In the kitchen

I traded grading papers for washing dishes. Although Mister and I eat at home most of the time, and I enjoy all the cooking and baking that I do, I do not enjoy the circular file of dishes that the cooking and baking generates. Seriously. Sometimes it seems endless.

But, the bounty it brings and the satisfaction I get from a well-cooked meal, or a delicious treat balances my dislike of piles of dishes.

This week, I got back into the swing of things, including making banana bread.

Mister and I have some serious banana issues. Namely, I let them rot, perhaps a day too far, and he throws them out. I've resorted to hiding, yes hiding, bananas in the freezer, but he finds them and razzes me for their rotted presence.

Rotty bananas make the best bread, and I've been looking for the best banana bread recipe for a while now.

I thought it would be the recipe from Stevenson Coffee House at UC Santa Cruz, where I baked and served cups of coffee all through college. Nope. Too dry though I remembered it as sweet and moist. Ditto Mark Bittman's recipe which calls for flaked coconut. Dry. Not banana-y enough.

Enter Molly Wizenberg and A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, a book that is worth reading for the stories and/or the recipes. Take your pick. She has this recipe for Glenn's Banana Bread on her blog, Orangette, but it's not quite the same as the recipe in the book which so knocked my socks off that I took the loaf to Lake Anza on Friday to share with the mamas (I usually try to bring something) and had to force myself to leave a little lump for Mister.

Glenn's Banana Bread calls for chopped up crystalized ginger, chocolate chips, and yogurt. Wizenberg suggests using plain but I only had vanilla on hand. Yum. Also, don't bother with non-fat or low-fat (and, frankly, why do you bother with it, anyway?). Whole milk yogurt, please. You won't regret it, I promise.

I'd show you a picture, but, well, it's gone.

We had loads of veggies on hand, and I thought I'd push for a few more meatless meals. I made pizza the other night (it turned into a calzone because I left it on the peel too long), but I wanted soup. I wanted Ed Fretwell's Soup, another recipe from A Homemade Life. This time the recipe is pretty much the same as on the blog, but the story in the book is lovelier, telling the story of Ed Fretwell and his soup which he delivered several times while Wizenberg's father was ill. I used Rancho Gordo runner cannellinis, a bean that swells up unbelievably large (I don't know why I tend towards the massive bean, but I do). I used Bittman's quick soak method but had to add a couple of hours of simmering. The soup is glorious. We had another round tonight when the Northwest Mommy dropped by with B and E for a walk and impromptu dinner.

I'm not sure which recipe will be next, but maybe the stewed prunes. Yes, I said it. Stewed prunes.

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In the kitchen

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