Feb 4, 2009

banana bread with cinnamon crumble topping

I love banana bread, but as I strive to eat locally I have a really hard time justifying purchasing banana's from South America. With a deep craving for this wonderfully warm, fragrant and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar banana bread, I finally broke down and allowed myself one week to purchase bananas from the grocery store. It felt like betrayal to the season and to all the fabulous Northern California fruit.

I found this banana bread one of the first Sunday's we went to the market, the Bakesale Betty's booth was sampling a possible new product, banana bread. Little did I know what a treat I was about to taste. Loaded with fresh banana flavor, chewy, yet soft, and sprinkled with just enough sugar on top; it tasted indulgent and somewhat healthy, how could I resist. That was the only Sunday that I found the banana bread at the market, though I'm sure you can purchase it at Betty's store any day of the week. The following month skimming through the September issue of Bon Appetit I found the exact recipe from Bakesale Betty's featured. My lucky day! I don't know when I'll break down again, but after savoring this bread all week I think it was worth that little bit of guilt.

I've only made the bread one other time, and after this past Sunday there were a couple adjustments I would make for the next time I'm craving this yummy Sunday treat.

Recipe for Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crumble Topping
By Bakesale Betty's, makes 1 loaf of bread

1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 T sugar
2 t ground cinnamon, divided
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3 medium)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola, Walnut might also be good)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
2 and 1/2 T (packed) brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour 9x5x3-inch metal baking pan. Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 t. cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whist next 5 ingredients in large bowl until smooth. Add dry ingredients; stir to blend. Transfer batter to pan. Mix 2 T. sugar, 1 t. cinnamon, and brown sugar; sprinkle over batter.

Bake bread until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour (in my oven it took about 1.5 hours). Cool bread in pan 30 minutes. Turn pan on its side; slide out bread, being careful not to dislodge topping. Turn bread right side up and cool completely.

Alison's Notes:
The next time I make it I will probably add nuts, pecans or walnuts would both be good. Also I plan to try pouring the topping over the batter and then sticking a fork into the mix pushing it down directly into the dough, hopefully baking it right into the bread and so not losing so much of it every time I cut a slice of bread.

(photography by: alison clayshulte)

Feb 2, 2009

three layer enchilada's

Without any real plans on Saturday night we decided to make ourselves the party. Homemade marg's, three-layered enchilada's, and chips and we were ready. The hubby was craving ground beef enchilada's, but after walking out of the butcher with not quite enough meat we decided to improvise. It took another trip to the store, but that's the fun of planning a meal as you grocery shop. So Saturday we made three layered ground beef flour tortilla enchilada casserole filled with butternut squash, potatoes, onions, a Serrano pepper, and oodles of cheese. That's what happens when your husband is a mid-western cheese lover at heart.

Recipe for Three-layered Enchilada's

1 lb ground beef
1/2 large butternut squash, cubed
6 small butter potatoes, pealed and cubed
1/2 red onion
1 serrano pepper
Enchilada sauce
Flour tortilla's
Mexican cheese blend, grated

Fry up the ground beef, drain and place in a bowl, leaving the pan with the juice from the beef. In a separate frying pan heat just a touch of olive oil and add the butternut squash, potatoes, and enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover and let cook until soft (about 10 minutes).

Chop up the onion and pepper, leaving enough seeds for your desired spiciness and saute in the beef pan. Once the onions and potato / squash mixture are done gather all the ingredients to assemble the dish. Using a glass 9 x 13 inch pan place a layer of tortillas, then add about half of all the fillings, onions and pepper, squash and potatoes.

Lightly pour enchilada sauce over the first layer (I purchased mine from Trader Joe's this weekend, I find that their Mexican Enchilada Sauce is an easy grab and go item, its not completely authentic but it does the trick in a pinch). Sprinkle the grated cheese over everything.

Then start again with the tortillas, filling, sauce and cheese. Finally add an third layer of tortilla, sauce and cheese. Cover loosely with foil and bake in a pre-heated 375 F oven for about 25 minutes. Once everything is cooked through take the foil off to finish off the cheese for a final five minutes.

(photography by: alison clayshulte)