This doesn’t have a lot to do with eco-village, though it’s somewhat in the flavor of how we share meals together. A handful of us, mostly Julio, Julio, Somer, Becca, Eric, Doran and me, have been watching the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament. For the final today, we and another half dozen eco-villagers crammed in to Julio’s apartment. That’s where the best television at LAEV is located – and it’s probably one of around a dozen total TV’s in our 48 apartments.
I was pretty proud to bake a special whole wheat banana bread that celebrates the two sides on the pitch: Spain and Holland. It’s a recipe more-or-less riffed off of one that’s in The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole Wheat Breadmaking by Laurel Robertson with Carol Flinders and Bronwen Godfrey. As a baker who mostly does whole-wheat yeast breads, this is a book that I highly recommend. It’s kind of my bread bible… or at least my point of departure for experimenting. My copy is about 20 years old and definitely the recipes I use the most are splattered pages.
What makes this bread special to the 2010 Copa Mundial, is that it includes cherries and apricots. Cherries add a red ingredient to celebrate Spain – La Furia Roja. Apricots add an orange ingredient to celebrate Holland – whose team color is orange. I like both teams. Part of me wants to root for Holland as one of the top bicycling nations in the world… but I was rooting for Spain, so I included more cherries than apricots.
The recipe follows:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8″x4″ bread pans.
In a large bowl, combine:
- 6-8 good sized very ripe bananas
- 1/4-1/2 cup rice milk (can use real milk, or even water. Add 1/4 then mix and see if you need more – see below)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
- 4 tablespoons butter (half a stick)
- ~1-2 cups dried apricots (*if really really dry and hard, you might want to rehydrate slightly – pour boiling water over them and wait ~5 minutes, then drain and use. This is a general practice for me for adding dried anything to breads.)
- ~1/2 cups raisins (*if really really dry, follow apricot instructions)
- ~2 cups Morello Cherries (I had a jar of these in my cupboard for a couple years now – from Trader Joe’s. Drain the liquid before adding. You can probably use any cherries – those red-food-coloring ones should be fine. Fresh cherries might work, but you’ll want to remove the pits)
- 1-2 cups nuts (I usually use walnuts, but I didn’t have them on hand, so I used pecans. Can be hole or chopped depending on your preference.)
Beat it all together. I use a whisk. Ok if there are plenty of chunks, but should get kind of gooey.
Add the dry ingredients:
- 3+ cups whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Stir it up. If it’s too runny, add flour. If too firm/dry, add rice milk. Scoop it out into the pans, and bake for an hour and 20 minutes (or a little longer.) It takes a long time to cook the bananas. Let it cool for 20 minutes before cutting into it.