We’ve never established a traditional Easter dinner for our family. Partly it’s because we don’t eat lamb or ham, but the biggest reason is that for the past 15 years I’ve been heavily involved in the Easter celebrations at church. The Easter Vigil service is late Saturday night, followed by a festive reception, and then there’s the Sunday morning service, followed by another festive reception! As hospitality chairperson, I’m in charge of recruiting people to bring food for the receptions, organizing the array of food, setting up, and cleaning up. Also, I’ve often read one of the scriptures in the Easter Vigil service, and this year I was a chalice-bearer (serving the Communion wine and, unexpectedly, lighting 14 candles–but that’s another story).
After all that, not only am I tired and burned-out on food management, but we’re not coming home hungry after church! We eat during the reception, and then there are always some odds and ends left on the serving platters that are easier to eat than put away. We don’t need another meal until Sunday evening.
We do have to eat then, though. The extent to which I had planned that meal was thinking, “I’ll bake the last two sweet potatoes, and we’ll eat them with…something….”
I ended up not baking the sweet potatoes.
Despite the generosity of parishioners bringing food for the Maundy Thursday supper and the Easter services, I do my best to use every bit of food as wisely as possible, repurposing Thursday’s leftovers for Saturday night’s reception, Saturday’s leftovers for Sunday’s reception, and Sunday’s leftovers for whatever makes sense! This year, our church’s monthly turn to serve dinner at the homeless shelter was on Easter night, so a lot of the food went there.
But we had a huge surplus of bananas.
Several people had brought bananas as their contribution to Thursday’s meal of bread, cheese, and fruit. Either they brought really large quantities, or bananas just weren’t very popular this time. The ones that had been cut for serving on Thursday were brown and mushy by Saturday, so we set them aside and cut a few more for the Easter receptions–but they weren’t popular there, either, and then they were looking too unappealing to serve at the shelter dinner. The quantity of uncut bananas remaining was too small for the shelter–they like to have 50 servings of each type of food.
That’s how I happened to come home on Easter Sunday with approximately 6 pounds of bananas, most of which needed to be used immediately.
Well, the obvious way to use a lot of brown bananas is banana bread. I like to make quick breads (like Raisin Bran Bread and Whole-Wheat Zucchini Bread) and usually serve the fresh bread with a soup. We happened to have in our freezer a quart of Black Bean Soup left over from the double batch we made for the soup buffet when our church hosted the East End Lenten Series dinner last month. I got that out to thaw, and then I took a couple hours’ rest before I jumped back into food preparation!
I have 4 loaf pans. When I bake quick breads, it’s just as easy to make 4 loaves as to make 1, and it’s more energy-efficient. Each loaf of banana bread uses 1 cup of banana.
I ran all the bananas through the food processor and measured the puree. It was almost exactly 8 cups–perfect for 2 batches of bread! I put 4 cups in a gallon bag in the freezer, and I plan to sign up to bring banana bread for next month’s shelter dinner.
Meanwhile, I baked 4 loaves of banana-bran bread. (I don’t have my own recipe for this one; I use a cookbook recipe, substituting coconut oil for vegetable shortening and hemp protein powder for 1/6 of the flour.)
It was a good dinner! While there was nothing specifically Easter-y about the food, it was a tasty meal, eaten with warm springtime air blowing through the open windows.
And while I’ve been writing this during my lunch break at work on Tuesday, I’m eating leftovers of the dinner Daniel made us last night: cucumbers, carrots, and red peppers left over from the Easter Vigil veggie tray, with tofu and Spicy Peanut Sauce over udon noodles. Yum!!
Visit the Hearth & Soul Link Party for more great food ideas! Check out Lori’s Secrets to Reducing Food Waste over at Kitchen Stewardship, and don’t miss these 70+ Recipes and Tips for Cutting Food Waste at Home and Worldwide!