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Thursday, July 24, 2008

go bananas

art, food, & squashed dreams

Andy Warhol is one of my great inspirations for a number of reasons, but primarily because he elevated screen printing from a commercial technique to fine art. It's a bit ironic that he himself is now a household product (you can go to your local Urban Outfitters and buy plates and coffee mugs covered in his prints). I'm not crazy about much of the Warhol memorabilia, but I do love his prints.

Some of you may know that at one point when I was in high school I fancied myself the next Martha Stewart, was constantly in the kitchen experimenting with recipes, and began writing a cookbook, which was several hundred pages when I ditched the project for more fruitful pursuits... like college.

banana bread

This banana bread was one of the first recipes in my repertoire when I began to cook. are one of those "tempting" foods that I buy and forget to eat before they start turning too brown... thus, my love for banana bread -- the browner the banana, the better. To speed up the ripening process, place the bananas in a perforated paper bag at room temperature. Thankfully, it is light in both calories and fat because I can't have just one slice. I find that the loaves are fluffier if 1/2 cup Splenda is substituted for half of the sugar. If you want extra decadence, try adding 1 cup nuts or chocolate chips.

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened at room temperature
1 2/3 cups mashed ripe banana (from about 4 bananas)
1/4 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup non-fat or reduced fat sour cream
2 large egg whites
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until butter is smooth, fluffy, and lighter in color, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Add banana, milk, sour cream, and egg whites. Beat well. In a separate mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring until combined. Add flour mixture to banana batter, mixing on low until just combined.  

Spoon banana batter into a greased loaf pan (or four mini-loaf pans). Bake banana bread in center of oven until tops are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes for mini-loaves and 45-55 minutes for large loaf. Let bread cool slightly before removing from pan. Cool completely before storing.

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