Carrot and Dill Frittata

frittata with carrot and dill
I love my CSA farm share. I could tell you that it’s because the veggies are bountiful and fresh, or because our farmers are lovely and inspiring. But the truth is, it’s mostly because I enjoy the challenge. Anyone who has been part of a CSA knows that feeling of excitement every week when you arrive to pick up your share, wondering what will end up in your bag. I adore the not knowing, the surprise of finding a big purple eggplant or a bunch of fresh herbs or a pile of carrots. But then I get home an I realize that I never used up all those carrots from last week, or even the week before, and now my crisper is overflowing with carrots. And dill. I like dill well enough, but what’s a girl to do with three bunches of fresh dill?

The answer, of course, is to throw it in everything.

So we’ve been having roasted carrots with dill, and salads with a dilly vinaigrette, and carrot soup with a dill oil drizzle. And this morning when I wanted eggs it seemed only natural to add in my staple ingredients of the moment. Surprisingly, carrots and dill and a bit of Swiss cheese make for a truly delicious frittata. The sweet carrots, fragrant dill, and nutty cheese bring the humble egg to a whole new level. I think the trick, though, is not to overcook the carrots. You do want them soft – but not mushy. The bit of bite they lend to the frittata makes it seem heartier, more substantial.

I’ve pretty much worked my way through my stash of carrots, and I only have a small bunch of fresh dill left. We’ll see what next week brings. I’m hoping it’s not more garlic. I have nine heads of fresh garlic in my fridge right now. Anyone have any great garlic ideas?

omelet with carrot

Carrot and Dill Frittata
Serves 1-2

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 small carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
3 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup grated Swiss cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In an oven-proof 8-inch skillet, melt the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and carrots and sauté until the carrots begin to soften, about 6-7 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk, dill, salt, an pepper until frothy. Reduce the heat to low and make sure that the carrots are spread evenly in the pan. Then slowly pour in the egg mixture. Shake the pan a bit to distribute the egg. Allow the frittata to cook for 2-3 minutes to let the bottom set. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and transfer to the top rack of the oven. Cook until the egg is set and golden and the cheese has melted. Run a spatula around the edge of the pan and turn the frittata out onto a plate. Slice and enjoy (also yummy cold)!

Published in: on August 10, 2013 at 10:56 am  Comments (8)  
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Pina Colada Rice Pudding

brown rice pudding with coconut milk
I think rice pudding is one of those divisive foods. Some people love it, some people hate it.

When I was a kid, every time we went to New York City my mother would take us to her favorite deli. We’d slurp bowls of matzo ball soup, share overstuffed pastrami sandwiches, and then tuck into a creamy bowl of rice pudding. Wolff’s Deli’s rice pudding was cool and sweet, laced with plenty of cinnamon and a generous helping of raisins. Wolff’s served their rice pudding with a swirl of whipped cream on top, but Mom and I would skip the cream, digging down deep in search of plump raisins. My brother would wrinkle his nose and shake his head and pat his pastrami-filled belly. I don’t know if he ever actually tried that rice pudding, but he insisted that he hated it.

Jeff hates it too. But that didn’t stop me from turning a take-out container of leftover brown rice into a sweet, exotic treat. I love cool, cinnamon-scented deli rice pudding. But this week, I wanted something a bit more tropical. Ok, that’s actually not true. The truth is that I just didn’t have any raisins. And along with that leftover rice, I had half a can of coconut milk languishing in my fridge. Basically, my cupboards were almost bare and I was hungry. So pina colada rice pudding was born.

I actually ate this rice pudding warm for breakfast. But I think that it would be lovely either warm or cold, for breakfast or dessert. I had some fancy flavored roasted cashews lying around too, so I sprinkled those on top. I think any toasted nut would be tasty, and give a bit of good crunch. I used a combination of skim milk and coconut milk, but if you are avoiding dairy I think that you could substitute almond milk for the skim milk and the results would be fantastic. I wouldn’t go for all coconut milk since it’s a bit heavy.

pineapple coconut dessert

Pina Colada Rice Pudding
Serves 2-4

1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup low-fat or skim milk
1 cup canned coconut milk (unsweetened)
1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2 cup toasted chopped nuts of your choice (for garnish)

In a saucepan, bring the rice, milk, and coconut milk to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the pineapple, vanilla and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. This will take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the type of rice and how long you have left it sitting in your fridge. Serve warm topped with toasted chopped nuts or chill and serve cold topped with toasted chopped nuts.

