Posts Tagged ‘bananas’

Bananacolypse Now?

December 7, 2015

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Word on the street, (ok, in the blogosphere,) is that bananas are becoming an endangered species. This sets off a mild feeling of panic, as what is morning without bananas? Bananas are the base of most smoothies, taste great on oatmeal, make delcious breakfast breads, and are the perfect vehicle for slathering with almond butter. Thus said, this rumor begs investigating.

The scientific journal PLOS Pathogens has conducted a study, which predicts that a fungus called Panama disease will bring about the untimely demise of the banana.

There is no known treatment for Panama disease, which was previously contained in parts of Asia. It has currently spread to Pakistan, Oman, Jordon, Lebanon, Mozambique and Northeast Queensland, Australia. The disease is slow spreading, so it may take awhile to get to Latin America, where most of our bananas are grown. The last time the disease eradicated crops was when it was discovered in Taiwan in the 1960’s where it took 55 years to do it’s damage.

In the meantime, consider swapping parsnips as a substitution in baked goods. The root caramelizes to a sugary sweetness like bananas, and were used during the Great Banana rationing in England during WWII.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Egg Substitutes

September 29, 2015

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Many baked goods recipes call for eggs, but if you are baking for a vegan, or someone with an egg allergy, it is still possible to make sweet treats without them. Three common substitutes for eggs are mashed bananas, a flaxseed and water paste, or aquafaba, which is the water from a can of chickpeas.
All three have their place in recipes, as the reaction, or flavor may effect the outcome.

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Bananas: Use 1/4 cup of mashed bananas for every egg called for.

This can be helpful when making baked goods such as muffins or coffee cakes where the banana flavor is a nice addition. It will yield dense, moist baked goods, but if the banana taste is a deal breaker, this will not be the option for you.

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Flaxseed Paste: For every egg called for, mix 1 tablespoon of ground golden flaxseed or flax meal with 3 tablespoons of water to form a paste. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes to thicken.

Flaxseed is often listed in vegan recipes as an egg substitute, and the flavor is pretty much undetactable. It will not react exactly like an egg and the end result might not be as pretty as you would like. It will be tasty and is a good solid option for eggless baking if taste trumps texture and beauty.

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Aquafaba: For every egg needed, add 3 tablespoons of the water from canned, unsalted chickpeas, known as aquafaba.

Lately, aquafaba has been popping up more and more in articles and on websites. Quite honestly, I had never heard of it until a couple of weeks ago, but it may factor into my baking soon, so I can provide vegan options on Indigo Jones Eats. The water from the chickpeas has many egg-like properties, from being protein rich to having that slightly slimy, runny texture of an eggwhite. It also has emulsifying and leavening properties making it a great choice for eggless baking. Those who have used it report that it reacts very much like an egg, yielding lighter,evenly colored baked goods that rise properly. The best part? No bean flavor is detectable.

While all of these are great substitutes for eggs in many baked items, we would caution against using them for things like souffles, where the eggwhites are key players, although we have seen recipes using aquafaba successfully to make meringues. Aquafaba has become so popular that it even has its own website. We also love that it cuts down on food waste, as it is a product that usually gets rinsed off and thrown away when we eat beans.

If you want to go vegan in the kitchen, try to experiment with some of these options until you find the right one for your recipe, and enjoy!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

Take a peek at our Tumblr.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats

Unrecipe of the Week: Banana Bread

December 2, 2013

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We eat a lot of bananas in our house, but inevitably, there is always a few that get too ripe, despite the techniques we have employed to avoid it.

No worries, banana bread is so easy to make, that we are happy to have an excuse to whip some up!

Banana Bread

Mash up 3 or 4 over ripe bananas in a mixing bowl. Add 1/3 cup melted butter and mix. Stir in 1 egg,  3/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and a pinch of salt over the mixture add 1 1/2 cups of flour. Mix well and pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake for about 1 hour at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan, slice and enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Go Bananas

August 6, 2013

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We eat a lot of bananas around here, and they seem to get over-ripe even faster than we can consume them. This tip from Be Well Philly might be life changing!
The culprit in converting ripe, firm bananas into mushy almost banana bread batter is ethylene gas, which is released from the stems, and causes the rest of the banana to ripen faster.
We have talked about this before, and suggested separating the bananas from one another, and keeping them quarantined from other fruits to avoid them from ripening too quickly. This tip seems to take that concept to another level:

After separating the bananas from the stalk, wrap each stem tightly with plastic wrap to prevent the gas from escaping. The author suggests cutting strips of plastic wrap to size, so that it is a little easier to handle.

