Crispy Spicy Jicama Slaw

This is an easy, pretty, and super-fresh side for the summer – especially when you’re grilling or having tacos, but rice and beans on the side just seem way too heavy.

I was making mexi-pizza* last night, and I wanted something a little more than the usual cabbage and onion on top. And rice and beans, and even calbacitas, just sounded too heavy. So I made a batch of jicama slaw and it hit the spot.  It is so fresh, with a little zing from the vinegar and a little heat from the jalapeno.

*Mexi-pizza – When you spread refrieds between two small flour tortillas and then bake them until brown and crunchy. Like a flat chimichanga. Mmmmm….

Jicama Slaw

2 Tbsp sugar (or agave sweetener, or honey, or…you get the idea)
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

½ small yellow or white onion, cut in ⅛” crescents
½ to 1 fresh jalapeno**, de-seeded and de-veined, sliced in ⅛” crescents
½ c. chopped cilantro
2 c. jicama, in 1” long matchsticks

Whisk together the sugar and vinegar until the sugar is dissolved. Then whisk in the oil.  Add the sliced veg, stir and eat. The amount of jalapeno is going to vary depending on the heat of the pepper (because we’ve all been surprised by that one that burns your lips off) and how hot your fam likes their food.

Try this – it’s fast and delicious, and oh so easy and fresh.

**Can you leave out the jalapeno? Of course – this will still be delicious.

Salsa Gringa

Zingy. Garlicky. Spicy.  With a shit ton of Mexican oregano.  That is my favorite kind of salsa. We had some this morning to go with some scrambled eggs, papas con chorizo, and homemade flour tortillas.  
(Don’t be impressed at homemade tortillas- they are REALLY easy to make and pretty quick. Maybe we’ll post those another day.)

So we are munching away and I joke about making a post about the salsa, and himself says, “Why not? That would be great.”  (Still winning best husband ever award.) So, here we go. It’s taken me a long time to figure out “the rules” for flavor combos in fresh red tomato-based salsa making.  Some of the ones that work for me are either lime juice or vinegar, not both. And for the herbaceousness, oregano with vinegar but cilantro with lime – never cilantro and oregano together. And oregano with hot little dry red chilis like chile de arbol or chiltepin or chile pepin, but jalapeno or serrano with cilantro.  I’m sure there are a gazillion exceptions since Mexico has refined salsa pairing the way the French have with wine. But having these ground rules in my head helps me when I’m making some.

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Give this a go; it is really good on eggs, chips, and tacos dorados. With some icy cold cerveza, of course.  And don’t shit at the amount of garlic and oregano until you try it.

Salsa Gringa
INGREDIENTS
1 can diced tomatoes
5 fat cloves of garlic, pressed
2 Tbsp. dried Mexican oregano, crushed between your hands
1/3 c finely chopped white onion (about a fourth of a large onion)
1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper (chiltepin, chile de arbol, etc.)
1 Tbsp. XVOO
2 Tbsp. wine vinegar
S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS
Throw everything in your blender or nutribullet or bowl with a stick blender except half the oregano, half the onion and the S&P. If you don’t like very espicy salsa, start with a smaller quantity of the hot pepper. (If you don’t like at-all-spicy salsa, try another recipe. This ain’t it.) Blend until it’s a homogenous mass. The oil helps it emulsify a little and rounds out the edges of the garlic and acid.

Stir in the remaining oregano, onion, S&P and a few more shots of the vinegar. Give it a taste and adjust as you see fit. It should start out tangy and garlicky then herbaceous, and finally finish with a nice heat that fills your mouth.

Eat this only among friends and family as you will be Dracula-proofed for a while after consuming it

¡ Buen provencho !

Triple Triple Blondies

Triple chips. Triple nuts. Triple nerms. These blondies leave behind the walnuts and butterscotch chips, and have cashew, almond, and pecan along with (wait for it) caramel chips. What what???? I know, right? Well, let me tell you a story….

