Sunday, May 2, 2010

Banana Nut Bread

It's recipes like these that prove that the old baking rule that you need eggs to make a moist bread or cake is crap! This bread is soooooooo good, and healthier than many other versions out there that are loaded with butter, eggs and sugar. I swear, you won't even know they are missing!
This recipe is originally from How It All Vegan! but I have modified it so much the past few times I've made it that it's pretty much a new recipe now... EVERYONE loves banana bread, so you really have no excuse not to make this the next time you look over to your fruit bowl and spy some sad, brown bananas :-)
Banana Nut Bread
  • 2 1/2 - 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2-3/4 cup chopped pecans (depending on how nutty you want it!)
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • Cinnamon sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until very mushy, then add the vinegar, oil, sugar and stir together. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, flax seeds, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and mix together gently until "just mixed." Fold in pecans. Spoon into lightly greased loaf pan and sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a knife comes out clean.

p.s. A handful of chocolate chips instead of or in addition to the pecans would turn this baby into the perfect desert to bring to a picnic- it wouldn't suck heated up with a scoop of vanilla soy ice cream on top either!

Risotto to help you win friends and influence people!

OK, even if you aren't vegan- this post pertains to you. If you want to impress someone who is coming over to dinner (date, in laws, friends, bridge and majong players, what have you) I have the perfect dish for you- this risotto.

I have attempted to make risotto in the past and frankly found it not only challenging but annoying to stand over the stove stirring forever. This recipe from the latest issue of Cooks Illustrated it surprisingly low maintenance and easily yields perfect results. I feel like I can post it here because I have veganized it, but if you must use non vegan ingredients it's obvious what you would substitute. But make it vegan people. It's yummier and saves the chickens :)

p.s. A Dutch Oven for this recipe is a must. If you don't have one yet (Mom!) you should get one asap- besides this recipe there about a million uses for them, and there are some cheap but sturdy ones out there!

Almost Hands-Free Risotto with Herbs

  • 6 1/2 cups fake chicken stock (I used 2 Edward & Son's Not Chick'n Boullion cubes), vegetable stock would work as well
  • 4 tbs. Earth Balance
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • Salt
  • 1 medium garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbs. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbs. chopped fresh chives
  • Ground black pepper
  1. Bring broth to a boil in a large sauce-pan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and maintain a gentle simmer.
  2. Heat 2 tbs. of Earth Balance in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. When the EB has melted, add onion and 3/4 tsp. salt; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened but not browned, 4-7 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until grains are translucent around edges, about 3 mins.
  3. Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until fully absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir 5 cups of hot broth into rice; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until almost all liquid has been absorbed and rice is just al dente, 16 to 19 mins, stirring twice during cooking.
  4. Add 3/4 cup of hot broth, and stir gently and constantly until risotto becomes creamy, about 3 mins. Remove pot from heat, cover, and let stand 5 mins. Stir in remaining 2 tbs Earth Balance, lemon juice, parsley and chives; season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Now that I have made this once successfully, I am wondering how I could jazz it up next time! I had some wonderful risotto in December at a French restaurant with butternut squash, pecans and cranberries that might be interesting to try make. I'm honestly not nuts about mushroom risotto, so that's out... Anyone have any other ideas about different kinds of risotto you could make using this recipe as a base? :-)

Alas, I did not get a picture of the risotto when we ate it last night- this is the sad small portion of leftovers... you get the idea though!