Blog Archives

Bananas Foster (plus pudding or ice cream)

This blog gets less and less like a “green” blog and more like a “recipes for potentially really unhealthy foodstuffs that actually aren’t so bad if you make them yourself” blog with every day that goes by, doesn’t it?

On the other hand, it keeps us away from weird chemical processed things, so that’s not so bad. In fact, this pudding recipe–what’s to avoid? It’s good stuff, right?

In our house bananas are always going overripe before they are eaten, and at a certain point in the summer you just don’t want to turn the oven on for more banana bread, you know? So here’s a delicious couple of alternatives…these are also a good way to avoid adding much sugar, since cooking bananas really heightens the sweetness.

Easy Bananas Foster (base recipe–half or double as needed)

  • In a large skillet on medium high, melt 1-2 tbs. butter, 1-2 tbs brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Stir till melted and bubbly.
  • If desired, toss in a splash of brandy or rum and stir. I always do, because it adds to the flavor and enables me to stay on the lower side with the butter. (I never bother to flame it–who needs the added terror?)
  • Add 2-3 cut up bananas (or 4, I guess–go wild, you know?). If the bananas themselves are the main event, cut them in big diagonals; if you are making pudding or ice cream, go for thinner slices or even quartered slices.
  • Stir into brown sugar syrup for maybe 30 seconds till the bananas themselves start to disintegrate a little. Dribble in a few drops of vanilla extract and stir; remove from heat.

*****

Ridiculously easy, right? This takes, and I’m not kidding, maybe 2-3 minutes. We do this over ice cream, folded into crepes, folded into crepes with ice cream, and now added to pudding or ice cream. (In full disclosure, when the Pioneer Woman makes this, she uses a whole stick of butter and a whole cup of brown sugar to 2 bananas, so naturally if you want additional syrup knock yourself out. I prefer to exercise a little more restraint.)  So: the variations:

Bananas Foster Ice Cream/Popsicles

Use a little additional brown sugar and vanilla in the original recipe (but probably not much, since the cooked bananas impart a lot of sweetness!). After bananas are made, stir into 2 cups milk or half and half, depending on how decadent you want to be. Pour into popsicle molds or ice cream maker, and, you know, do what you do.

Bananas Foster Pudding

For this, I started with a base vanilla pudding recipe and simply combined it with the Bananas Foster:

  • In a large saucepan, combine 1/4 cup brown sugar (you might be able to adjust this down) and 3 tbs cornstarch and stir.
  • Add 2 cups milk; heat slowly over low/medium heat until sugar and cornstarch are dissolved; raise heat to medium. (If you feel daring, you could make the Bananas Foster right about now, or you could make it before or after the pudding. Just be aware that timing is sometimes an issue…)
  • Continue heating and stirring (make sure you get the bottom edges of the pan) until small bubbles form at the edges of the liquid and it thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and remove from heat.
  • If you have not already made the bananas, do so now. Add bananas mixture to the vanilla pudding mixture. Pour into 1 large or 6 small bowls; cover and chill.

Again, green? Maybe not really. But these desserts are all full of whole and barely processed ingredients, and when you think about it, they really don’t have much that’s bad in them beyond a little refined sugar and a pat of butter. I’ve made this with 1% milk, and it tastes perfectly decadent.

Let me know if you try this, and how it works for you!

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Bundt Cake of Endless Autumnal Substitution

Okay, remember a couple of weeks ago when I made my Applesauce Bundt Cake? (follow that link to the original recipe)

Well, I discovered something interesting the other day when I made it–or something like it–again.

The recipe takes 2 cups of applesauce; I only had one.  But I also had a cup or so of pumpkin puree from the pumpkin oatmeal breakfast cookies.  So I thought…well, it should work, right? Why wouldn’t it?