Wandering in the grocery a couple weeks back, I discovered that Ghiradelli makes a caramel chip. So of course I bought them, along with some dark and white chocolate ones.  I was thinking that they would be awesome in some blondies.

We’re going on a little hike and picnic today – probably one of the last days it will be enjoyable to be outside at this elevation for a while. So, along with the muffaletta, pasta salad and aranciata, we will need some blondies.  They are Himself’s favorite treat. I’ve given up trying to recreate a flavor from his memory and just bake what I think sounds yummy. And this definitely fit the bill.

These are really rich, so slice ‘em small. After I wrapped up ours for the picnic (Himself: “Wait. You’re packing only two? What if we have a blondie emergency?” He is such a dork.), I wrapped the rest and put them in a zippie bag in the freezer.  They’ll last a couple months that way, and a quick zap in the micro-onda and it’s instant deliciousness (perhaps with a scoop of vanilla [non-dairy] ice cream…) Plus, having them safely in the freezer keeps a tray of blondies whispering your name every time you walk past the kitchen counter. A win/win, so to say.

These are super. Super easy. Super fast. Super delicious.  And a one-bowl, one-spoon wonder, to boot. Give ‘em a whirl!

Triple Triple Blondies

INGREDIENTS
1 stick unsalted butter (½ c.)
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 c. AP flour
1 tsp.Vanilla
½ tsp. Salt
⅓ c. each white, dark, and caramel chips (total 1 c.)
¾ c. nut mix (almonds/pecan/cashew)
(Opt) Kosher salt & sparkle sugar to dust the top

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350*. Grease a 8” square pan and lay in an Alton Brown-style parchment brownie sling.
Use a medium microwave safe bowl, and melt the butter. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt, and stir to combine.  Stir in the egg. Set aside a half-handful of the chips and nuts, and add the rest along with the flour to the bowl and stir it vigorously (you want to develop a little bit of that gluten to get some chewiness).
Pour and smooth the batter in the pan, sprinkle with the reserved chips/nuts (and some flake salt and sparkle sugar, if you like). And bake 25-ish minutes until a tester comes out clean.  Don’t over bake – you want them just this side of cooked. Cool completely, then lift out the sling and slice in to at least 16 squares. Snarf ‘em right then and there, or wrap ‘em up and freeze ‘em.

Bon appetit!

Nutritional Information from VeryWellfit.com’s calculator, based on 16 blondies.  Each blondie has:
211 cal
13.1 . fat
150mg sodium
21.8g carbs (fiber 1.1g, sugar 14.5g)
2.5 g protein

Freaking Amazing Cornbread

Woke up craving those green chili corn pancakes today. Made up the batter (with jalpeno), added a little corn meal this time and then I found myself dreading standing in front of the stove cooking pancakes. I started to wonder if I could just bake the batter like a cake or something – I mean, hell, the ingredients are practically the same as for cornbread. And, well, the answer is yes you can. It was deeeelicious. And seriously the most moist and tender corn bread I’ve ever had.

I wanted to call it jalapeno corn breakfast cake, and himself was all, “Pffft. Please. It’s cornbread.” Yeah, fine. FINE. But it is fucking delicious cornbread, dammit. The onion/jalapeno is subtle in this – feel free to double their amounts if you’d like them a little more flavor forward. Also, shredded pepper jack on top would be seriously nerms.

Freaking Amazing Cornbread

INGREDIENTS
THE DRY
1 c. masa harina
¼ c ap flour
¼ c corn meal
3 Tbsp corn starch
2 ½ tsp bkg pwdr
1 tsp salt

THE WET
1 ½ c. buttermilk
2 eggs
¼ c veg oil
½ sm. white onion, grated (about ¼ c.)
½ jalapeno, deveined/deseeded and minced (about 2 Tbsp.)
¾ c. corn kernals, fresh or frozen
½ Mexican grey squash/zucchini, sliced in ¼” discs then quartered (reserve a few slices for the top, if you feel like it.)

