This summer my time in New York has largely been spent indoors, avoiding the wall of heat just beyond my front door. Rather than skipping through the streets in sundresses and kicky sandals in the pure bright sun, my activities have resembled those I might undertake in the deep of winter more than in the height of summer. So to that end, I have spent most of the last week immersed in DVDs of Season 1 of Friday Night Lights, which is my excuse for the light posting this week.
I came to this show late...Season 4 I believe...but became instantly obsessed. A friend of mine from Texas turned me onto it, promising that the show resembled his adolescent experience in the great republic to a frightening degree. Watching Season 1, seeing where it all began for the cast of characters I've come to know and love, is like listening to a successful yet enigmatic acquaintance with a knack for storytelling reveal to you how they got to where they are today. Engrossing and illuminating in equal measures.
But that said, the crippling heat has broken, which means that I can tear myself away from the TV and once again face cooking. This time of year makes me yearn for full vegetable drawers, counters piled with delicate summer fruit but oddly, a relatively empty freezer and pantry. I like to stock up when the cold weather is approaching, and I like a clean slate against which to do it. Which means that I spend a lot of time over the summer months trying to figure out how to use odds and ends in creative and delicious ways.
There aren't too many food traditions in my family...everyone has always like to experiment so repeated dishes were few and far between. But I have inherited the delicious poppyseed bread recipe, a love of farmers markets and the inability to throw out a banana. The majority of my family members have almost always got a bunch of blackened overripe bananas in the freezer. I am of course no different, so the other day set out to figure out a home for a bunch of my own.
I was also trying to figure out a use for a stray bit of quinoa, so turned to my favorite source of whole grain quickbread recipes, Deborah Madison. She of course had the perfect recipe...quinoa muffins. I made a loaf rather than muffins and threw in some bananas in place of some of the yogurt. Perfectly crunchy exterior, golden (in look and taste) interior, I was very pleased with the home I'd found for my dwindling supplies.
Quinoa Banana Bread
adapted from Deborah Madison's Quinoa Muffin recipe
1 cup cooked or 1/2 cup raw quinoa
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup quinoa flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted, or vegetable oil
3/4 cup yogurt or buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ripe bananas, mashed
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray or oil one loaf pan.
If cooking quinoa, rinse it well, put it in a small saucepan with 1 cup of water, and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes, then drain.
Meanwhile, combine the flours, salt, soda and sugar in a mixing bowl (sift if you so desire). Beat the egg with the oil, buttermilk and vanilla, and then mix in the mashed banana. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, add the quinoa, and mix with a spatula, scraping up from the bottom so that the flour is mixed in thoroughly. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake until firm and light brown on top, 50-60 minutes.