Please pack your knives and go

If you were stranded on a desert island for six months and could only bring one box of kitchen equipment with you, what would you bring? Well, assuming Central Pennsylvania turns out to be somewhat reminiscent of a desert island, I can tell you what I’d bring:

My Le Creuset pot
A couple sharp knives
An immersion blender
A sheet pan
A wooden cutting board
Measuring spoons and cups
One saucepan
Place settings for two

But perhaps I should back up to the time I decided to move to Pennsylvania for six months. I write to you from somewhere in the middle of South Dakota where I find myself driving eastward toward Emmaus, PA. Exactly two weeks ago I got a call from a magazine I’ve written for over the past year saying they had a short-term position and did I want it and could I get out there ASAP. Here’s the thing: I am much better at making big decisions when given very little time to consider them. I saw my house on a Friday and bought it on a Monday. I got rejected from grad school and quit my job that afternoon. I went to visit the last straggler in littler of puppies that was an hour and a half away and came home with a dog. So naturally, I told the editor, sure! When do I start?

Then I proceeded to freak out. I binged watched The Good Wife, paralyzed from moving off my couch. I called every AirBnB and craigslist listing within a 45 minute drive of the office. I let the dishes pile up, laundry strew the floor. Then I went into hyper-drive and winterized the yard, trimmed the raspberries, emptied out my closets, got my car fixed, hair cut, ate as much of the frozen food stored in my freezer as I could work into every meal. I went out to my favorite restaurants with my favorite people and dug out all my old Colorado ski gear to prepare for an east coast winter.

When everything was packed up, the lawn mowed, the bills paid, I made banana bread. My friend Margaret came over and we ate slices hot out of the oven while we watched the 90s classic Strictly Ballroom. I managed to take only one hero shot of the half-eaten loaf before Luka  snatched it off the table and took large bites out of the chewy top crust. So you’ll just have to take my word for it: it looked as good as it tastes.

This may be my last loaf of banana bread for a while as I’m traveling sans-loaf pan.

Chocolate Ginger Buckwheat Banana Bread
Adapted from Molly Wizenberg

Though it’s hard to improve upon a good thing, I adapted this recipe to use buckwheat flour which gives it a dark, nutty flavor. The addition of good dark chocolate and sweet and spicy ginger makes for a loaf that’s not too sweet.

1 cup all-purpose white flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup buckwheat flour
2/3 cup raw sugar
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt

2 eggs
1 t vanilla
6 T melted butter (unsalted)
1/4 cup whole milk plain yogurt
3 large bananas, as ripe as you can find

1 bar (3oz) Theo ginger dark chocolate (other dark chocolate bars or even chocolate chips will also work here)
1/3 cup crystalized ginger

Preheat oven to 350
Mix all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. (All flours, sugar, salt, and baking soda) Stir together with your fingers or a clean whisk.
Chop chocolate bar into small chunks, about the size of a chocolate chip.
Chop ginger pieces to pea size or smaller. (I usually by the small crystalized ginger cubes and rough chop them even finer).
Add ginger and chocolate chunks to dry ingredients and mix together.
In a medium sized bowl, mash up the bananas. Then add the eggs and whisk together. Add the remaining wet ingredients (yogurt, melted butter, vanilla) and stir until combined.
Pour wet ingredients into the large bowl and stir to combine with dry ingredients. Stir with a spatula until just combined, taking care not to over work.
Pour into a greased loaf pan and cook 50-6o minutes, until a knife comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then flip it over and slice!