Tag Archives: Bread

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin breadPumpkin bread is one of those dishes you can make for a brunch last minute in case, say, the bread you planned to make that took you 2 hours the night before, the bread you created specially so that your friend who can’t eat gluten could still enjoy every dish at your brunch, the bread that made your whole apartment smell like incredible grapefruit-scented-vanilla cake for an entire day … yes… that bread… came out like a fat, gooey, undercooked, flat brick.

Womp womp.

So I threw this bread together and told my gluten-free-friend to stay far away. But everyone else swarmed in like vultures. #Success

On the menu:
Pumpkin bread
Makes 1 loaf

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, eggs, water, and spices. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients just until incorporated (careful not to overmix).

Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan with butter and pour in the batter. Bake for 50 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove and let cool on a rack.

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Cherry Vanilla Waffles

I feel I have to start off with an apology for this sad picture. These waffles do not look very appetizing, but lately I’ve had this food-blogger-problem where I eat everything before I photograph it. And honestly, who wants to read a post about food if they can’t see what it looks like first? I know this, friends, because I am of the same ilk. So while I missed out on sharing a zucchini, sun dried tomato, lemon ravioli, and a skillet lasagna, I couldn’t miss out on sharing this one, too.

I used cherries in this recipe because I found them at a little bodega for $1.25 a pound (A DOLLAR TWENTY FIVE A POUND! Thank you, Queens!) and had a surplus. But you could use any ripe, sweet berry.

On the menu:
Cherry vanilla waffles
Makes 2 full sized Belgian waffles

NOTE: You will need a waffle iron for this! I have no idea how you’d do it without one. Sorry Charlie.

1 1/3 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
8 Tbsp egg whites*
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) melted
1 3/4 cups milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup cherries, pitted and quartered

Preheat your waffle iron.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together. Add melted butter, vanilla, and milk and blend until combined. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixture just until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into the batter just until incorporated. Add cherries and stir until evenly distributed in the batter.

Pour 2 full cups of batter onto the griddle, adding a bit of extra just so the batter reaches the far corners of the iron. Cook each waffle according to your iron’s specifications. Top with butter and maple syrup, or lemon curd, or powdered sugar, or just eat them straight off the griddle. Not that I would do that. Just saying.

*Note: the original recipe that I based this on (from Food.com) calls for 2 eggs, separated. I think using all egg whites gives the waffles a lighter texture and I usually have a carton of egg whites in my fridge. If you do want to use 2 eggs, just separate the egg and yolk, add the yolk into the dry ingredients during Step 1, and follow the rest of the directions as written regarding the egg whites. Still easy and still delicious!

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Easy App


I’m gonna confess something to you guys: if ever I’m having people over for a meal or drinks or whatever, I will often scan my cupboards first to find out what I have to get rid of and then plan my menu around that. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not serving old deli meat and baking soda, but if I have asiago cheese that I don’t know what to do with, or half a can of cashews that need to be eaten, I’m using ‘em.

Case in point: last weekend’s easy starter.

On the menu:
Crostini with blue cheese, honey, and toasted almonds
Serves 4

1 baguette, sliced into 1-inch thick rounds
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
3 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Place almonds in a skillet and heat over medium heat. Constantly shake the almonds over the heat until they are fragrant. Remove from heat.

Place baguette slices on a cookie sheet in one single layer. Sprinkle blue cheese on toast, drizzle honey, and top with almonds. Place cookie sheet under a pre-heated broiler for 3 minutes.

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Squash Your Fears

So, this one time I got it in my brain to make zucchini bread and then I got to the grocery store and there was none. Huh. No zucchini. In a season when gardens all across the northeast are overflowing with zucchini, my grocery store had none. Nada. Zero. Zilch. Sometimes you kill me, Queens. So I plucked up some Mexican squash and hoped for the best.

On the menu:
Mexican squash bread (but you can call it zucchini bread if it makes you feel better)

2 cups flour
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups shredded carrot
1 cup shredded apple (no skin)
1 cup shredded Mexican squash (or zucchini!)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Beat together eggs and oil with an electric mixer until mixture is frothy. Add carrot, apple, and zucchini in with the eggs. Add vanilla to egg mixture. Add liquids to dry ingredients and mix until completely incorporated.

Fill one large greased loaf pan with mixture. Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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I’m Going (going) Back (back) to Cali (cali)

As many of you may or may not know, I feel that New York is played out. After living for 6 years in this little bubble where I miss out on little luxuries like driving in cars and walking barefoot through the grass and whatnot, I am pretty sure there are nicer places to spend the next 80 years of my life. I’m gonna go ahead and put Southern California on the top of that list.

Exhibit A: In ‘N Out
Do I really need to explain this? If you’ve never had In ‘N Out… just trust me. Two words: toasted buns.

Exhibit B: Rockin’ Baja Coastal Cantina
The morning before I went to Rockin’ Baja, The Boyfriend asked, “Do you like surf and turf?” I couldn’t even speak. Didn’t he know me at all? For lunch we got a bucket (yes, a bucket) of carne asada, shrimp, chicken, and lobster with tortilla shells and endless condiments to go with it. And a pitcher of margaritas… the rest of that day is blurry.

Exhibit C: Cousin’s Candy Shop in Old Town San Diego
I was like a kid in a candy store! (see what I did there?) All the candy is $2.80 a pound, and they have every kind of bulk candy you can dream of. I got 2 of everything I had never heard of, and multiples of those I had. Cousin’s makes their own fudge and caramels and I danced through the streets of Old Town (blame the margaritas, the sugar, whatever) eating my candy and basically loving life.

As you can see, I had a really, really nice time in California. In addition to this culinary tour of fats and sweets, I was treated to a homemade Hawaiian feast and then sent home with a loaf of Famous Kona Inn banana bread (thanks, BF’s grandma!).

