kruizing with kikukat

Monday, May 27, 2013

Banana Muffins (or Bread): Version Two

Its Memorial Day, and in spite of having the day off, I am still not on vacation :(  I have 3 more days of work.  While its not "regular" work, it is still work, and it sucks as much as regular work sucks.  Actually, it might suck even more than regular work.  Based on preliminary directions we were given, the next three days appear to mostly be sessions of blecchhh.  I was also asked to destroy whatever I work on during the three days, as I'm not supposed to be taking any of it with me.  I wonder if Ichabod Crane will shoot me with one of those Men In Black flash guns which purge memories. 

These next three days will likely be the longest days of the school year.  We have three full days of professional development.  The teachers all around tell me they are PD'd out.  Many of them are planning to call in sick and/or are taking personal leave.  In the back of my mind, I recall hearing that personal leave was a "no no".  I wonder what occupational fine will be levied on those who do not sign in on the PD days.  Out of fairness to the brave souls who do show, there should be some cost for non-attendance.  Maybe I'm just jealous.  From what I understand about the scheduling for those days, we have 30 minutes to eat lunch AND, for some people, get from one school to another.  If there are any labor union people reading this, please take notice.  This cannot be pono.

I really wish I could gush about all of my summer plans, but at this point I'm feeling like the fun part of my summer is light years away.  Ok, ok, by the time this post is published it will actually be 2 1/2 days away, but it will still seem like parsecs.  Oh well, I need to follow Dory's advice and "just keep swimming, just keep swimming. . .".  I will be emancipated on Thursday at 3 pm.  Then I can begin my vacation!  Need to schedule a first aid massage, a pampering facial, and a pedicure.  I've been toying with painting my nails again, but I'm worried about Aki and Shaka getting sick from the nail polish fumes.  And I'm not game about dealing with the removal process either.  I guess I'm adding "manicure" to the service list.

Kids begin summer programs next week.  At least D2 does.  I'm not sure when D1 begins her internship.  I suppose I can get started on my summer cooking bucket list.  Sponge Drops and Gravlax are at the top of the list.  I tried sponge drops three decades ago at a party, and I never got around to making them.  I think its about time I try.  I saw Anthony Bourdain having gravlax with eggs in aspic on tv, and the gravlax looked good.  I'm not quite ready to tackle xiao long bao again.  Maybe next summer.

Summer strikes me as the time for a surplus of fruits.  It still grosses me out to see mangoes and lychees smashed on the ground rotting.  Mr. Dependable shares fruit from his sixty-year old navel orange trees.  Uncle James and Mr. Dependable both have banana trees and usually provide me with lots of bananas...often at the same time.  At that point, the only option is to make banana bread.

Last year, I blogged about making banana bread with the surplus of bananas I had.  While that recipe, Fluffy Banana Bread, is my all-time favorite banana bread, there are times when I have fast-ripening bananas but no sour cream.  It occurred to me a few weeks ago that I have never made banana bread/muffins which didn't have sour cream in it.  I spent countless hours poring through cookbooks to find a "standard" banana bread recipe which was made with pantry staple ingredients.  Some of the recipes I came across contained chocolate chips.  I love chocolate chip cookies, but I'm not so adventurous in banana bread, and I like it plain.

When I was growing up, Kikukat Mom would occasionally (I say "occasionally" because for a number of years, my aunt and grampa lived with us, and both of them began eating bananas when they were, in my opinion, still green.  This left little chance for me & Kikukat Dad to even eat bananas) make banana bread, and her recipe always had mincemeat.  Mincemeat is something that I find repulsive. . .not quite in the same echelon as mustard, but right there next to grapes.  This should come as no surprise since one of the things I always see in mincemeat is raisins.

Many cookbooks contained recipes for "Kona Inn Banana Bread".  The Kona Inn was a popular place to stay in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.  Today, there is a shopping village (tourist-y) and restaurant at the Kona Inn site.  I'm not sure if the restaurant serves banana bread.  None of the Kona Inn recipes I came across had instructions for making muffins, so while I've included the recipe for the bread and muffins, the baking instructions for muffins is my own, developed through trial and error. 

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1/2 c butter, softened
     1 c sugar
     2 eggs
     1 1/4 c flour
     1 tsp baking soda
     1/2 tsp salt
     1 c mashed bananas (may use as little as 3/4 c)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tins with paper cups or grease and flour a large loaf pan.  Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.  Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs.  Add dry ingredients alternately with bananas, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.  Spoon batter into lined muffin tins or prepared loaf pan.  A #20 disher (full) works well.  Bake for 25 minutes.  If making bread, bake for 35-40 minutes.  Remove to rack to finish cooling.  This will make about 12 muffins.

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