Thursday, August 07, 2008


Pasta with Tomato and Basil

Pasta with Tomato and Basil.

The Mistress and I spent a goodly chunk of the day finishing up the monumental task of painting her room.

Monumental is not that much of an exaggeration. A coat of primer, two coats on the walls, one on the ceiling...all in a room with more bizarre slopes and angles than an M. C. Escher lithograph. But it do look beautiful now.

Couple all this with the Missus being worn out from another day at school - the students go back this coming Monday, oh boy! - and we were in no mood to do our usual Thursday night thing with the Minyan crowd. It was going to be a Stay-At-Home Evening. But what to eat?

I saw the Mistress preparing to boil up a pot of pasta, and inspiration struck.

Earlier, I had seen a post over at Voted Off the Island about tomatoes, in which there were instructions for a quick, simple uncooked tomato sauce. Tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, fresh basil...all of which we had on hand.

The Mistress fixed it all up, and we grated some fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano on top of that beautiful, perfectly al dente stuff. Our very own Tomato Moment. (Thanks, Neener!)

But that, Esteemed Readers, was not all.

While the Mistress was pastafying, I was disposing of a brace of bananas that had been sitting on our counter long enough to begin the Zombification Process.

Now, Central Americans (who live where bananas come from) will tell you all day long that bananas are best when eaten very ripe. The skins get deep yellow, mottled with brownish-black, and the fruit gets very soft, very sweet, and begins to exude that amyl acetate Banana Funk. Perfect.

If you’re a Costa Rican, maybe. But not for me. I like ’em when that skin is a solid yellow, just before it starts to mottle. Much longer than that, and they become Banana Bread fodder. As had the ones sitting on our counter.

I had never made banana bread before, but She Who Must Be Obeyed had baked a loaf last week, and it was pretty toothsome. Here’s all you do:

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan.

Using a mixer, cream ¼ cup butter (half a stick) with ¾ cup granulated sugar. Sift together 1½ cups white all-purpose flour (not self-rising), 1 tsp baking powder, ¾ tsp baking soda, and ¼ tsp salt; set aside for a moment.

To the creamed butter/sugar mixture, add one beaten egg, followed by 2 tbsp lemon juice once the egg is incorporated. Add three (very ripe) mashed bananas. Now, gradually add the flour-baking powder-baking soda-salt mixture, beating until mixed. Finally, dump in ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts.

Turn the batter out into your greased pan. Bake for one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack; cool and serve. Slather with cream cheese if you really want a treat.

And if you want some serious Caloric Overload, slice that loaf up and make French toast out of it. Serve it with maple syrup...or better yet, a pitcher of crème Anglaise. It’s Heartattackalicious™!

Banana Bread

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