Once upon a time, I really loved to cook. So much so, that for several years running, I received for Christmas an annual subscription to Cooking Light Magazine, and its partner, Cooking Light Annual Recipes Cookbooks from my mother-in-law and mom, respectively. I took Indian cooking classes and French wine tasting classes while still living in Pittsburgh. I hosted dinner parties for which I’d pleasantly spend the preceding twenty-four hours chopping, sauteing and baking the meal’s components I hoped to nurture my guests with.
Then, our daughter was born. And a son. And another son.
Seven years of parenthood later, I am beginning to find myself in the kitchen again–and not always to throw together the most banal meal possible–a frozen pizza with a side of warmed up, frozen peas. I’d love to say I’m cracking a cookbook every day and whipping up extraordinary meals with all locally grown goods, but on gymnastics and swim class days, brief supper prep still reigns supreme.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the local farmer’s markets and specialty food shops are enough to inspire anyone–especially me. Last night’s dinner consisted of sautéed onion, garlic, organic baby spinach and plump Romano tomatoes tossed over bucatini pasta and topped with Old By seasoned, pan seared scallops. YUM.
Also, being a habitual banana saver, I recently discovered eleven dark brown bananas in the freezer that were all but demanding usage (in the form of taking up too much freezer space). Having found this banana bread recipe, I altered and increased it, accommodating ten out of the eleven bananas, making it dairy free, chocolate-lovers delectable, and overall accomplishing gustatory success. Here’s how it went down:
Kimmelin’s version of Banana Bread
1 1/2 cups chevre, softened
2 cups fine-grained baker’s sugar
1 cup turbinado sugar (“Sugar in the Raw”)
10 large ripe bananas, mashed
~ 2 teaspoons Madagascar vanilla extract
6 eggs, slightly beaten
4 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
75g of high quality dark chocolate (75% cacao or higher)
1. Cream the goat’s cheese and sugars. Blend in the bananas, vanilla and eggs.
2. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
3. Chop chocolate roughly–into small shards (smaller than dime-sized)
4. Add to the bread mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate pieces. DO NOT OVER MIX so as to avoid ending up with dry bread. Pour into greased pans. (you can use ~ 3 9×5 loaf pans, or put into muffin cups–muffin cups require approx. 1/2 – 1/3 the baking time as the loaf pans.
5. Bake at 350F. Check on the bread after 18 minutes, if baking in muffin tins, or 35 minutes if using bread loaf pans ( loaf pans may take up to 60 minutes). Banana bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the banana bread in the pan for 10 minutes then cool completely on a wire rack.
Note: I’m planning to use one of my loaves of bread for a celebratory End of School breakfast tomorrow–sliced and prepared as french toast. Double YUM!!!