peel in the trash outside!”
That’s right. I’m like a drug sniffing dog. But for bananas. I can’t help it; they have such a strong, distinct smell, one that I learned to hate a long, long time ago. But, thing is, I love banana bread. Looove it. Last night, my mother pointed to a pile of quickly blackening bananas and said, “Make banana bread. If you can stand it.” She then disappeared, all Batman-like, and left me with a dilemma. Could I suck it up and peel those things, actually work with them, all to make something that ends up delicious? After about an hour (i.e. three minutes) of meditation on the subject, I came to the conclusion: Yes. Yes, I could.
I picked up those bumblebee-inspired sticks of fruit with a crumpled look on my face. ‘You, evil, evil things,’ I thought to them, knowing my thoughts would be transferred telepathically to the devil’s fruit. Placed them on the counter, backed away, and stared at them suspiciously. Could I do it? I.. I.. I’m stronger than this! I can do it! I have defeated satan!
Except then I had to go to youtube to figure out how to peel them. Seriously. And when most of the videos were “how to peel a banana like a monkey”, I realized how stupid I was being and went all monkey on those things. ‘If a monkey can do it, why can’t I?’, I told myself. Luckily, I peeled those babies just fine and felt proud of myself for doing one of the things most humans learn within their first few years of life.
I started mashing and realized, ‘Hey, this isn’t that bad. Not nearly as bad as I remembered..’, and I blame this on Adam Roberts’ post on the banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery that actually looked.. good. Before I’d started mashing, I looked with hesitation at the unpeeled bananas and considered actually trying one.. but I didn’t. Maybe next time, Bananas of the World.
The most fun, however, came when I was adding flour to the batter, while rocking out to some Dodos or Animal Collective or Al Green, of course, and suddenly thought, ‘Oh god. Did I add three 1/2 cups of flour to the batter? It looks awfully thin.. Did I only add two? Ohhhh god. Should I add more? No, that’s a stupid idea. I know I added two half teaspoons of baking soda, so I must be on top of it, right? Adding the right amount of halves of things to suit the recipe, right? Right.. OK.. Caution to the wind.. Pouring this baby in the pan.. Hoping I don’t totally fail and have to go door-to-door asking if anyone happens to have four overripe bananas I could borrow, just so I don’t look like a failure to my mother..’
But guess what? I was right! I did add three 1/2 cups of flour, equaling the called-for 1 1/2 cups in the recipe. And guess what? The bread is awesome. Seriously amazing. I even packaged up a couple slices for poor microwave-lighting, cooking-inept (so far) Dan from my post about chicken soup chicken in some parchment paper and tied it up with some cooking string and, get this: these awesome, personalized “from the kitchen of” tags my mother got me for Valentine’s Day:
I even have a stamp! How awesome is that?!
Anyway, here’s what I have to say. Try this. It rules. It’s moist and flavorful, with a nice, subtle crunch coming from the walnuts I added. And it’s a great way to use up any overripe bananas you’ve got laying around, and, in my case, any leftover walnuts after my making my awesome lemon artichoke pesto. Nom.
Banana [Nut] Bread
Adapted from this recipe (I added three handfuls of walnuts, crushed to manageable size in a ziploc bag attacked by a rolling pin)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
4 bananas, finely crushed
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1. Cream together butter and sugar.
2. Add eggs and crushed bananas. Combine well.
3. Sift together flour, soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Add vanilla. (At this point, I added the walnuts)
4. Pour into greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.
Keeps well, refrigerated.11