Monday, December 28, 2009

all these bananas

After a month long break working on the Los Poblanos Organic farm I switched to the warehouse for the winter season. In some ways there is more hard labor involved like sorting and packing produce into boxes, defrosting produce that is delivered from California, using a hand truck and forklift to moved boxes around the warehouse, distributing produce into CSA subscriber boxes, and lots of cleaning. I started yesterday and was both delighted and surprised by how much produce ends up in the compost or up for grabs for the workers. I took home a bunch of pears, broccoli, garlic, onions, potatoes, and a whole ton of bananas (well, not a ton but lots and lots). So I decided to eat a few, freeze a couple of bunches and use the rest to make lots of banana bread. Below is my recipe. It can be tweaked for high altitude quite easily by taking out 1/4 tsp of baking soda, 1/4 c flour, using cold eggs, and baking for only 45 minutes. Feel free to make with pecans instead of walnuts, or just take out the nuts, and/or add chocolate chips.

Banana Bread

makes 2 loaves
active time: 30 minutes
total time: 2 1/2 hours

* 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
* 2 1/3 cups sugar
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 3 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas (6 large)
* 1/4 cup crème fraîche
* 2 teaspoons vanilla
* 1 1/3 cups walnuts (4 ounces), toasted and chopped

* Special equipment: a standing electric mixer

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (9- by 5- by 3-inch) metal loaf pans, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Sift together 3 1/4 cups flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl.

Beat together eggs and sugar in bowl of electric mixer at medium-high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream, mixing, then mix in bananas, crème fraîche, and vanilla. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture and walnuts gently but thoroughly.

Divide batter between loaf pans, spreading evenly, and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Cool loaves in pans on a rack 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack.
Turn loaves right side up and cool completely.