Sprinkle of parmesan or cotijo for the top

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 375*. Grease an 8” square or round pan.
Get two mid-sized bowls. In one, whisk together the dry ingredients. In the other, the wet.
Pour the wet in to the dry and gently mix together until you have a super-thick batter. Pour it into the pan, level it out. Give the pan a good whack (to pop any oversized bubbles), then top with the optional reserved squash and the cheese.
Bake 25 minutes -ish, until it is golden and a tester comes out clean.

This is begging for a bowl of soup – so guess what’s for lunch???
Try this – it is so tender, you are gonna wanna call it cake, too. Dammit.

Oh! The nutrition information! I almost forgot. If you slice this bad boy in to nine squares, each square has (according to the analyzer at verywellfit.com):
173 cal
8.1g fat
321mg sodium
21.9g carbs (2g fiber, 2.9g sugars)
4.8g protein
Plus, 10% each of your daily calcium and iron, and 17% of your vitamin D. See the site for how they arrived at those percentages.

Cheddar & Spring Onion Scones

It’s funny where inspiration can come from. A friend mentioned a local home tour that’s a fundraiser for a local historic preservation society.  I’ve been trying to force myself out of my comfort zone homebody-ness, and decided to join the group. It would be an all-day affair on the far side of town, and I thought – hey! It would be nice to have snacks.  We got our tickets for an 8:45am start time. Hey…..that’s kinda early. Guess I’ll need to do breakfasty things. Finger food. And of course, scones immediately came to mind. My friend D. loves cheese. As in, if he could marry cheese and coat himself in it daily, he would.  So, okay – cheese scones. Then I remembered this forking deelish scallion corn muffin recipe I’d found, and thought yes! That’s it – scallions and cheese! And D. is from New Mexico and knows good green chile- so scallion, green chile and cheddar. Angel choir. Idea is born. The night before arrives, and…….I only have the hot green chile left in the freezer.  Hmm…. D. and I will love it, but the other four folks coming are unknowns….ok, back to onion and cheddar. And then of course, because I can only eat the cheese if I take a shit ton of cheese pills, some cranberry orange ones, as well. But we’ll save those for another day.

Whew! Such a long tale. The next step was the preparation – I’d read from either Jamie Oliver or Nigella to put scones in the freezer for half an hour before baking (which is awesome, btw) and started to wonder if I could make them up the night before and then just bake them in the morning. Because, you know, twenty more minutes of sleep is ALWAYS a good thing.  So, the short answer is yes. It is totally possible, and has completely changed myscone game forever. Buh-bye, buttcrack of dawn. Hello, prep at night and bake while I’m in the shower. I like this!
Alrighty, shall we play?  You’re gonna LOVE these. They were a HUGE hit with my home-tour friends.

Ingredients:
The Dry:
2 c. AP flour
1 ½ tsp. Baking powder
¼ tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Sugar
½ c. Butter, icy cold and cubed
The Add-Ins:
½ c. Sharp cheddar, cut in to ¼” cubes.  Yes, really. Do not shred, do not cube larger.
4 Spring onions/scallions sliced in ¼” rondelles.
The Wet:
¾ c. Buttermilk.
The Egg Wash (optional)
Whisk one egg with 2 Tbsp. milk

Directions:

The night before, In a bowl, mix the dry except the butter. Then toss in the butter, and with a pastry cutter smoosh and twist until the butter is a little smaller than peas.  Do not get to the crumb-stage; if you do, your scones will be more Englishy cake-like and not have the biscuit-like flaky layers of American scones.
Stir in the Add-Ins, then the buttermilk. Combine with your hands until you have a firm slightly sticky dough.  It is okay if you overwork it a little, as it is going to rest overnight in the fridge. (Is this not the most awesome part of this or what????)  Scrape the dough on to the dusted parchment. Dust your hands with flour (You might need to scrape/wash them off first.), and shape the dough in to either one 1” tall 8” diameter circle, or two ½” tall 6” diameter circles.  Fold it up in the parchment and put it in the fridge. Nighty-night, Felicia!
In the morning, preheat your oven to 400*.  Take out the dough and slice up your scones.   Either eight with the big circle, or twelve (six each) with the little ones.  Place on the parchment on a cooking tray. Brush with the egg wash (or milk or cream), and bake until puffed-up and golden – about 22-25 minutes for the big’uns, and 18-20 for the little’uns.
That’s it. Enjoy. These are really, really yummy. And would be really, really good with a bowl of chili. Or just shoveled in your mouth hot out of the oven. These are that yummy.

