What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin: Going bananas | TahoeDailyTribune.com

What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin: Going bananas

Cal Orey
Special to the Tribune

In my late twenties, I took my pooch and paid a visit to the South Shore for some R&R before going back to college in San Francisco. Pool hopping and walking my beloved black lab on the beaches kept me busy. I got reprimanded by hotel management when he was left solo and howled in the room when I strayed to the casinos. Another glitch was that a wildfire on the outskirts of town affected the town. Ash was everywhere. No sunshine. The roads were closed. Nobody could come or go into the mountain resort. At times I was “going bananas” being stuck at Lake Tahoe. But I, like many tourists made do and went with the flow. After all, what better place is there to be stranded?

A few days later: I returned home to the Bay Area. I recall the fridge was bare but I had staples to bake a banana nut bread. And then, from time to time, as the years passed, I’d fantasize about relocating to Lake Tahoe -a place people called “paradise” with its variety of Mother Nature’s things to do. The seed had been planted. One day, I sensed I’d move to the Sierra.

Flash forward to this past Sunday in South Lake Tahoe: On Sunday morning it rained a spell, much like it can and does in Tahoe spring and summer. The gray skies and promise of more showers to come this week reminded me of my Tahoe trip thirty years ago. So, I decided to go bananas (again) and had a banana fest. After all, when the news hit that this year-round fruit may soar in price (due to the Gulf oil spill woes) I snagged a bunch of 79 cents per pound bananas at my friendly Safeway.

I baked bread (two) and froze ’em. While they were in the oven, I also whipped up a batch of sweet banana fritters, like my mom used to do. It seemed appropriate on Mother’s Day. Bananas, any way you slice them, are a nutrient powerhouse with potassium and vitamin B6 and a modest calorie content of 110 calories per medium fruit.

– Cal Orey is an author and journalist. Her books include The Healing Powers series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate) published by Kensington. Her Web site is http://www.CalOrey.com.

1 cup all natural whole wheat flour

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1⁄2 cup granulated sugar

1⁄2 cup light brown sugar

1⁄2 cup half and half organic milk

1⁄2 cup 2 percent reduced-fat organic milk

1 large brown egg

2 large bananas, fresh, mashed

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup walnuts, chopped

21⁄2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon allspice

In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, add beaten egg to sugars and spices. Pour in dry ingredients. Stir till smooth, not lumpy. Pour into a lightly greased (olive oil) bread pan of your choice. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes, till firm to touch and golden brown. Serves 12.

21⁄2 -3 cups Confectioner’s sugar

1 cube Mediterranean Style butter

2 tablespoons 2 percent low-fat organic milk

2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons clover honey

Melt butter in microwave. In a mixing bowl slowly add butter and milk to sugar. Add flavorings. Top with nuts.

Banana nut bread is yummy plain; it’s delightful frosted and the honey adds a hint of natural sweetness that is unforgettable. This treat is easy to make and easy to freeze. You’ll want to have slices around for you and yours. Pair it with a homemade fruit smoothie made with low-fat milk, premium vanilla ice cream, bananas, and ice cubes-it’ll taste as sweet as our late 31 Flavors store. You’ll feel energized with nature’s finest foods in the comfort of your home–like me in my cabin with a taste of Tahoe charm.

Home-style Banana Fritters at Tahoe: Combine 13⁄4 cups all-natural whole wheat flour and 1 cup of 2% low fat organic milk. Add 1 teaspoon each of allspice and nutmeg. Mash two bananas. Heat skillet on medium temperature, add a bit of olive oil. Drop a spoonful of banana and top with batter. Cook till it bubbles and flip over like a pancake till brown. Sprinkle with Confectioner’s sugar. Drizzle with honey or syrup. Serves 6-8.

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