May 22--We've been baking crazy from being isolated at home with little to do. One survey said the number one item Americans have been baking is banana bread. That's because most of us buy more bananas than we will eat and we hate to see them go to waste.

I made banana bread nearly weekly. This is the recipe I used.

CHOCOLATE CHIP

BANANA BREAD

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

A pinch of salt

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup oil

2 large eggs

1 1/2 to 2 cups mashed ripe bananas

1/3 cup crushed walnuts

1/2 cup chocolate chips (whatever kind of you like; I used dark chocolate)

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Mix.

Add sugar, oil and eggs. Beat with a fork until frothy.

Add vanilla and bananas and blend thoroughly.

Fold into flour mixture until blended.

Stir in nuts and chips.

Pour into loaf pan and bake at 325 degrees for one hour to one hour and 15 minutes.

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The vast array of barbecue sauces is staggering. I like a tangy, tomato-y sauce, but some prefer something more vinegar-y, somxe like it smoky and some like it sweet.

Here are some options of sauces and complete dishes. The first is from one of my favorite celebrity chefs.

PULLED PORK BARBECUE

Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence, FoodNetwork

Dry Rub:

3 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon dry mustard

3 tablespoons coarse sea salt

1 (5 to 7 pound) pork roast, preferably shoulder or Boston butt

Cider-Vinegar Barbecue Sauce:

1 1/2 cups cider vinegar

1 cup yellow or brown mustard

1/2 cup ketchup

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pan drippings from the pork

12 hamburger buns

1 recipe Cole Slaw, recipe follows

Pickle spears, for serving

Cole Slaw:

1 head green cabbage, shredded

2 carrots, grated

1 red onion, thinly sliced

2 green onions (white and green parts), chopped

1 fresh red chile, sliced

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 lemon, juiced

Pinch sugar

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Several dashes hot sauce

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix the paprika, garlic power, brown sugar, dry mustard, and salt together in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend all over the pork. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Put the pork in a roasting pan and roast it for about 6 hours. An instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the pork should register 170 degrees F, but basically, what you want to do is to roast it until it's falling apart.

While the pork is roasting, make the barbecue sauce. Combine the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, salt, cayenne, and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Take it off the heat and let it sit until you're ready for it.

When the pork is done, take it out of the oven and put it on a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes. While it's resting, deglaze the pan over medium heat with 3/4 cup water, scraping with a wooden spoon to pick up all of the browned bits. Reduce by about half. Pour that into the saucepan with the sauce and cook 5 minutes.

While the pork is still warm, you want to "pull" the meat: Grab 2 forks. Using 1 to steady the meat, use the other to "pull" shreds of meat off the roast. Put the shredded pork in a bowl and pour half of the sauce over. Stir it all up well so that the pork is coated with the sauce.

To serve, spoon the pulled pork mixture onto the bottom half of each hamburger bun, and top with some slaw. Serve with pickle spears and the remaining sauce on the side.

Cole Slaw:

Combine the cabbage, carrots, red onion, green onions, and chile in a large bowl. In another bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss gently to mix. Season the cole slaw with the celery seed, hot sauce, salt, and black pepper. Chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

A VERY POPULAR

BARBECUE SAUCE

From all recipes.com

1/2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cups ketchup 1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons dry mustard

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

2 dashes hot pepper sauce

In a blender, combine brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, water and Worcestershire sauce. Season with mustard, paprika, salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Blend until smooth.

TIP: This will fill a 32-ounce ketchup bottle exactly. Cut back on the brown sugar to make it less sweet, or add more Worcestershire for more steak sauce appeal.

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Not only is it barbecue time, it's getting to be lemonade season, too.

Here is a good lemonade base from Mr. Food.

LEMONADE BASE

1 and 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup boiling water

1 and 1/2 cups freshly-squeezed lemon juice

grated peel of one lemon

Dissolve sugar in boiling water; remove from heat. Add lemon juice and peel. Let cool; store lemonade base in covered container in refrigerator or freezer until needed. Just thaw, mix and serve.

By the glass: Combine 1/4 cup base to 3/4 cup water and ice cubes.

By the pitcher: Combine 2 and 2/3 cup base to 5 cups cold water and ice.

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And then, there's grilling.

This is my favorite steak marinade for grilling.

ROMANIAN STEAK

From A1

1/2 cup A1 Steak Sauce

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Ribeye steaks (a pound to pound and a half)

Mix marinade in plastic bag and add steak. Marinate overnight and grill meat.

(606) 326-2661 -- lward@dailyindependent.com

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