Do you have to wait overnight? Of course not – you could pop these in the oven right way. You’ll just need to be biscuit-gentle with that dough.

Bon apetit, y’all. I’d love to hear how yours turn out!


Tian Tourte

Where the hell have I been? Having a severe case of creativity block.  Himself and I decided to do lots more vegetarian fare, and I’ve been using all my brain for what the fuck to cook for dinner. This didn’t leave much energy for the blog.  Then I made this the other night, and my favorite Biker Betch at work saw the Instagram and was like,” is that going on the blog or what?” And, poof. There we have it. All thanks the awesome BB. Thank you, sweetness, you are the best!

This is a recipe for a 20cm (about 8”) tarte, and will give 4-6 big slices.  So, enough for four with a salad. I baked this lovely in the forkin’ amazeballs tarte pan I got from Lakeland.  Seriously – without blind baking the bottom crust was crisp and not soggy. I love this pan so much, I want to marry it.

Seriously – can you see that crispiness at the bottom? SO awesome!

When you’re picking out the tomato, squash, and onion – try to get them as close in diameter as possible.  Because you’ll be stacking them, the uniformity will become important.

Well, shall we? Let’s do this.

Tian Tourte

The Crust
⅓ a recipe of Martha’s pate brisee. (I used a 4:1 ratio of AP to WW flour, though)

The Base
¼ c. Ricotta or Greek yogurt ( or ¼ c tofutti sour cream mixed with ½ tsp. Lactic acid. If you were feeling REALLY lazy, you could also just use the egg and 1/4c. Boursin and skip the garlic and herbes)
1 egg
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. GOOD Herbes de Provence


The Veg
1 zucchini, sliced 1/4” rondelles
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced in 1/4″ rondelles
1 small white onion, siced in 1/4″ rondelles
1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced in 1/4″ strips

Topping (optional):
¼ c to ½ c shredded cheese (Gruyere, romano, asiago, etc.)

Alrighty, my lovelies.  Roll out your crust ¼” thick, form it in your quiche tin and stick it in the fridge. Preheat your oven to 375*.

Get your mis en place going – slice the veg, whisk together the base. Get out a cookie sheet and line it with parchment.  I find it much easier to bake loose-bottomed pans that way, plus it catches any drips. Once you’re set up, take the raw crust from the fridge and set the pan on the lined tray. Pour in and smooth the base.  Next, pick up one slice each of the tomato, squash, onion, pepper and stack them. Set these on their side on the prepared base, working from the outside edge of the pan. See the picture to reference what it should look like.

 Keep adding your alternated veg in a circle until you make it all the way around. Then start the next ring and go until you’ve used up all your veg. Sprinkle it with some S&P, and cheese if you are lucky and not dairy-impaired like we are, or some olive oil if you are.

Slide the tray in the oven and bake about 35-40 minutes, until the crust is golden and the veg tender. Your nose should tell you when it’s done.

Let cool about 10 minutes before serving. To get this bad boy out of the pan, once it’s cooled a bit, set the pan on a bowl or soup can – something narrower than the bottom.  The ring part of the pan should just drop down the counter, leaving you to slide the pie from the bottom on to a serving plate or cutting board.

(And, if you want to put this puppy over the top, make some really good garlic butter and toast some breadcrumbs in it and then sprinkle that on the slices as you serve them. Soooo yummy!)

That’s it. Bon apetit. Let me know if you like it!

Black Bean Soup with Chimolata

This is our current favorite soup, finally knocking posole out of the position it’s held for years. It is extremely easy and will be ready in a little over half an hour. Perfect on a cold afternoon, or after a long day at work.