It would. It did. It was actually really really good, even made with 100% whole wheat flour instead of half white and half wheat like the original recipe.  My kids even love it.  So here’s the amended version:

*****

Some Kinda Fruit Sauce Cake

Preheat oven to 350

In a large bowl mix till smooth and maybe a little foamy:

  • 2 cups pureed or mashed fruit, such as applesauce, bananas, pumpkin, zucchini, pear sauce, peaches, or whatever
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar; if the fruit you are using is very sweet to begin with, substitute up to half a cup of powdered milk for an equal amount of the sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or other flavoring of choice)

Add (just till mixed):

  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (or combination of white and wheat in whatever proportions you choose)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • (and/or other spices in lieu of the above, as you see fit and have in your spice rack)
  • A cup or so of raisins, nuts, or other dried fruit

Mix well and bake for about an hour in a bundt pan or two loaf pans, 40 minutes in 2 square pans, or maybe 30 minutes for muffins.

I have not tried every combination or permutation of this, but I strongly suspect that, aside from the obviousness of other root veggies, almost any mashed or pureed fruit of which you happen to have two cups would work just fine, and give all kinds of delicious different variations (none of which, in the interest of full disclosure, I have actually tried):

  • peaches, and add 1/4 tsp cardamom to the spices (Trader Joes has a nice spiced peach sauce…though you’d then definitely want to diminish the sugar in the recipe)
  • all pumpkin, with some ginger added with the spices
  • banana, and maybe substitute 1/2 a cup of unsweetened cocoa for 1/2 cup of the sugar (although I already have a recipe for something very like this…)
  • what about pear sauce instead of applesauce? I think I might go with white flour for that one…
  • Or whatever weird combinations of fruits you have…that brown banana plus some applesauce and isn’t there still a half cup or so of pumpkin butter from breakfast the other day?…I find it hard to imagine much that could make this cake actually bad, you know?
  • UPDATE: re that previous comment? I tried it substituting nut butter for half the oil; the result was a little too dry, or maybe I overbaked it, and had a sort of funky taste…not enough nut to assert itself, just enough to make you go, “hungh?”–I’ll work on it. In the meantime…yeah, maybe not.

*****

Just pay attention to your proportions, and it should work just fine.

A note about flour type–I find that the more “autumn-y” the fruit combo I’m using is, and the more pronounced the spices, the less likely it is that my children will notice that I’ve used all whole wheat flour.  If I were doing something with, say, peaches and raspberries, I’d probably err more on the side of the white flour, whereas with applesauce and pumpkin I’d go for the wheat.  Again, it depends on your tastes and your situation.

If you don’t have or don’t wish to use a bundt pan, you could also do this in two loaf pans–or make a number of smaller loaves. As you wish…This is seriously good, and is a great way to turn some of those leftover dregs of Stuff in your fridge into a yummy snack or easy way to ingratiate yourself with your co-workers…

Chocolate Banana Bread recipe

Oh.  My.  God.

Over at Fun and Food Cafe, there is a recipe for a really lovely twist on “what to do when your bananas turn dark brown and mushy when you’re not looking.”   By happy coincidence, today as I discovered that post I also realized that the mushy bananas my husband said he would freeze a week ago were still sitting in the fruit bowl on the counter. And they were past mushy by now, they were actually verging on liquid. (Eew, I know.) So I figured this would be a good day to give it a shot.

(Y’all know, don’t you, that if you peel, chunk, and freeze bananas when they’ve just turned too ripe to eat normally, they are wonderful for smoothies, right?)

I tweaked it a bit for healthiness reasons and because my hubby doesn’t do nuts…but still, Yow. Serious goodness here.  And it was unbelievably easy.

Chocolate Banana Bread (updated 10/10)

In a large bowl mix, in order:

  • 3 or so mushy overripe bananas, slightly mashed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix well–I left some chunks in the bananas, but you could use a mixer and get it nice and smooth if you wanted.

Add all at once (best is to mix dry ingredients in one bowl and then add them to the wet; I never do.)

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup white flour (or use all whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa (up from 1/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (up from 1 cup)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Mix just until blended; don’t overmix or your dough will be tough.  Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips and/or 1/2 cup toasted nuts, stir till just incorporated.

Bake in greased loaf pan at 350 for 55-60 minutes. Let cool, if you can stand the wait, and remove from pan.

This is SERIOUSLY good.  I should also clarify that the chocolate chips make a really significant contribution to the difference between “delicious” and “ohmigod.”  But this is really good.  I bet you could go 100% whole wheat flour in this and it would be no less awesome…next time.

Because, yes, there will be a next time.