Category Archives: Bread

Pear and Poppy Seed Bread

As you can see I’ve lost track of what CSA week I’m on. I’m still getting boxes and barely keeping up with using it all (but doing pretty well!). Overall I’ve been really happy with the box contents, especially the recent addition of melon, pears and apples! The only problem with pears is they ripen quickly after they are picked so we had a few heading over the hill before we had a chance to eat them. To solve that problem, I made a triple batch of this bread, which I turned into two loaves and a dozen muffins. Although I liked the loaves, the muffins went like hotcakes so I will probably make more of those next time. Hotcakes? Hmmm… yes.

Pear and Poppy Seed Bread

Pear and Poppy Seed Bread

Pear and Poppy Seed Bread
(slightly adapted from Cooking Light)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped peeled ripe pear
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in pear; make a well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk and next 5 ingredients (buttermilk through egg) in a bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

For muffins, spray a muffin pan and bake 20 minutes. Remove and cool on a rack or serve warm.

Breakfast of champions.

Breakfast of champions.

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Mediterranean Pizza

I can’t remember the last time I went out for pizza.  There are a few places I like in town, but none are very close to my house, and it usually just seems like too much trouble.  I’ve found it’s much easier to make my own, especially if I want a healthy-ish, gourmet-ish sort of pizza.

I threw this together with a few ingredients I had on hand, and the result was a tasty, Mediterranean style pizza that disappeared in the blink of an eye!  I read an article recently about ingredients you should never put on pizza, and I think spinach was on the list, but what do they know?  I actually really like it on pizza, especially if you cook it at a high enough temp that it gets a little crispy on the edges instead of just wilting.  Because nobody likes a soggy pizza.  This is a great way to get some extra veggies into the little ones (and the big ones!) without it seeming like rabbit food.

If you have a Trader Joe’s in the vicinity, they make a great fresh pizza dough that you can find in their refrigerated section.  It comes in plain or garlic-herb varieties.  If you don’t have a TJ’s close to you, you can use any pizza dough that suits you.

Mediterranean Pizza

Mediterranean Pizza

Mediterranean Pizza

Garlic-herb fresh pizza crust (I used Trader Joe’s pizza crust, but whatever kind you like will work)
1/2 cup basil pesto (click here for my pesto recipe or use store bought)
Pepperoni
1 tomato, sliced or diced
1 cup spinach, coarsely chopped
Assorted olives (I used kalamata and some green Italian ones)
1/2 cup feta
1/4 cup mozzarella
Fresh ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  If you have a pizza stone, go ahead and preheat that too, otherwise you can use any baking pan.  Flatten your dough out with your hands into whatever shape suits you (I usually just make it whatever shape of pan I’m using). Make it as thin or thick as you like.

Spread pesto evenly over crust.

It doesn't have to be perfect, just try to get a little bit all over it.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, just try to get a little bit all over it.

Layer  pepperoni and spinach.

 

Pepperoni and spinach.  For a vegetarian version simply leave out the pepperoni.

Pepperoni and spinach. For a vegetarian version simply leave out the pepperoni.

Pile on the other toppings, sprinkling evenly over crust. Finish with a few grinds of black pepper, or if you like it spicy, scatter a bit of crushed red pepper over the top.

Tomatoes, olives and cheese scattered on top.  Doesn't that look gorgeous?

Tomatoes, olives and cheese scattered on top. Doesn’t that look gorgeous?

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until crust is lightly browned on the edges and bottom.  I like a crispy crust, so I sometimes cook an additional minute or two.  For a softer crust, take it out a bit sooner.

Let it set for a few minutes before slicing.  Cut into wedges and try not to burn the roof of your mouth when you dive in!

Mmmmm!

Mmmmm!

 

 

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Lemon Zucchini Bread

We received a garden gift.  Four GIANT zucchini.  After four loaves of zucchini bread I still have two of these monsters left.  I’m debating about what to do with it.  Zucchini tacos?  Zucchini soup?  Nah…probably just more of this bread, because it was fantastic.  This one in particular was even better because it was made with love by my daughter, Claire.  Have I mentioned that teaching that kid to cook was a great idea?

The original recipe for this had a glaze over the top.  If you want to add that, it’s simply a mixture of powdered sugar and a little milk, spooned over the cooled bread.  We left it off…now we can call this healthy, right?  In any case, this was a delicious twist on an old favorite.  (Get it?  Twist?  Lemon?  Yikes.)

Scrumptious Lemon Zucchini Bread

Scrumptious Lemon Zucchini Bread

Lemon Zucchini Bread
(adapted from NancyCreative.com)

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
Juice of one lemon
Zest of one lemon
1 cup grated zucchini (unpeeled)

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.

In medium bowl, beat 2 eggs well, then add canola oil and sugar, and blend well. Then add the buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest and blend everything well. Fold in zucchini and stir until evenly distributed in mixture.

Add this mixture to the dry ingredients in the large bowl and blend everything together, but don’t overmix.

Pour batter into prepared 9×5″ loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (if your oven tends to run hot, check the loaf after 40 minutes; also, if you make this in an 8×4″ loaf pan, your baking time may be a little longer…about 5 to 10 minutes more). Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

Yum.  Is it cool enough to eat?  I think so.

Yum. Is it cool enough to eat? I think so.

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Bumped Up Banana Bread

One of the first cookbooks I owned was the Better Homes and Gardens red & white checkerboard thing.  I got it for Christmas  long ago and I have to say, I couldn’t live without it.  With all the cool cookbooks I have and use, when I need just a basic recipe for this or that I go back to the old standby.  This is where I go when I need to know how long to roast a chicken, or how to make pizza dough, or what should go in lentil soup.

Here’s the thing that always makes me laugh.  It’s got a basic recipe for everything, but nothing more than basic for anything.  And there are lots of things with lard and margarine and other stuff that I don’t generally cook with.  So I find a recipe, and then I replace stuff I don’t like with ingredients I actually use, and then add stuff to make it more interesting.  And that sort of messing around is how I ended up with this delicious banana bread recipe.  Here’s the funniest part:  the original recipe says to let it cool overnight before slicing.  Hahaha!  Yeah, right.  Who does that?

Bumped Up Banana Bread

Bumped Up Banana Bread
(adapted from Better Homes & Gardens)

1 3/4 cup flour, divided
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (3 bananas)
1/3 cup butter
2 tbsp. milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

In a large mixer bowl combine 1 cup of flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add mashed banana, butter and milk.  Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until blended, then on high speed for 2 minutes.  Add eggs and remaining flour and beat until blended.  Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.  Grease & flour a loaf pan.  Bake at 350˚ for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Remove from the pan and cool completely on the rack.

Banana Bread, fresh out of the oven

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