{sms} mom’s banana apple muffins

In preparing for this week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe, I kept reminding myself to buy bananas early enough to allow them to get nice and ripe. I meant to buy them before I left for Las Vegas last Sunday, but forgot.  In preparing for a getaway to Vegas is remembering to stop at the store to buy bananas high on anyone’s list?

I’m glad I stumbled on Twitter at just the right time when fellow bakers were discussing the oven trick for ripening the bananas. I didn’t read the details about the oven trick, just read the words “oven trick” and “bananas”. I stuck my bananas in oven while it was preheating and took them out when it beeped.

Other than the oven trick, I halved the recipe and made 8 regular sized muffins.  The trick to this banana bread is the addition of apples carmelized with brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Yummilicious!

Thank you to Joy of Hot Oven, Warm Heart for selecting Mom’s Bananna Apple Bread. For the recipe, visit her blog or buy the book.

Farmers’ Market Pick of the Week: Pomegranates

Pomegranates showed up at the farmers’ market this week. I bought 3 and decided to use them in a recipe in the October issue of Vegetarian Times. In elementary school, pomegranates were all the rage. We loved picking each seed out of every nook and cranny. We didn’t care about the juice running down our fingers and faces–the messier the better. Now as an adult, I prefer to be at least a little neater. A few months back on an Alton Brown show I saw him demonstrate how to get the seeds out of a pomegranate without making a mess and destroying each seed. All it took was a bowl of water! Last week I came across the method again in a magazine.

How to remove pomegranate seeds:


1. Cut off the top

2. Cut in quarters

2. Cut in quarters

3. Fill a bowl with cold water

3. Fill a bowl with cold water

4. One at a time submerge a pomegrante quarter in the water and use fingers to remove each seed. The seeds will sink to the bottom and the white pith pieces will float to the top.

5. Skim off the floating pith and strain the seeds!

6. Voila! One medium pomegranate yields approximately 1 cup of seeds.

6. Voilá! One medium pomegranate yields approximately 1 cup of seeds.

Autumn Apple Salad with Pomegranate

Adapted from Vegetarian Times.

Serves 2 main course or 6 first course salads

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 head of red leaf lettuce, chopped (approx. 12 cups)
  • 1 apple thinly sliced
  • 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds

Heat oil in an 8″ inch skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and sauté until soft and clear or for approx 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add vinegar and honey. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Toss lettuce and apples. Drizzle 1/2 of the dressing and toss again. Divide salad among plates, top with goat cheese, pomegranate seeds, and remainder of dressing. Enjoy!