This Rosemary Orange Zucchini Bread is our latest fix. Using this recipe, I made 4 mini loaves and froze them. Over the course of a few weeks, we enjoyed it with guests for breakfast, with lunch on a Sunday, and for snacks just because it’s that good. Zucchini bread is typically moist and dense, which I love. What I really love about this recipe is the addition of orange zest, fresh orange juice and chopped fresh rosemary. These simple additions to a traditional recipe make these mini loaves outstanding. I think they’d make a great gift for neighbors, hostesses and of course, you. Enjoy!
Seasonal Fruit Tartlets with Crumble Topping July 22, 2012
For the past several weeks, we’ve had a friend bringing us boxes upon boxes of stone fruit from his frequent visits to California’s Central Valley. It’s such a gift! We prefer eating these juicy little gems while they are fresh. What we don’t eat fresh, we bake, grill, dehydrate or puree to make fruit leather.
I’ve always used my Mom’s recipe for pie crust. It’s a simple, straight forward, butter-based crust. No chilling required. Nothing fancy. Maybe that’s why it works. Every. Single. Time.
Once you make a pie crust and a crumble topping, the possibilities are endless. I’ve used this process for making tartlets with plums, nectarines, blueberries, peaches, apples and combinations thereof. Grab some fruit and get going!
Quick Three Bean Chili! January 22, 2012
On Saturday, after a day out and about, we got home later than expected and I was without a dinner plan. Thankfully, I had been to the store earlier and had stocked up on staples, among them a variety of beans, diced tomatoes, fresh vegetables, plain yogurt and maple syrup.
Upon scanning my pantry, I immediately envisioned a pot of Three Bean Chili, with Maple Corn Bread and Zesty Coleslaw. Within an hour, I had a delicious homemade meal on the table. This vegetarian chili is hearty, satisfying and packs some heat. (Just the way I like it!) I always use my Le Creuset Dutch Oven for soups and stews. Made of enameled cast iron, it distributes and retains heat well, is oven-proof and cleans up easily. I love it.
Back to the chili. I set aside some aside for another meal this week and froze the remainder for that emergency meal I don’t yet know I need. I made the Maple Corn Bread into muffins because the leftovers freeze easily and can be thawed for breakfast, lunch, dinner or breadcrumbs. As for the coleslaw, well, I’ll crunch on that until it’s gone. Tangy and mayo-free, it doesn’t last long around here…
Pumpkin-Peanut Soup January 1, 2012
If you’re like me, you still have pumpkin puree in your pantry leftover from Thanksgiving. Don’t let it go to waste! This delicious Pumpkin-Peanut Soup is a great way to use it and other pantry staples for a healthy, quick and delicious mid-week meal.
Last week, I enjoyed my Farro with Winter Fruit, Pistachios and Ginger for breakfast over plain yogurt. Um – yum!
We’ve got friends and family coming in for the weekend, so I’ve got happy hours in my future. In preparation, I’ve made Crushed Peas with Feta and Scallions to spread on crostini. I’ve also made some Cranberry Nut Bread to put out with breakfast. I’m also trying a few new things, and if they go well, you’ll see them here in the weeks to come. Happy New Year!
Whole Grain Goodness: Chocolate Persimmon Muffins December 3, 2011
Ah, persimmons. You see them at the farmers’ market right about now. They sit in cute baskets and on tables; mounds of vibrant orange and red. They come in different shapes with names that are a little tough to remember. They look so enticing; but what would you do with them once you got them home? Lots of good stuff. Don’t be afraid.
Take these Chocolate Persimmon Muffins for example. The recipe calls for Hachiya persimmons, the more oval variety. When very ripe, their flesh is like a puree. Fresh fruit puree, buckwheat flour, yogurt, and dark chocolate put these muffins at the top of my list until my persimmon stash runs out!
I ripen my persimmons on the kitchen counter displayed in a pretty bowl. You’ll know when they are ripe – they will feel very soft and squishy – in a good way. For more about persimmons and ideas about how to use them, check out this post from one of my favorite food bloggers, David Lebovitz. The source for this recipe is Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. It’s an excellent cookbook and homage to baking with whole grains, which add unique flavor and texture to baked goods. Check it out!
Holiday Spice Bread November 27, 2011
Over the weekend, I made this Holiday Spice Bread and gave it out to the neighbors. I got the recipe from Rouge Tomate, home to modern American healthy cuisine, where I did a stage (that’s restaurant speak for an apprenticeship). It got rave reviews! I think the secret ingredient is carrot juice, which I was able to buy in the produce section at my local grocery store (trust me, nothing fancy about this store). Carrots are packed with natural sugars, keeping the added sugar to a minimum. Whole wheat pastry flour, coconut oil, palm sugar, pineapple, golden raisins, cardamom, and cinnamon combine to make for a deliciously spiced homemade treat. This recipe works well for small bread pans, muffin cups, or single loafs. Cooking time will vary, of course, so watch it closely, and remove your treats from the oven (whatever their form!) once a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Your neighbors will thank you.
Treat Me: Olive Oil Cake November 20, 2011
For the past several months, I’ve had construction workers, plumbers, dry-wallers, painters, tile guys and paving guys running around my house. In the early months, when it was hot, I kept drinks on ice for them in a cooler every day. After a while, I started “Donut Fridays” – stopping at the local donut shop for a dozen on my way home from Boot Camp so the guys could have a breakfast treat.
Now that I have a kitchen, I’ve started baking treats. Cookies, quick breads, banana cake. Last week I made this Olive Oil Cake – a scrumptious treat that I almost kept for myself. It’s delightful! This cake goes to show that simple does not mean simplistic. Simple pantry ingredients combine to make a wonderful, flavorful moist snack cake. It was gone in a day. I guess they liked it too! I’ll be sure to have this around for family over Thanksgiving…
Buttermilk Cake + Fresh Plums August 22, 2011
Last week, a friend gave me half a case of stone fruit – plums, pluots, nectarines, peaches, apricots, and plums. I baked a Plum Upside Down Cake. It was delicious (as evidenced by how quickly it was devoured!) I also made my Savory Pluot Salad again, which, I swear, I could eat every day. As my last hurrah, I baked a Buttermilk Cake with Fresh Plums. Oh my! This tasty cake is moist and not too sweet. It makes for a lovely breakfast cake. While I stuck with fresh plums, I think this cake would be delicious made with any ripe, pitted stone fruit – cherries, peaches, apricots, nectarines – you name it!
A few comments about ingredients for the Buttermilk Cake …I regularly substitute whole wheat pastry flour for all-purpose flour when baking, it usually works well…fine grain natural sugar is minimally processed and makes a great substitute for granulated white sugar….fine grain sea salt includes all the benefits of sea salt with a texture suitable for baking…it’s fun to try new things…enjoy!
What’s for Breakfast? Oatcakes! August 9, 2011
In the San Francisco Bay Area, coffee shops sell these little oatcakes that are dense and delicious. Maybe they have them where you live, too. Commonly referred to as “hockey pucks,” they can at times be too dense and dry. However – done well, they are a hearty little meal and fill me up for breakfast. Sometimes they are studded with dried apricots, dried cranberries, or nuts. I’ve been working on re-creating them and when I saw this recipe for oatcakes by Heidi Swanson, I had to make them. (Yes, this meant going to a friend’s house to bake as I am still without an oven) These oatcakes are more muffin-y than the typical coffee shop fare, but no less delicious. I will continue my quest to replicate the oatcake, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying these! I hope you do too.