The Z-Man….the Z-Meister….the Z-Dude…. His Royal Z-Ness….or just plain Zooz.
My recent guest sous-chef goes by all of these names and more, but for the purposes of his temporary assignment to the Oui, Chef kitchen, we shall simply call him….. Z-Chef!
Z-Chef, quite an accomplished young cook in his own right, joined me for a day of his recent summer vacation to roll up his sleeves and have a little fun in the kitchen. Also an aspiring actor, we thought it might be nice for him to make something that he could share with his Summer Stock acting brethren, you know, a little something to grease the wheels of his thespian experience. Much to the dismay of a group of colonizing fruit flies, the practically rotting pile of bananas on my counter shouted at us to put them out of their misery, et voila, we were presented with an ideal cooking project….Banana Bread.
I have loved banana bread since I was a kid, to me it is second only to a top-notch cranberry-nut bread in the pantheon of sweet breads. After a long history of trials with different recipes, I settled on this one a few years ago, as it was far and away the best I’d ever had. It is moist, packed with banana flavor, and the inclusion of the toasted walnuts adds just the right contrast to the delicate crumb of the base bread.
With the exception of buttering and flouring the pans, and hauling the kitchen-aid from its perch in the pantry, Z-Chef pretty much flew solo when making this dish. From the mashing of the bananas (looked like his favorite part), to the gentle folding in of the dry ingredients, with just a little instruction, he managed the whole process. With his proven skills in the kitchen and on the stage, who knows, perhaps I just spent a day with a future TV Food Network Star! Nice Job Z.