Published in: on April 23, 2013 at 6:28 pm  Comments (7)  
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Butternut and Feta Omelet With Fresh Mint

omelet with buternut squash feta cheese and mint

I love brunch.  Brunch at home, brunch at restaurants, sweet brunch, savory brunch – I love all of it.  But recently, in my brunching, I have begun to notice that there is a lot of omelet snobbery out there in the world.  From arguments over the merits of adding a splash of milk to debates over whether or not to flip, people tend to be passionate about their omelet preferences.  In fact, omelet eating seems to inspire a level of intensity akin to wine drinking. No, none of my friends have yet attempted to determine the terrior of the eggs from a single bite of Sunday brunch, but such nonsense wouldn’t actually shock me.

I have to admit that I am as picky about my omelets as anyone out there.  I like a splash of milk for volume, but not too much.  I like a slight bit of browning, but no crisp edges.  I hate a runny center, but don’t want my omelet overcooked.  And most of all, I detest a filled rolled omelet.  I like plenty of fillings but want them cooked right into the egg, not sandwiched in pillowy egginess.

So yes, I’m picky.  But just as with wine, I don’t think omelets are about right or wrong, it’s just about figuring out what you enjoy.  Sure, a true, traditional French omelet has no filling and a runny center.  But I’m not a fan.  I probably shouldn’t admit this, but to me, the best part of ordering an omelet in France is that it usually comes with fries.  Actually, for years I thought I hated all omelets, but it turns out that I just had to do a little experimenting.

And I’ve even found a few local brunch places that make my kind of omelet, but I still like my own home-cooked omelets best of all.  Particularly because they are a great way to use up leftovers lingering in the fridge.

I had a bit of leftover squash and a few wilting mint leaves to use up this weekend, so an omelet was born.  I love the combination of sweet butternut squash and salty feta cheese.  But the best part of this omelet is the unexpected burst of fresh earthiness from the mint, which cuts through the richness of the egg and the tanginess of the cheese.

This recipe makes one omelet – my way.  If you happen to like your omelet thinner, use a larger pan.  If you prefer a filled omelet, just cook the egg and then toss in the butternut and feta af the end.  If you want to simply skip the fuss and go for a scramble, it will taste just as lovely.  But don’t skip the mint.  It really is worth a try – trust me.

omelet filled with squash and cheese

Butternut and Feta Omelet with Fresh Mint

Serves 1

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sliced garlic

2 extra large eggs

2 tablespoons milk

pinch of salt

pinch of pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided

1/3 cup cooked cubed butternut squash

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Heat the oil in an 8-inch omelet pan over medium-low heat.  Add the garlic and saute until just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.  Meanwhile, beat the eggs, milk, salt and pepper with a wisk until very well combined. Add half of the mint to the egg mixture.  Reduce the heat to low and add the egg mixture to the pan, making sure to distribute evenly.  As the egg begins to cook on the bottom, sprinkle the cooked butternut and the feta cheese over the top of the omelet. Continue to cook the omelet until the top is no longer runny (you can cover the pan to speed this process, if you like, but it will change the texture slightly). Using a spatula to lift the edges of the omelet from the pan, slide the omelet carefully to a plate.  Top with the remaining mint and serve hot.

Published in: on January 7, 2013 at 7:55 pm  Comments (7)  
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Whole Wheat Apple Cake

Jewish Apple Cake

Last week, I promised you an apple cake recipe. And I’m following through on that promise – sort of.  Technically, I promised you my grandmother’s apple cake recipe.  This is not it.

But it turns out that Nannie’s apple cake recipe is actually a major family mystery.

I was pretty sure that I had the recipe for Nannie’s cake, along with half a dozen other Jewish apple cake recipes, in my recipe file.  But as it turns out, the recipe I had thought was my grandmother’s was virtually identical to a recipe from my aunt, which she apparently got from a woman at her synagogue. The only difference between the two recipes was the type of baking pan to be used. And when I questioned my aunt further, she revealed that she had always believed Nannie’s apple cake to have been straight from a boxed mix, with the addition of a few chopped fresh apples.  So I called my mother, and then my brother, and despite all of our combined memories of Nannie’s apple cake, we are frankly still confused.  My mother swears that while Nannie was fascinated by boxed cake mixes, her apple cake was 100% from scratch.  My brother thinks she baked it in a bundt pan, I’m certain she did not.  My mom thinks there was cinnamon in the cake batter itself, but not one of the recipes in my file has cinnamon appearing anywhere but in the apple mixture.  And the question of whether or not she peeled the apples opened a whole new round of arguments.

