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Cookbook 8 The Silver Palate Cookbook

The Silver Palate Cookbook {written by partners Julee Russo and Sheila Lukins} taught me how to cook for family and friends. It was a wildly popular cookbook in the 1980’s when I was a newlywed. It holds some of my dearest food memories and some of my favorite go to recipes to this day. I venture to say that the Silver Palate was the first to roll out food products across the nation, and was the precursor to what is now called “branding”. The familiar red and white was all over gourmet and grocery stores. They owned a store by the same name it was so little that people would wait out the door to pick up delicious dishes to go.

These partners were trail blazers and taught America to venture out of their comfort zone. It was the era of Martha Stewart, if fact they paved the way for Martha in a way. People were discovering the art of entertaining, and out of their tiny gourmet food store front they were offering high quality take out.  From this bitty spot grew a gourmet empire. We lived in New York at the time and it’s probably why I love this cookbook so much, my copy is torn and loved on. I recently picked it up to make some banana bread, and realized although this cookbook holds great nostalgia for me it also holds killer recipes!

Silver Palate Cookbook Banana Bread: (makes 1 loaf)

8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp**
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
3 large ripe bananas, mashed (1 1/4 cups – 1 1/2 cups)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

1. Adjust an oven rack to the center position and reheat oven to 350. Grease 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. (or generously spray Pam for baking in every crevise of your bundt pan/muffin tin.)
2. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Chop them coursely when cooled.
3. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl.
4. Mash bananas with a fork, add vanilla to the banana mixture. Set aside.
5. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy (in a large bowl, this will be the main mixing bowl). Add eggs, one at a time and beat.
6. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, making sure to mix well.
7. Fold in banana mixture and nuts until combined.
8. Pour into pan. Bake 50-60 min, or until cake tester comes out clean (it took roughly 40 mins in a bundt pan). Cool in pan 10 min, then on rack.

**alternatively, you could melt the butter and go from there to make muffins or a muffin textured banana treat.

about Julee Rosso

Julee Rosso Miller co-authored the Silver Palate in 1979, and wrote The Silver Palate Cookbook in 1982, followed by The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook and The New Basics Cookbook. She also wrote Great Good Food and Fresh Start, and with her husband runs the Wickwood Inn in Saugatuck, Michigan.

about Sheila Lukins

Sheila Lukins, one of America’s best-known and best-loved food writers, was the co-founder of the legendary Silver Palate take-out shop. Her celebrated cookbooks, written alone and with her Silver Palate partner, Julee Rosso, helped change the way America’s eats. For the past 23 years, she was also the Food editor of Parade Magazine.Sheila died in 2009 of brain cancer.

Buy The Silver Palate Cookbook here

banana bread photo from this humble home

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