While it seems a bit time consuming, it may be a lot easier than running to the store for more bananas, or turning the mushy ones into banana bread!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: How to Ripen an Avocado

May 7, 2013

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Finding a perfectly ripe avocado in the supermarket can be difficult. Some are hard as rocks, and others have already turned to guacamole.

To speed the ripening of an avocado that is too firm, put it in a paper bag with a banana, and seal the bag. The ethylene, a natural gas released by the ripening banana, speeds the ripening of other fruits around it. Be warned, storing bananas with other already ripened fruits could cause them to spoil more quickly than normal.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Hangover Helper

December 31, 2012

7764600015 New Year’s Eve is upon us, and the celebration often involves large quantities of alcohol, resulting in an inevitable hangover.

While resolving to practice moderation might not work in “real time,” having the right foods on hand to ease the effects of over- indulging is a good idea.

Here are a few foods that are hangover helpers:

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Asparagus contains enzymes that help breakdown the alcohol in your body. Eating asparagus for dinner can jumpstart the process. Asparagus is also a natural diuretic, which will not only help the alcohol pass through your system more quickly, but will also help avoid the bloating associated with a night of indulgence.

Coconut water contains the same amount of electrolytes as many of the popular sports drinks, without all the sugar and additives.  An earlier study found that Zico Natural Pure Premium Coconut Water contains the most electrolytes of the conventional brands.

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Bananas are rich in potassium, which will strengthen your muscles and help overcome that weak shaky feeling, often experienced after a binge.

Tomato juice is a great way to hydrate, and is packed with vitamins and minerals that are depleted after a night of partying.

Organic, Pasteurized Eggs contain protein, which breaks down toxins in your body.
Eggs produced by grass fed hens replenish vitamin B levels as well.

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Quinoa is a trendy grain and a health powerhouse. It helps to restore amino acids lost during drinking and absorbs a little of that “icky” feeling in your stomach. Just remember to rinse the quinoa before cooking it, to make it easier on your digestive system.

Honey is loaded with antioxidants and naturally occurring fructose, which helps flush out the system. Drink it in some soothing tea, add it to your quinoa for a morning meal, or spread it on some toast.

glass of water

Much of what you are feeling the morning after is a result of dehydration. Try sipping a glass of water between cocktails, and be sure to down a large glass before bed. Sipping water throughout the next day will provide ample rehydration, and flush out your system.

Whatever you do, please don’t drink and drive! Plan ahead for transportation home from the celebration to insure a happy and safe New Year.
Happy 2013!!

photos: Glasshouse Images

CSA Tuesday + Unrecipe Round-Up

November 21, 2012

Our weekly CSA provided lots of Thanksgiving ingredients. We got sweet potatoes, carrots, red potatoes, onions, a giant pumpkin and cilantro.

I have already started preparing our Thanksgiving meal!

Our weekly list from fresh from the farm:

Pumpkin pie,anyone?

The baskets of produce ready to be distributed:

Here are a  few of our previously published favorite Thanksgiving “unrecipes:” Search the site for even more ideas!

Pumpkin Pie:

https://indigo-jones.com/2011/11/23/unrecipe-of-the-week-thanksgiving-edition-5/

Roasted Garlic and Herb Paste for the Turkey:

https://indigo-jones.com/2010/11/22/unrecipe-of-the-week-thanksgiving-edition-2/

Honey Banana Sweet Potatoes: no marshmallows for me!!

https://indigo-jones.com/2009/11/24/unrecipe-of-the-weekthanksgiving-edition/

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Enjoy!

Hot Cranberry Jones:

https://indigo-jones.com/2009/11/05/unrecipe-of-the-week-14/

 

Bananarama

August 16, 2012

Bananas are high in potassium, and are a great portable snack. They also have lots of other uses that go way beyond food.

