July 10, 2014

home is where the hearth is

I have been in my new home for just over a week now. It is amazing how fast time rushes by when all you are busy doing is unpacking, organizing, settling and making sense of your new surroundings. I haven't even started working yet, or for that matter even began the search for work! Though through all the haste and stress of relocating I have been happy, happier than I can remember for some time now. You see, this is the first time I have ever done anything like this and now that it is complete I have a new and quite enormous sense of accomplishment.

The few months proceeding this shift, I have been planning and working for July to be a time to pause, reset, explore and assimilate. I am truly savoring it and trying to make the most of each day. Beyond unpacking and setting up my belongings in my new home, I have managed to explore the immediate neighborhood in small bursts and spend plenty of time getting comfortable at home, most especially in the kitchen.

Here is what the first week of new town living has looked like...

July 9, 2014

banana bread

I can think of no better way to find your way around and descry solace in a kitchen than baking bread. In no less than a week of being in my new home, curiosity got the best of me and I set out to discover what the tap water in Georgia and an electric oven would do for my baguette recipe. I discovered very little difference, which I see as an opportunity for future tweaking of the recipe and baking technique. My second go at firing up the oven was for reasons of overripe bananas and excess packets of nuts and seeds which only naturally manifested in banana bread.

3 overripe bananas
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup of heavy cream or plain yogurt (or milk if you're in a pinch)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/8 cup honey + 1/8 molasses

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon of any or each of the following:
crushed walnuts
slivered almonds
sunflower seeds
flax seeds
sesame seeds
chia seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Begin by mixing the wet and dry ingredients in two separate bowls.

Once you have the bananas beaten well in the wet batter and it is relatively free of large lumps of the fruit, start incorporating the dry mix in a little at a time. At this point you can add whatever nuts or seeds tickle your fancy or omit them according to allergies or preference.

Generously butter and flour your bread pan and gently pour the batter in.

Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes taking care to check the center of the loaf with a toothpick for doneness. This bread is best slightly underdone or on the moist side. Let cool and enjoy! It's wonderful in the morning with a cup of coffee or glass of whole milk. I love to toast a slice with a small pat of butter too.