Posts filed under ‘Bread’

…Pumpkin French Toast

Slices of Pumpkin Bread

So, you all made the pumpkin bread from the last post right?  The ingredients are at least on your shopping list for your next trip to the store, right?  At the very least, you’ve put it on your to-do list for the upcoming weekend, right?  If you haven’t done any of those things, I’d venture to guess you will as soon as you see what I’ve done here with that very same loaf of pumpkin bread.  

Eggs and Utensils

You’ll no doubt need to make a double batch of the bread, by the way.  One loaf will quickly disappear right out of the oven.  It can’t be helped.  The second loaf is the one you cut into thick slices and coat with a batter of farm fresh egg, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to cook up in a heavy skillet to make THE MOST DECADENT French toast you’ll ever have! 

Egg and spices

Nothing could be lovelier for a brunch with friends and family.  Or, Valentine’s Day is heading our way once again and this would be a wonderful wake-up for the one you love.  And I tell you, if you happen to own a B&B, I can only imagine how your guests will stampede the dining room when you put this on the menu.   This is a very special dish great for grand occasions.  But bake a bunch of loaves and stash several in you freezer (double wrapped with cling wrap and foil and in a ziplock bag) and you’ll be all set to make it any old day of the week. 

French toast in the skillet

This Pumpkin French Toast is especially good comfort food for a snowy day.  My friend Anne {of Eat Feed Autumn Winter fame} over at the Eat Feed blog, is doing a creative and useful series of posts on winter dishes.   So often winter is a lonesome time for those striving to eat as local as possible.  Inspirational moments and ingredients are few and far between.  Anne’s set out to put a little love back into winter eating by pooling together readers’, guest bloggers’ and her own ideas for heating up the cold months.  Please stop by and let her know what some of your best winter dishes are.   In the case against winter cooking blahs, I’m submitting Exhibit A: Pumpkin French Toast.   Many more Exhibits to follow.   

Pumpkin French Toast

 

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January 20, 2010 at 7:39 pm 13 comments

Blueberry Banana Bread

Blueberry Banana Bread

I’ve told you all about my blueberry memories before here on SFTF; hinting at how these little blue orbs are such an important part of my summertime vigil over seasonal produce each year.  In short, I adore them. 

Bowl of Blueberries

Now, let me go into the full length version of “why.”  As a young man, my grandfather planted a half dozen blueberry bushes beside the old wood shop that sits catty-corner to the rambling farm house in which I grew up.   As someone who’s now trained in the ways of horticulture and small fruit production, I marvel that these bushes have not only survived this long in this spot, but have truly flourished.  But when I was waist-high to my mom, I only cared about one thing: the big ones! 

Mixing the batter

When the first berries on the bush began hinting of blue, I’d watch them like a hawk and usually ate far more before my mom found out they were ripe than she even realizes today.   Eventually the gig was up and she would have my brother and I grab the handles of our little white plastic picking pails to go about the process of harvesting all the blueberries before the birds got them.   We’d have to pick every couple of days and the joy of it all quickly wore off on my pre-adolescent persona.    What I quickly came to learn was that every season there was one special bush that bore the biggest bluest berries you’d ever see and if I got to that bush first, I’d quickly fill my bucket and declare myself “done!” with this berry picking business long before my brother.  My poor mother always got stranded alone – my brother and I no doubt off running through the lawn sprinkler, squealing like banshees – gleaning from another bush we could count on every year to  produce the tiniest berries you’d ever see.   They were as small or smaller than  the wild blueberries I’ve seen in Maine. 

Sweet goodness

Once my mom had corralled my brother and I again and got us dried off, we went inside to wash and sort the berries so she could turn them into delicious jam or pie filling.  To do this, we’d get out great big enamel basins, paint chipped with age, and fill them with blueberries and water.   After a good swishing, we’d pick up handfuls, spread our palms flat and then use the index finger of the other hand to pass judgment on one blueberry at a time, rolling the good ones into a bowl and the bad ones into the compost bucket.   This method, which I still use today, is highly efficient and effective.  As you roll the a berry from the clump on your palm and down your fingers, you test to make sure it is firm (squishy is bad) and also see all sides of it to determine if it is blemished or still has the stem on it.   

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August 18, 2009 at 5:13 pm 15 comments

Pizza Dough

Pizza in the raw

 

Basic Pizza Dough

1 C. warm tap water (may need 1 or 2 T. more water)
1 1/2 t. active dry yeast
2 t. honey
2 t. salt
2 T. olive oil
3 C. flour

Whisk water, honey and yeast in a medium bowl until yeast has dissolved. Sit aside and cover with a towel until mixture is foamy and double in size, about 15 minutes.  Stir in salt and oil. Add flour and work mixture with a spoon and your fingers until it comes together as a dough. Add more water one tablespoon at a time if you need, but try to avoid this if you can knead the dough without more water.