All I can tell you for certain is that this recipe here is decidedly not Nannie’s.  She would never have used whole wheat flour, or egg whites.  Nope – Nannie was a full-on butter and sugar kind of lady. But since uncovering the truth about the real deal would have required more recipe testing than I had time for this week, I just winged it.

jewish apple cakeAnd I think Nannie would be proud.  She would have liked the way the whole wheat flour adds a little bit of heartiness to the crumb of this cake. Nannie’s apple cake was always more like a huge, round muffin than a fluffy cake, and the whole wheat flour only enhances that lovely, dense texture. This cake is chock full of apples, which as my mom pointed out, is the whole point.  My mom is famous for having spent her youth creeping into Nannie’s kitchen to sneak slices of apple out of this cake (or pilfer raisins from a pan of cooling bran muffins, or snag bits of apricot from a cookie filling). But most of all, Nannie would have loved how easy this cake is to make.  It comes together in minutes, bakes up beautifully, and is basically fool-proof.  Nannie was not a fussy lady, and this is not a fussy cake.

This cake is wonderful with a dollop of whipped cream, and I think it would be equally tasty as a sweet breakfast treat with a big cup of coffee.  It would make a great addition to a Yom Kippur break-the-fast buffet, too.

And as for the to-peel or not-to-peel debate, I vote don’t peel.  It’s just too fussy (and I’m just too lazy).

jewish apple cake recipe

Whole Wheat Apple Cake

Serves 8

1 egg

3 egg whites

1/2 cup sugar, plus 3 tablespoons

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup orange juice

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 medium apples, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8″ round baking pan.  In a large bowl, beat the egg, egg whites, 1/2 cup of sugar, vanilla extract, oil, and juice together until well mixed. In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt.  Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, and stir to combine. Toss the sliced apples with the remaining sugar and the cinnamon. Spread half of the cake batter into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.  Add the apples, and spread them as evenly as you can.  Top with the remaining batter, doing your best to spread evenly (as I mentioned, this is not a fussy cake, so don’t worry if you don’t get the batter all the way to the edges of the pan, it will spread itself as it bakes).  Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top of the cake is a dark golden color and the edges pull away from the pan.  Cool  before serving. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Published in: on September 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm  Comments (15)  
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Sweet Zucchini Crumble

sweet zucchini raisin crumble

Jeff whines to anyone willing to listen about my habit of sneaking veggies into every dish.  He’s right – I do shove spinach into lasagna, cabbage into potstickers, cauliflower into mac and cheese, sprouts into sandwiches and peppers into quesadillas. Jeff, on the other hand, could go for weeks without consuming so much as a carrot stick.

Over the years he has become amazingly adept at ferreting out even the smallest dice of hidden vegetable. Dinner in our house goes something like this:

Jeff: “There’s fennel in this sauce, I can tell.”

Katie: “Yep.”

Jeff: “I’m not a big fan of fennel”

Katie: “Too bad.”

And on some nights dinner is more like this:

Jeff: “The kale gives this pesto a weird texture”

Katie: “There’s no kale, it’s just basil and oil and nuts and cheese”

Jeff: “Liar”

Katie: “OK, fine, basil and oil and nuts and cheese AND kale.  You win.”

Jeff: “I always win”

So I’ve basically given up on pulling the wool over his eyes.  He has super-human veggie-radar.  But if the veggie-avoiders in your life have a less developed system of vegetable detection, this zucchini crumble is an amazing way to sneak some green into their tummies. While it would never fool Jeff, this sweet zucchini crumble would probably pass for apple crumble with most zucchini haters.

squash crisp Zucchini is amazingly versatile.  From ratatouille to chocolate zucchini bread it works in almost everything.  But until my mother-in-law suggested last weekend that zucchini could take the place of apples in a classic crumble, the idea had never, ever occurred to me. She swore up and down that it would be delicious, but I couldn’t quite imagine it. So, of course, I immediately ran out and bought some zucchini.  Despite my mother-in-law’s proclamation of zucchini crumble wonderfullness, I was fully expecting disaster.

But you know what?  It’s completely freaking delicious!  Who knew? Well, my mother-in-law knew.

