Banana Bread

by BiteSizedJessica on July 6, 2014

Frozen_BananaBread-101Growing up, my mother’s freezer was the most notorious place where food went to die an undignified death. Bagels were tossed in there half wrapped in a piece of paper towel. A crumpled piece of foil obligatorily placed atop an opened loaf of bread signified zero understanding of food preservation techniques using a freezer. Yet if you ever questioned the madness, my mother would vehemently defend her freezer tactics. “It’s just a frozen bagel! It’s perfectly good,” she’d assert while microwaving said bagel, before toasting it into oblivion.

The other very notorious kitchen violation my mother commits is the way she handles bananas. My mother knows how to rot a banana with the best of them. Every time my father goes down to the market for something, my mom asks him to throw in a banana for good measure. It’s just this obligatory request that’s born more out of an impulsive need to buy more than one thing at a time, than out of need.

As a result of this compulsive banana buying, I too have become a hoarder of this Musa fuit. Every time Jon goes out to the store, I ask him to buy a banana, just like my mother. We accumulate them more than anything else in our apartment.

Fortunately for the sake of not wasting food, I learned a great trick about preserving rotten bananas years ago. Apparently, if you freeze a banana, it remains preserved and ready to use in banana bread. Banana bread quickly became my go-to housewarming gift, my favorite party-favor and one of my most trusted recipes. It’s the perfect way to re-use a fruit that would otherwise be considered trash.

Here’s my recipe for banana bread. Please, rescue any otherwise doomed banana from the garbage. Put it in your freezer when it starts to turn brown and save it for a rainy day.

Frozen_BananaBread-010

INGREDIENTS:
(Makes 1 loaf)

1 stick of butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cupu sour cream
4 browned banaans
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup pecans, toasted
1 1/2 cups flour

Frozen_BananaBread-052

What to do:

1. Cream butter and both sugars in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.

2. Add eggs one by one until fully incorporated.

3. Add salt, baking soda, vanilla, bananas and sour cream. Beat until incorporated.

4. Slowly incorporate flour in 3 parts until batter is smooth.

5. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 until a cake tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes – 1 hour.

6. Allow to cool slightly before slicing.

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Chocolate Chip Scones

by BiteSizedJessica on October 14, 2013

ChocolateChipScones_04_©2013JonathanMeterNow that the weather has finally cooled down, I’ve been itching to use my stove and oven again. Jon and I have been out of town every weekend since the summer, and this was the first weekend I could get back to cooking at home. In celebration of UK chocolate week, one of Jon’s client’s, Divine Chocolate, gave us a bunch of bittersweet bakers chocolate. So for Sunday breakfast, we baked something traditionally British – scones – and added the chocolate to make them even more special. These scones were easy, delicious and can be made the day before. What else could be better for a fall Sunday morning?

ChocolateChipScones_01_©2013JonathanMeter

INGREDIENTS
(Makes 16 2-inch scones)
Adapted from Martha Stewart

3 1/8 cups all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/8 cup + 1 tbsp superfine sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 stick butter
3 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling

ChocolateChipScones_02_©2013JonathanMeter

What to Do: 

1. Sift all dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 eggs and all the milk.
2. Dice the butter and mix it into the flour using your hands. Try to work quickly so the butter stays cold.
3. As soon as the butter is incorporated, stir in the eggs and milk.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until just combined. Do not over knead.
5. Roll the dough into a 1″ disk.
6. Using a 2″ biscuit cutter, cut rounds and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
7. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the remaining egg. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
8. Bake at 400 for 12-14 minutes. Serve warm!

ChocolateChipScones_03_©2013JonathanMeter© 2013 Jonathan and Jessica Meter

 

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Shrimp Scallion Pancakes and Cooking Planit T-fal Giveaway Winner

by BiteSizedJonathan on September 8, 2013

Ramp Pancake 09 © 2013 Jonathan Meter

 

Jon and I got home from a trip, and it’s the second weekend in a row we’ve been out of town. We didn’t even unpack between the two weekends, just used the same bags we’d taken with us on the first trip. It’s so nice to be home and we are completely exhausted. Obviously, dinner is arriving in a bag tonight.

Hot Kitchen in the East Village is our go-to Chinese fix. It’s pretty good Sichuan food and our favorite delivery or go-out Chinese in our neighborhood – and we’ve done extensive takeout research. I just got so hungry writing this that I had to go on Seamless and order before finishing. We are pretty religious about what we order each time – the soup dumplings, scallion pancakes and cold noodles are must-order staples. For nights when we are feeling more ambitious though, these shrimp scallion pancakes are really fun to make at home. Although when Chinese takeout is just a phone call away, it’s hard to resist!

Ramp Pancake 05 © 2013 Jonathan Meter

INGREDIENTS:
(Serves 6)

For the Pancakes:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup warm water
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
3 ramps, or scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 lb shrimp, deveined and halved

For the Shrimp Marinade:
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, zested
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, ground

Ramp Pancake 06 © 2013 Jonathan Meter

What To Do:

1. Start by cleaning all your shrimp, halving them length-wise and setting them to marinate in a the sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, and spices.
2. Prepare your pancake dough. Mix the flour and water in a large bowl to make a smooth dough. The dough should be smooth, not sticky.
3. On a clean, floured surface, knead the dough for 5 minutes. Oil a mixing bowl and set the dough to rest, covered with a very lightly dampened towel, for at least 30 minutes.
4. When the dough has rested, prepare to roll it out into the pancakes. Flour your work surface and divide the dough in half. Roll each half into cylinders 1-inch in diameter.
5. Slice your dough logs into 2-inch long pieces – a pastry cutter works best for this task.
6. Roll your little 2-inch logs out into flat circles, 5-inches in diameter.
7. Brush your pancake circles with sesame oil then sprinkle with the sliced ramps or scallions. Gently press the ramps into the dough using the palm of your hand.
8. Roll the pancakes again into little cigars, keeping the filling in place.
9. Coil the newly-formed cylinders into snail-like circular discs. Press the halved shrimp into the center of the disc, skin side up, and use the rolling pin to flatten the pancake and seal the shrimp into the dough. This can be tricky so make sure your shrimp firmly adheres to the dough.
10. Fry the pancakes carefully in the vegetable oil on both sides. Put them in the pan shrimp side down and use a flat spatula to press them to the bottom of the pan lightly before letting them cook. This will help keep the shrimp flat and in place.
11. Serve hot!

Ramp Pancake 07 © 2013 Jonathan Meter

** We’d also like to thank everyone for entering our Cooking Planit T-fal Giveaway! All your responses were really great. We’d like to announce that the winner is Allison, from the Spontaneous Tomato. Thanks to everyone who entered and please come back and visit us here at BiteSized soon!

Ramp Pancake 08 © 2013 Jonathan Meter

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