Banana Walnut Bread

April 12th, 2016

Banana Bread with Walnuts 2

I have tried many Banana Bread Recipes.  I have to say this is my favorite so far. Even David, who is not fond of banana bread, ate two pieces one right after another,  saying how moist it was.  Since we have returned from Florida, it has been a marathon clean-up of our property. We always love returning to the greening trees and blossoming bushes. But the leaves on the roof, the gutters and the yard always challenge us.

The colder weather has also been a concern.  I have held off purchasing many flowering baskets or putting out pots of herbs. They do say that you should wait for Mother’s Day before putting out flowers to avoid the possibility of frost or freeze.




I did buy one pot of flowers in an old bucket that I have been carrying in and out of the house during cold nights.  It is sitting on the stump of a tree that we had taken down over the winter.  You can see our wizard carving in the background.  The Grandchildren love the wizard and it is featured in one of the children’s books that David has written; Rachel and The Wizard of Lake Lure.
Banana Bread with Walnuts 1V

This banana bread is just right with a cup of coffee or tea on these cool Spring mornings.  The cinnamon and vanilla add just the right flavor notes with the bananas.  The walnuts are also a nice touch.  If you want a healthy boost, you can add chia seeds and hemp hearts.  They are barely detectable but good nonetheless.  My DIL adds them to all of her sweet breads, muffins and pancakes.

Banana Bread with Walnuts 3 close

I hope you are enjoying this Spring awakening as much as I am.


3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (King Arthur)
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Chia seeds, 1 tablespoon Hemp hearts (optional)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
3 medium overripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with baking soda, cinnamon, salt and Chia seeds and Hemp hearts if using.  In another bowl, combine the sugars, eggs and oil and beat at high speed until light-colored and creamy.  Add the mashed bananas and vanilla and beat until smooth.  I did this in my Kitchen Aid Mixer.  Stir in the dry ingredients until thoroughly blended.  Fold in the nuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is springy and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a rack to cool completely.

Printable Recipe

Christmas Green Beans

December 9th, 2015

Christmas Green Beans 1

We have made the transition from N.C. to Florida.  It is always hard to leave my Lake Lure Kitchen, but I have to say that it is nice to be able to walk the dog without wearing a jacket.  I am getting into the Christmas spirit with the tree up and the wreaths on the door, but I haven’t started shopping or baking yet.  I did make these green beans the other day.  I included chopped pickled beets in the mix and the whole dish made me think of Christmas.

Christmas Green Beans 2

This dish would be perfect on any holiday table.

Thanks to all of you for your support in the Food52 recipe contest.  Unfortunately I did not win, but they have contests every month, so there is always hope.  Right now the contest is “The Best Thing You Ate This Year”.  I would be curious as to what you would choose.


1 pound French green beans (haricot vert), trimmed
2 teaspoons minced garlic ( 2 cloves )
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest ( 2 lemons )
3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons tasted pine nuts
2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 to 5 jarred pickled beets, sliced into strips

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the green beans and blanch them for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender but still crisp.  Drain the beans in a colander and immediately put them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and preserve their bright green color.

For the gremolata, toss the garlic, lemon zest, parsley, Parmesan, and pine nuts in a small bowl and set aside.

When ready to serve, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Drain the beans and pat them dry.  Add the beans to the pan and saute, turning frequently, for 2 minutes, until coated with olive oil and heated through. Off the heat, add the gremolata and toss well. Add the pickled beet strips and sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and serve.

Printable Recipe

A Show-Stopping Entree

December 4th, 2015

Maple-Glazed Stuffed Pork

With the holidays approaching nothing could be better than a show-stopping entree for your dinner parties.  I entered my recipe for Maple-Glazed Stuffed Pork Tenderloins in a contest at Food52.  It was picked as one of two in the final contest.  If you are a member of Food52 (Easy to join by the way), I would appreciate your vote.

Maple Glazed Stuffed Pork 2The Pork Tenderloins are butterflied and pounded to thinness before being stuffed with a mixture of apples, celery, scallions, dried fruit, pecans and bread crumbs.  The stuffing is moistened with maple syrup and pear nectar.  I covered the pounded tenderloins with the stuffing mixture and rolled it up.  The pork is then wrapped in a blanket of bacon and baked.

The tenderloins can be assembled ahead of time and baked when your company arrives.  Let the holiday season begin.  I hope you give this recipe a try.  I would really appreciate your vote.

Photos courtesy of Food52.


Serves 6 to 8

For the stuffing:

  • apples, chopped
  • cup chopped dried figs
  • cup chopped dried apples
  • cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup pear nectar
For the pork:

  • pork tenderloins
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • slices of bacon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 to 1 cups pear nectar
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine the apples, dried fruit, celery, pecans, scallions, and bread crumbs in a medium size bowl. Add the maple syrup and pear nectar and mix to combine. Set aside while you prepare the pork tenderloin.
  2. Butterfly the pork tenderloins by cutting them lengthwise about two-thirds of the way through. Place each butterflied tenderloin between sheets of wax paper and pound them out to a 1/4-inch rectangle. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place as much stuffing as will fit easily on each one. (You will have extra to put in a small casserole to cook separately.) Roll up each pork tenderloin starting at the long ends and place them seam-side down in a roasting pan appropriate to their size. (Not too large). Wrap each tenderloin with 4 slices of bacon.
  3. Drizzle the top of each one with maple syrup and pour 1/2 cup of pear nectar into pan. Place in oven and cook for 1 hour, basting occasionally and adding more liquid if the pan juice starts to caramelize too quickly. When the tenderloins are nicely caramelized after about 1 hour, remove from the oven. Let rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

