These days I find it hard to bring myself to spend much time in the kitchen. That is not because I don’t like it. It is an okay kitchen for a rented apartment in Boston. It is small, but one person can still turn around, or two people can stand next to each other. It is because of those disgusting mice. The exterminator was here on Monday and set up new traps according to my roommate. Only I don’t think that setting up more traps solves the problem at all. Canavar still is far too excited to be in the kitchen – if there weren’t any mice left, he’d be much calmer. Accordingly I try to go there only if I must – like for coffee in the morning – because I am afraid to see any more little, fury living toys of my favorite – and only – cat.
For a while now I have frequently visited Trader Joe’s and eaten their frozen meals for lunch. They are actually delicious and cheap. Plus they prevent me from staying in the kitchen for too long. I mean, to be honest, I also travelled a lot recently – to places without pests. At one point I thought though that I must overcome my fear. I must fight. Esp. against five centimeter tiny creatures. With naked tails. Ugh. I h a t e those tails more than anything. Anyway. Step out of my comfort zone and fight for my kitchen. Because it is included in an expensive rent. Which I pay and not the mice. So I needed a project that could only be accomplished in the kitchen. My pistachio banana bread.
Although I neither like raw bananas (but I don’t detest them as much as mice), I love banana bread. It is dense, moist and not very sweet. I can spread butter on the slices without them falling into pieces. And I know that there are many different banana bread recipes around, but I love mine best. Obviously. I like the slightly aromatic taste of pistachios. By the way I also love pistachios. In Turkey where pistachios are grown and there are more shops selling nuts, I used to buy and eat them all the time. In the Turkish cuisine they are also often used, esp. ground and chopped pistachios. I was happy to find already chopped pistachios in the small Middle Eastern shops here. And for this recipe I always use my favorite Turkish full-fat yogurt with cream on top because it is simply the best. Yum!
Pistachio Banana Bread
- 3 ripe bananas
- 110 g coarsely chopped pistachio nuts
- 60 cup soft butter
- 125 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 250 g plain yogurt I always use full-fat yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 230 g all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 180 °C (or 350 degrees F). Grease a loaf pan.
- Mash the bananas in a bowl. Add the pistachios.
- In a second bowl, cream butter and sugar until they are fluffy. Add the eggs, and beat well. Mix in the yogurt and vanilla extract.
- Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the banana and pistachio mix.
- Pour the dough into the greased loaf pan and bake for about 60 minutes. You can test it by inserting a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, the bread is done.
- Afterwards remove the bread from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes before you remove it from the pan.
So anyway, you might have guessed already that I did survive my experiment. I mixed the dough in the kitchen, baked the pistachio banana bread, and never saw any of those … animals. It felt to me like conquering a territory again. Just in case Canavar was at my side and kept watch. The banana bread turned out wonderfully and I can now enjoy home-made food again. As for the main problem, I think I have won a battle – probably one against myself because most people seem to act quite normally around pests. I instead am usually racing into my room and shutting the door. So using the kitchen again might look like a small step to you, but it was a huge step for me. Next I might even try to spend more time in the living room again (the living area is all open without doors), munching away on my banana bread.