Thursday, November 8, 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On

I decided I needed a motto for our remodel project to cope with the constant ‘surprises’.  I found this tea cup and felt it perfectly stated what was needed to persevere.  I bought two.

Our next big surprise came when we removed the upper cabinets and bulkhead over the stove and discovered the hood, which I thought vented up and out through our two-story home, had, in fact, not been vented anywhere.  A hole had literally been punched in the bulkhead above the stove hood.  Forty years of cooking exhaust vented between the first and second floor of my home - how lovely.  The really amazing part is there was wallpaper behind the hood.  They couldn’t be bothered to vent the hood correctly, but someone had taken great care to make sure there was wallpaper back there.


Hood Vent??

The next surprise came when we found a large pipe in the bulkhead.  Not an exhaust pipe, but a water pipe, that would not be able to be moved - at least not easily or inexpensively.   It was going to have to stay put - another obstacle to work around.

A Pipe???

I reached for my cup and held it tight.  It was time for a little comfort.  I made what would be the last food baked in my old oven - banana muffins.  Bananas are always a good idea when you are at the grocery store, but they somehow never get eaten fast enough.  We are very particular about the 'correct' ripeness of a banana.  We seem always to have over-ripe ones on hand.  Thank goodness there are millions of recipes for bananas.  Luckily, this one is easy, quick, and satisfying. The muffins go well with tea, milk, or whatever you feel the need to put in your cup for comfort.

Banana Muffins

Adapted from Best Recipes from American Country Inns and Bed & Breakfasts 
by Kitty and Lucian Maynard

I use reusable silicone baking cups, but paper muffins cups (in a muffin tin) or a regular muffin tin sprayed with non-stick spray work fine.  I like the baking cups because I have several and sometimes I have 4 bananas instead of 3, so I add a little more flour and end up with more than 12 muffins.  This recipe is very forgiving and easy to play with.  

The original didn’t call for chocolate chips, but we adore chocolate, so I added some and reduced the sugar.  You can reduce the sugar more if you want depending upon the type of chocolate you use.  I usually use semi-sweet.  Nuts of any kind would also be a nice addition.  

I use salted butter, if you use unsalted increase the salt to 1/2 teaspoon.  You can also play around with the flour.  I have used an equal mix of all-purpose flour and white or regular whole wheat for a more hardy result.  This recipe is so fast and easy you can whip up different versions in no time.  If you are like us and find you always have too many too-ripe bananas laying around you will make it often.

3 large ripe bananas
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup (1.5 ounces/43 g) butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (210 g) flour
1 cup (152 g) chocolate chips

Mash bananas then add sugar, egg, melted butter, and vanilla.  Fold in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt just until dry ingredients are wet.  Gently add chocolate chips.  (The secret to tender muffins is not over-mixing.)  Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Makes 12 muffins.

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