Banana Nut Yogurt Bread

I had some very ripe bananas and decided to make a banana bread.  I took a recipe that I have used in the past and changed a few ingredients.  I added brown sugar along with the sugar in the raw, and instead of milk I used a container of Chobani Greek blueberry yogurt I had on hand.  Blueberries and bananas go well together so I took a chance.  The result was one of the best banana breads I have ever eaten.  It is moist and delicious, with just the right balance of banana and blueberry.  Give it a try, I’m sure you will like it too. 

Ingredients:

2 – cups sifted all purpose flour
1 – tsp. baking soda
5.3 – oz. Chobani Greek Blueberry Yogurt
3/4 – cup sugar in the raw (or granulated sugar)
1/2 – cup light brown sugar
1/2 – cup butter (unsalted)
2 – eggs
1/2 – tsp. salt
3-4 – very ripe bananas
2 – tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 – cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar (butter should be at room temperature). Add eggs and mix about one minute until completely incorporated. Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda and add to the egg mixture in three batches, alternating with the yogurt. Mix until all the flour is completely incorporated.

Add the vanilla. Smash the bananas with a spatula or potato masher and add them to the batter and mix well. Fold in the chopped nuts and pour into a greased bread pan.

Bake at 350°   for 1 hr. – 20 min.  or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Check at one hour.  If the top is very brown, loosely cover with aluminum foil so it doesn’t burn while it finishes baking.




Bruschetta 3 Ways

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Bruschetta is a simple and versatile appetizer to make for any dinner party or holiday gathering. You can use what ever ingredients you like…vegetables, cheese, beans, prosciutto or other cured meats. The only secret is to use good ingredients. Here are three easy ideas for you to try.

Ingredients:
1 – loaf of French baguette or crusty long loaf of Italian bread
2 – cloves garlic
Extra virgin olive oil

Bruschetta #1: Tomato and Basil:

Ingredients:
2 – medium ripe tomatoes
1/2 – medium shallot
7 – fresh basil leaves
1 – tbls. fresh parsley
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
2 – tbls olive oil

Directions:

Dice the tomatoes. I suggest dicing them by hand so they maintain their texture. Place the diced tomatoes in a medium sized bowl. Add finely diced shallot and chopped basil. You can stack the basil leaves together, roll them, and then chop them all at once. This makes it a little easier to do.  Next chop the parsley and add to the tomatoes.  Drizzle the olive oil and add salt and black pepper to taste.  Mix and set aside until ready to use.

Slice the bread on a diagonal, about 1/2″ thick. Place under broiler or toaster oven until lightly golden brown. Do not leave the bread unattended, because it will toast very quickly. Remove the bread from the oven, and take a peeled clove of garlic and rub it on the surface of the warm toasted bread. Brush olive oil over the bread and top with tomato mixture. Serve immediately.

Bruschetta #2: Goat Cheese, Walnuts and Honey

Ingredients:
4 – oz. Goat cheese
4 – oz. raw walnuts
Honey

Directions:

Toast the walnuts (the quickest method is on the stove). Do not chop the nuts. Place them in a dry, heavy skillet on a medium flame. Cook them about 2 minutes until they start to brown. Stir constantly so that they do not burn.  Set aside until ready to use them.

Slice the bread on a diagonal, about 1/2″ thick. Place under broiler or toaster oven until lightly golden brown. Do not leave the bread unattended, because it will toast very quickly under the broiler. Remove the bread from the oven, and spread the goat cheese directly on top while the bread is still warm. Place two or three pieces of walnut on top of the goat cheese, and then drizzle with honey. Serve immediately.

Bruschetta #3: Cremini Mushrooms and Red Bell Pepper:

Ingredients:
1 – red bell pepper
1 – medium shallot
10 – oz. cremini mushrooms
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1/4 – tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth and slice in quarters (more if mushroom is large). Slice the red pepper in half and remove the stem and seeds then make 1/4″ slices. Heat 1 tbls. of olive oil in a large skillet and add the peppers. Cook about 2-3 minutes until they just start to soften. Dice the shallot and add to the peppers along with the mushrooms. Add salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir and sauté until the mushrooms begin to brown and the onions soften. It will take about 6-7 minutes on a medium flame. Stir often to avoid them sticking to the pan.

Prepare the bread in the same manner as for Bruschetta #1.

Buon appetito