It isn’t quite like apple crumble, but it’s close.  In fact, I might even like it better.  The texture of the zucchini here is surprisingly lovely – soft enough to seem decadent but firm enough to stand up to the hearty oat crumble topping. The raisins add an extra burst of sweetness, but if you are feeling experimental, I think dried cranberries might add a nice tart punch. This crumble makes a great dessert served with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.  But I actually have been eating it for breakfast with a dollop of Greek yogurt.  And I don’t even feel guilty about having dessert for breakfast.  After all, I’m getting my veggies!

sweet zucchini crisp

Sweet Zucchini Crumble

Serves 4

3 cups chopped zucchini

1/4 cup raisins

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup cold unsalted butter cut in bits

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease four individual ramekins.  In a large bowl, toss the zucchini with the raisins, sugar, half of the cinnamon, and the nutmeg. Divide the zucchini mixture among the ramekins. Stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, and remaining cinnamon.  Add the butter and, using your fingers, rub the butter into the oat mixture until it is mostly incorporated.  The mixture won’t be uniform, and that’s fine. Top the zucchini in each of the four ramekins with a quarter of the oat mixture.  Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and cook for 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden and the zucchini is soft.  Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream, or yogurt.

Published in: on August 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm  Comments (9)  
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Broccoli Pancakes with Lemon, Parsley and Capers

whole wheat broccoli pancakes

I’m really not a picky eater.  I never was.  Oh sure, as a kid I had my quirks. Don’t we all? But over the years most of my food aversions dissipated.  Some of my least favorite foods even became obsessions, like Gorgonzola. Others just became more tolerable as time went on, like celery.  Only a small handful of hold-out dislikes stuck with me all through my 20s.  But after I turned 30, something strange happened:  I decided to try Jello.  Ok, I didn’t exactly decide, I was pretty much forced.  But it turned my world upside down.  My most reviled food nemesis, the evil sugary, wiggly gelatin, was, in fact, yummy.

The Jello episode led me to rethink my other food aversions.  As I said, there aren’t many of them. But capers were high on the list.  After finding out that the terrifyingly jiggly Jello was actually pretty fun to eat, I had to give capers another try.  I’d always believed capers to be overpoweringly briny and obnoxiously chewy.  It turns out that I was wrong.  Capers add a salty kick to savory dishes and get wonderfully crisp why fried up in a bit of oil.  A little jar of capers tucked in your fridge can be a flavor secret weapon.

I made these broccoli pancakes to use up a wilting head of broccoli, but it’s the lemon, parsley and capers that make these pancakes special.  With loads of fresh, bright flavor, these nutrition-packed pancakes are awesome for brunch along with scrambled eggs, and they make for a great quick lunch with a big green salad. You could certainly change up this recipe, using cauliflower instead of broccoli, and maybe some cilantro in place of the parsley, if you like.  But do give the capers a shot.  If, like me, you haven’t always been a big fan of capers, you might be surprised.

Of course, if you are like Jeff, and have held on to a life-long hatred of broccoli, that’s another story.  I would say that you should give these pancakes a try (the buttery batter and fresh parsley do manage to mellow out the brocoli), but I think broccoli-haters are a special breed.  You broccoli haters out there are pretty set in your ways.  I’ve managed to get Jeff to change his mind on everything from bok choy to quinoa but broccoli is off limits.  Which is just fine with me, since it meant I got these wonderful pancakes all to myself!

broccoli caper pancakes brunch

Broccoli Pancakes with Lemon, Parsley and Capers

Serves 4

2 cups broccoli florets

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons butter, divided

2 eggs, beaten

1 3/4 cups milk

1 tablespoon lemon zest

3 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 tablespoons capers

Steam the broccoli until crisp-tender, then cool and chop. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, wisk together the flours, baking powder, salt and garlic powder. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the microwave, and let cool.  In a small bowl, wisk together the cooled melted butter, eggs, and milk.  Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture.  Add in the lemon, parsley and broccoli and stir to combine.

Heat a griddle and grease with a bit of the reserved butter.  Drop the batter by the 1/2 cup onto the griddle and flip when the edges begin to brown.  Remove the pancakes and repeat until all the batter is used. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the oil and fry the capers until they begin to brown and get slightly crisp.

To serve, top pancakes with fried capers and additional parsley.

Published in: on May 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm  Comments (7)  
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Mother’s Day Brunch Menu Ideas

My brother and I have been cooking Mother’s Day brunch since I learned to turn on the stove.  I had this great little step stool, with my name painted on it in purple letters, that was just the right height to help me reach the sink.  Evan was only allowed to use a butter knife, but somehow we managed.  And Mom choked down everything we made – from gritty coffee to undercooked potatoes to crunchy eggs. 

