Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Psssst. Hey there. You. Yes, you. Now, I know you've got a pecan pie to make, stuffing in the oven, a bird to brine, and marshmallows that need tossing over sweet potatoes, but what are you going to do with those house guests for breakfast on Friday? Serve them turkey tetrazzini? I think not. Here's a quick and easy banana muffin recipe that will get you at least part way off the hook:
Banana Walnut Muffins:
1 cup walnuts
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large overripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until lightly browned, approximately 10 minutes. Keep an eye on these bad boys, or assign a family member to keep an eye on them because you don't want to add to the madness of Thanksgiving food prep by burning them and having to start over, now do you? Remove from oven and let cool. Once cooled, rub to remove loose skin as best you can (you don't need to be fanatical about this - just remove what's easy to rub away), and set aside.
Line a 12-muffin pan with paper liners, or grease muffin cups lightly with butter.
Combine mashed banana and sugars in a mixing bowl and stir together until well combined. Add butter, milk, and the lone egg, mixing until fully amalgamated. Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon) into the banana mixture. If the salt doesn't easily make its way out of the sifter, just dump it into the bowl rather than stare at it bouncing about in the bottom of your sifter. Mix sifted dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in one cup of toasted walnuts. By fold, what is meant is that you should gently incorporate the nuts, gently using a large spoon to turn batter from the bottom of the bowl to the top, rather than mixing vigorously like a madperson.
Using a spoon, dole out batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until muffins are golden brown, approximately 25 minutes. Perhaps the walnut-watcher could also watch the muffins for you at the end, and, heck, he or she could even test them with a toothpick inserted into the center to be sure it comes out clean before you move them out of the oven to a cooling rack. These are little slices of banana heaven with sweet cream butter while they're still warm from the oven, and, unlike the turkey enchiladas, turkey soup, and turkey-with-turkey casserole, you'll won't think once a year is enough.
Dinner tonight: Pasta with prunes and ricotta. Yes. I am totally serious. And you will be getting the recipe for said dish next week. Estimated cost for two: $5.09. It is $3.99 for 11 ounces of pitted prunes at Whole Foods, we'll use about 5 ounces. The fresh ricotta - and fresh ricotta is key - none of that gelatinous shelf-stable-for-months ricotta will do - is $3.99 for the container, of which we will use half, so that's $1.99. We're using 1/2 of a box of Whole Foods-brand fancy Italian pasta, which was $1.79, so 90 cents for that, about 40 cents for the olive oil, and I'm using leeks from the last day of my garden, which makes them free. But if you were doing this, you could use shallot and add another 25 cents or so for a grand total of $5.34.
If you didn't have a chance to donate food to your local food pantry prior to today, not to worry. Food pantries are under a lot of stress to provide food all the time - especially now - so perhaps you could donate some food next week. Or make it a point in your family to save up a few dollars a month to buy canned goods for the food pantry. Whatever works for you, but if you can afford to do it, please do give a little when you can.
Have a very happy Thanksgiving!