Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bananas about Bananas

I'm not much of a cook. I do appreciate a really well-prepared meal, but when I prepare my own meals I usually opt for something that requires minimal preparation. (As I write this, I realize that I'm setting up this post to be something like "The Boring Meals of a Bad Cook". I'm sure we'll get a ton of hits off this one.)

What I really want to talk about today is bananas. I have two very simple meals that can be made much better by adding bananas. The first was apparently The King's favorite meal, and the second is the title of a Jack Johnson tune

We all grew up eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Some of us even make them for our kids now. But do any of you out there eat PB&J anymore? I don't. I don't think it would be bad, but why eat PB&J when you could eat PB&B? Get yourself a piece of some kind of good, hearty, grainy type bread. Slather a bunch of CRUNCHY peanut butter on one piece. Lay some banana circles on top of that. Pour yourself a big glass of milk. You now have an incredibly delicious lunch. And filling, too. This isn't the kind of thing you want to eat everyday (and I don't recommend the 2 tbsp of butter in Elvis' recipe either). But when you need to make something fast, it really hits the spot.

Anyone else out there like to cook pancakes for themselves or their family? That's one of my favorite weekend morning activities. Now, I don't do anything fancy here. We have a big bag of pancake mix, and I mix that with the appropriate amount of milk (I prefer mixing with milk over water). Pour your pancake on the griddle and start cutting very thing banana slices on top of the pancake. When you make banana pancakes, it's best to pour only one pancake at a time on the griddle, because you want the bananas to sink into the batter as much as possible, and if another pancake has already been cooking while you bananafied the first one, the bananas won't sink as far into that pancake as desirable. I do recommend giving each banana slice a slight nudge down into the batter after you've placed it on the pancake. When you flip the pancake, the bananas will fry a little, and that enhances the banana flavor a little; much like how toasting bread enhances certain flavors in bread that you don't taste when it's not toasted. I recommend a little bit of butter on your banana pancakes, but no syrup. All syrup does is mask the great banana pancake flavor.

So those are my two simple banana recipes that I recommend you all try. Anyone else out there have any banana dishes they want to share? Or just easy-to-prepare but delicious dishes? Let's hear 'em.


Ryan said...

Great post. Maybe I'm the exception to our age group since I"ve spent the greater part of the last decade in grad school and various forms of low income, but I probably average 150 PBJ sandwiches a year.

I discovered the banana aspect relatively recently. It was like a revelation. And I also had the same dilemma, to add jelly or not? I found out, it was best not to add jelly but to add honey. Wow, talk about a snack and/or meal. Peanut butter, banana and honey. YOu also have to make sure the banana is properly aged. You can't use no green banana, you have to let a few freckles turn up then it's perfectly ripe.

I will have to experiment with the pancakes. I'm wondering if they could be pressed into waffles?

Coovo said...

Roller, I would love to take your advice on this, but I don't eat bananas or drink milk. I do however eat lots of PB&J's and drink water.

I was beginning to think we couldn't be friends but then I read about pancakes. A friend of mine here in the 'paign knows I will only get up and play Sunday morning hoops if we get pancakes afterward. There's got to be something in it for me.

Doughboy said...

I, too, am a friend of the great banana but not in pancakes. If I want to start my day loaded with carbohydrates, I don't need it ruined by any fruit in there.

I do happen to love the banana chip. Quick healthy snack disguised as an unhealthy chip. Great combo.

Marty said...

PB&J: Crunchy PB & Grape Jelly
Pancakes: Butter & Syrup
Bananas: Gross

Roller said...

Rye, I have made PB&H sandwiches before, but never thought to add honey to the PB&B. Awesome idea.

Waffles seems like it may be harder given the bumpiness, but it's worth a try.

Doughboy, great call on the banana chip. And regarding the banana pancakes, you don't know what you're missing!

Marty, I find it hard to believe that bananas aren't part of the diet of someone who can dunk. If you had been eating bananas all these years? Ryan Howard's dad would be coaching YOU!

Roller said...

And since there seem to be some other Peanut Butter lovers out there - does ANYONE make a sandwich with Creamy PB? You gotta go Crunchy, right?

