a very long introduction, three recipes down, one to go

Needing a topic for this post, I thought back to starting food for fun. With so many great food blogs already out there, I knew I needed a niche. While I didn’t know what that niche would be (still not entirely sure, btw), I jumped in and started writing. Topics have been chosen solely because they inspire or excite me enough to want to share.

A backward glance, though, tells me that I often jump over inspired and even excited to arrive at obsessed. (About an hour after having this thought, I read a friend’s post which highlighted this very word–nice.)

You’ve read of obsession with all things marshmallow (here and here). You’ve read a post outlining obsessive stalking following of The Weary Chef’s Happy Hour. (A much earlier post had offered only four cocktail recipes.) You’ve seen batch after batch after batch of homemade ice cream, one even damaging my phone. Then there were the four batches of caramel sauce (in. a. row.) to achieve a dark enough color. And the most recent “project” using 24 overripe bananas in as many hours? Yes to obsessive. With the banana post in particular, more than one facebook comment suggested that I was possibly a bit bananas myself.

So here’s my question: Do folks blog because they are obsessed enough about a topic that they absolutely have to write it up and put it out there for others to read? Are all bloggers bananas?

Everyone writes for their own reason, so I wouldn’t presume that all come from a place of obsession. But I know absolutely that there’s oodles of passion behind a blogger’s reasons for writing, no matter the topic. And maybe your blog serves the purpose that mine does for me: to legitimately attend to my obsessions.

And with this thought, I return to my original question (feel free to head up to the top again as it’s likely been forgotten during this long-winded intro): What to write up next? I didn’t like the idea that came to me as it seemed repetitive. But. What’s an obsessed food writer to do? It seemed that food for fun was to go bananas AGAIN. (Sorry guys. I really fought this one.)

You’d think the smoothie, roasted puree, and cake made last week would have satisfied my banana fever, but the siren call of four bunches of browned bananas clearanced out at 99 cents was too much for me to resist. I snapped the bananas up and roasted them Perky Poppy-style, using brandy instead of last round’s rum. (I also skipped the butter and the resulting puree was as divine as the last batch.)

The puree went into Barefoot Contessa’s Banana Sour Cream Pancakes, which could pass for dessert as easily as they could breakfast. The bananas are added to the top of the ‘cakes before flipping, adding a flavor hit bar none. (“Bananas in a basket!” read one facebook comment.) Thanks, amb, for pointing me toward a killer recipe.

Barefoot Contessa's were prettier, but they couldn't have tasted any better than this stack

Barefoot Contessa’s were prettier, but they couldn’t have tasted any better than this stack

Though some would have stopped at one banana recipe, I had Trace in the Kitchen’s Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies to make. Only changes: upping the 3/4 cup chocolate chips to 1 cup as that last 1/4 cup was begging to be used and adding a dot of Marshmallow Fluff to each dough ball just because I could. These cookies were as tasty and soft and dreamy as Trace had promised.

little banana dough balls with a spot of fluff

little banana dough balls with a spot of fluff

Thanks, Trace in the Kitchen, for a fun recipe!

Thanks, Trace in the Kitchen, for a fun recipe!

Next up was Saucy gander’s Ultimate Banana Bread, which included the extra step of draining thawed frozen overripe bananas, then reducing that liquid by half and stirring it back into the puree. It calls for whole wheat flour–a plus–and its crowning touch is a layer of shingled banana slices sprinkled with caster sugar. The cupboard bare of caster sugar, I grabbed a bottle of coarse pink sugar (found in the cupboards of moms of young girls everywhere), though next time will use coarse sanding sugar as the pink didn’t do it for me. But the banana bread itself was a winner. Removing some of the water from the mashed bananas heightened their flavor, making the final bread richer and more darkly banana-y.

not sold on the pink, but Ultimate Banana Bread is indeed Ultimate

not sold on the pink, but Saucy gander’s Ultimate Banana Bread is indeed Ultimate

Also on my list were these delicious-looking peanut butter banana chocolate bars from Kelli’s Retro Kitchen Arts, though a closer look revealed banana cake mix, not fresh bananas. The photo looks so amazing, I’ll eventually find a way around the cake mix dilemma and come up with a version for my brandy-roasted bananas.

And that, I hope, is the end of my banana tale. I raise a (Weary Chef) cocktail to bloggers everywhere, celebrating our obsessions, passions, and willingness to share. Thank you for reading about mine.

39 thoughts on “a very long introduction, three recipes down, one to go

  1. OK, you really have gone bananas, Liz! There’s nothing wrong with being obsessed with an ingredient, and I am extremely impressed that you found and executed so many different recipes! When do you find the time to work or make regular meals? You have a lucky family who gets to eat all these treats πŸ™‚

    I can’t speak for all bloggers, but I am definitely a tad obsessed. I would say I’m more driven than obsessed when it comes to writing for my blog, but I’m more than a little nuts when it comes to promoting, tweaking my design, analyzing stats, etc. Is it healthy? Probably not, but I’m enjoying my all-consuming hobby.

