Texas-Style Beer Bread

Oh. Ma. Gah.  I saw this recipe and it appeared so easy, I had to give it a try. This is another quick-bread, something you can throw together in literally, one minute.  This bread is delicious eaten on it’s own with some butter….or butter and cheese…peanut butter…but I think it would be great served alongside a soup, stew or chili.  I think I’ll try adding some cheddar into  the flour mixture next time, before adding the beer. EASY. GOOD. TRY IT. It comes from this amazing cookbook – one of my all-time favourites: The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather. You can find it on amazon.

Beer Bread

Texas-Style  Beer Bread

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 (12-oz.) bottle good beer or ale
1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously coat a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Place loaf pan on cookie sheet.

pour remaining butter on top

2) Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in beer. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Do not over mix. The dough will be thick, heavy and  sticky. Pour half of melted butter into a loaf pan. Spoon clumps of dough into pan. Pour remaining half of butter on top of dough.
3) Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden brown. Top of loaf will be gnarled. Remove from pan and serve hot. Yield: 1 loaf or 10 slices.

the bottom - buttery, crunchy, awesome

delicious

Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette with Mixed Greens, Fruit and Cheese Salad

Maple dijon vinaigrette with Mixed Greens

Here’s what we eat for lunch and dinner practically every day, along with some lean protein. It’s a great everyday salad, everyone likes it and the dressing is well-loved by all, young and old. I’m listing my salad ingredients, but use what you have on hand, although I think our combination of ingredients is best. As well for the vinaigrette, follow the recipe, but feel free to substitute whatever vinegar you have on hand. I use rice vinegar, sherry vinegar, white balsamic, red balsamic, red wine vinegar. The maple syrup (or add sugar or honey if you don’t have real maple syrup on hand) adds just enough sweetness to balance the vinegar. This will be your new standard, so you might as well learn it by heart. I keep mine on the counter in a glass jar — good for 5 days or so on the counter (providing it isn’t too hot in your kitchen)– feel free to refrigerate if you aren’t using it daily.

Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup vinegar of your choice

2 tsp dijon mustard

2 tsp real maple syrup

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Mixed Salad

(Serves 4)

6 cups mixed greens (preferably organic)

1/2 cup red grapes, sliced in half

1 tangerine, sectioned

1/3 cup diced feta cheese

2 tbsp. toasted slivered almonds

shavings of fresh parmesan

Vinaigrette:

In a jar with secure lid, add all ingredients. Shake well. Shake again before dressing salad. For the above amount of salad, I use approx. 1/4 cup of dressing.

Salad:

Wash and spin your greens, even if it says they are pre-washed. Add the rest of the ingredients, except almonds and parmesan. Toss. Top with almonds and parmesan. Bon Apetit. Goes great with chicken, fish, burgers…everything. 🙂

everyday salad

Fast and Divine Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon Buns

Who doesn’t love cinnamon buns? Nobody that I know of. I’ve always wanted to make Cinnamon Buns, but was deterred by the prospect of a  yeast dough, waiting for it to rise, etc.When I saw this recipe, I was motivated to try. It was super easy, you just have to make sure you gather your filling ingredients and set them aside first…then make your dough, which comes together really quickly. Anytime is a good time for these babies. Give it a whirl, you’ll look like a rock star if you have company.

Fast Cinnamon Buns

adapted from Cuisine at Home

Yields 12 buns

 Filling

1 ½ Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground allspice

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 cup chopped, toasted pecans

Dough

¾ cup cottage cheese

1/3 cup buttermilk

¼ cup granulated sugar

4 Tbsp melted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp baking soda

For the Glaze

2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

2-3 Tbsp cold milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Heat oven to 400. Grease sides and bottom of a 10 inch springform pan, or a 10 inch pie plate will do as well.

Prepare the filling:

Combine brown sugar and spices. Melt butter, do not mix in. You will be using this to spread onto your dough.  Toast pecans in a dry pan over medium heat until they begin to smell toasted. Remove from heat  and chop fairly small but not completely ground up. Keep in separate bowl.