On the menu:
Famous Kona Inn banana bread
Makes 2 loaves

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
2 cups ripe mashed bananas (about 6 bananas)
4 eggs, slightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour 2 8 x 4 x 3-inch loaf pans.

Stir together the flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl. In another larger bowl, mix together the shortening, sugar, mashed bananas, and eggs. Add the combined dry ingredients and stir only until the batter is thoroughly blended.

Pour into the prepared pans and bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaves comes out clean, or with only a few moist crumbs. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out on a rack and let cool completely.

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Baked

I had big plans to cook up a storm in my parents’ kitchen this weekend. Instead I picked on veggies and hummus and watched an obscene amount of terrible television. Trust me, it was as indulgent and glorious as it sounds.

Sunday morning I got ambitious and made a Paula-Deen inspired French toast casserole. I’ve always wondered how restaurants make perfect French toast: eggy all the way through, but never soggy. I have to believe this is the method.

On the menu:
Summer fruit French toast casserole

1 small loaf of Italian bread, cubed
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp maple syrup (REAL maple syrup! Step away from the Aunt Jemima)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup ripe peach, sliced
2 Tbsp cinnamon sugar
2 Tbsp butter

Note: you can use any ripe summer fruit you have on hand, I just happened to have blueberries and peaches

Place cubed bread in a well-buttered baking dish. Whisk together eggs, milk, syrup, and salt together until well mixed. Pour egg mixture over the bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 6 hours.

The next morning: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle fruit over the top of the soaked bread. Break cold butter into small pieces and add to the top of the casserole. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of the fruit and butter. Bake for 40-45 minutes (until bread on top seems firm, not soggy).

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Some people eat to live… we are not those people

My family has many traditions, most of them based on food. I’m pretty sure that when asked “What would you grab from the house in the event of a fire?” my parents would answer the same: the dog and the Adirondack Country Cookbook. I could be blindfolded with my nose plugged and still recognize the taste of the pancakes and the cinnamon swirl raisin bread. Since this cookbook is no longer around (or if it is, PLEASE LET ME KNOW! Seriously… we’ve been searching) I pdf’ed the infamous raisin bread recipe, sent it to one of my favorite childhood neighbors, and saved it on my hard drive in case our decrepit old family copy of the cookbook bites the dust.

It’s all about preserving the recipes, people. I mean… the memories. It’s all about preserving the MEMORIES.

On the menu:
Spiral Cinnamon Raisin Bread

If you are Carol Knapp… or you know Carol Knapp… let me know. This bread deserves many kudos. Thanks, Carol!

This bread can be served as is, but I like mine toasted with butter. But you probably already knew that I liked mine with a little more butter, now didn’t you?

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Beannachtai na Feile Padraig!

Ireland holds a special place in my heart, and it has very little to do with the green shamrocks and drunk dudes from New Jersey getting into fist fights in the streets of Manhattan. It has everything to do with this:

Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry

I spent six weeks exploring Ireland under the guise of “study” abroad in the summer of 2006. My time on the Emerald Isle supplied me with some of my fondest memories, and one day in particular stands out as one of the best of my life.

As the rain poured down on the small coastal town of Dingle in County Kerry on the Western coast of Ireland, a small group of us decided that despite the weather we’d venture the mile or so into town. We couldn’t spend one whole precious day sitting in the hostel. So we donned thin rain jackets, insufficient footwear, and our most ambitious spirits and powered through the sheets of rain that pummeled down from the skies. I have never laughed so hard and I have never been so drenched. By the time we reached Murphy’s Pub, each of us was soaked down to our skivvies and desperate for an Irish coffee, a bowl of chowder, and a thick slice of brown bread.

Many pints and bowls of chowder later, we were still damp but warm, sated, and happy. I know it was the company that made that day what it turned out to be, but the brown bread didn’t hurt.

Toasting in celebration of making it all the way into town! Murphy’s Pub, Dingle, Co. Kerry

This will never replicate the dense, dark bread served at most pubs and Irish restaurants in Ireland itself, but in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d fill my apartment with a familiar scent.

On the menu: Irish Brown Bread
Makes 1 round 9-inch loaf
(Adapted from Epicurious Brown Bread Recipe)

4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup milk

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9- by 2-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, wheat germ, salt, sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar in a large bowl until combined well. Blend in butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips until integrated. Make a well in center and add buttermilk and regular milk, stirring until a dough forms. Gently knead on a floured surface, adding just enough more flour to keep dough from sticking, until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Transfer dough to cake pan and flatten to fill pan. With a sharp knife, cut an X (1/2 inch deep) across top of dough, 5 inches long. Bake until loaf is lightly browned and sounds hollow when bottom is tapped, around 35 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack and cool, right side up, about 1 hour.

You can serve this right away but it slices more easily after sitting at room temperature for a day.

Best served when your clothes are damp from a long walk through the rain in Dingle, heavily buttered and accompanied by sassy lasses and a frothy pint of Bulmers cider.

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Mama Said

Since I started this blog, I’m proud to say I’ve become a source of information for my friends and family. I’ve been asked what I would make with the contents of a friend’s fridge, why does meat need to rest after cooking but before cutting (juice redistribution!), and what exactly makes a caramelized onion… caramelized.

Usually I have all the answers.

Okay, fine… sometimes I have some answers.

And when I don’t, I look to my favorite sources (most are listed at the right). When Mom asked if I had any ideas on keeping bread dough from sticking to the towel after it’s risen, I thought to ask the experts at The Kitchn.  And seeing as one of their editors is named Joann Miller (minus the ‘e’ but close enough), it seemed only fitting.

Apparently, they thought my question was interesting enough to post. So proud.

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