Whenever I open the refrigerator, I am faced with the evidence of a developing condiment problem. Pickle relish, Dijon mustard, salsa, red chili paste, capers, chocolate syrup--the jars and bottles seem to be multiplying of their own accord.
I can blame some of this excess on Mike's weakness for food vendors at farmer's markets. There will be an array of tortilla chips dotted with some sort of sauce, and an earnest woman explaining how she adapted her grandmother's recipe from the old country and only uses organic, sustainable, locally-grown ingredients, and then Mike will inevitably purchase a jar of some random condiment. These condiments then accumulate, mostly unused, partly because Mike forgets about them and partly because almost anything tastes good dolloped in small quantities onto tortilla chips. A 10-ounce jar's worth is another story.
But the ever-increasing condiment population isn't solely Mike's fault. There is a half jar of lemon curd leftover from a batch of lemon shortcakes I made last spring (which, by the way, were so tasty that I added them as a variation to my strawberry shortcake recipe). For some reason there's a mostly empty bottle of Ikea lingonberry apple cider vinegar that I think I used to drizzle on salad greens a couple summers ago. There is not one, but two, unopened jars of raspberry jam I forgot about, and some of my mom's homemade apple butter from the phase I went through where I topped every bowl of oatmeal with a spoonful of the stuff. I eventually got burned out on that, and moved on to brown sugar and shredded coconut. So the apple butter languishes, along with the lemon curd and jam and vinegar and all of Mike's miscellaneous farmer's market condiments.
At this point, decisive action has to be taken to thin out the condiment herd. Otherwise, we'll run out of refrigerator door real estate for the truly important things, like chardonnay and peppermint schnapps. First to go: the apple butter, into a loaf of banana bread. The resulting loaf isn't quite as banana-y as regular banana bread, since you only use one banana. Instead, the focus is on the spices from the apple butter--so be sure to use a flavorful one. If your apple butter is on the bland side, I would suggest increasing the amount of cinnamon to one teaspoon.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup apple butter
- 1/2 cup mashed banana (1 large banana)
- 1/4 cup canola oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease the short ends of a 9 inch by 5 inch loaf pan. Line the sides and bottom of pan with a sheet of wax paper, leaving a few inches of extra wax paper on each side so that the bread can be easily lifted from the pan.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the sugar, apple butter, banana, and canola oil and mix until smooth. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix just until the flour is completely incorporated; the batter will be lumpy. Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth to an even thickness.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a cake tester or knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Holding both sides of the wax paper, remove loaf from pan and set on wire rack to cool completely. Peel wax paper from cooled loaf, tightly wrap, and store at room temperature.