If you ever find yourself with the opportunity to hang out with some Greek women, take it! You won't regret it, and will probably get to eat some delicious food in the process. I learned this the easy way in my senior year of college, when I shared an apartment with a Greek girl (hi, Kristin!). Rumor had it that her mom once ran out of food at her childhood birthday party, and she had been making up for it ever since.
Any time Kristin would come back to campus after a visit home, she would shower us with amazing food that would sustain us through the week ahead. The best was after a family party, when we would get all of the leftover desserts. Once we had enough chicken salad to supply our entire apartment building for several days. I would come home from class at different times throughout the day to find yet another person making themselves a sandwich. Oh how I wish her mom was still an hour away to feed us!
My favorite treat that Kristin would bring back with her was her mom's banana bread. It was moist and just sweet enough, perfect for a quick breakfast before running out the door to class (in retrospect, those 10 am classes really weren't so bad, compared to office life!). After lots of begging I finally got the recipe from her and make it as much as I can now.
Like a couple of weekends ago, when my favorite artist graduated with her MFA. We all congregated in Philadelphia to celebrate with her, and of course I brought along a couple loafs of banana bread for a quick and easy breakfast. The weekend itself was great fun - a thesis opening, graduation, Reading Terminal, cheesesteaks, studio tours, and cocktails.
Jana was a wonderful hostess and fed us the most amazing food. I couldn't show up empty handed, and a loaf of bread was easy to transport. I whipped this up the night before, left it out overnight to cool, and wrapped it up the next morning before I left.
Banana bread is a great way to use up over ripe bananas, too. Whenever my bananas get a little too ripe, or if I'm going out of town and can't eat them all before I leave, I peel them, put them in a ziploc bag, and throw them in the freezer. It's super easy to pull out a bag of frozen bananas when you're ready to do some cooking. This recipe also adapts to muffins, if you're so inclined. Enjoy!
Cathy's Banana Bread
Yield: 1 loaf, or 12-15 muffins
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon milk
3 drops white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar. Add the egg and banana and mix well.
In a small bowl, mix together the baking soda and milk. Add three drops of white vinegar (the mixture will sizzle when the vinegar is added) and mix to combine.
Add the vinegar mixture to the bread batter and mix well. Mix in the vanilla and salt. Finally, slowly add the flour in small increments, mixing to combine after each addition.
Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 325 degrees for 60-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.