Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Going Bananas

Only one day left of the book giveaway! If you enter now, you'll have a 1 in 4 chance of winning. Them's good chances, folks.

One of my favorite sayings in the kitchen is: "That never goes bad!" I have a long list of things that I'm convinced have an extended shelf life from what popular (or Aaron's) opinion says. However, I have found a few things that I didn't expect to go bad...and did they ever.

Crisco: I hardly ever use it, but I used a bit to melt with chocolate chips last Christmas. It was for the Chocolate-Dipped Cranberry Cookies, and fortunately I stopped dipping before I was finished. Because that was some rancid Crisco, and the chocolate-covered parts were inedible. I ended up cutting them off and eating the non-dipped portions.

Bread mixes: In particular, a pumpkin bread mix from Tastefully Simple. I knew it was old, since the consultant's address was in Rochester (this would make it at LEAST five years old), but I thought I'd try it anyway just to see what'd happen. What happened is that I made of loaf of dust-flavored bread. It didn't really rise, and although technically it may have been edible, you'd have to be pretty hungry to actually consume it.

Wheat germ: Okay, I threw it out before actually testing to see if it'd gone bad. But I looked at the expiration date (something I've been working on...:) and it said, "Best by Sept 2003". As in, SEVEN YEARS AGO. Or 6 and some months if you want to get technical, but regardless, I tossed it.

And WHY, you may ask, was I even looking at the wheat germ? I am not exactly a health-conscious cook (Aaron has been bemoaning my fondness of cooking with butter). But my daughter's favorite dinner is pancakes, and I've been trying some "new" recipes lately, so when I found Banana-Oatmeal Pancakes, I figured I should give it a shot. You know, to earn some brownie points with Miss Priss.

Aaron was skeptical, with good reason - my past experiments with pancakes have not been overly successful. But these were a hit. Not one was left - Leah ate 2 plain (which she also does with normal pancakes - no syrup, no butter, nothing- I don't get it.) and another with peanut butter and syrup. Ben ate his one, Aaron and I had several, and Adam ate at least half of one.

I let Leah mash the banana, and she turned it into liquid. This may have been overdoing it, since you couldn't taste the bananas too much - just a hint, which may have been the goal, I'm not sure.

Anyway, they were great, and here's the recipe for you to try out:

Banana-Oatmeal Pancakes
prep: 10 min cook: 8-10 min yield: 4 servings from Parenting magazine, Oct. 2006

1 1/2 c flour
1/3 c wheat germ
1/3 c quick-cooking oats
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 c milk
1 ripe banana, peeled & mashed
3 Tbs maple syrup
1 Tbs canola oil, plus more for the skillet

In a large bowl, stir flour, wheat germ, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add milk, mashed banana, syrup, & 1 Tbs oil and whisk thoroughly. Pour milk mixture over flour mixture and stir until combined. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Lightly grease with canola oil. Pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake. Flip with spatula when tops bubble and edges look slightly dry. Cook until the other side is golden brown, about 2 min per side.


Noel said...

It seems like in addition to "Use by" and "Best by" dates, food manufacturers could add "Disappointing by" and "LD 50 toxic by" dates (LD 50 is when a dose kills 50% of the ingesters).

Of course the bigger challenge comes with leftovers, particularly if memory of when something is made is hazy and one's sense of smell is questionable. At our house there is also the issue of leaving a leftover for someone who really wants it vs a leftover which is forgotten or unloved and free for a middle aged man to eat without angering one of the women of the house who were expecting to eat the leftover herself. If there has been recent negative behavioral re-inforcement for having eaten someone's prized leftover, there is an increased likelihood of other leftovers being left alone for a time period spans into the interval when leftover age becomes hazy.

Maybe when I'm in doubt, I should just eat dry cat food. That never seems to go least according to our cat.

Lyz said...


Of course, cats aren't exactly known for their willingness to share...anything.:)