Lake Tahoe recipe: Rick Rucker’s perfect banana bread
Special to the Sun-Bonanza
TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — I rarely use the word “perfect” to describe a recipe unless it is my dad’s candy or pretty much anything from Rick Rucker, general manager of the Hampton Inn and Suites Truckee-Tahoe.
Rucker is a fusser when it comes to food. I mean, I have seen him eat more than one of my mistakes from the kitchen and endure a mediocre meal at a restaurant, but if he is putting it together, it is going to be perfect.
This banana bread recipe is a labor of love I watched evolve, first hand, up close and personal, from a super good loaf to a Wow! The man fussed with the sugars (“Brown and white Simone.”) the butter (“A little bit more.”) and the nuts (“Walnuts or pecans. No almonds.”) before he felt it was good to go.
So good I am wondering why I have been enjoying this banana bread for the past three years and have never paid tribute to it in this column. It’s not like Rucker has copyrighted it. Not yet.
Maybe I am just selfish and wanted a little alone time with my loaf. Maybe I was getting spoiled by the applause and smiles and head nods which greeted me and my banana bread. Maybe the last time I served it someone sat up and said, “Hey! This is Rick’s banana bread.”
Well, not anymore. I release it — with love.
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 overripe bananas
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup plus 1 tbls. butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl mix together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Mash two of the bananas in a small bowl, leaving in some small chunks. Set aside.
Using an electric hand held, mix together the remaining two bananas and sugars until they resemble a banana cream then add the melted butter, eggs and vanilla to this. Beat well.
Now mix the dry ingredients in with this until blended, but no need to over beat. Next, using a rubber spatula, fold in the nuts and the mashed banana cream.
Pour batter into your loaf pan and rap it on the counter top to get rid of any bubbles. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your recipes, kitchen “must-haves” and food news at firstname.lastname@example.org.