Monday, November 16, 2015

Kitchen Comforts

With the holiday season coming up, I seem to be spending a lot more time in my kitchen. Which is exactly where I want to be. When I went to Connecticut last month (go here to read more) I took along Ruth Reichl's book My Kitchen Year and was very moved by her story of finding solace in the kitchen. I feel the same way. Nothing beats getting into the kitchen and baking something as a stress reducer. This is the time of the year when I pull out all my favorite seasonal recipes in preparation for the holidays. Thanksgiving is next week and soon after that every day will be building up to Christmas. I like my little rituals of making soup on Sundays or baking on Mondays to stock up on fuel for my family during this hectic time of the year. It feels good to get in the kitchen and whip up something for the in-between time.

Which is exactly what I did on Sunday. I pulled out one of my favorite cookbooks by Sara Foster. Her book The Foster's Market Cookbook is a treasure trove for anyone who loves to bake. Her gingerbread and pumpkin bread are to die for. The book also contains a fool-proof recipe for the best banana bread you will ever taste. It is perfect for an autumn afternoon with a cup of tea. I've made so many of these already this year. There is something comforting and nostalgic about banana bread. Our mothers and grandmothers made it and it feels good to continue the tradition. The house smells glorious as it bakes and it costs next to nothing. All you need are four very ripe bananas, one cup of walnuts, and the rest you probably already have in your pantry. It's great with coffee in the morning or tea in the afternoon. And if you make two, you can stash one in the freezer and save it for the holidays. When your house guests get a little peckish in the afternoon, it's very impressive to have one of these on hand!


Sara Foster's Banana-Walnut Bread

2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4  ground cardamon
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 very ripe bananas, crushed
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 9 by 5 by 3-inch baking pan and set aside. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cardamon in a large bowl and stir to mix. Cream the butter and sugar in a separate bowl with an electric mixer until well blended. Slowly add the beaten eggs while continuing to beat. Add the bananas and vanilla and stir to mix. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir just until all the ingredients are moist and well blended. Do not over mix. Fold in the walnuts and stir just to blend. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and let it settle to the sides; tap the pan on the counter a few times to even out the batter. Bake one hour or until the bread rises and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. The bread will be slightly brown and cracked on the top. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve warm or place on a baking rack to cool.

One caveat: I couldn't find ground cardamon at the market, so I added 1/4 tsp. more nutmeg. It still tasted delicious. I hope you enjoy this!  


  1. I loved this post Sunday! I also find spending time in the kitchen soothes me. That banana bread looks lovely - will definitely be trying that recipe.
    Miranda xxx

  2. Sunday, I could not agree more, being in the kitchen gives me great comfort. It is the place where I feel at home and there is nothing better than making something scrumptious for those we love.

    I cannot wait to try this recipe and to get this book!

  3. I've never seen cardamom in a banana bread recipe! I bought some especially for another recipe and would love to use it again. Must give this a try.

  4. Perfect! I was looking for a simple gift to give to friends. I've got some wonderful paper loaf pans and now this banana bread recipe. Thank you Sunday!

  5. I could use a slice of this right now, Sunday. A gloomy, cold day hereabouts. I imagine the addition of cardamon adds a little something extra to this. Thank you.

  6. Another nostalgic bread is datenut bread. One doesn't see it much anymore but my mother made it constantly and we had it with cream cheese spread on top. Love this banana bread recipe!

  7. I agree, being in the kitchen is so comforting. I love making soups right now. The banana bread looks delicious!

  8. Sunday, I agree, spending time in the kitchen is the best way to relieve stress. My mom made an amazing banana bread. I have, unfortunately, misplaced her recipe. This looks like this might be a nice replacement. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Will you be with you children and grandchildren?