Sunday, April 26, 2009

Definitely Not "Just Bananas"

What do you do when, all of a sudden, you realize you have a bounty of culinary resources hidden away in the back of your pantry and fridge? I'm completely guilty of the "European" method of shopping - I'm perfectly content to run out for bits and pieces of the evening meal each day, picking up produce that's fresh and bright (provided I'm lucky enough to be there shortly after stocking) and arriving home only to find that there was an extra whatever lurking in the fridge from the big shopping the weekend before. I especially tend to get suckered in to the "mini-trip" mindset when I'm downtown in Roncesvalles Village, because it always seems like new goods are flooding into the produce stalls and the shop owners are always able to point out the best stock and even some new finds (like mini kiwis and ground cherries). It was there that I bought the quince that I turned into sauce. I always look forward to trips down to my acupuncturist because it gives me that window to browse... like a mini Kensington or St. Lawrence market at my fingertips!

I think I began the "market shopper" mindset when I was living in Ottawa: the famous, gourgeous lifeblood of the city known as the Byward Market was only a short bus-hop away from the university residence (and later, the apartment I shared with Andrew), and I can vibrantly remember one particularly freezing cold winter night during exams when Andrew, my suite-mate Allison and I walked for an hour (in the wind and blowing snow) off campus to escape the cabin fever brought on by cramped quarters and too many text books. We wound up in a Loeb of all places (how very chic, I know), buying a loaf of crusty, almost-stale bread and a wheel of Vache Qui Rit to share back at the dorm. I don't think I ever had a better meal that first year.

But that is a major digression from what I originally started out talking about! Reminiscence can be a powerful thing, eh?

Anyways, fridge finds. I have to admit, this was made a heck of a while back and I'm just getting around to posting it because I've been a lazy blogger! Basically, I had a bunch of ingredients languishing in various areas of my kitchen - which seems to be a constant these days (especially since recently I've been so nauseous that what I do buy at the market lacks luster to my heart come dinner) - including a half-cup of ganache from my mom's birthday cake, the dregs of a jar of jam and three brown-verging-on-black bananas. What would you have done??

Well, I decided to toss everything together with my basic banana bread recipe - yup, ganache and all - bake it off and see what happened! The butter-consistency of the cold ganache filled the fat component of the recipe, and allowed me to significantly reduce the amount of sugar added to the loaf. A cup of yogurt made for a tender, more cakey than bread-like crumb and a loaf so moist that when I initially tried to unmould it, it folded in half! Lesson learned - when something says to cool completely in the pan, there's a good reason for it!

Banana Berry-Truffle Bread
Serves 14
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup room temperature chocolate ganache (truffle filling... use the full sample recipe below if desired)
1 cup plain yogurt (low or full fat is fine)
2 tbsp strawberry jam
1/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
---Ganache---
2 ounces bittersweet (65% +) chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, grease a large loaf pan.
  2. Beat together bananas, vanilla, ganache, yogurt and jam in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl whisk together remaining ingredients.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the banana mixture until just combined, scraping the bottom to ensure even mixing.
  5. Bake 55-65 minutes, tenting with foil after 30 minutes.
  6. Let cool in the pan completely before unmoulding.
    ---
  7. Ganache: Place chocolate into a heat-safe bowl. Bring cream to a low boil, then pour over the chocolate, stirring to melt completely. Set aside to cool for 45 - 50 minutes, until the consistency of room temperature butter.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 147.6
Total Fat: 4.2 g
Cholesterol: 8.1 mg
Sodium: 11.1 mg
Total Carbs: 26.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.3 g
Protein: 2.9 g