alaskafoodmom

Food made easy for busy moms.

Banana Bread May 4, 2011

Filed under: Breakfast,Comfort Food,Dessert — alaskafoodmom @ 6:59 am
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When I met my husband, he went on and on about how great his Grandma Uthe’s banana bread was.  I asked for the recipe and tweaked it a bit as I always do with recipes.  I don’t use a mixer for this recipe; rather a sturdy fork does all the work.  Great exercise for your arms and you get a better feel for when the ingredients are done being mixed.  Serve bread with butter, cream cheese or cranberry-banana jam.

½ cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar together until a light yellow color with a fork or mixer.  Mix in eggs and whip until the batter begins to double.  Fold in mashed bananas and vanilla with rubber spatula.  Sift in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Fold in dry ingredients until just incorporated.  Pour mixture into a greased bread pan or 3 mini loaf pans.  Bake for 50 – 60 minutes until center comes out clean with a tooth pick.  If bread begins to brown too quickly, lightly tent with foil.  Cool and slice to serve.

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Bread Crumbs

Filed under: The Basics — alaskafoodmom @ 6:18 am
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Bread crumbs are a great basic ingredient to have on hand and many store bought brands are packed with salt and preservatives.  Bread crumbs are a handy ingredient to have in your freezer; I use mine for meatballs and salmon patties.  I like to have control over my ingredients and this allows me to be able to control the salt and use delicious artisan breads that make great bread crumbs.  Trust me, you will never buy another container of bread crumbs from the store again.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut a loaf of artisan bread or other bread of choice into small cubes.  Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet.  Bake cubes until light brown.  Allow to cool and add to a blender or food processor and blend until broken down to semi course bread crumbs.  Store bread crumbs in an air tight container in the freezer.

 

Croutons

Filed under: Salads,The Basics — alaskafoodmom @ 6:07 am
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut a loaf of any artisan bread or other sturdy bread of choice into small cubes.  Add the bread to a large bowel and drizzle with just enough extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat all the bread cubes.  Spread on a baking sheet and season with kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper, granulated garlic, and dried dill weed.   Bake for about half hour or until lightly brown.  Store croutons in an air tight container in the freezer.

Feel free to experiment with different seasonings.  I will often use the Alaska dill blend that contains dill weed, kosher salt, white pepper, paprika and tarragon.  Lemon pepper is another good seasoning to give your croutons a little zest.

 

Artisan Bread

Filed under: The Basics,Thoughts for the Day — alaskafoodmom @ 6:01 am
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Unfortunately, I have not started making my own bread.  One day I will achieve to be as great as my sister-in-law Alex.  In the mean time, you can still pick up a loaf of artisan bread from most grocery stores or, even better, a local bakery.  We always seem to have a loaf of pre-sliced artisan garlic bread on hand in our refrigerator for meals.  We will brush the slices with olive oil and lightly grill.  A great way to use leftover artisan bread is to make croutons and bread crumbs. Many times I will shop the bakery for their day old selections that are typically discounted by 50%.