Daily Archives: July 17, 2007

I’m being eaten by a boa constrictor

Ginny, a fellow Seattle food writer, has a theory that people who eat as part of their job learn to eat like snakes – you know, huge meals all at once, followed by nothing for a while. She’s able to fast for hours and hours before what she knows will be a big meal, and stretches her fullness out well into the next day. This, my friends, is a talent.

It’s one I lack. Regardless of how much I eat at a given meal, I’m still hungry for the next one, and skipping a meal isn’t really an option for me. But it’s not because eating too much doesn’t make me feel gross; it does. Maybe I’m just not practiced enough.

What I do know is that I’ve been baking a lot in the last week for hogwash because I’ve been eating a lot of meals out, and still need daily recipes. (Herego, I’ve been making breakfast stuff.)

Here’s what I mean by a lot: Wednesday I judged Fare Start’s Guest Chef on the Waterfront cooking contest, which meant tasting something from every chef there. Thursday I ate two meals out in Tacoma, Friday I had Indonesian food for lunch at Julia’s. Saturday I judged a different contest in Kirkland (Dan won), Sunday we had breakfast at Pete’s with friends and dinner at Tavolata with someone just in town for the night, and last night we celebrated Tito’s sister’s last night here with incredible steak frites at Cafe Presse.

Now, I feel like I’m the one being eaten by a boa constrictor. It’s reached my middle, and I don’t like it very much. (C’mon – you know that song, don’t you? My husband didn’t. I’m going to play the Peter, Paul and Mary version for him when he gets home tonight.)

Between the general heat of summer and a lower dose of steroid (which means a sudden and unsettling drop in my appetite), I’m suddenly up for an all-juice diet for a day or two. Maybe just coffee and water.

Or, um, maybe some banana bread, inspired by three almost-dead bananas and an email reporting a disappointing, dry banana bread recipe. This one’s nice, also made with the good and the bad.

I’ve never had trouble finding good recipes for banana bread with almost anything added – I just googled “cinnamon chocolate chip banana bread” and found Molly’s, which looks like a delicious cousin of mine, in cakey form and sans whole wheat, etc. Try hers if you don’t keep whole wheat flour, flax seed meal and wheat bran on hand.

And after all, I do still need breakfast.

Cinn-Choc Chip Banana Bread 1

Recipe for Whole Wheat Cinnamon-Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Recipe 198 of 365

It’s a mouthful of a name, which is appropriate, because once this comes out of the oven, you’ll spend a bit of time unable to speak. And be careful: this bread puts out a smell that brings the neighbors knocking. You won’t notice the whole wheat.

TIME: 25 minutes prep
MAKES: 2 loaves

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (from 3 large, ripe bananas, a little more or less won’t hurt)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8” x 4” loaf pans (or spray them with a baking spray that claims to do the same job), and set aside.

Whisk the first eight ingredients together in a large bowl. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars together on high speed until light, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until blended between additions and scraping the side of the bowl down when necessary. Add the vanilla and the mashed banana, and stir until blended. Add the dry ingredients about a third at a time, mixing on low just until blended between additions, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Divide the batter evenly between the loaf pans (each pan will weigh about 2 pounds, if you’re using a scale) and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the tops are browned and beginning to crack and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with just a few crumbs attached.

Cool in pans until comfortable to touch, about 30 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on a cooling rack. Store up to 3 days at room temperature, well wrapped, or freeze up to 3 months.

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