Kaki, man, February snuck up on me!
I finished out my January Fridge/Freezer/Pantry Clean-Out* with a great improvised stuffing, using 2/3 of a loaf of garlic bread, an egg and shredded cheese for binder, and… kale stems and carrot slices sauteed in bacon fat. Holy shoot it was delicious.
Then I went to the farmer’s market to restock my kitchen in style. So much fun. Cooper and Matt and their dogs came with me, and it was an hour and a half of petting dogs and chatting with other market-goers about dogs and about how Cooper is due in two weeks (eeeee!!!!) and my, it was a blast. Picked up some fresh kale and arugula (cannot recommend market-fresh arugula enough), some lovely multi-colored eggs, and some really cute small butternut squash** and some pretty watermelon radishes***.
This week I broke my new ingredient fast with a TON of cooking. I made a batch of homemade yogurt. I made up this great dressing and crazy-good chicken chili from Big Girls, Small Kitchen. I made another attempt at flavored palmiers****. I made a batch of your dad’s famous chocolate chip cookies and won the Super Bowl (Party) with them. But my favorite thing I made this past week was a spur-of-the-moment breakfast bread. Kaki, what a hit!
It was after dinner on Thursday, I’d gotten home and was prepping my lunch for the next day and was craving something sweet, something I hadn’t made in a while, something that could pass for breakfast. And for the third time in a week, it was Big Girls, Small Kitchen for the win. I adapted the banana chocolate-chip bread recipe from their cookbook with what I had on hand and ended up with a super moist, not-too-light, not-too-dense, orange spice bread.
Orange Spice Bread
(makes one loaf)
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon (a pinch) ground clove
- 1 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup yogurt (I used homemade, which was pretty thick, similar to greek yogurt)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zest of one orange
Pre-heat oven to 350*F. Spray one loaf pan with non-stick spray, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients, stirring until fully incorporated. Make a well in the center of the bowl. Add all of the wet ingredients to the well in the center of the dry ingredients, not stirring until they have all been added. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring as little as possible until fully incorporated (too much stirring will toughen the final product*****).
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in pre-heated oven for about an hour, or until a tester toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to make sure the sides have released. Invert bread from the loaf pan onto a plate, quickly peel off the parchment paper, then invert the bread from the plate onto a cooling rack. Let cool at least another 20 minutes.
Slice up and enjoy! Totally great on its own. I’m sure a slather of cream cheese would be phenomenal as well.
Talk to you soon, my dear,
*Speaking of which, I kept meaning to tell you about a blog I really love that does improvised recipes from leftovers all the time, Purple Kale Kitchenworks. Their idea is that you prep ingredients to their most useful “holding points”, and then recipes can quickly be made by combining these ready ingredients. They have a section called “Otherwise Trash” that talks about rethinking what we toss in the kitchen; could that pot of water you blanched broccoli in be re-used for pasta? For vegetable stock? To cook beans? It’s a really great site for seeing what we use in the kitchen in a new light. I just love reading them; you should give them a look!
**Except, remind me not to do that again. The peeling of miniature butternut squash = super time consuming and annoying. Resist their cuteness if possible!
***Radishes fall into the same category as raw tomatoes for me: I keep trying them thinking I’ll have developed a taste for them, and then… I don’t really like them. I still have one diced up in my crisper… maybe I’ll try a quick pickle and see if I can use them as garnish?
****I tried to make almond-flavored palmiers by brushing the rolled-out puff pastry with a little almond extract. It worked okay but was more subtle than I would have liked; I’ll try adding marzipan next time, maybe. I also tried to make lavender-flavored palmiers by rubbing some dried lavender into the sugar ahead of time, hoping it would infuse the sugar. The raw sugar had a light, lavender flavor, but once cooked and caramelized in the oven there wasn’t really any lavender flavor left at all. Not that that kept us from eating either batch, mind you. But still, the cinnamon-sugar version still reigns supreme. (Oooo, so adding spices to the sugar… maybe I should try a chai-spice mix next?)
*****This is essentially a muffin batter, hence the combining using a traditional muffin method. One could of course make this into muffins by simply baking for a shorter period of time using any size muffin pan.