A tale of two

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

3 eggs

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

Cooking spray

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.



16 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    There is something so homey and comforting about banana bread that even I, who does not really like bananas, like banana bread! This recipe looks great!

    I don’t usually listen to NPR while cooking, but I do always have music playing in the background!

    Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll!

  2. 2

    Trisha said,

    Thanks, Jenn! I’m thrilled to join The Foodie Blogroll world!

  3. 3

    Elle said,

    I love this, especially since it got whole wheat flour in it! I’m always trying to sneak some of that to my family. The yogurt must leave it very moist! This will be a must-try for me–as long as we can get some bananas to hang around long enough to get overripe.

  4. 4

    Hi There

    I just stumbled upon your blog and think it is an excellent read for foodies and especially like the photos and design of the blog.I started off as a blogger myself and realise the importance of a good clean design like you have here. I have now bookmarked it for myself to read and have added you to our new list of “all the food blogs in the world” on http://www.ifoods.tv which we have been compiling for the last month! Hopefully it will send you some traffic in the long run. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on food so keep up the good work and talk soon. Cheers

  5. 5

    tiff said,

    Ohh, this looks so good, you know I’m a lover of the banana bread! However, I need some education on the white whole wheat flour. I’ve heard rave reviews about it, but don’t know why. Also, do you have your own wheat grinder? I’m looking into getting one…

  6. 6

    Trisha said,

    Tiff: You gotta get your pantry some white whole wheat flour! It’s the best in cookies, brownies, pancakes, etc. — anything that you don’t want weighed down by regular whole wheat. What I know: Regular whole wheat flour is from red wheat; white whole wheat is from white wheat (yes, there is such a thing!) and its kernels are left “whole,” so that all the nutritional elements aren’t stripped off, as they are for all-purpose flours. Nutritionally speaking, it’s as good for you as red wheat, but it bakes up lighter.
    I don’t have a grinder, but I’d like to look into that, too. Let me know what you find out!

  7. 7

    […] Trisha from The Zest made a hearty and nutty Banana Oat Nut Bread made which she suggests you could take over, wrapped in a tea towel to your neighbour. I wish I had neighbours like that! […]

  8. 8

    Bring on the banana Bread said,

    This sounds great! I have to try some. I’ll need to hide some bananas to let them get ready.

  9. 9

    Trisha said,

    Niall, thanks for the note and for the bookmark! I’m happy to be on your ifoods.tv list — can’t wait to learn a few things from your videos (I need some help in the breads dept.!).

  10. 10

    […] With a whole cup of old-fashioned rolled oats and some plain yogurt as well as whole-wheat flour, this recipe for banana bread is about as healthy as it gets. Toast up a slice for breakfast or put some almond butter on it for a protein-filled snack.Photo and recipe from The Zest […]

  11. 11

    In Touch said,

    Do yourself a favor and quit listening to liberal, progressive public radio. Your rights and freedoms will thank you.

  12. 12

    Katy said,

    So when do you add the walnuts? :-))

  13. 13

    FeFe said,

    I am baking this banana bread recipe tonight for the first time, hope mine will come out just fine. Question: When are you gonna add the chopped walnuts? Is it towards the end of mixing? I don’t see it mentioned on the instruction/procedure, I put mine towards the end of mixing, just hoping it is alright.

  14. 14

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