Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Banana Bread

Yield: 2 8" loaves
Source: Betty Crocker's 40th Anniversary Edition Cookbook

Lately I find myself purchasing bananas 7 and 8 at a time even though I full well know that I'll never get them eaten by the end of the week. It seems I subconsciously want banana bread.

1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (one stick) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (3 to 4 medium)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans

Place oven rack in lowest position and preheat to 350°. Grease bottoms only of 2 8" loaf pans.

Mix sugar and butter into a paste, add eggs one at a time. Add bananas. (I don't mash them, instead I put the mixer on about 3 and toss chunks of banana into the whirring beater. It's quite fun, I highly recommend it.) Pour in buttermilk and add vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in remaining flour, baking soda, and salt until just combined. Stir in nuts.

Pour batter into pans and bake for about 1 hour or until tester comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each pan to loosen the sides. Remove from pans and allow to completely cool on a wire rack before slicing.


Yield: 3-4 large meatballs
Source: Betty Crocker's 40th Anniversary Edition Cookbook

This is based on Betty's original but I find that a full size meatloaf just takes too long to cook on a weeknight. Breaking it up into smaller portions prior to baking shortens the cooking time quite a bit. Use 3 ramekins for 1/3 pound portions or 4 smaller ones for 1/4 pound portions. 

1 pound lean ground beef
1 t fresh or 1/2 t dried sage
1 t salt
1/2 t ground mustard seed
1 t fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic or 1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c tomato jam, barbecue sauce, or ketchup + 1 T per ramekin 
3 or 4 8-12 oz ramekins

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly crumble beef into a large mixing bowl.  Toss in sage through garlic and combine with your fingers. Be careful not to overwork the meat. Add tomato jam to the meat, don't mix it yet. Measure milk into a large liquid measuring cup, whisk egg and Worcestershire sauce into milk. Once combined, pour over meat and lightly work with a large fork or your fingers until fully incorporated. 

Prepare 3 or 4 ramekins by greasing the bottoms (I realize this seams odd but it will help with clean up later). Divide the meat mixture evenly and form into loose balls, put one ball into each ramekin. Top each one with 1 tablespoon of tomato jam. You could also add a pice of uncooked bacon here, everything's better with bacon.

Load the ramekins into a small cookie sheet and place into the oven. Cook 3 larger ramekins for 45 minutes or 4 smaller ones for 30 minutes. 

When the meatloaves are done allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Remove the meatloaves from the ramekins (I used a small metal spatula). Small meatloaves are ready to serve. Large ones can be served as is on a bug burger-style or cut in half width-wise first.