December 21, 2011

Banana Bread

During the holidays, there is actually time to eat a good breakfast. This banana bread recipe is easy, fairly quick, and somewhat healthy. Most banana bread recipes have only a banana or two, but this has 5 or 6! It is dense and full of banana, and the walnuts add crunch and nuttiness. If you want, you can even use 1 cup of flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour.  The majority of the flour should be all-purpose because you want to maintain an average gluten content. Cake flour would make it too fluffy to be a rich, dense loaf, and bread flour would give it too much structure to keep it from being an actual bread. Whole wheat flour simply makes it a bit healthier and adds some color. Enjoy!

1 3/4 Cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
2 1/2 lbs Bananas
1 Stick Butter, Melted
2 Eggs
3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 Cup Walnuts, Toasted & Chopped
2 tsp Sugar

Preheat oven to 350F, line an 8x4" loaf pan with parchment, and grease again.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.

Place all but the largest banana in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and cut several vents with a paring knife. Microwave on high until the bananas are soft and have released their liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a fine sieve placed over a bowl and allow to drain, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. There should be 1/2 - 3/4 cup liquid.

Transfer the liquid to a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until it reduces to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir the liquid back into the bananas, and mash until fairly smooth. Whisk in the butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla.

Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the walnuts.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Slice the remaining banana into 1/4" thick rounds and shingle on top of the sides of the loaf. Sprinkle with the sugar and bake until cooked through, 55-75 minutes.

Makes 1 Loaf
Recipe Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

December 20, 2011

First Post!

So I'm sure everyone says this when they start a blog, but I'm really not sure what to expect. I started The Nerdy Chef to share my recipes, pictures, and knowledge of food. 

There's a lot to say, but let me begin from the beginning. I have cooked for all of my life (which isn't very long, but I guess I can't complain), but I really became serious when I realized two things: 1. I am a picky eater and food tastes better when I make it (sorry Mom & Dad!) and 2. I could actually eat dessert if I was "experimenting." In a matter of years, I transitioned from baking cookies with my grandma to working in some of Atlanta's top restaurants and winning baking competitions. I'm not exactly sure what lies ahead, but it will definitely involve food in some way or another.

Keep checking for more recipes and tips and feel free to comment with any questions or requests!