Drunken Banana Bread

I wanted to create a somewhat less traditional version of banana bread, so I came up with this, which is nice as a side for a Sunday brunch party, and also makes a nice afternoon snack with tea.   I prefer a slightly lighter banana taste, so if you love bananas, add a 2nd one to the recipe.

1 1/2 C. All-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp Penzeys ground cinnamon

1 large ripe banana

5 tbsp butter, divided

1 1/2 tbsp Cointreau, divided

1/2 C dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/3 C plain yogurt

1/3 C powdered sugar

1 tsp orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Spray a 9 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

Place the first five ingredients, flour through cinnamon, in a small bowl.  Mix well and set aside.

Slightly mash the banana with a fork.  Heat a medium sauce pan over medium low heat.  Place 3 tbsp (56g) of butter in the sauce pan and heat until melted.  Add banana and 1 tbsp cointreau.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Place brown sugar and 2 tbsp (28 g) butter in a large bowl (I prefer to use a stand mixer).  Beat on low speed until small, pea sized chuncks are formed.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition.  Add banana mixture and yogurt; beat until smooth.  Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just blended.

Pour batter into the loaf pan.  Bake for 35- 45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and place on a wire rack and continue to cool.

While loaf is cooling mix the powdered sugar, 1/2 tbsp Cointreau and orange juice in a small bowl.  Drizzle over slightly warm loaf.  Slice and serve.

Recipe notes:  As I’ve mentioned in other posts, my preference for herbs and spices are Penzeys, however you can substitute any ground cinnamon.


Bridge House Tavern – Great Food & a Great View!

Est102Bridge House Tavern opened just over two years ago right down on the Chicago River. It has a fantastic outdoor space great for lazy summer afternoons and evenings. The indoor space is very nice and especially cozy in the wintertime. The menu includes some unique options for appetizers and entrees, including daily specials, and changes seasonally.

This is one of those places you go over and over; the food is always excellent and both the wait and bar staff are extremely customer focused. It’s the ideal place hang out with friends for an afternoon or evening and enjoy the beautiful city view!

They have some very interesting cocktails which are great for summer afternoon drinking; my two favorites are the Pink Lemonade and the St. BHT.  Cocktails come by the glass and by the carafe – the perfect option when you want to stay for a while! They also have a decent wine list, though a better selection by the bottle than by the glass.

I absolutely love popcorn, so the Bacon Jalapeno Popcorn is one of my favorite things on the menu. The spice from the jalapeno is tempered nicely by the sweet from the honey. And who doesn’t like bacon, which gives it that nice salty taste you expect from popcorn.

My other favorite is the Salmon on Toast; smoked salmon is one of those things I have a love/hate relationship with, this one I absolutely love!  The mix of honey smoked salmon, mascarpone and candied onions really almost melts in your mouth.

A couple of my other favorites include the Tavern Chips and the Wild Mushrooms. The chips are smothered in blue cheese, bacon and mushrooms; definitely not healthy but well worth the indulgence!

I could write for a very long time about how fantastic the food is at Bridge House, however that might get boring so I’ll say that honestly, I’ve been there more than a dozen times and I’ve never had anything that I didn’t like or wouldn’t order again.

IMG_0389As the weather gets warmer, boats cruising down the river pull up and dock at Bridge House, which makes for some good people watching.  On Friday and Saturday evenings, the upstairs terrace is open and provides a great spot to sit and relax on the couches. You can have drinks and a limited appetizer menu.

In the summer they also do a $29 mimosa brunch on Sundays, which can make for a very fun afternoon. The brunch menu is just as tasty and creative as the regular menu.

If you’ve not been I highly recommend stopping by to check it out, you won’t be disappointed!