    P.S. Did you get an email notification about my reply to your comment earlier? If so, how did you like it? I just added that feature today.

    • Figured I had a partner in crime with you, Andi, though you’re maybe more hands-on busy with your boys so I can get away for a bit more free time with which to spend obsessing over recipes and such. (Though you put out good stuff which I KNOW takes a lot of work on your end.)

      I do cook for the fam, but when husband (still no nickname) is out of town we’ll eat cereal. And we have eggs lots. Sometimes I get my act together and actually plan a meal, but usually it’s throwing something together fairly last-minute. Which is why a well-stocked (though not necessarily organized, haha) pantry is essential.

      Not sure if being obsessed/passionate/driven is “healthy” but it is what it is. Can’t change what’s inside. lol–all this deep for a bunch of browned bananas!

    • what the heck IS Banana Hash? Now I’m curious…I ran a search for the word “hash” in my post and didn’t find it. ?? Glad if you enjoyed the post. Your pb banana chocolate bars had me drooling. Must. make!

  2. I love that you’re banana obsession is still going strong! Now why bloggers blog? I’m sure some come from a place of obsession, am I obsessed? *scratches head* That would be an interesting topic to explore no doubt. It’s fun to keep tabs on bloggers that get on a track and stick with it for a while because they are just so passionate about it., be it bananas, cocktails or the different ways to cook an egg. Nice additions to the recipe! Marshmallow fluff *swoon*..I bet those were creamy and light as a feather…yummy!! Fun post Liz!

    • Thanks, Trace. Was grabbing chocolate chips from my pantry and a jar of Marshmallow Fluff was clearly yelling “use me in these cookies!” so how could I not? They were fun on top, but would love to get the marshmallow in the middle somehow. Though it would melt and ooze out, so thinking the filling would have to have other ingredients, too. Project for another time…

      Always enjoy your posts as well–fun to see what other folks come up with.

  3. Mmm, yes. I would say I write because I am ‘obsessed’ with trying new recipes, or trying new methods of baking/cooking, or making recipes healthier. I started Dinner of Herbs simply because I wanted to keep track of the recipes I’ve tried and what worked, and what didn’t work. Although far from many bigger, well-known blogs, I’m still surprised my blog has received as much attention as it has!

    Love the marshmallow creme on the cookies–now it is making me wonder about the possibility of banana s’mores…hmmm… πŸ™‚

    • Banana s’mores sound fantastic. Yes yum. Dinner of Herbs does very well, so you know what you’re doing for sure. I like how it’s simple and personal, but also very well done with the photos and writing.

      Have been hearing commenters use words like “impassioned” rather than “obsessed,” so sounds like there are different words that can be used to describe what makes us write. Though I lean toward “bananas” myself–haha.

  4. I loved this one Liz! Seems your bananas are my Doctor Who, or Much Ado, or breaking Dave, or any of the other 627 things I’m obsessed with this week πŸ˜‰ Bring it on! Obsession = enthusiasm = hugely entertaining and enjoyable posts. Your bananas energy comes right through the screen! and banana chocolate chip cookies? With marshmallow fluff?!? Oh, my. If this is what happens when you get obsessed … like I said, bring it on πŸ˜€

    • Thanks, amb. For sure that’s one reason we’ve connected–I feel you get me when some folks (though have never met a blogger who did this) look at me, shake their heads, and wonder why I can’t just stop with one recipe, book, etc. Yes to enthusiasm πŸ™‚ And yes to Dr. Who (even though I obsessively had to go back to the original series) and Much Ado and Davember. Bring it on yourself, sister!

  5. Yes to obsessive. Impassioned is more maybe the word that triggers with me. They say if you’re going to blog, then do it on something in which you are passionate about. Who ever they are, they’re probably right on that one. All blogs that last, or move a reader in some way, probably have grown out of passionate soils. And when you think about it, aren’t those the kinds you’d like to read anyways? Yup, gotta have passion for what your blogging about, or you’ll quit.

    For POTP, it started with the idea that I’d like to write more. Then I had to select a topic that I actually knew something about, of which the list was disturbingly short. It also had to be something with a sufficient passion behind it to keep me interested. Then I noticed I was out on the patio one day, grilling in a snow storm, procuring a lavish artisan pizza despite sub-zero wind chills, and I figured there ya go. There is your niche!

    You clearly are impassioned and obsessed in a good way over here too.
    Carry on!

    -POTP

    • Pit Patrons–welcome! Liking “impassioned” as it seems less likely I’ll need meds for being that. haha. Enjoyed reading why you started your blog. Yes, you grilling on subzero Minnesota winter days and grilling fancy fare at that (though you do the not-fancy stuff very well, too) came to mind when I was thinking of others who sometimes need to go beyond moderate. Curious to see how your grilling fare will change now that it’s (finally) summer.

