Fridge pickles are a quick, easy way to use up fresh produce that may be starting to go limp. No fermentation or canning needed, just salt and vinegar!
For a 1960's themed potluck lunch, I made a pineapple cheese ball. The most work went into taking apart a fresh pineapple (so that I could make a fake pineapple - so meta!); this could be made with canned pineapple and topped with green onions/scallions or bay leaves instead of a fresh pineapple crown.
The fresh pineapple version tastes better but the canned pineapple is more period accurate, for what it's worth. The 1960's recipes I used for research tend to use whole pecan halves to decorate the cheese ball; I chose to use more economical pecan bits.
Pineapple Cheese Ball
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 cup (8 oz) shredded cheese (cheddar or colby jack are good)
1/2 cup - 1 cup (4 - 8 oz) finely chopped fresh pineapple or canned crushed pineapple
1 teaspoon seasoning salt (such as Lawry's)
2 Tbs thinly sliced green onion (both top and bottom)
1 cup (8 oz) pecan bits
Mix cream cheese, shredded cheese, pineapple, seasoning salt together in a bowl. Stir in green onion. Mound onto a plate and shape into an oval (I used the back of a spoon). Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight, or at least for a few hours to firm up. Before serving, gently press pecan bits into the surface. If you have the fresh pineapple top, trim so part of it will lay flat on the plate and scrub the base well to remove any soil.
Sometimes you really don't need to mess with a good thing.
I keep calling this banana bread, although several tasters called it cake. Unlike most banana breads, this doesn't leave a film of grease on your fingers or in your mouth, which may be why it doesn't read as banana bread. It has a lovely crackly top, similar to a brownie, and a nice chewy texture. There's no oil or butter; all the moisture comes from banana and egg. Although I haven't tried making a vegan version yet, I think flax eggs would be a good egg substitute here, adding a pleasantly nutty flavor that would work well with the cinnamon.
This recipe is very close to the one on Orangette (Banana Bread with Chocolate and Cinnamon Sugar), which Molly Wizenberg got from Everybody Likes Sandwiches (Banana fana fo fana), which could be from Willie Nelson. I've given a specific measurement for the bananas, since I find they vary so much in size, reduced the cinnamon a bit, and swapped out the white flour for whole wheat flour. Normally I wouldn't go 100% whole wheat with a recipe right away, but I mixed up a batch one day when all I had was whole wheat. No-one who ate it noticed (and most of them had eaten the 100% white flour version previously). I recommend using the best chocolate chips you can - Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips are my favorite for this recipe. For the sugar topping, I prefer turbinado or raw sugar to add a little more crunch, but regular white sugar works just fine.
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Banana Bread
- 1 1/2 cups very ripe mashed banana (about 3 or 4 bananas)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (set aside 1/4 cup of these chips for topping)
- 2 Tbs granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
Grease (or line with parchment paper) an 8" square pan or a loaf pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Beat together the banana and eggs, then stir in the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and vanilla. This will be a thick batter. Stir in the chocolate chips, and try to get them evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar as evenly as you can manage over the top of the batter, then sprinkle the chocolate chips over that. Let it sit for about 10 minutes (this helps hydrate the whole wheat flour and make the final result fluffier). Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until the internal temperature is about 201 degrees Fahrenheit. Let it cool in the pan, on a rack, for 15 minutes, then remove from pan. This is especially delicious while still warm!
Instagram is where I'm the most active these days, sharing what I'm making. I've been doing #yearofmaking in 2014, and plan to continue to 2015!