Tag Archives: bananas

The Appley Dapply-est day ever.

Mrs. Bread and I thought we might sit on her deck and chat… or, we might meet at the beach and walk. But in the end, she came to my garden in the afternoon, and brought me two perfect Fuji apples just picked from her tree.

She didn’t know I had baked an apple cake for us to eat with our tea, at the table in the back corner. Last week it would have been too hot there at that time of day, but today was mild. I had chopped Rome Beauty apples into the cake, because I think the Northern Spy keep a little better, so I will use the Romes up first. They are in the box at the bottom of the picture.

The whole of autumn so far has been the most appley of my life. I have dehydrated dozens of apples and eaten as many fresh and crisp out of hand. Last week two kind man-friends from church came over to help me peel Pippins for a couple of hours — after I gave them dinner and apple crisp, because it was that time of day — and when I had got about a gallon of applesauce into the fridge, I went to bed very late.

Now my freezer and pantry (My pantry is steel shelves in the garage.) are stocked up with sauce, dried apples, and leftover cake. I sent a wedge of cake home to Mr. Bread, and now must abstain for a bit, so I’ll be ready to test the other apple cake recipes that Mrs. Bread is going to send me. Below, you can also see the super-dehydrated banana slices in jars; they are addictive crunchy banana “candy.”

The Winter Banana apples I determined were best in their dried form. I probably don’t need to keep them in the freezer, but it looks appropriate to their name, doesn’t it?

My favorite apple ranch only has one more variety coming in this fall: Pink Lady. I might go back and get some of those — but maybe not 20 pounds — because I think they might dry nicely.

What else made today appley? This:  Several weeks ago I had admired Mrs. Bread’s mint plant that was at the end of its flowering. She promised to give me a cutting, but I had forgotten. Today she surprised  me with it, and it is an Apple Mint.

I wish you could smell how yummy it is!

As I was assembling my appley post this evening, what came into view on my computer but a picture from Pippin (Ha! It’s even the right nickname for today.) of Ivy who was evidently inspired by their harvest to read to her apples. I don’t know what variety they are, but their names I’m pretty sure are Appley, Dapply, and … I confess I don’t know the real names of the friends in the picture.

I hope that this fall finds you with plenty of appley friends and cakes.

Appley Dapply has little sharp eyes,
And Appley Dapply is so fond of pies.

Oh! I haven’t made a pie yet! I bet Northern Spy are good for that…

I take succour from pudding and poems.

Sunday there was a big bowl of dead-ripe bananas in the parish hall, for the taking. Maybe they had been left from our church’s monthly hosting of the overflow from the local rescue mission. The program started up again last week for the fall and winter.

I couldn’t resist bringing home a couple of bunches, which I put in the fridge while I hunted for a fast-friendly recipe to use them in. Since then I have very much appreciated the pudding I made, eaten as warm as possible as I try to shake the chill that has descended on me and my house.

Do I never weary of writing about my shivering? Evidently not. My flesh and bones are crying out, “Do something!” And I occasionally respond in new ways… but I suppose it is typically a variation on a story of sun and food.

On my outing to the library I was able to shed my wool sweater. I was picking up a collection of poems by Les Murray, whose name has popped up here and there for months now; I see that he died just this year. When I eventually checked, what do you know, I didn’t have to search farther than my neighborhood branch to find New Selected Poems. It was lunchtime when I got home, so I took a little bowl of Vietnamese Banana Tapioca Pudding and some other snacks out front to eat on the bench. And I sat longer, to be warm, and perused my book.

In the garden the sun is shining, and I can even get hot in my flannel shirt. But indoors this morning I had carried my breakfast on a tray up the stairs to one of the temporary storage rooms (a.k.a. bedrooms), the eastern one where I could sit with the sun on my back. I have been reluctant to turn on the furnace, because of all the empty spaces in the walls and ceiling of the room that is still not out of its demolition phase. I didn’t want to try “heating the great outdoors,” as my father used to put it.

In my library book a surprising number of poems got my attention by their accessibility and themes, and then made me happy by the evocative images and philosophical musings that are so satisfying. Which to share first? By now you will know why I chose this one to end today’s story:


Refugees, derelicts – but why classify
people in the wreck of their terms?
These wear mixed and accidental clothing
and are seated at long tables in rows.

It’s like a school, and the lesson
has moved now from papers to round
volumes of steaming food
which they seem to treat like knowledge,

re-learning it slowly, copying it
into themselves with hesitant spoons.

~Les Murray

Banana Bread – traditional and favorite

paleo banana bread 7-14What could be more traditional than banana bread? Every thrifty cook has her special recipe that makes very good use of the ripe fruit. My old favorite was the Laurel’s Kitchen recipe, because it used the most bananas, and it includes both toasted walnuts and dried apricots – yum!

Nowadays  I rarely bake this kind of cake, for several reasons, but I still acquire bananas that I am loath to toss. Last month I cut a few into chunks and froze them, with hopes that someone someday will want to throw them into a smoothie.

But then my Coconut Flour Project loomed. It all started with a humongous bag of coconut flour I bought at Costco, because I love everything coconut and am always trying to cut back on grains. Beyond the flour itself I hadn’t anything to show for my time spent thinking about what to do with what I thought was a great resource.

