Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bananas Foster Quick Bread

The original Bananas Foster dessert was created by the chef at Brennan's Restaurant in New Orleans in the early 1950's and has been the most requested dessert item on their menu ever since! It is a mixture of butter, brown sugar, banana liquor, sliced bananas, dark rum and cinnamon that is set aflame then served over vanilla ice cream. This banana bread recipe adopts some of those flavors and results in a unique taste that is delicious for breakfast, as an afternoon snack or even for dessert. It's quick and easy to prepare because you don't need a mixer...just stir, pour and bake. If you don't have rum flavoring in your pantry, but happen to have dark or spiced rum in your cabinet, just use the real thing. In this recipe, it's not too overpowering at all, but gives the bread a subtle flavor that adds depth and richness. Because this is a reduced fat and carb bread, be sure to wrap any leftovers well or freeze it for later to reserve it's freshness.

Bananas Foster Quick Bread
Makes 16 servings

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup oat bran or wheat germ
2 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup Splenda, granular
1/3 cup egg substitute (or 2 egg whites)
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon rum extract (or 2 teaspoons dark or spiced rum)
½ teaspoon butter flavoring
¼ cup low-fat buttermilk
3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray an 8½" x 4½" x 2½" loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir in oat bran and set aside.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, mash the banana and add the sugar and Splenda; stir with a fork to combine. Beat in the egg, egg substitute, applesauce, canola oil, rum extract, butter flavoring and buttermilk. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined but no flour is visible. Don't overmix.

4. Pour into the loaf pan, gently smoothing the top. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the batter and bake for 55 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack completely before slicing. Wrap leftovers well to preserve freshness.

Nutritional Information per serving: 125.6 calories, 18.6 g carbohydrate, 5 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 157.6 mg sodium, 1.5 g fiber, 3.1 g protein.

Recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ginger-Walnut Salmon and Asparagus

I checked out an excellent cookbook from the library that I'd like to share with you. It has so many recipes I've marked to try, this book will most likely be one I will purchase for my own collection in the future. It's the 8th edition of The New American Heart Association Cookbook (ISBN 978-0-307-40757-3). The recipe below is one from their seafood section and is quick, easy to prepare and delicious! As it bakes in the foil pouch, the topping thickens and becomes a sweet and tangy glaze. The walnuts add a satisfying crunch, not to mention even more Omega 3 fatty acids to a dish already generous with them. It is truly a heart-healthy main course!

Ginger-Walnut Salmon and Asparagus
Makes 4 servings

Cooking spray
12-20 medium asparagus spears
4 salmon fillets (about 5 ounces each)
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
1½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (low sodium)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon grated ginger root
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon crystallized ginger (chopped)

1. Preheat oven to 450-degrees. Lightly spray four 15" x 12-inch sheets of aluminum foil with cooking spray. Place 3 to 5 asparagus spears in the center of each. Top with the salmon, skin side down.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, cornstarch and ginger root until the sugar is dissolved. Spoon over the top and sides of the fish. Sprinkle with the walnuts and crystallized ginger. Wrap the foil loosely and seal tightly (this leaves room for the heat to circulate inside). Place the packets on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

3. Being careful to avoid steam burns, slowly open a packet and check the salmon for doneness. If it isn't quite ready, reseal the packet and bake a few minutes longer. Open the packets carefully. Remove the skin if desired (tongs work well). Transfer the fish and asparagus to plates, top with sauce and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information per serving: 357 calories, 34 g carbohydrate, 10 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 118 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 34 g protein.

Recipe from the book The New American Heart Association Cookbook 8th edition, Clarkson Potter Publishers, New York, copyright 2010. p. 159.