I ate everything out of the fridge last night, everything, including a tub of butter. There’s no judgement here.
(My all-time favorite butter quote from Grey’s Anatomy, season 3, episode 15)
In kitchen, as in life, you do play favorites. Vanilla or cinnamon. Nutella or peanut butter. Scrambled or sunny-side-up. Sure enough, you can always have both, but at the end of the day you are most likely to choose one. And then, you also choose the one: a product or ingredient that you will favor over the others and stick to for better or for worse. I happen to stick to butter. Sometimes quite literally.
While I would be happy to experiment with different types of flour (had I not lived in Japan where that kind of experimenting is still over my budget), I remain suspicious of any recipes that do not call for butter but some other type of saturated or unsaturated fat instead. That is until last week, when a seemingly innocent trip made me cheat on butter. Big time.
On my short trip to the Philippines, I was expecting more of a savory adventure, one that can be easily experienced in Thailand or other parts of South-East Asia that I have had the chance to travel to. And maybe I could have had that sort of experience, if only the names of some local specialities like – just to name a few – ox tongue or pork belly did not scare me away. For good. Two days into my trip, I have already abandoned the idea of a culinary adventure and was content to stick to European cuisine. Shame on me, I know, but in my defense, since I moved to Japan eating cheese has become as exotic as it gets. And then one morning, I picked up dark looking bread from the hotel buffet’s bread corner and did not imagine it to be a sweet and moist banana bread. I found it again and again in each hotel, coffee shop and breakfast-serving restaurant. This, for me, became the ultimate taste of the Philippines.
All this does not yet lead to an affair with coconut oil. I am even pretty sure that some of those delicious banana breads that I have tasted were made with butter. Married to butter for life, I was planning to look for a butter banana bread recipe upon my return to Japan, but then…On the last day before my return flight I found myself walking around a coconut farm and getting a sneak peek of the coconut oil production process. Drinking coconut water and coconut milk fresh from the coconut shell did not really help to fight off temptation, either. I mean, who can resist buying produce straight from its source, as fresh as it could ever be? I have been toying with the idea of trying out the coconut oil in the kitchen, inspired by some of my favorite food bloggers and their recipes, yet I don’t think it would have happened anytime soon if it wasn’t for that trip and the sight of a Filipino woman slicing one coconut after another.
For all butter lovers out there, beware of the coconuts!!
Coconut Oil Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips (for a ‘little oven’ form; mine is 21cm long, 6.7cm wide and 5.9cm tall)
Recipe adapted from http://allthingssimpleblog.com/tag/coconut-oil-banana-bread/ (original recipe: http://flourbakery.com/book/flour-spectacular-recipes-bostons-flour-bakerycafe )
100g of flour
half a teaspoon of baking soda
a pinch of salt and cinnamon
1/3 cup of light brown sugar (this is for a very mild, almost natural sweetness, you can add a little more if you like)
1/4 cup plus one spoon virgin coconut oil (melted and cooled, you can also just put the bottle inside a warm bath until the oil liquifies again)
2 ripe bananas
3 spoons of sour cream or yoghurt
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (or the equivalent of walnut meal)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Lightly grease the cake pan. If your coconut oil was kept in a temperature below 25 degrees, melt it and cool it or warm it using a water bath.
2. Peal, cut and mash the bananas
3. Sift together all dry ingredients except walnuts (flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt). Set aside.
4. In a large bowl beat together sugar and egg until light and fluffy, three to five minutes.
5. Slowly add coconut oil, then add bananas and sour cream. Fold in the dry ingredients. Add walnuts or walnut meal and chocolate chips.
6. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for about 45 minutes. Let it cool on a cake rack.