That’s not exactly true: I saw a recipe for coconut flour bread in Pippin’s files, and she warned me that for her it turned out “kind of dry,” but I eventually tried it. It might as well have been made with sawdust. Lesson learned: don’t use the stuff alone.

I had given up surfing and searching for coconut flour recipes and instead bought an old fridge to use in my garage, in which to keep my bag of coconut flour and other currently neglected semi-perishables, against some misty future when I would suddenly bake a lot again.

THEN Nikkipolani made some banana bread and mentioned it briefly on her blog, and because she said it was grain-free I followed the link to SlimPalate and found a recipe for which I had all the ingredients right here in one refrigerator or another. I even had the cacao nibs, but I didn’t add them, and it doesn’t seem P1100814that nikkipolani did either.

The crumb of this bread is so moist and tender – nothing dry about it. The banana flavor melts into the subtle almond and coconut, with honey and vanilla. I’d like to try it with the cacao nibs next time. I’m not sure this loaf will have enough opportunity to become the New Traditional, but it is now my favorite banana bread.

Update: I bought some bananas for the purpose of making this bread again, which I have now done. I had extra mashed banana so I made a 50% bigger loaf by increasing all the ingredients that much. I used large instead of extra-large eggs this time, so the batter was thicker, but the end result is not much different from the first time, and just as delicious.

Maui Diary 8 – Durian, Soursop, and Rambutan

ice-cream bananas

The Ono Organic Fruit Farm was a laid-back place after all. We were a half-hour late for our tour of this farm south of Hana, and it didn’t really matter; others were even later than that. So the staff gave the second part first, to those On Time, and we tardy folk just had to stay around longer if we wanted to walk around to see and learn about the trees and bushes.

The main event was the fruit-tasting, for which we sat on an open-air porch before a table spread with a collection of tropical fruits. The young married farm interns chose one after another of the fruits and cut them into pieces to pass around to our group of twenty or so, giving us commentary all the while about the business operation, the agricultural practices, and what they knew of the individual species.

Being the daughter of a fruit farmer myself, I was full of questions about the cultivation or the fruits, many of which the fairly green farmers weren’t able to answer.

That was o.k. There were plenty of other specific things and facts on which I could focus my mind and my camera, and in this case, with those particulars being so strange and new, it’s was terribly stimulating.

This farm makes most of its income from bananas, including the more commonly found Williams variety, of which the kind we eat here is a type, and also the Red Cuban Bananas and Ice Cream Bananas. But oh, what a lot of other goodies they grow.


I was intrigued by the soursop, which is a plant related to the chirimoya and the pawpaw. It was tasty but not overly sweet, and had a sherbet-like texture. In fact, it is used in tropical climates to make sherbet or refreshing drinks.

We were told not to eat the seeds, so I picked several out of my chunk of fruit, very smooth and black seeds that begged to go home with me, so I put them in a scrap of paper towel in my purse.

Later on I’m pretty sure I transferred them to my suitcase, but by the time I unpacked back home in my bedroom, they were nowhere to be found. I’ve been sad ever since, but Mr. Glad is actually glad that I’m not planting a tree for nothing. It wouldn’t be for nothing to me, but it certainly would be without fruit.

Scooping Passionfruit

We ate some of the passionfruit shown above, and later bought jars of lilikoi jam that had been put up just that morning from a variety of passionfruit grown there on the farm. The red fruits in the foreground are Surinam “cherries,” a pretty sour, but juicy, experience, not anything like a true cherry.

Those mangoes they grow on Maui might have been our favorite fruit of the trip — they seemed exquisite compared to the Mexican ones we are used to here. I always love coconut, and the pineapples we ate on the farm and elsewhere on the island were the Maui Gold hybrid, low-acid and amazingly sweet.

rambutan or dragon-eye fruit

One time years ago I had read a long article about durian fruit, and always took it as a given that no one would ever even gently suggest that I eat some — but there it was right in front of me, an opportunity to overcome my stodginess and pretend to be a daredevil. Trying strange foods is not my idea of fun, and durian may be the strangest of all.

ornamental pineapple

You may know about durian, that in several countries of the world it is illegal to carry it on public transportation, because of its aroma — or stink, as it seems to those who get physically ill over it. Other people get downright addicted to the fruit, and travel the globe following the durian harvest.

cacao fruit

I ate it and survived. In case my readers have the chance to taste durian sometime, I won’t say too much about it, except that it did not seem like a fruit. It was not juicy; it was soft; it had sulfuric components….The interns said that the piece we sampled was fairly mild tasting. It didn’t make me sick, but neither do I have any interest in eating another bite.

I thought the fresh cacao seeds would be bitter, like the roasted beans, but it was more pleasant than that, a vaguely chocolatey and unsweet, soft crunch.

Maybe because our tasting had begun late, the walking tour afterward seemed to pass way too quickly. I was constantly lagging as I tried to get pictures of macadamia or cashew or breadfruit trees.

One common tactic of organic farmers is to interplant different crops, so that pests and diseases don’t spread too easily. Here at Ono Farms coffee bushes often grow in the shade of banana trees.

Our visit was all close to the ground, but on the wall above the heads of our hosts was this aerial photograph, showing how bananas were planted years ago to spell out the name of this place where our senses were flooded with tropical flavors. The growers were right when they named their farm: in Hawaiian Ono means delicious.