My inner Martha always chastises me for not starting with home-cooked beans. But ya know, real life people.

This soup is good, but what really makes it fabulous is the citrusy-herby dollop of sauce you add to the bowl. I still don’t know what the hell to call it – it’s like a gremolata or a chimichurri in a Sonoran Southwest kind of way. Cilantro, garlic, red pepper flakes, lime zest and juice. Unlike a blob of sour cream that would make this soup feel heavier, the heat, zing, and herbaceousness of this chimolata (hmm…I like that one) really lift this up. It makes the soup hearty, but not heavy. And really dense in flavor.

Himself likes this with tortilla chips. Corn bread or a grilled cheez (or cheese, if you are not dairy-impaired as we are) along with a salad will make this an awesome and easy meal – something we can all use as end of year busyness overtakes our lives.

Make it and enjoy.

This is enough for four. So, dinner and leftovers lunch for two.

Black Bean Soup with Chimolata

Ingredients for the soup:
1 small onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 Tbsp. Mexican oregano
½ tsp. Ground cumin
2 Tbsp. chipotle relish, or one whole chipotle en adobo and 1 tsp. of the adobo
3 14.5-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
Broth (vegetable or chicken, about a quart)

Ingredients for the chimolata:
Handful of washed fresh cilantro
3 cloves of garlic
½ tsp. Lime zest
½ tsp. Red pepper flakes
Fresh lime juice

For the soup:
In a large soup pot on medium, add about ¼ c. of water and the onion, carrot and celery. Cook for a few minutes until they start to soften around the edges. Add the remaining ingredients except the broth. Give it a stir, then pour just enough broth over everything to just cover. Too much broth and you’ll have a thin soup.
Simmer for ½ hour or until the veg are tender. Before serving, take the immersion blender to it and blend it all up. I like to leave mine with some chunks of the veg, but do yours how you like.

While the soup is cooking, make the chimolata:
Mince superfine the cilantro and the garlic. Fine, as in almost to a paste.
Add them to a small bowl with the red pepper and lime zest, then add just enough lime juice to actually make it in to a paste. That’s it. (This is going to taste REALLY strong – don’t eat it by itself. Or do, I guess. I’m not the boss of you.)

When the soup’s done, Serve with a dollop of the chimolata. Serious nerms, peeps.

I’ve been forgetting to include the nutritional info of late. Here we go! According to caloriecount.about.com, each of the four servings has:

363 calories
4.2g fat
851 mg. sodium
57.1 g. carbohydrate
17.9g fiber
4.8g sugar
24.1g protein
Plus 17% of your daily calcium, 35% for iron and 26% for potassium.

Love Triangles. Or, herbed mushroom marsala phyllo yumminess.

Finger food season is coming. Or, maybe I need to think that because I love the buttery flaky crunch of little tidbits wrapped in that miracle dough.

We were at Caravan two weeks ago, so of course I got a couple packages of phyllo for the freezer.
Only when we got home, I threw one in the fridge on a whim, intending to make some spanky. Well, that didn’t happen. Then when I woke up this morning and opened the fridge, there was this package of mushrooms staring at me. Right next to some thyme, and the phyllo. Like they planned it or something.

This came together slowly, with me futzing on the internet and getting up to stir when the timer went off. It’s not a fast recipe, but it doesn’t require a lot of attention, either.
You could totally make the filling for this one day, and then assemble up to a couple days later. I just had a leisurely Saturday morning.

These are SO LOVELY. I am concluding that himself enjoyed them, as I gave him a sample to take a bite and when I turned around the whole thing was gone. I had them with some bubbly, but am thinking now I bet they would be great with some Amontillado. I’m also wondering how that phyllo would do brushed with layers of that fantastic thyme oil from IKEA instead of butter. That would seriously amp up the herbaceous flavor. Hmmm….. anywho. These are yum. Invite some friends over for a bite and a glass, and make these. You will be sooooo very happy you did.

