Monday, October 22, 2012

How to make... Banana Bread.

Banana Bread Recipe.

You will need:

1 egg
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter (1/2 a stick), or margarine, at room temperature
3 bananas, mashed fine
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I always add more than this. I throw a dash or two into the bananas after mashing to help bring out the flavor - don't go overboard though.)
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

crushed walnuts to your personal taste

What to do: first thing, set your oven to 350 degrees F. This is at sea level. Then mash your bananas with a fork in a bowl. The bananas should be almost overripe. I usually wait until the skin has started to go brown. This is the step in which I throw in a little extra vanilla extract. Set the bananas aside.
Take one egg, crack it open and beat it in a bowl.

Place the room temperature butter (or margarine) in a large mixing bowl. 

add 3/4 cup of sugar and the egg to the large mixing bowl.
using the back of a wooden spoon cream the egg, sugar, and butter. You do this by basically scraping all of the ingredients together using the back of the spoon. This allows bubbles to form in the butter.  If you have never creamed butter by hand, you are in for a treat. Oh, by a treat I mean pain. If it hurts, you are doing it right... or wrong. You could really just be hurting yourself. So be careful. If your wrist starts getting really sore, stop. Take a rest. Seriously, do not hurt yourself. Banana bread is great but not worth spending the rest of your life in pain over, due to a chronic bread-induced injury.
You do not have to use a wooden spoon. You can use a stand mixer. You can also run red lights in a car, in front of a police officer. I wouldn't really do either of those things. :)

It should look something like this when you are done:
add the bananas and 1 tsp of vanilla. mix everything together well.

scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to make sure everything is well mixed. You want to do this now because you do not want to over-mix the dry ingredients. This is what it should look like when you have finished (approximately that is).
Now for your dry ingredients :
1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 tsp baking soda (not baking powder), and a 1/4 tsp of salt. 

Run them through a sifter.

I just go a head and sift them right on top of the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl. It makes for a much less messy process.
(At this point you can add walnuts, or chocolate chips, or whatever you like in your banana bread)
Mix the ingredients together. Start slowly! You do not want flour flying out of the bowl onto you, the counter, your pants, your hair, etc....
Right about when the ingredients stat to come together, I usually scrape down the sides of the bowl with the back of the spoon. You do not want to go crazy with the mixing. Once they are all mixed together and you do not see any more dry flour, STOP! Otherwise, you will end up with terrible banana bread.

Grease up the bottom and sides of your bread pan.

Turn the ingredients into the pan. I usually let gravity take effect and let it fall into the pan. I just move the bowl back and forth down the length of the pan as the batter comes out. Then I use the back of the spoon to even out the batter in the pan and make sure it gets into the corners. Again, and I cannot stress this enough, do not mess around with it too much.

Place the pan in the middle of your preheated oven.Bake for 45-50 minutes. You will know it is done when a clean, dry toothpick or butter knife, inserted into the middle of the loaf, comes out clean. Do not keep opening the oven to check on it during the cooking process. This will let all your heat our and it will take longer to cook. In my oven it takes about 50 minutes and I don't check it until around 47minutes.

Take the loaf out of the oven. Do not touch the pan, it's hot. Place on a wire rack to cool. Alternately, in the case of not having any idea where your wire racks seem to have gone, you can press tin foil over the burners of your stove and place it there to cool.
***Wait till it cools before slicing into it: it is hot. It is burn-your-mouth-hot. I cannot stress this enough. Touching hot things with bare skin and eating piping hot banana bread may seem like a good idea, but it is not. trust me. This comes from experience. I cannot be held liable if you do not listen to this warning. It hurts. A lot. I am speaking from experience. ***

When you are done, and it cools, you can use the tinfoil to wrap it up and enjoy. I don't know how long it will stay fresh. I have never had it stick around long enough to go bad.

from The Grange Cookbook Recipe by: Mildred Lund of Pembroke ME

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chess and candy.

More photos.

This set of photos was taken at my job on my day off. Someone has a glass chess set and another photographer and I were messing around waiting to assist one of our student employees with a computer issue. So we set up our cameras, got out my flash and gels, and here is what we came up with:

Lit with a Canon 580 EXII. It is lit from the back to the left at about a 45 degree angle, red gel. The speedlite is powered down to about 1/16. The shutter speed is set to bring the ambient light way down. This was a brightly lit room with florescent lighting.

Same as above. Focus is on the front king. Speedlite is raised somewhat above the pieces which gives the highlight at the front of the piece. The light is shooting through the pieces. 

The next two photos are shot from below. The Speedlite was placed on the floor and shot up through a gap which the set was suspended over. The shutter speed was brought down to almost kill the ambient light in the room. Blue and red gels respectively. I use Honl gels with a Honl speedstrap. 

It's been a while.


It has been a while since I have updated this blog. I apologize about that. I have been busy. I was assisting another photographer. I was doing my own shoots. I was working at my day job. I have about a month's worth of photos that I have edited and put on my facebook page: StephenSitemanPhotography .

Since it is October, I figure I will share some autumn shots. The first few shots are along the Charles River in Boston.

 The rest are Newbury St.

Well I hope you enjoyed these. As always please leave any comments below. Also, I would love to see your autumn shots and maybe a little story about them. Leave a link below.