Mar 122013

St. Patrick’s Day is quickly approaching, and there’s a little leprechaun that’s allergic to eggs.  So I set out to make our traditional Irish Soda Bread egg-free.  There are so many egg replacements, but we chose yogurt for this recipe, and I think that was the right call.

Because we used a commercially prepared buttermilk which was low-fat, I used nonfat yogurt.  If you’re going to make the buttermilk yourself with skim milk, I would suggest low-fat yogurt.  We used the buttermilk again to replace the traditional egg wash on top.

The egg-free version tastes exactly the same, but the texture is a little different.  The bread is a bit softer, with a finer crumb.  It was still delicious, and now I need to bake another loaf for the big day!



Egg-Free Irish Soda Bread

4 c. flour
3 T sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
3/4 t baking soda
6 T butter
1 1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. nonfat plain yogurt
1 1/2 c. + 1T buttermilk, divided

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 2 quart round casserole dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients (flour through baking soda). With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in raisins.

Stir yogurt and buttermilk in a small bowl.  Stir into flour mixture just until flour is moistened. The dough will be sticky.

Turn dough onto a floured surface, and with floured hands, knead about 10 strokes to mix thoroughly. Shape into a ball, and place in casserole dish. With a sharp knife, cut a cross in the top and brush dough with 1 T of buttermilk.

Bake about 60-100 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Jan 142013

Last weekend, I had the urge to bake bread but got distracted and made Pumpkin Ginger Pecan Muffins.  There were no distractions this weekend; I made something even better than bread!  I made these Crusty Spinach Feta and Sun Dried Tomato Bread Rolls.  There is nothing like fresh bread right out of the oven.

The recipe from Sass and Veracity is based on a recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  The basic concept is that if you keep dough in your refrigerator, you can make bread easily whenever you’d like.  That sounds great, but I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to bake fresh bread every day!  Still, the recipe works well.  I cut the ingredients in half and tried to clarify the directions in my version below.  The process isn’t difficult at all; the hardest part is creating steam in your oven with a pan filled with water.

The rolls were amazing – crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, and full of flavor.  They would work well for either brunch or dinner, although I must say I really enjoyed one with a glass of wine.  If you’re nervous about making your own bread, my advice is to jump in and give it a try.  It takes some practice, but once you get going you’ll have your own bakery on demand.



Spinach, Sundried Tomato, and Feta Rolls

1 package (2 1/4 t) yeast
2 t sugar
2 t salt
1/2 c. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 c. sun dried tomatoes, drained of any oil, and chopped
1/3 c. fat-free feta
1 large egg white
1 1/2 c. warm water
3 1/4 c. flour, plus extra for handling

Mix yeast, sugar, salt, spinach, tomatoes, and feta in a large bowl.  Place egg white in a liquid measuring cup, and add warm water for a total of 1 1/2 c. fluid.  Add to mixing bowl.  Spoon flour into mixing bowl.  Mix with a wooden spoon just until the ingredients are combined.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and allow to rest in a warm place for 2 hours.

Prepare a baking  sheet with parchment paper sprinkled with cornmeal.  Sprinkle flour on top of the wet dough.  Flour your hands, and pull pieces of dough the size of a baseball.  Shape into a round, and place on the prepared parchment.  Continue until all the dough is formed into balls. Allow to rest for 1 hour.

Place a rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven, and preheat oven to 425F.  Add water to the empty pan.  Place prepared baking sheet with dough  on the middle rack.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until rolls are golden brown.  Cool on a rack, and serve warm.

-Lightly adapted from Sass and Veracity, concept by Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

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Oct 222012

Of course, I love to visit farmer’s markets and my local produce market.  I really do believe in enjoying fruit and vegetables seasonally, and supporting local agriculture as much as possible.  But I am not ashamed to admit that I also check out the discount produce bin at the grocery store.  You do what you need to do.  This week, I found an incredible deal: 10 very ripe bananas, packaged together and priced at just $1.  This meant, of course, that I had to make banana bread.

It seems a shame that I don’t have a single banana bread recipe on the blog.  My grandmother made banana bread all.the.time and it’s always been one of my favorites.  I decided to make this Crackly Banana Bread from Smitten Kitchen, which aims to make a bread that is more suitable for breakfast with fruit, whole grains, and less sugar.  The “crackle” comes from uncooked millet.  Now, I didn’t want to get a deal on bananas and then spend a lot on millet.  But it was pretty cheap to buy just 1/4 c. of millet from the bulk bins at Whole Foods.

I made a few changes to the original recipe, most notably using canola oil instead of coconut oil, and switching up the spices a bit.  Everything worked out well, and I loved the crackle!  This is a really moist banana bread, which supposedly keeps for a week.  You could enjoy this banana bread as a treat for breakfast, perhaps paired with some nonfat plain yogurt, but I know my grandmother would be eating it in the afternoon with a cup of coffee.



Crackly Banana Bread

4 small ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg
1/3 c. canola oil
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. uncooked millet

In a large bowl, mix bananas, egg, oil, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla.  Add baking soda, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice and mix well.  Add flour and stir just until combined.  Stir in millet.  Pour batter into a 9″x5″ loaf pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool on a wire rack before removing from pan.

-Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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Oct 022012

My sweet tooth was satisfied with the Pumpkin Cranberry Oatmeal cookies, but I still had a good amount of pumpkin leftover.  I decided to make this Pumpkin Cornbread from the New York Times.  The recipe is written by Martha Rose Shulman as part of the ‘Recipes for Health’ feature.

I don’t make cornbread often, but it is such a treat to have a piece fresh from the oven.  Even though the recipe calls for a whole cup of pumpkin, the flavor is very subtle.  Unlike other pumpkin cornbread recipes, this one does not call for pumpkin-like spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice.  It’s really a traditional cornbread with just a hint of pumpkin, which is great for serving with any fall dinner.




Sep 172012

Our cooking club theme this month was “Apples”.  I decided to make these Apple Thyme Cheddar Scones from the website of a Western dairy company named Challenge.  We can’t buy Challenge butter around here, but I still liked this recipe for savory scones.  It’s the fall version of my late summer classic Zucchini Cheddar Biscuits.

The ingredients came together very easily, and I was able to resist that strong urge to add more flour at the end.  I pressed the dough into more of a rectangle than a circle, so instead of triangles, I made small squares.  Note that my oven does run a little hot, but these scones were quite browned in 20 minutes, so watch them carefully.

The scones were a nice complement to our apple-themed meal, although I might use fresh herbs instead of dried for more intensity next time.  If you go apple picking and come home with a big tote of apples, save one for this recipe.