Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Real Banana Bread

This is the first thing I think of when my bananas start getting speckly. Mom used to make it when I was a kid. It's based on a recipe in an old edition of the Fannie Farmer cookbook, though if I remember correctly, the recipe in newer editions is different.

This isn't a banana cake, moist and dense and buttery, as many "banana breads" are. This one contains no butter or oil, its texture is similar to Boston brown bread, and it's only moderately sweet. I like it best toasted and spread with cream cheese.
Real Banana Bread

3 ripe or overripe bananas
2 eggs
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda (so says the recipe; I used 1-1/4 teaspoons of baking powder)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
(optional: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium or large bowl, mash the bananas with a potato masher or a fork (lumps are okay). Add the eggs and whisk well. Add the dry ingredients and stir until combined, adding a bit of water if necessary (my batter was too thick to stir at first, but a tablespoon of water fixed it right up). Stir in nuts, if you like. Spread in a greased loaf pan and bake for one hour.
That's it! One of these days I'll try making it with semisweet chocolate chips, like my godmother does with her banana bread (though hers is much sweeter than this one).

This would be a nice thing to whip up if you have company coming for breakfast or weekend houseguests: it takes about five minutes to put together and an hour to bake, and is actually better the next day.

I'm having it for dinner.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Humble Omelet

I've been MIA for what I would consider a valid reason: I've been having trouble eating. I didn't cook for probably about a month. I was mostly consuming Vitamin Water, Luna bars and Easy Mac, with an occasional restaurant meal in there because when I felt good enough to eat, I wanted to cram in the calories.

I write now because I'm on medication, and it seems to be working at least some, so I cooked myself dinner tonight, and I'm really, really happy about it. Nothing fancy at all, but it's food, and I made it.
Humble Omelet

2 eggs
about two ounces of thinly sliced deli ham, cut into thin strips
1/4 large white or yellow onion, sliced very thin
dill weed

In a small skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often. While the onions are cooking, beat the eggs in a small bowl together with the salt, pepper and dill. When the onions are very soft and browned, stir in the ham and continue to cook a couple more minutes, until your kitchen smells like ham. Set this pan aside and replace it with a larger skillet or omelet pan (nonstick is nice). A little butter in the pan is a good idea. Keeping the heat medium low, pour in the egg mixture. Let it cook just until, when you tilt the skillet, the eggs don't run. Don't wait for the omelet to look dry on top, or it will be overdone. Add the onions and ham to the pan in a strip down the middle of the omelet, and fold over both sides to cover the filling. Cook for another minute, then serve.
I've made this omelet a couple times now, and it's awesome. I'm only just discovering omelets without cheese. I went to Blue Moon Diner maybe six months ago and saw that they had smoked trout as an omelet ingredient. Now, I love smoked trout, but I couldn't imagine what cheese would go well with it. I asked our waitress, and she crinkled up her nose and thought but didn't come up with anything either. So I went with just smoked trout and caramelized onions, and I probably don't need to tell you that it was awesome.

Actually, most of the things I cook are rip-offs of things I eat in restaurants, although occasionally my brain will invent something seemingly out of whole cloth. I don't mind being derivative as long as the food tastes good.

I'm just so happy to be able to cook myself dinner again.