Posts tagged quickbreads
Thursday, October 18, 2007

pumpkin bread with cranberries

i could have eaten the whole thing in one sitting...

If I told you I’ve been waiting half a year to bake pumpkin bread, would you think me pathetic? Entire two seasons passed and not a week went by that I didn’t think of pumpkin bread and how delicious the house will smell when it’s baking in the oven. Of course, pumpkin/cinnamon/clove scents aren’t quite summery, so I had to wait. And wait. And wait some more. Until the days got shorter, nights grew longer and there was a distinct chill in the air. I would eat my berry crumbles and they would make me weak in my knees, but I was committing baked-good adultery – and thinking, longingly of the pumpkin bread.

The can of pumpkin puree that has found itself in our cupboards somehow (don’t look at me, I didn’t buy it) had to be used for something glorious and celebratory of my favorite season. I had a few ideas for it, but pumpkin bread was the first and foremost project. I’ll be making KS’s favorite pumpkin treat soon enough – this time, I just had to be selfish.

that spatula had the time of her life

If you haven’t figured this out by now, I’m a huge fan of something tart in my otherwise sweet baked goods. A little bright pop of cranberry, in my opinion, brightens up pumpkin or banana bread and punches up their smoky, caramel flavors. And if you are wondering how on earth I managed to find cranberries before Thanksgiving season, I am going to let you in on a little secret. I buy a few bags of fresh cranberries every November and then I stick them in the freezer – and believe it or not, those bags last for months and months – allowing me always to have fresh cranberries on hand. I’ve even managed to make fresh cranberry sauce in April once!

i couldn't resist with the frozen cranberries again so perfectly warm and fragrant

As with many types of baked bread like this, you can pretty much add a combination or all of the spices listed below. I didn’t have allspice on hand this time, so I skipped it and the results weren’t too shabby. And some people dislike cloves so they skip it altogether. When I make this next time, I’ll most likely omit the walnuts – I decided to try them this time, but I am just not a nuts-in-my-banana-or-pumpkin-bread kinda girl. The recipe was inspired by Elise, yet again, who posted her pumpkin muffin recipe and since I was lacking those little paper cup things you pour muffin batter in, I decided to do a solid loaf instead.

green egg, no ham

Oh and before I forget, this has nothing to do with pumpkin bread, but everything to do with green eggs. Apparently, there is such a thing as a green egg and no, it’s not rotten and it’s perfectly good for consumption! At last Saturday’s farmer’s market, the young man who sells me eggs, as well as pasture-raised meat (and the most heavenly chorizo I’ve had to date!), opened up an egg carton to check for cracks and breaks and informed me with glee that there was a green egg in my carton. A green egg, I asked? Can I eat it? Is it rotten? Was Dr. Seuss onto something? Yes, no, and yes, were the farmer’s responses, after which he explained to me that a green egg is produced by some special hens and the egg doesn’t look white, per se, it looks rather a bit blue-green. Some folks even think them more nutritious and so request only green eggs from the farmer. I couldn’t wait to try our first green egg so we soft-boiled it and shared it that very morning. It was delicious – and unless I’m imagining things, tasted a bit more eggy – the yolk seemed a bit more orange and almost buttery in flavor. And so you have it, green egg sans ham – delicious and something new! And while I’m sorry to have rambled thus about something that has nothing to do with pumpkin bread (unless you count the two eggs that went into the batter) – I wanted to tell you about it nonetheless and if you know anything about green eggs, let me know – I’d love to learn!

Continue reading pumpkin bread with cranberries.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

apple and yogurt cake

i love apple  baked anything... no really, i do!

Sally Albright: But I’d like the pie heated and I don’t want the ice cream on top, I want it on the side, and I’d like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it, if not then no ice cream just whipped cream but only if it’s real; if it’s out of the can then nothing.
Waitress: Not even the pie?
Sally Albright: No, I want the pie, but then not heated.

And this, my friends, is how I often will order food. First off there’s the complete reinvention of the recipe, which undoubtedly annoys both the waiter and the chef. And then adding insult to injury, the instructions I give are so unclear that the waiter will have to ask me the second time to repeat what I said. And this happens over and over to me.

Since I’ve completely switched gears from summer into fall, I’m done with the summer fruit (berry crumbles – I’ll see you later); I’ve been thinking apples, apples, apples. It donned on me two weeks ago that Rosh Hashana was right around the corner and an apple dessert would be in order. But what? The apple pie, as much as I love it, would be the expected apple treat, but my heart longed for something new, something different. I attribute this fickle mind of mine to living in New York. We get so spoiled here, and develop the attention span of a goldfish – four seconds and we forget the “traditional” or we get tired of it. Like spoiled children we look to new, shiny recipes like the new, shiny toys of our childhood. And those of us with food blogs take the cake (pardon the pun) for our demand of the new, shiny recipes. The recipe we haven’t yet written about, the recipe with stunning new photos, the recipe with a new take. This is where I found myself at the beginning of last week. Apple pie? Apple eh…

my cake's got cellulite a view from the top

Enter ever-so-creative Deb with her apple yogurt cake from her new, shiny book “The New Spanish Table”. Deb, I’ve been given a cook-book buying moratorium by KS, so I will have to mooch off of you and other bloggers with sexier cook books. The cake in Deb’s pictures looked stunning, as usual, but as soon as I saw the words like “licorice” and “anise” and “Sambucca”, I paused, for while there are folks out there whose taste buds have morphed to like the dreaded substances above, mine have never adjusted and I don’t foresee that changing. Say the words “pastis” and “pernod” and you’ll see me recoil in horror.

So I took Sambucca out and added Calvados instead. I also mixed my own lemon yogurt by combining plain yogurt with fresh-squeezed lemon juice. The only time-consuming task was finely chopping the apples. But the rest of the process was a snap. And I think that in the future, I’ll play with yogurt flavors and various liqueurs. I just might, as a sick joke on my self, try it with Sambucca one day, but honestly, I don’t see myself enjoying it. I’ve experimented plenty in that flavor department and all I could find in the end was a taste that deeply displeased my palate. The appliness of this cake (why no, appliness is not an actual word, I just made it up – so?) pleased me and KS – making it a perfectly timed treat for Rosh Hashana, now a week behind us. Sigh – time flies so fast.

shana tovah! minced

So Sally Albright or not, I like things just the way I like them. Even if I have to repeat my order a few more times, so long as I get a cake I like!

Continue reading apple and yogurt cake.

Friday, December 23, 2005

banana muffins with vanilla and cayenne

Warm Muffin

It was over a breakfast discussion of holiday treats that we began a muffin conversation. A coworker lamented about not having a muffin for breakfast and I offered to bring some in the next day. I thought, I’ve not cooked in awhile, and having just made soup the previous day, I was on a bit of a roll, if you can call it that.

After a run for a haircut, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up the baking essentials, and by another store for my muffin baking pan.

I decided to make banana muffins because of how comforting bananas can be in cold weather. The smell of banana bread on a winter morning is enough to get me out of bed. I abstained from putting nuts in it, in case any of my coworkers were allergic to them. And my high hopes of adding cranberries for that extra zing, were dashed when I realized that Christmas-ready shoppers bought up all that the store had. So these are pretty plain-Jane muffins, yummy as they are. Perhaps adding a bit of lemon zest would have done the trick? I think this now, a bit late for this batch, which has already been hungrily consumed by my team, ready for their Christmas to commence.

What I did add was a bit of vanilla extract, because Radish loves all things vanilla and a teeny tiny pinch of cayenne pepper. Trust me, on this.

Continue reading banana muffins with vanilla and cayenne.