In my kitchen, there are ongoing attempts to make a super moist, dark, delicious date nut bread. It's a pressing need, as it's been on the agenda to try again, like forever. Yet, there are 2 overripe bananas staring at me. Banana bread or date nut bread? Indecision looms. So I solve the dilemma, avoid the choice and combine recipes. I make date nut bread with mashed bananas added. Experience tells me I am sure to ruin 2 good things and end up with a mutation worth nothing. "We wouldn't give any away, just eat it ourselves," I argue. That nagging voice of "experience" was wrong! Improvisation succeeded. Description: Moist, rich, dark, with a satisfying banana flavor and orange flavor in the background. Full of good for you stuff too. Yummers. We liked this. Do you? Try this and let me know. I used a special ingredient, date sugar. This upped the overall date flavor and made the sweet seem more wholesome than a white sugar rush. No date sugar on hand? You can switch it out for brown sugar, but use a little less.
1 1/8 cups of flour (I used 1/2 whole wheat flour)
3/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. date sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/8 c. dark molasses
1/2 c. oil (I used safflower oil)
1/2 cup of buttermilk (from powder, or you could use yogurt and milk combo)
1 t. vanilla
1 egg plus 1 yolk
1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped loosely
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
15 -20 large soft dates such as Medjool dates chopped loosely (you can use the extremely dry dates, but you might need more water)
1 cup hot water to pour over dates
2 T. grated orange rind
Pour hot water over dates that have been chopped and let sit 3 hours or longer. Stir, poke, mash it occasionally.
Mix dry ingredients and set aside.
Mix wet ingredients in mixer, sugars, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, egg, and mix together on low.
Add dry ingredients to wet, gradually.
Add orange zest
Mix on medium for 1 minute.
Add date mixture, mashed banana and walnuts and stir on low, or with a spoon.
Scoop into oiled and floured bread pans. (One large or two small)
Bake 350 for 50 minutes in large pan, or until the toothpick comes out relatively clean.
Is there something better than "perfect science" in the kitchen? How about the fun of improvisation. This totally experential type of cooking adapts to the moment. Every recipe is either created new or revised to better fit the moment. No recipe is ever the same twice because every day has different circumstances. Why should it be? Perhaps the moment is inspired by a basket of local food from the farmer's market. Perhaps it is adapting to the food needs and tastes of a friend. Maybe it is the romantic notion of seasonal food dishes. Other times it is a journey into another place and time. Instead of arm chair traveling, how about dinner table cultural odysseys? You do the best you can with the knowledge you have. And everyone has a good time.
If your goal is exotic cuisine, or simply rearranging the food at hand, this approach to food is fun. Cooking outside the book, the cookbook, this is the best!
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Isobel Davis is the author of this site and is responsible for all the creative content including images, writing and recipe inventions. She holds the copyrights to everything published on this site unless otherwise noted.