“Today is” Feburary 23
Today is National Banana Bread Day
1 ¼ cups sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups mashed very ripe bananas (3 to 4 medium)
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts, if desired
Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, 8 1/2×4 1/2×2 1/2 inches, or 1 loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches.
Mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistened. Stir in nuts. Pour into pans.
Bake 8-inch loaves about 1 hour, 9-inch loaf about 1 1/4 hours, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans and place top side up on wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.
- Store overly-ripe bananas in the freezer until you have enough to make bread.
- Cut up thick slices of the bread and freeze them for a lunch box treat or for an on-the-go breakfast, toasted and spread with peanut or almond butter.
- No buttermilk on hand? Make your own “clabbered” or sour milk: stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice or cider vinegar into 1/2 cup milk.
- Don’t want to make an entire loaf? Go mini! To make, grease bottoms only of 10 miniature loaf pans, 4 1/2×2 3/4×1 1/4 inches. Divide batter among pans (about 1/2 cup each). Bake 30 to 35 minutes.
- Mix up the nuts you use in the bread or substitute other types of baking ingredients, like mini chocolate chips or dried fruit like cranberries, cherries or chopped dates.
For more recipes visit: https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes
Today in History: In 1898, France, Emile Zola, a month after writing his “J’accuse” letter accusing the government of anti-Semitism and wrongly jailing Alfred Dreyfus, Zola is prosecuted for libel and is found guilty. To escape imprisonment, Zola fled France and head to England and didn’t return to France a year later.
Lagniappe: Pizza is pizza, right? Not quite. This beloved cheese-and-sauce-crafted masterpiece is much more complex than fans may imagine. At its core, pizza consists of a crust, sauce and a cheese. But pizza can be crafted in myriad ways thanks to toppings and crust styles. But wait … there’s more. As it turns out, pizza, which TripSavvy notes is a $30 billion global industry, has many different incarnations.
Pizza was first introduced in North America in the late 1800s when thousands of Italian immigrants arrived. Nowadays pizza is part of just about everyone’s common vernacular and diet. CiCi’s, a popular pizza chain, found that one-third of pizza eaters eat pizza at least once a week. The following are some of the many different pizza types that can be enjoyed, and what makes them unique.
- Neapolitan: This is the original pizza that arrived in the 19th century from Italy, and the pizza from which all others have evolved. The dough is made from a specific type of flour, and the crust is thin, crunchy and baked in a wood-fired oven. Neapolitan will have minimal toppings. A scant amount of San Marzano tomato sauce, slices of buffalo mozzarella cheese and basil are all that’s needed.
- New York style: Most East coast pizza is considered New York style. Originating on the streets of New York City, this pie is exemplified by wide slices of a crunchy, pliable crust that is light on sauce but heavy on cheese.
- Chicago style: Also known as deep-dish, the Pizzeria Uno restaurant in Chicago developed the deep-dish pizza in the 1940s. The pizza is made in a pan similar to a large metal cake or pie pan, and the crust lines its entirety. Typically, the toppings are assembled upside-down, with cheese, vegetables and meats placed on the crust, and then tomato sauce as the final layer to help this pizza cook all the way through.
- Sicilian: This is a thick-crusted pizza with a pillowy dough and crunchy crust. The pizza is formed in a square pan. Oftentimes, the cheese is underneath the sauce to prevent the pie from becoming soggy. Some people refer to the Sicilian as a “square.” The famed L&B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn, NY, has its own unique take on the square that has been feeding fans for decades.
- St. Louis style: This pizza is a variation on New York style, but it’s made from a cracker-like crust with no yeast. In addition, Provel cheese replaces the mozzarella found on New York-style pizza. Provel is a cheese made by combining cheddar, mozzarella and provolone.
- Grandma style: A grandma pie is similar to Sicilian, but presents as a thinner, crunchier alternative. Fresh tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella often replace the more processed sauces and cheeses.
- California style: This pizza uses a New York-style dough but switches toppings to unusual and unique ingredients, like barbecue chicken.
Pizza will likely never fall out of favor. Thanks to the variations across the country, those who covet a slice have many different options at their disposal.