I don't bake. But that's for another post. Because today (and a few weeks ago) I baked.
My roommate, Elizabeth, went to Apple Hill this weekend. When I got back from Chicago, I saw apples and pears everywhere. I mean, everywhere. On the dining table, on the counter. A whole drawer in the refrigerator had been emptied in order to be filled with pears. She promised she would make me applesauce (with the skins on, the way we both like it). So I knew I'd be enjoying something tasty soon. (--I thought you would like to know that I just restrained myself from making a pun on the "fruits of her labor.") But the memory of a recent and delicious pear crisp (thanks, Jennifer!) was plaguing me enough to impel me towards turning on the oven.
So I made a pear crisp. I looked up some recipes; most of the ones available were for apple crisps and had way too much sugar. One called for vanilla, and I figured, why not replace that with rum? -- both have alcohol that cooks off to leave a good flavor. And besides, I needed to give myself more motivation to actually bake. I also compensated for my aversion to baking by not measuring. I realize that that makes it difficult for a food blogger to share recipes, but I'll try my best.
A few weeks ago when I made banana bread, I surprised not only myself, but also my roommates. I'm spooning out sugar into the bowl (not a measuring cup) and my roommates standing by are worried. ("You're not measuring?" one of them pipes up. "Oh no," says the other.) I get into my younger-sibling-poutiness and say, "I want to be good at baking, I do! I just... I just don't try hard enough!" Sarah and Maria try to be empathetic. "Me, too," Maria offers, nodding her head with understanding, "but not really..." Ah, well. I guess it's the youngest-sibling part of me that notices something needs to change but doesn't want to make the change.
Anyway, the bread turned out pretty well. Moist, banana-y. The way my mom makes it.
6-8 pears, cored and sliced thinly
a few tablespoons of white sugar, depending on taste (apples require more)
1 tablespoon flour 1 tablespoon (or more to taste) of cinnamon
2 tablespoon of dark rum (optional)
a few tablespoons of water
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
Mix sliced pears in bowl with white sugar, flour, cinnamon, and rum. Lay mixture on bottom of greased 13 x 9 pan. Add a few tablespoons of water over pears.
Mix oats, flour, and brown sugar. Cut butter into dry ingredients to make a crumbly mixture. Spread evenly over pears in pan. Bake at 350-365 for 40 minutes or until pears are done.
Sarah's Banana Bread
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup each white and brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup each regular and self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4-1 cup chopped walnuts
Cream butter and sugars. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and pour into a loaf pan that has been greased and floured. Bake at 375. for 50 minutes