Thankfully, our brunch menus have improved.  Evan has graduated to a grown-up knife and I’ve learned how to properly crack an egg. 

Do you cook for your mom on Mother’s Day?  What do you make? If you need some inspiration this year, check out the brunch menu ideas below.

Healthy Brunch for Mom

seed bread

Whole Wheat Oat Soda Bread

with Cherry Berry Freezer Jam

Fresh Sliced Melon and

Pumpkin Yogurt Breakfast Parfait

 

Brunch for Mom and a Crowd

cocktail recipe

New England Noodle Kugel

with store-bought chicken apple sausage

Apricot Walnut Sour Cream Scones

and this Strawberry Rhubarb Cocktail

 

Published in: on May 10, 2012 at 5:27 pm  Comments (1)  
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Butternut Hash and Eggs

butternut squash and fennel

I eat eggs for dinner pretty regularly.  I know some folks consider eggs a breakfast food, and I do love a good Benedict for brunch, but I’ve always been a fan of eggs for dinner.  There is something totally relaxed, completely soothing, and inexplicably fun about an eggy supper.

I think I probably get my evening egg love from my dad.  My dad was never much of a cook.  In fact, there were only two things that he knew how to make.  One of them was scrambled eggs.  He always called it an omelet, but it was very much a scramble.  A kitchen sink scramble. With everything from leftover brisket to chopped chicken nuggets.  And somehow we loved it.  But more often than not, my dad’s “omelets” were not breakfast food.  “Omelets” were for nights when mom wasn’t home and he didn’t feel like ordering pizza. 

These days, I’m not quite as into scrambled eggs with hot dogs.  But I am still into using eggs-for-dinner nights to clean out the fridge. 

Yesterday, my fridge yielded leftover cooked butternut and a half a bulb of fennel.  I added in a few potatoes and some onion, and a hash was born. Topped with an over-easy egg, it was sweet, salty, rich and decadent.  I’m a big fan of the subtle sweetness of the squash with the crispy edges of fried egg. But if you don’t have any winter squash, you could certainly substitute sweet potato or some chopped carrots or parsnips.  I quickly steamed the butternut in the microwave, because I like it a bit soft.  If you prefer, you can roast it along with the onions and fennel. This is a really flexible hash, so play with flavors that you enjoy. And as for the fried egg, I happen to like a slightly runny yolk. I crack an egg in a hot, greased pan, cook for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for 1 minute more.  But egg cookery is very personal, so experiment until you find your perfect method.

vegetable hash and egg supper

Butternut Hash and Eggs

Serves 4

2 cups diced butternut squash

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

2 cups diced Yukon gold potato

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped fennel

 4 eggs

1 tablespoon butter

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Put a few tablespoons of water in a large microwavable bowl with the butternut squash.  Cook in the microwave on high until the butternut is soft, about 5 minutes.  Drain any excess water and return the butternut to the bowl.

Meanwhile, toss the potatoes with half of the oil, the herbs, and salt and pepper.  Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Toss the onion and fennel with the remaining oil and more salt and pepper and spread on another baking sheet.  Roast both until the potatoes are crisp and the fennel is soft, about 20 minutes.

While the vegetables roast, cook the eggs.  Heat the butter in a very large skillet over medium heat.  Carefully crack the eggs into the skillet and cook until desired doneness. 

Toss the potatoes, onions and fennel in with the butternut.  Divide the butternut mixture onto four plates and top each with an egg, and, if desired, an extra sprinkle of salt. Serve immediately.

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm  Comments (6)  
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Whole Wheat Oat Soda Bread

Irish soda bread

Remember,  back a few months ago, when I made that lovely list of recipes I wanted to try?  Well, I promise that I haven’t forgotten.  That is not quite true, actually.  I have forgotten – over, and over, forgotten to take pictures!  This Sriracha Popcorn was gone before I had a chance to snap a photo. And this Apple Butter made a perfect hostess gift. 

But with Saint Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I was not going to miss the opportunity to show you this hearty oat soda bread.  I did have to bar Jeff from entering the kitchen and slap back my own hand as my itchy fingers attempted to tear off just a bite of crust.  In the end, though, my camera prevailed. 

I made a handful of changes to this original recipe from 101 Cookbooks, making a lovely crusty bread deeper and darker.  This is not a wimpy bread.  It is simple, but it is intense, flavorful, and dense.  If you like your bread fluffy and light, this may not be the loaf for you.  But if you like homemade bread that bakes up in under an hour, well, you can’t go wrong here.  I adore soda bread because it is beyond easy to prepare.  No kneading, no waiting, no fussing.  And it still makes the house smell like fresh bread.