G. Smith said...

I think peanut butter is one of the most magical substances ever invented. Crunchy, smooth, super crunchy, supersmooth, or some mixture of all 4 when all you have in the fridge are four 99% empty jars of four styles. Eat it all. Some requirements - the only ingredients I'll allow are peanuts, and maybe salt. The ag lobby has us sucking so much sugar that Jiff and Skippy have bastardized what is the most perfect substance. Got to go with the no stir, just b/c its all natural doesn't mean you want to slosh peanut oil all over. I think it goes well on most everything. Bread, apples, carrots, celery, honey, jam, or mixed with coconut milk, soy sauce and ginger for peanut noodle sauce. Obviously the best thing to go with peanut butter is good quality chocholate - again, no sugar. It's also good on either a spoon, fork, or knife.

As for bannanas, I have almost equal praise - and a piece of banana trivia: the most common way most americans eat a banana is to peel from the stem. Turns out much of the world, and monkeys and apes too, eat bananas from the other side. It's easier to peel.

Gene said...

stupid americans

Coovo said...

Great info G. If I liked bananas I would be all over trying out that new peeling method. I'm not sure about this sugarless chocolate you speak of. Talk about unamerican.

Roller, I choose to eat both creamy and crunchy. To me, both are unique and tasty. I tend to switch back and forth.

Ryan, I'm sure you could try pureeing the bananas into the waffle batter. You'd miss out on the big chunks, but you'd get littler ones and you'd get that banana flavor you yearn for.

Marty said...

my affection for the chocolate/peanut butter combo has been well documented on this blog...mostly by the comments section...but it is hands down the best combination, and could never be touched by any banana concoction...those reese's cookies are the closest thing to legalized crack-cocaine that there is

Ryan said...

G, I am intrigued and also skeptical of your non-sugary version of peanut butter. I have tried organic style peanut butter before and it tasted a half step worse than soggy wheaties. But, I will keep an open mind.

Until that day, I cannot stop my love for Jiff. I like crunchy and smooth. Crunchy tastes best on toast and /or with sammiches, but smooth is best for combinations.

Marty, when I find myself in times of trouble, like when I only have gross cookies at home like chips ahoy, I go ahead and add a little peanut butter, and it's incredibly awesome.

I've also tried putting a scoop of PB in the microwave for a bit and then pouring it over ice cream. Excellent.

As for peeling bananas the monkey way, I'm very excited for this, as I've often thought peeling a banana from the stem down was way more difficult than it should be, resulting in a high number of banana casualties. Shame.

Ryan said...

P.S. There is no such thing as "crunchy" peanut butter any more. Just "Extra Crunchy". I was fine with crunchy. Why the extra crunchy? Why all the razors on a Gillette razor?

No one knows.

Coovo said...

I have tried the smuckers peanut butter that you have to put in the fridge. Not sure if thats the organic. I thought it was okay. Not great but it was good. Definitely better than soggy wheaties. Partly because I am not a fan of very salty things and it seemed to me to have less salt. Nana always used to have it on hand. It's cost preempts me from buying it on a regular basis.

This whole thread reminds me of something you once said Ryan. I believe you said that there are two things you don't skimp on in life. Peanut butter and toilet paper.

I'm ashamed to say I have skimped on both of late. The generic peanut butter was decent, but the one I worried about was the toilet paper. It was for rolls for $0.79. You could tell that the rolls weren't as thick and soft as the others but for a single guy like me who never has guests, I decided I would try it. I haven't gone back. It's fine. I realize I might not be saving that much money, and i could conduct a long cost analysis examining the usage of a cheap roll to a regular roll, but its really not that bad. Just remember, if you stop by my house, BYOTP.

Roller said...

Yes, you guys are right, Smooth PB is perfect for spreading on apples, celery, etc.

Rye, I've also noticed the "Extra Crunchy but no Crunchy" phenomenon. I suppose there's no market for "Kinda Crunchy". People either want lots of crunch or none at all.

Ryan said...

I'd be satiated if they would offer "Extra Smooth".