Category Archives: Dishes and Antiques

I Take Thee Banana Bread

Finally, the Banana Bread Post.

This another of my grandmother Ibby’s wonderful recipes and I absolutely love it. It feels very old fashioned to me and it always comes out perfect.

My grandmother did a lot of catering in the 1960’s and 70’s for the women’s circle at her Presbyterian church, the Whitworth College Music Department (Spokane, WA) and numerous weddings and showers and dinner parties for regular clients. She used this banana bread recipe often, making lovely little tea sandwiches with an orange cream cheese spread.

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This is my grandma Ibby with my mom and my stepdad at their wedding, which my grandma catered.

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There are the banana bread tea sandwiches with the dark crusts on the platter upper right. They made an appearance at a lot of weddings and bridal showers. This picture is from my mom and stepdad’s wedding reception. I take thee banana bread. Get it? Remember, I have a cold. My intellectual capacity is diminished.

Incidentally, my mom and stepdad were brought together by me. I found him. My sister owes her existence to me. She’ll read this so I just wanted to remind her.

He was the Mountain Manager at the ski area my mom worked at and would always say hi and stop to chat a moment with me when I was outside playing at the condominiums we all lived in. I took a shine to him; he was quite a catch. He was a widower 18 years older than my mom and I got three pretty great step-brothers in the deal. And my little sister of course but she came later. My dad passed away in 1995 and I miss him so much but I am so very thankful for all the years I got to spend with him.

My parents would have celebrated their 40th Anniversary this June.

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Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad.

Recently, I made my grandma’s banana bread tea sandwiches, just as she always did.

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The china, linens and pink depression glass came from my other incredible grandmother, Eileen. The one who let me eat Froot Loops before bed. Remember? Grandmas are the best!

Grandma Ibby’s Banana Bread

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Ingredients

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  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add and incorporate the eggs (one at a time) and the vanilla.

Mix in the dry ingredients and then the bananas and chopped nuts.

Note: I don’t mix the nuts in but instead, sprinkle them over the top before baking. They look nice and are easy to pick off for anyone who doesn’t like them. Skip the nuts entirely if you are going to make the tea sandwiches as the bread slices up more cleanly.

Pour into a 9×5 loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

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Orange Cream Cheese Filling for Tea Sandwiches

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  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. orange zest
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • And just a little freshly grated nutmeg

Blend all ingredients together in a mixer and spread between banana bread slices.

Banana-Bread-Tea-SandwichesCut the crust off of both ends and then slice into four finger sandwiches by slicing in half and then slicing each half in half.

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And then, it’s time for tea!

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This recipe also makes wonderful muffins.

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I sprinkle the nuts on top just like I do with the loaf option.

It will make 12 muffins and bakes for 20-25 minutes.

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This is a treasured recipe and is something I will always associate with my grandma Ibby. Especially the tea sandwiches which were just so her.

It is moist and perfectly textured with just the right banana flavor. I have been cutting out the sugar and recently (this morning) baked the muffins with Truvia sugar substitute and they turned out great! Next, to try them with almond or coconut flour. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Enjoy!

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Greek Salad

All of my company left yesterday. I had a great time with my mom, sister and aunt and enjoyed some beautiful hikes, shopping (I’ll tell you about my thrift store score later) and of course a lot of cooking and eating. Really, it was just wonderful being together and I miss them already. Sometimes the hardest part about welcoming company is having to say goodbye.

I told you about our trip to the market and how we were shopping for ingredients for Greek Salad and I also promised to tell you all about that Greek Salad, so today, that is what I am going to do.

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Greek Salad is one of my favorite things to make, especially for a crowd. I love anything that you can arrange on a platter and allow guests to pick and choose and serve themselves; easy, fun and delicious. I can’t swear that each ingredient I like truly falls into the “Greek” category but this is my interpretation; call it “food poetic license.”

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There are a lot of protein possibilities for a Greek salad, lamb kabobs or lamb burgers would be great! Most often, I like to grill marinated chicken breasts and then slice them. Here’s how I marinate them:

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped (or 2 Tbsp. dried Greek Seasoning)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Put everything together in a gallon sized plastic zip-lock bag and marinate in the fridge for several hours. Grill the chicken over medium-high heat, 4-5 minutes per side. Let them rest for at least 5 minutes and then slice them or cut them into bite sized pieces.

And now for a few of my favorite “Greek” things …

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On a platter, I have arranged diced hot-house (English) cucumber, jarred roasted red peppers, golden and red tomatoes, a feta cheese/olive combo from the deli, jarred marinated artichoke hearts, plain feta cheese cut into chunks and drizzled with olive oil and finally, garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed) that I squeezed the juice of one lemon over and then sprinkled with julienned mint leaves and a pinch of kosher salt.

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I always serve Greek Salad with hummus. Because I love hummus. In fact, my whole family loves hummus so for us, it is an obvious choice. Wedges of soft whole wheat pita bread are a nice (and very popular) touch.

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I used Organic Girl Super Greens for this particular salad. A combo of baby greens that I hadn’t tried before; red & green swiss chard, tat soi (that one I’m going to have to google), arugula and spinach. Delicious, fresh and crunchy! You could certainly use whatever greens you like; romaine, spinach, mesclun, etc.

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Set out a stack of plates and forks and let everyone build their own salad. Serve with a nice red wine vinaigrette. I actually really like Briannas Homestyle Blush Wine Vinaigrette and use it all the time but you can quickly and easily make your own …

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano or 2 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped

Put it all in a mason jar, tighten the lid and shake it up. For any vinaigrette, the trick to remember is the ratio of 1 part acid (citrus, vinegar, etc.) to three parts fat (oil) and from there, the possibilities are endless. That being said, I personally prefer a 1:2 ratio – a little more zing, a little less fat. Try it out and see what works for you.

Since I started food blogging, the joke in the house has become “who is going to get the pretty plate?” – the plate arranged and used for the final photo. In this case, with all of the color and variety, all of the plates were pretty and didn’t take a whole lot of “styling”.

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As always, I hope you’ll give this “recipe” a try, make it your own and enjoy!

Oh, and as for those thrift shop treasures …

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Enameled cast iron.

When I saw the set, I did a double take – when I saw the price, I did a happy dance. I don’t know the manufacturer as they are unmarked but they are heavy and gorgeous and other than a small chip here or there, barely used. Happy, happy dance.

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The oval dutch oven alone was a score. I’m not sure if it is tacky to disclose what I paid for the lot but I will say this, mid-double digits and I am still smiling ear to ear in disbelief.

And then I found this too …

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a Portmeirion quiche (or flan) dish.

I think my aunt and sister may make a thrift store shopper out of me yet!