  6. Obsession, maybe. Passion, yes. The joy of following your passion, which feeds the soul; and the meeting of like minded people to share it with and help inspire and nurture it, yes.

    Liz–you write about food and share your passion for trying new things. We are living vicariously through your blog and others, inspired to try things we might never have thought of.

    I’m passionate about story telling. I write with humor because I felt if I needed a laugh so does everyone else.

    Great post. And I really enjoy seeing your Minnie Mouse plate. πŸ™‚

    • The Minnie Mouse plate was for you, Tracy, so am glad you noticed. Love that you write humor because you needed a laugh and want to help others laugh as well. See, that’s what I’m talking about!

      I jump over passion to obsession, I think, when I stay up ridiculously late or put other things on hold to finish a project. Is staying up until 2 a.m. coring crabapples so you can make (amazing) crabapple liqueur passionate or more of an obsessive thing? If merely a passion, I might have set it aside and worked more the next day. My husband is like that and I guess we’re a good balance that way, but I also just don’t get his moderate approach to life.

      Feeding the soul, sharing, inspiring, nurturing. Once again you have good words, Tracy πŸ™‚ And speaking of feeding, sharing, inspiring, nurturing…that walnut torte hasn’t been forgotten!

      • Liz–Okay, I’ll grant you the obsession bit. It’s what makes you so enjoyable. πŸ™‚

        Thanks for the Minnie plate, as you know I just love it.

        Regarding your balance, I’m glad you balance each other out. It really helps when one of you is still awake at 2 a.m. Because, clearly, I would never do that. (Okay, yes I would.) πŸ˜‰

        I’m glad the walnut torte is still in the queue! I’m looking forward to seeing it, whenever you get around to it!

    • Thanks, Becky, though how can it look amazing if you hate banana-flavored stuff? Have a secret for you: I don’t like bananas much. Maybe eat one or two a year. Though banana bread is good as it’s sort of a cake and full of sugar and butter. But somehow this banana bug took hold of me and I couldn’t shake it off. Like I said in the post, I hope it’s over. Sometimes you just gotta ride these things out.

      Always glad to have you here. Anytime you need to take a break from that horrid office, please come knocking and I’ll make coffee (do you like coffee?) and cookies.

  7. What you say about the writing & I know that you are right, in most cases & most blogs: we are a bit bananas, for sure! I love, love the writing & inventing new ideas & working them out! You captured the ideas here beautifully in this post! No, more banana recipes, … πŸ™‚ xxx No, no, invent them again & again,…! x

  8. the pancakes are amazingly delicious looking. i liked your last paragraph, and i think it is wonderful that we each write for our own reasons and are willing to put our writings out into the world, hoping to connect and share with others ) beth

  9. Don’t stop now, Liz! I’m a big banana fan and these posts are fantastic. I love that you increased the amount of chocolate chips in the cookies. I often do the same. And that banana bread, even with the pink sugar, sounds perfect to me. Have a great weekend, Liz!

  10. Those banana cookies look so good!! Next time I have brown bananas I really need to try making those. I usually just throw mine in smoothies though so they get used up pretty quick. I guess I need to go on a banana bender and buy a bushel of them. I am also so unsurprised that you found a way to incorporate some marshmallows in them! Seriously shocked. =) In terms of my own cooking/blogging obsessions, I’m sure my love affair with a certain culinary magazine would be right up there!

  11. I’ve stayed up to 3am for a food project!!! There is an obsessive streak in me, and sometimes you just gotta let it go bananas, so to speak. πŸ™‚ I find blogging is good discipline to make sure I learn different recipes and techniques (like “banana juice”), learn a bit more about taking photos, and get in the habit of writing. Otherwise, I become a workaholic and may never remember to leave work!

    Glad you made the banana bread, I like that you had pink sugar but no plain sugar. One day I found myself with three types of flour in the pantry, but no plain flour for a plain, simple batch of scones..

    • I’m all for letting obsessive streaks go bananas πŸ™‚ And if with food, even better. “Everything in moderation” seems common wisdom, BUT when you say everything is in moderation, then you’ve already gone overboard. So. I say some things in moderation and what you are passionate about you can go a little bit crazy with πŸ™‚

      Glad you came by as I wanted you to see that bread. It wasn’t that much extra time/effort to drain and I like what it did for the flavor. Great technique for sure.

    • hey, glad to help πŸ˜‰ let me know if you make something (if you’re on facebook, you can post a picture on my deLizious site). I made banana oatmeal chocolate almond bars yesterday and think I am reaching the end of being able to stand bananas. Overkill! So glad you’re here πŸ™‚

  12. Pingback: because sometimes one ice cream flavor just isn’t enough | food for fun

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