It’s not that I don’t have two ripe bananas, it’s just that desire for a fall pumpkin flavor that inspires this play on my favorite banana bread. I stole a can of pumpkin from my dog’s pantry (she gets one teaspoon a day), but I only need 1 cup of it. I’ve looked around the web for the quantity of a single banana and 1 mashed banana is about 1/3 cup; it would be 2/3 cup for two bananas, but sometimes I use three, so I’m going with a cup of pumpkin. Canned pumpkin has about the same consistency as mashed banana, so it shouldn’t affect the bread’s outcome (I say with a little trepidation). I’m going to substitute brown sugar for the white sugar, though, and that could have a big change—a good one, I hope. The last change will be adding the spices I normally put in my pumpkin pie.
The loaves cracked in an interesting way, sort of all over, like a molasses cookie, instead of with one big center crack. I couldn’t wait to try it and was pleased with the combination of pumpkin and fresh ginger, which adds a little bite. The texture was moist, maybe more so than the original banana version, and just what I want in a fall nut bread.
Skip the bananas
Yum. I couldn’t wait
Pumpkin Nut Bread
Preheat oven to 350°
Grease and flour two 4″ x 8″ loaf pans
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated (adds a nice bite)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
- Cream the butter and sugar.
- Beat in eggs and vanilla.
- Add the pumpkin and beat until incorporated. Stir in spices.
- Add the flour, soda, and salt, mixing well—this makes a fairly stiff dough. Stir in nuts. Divide into two greased and floured pans and bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes, checking to see that the edges do not burn and that the center is done.
- Cool on a rack for about 15 minutes before turning out. Cool thoroughly before slicing (good for you if you can do that). For the best flavor, wrap and store overnight before slicing and eating.
Time for another pheasant recipe. I’m cycling through meatball recipes and today’s is Swedish. Unlike the savory meatballs I made recently, I’m not adding any other meat to this meatball, but letting it stand on its own with the allspice and nutmeg and sour cream sauce. I see that some people use regular cream and some use sour cream. I guess the sour cream lends a Stroganoff air to the meal, which I think we will like. If I were using plain heavy cream, I would add a little soy sauce to the gravy.
I love meatballs in appearance and for eating, but I must say that I really hate standing around trying to brown them all over, and I usually end up with two flat browned sides and a greyish band around the middle. The next meatball recipe will likely have them simmering in a broth or sauce to cook.
Mixing the meatball ingredients
My mostly uniform meatballs
With noodles and gravy
Pheasant Swedish Meatballs
This recipe is a variation of Alton Brown’s recipe on the Food Network site.
2 slices fresh white bread, torn in small pieces
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
6-8 tablespoons butter, divided
Olive oil for browning
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 lbs ground pheasant (boneless, skinless breasts from 5 pheasants)
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons flour
3 cups beef broth
3/4 cup sour cream
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, soak the bread pieces and milk. Set aside.
- Sauté the onions in 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt until translucent. Set aside to cool.
- Add the ground pheasant, egg yolks, remaining kosher salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and cooled onions. Beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes. I find it kind of odd to mix meat like this, but it did not come out overworked, as I feared it might.
- Shape the mixture into small meatballs—I used a 2 teaspoon scoop— and brown in a combination of butter and olive oil over medium-high heat until brown on all sides (of course a round meatball doesn’t really have sides). Remove the meatballs to a dish while you make the sauce. If you think the meatballs are not cooked through, you can set the dish in a 250°-300° oven while you make the sauce, but they should be small enough to cook in the pan.
- Pour off any oil remaining in the pan. Decrease the heat to low and add 6 tablespoons of butter.
- Stir in the flour until there are no lumps and it is lightly browned. Add the beef stock, stirring until it thickens. Stir in the sour cream. Add the meatballs and heat for 1-2 minutes.
Serve as an appetizer or as a main dish with noodles.
The spices really make this meatloaf—don’t skip them.
I have lots of recipes handwritten on slips of paper. Today, I would just be bookmarking them on a device. I remember where some of them came from, but not all. I used to watch the cooking shows on the local PBS station, most memorably, Nathalie Dupree’s New Southern Cooking, Marcia Adams’ Amish Cooking from Quilt Country and Heartland Cooking, and Julia Child’s The French Chef, Cooking with Master Chefs and bits and pieces of most of her other series when available. This was long before the 24/7 availability of cooking channels but most of them were available when there were VCRs. I used to tape the shows as I watched them, so I could go back and write down recipes, stopping the tape to let my writing catch up. I suppose some other recipes could have been copied from the so-called women’s magazines. What can I say? I have a long interest in home cooking. It’s too bad more people have not learned how to cook and are left to rely on pre-packaged food or eating in fast food restaurants all the time. Cooking from scratch can be much more economical.
I’m not sure where this great recipe came from. It sounds like something Marcia Adams would have created, but it’s definitely not her upside down ham loaf that is all over the web. I generally did not elaborate on instructions, which mostly works out, but sometimes it leaves me scratching my head and improvising.
I only made one addition and one change to the recipe. The only ground pork I could find was reduced fat—fat is the whole reason you use pork!—so I added 1 tablespoon of bacon fat that I had waiting in the fridge for just such an occasion. The other change had to do with that oddly inserted line, 2 T lemon. Lemon what? Juice? Zest? Both seem like odd additions, and the line looks like it was squeezed in. Well, I didn’t have any lemons, but I have a jar of dried Valencia orange peel, so I added 1/2 teaspoon of that. I don’t know if it made a difference, but it didn’t hurt.
Shaped for baking
Golden, sticky, splattered pan
Moist and tender ham loaf
Spicy-Sweet Ham Loaf
Preheat oven to 375°
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 lb ground cooked ham
- 2 cups bread crumbs (I used soft crumbs from fresh whole wheat bread)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 teaspoon dried orange peel or fresh citrus zest from one orange or lemon (adjusted from mystery ingredient in original recipe)
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Optional: 1 tablespoon bacon fat or lard if your meats are too lean
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (not in original recipe)
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper (not in original recipe)
Mix all ingredients and shape into loaf in large baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for about one hour or until center registers about 160°. Baste with sauce (below) for the last half hour. Remove from oven to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Bring all to boil in small saucepan. It is not a thick glaze, but it does glaze the loaf with frequent basting, plus some of it soaks in at the bottom. Pour over enough to cover the loaf after the first half hour of baking, then baste the loaf every 10 minutes thereafter, using up the rest of the mixture. You might go over the baking time with opening the door so often. This sauce makes a splattered mess of your baking dish, but it washes right off in the dishwasher.