Gone bananas - FamilyEducation

Gone bananas

April 17,2009
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

Every now and then my husband does something crazy and spontaneous like bringing home a giant bag of grocery store bananas he only paid eighty cents for. And he's usually so excited by his purchase that I never have the heart to complain much. I have this theory that deep down, etched into the bones and DNA of many men, is this primitive desire to gather and provide for their families--to stockpile massive amounts of food on the off-chance that the world will end and we will absolutely need bananas to survive. Bag 'o bananas (This was the bag on Tuesday. When he first brought it home it was filled to the rim) I'm picky about my bananas, though, and inwardly I cringed at that seemingly bottomless bag of bananas. I'll only really eat a banana if it's perfectly yellow--not green, not brown, but yellow. The bananas Scott brought home were teetering on that line between being just barely fine for me the first day, but then by 9:00 am the next day they had toppled over into that place where they just weren't appetizing anymore. But still, we needed to do something with the bananas, and so I vowed I would bravely figure out a way to use them up in various recipes. For instance, on Sunday we had banana pancakes--my husband's childhood favorites. Just before you flip the pancakes, slice bananas into the batter. The bananas turn goldeny-sweet on the griddle, and topped with warm maple syrup, they are just heavenly. Monday I made banana bread cookies (recipe below); on Tuesday I had a banana and sunflower butter sandwich for lunch (easy as pie--spread the sunflower butter on bread, top with sliced bananas. You can also mush the bananas in with the sunflower butter and then spread it all together); on Wednesday I took a much-needed break from bananas (whew!), and on Thursday we took the rest of the poor, very-brown-at-that-point, unappetizing looking things and used them for our favorite dessert ever--banana ice (see below). And today? Today I'm using these last three guys: Last bananas to make this scrumptious-sounding banana bread recipe that popped up, coincidentally, on my friend Caroline's site this week. ************ Banana Ice Cut the bananas into "wheels" and arrange them on a parchment-paper-covered cookie sheet. Wheels Place the sheet in the freezer and let the bananas...freeze. I'm not sure how long this takes--our freezer is on its way out, I fear, and anything you put in there becomes ice-encrusted in a matter of minutes. When the bananas are frozen, dump them into a blender in batches with a little vanilla soy milk, or regular milk. Don't put in too much milk, though, because you don't want to throw off the consistency. Scrape the contents into a boil, stir some more, and serve plain, or topped with whipped cream, or even chocolate sauce, or both. * Note: banana ice doesn't keep well, so when you make it, you will just have to eat it all at once--which usually isn't a problem at all. Banana Bread Cookies 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1 small, ripe banana, mashed 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/4 cup margarine (or butter, if you dare) 1/4 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter, or sunflower butter (I used a mixture of both) 1 large egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Preheat oven to 375. Spray baking sheets with vegetable cooking spray. Combine flour and baking soda in a small bowl. In a medium mixing bowl, beat together banana, brown sugar, margarine, and peanut/sunflower butter until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour mixture until a dough forms. Stir in walnuts. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, placing them 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Bake cookies until edges are set, about 10 minutes I loved these cookies--they weren't too sweet, and were perfect for rushed mornings when I had to tear out of the house with only my travel coffee mug, and a couple of these cookies wrapped up in a napkin. Happy Weekend!