Recipe: Banana Oat Nut Bread
I recently brought my radio into my kitchen. It was part experiment, part research for a magazine story assignment: Cook while listening to public radio (could I accomplish the dual mental exercise of actively listening and following a recipe?). Does anyone else do that?
I’m an ardent fan of public radio programming, and I often listen to snatches of mostly National Public Radio shows in the car. But working on my article, I found what a pleasant, productive pairing listening and cooking can be.
As part of my research, I got to have a conversation with Nikki Silva of NPR’s The Kitchen Sisters, to get her take on the confluence of cooking and listening. “When I’m cooking I just love to listen,” she says. “I feel a little like I’m on a vacation anyway with either of those activities. It’s very relaxing to me, it’s being transported.”
Silva shared her dad’s banana bread recipe with me, which is found in the pages of “Hidden Kitchens: Stories, Recipes and More from NPR’s The Kitchen Sisters.” It’s not listed in the table of contents or even the index. Instead it’s almost buried as an illustrative element, so you might miss it if you don’t know what to look for: a photocopy of a scratched out by hand recipe, with instructions that are casual and implied, the way handed-down recipes usually are. I’m running that one in the magazine, but it made me want to rifle through my files for my own banana bread recipe, because it’s been way too long.
I made Silva’s father’s version the same afternoon I made mine, and the two contain roughly the same amounts of banana and sugar, but diverge there. I’m partial to banana bread (or any bread for that matter) that’s nutty and hearty with whole wheat and flax. Silva’s is not quite so self-conscious. It’s the kind you’d bake and then walk over to the neighbors’, cradled in the loose wrapping of a tea towel, still hot and moist, a prime afternoon snack.
Banana Oat Nut Bread
I decided this would be the perfect banana bread recipe for Not Quite Nigella’s Banana Bread Bake-Off! It’s a great breakfast banana bread, sweet but with staying power. We enjoy it the day after baking lightly toasted with a smear of peanut butter.
1 cup packed brown sugar
6 tbsp canola oil
¼ cup whole ground flaxseed meal
1 ½ cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 large)
1 cup regular oats
½ cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup stone ground whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; beat well with a mixer at medium speed. Add banana, oats, yogurt and vanilla to sugar mixture; beat well. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cups and level with a knife. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; stir with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar and banana mixture; beat just until moist. Spoon batter into a large loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan and cool completely.