Can’t get that pesky splinter out?

Press a banana peel onto the affected area and the nutrients will help ease the splinter out.

Take a shine to it:

Rub the inside of a banana peel onto silver or leather in place of store bought toxic cleaners, and buff with a clean cloth.

Brighten your smile:

Bananas are helpful in removing stains from  your teeth.  Massage your teeth with the inside of the banana peel for several minutes at a time, 3 times per week and watch the sparkle come back to your smile.

Want the peels and don’t want to waste the fruit?
Freeze the bananas and puree them in the blender for a soft serve ice cream alternative. Or dip them in chocolate first and enjoy them as a frozen treat.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Eat Your Vegetables

July 20, 2012

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of the Union Square Greenmarket.

I tend to go on Saturday mornings, after a particularly grueling cycling class down the street, and pick up whatever strikes my fancy.

While the greenmarket goodies tend to last longer than their supermarket purchased counterparts, fresh produce only lasts so long.

I was thrilled to stumble upon some tips in the New York Times Dining section this week, on how to prolong the freshness of summer’s vegetable bounty.

Here are a few key tricks to preserving the produce of the season:

Greens, like lettuce, are best washed in advance, dried and stored.

Soft herbs such as basil and soft produce such as mushrooms and berries should be washed when used, as the water will speed spoilage. I find that putting basil in a glass of filtered water that comes a few inches up the stems, keeps it fresh for several days. Frequent readers will note that I am also a big proponent of making pesto, and basil oil while it’s still green and “perky”.

Anything that comes in bunches, should be released from it’s binding, as the closer the vegetables are packed, the faster they will rot.

Leafy tops of root vegetables, such as carrots and beets should be trimmed to 1” long to prolong freshness but prevent them from drying out.

Fruits and vegetables should be stored separately, as the ripening fruit emits ethylene, which damages vegetables.

Some produce will continue to ripen on the counter: stone fruits, melons, mangoes, apples, pears, tomatoes and avocados.  Bell peppers, citrus fruits, and berries will only deteriorate.

Bananas ripen quickly, and will speed the ripening of anything they are stored with.

If you can, cut and simply cook vegetables, as they will last longer in the refrigerator that way. Prepare them separately, to allow more flexibility in their use.

Intimidated by the skills needed to slice and dice vegetables? Have no fear.

The specialty market Eataly, just north of Union Square employs a fulltime vegetable butcher who will peel and cut your produce to order.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Natural Relief

April 26, 2012

I was shopping at my local drugstore this week, and asked the pharmacist where the Maalox was. She replied that it had been voluntarily pulled from the shelves over a month ago. The most similar product, Mylanta, had also been recalled. Since different companies make the products, it couldn’t have been a manufacturing glitch.  This caused me to seriously question the safety of an over the counter drug that I have been using regularly for many years.

Armed with a bottle of Tums, I sat down to research natural remedies for stomach acid.  Surprisingly, most of them can be found in your kitchen cabinets.

Apple Cider Vinegar has been found to prevent and relieve heartburn.

Sipping a mixture of one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 4 ounces of water before meals, is thought to prevent the over production of stomach acid.

Drinking a couple of tablespoons of the vinegar has been known to neutralize stomach acid and relieve the burning sensation.

Gum: Chewing gum increases the production of saliva, which helps to neutralize the stomach acids and prevent reflux.

Bananas and apples are thought to have natural antacid effects.

Sipping chamomile tea, or ginger tea may also relieve heartburn symptoms. Ginger root capsules, or eating candied ginger are also effective.

Baking soda, mixed with water is another natural way to deal with stomach acid. Just mix ½ – 1 teaspoon in a glass of water, and drink it down. Be prepared to burp as the solution works it’s magic!

Health food stores carry papaya enzymes in pill form, which is a natural digestive aid. Papaya enzymes are also an anti-coagulant, and are not recommended for anyone with risk of stomach bleeding.

Always remember that even holistic remedies can have health risks if they are not right for you.  Consulting a doctor before taking any kind of supplement, is highly recommended.

photo: Glasshouse Images


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