Happy Thanksgiving! I have been mulling over all that I have to be thankful for. Life can certainly be a challenge but as I live and breathe, I have more to be thankful for than this blog could contain. I may be disturbed some days but I have happiness and contentment.
Fall has come and gone. The leaves are gone and even though we should already have snow, we have been blessed with a few more moderately warm days. I have to admit, I was hanging on to it for dear life this year.I’m actually one of those people who loves snow and winter. Fall is still my favorite with Spring being a close second.
I’ve been foraging as usual. I picked up hickory nuts and laid them on my patio table to dry for at least two weeks. When they drop from the tree, they have a hull around them that is segmented and as it dries, it will separate and fall off or you can pry it off. It is dry between the hull and the nutshell. Once they dry outside for the two weeks then I bring them in and put them on trays and dry some more.
There is two black walnut trees by the road here where I live and the green hulled nuts fall in the road and cars run over them and crack the nut shell out of the hull. Inside the green hull is a lighter brown substance (as seen in the picture below and on the right) that turns to a dark brown looking substance that Walnut Stain for furniture refinishing is made from. Once the hulls are run over a few times, the nut in its shell separates from the hull and the yucky stain that you don’t want to touch with your hands. You will be stained like a piece of walnut furniture If you don’t use rubber gloves when picking the walnuts up. These get dried for two weeks also.
I have trouble cracking them but one of my sons (muscle man that he is) cracks them and puts the nut meats in Peanut Butter Jars to save for our baking needs. We love them and free is so much better than the expensive prices in the store. The baking increases in the fall which means the house always seems to have some good smells going on. For thanksgiving I made Banana Bread but not just your run of the mill banana bread…I saw America’s Test Kitchen make the Ultimate Banana Bread. Take a look on You Tube at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=DtokStgEQKM&feature=endscreen
Here is the Recipe:
ULTIMATE BANANA BREAD ON AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN SEASON 11
ONE LOAF BAKE AT 350 DEGREES FOR ABOUT 1 HOUR IN A GREASED 4 X 7 LOAF PAN. (made for Thanksgiving 2012)
Mix dry ingredients in one bowl:
ONE LOAF TWO LOAVES
1 3/4 flour 3 1/2 Cups
1 tsp Baking soda 2 tsp. Baking Soda
½ tsp Salt 1 tsp. Salt
Mix wet ingredients in one bowl :
1 Stick Melted Butter 2 Sticks Melted Butter
1 tsp Vanilla 2 tsp. Vanilla
2 Eggs 4 Eggs
¾ Cup Brown Sugar 1 ½ cups Brown Sugar
5 Bananas Micro waved on High 5 Minutes 10 Bananas Micro waved on High 7 Minutes.
½ Cup Toasted Walnuts (add at the end mix) 1 Cup Toasted Walnuts (add at end to mix)
Take Bananas (5 for one loaf and 10 for 2 loaves)and put in bowl covered with plastic wrap with holes poked in it and microwave for 5 – 7 minutes on high, drain liquid from bananas into saucepan and cook on high heat, watching and stirring occasionally till it’s reduced ( ¼ cup for one loaf and ½ cup for 2 loaves) and add back to the drained bananas and mash together till smooth. Add the rest of the Wet Ingredients to the bananas.
Mix together with the dry till there are no big lumps but not too much so it doesn’t develop gluten.
Add ½ or 1 cup toasted walnuts and mix right at the end of mixing.
Grease Loaf Pan and add dough to pan. Peel 1 banana on a diagonal and put down each side overlapping
Sprinkle 2 tsp Sugar over the top of the loaf
Bake at 350 degrees for an hour..rotate half through. Cool for 15 min before slicing… Yum!
This is awesome banana bread.
Well there is lots of cooking going on here. My family is coming tomorrow. I love it when they come. I hope you all have an especially good day with your families. We are so blessed. Savor every moment.
I know I’m not writing as much right now but I’ll be around when I can. Stop by and visit when you can. Have special times with your family and I will see you soon. Jan