Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Banana Bread - An "S Original"

Someone recently told me (shout-out to Britannia!) that when you change at least 3 ingredients, a recipe essentially becomes your own.  Several years ago, I took one of my favorite recipes and brought it to a new level with a few tweaks.  The results?  SO GOOD!  With this new "rule" established, I am officially claiming this recipe as my very own....

Who doesn't love banana bread?  Ok, except for you random few who have issues with bananas (which I will never understand - they're like candy, except really good for you!), but for the rest of you, I highly recommend you try this spiced up version of the classic:

1 3/4 c flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 c shortening (I always use unsalted butter)
2/3 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c mashed ripe bananas

Optional additional ingredients: chocolate chips, blueberries, etc.

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine sugar, shortening, eggs and vanilla - mix well.  In separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients.  Add flour mixture and mashed bananas alternately to sugar mixture.  Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for approximately 45-50 minutes. (Check for knife to come out clean).

The baking time may vary if you happen to have a quirky old gas oven as I do in my apartment.  You may want to bake it for 40 minutes, then check it every 3-5 after that.  Its time consuming but totally worth it to avoid dried out bread.

A source tells me that this bread disappeared really quickly at the office...even more proof that you should try it!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Heartache, Delicious Heartache

I'm not a huge fan of BBQ sauce. Everything you find in the grocery store is either too sweet, too spicy or too tasteless (with the single exception of Sweet Baby Ray's Original, which will do in a pinch). Only one sauce has kept me coming back for more over the mom's. At least I thought it was my mom's....until a few days ago when I received some disturbing news. It is actually a recipe from a cookbook she purchased in 1964. WTF?!?! The wonderful "family" recipe that I have written on a card in my recipe box (yes, I still use one) with "mom's recipe" in the title is not actually an original?!?!?! I was crushed.

The initial sadness and shock lasted only so long, for when I opened my freezer and saw a giant pork loin staring at me I knew I couldn't turn my back on this delicious sauce. After all, it really is the perfect combination of tanginess and sweetness, with that little kick at the end - so so yummy.

So here goes - from The Spice Cookbook, by Avanelle Day and Lillie Stuckey, published in 1964 (this is for a double recipe):

2 tsp powdered mustard with 2 Tbsp water - mix well and let stand 10 min to develop
2 cups ketchup
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water
4 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp instant dried minced onion - sounds odd, but it works for this
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt (I use about 2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (I use at least 1 tsp)

Add all ingredients and mix well. Then add mustard mixture and stir to combine. Let stand about 20-30 min to allow flavors to develop.

Personal taste - this is best on pork, whether brushed on chops or ribs, or for making pulled pork (as pictured). However, it's also quite tasty on chicken and brisket.

For pulled pork in the crockpot:
Pour enough sauce in the crockpot to coat the bottom, up to 1/4" deep. Liberally salt a boneless pork loin with kosher salt then place in the crockpot. Cover with sauce (reserve some for serving later). Cook on high for approximately 6 hours. Shred and serve.