Bodacious Banana Bread

Wondering what to do with all those ripe bananas? Try the loaf that made Matanchen, Mexico, famous among cruisers. (Recipe and on-line extras from "A Baja Bonanza," May 2003).

Mexican "Bananchen" Bread

2 large, ripe bananas*
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup oil or softened butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups flour
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Optional additions:
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup chopped dried bananas
½ cup grated carrot

*Or 3 to 4 small bananas

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease two loaf pans or one 9- x 9-inch pan. Mix the bananas and eggs together in a large bowl; add vanilla and cinnamon. Stir in flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add the extras of your choice and mix. Pour into pan(s) and bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from pans to cool. Enjoy!

Herbed Foccacia Bread

1 cup warm water (100°-115° F)
1 tablespoon honey
1-½ teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups white flour, 1 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs (a blend of rosemary, oregano, and basil)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Sea salt

In a large bowl, mix the water, honey and yeast. Let stand about 20 minutes, then exuberantly mix in salt, two-thirds of the flour, and half of the herbs. Turn onto a floured board and knead for five minutes, adding the remainder of the flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Coat the bowl and the dough in olive oil, cover and rise until doubled in bulk.
Punch down the dough, then shape it so that it almost fits in the bottom of a shallow, oiled and floured baking pan (9"x9" or smaller). Let rise until almost doubled, then use fingers to make foccacia's characteristically bumpy surface. Drizzle with a little more olive oil, then sprinkle with herbs, sesame seeds and salt. Bake at 375° F for 20 to 30 minutes.

Deb’s Dahl (Curried Lentils)

1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Soy sauce, to taste
1 cup lentils
2 to 3 cups water
1 chicken or vegetarian herbed bouillon cube
2 carrots, sliced thickly
1 can sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon each curry powder and cumin
1 teaspoon basil
Juice of 2 limes

Saute onion and garlic in oil, splash with soy sauce and reserve. Wash lentils thoroughly, then place in a large pot and add water, bouillon cube, and carrots. Bring to a boil and cook until water is absorbed and lentils are soft, 45 minutes to an hour, adding more water as necessary to moisten. When lentils are cooked, remove from heat and add onions and garlic, mushrooms, curry, cumin, and basil. Stir to combine. Just before serving, stir in the juice of two limes.
Pressure cooker method: Pressure cook for 10 minutes and let pressure drop of its own accord. Add onions and garlic, mushrooms and spices. Just before serving, stir in the juice of two limes.