This bread is all crust.  Well, not all crust, but enough to satisfy both me and Jeff.  We’re the kind of people who fight over the end of a baguette.  The seeds here make for a crunchy crust and the free-form round shape of this loaf leaves more of the bread exposed, allowing for the maximum exterior to interior ratio. I like this bread slathered with a good bit of cream cheese.  A generous amount of salted butter is fantastic too – or you could be extra decadent and go for both butter and cream cheese, as Jeff does. And while we’re talking about decadence… this bread is wonderful toasted and topped with nutella. All thoughts of gooey chocolatey nutella aside, the bread itself is actually quite healthy. And if you wanted to keep it that way, you could go for a lovely sandwich with some roasted turkey and fresh avocado.

But I actually think this bread goes best with a big bowl of rich and meaty stew.  The hearty crumb soaks up all the juices and holds up extremely well to dunking.  Next weekend I’ll be making a big batch of Irish lamb stew and another loaf of this oat soda bread and toasting with a pint of Guinness!

fresh homemade bread

 Oat Soda Bread

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Makes 1 loaf

2 cups rolled oats

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 3/4 cups fat-free buttermilk (or 1 3/4 cups milk and 2 tablespoons vinegar) plus extra for brushing

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a food processor, pulse the oats until they form a coarse flour.  Stir together the oat flour, whole wheat flour, and all-purpose flour in a large bowl.  Stir in the baking soda and salt.  Stir the buttermilk into the flour mixture (if using milk and vinegar, stir the vinegar into the milk and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before stirring into the dough). The mixture should be somewhat sticky, but do your best to gather it into a ball.  Turn the dough out on a floured baking sheet and press into a thick round disk.  Score the top of the loaf with an X.  Brush the dough with a few tablespoons of buttermilk and sprinkle with the seeds. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes.  Move the bread to the top rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes more to crisp the crust. Wonderful warm with plenty of good quality butter!

Published in: on March 11, 2012 at 7:03 pm  Comments (12)  
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Breakfast Tostada

breakfast taco

What do you eat when you’re dining alone?

For me, it’s eggs.  It’s always eggs. 

Maybe it’s simply because Jeff hates eggs. I know – who doesn’t like eggs?  My husband, that’s who.  Omelets, scrambles, benedicts, quiches… all out of the question. So we don’t eat eggs together.  But when he’s working late, out of town, or just not hungry, I never think twice. It’s always eggs.

Or maybe it’s because there are a million ways to cook eggs, almost all of them quick, easy, healthy and perfect for solo meals. When I’m cooking for myself, I don’t usually like to fuss too much in the kitchen.  But that doesn’t mean I always want to order pizza or eat a bowl of Cheerios.  Although, sometimes nothing beats a bowl of Cheerios…

This breakfast tostada is great in the morning as a quick, healthy weekday treat for yourself.  But the recipe doubles, triples, or quadruples really easily, too, and makes a nice brunch with friends.  I like to use corn tortillas, since they toast up with the best texture.  I’m a big fan of chipotle salsa here, but use whatever you like most.  I think a good tomatillo salsa would be yummy.  But if you have some homemade salsa in the fridge, by all means, use it!  This recipe is really more of a suggestion, so play around with toppings.  You could add some refried beans or black beans.  Or maybe sprinkle on a few corn kernels or a squeeze of lime.  Perhaps go for some shredded cabbage instead of lettuce, for extra crunch. You could sub in turkey sausage or even vegan sausage for the chorizo, or use up some leftover shredded chicken breast.  You get the idea.

egg tostada

Breakfast Tostada

Makes 1 tostada

1 corn tortilla

1 teaspoon butter

1 egg

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons salsa

2 tablespoons cooked crumbled chorizo

2 tablespoons shredded lettuce

1 tablespoon sour cream

1 radish, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro

Toast the corn tortilla in the oven or toaster oven until mostly crisp, but not too browned.  Meanwhile, heat the butter in a skillet and fry the egg to your desired doneness.  I like over-medium, but cook to your preference.  Sprinkle the egg with salt and remove from the heat. Spread the salsa on the tortilla.  Top with the egg, the chorizo, the lettuce, the sour cream, the radish, and the cilantro.  Enjoy with a couple of napkins!

Published in: on February 25, 2012 at 3:10 pm  Comments (8)  
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