I did enter my Banana Bread in the county fair and as promised, I am posting my results! Before I do, I want to share a few things that I learned in this process.
1st... Have enough ingredients on hand to make a second batch just in case the first one does not turn out quite right.
2nd... Bake the first one early enough that you have time to bake a second if necessary.
3rd... Split the recipe into two smaller loaves (adjusting cooking time) so that you can taste one of the loaves and have the second loaf for entry.
I did none of the above. Luckily, I did not burn the first (and only) attempt for the fair entry... it turned out looking beautiful and golden brown. However, had I made two loaves and tasted one, I would have found that I did indeed, over cook it a bit. It was a bit dry, which, as I mentioned in my "Driving Me Bananas" post, is what I have been battling to overcome. My daughter is actually who asked me if I made two loaves, which had never occurred to me. She asked when she came over the morning we were to take the entries to the fair. When I asked her why, she replied with "So you can taste one to make sure it is OK."
Lesson Learned! The next day, my daughter, granddaughters and I went to the fair to see the results of our entries (the girls had entered some paintings and each won 2nd Place!). :) My Banana Bread, sitting there for the world to see, was ribbon-less. Written on the judges comment sheet was "This seems to be cooked too long... and is a bit dry. There are some interesting ingredients used that we appreciated though." I really wanted to discretely remove the entry tag with my name on it, but I remained humble. Perhaps I did just leave it in the oven a few minutes too long or perhaps I just need to continue working on my recipe.
Today was the day to pick up the entries from the fair. I had some paintings there that needed to be picked up and my husband was going that direction, so he said he would get them. I told him to not bother with the Banana Bread... there was no ribbon and I certainly did not want week-old bread that had been sitting in a hot fair building all week. When he arrived home with the paintings, there was an extra tag with a RED ribbon attached. I did a double-take and asked what it was. He said for the Banana Bread. My look demanded explanation, so he went on... He had decided to go pick up the Banana Bread tag for some unknown reason and when he got there the lady said, "Oh, there was supposed to be a Second Place Ribbon on this bread. Let me get that for you!"
I guess my humility needed some testing. It would have been very nice to have had that ribbon actually attached to the bread while it was on display the entire week of the fair, but in the end, it is better to have actually won SOMETHING, than Nothing at All!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Over the last few weeks, I have been experimenting with my mother's recipe and have FINALLY made a Banana Bread that I (and my family) am very happy with! So happy, that in fact, I am entering one in the County Fair next week. It has been about 30 years since I entered my baked goods in a county fair, so I am a bit nervous, but excited to find out how independent judges react. I will post the results in about 2 weeks!
In the meantime, here is my mother's banana bread recipe... new & (sorry Mom) improved! Please realize that this recipe originally used Shortening and Sugar. I knew that I could easily substitute honey for the sugar, but was not sure about using oil in place of shortening. In my very first variation, I used butter. It is much healthier than using shortening (I will elaborate in a later post), but knew that if I could get away with using oil, it would be ideal. On my second attempt, I used oil with amazing results!
(Note: All Green text are Olivelle recipes that I will share. Green text within a recipe are ingredients that can be purchased from Olivelle locally or on the website http://www.olivelle.com/ )
2/3 C "Honey Ridge Farms" Spiced Honey Creme*
1/3 C Roasted Walnut Oil (or Blood Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
3 Tbsp Buttermilk
1 C Mashed Bananas (Approx. 2 Medium Bananas)
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Vanilla Bean Sea Salt
2 C Flour
1 C Pecan Pieces
Pour into an oiled & floured 9.25x 5.25 x 2.75 Loaf Pan and let sit for 20 minutes. Then bake at 350 Degrees for approx. 50 minutes (or until a toothpick, inserted in the top, comes out clean).
* Honey Ridge Farms makes several varieties of Honey Creme. So far, I have used the following combinations of Honey and Oil in this recipe: Spiced Honey Creme and Roasted Walnut Oil; Cranberry Honey Creme with Roasted Walnut Oil; and Apricot Honey Creme and Blood Orange EVOO. I am planning to try Cranberry Honey Creme with Blood Orange EVOO for my next combination, however, for the County Fair entry, I will be using the basic recipe above.
Don't let your recipes Drive You Bananas! Be brave, experiment, mix up some of the ingredients and make some DELICIOUS foods!
For a wonderful, healthy dessert option, try serving as follows:
Heat in small sauce pan on medium-low heat:
1 C Fresh Raspberries, crushed
1 C Fresh Blueberries
Stir until raspberries start to simmer & the blueberries turn glossy, then remove from heat.
1 C Heavy Whipping Cream, Whipped (Do NOT add sugar)**
Place a thick slice of Banana Bread on a dessert plate, spoon warm berries over it, top with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with a few grinds of any one of "Seven Deadly Sins" Sugar Grinds. My favorite is "Envy" Basil & Sugar blend, however, any of the seven are "Heavenly"!
**I highly recommend using an "isi" N2O Cream "Whipper". It is as easy as using the store bought, pressurized whipped cream, but you know EXACTLY what is in the can! Just pour 1/2 C - 1 C of heavy whipping cream into the canister, attach the lid & N2O cartridge, shake, remove the cartridge and push the button! (Be sure to read the instructions before use!) Fresh, healthy whipped cream instantly and you control the sugar content! And the best part... it adds so much volume to the cream, that you feel like you are eating WAY more than you really are! These are available at stores such as "Bed, Bath & Beyond" and online.