Sprinkle some flour on the counter and knead the dough for a few minutes.
Clean out the bowl you used to mix the dough and coat it with olive oil (or non-stick spray).  Put the dough in, cover it with a clean dish towel, and let it rise for an hour or up to two, until it is doubled.  If dough is not showing much life, place on top of a warm oven or radiator.

When dough is doubled, gently deflate it with the heel of your hand.  Form it into a ball and let it rest on a floured spot with the bowl turned over top of it to keep out drafts. In 15 minutes, it is ready to roll out.

Makes enough dough for 4 small pizzas (if you want to personalize them for everyone at the table) or 2 large pizzas .   Dough may also be frozen, wrapped  in plastic wrap and placed in a freezer bag, for use on a week night.  Just pull the dough from the freezer the night before you plan to use it, unwrap it, and put it in a bowl in the fridge to thaw out.  Let it come to room temperature before rolling out.

March 2, 2009 at 5:16 pm 2 comments

My List

Gorgonzola and Pear Bruschetta

I’m humming that song from The Sound of Music… “My Favorite Things”.  You know the one, right?  Only instead of raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens and sleigh bells and schnitzel (who came up with that last one anyway?), I’ve got a few other things in mind.  Fiery autumn leaves is obviously one of them and along with brilliant foliage displays comes myriad food associations, many of which are among my most favored of all.   Who here doesn’t drool just thinking about just-picked butternut squash, pumpkin, chestnuts, figs, apples, rutabaga, parsnips… the list of glorious local produce this time of the year is nearly endless.

Asian pear halves

Coincidentally, I’ll be bringing you recipes for each of those locally grown ingredients over the next few weeks.  I’ve had a streak of foraging luck recently that even the wildest woman would be proud of, gathering up such uncommon delicacies as hardy kiwis and tender stalks of rhubarb from rather unexpected places.  Stay tuned for those stories as they unfold in future posts.  (Yes, I’m a tease sometimes.)

The stinky cheese

At the very tippy top of this blogger’s “my favorite things” list sits a golden orb, the regal Asian pear.  Starting in mid-September, I literally haunt the walkways of farmers markets and the websites of pick-your-own orchards, ready to pounce on that first harvest of the season.  From the moment I bite that first succulent juicy sweet fruit ‘til the flood of pears dwindles to a trickle in November, I eat them like a bear getting ready for hibernation.  Fortunately, they’re so healthy, I don’t pack on the same pounds as a bear. 

Rubbing garlic on toast slices

But really, if you’ve never had an Asian pear (versus, say, a more common Bartlett), you haven’t let your taste buds really experience life.  These pears are so tender and oh-so juicy.  No matter how careful you are, juice is going to dribble down your chin and you’re going to giggle when it does because Asian pears make you so very happy. 

More juicy pears for slicing

Generally I don’t cook with these pears though.  Why cook them when they’re already perfect fresh?  I tried making pear butter with them last year though and found that while it was good, it wasn’t any better than eating them raw.   This year, after getting my initial “fix” on the amazing pears from North Star Orchard, I decided to try cooking with them once more.  Just when you think you can’t improve upon perfection, along comes Sweet Gorgonzola and Pear Bruschetta.

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October 9, 2008 at 9:55 pm 6 comments

Fall Prelude

Sweet corn

I don’t know about where you are, but around here, the smell of fall has been in the air all week.  It’s especially heavy in the dewy cool morning light.  I smile like the Mona Lisa when I’m walking to class or working in my garden.  I’ve pulled the light sweaters out of the cedar chest.  What is it about autumn that just makes life a little sweeter?  And is there anyone out there that “hates” fall the way some people hate winter or summer?  I can’t imagine disliking cool nights, crisp mornings, and warm (but not hot) sun in the afternoon. 

Bread and eggs 

With the advent of autumn on my doorstep, I start to move my menus from light cool fare to hearty comforting dishes.  Today’s Corn and Tomato Bread Pudding is a great bridge between the bounty of summer and the more selective nature of fall.  Fresh sweet corn cut off the cob pairs beautifully with hefty cubes of whole wheat bread, slivers of oven-dried tomatoes, and a generous sprinkling of sharp cheese. 

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August 29, 2008 at 11:05 am 3 comments

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