Printable Recipe

Italy So Far

October 2nd, 2015


Duomo MilanOne of the beautiful sights in Milan is the famous Duomo or Cathedral.  It was one of the first things that we saw after getting settled into our first lodging place.  There are five of us traveling together.  Our French friend Laurent is acting as our travel guide.  The other couple with us is our daughter-in-law’s Father, Dave and her step-mother, Tulin.  We chose to stay in houses this time while abroad.  Each home or villa was within easy reach of each of our destinations and we settled into each for at least two nights, sometimes up to four nights.  Our chosen itinerary included Milan, Lake Como, The Dolomites, Venice, Tuscany including Florence and Pisa, and a side trip into the Cinque Terre (The Italian Riviera), and finally Rome.

Milan Arcade

Next to the Duomo in Milan is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.  It is a mall housed in a glass-covered 19th century arcade with many upscale shops.  We did a lot of window shopping.

Milan, Arcade L

The glass enclosure lets in a lot of light.


Prada Prices

The prices of the items in the Prada window display kept us from even entering the store.

Prada Window display

Do you think those gold heels will become the next fashion statement?

Milan, Scala Opera House


The La Scala Opera House is also in Milan.

Lake Como, Long View

After leaving Milan, we headed north and east to beautiful Lake Como.  Because we live on a lake, this was a special place for us to visit.  Friends who have been here before told us that Lake Lure is a mini version of Lake Como.

Lake Como View from BDRM

This was the view from our bedroom in the villa that we rented.  Although it was a lovely place, getting to it was a real challenge as the roads were narrow and the curves were hairpin.  It was easier on the bikes, but we also have a car with us and we girls were in charge of driving the car.  Tulin did an exemplary job of negotiating the curves in the road.  We are finding Italian traffic challenging.  That is all for now.  Our internet service is not always perfect.  More later.  Ciao!  Several of the picture were supplied by our riding friend Laurent, who runs the very successful tour company called Ride in Tours.

Rum-Glazed Pork Skewers with Coconut Rice

August 24th, 2015

Rum-Glazed Pork Skewers 4

For a couple of stay-at-home people, this has turned out to be a very interesting summer.  Granted, we will be flying off to Italy in a few weeks.  But what I had anticipated as a quiet summer has yielded some unanticipated surprises.  I will share some of it with you in a later post.

We have done very well with our diet plan.  David has lost 15 pounds.  I have lost 6 pounds.  I ran across this recipe for Rum-Glazed Pork Skewers with Coconut Rice on Twitter and thought the pork sounded delicious.  I debated about including the coconut rice, as we have been avoiding carbs, but the addition of lite coconut milk, minced ginger and lime zest to jasmine rice was just too much to pass up.  So I have classified this as A TREAT.

Rum-Glazed Pork Skewers 3V

The Pork Tenderloin cubes are marinated in all-spice, cayenne pepper and oil.  Then they are glazed with a rum, brown sugar mixture as they grill.  With the addition of red bell peppers and red onion to the skewers, they were so good.  David said they would have been even better with more of the vegetables.

Rum-Glazed Pork Skewers 2 close

This made 4 skewers.  It would make a great company meal and is easily doubled.  We have a busy few weeks ahead of us.  I have lots to do to make my house picture perfect and plan our Italy trip.  I will keep you posted on what is happening.


    • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
    • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
    • 1 cup jasmine rice
    • 3/4 cup well-shaken unsweetened coconut milk
    • Kosher salt
    • 1/3 cup dark rum
    • 3 Tbs. packed dark brown sugar
    • 2 medium limes, finely grated to yield 1 tsp. zest and squeezed to yield 1/4 cup juice
    • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil; more as needed
    • 1 tsp. ground allspice
    • 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 1- to 1-1/4-lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
    • 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • Lime wedges for serving (optional)

    Melt 1 Tbs. of the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rice and stir until well coated. Add the coconut milk, 1-1/2 cups water, and 3/4 tsp. salt; bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

    Fluff with a fork, cover, and set aside. Meanwhile, combine the rum, brown sugar, 2 Tbs. of the lime juice, and the remaining 2 Tbs. butter in a 1-quart saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until syrupy, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/8 tsp. salt and remove from the heat.

    In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 2 Tbs. lime juice with the oil, allspice, cayenne, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Add the pork and toss to coat. Thread the pork, bell pepper, and onions onto four 12-inch metal skewers, alternating the meat and vegetables.

    Prepare a medium-high (400°F) gas or charcoal grill fire or heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Oil the grate or pan. Grill the skewers until seared on all sides, about 4 minutes total. Brush the skewers with the glaze and grill, turning occasionally, until the pork is browned on the outside but still slightly pink in the center, 2 to 4 minutes more.

    Add the zest to the rice and fluff. Brush the skewers with any additional glaze and serve with the rice and lime wedges, if you like.


© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.