It’s been a good one so far, friends. You? I had a great holiday with family in New York, and now, in the new year itself—all nine days of it—I have managed to bake pfeffernüsse, drink several bloody mary’s (helloooooo, new year, new me!), and MOVE—into a lovely little house in Bernal Heights, San Francisco, with a beautiful garden, a fully equipped kitchen (with a dishwasher!, and a kitchen island!, and a white marble table that is going to be just perfect for rolling out all of the pie doughs in this book! (resolution number 1?)), and a cat named Girard who purrs like he’s twice his size and sleeps cuddled up in an achingly tight spoon, and a someone special, too. So far, so good, 2014.
“When we cook things, we transform them. And any small acts of transformation are among the most human things we do. Whether it’s nudging dried leaves around a patch of cement, or salting a tomato, we feel, when we exert any tiny bits of our human preference in the universe, more alive.”And, if you haven’t read it, it’s based somewhat (in structure, and a bit in tone) on M.F.K Fisher's classic work, which I loved even before cracking open the front cover. (How to Cook a Wolf is, perhaps, one of the best titles to ever grace the literary world.)
Adapted from Martha Stewart
1 cup sugar
2 eggs (preferably at room temperature)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup mashed, very ripe banana (2–3)
1/2 cup sour cream (preferably at room temperature)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with butter and line it with parchment, if desired (this makes removing the bread effortless).
Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, until fluffy and incorporated. Add the eggs and beat until well blended.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together lightly. Add this mixture to the butter, sugar, and eggs, and stir until just combined. Add the remaining ingredients—banana, sour cream, vanilla, and nuts—and stir until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hr 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out mostly clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes or so, and then lift the bread out of the pan with the parchment, and allow it to finish cooling on a rack.
Serve warm or cold, with extra butter for slathering.