Prepare your dough:

In a food processor, mix together the cottage cheese, buttermilk, melted butter, granulated sugar and vanilla. Process until smooth – about 10 seconds.  Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pulse until dough clumps together. Don’t overmix or it will result in a tough dough. The dough will be soft and moist.

make the dough

Scrape the dough onto lightly floured surface and knead together a few times with your hands until smooth. Roll out to a 12×15 inch rectangle with rolling pin.

Roll out, spread with butter

Brush the dough with melted butter, leaving ½ inch border all around.

Sprinkle sugar mixture over top, patting into surface. Sprinkle nuts over sugar.

spread with filling

Starting at long edge, roll up, pinch seam to seal, leaving ends open.

With sharp serrated knife, cut into 12 pieces. Set the pieces in pan.

place in pan

Bake until golden brown and firm to touch, 20-28 minutes. Cool for 5 mins, Run a spatula or knife around the edge to remove. Transfer to serving plate. Make glaze, drizzle over top. Scarf!

 

Best Banana Bread with (Optional) Almond Streusal

Banana bread with almond streusal

This banana bread is easy and has great texture. Makes a nice, heavy 9 x 5 loaf, although you can play around with pan sizes. The way it is put together is more like a cake style as opposed to a muffin style, and the result is a nice tight crumb. Velvety texture. If you decide to add the almond topping, it adds a nice sugary crunch, and I find it looks amazing when presented as a gift. So enjoy this as a banana loaf as is, but if you want to kick it up, the streusal is easy and makes your baking look professional.

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1/2 cup light olive oil or coconut oil

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

1.5 cups mashed bananas

1.5 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans (optional)

Stuesal topping (optional)

1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325.

In mixer or large bowl with whisk, mix oil, eggs (preferrably room temperature) and sugar. Mix for 3-5 minutes (depending on whether you are using mixer or by hand), until well blended, using spatula to scrape down sides occasionally. Add in vanilla and almond extracts. In separate smallish bowl, mix your dry ingredients, except pecans. Alternate mixing the flour and banana to the egg mixture, ending in flour. Fold in nuts, if using.

Put into greased 9 x 5 pan, or whatever pan you have decided to use. Place that pan on a baking sheet.

Mix up toasted almonds, brown sugar and butter. Place evenly on top of batter.

Bake for 1 – 11/4 hours, check it after 45 minutes and see how it’s doing. Is it baking evenly? If not twirl pan around. Remove when tester, such as a skewer or thin knife, comes out clean or with a crumb or two on it. Let it sit and set up before enjoying. Should last for a few days well wrapped and will freeze perfectly.

wrapped and ready to freeze or to give

Irish Brown Bread

Galway County

Galway County

Irish Brown Bread

Irish Brown Bread

Emily Breakfast

One of our fondest food memories of Ireland is the deliciously dense and nutty Irish Brown Bread. It is served with every soup and stew, placed on your table at dinner, and toasted with breakfast. It’s so delicious slathered with butter, with butter and some old Irish cheddar (our favourite car snack) and toasted with jam. We bought a few loaves at Griffin’s Bakery in Galway, were given a loaf by the host of the Vanilla Pod in Killarney, and really liked both the white and brown varieties offered at The Earl’s Court Hotel in Killarney for breakfast.

Upon arriving home, I was eager to try to recreate it. I found an  Irish Brown Bread recipe,  and modified it slightly by adding molasses instead of sugar, added ground flaxseed… to try to make it a little darker. It’s so fast and easy to make, no yeast or rising required. Everyone should know how to throw this together, it will come in handy when you are out of bread – especially at the cottage, for example, where you don’t necessarily feel like running out to the store. It tastes good the first day, even better the second and will last, well wrapped, for 4 or 5 days.

Irish Brown Bread

makes 1 loaf

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

2 tsp molasses

1/2 cup olive oil

1  1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Prepare pan – a 9 or 10 inch round, and I place that on a baking sheet.

Mix together flours, flaxseed, salt, cream of tartar and baking soda.  In large measuring cup, combine buttermilk, molasses and olive oil. Make well in center of flour mixture and pour in wet ingredients. Stir to combine, then knead briefly until smooth. Place into a 9 inch round baking pan or a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Bake 30-40 mins, until it sounds hollow when tapped. This bread is good the first day, but tastes even better the second, and will keep, well wrapped for 4 or 5 days.

Irish brown bread with cream of celery and apple soup