Herbed Mushroom Marsala Phyllo Triangles

2 medium white onions, sliced in ¼” crescents
2 Tbsp butter
Sprinkle salt
8 oz button mushrooms, washed and sliced into ¼” slices
2 tsp fresh thyme
¼ c. good dry sherry or marsala
½ c. chopped toasted walnuts
¼ c. grated parmesan or pecorino romano(even the green can stuff would be fine)
(4 oz. fresh goat cheese. optional)

½ pkg.-ish of #4 phyllo dough
6 Tbsp. melted butter

Caramelize the onions. Melt the 2 Tbsp butter in a saute pan on low, add the onions, sprinkle with salt and cover. Cook on low, stirring every 20 mins or so until they are reduced and golden. Push the onions to the side, add the mushrooms, thyme, and little more salt. Cook covered, on medium, until the mushrooms are cooked. Remove the lid, pour in the marsala and cook a few more minutes until practically all the fluid has evaporated. Remove from the heat. Stir in the nuts. Check for seasoning, add S&P to taste. Set aside to cool. Once it’s coolish, stir in the cheese.

Preheat oven to 375*. Layer three sheets of phyllo, brushing butter between each. If you’ve never worked with phyllo, don’t be escared. See how here!

Using a pizza cutter or knife, slice the prepared sheet of dough into four strips (with the phyllo in a landscape orientation in front of you. So, four short strips, not longways. In the bottom right corner of each one , place about 2 Tbsp. cooled filling, dot with a little noisette of the goat cheese if using, and triangle fold your way up the dough until you have a little triangle packet. See how here!

Roll ‘em all up till you’re out of patience or filling, whichever comes first. . Brush all the tops with the last of the butter. Bake 375* for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and delicious. Serve warm or room temperature. These are lovely with a buttery icy cold white, or even better, a dry prosecco or sparkling rose like Gruet’s Jacqueline Leonne pink label. Alas, I had a bottle of prosecco open at shooting so we’ll have to wait for a rose pic down the road. But that Leonne is my current fave, and it is from FREAKING ABQ NEW MEXICO.

Enjoy. We sure did.

Pumpkin. And Bread.


Happy October, Betches! It’s pumpkin baking time!

You know I love to roast and purée a big squash for the freezer. This is not any cheaper than buying canned pumpkin, but it makes me happy. So, this year I tried a completely different variety and I think it is THE ONE. I have no idea what this is called – it’s the kind you get at the Mexican supermarket and poach like camotes in piloncillo syrup for the kids. But my Goddess, the color! I wish you could see this in real life – it is the most deep, gorgeous, vivid orange. Almost vermillion.
And once it’s baked? Even deeper with just a tinge of brick red. It’s fantastic – and made the bread this luscious pumpkin-y color. I’m so pleased with this I can’t contain myself. I cannot wait to try making a pumpkin pie. The only down side was the yield – this was a six pound pumpkin. I cooked half and got 4.5 cups of strained purée, but almost six in water. Lawdee lawd but that puppy was loaded with water. But I digress.

Pumpkin bread. For the past few years, every time I make it the color is so pale you can’t even tell there’s any pumpkin in it. Not this year – it’s totes gorgeous.

I found a new recipe to tweak, too. I was intrigued because it uses water and not milk. I used the strained pumpkin water since I had it. And added some whole wheat flour. But this was truly one of the best pumpkin breads I’ve ever made. Himself, the gals at the office, and the folks at Himself’s office all loved it. So, go make this right now. Use canned pumpkin – it will still be freaking delicious.

Ingredients
The Dry
2.5 c. sugar
2.5 c. AP flour
1 c. Whole Wheat flour
2 tsp. baking soda (yes, really)
1.5 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

The Wet
2 c. pumpkin purée (or, one 14.5oz can – which is about 2.25 c.)
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water

The Topping
Melted unsalted butter
Cinnamon sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8″ x 4″ loaf pans (or line two twelve-unit muffin tins).
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
In a second bowl, whisk together the wet. Then, with a large spoon or spatula fold the wet in to the dry. You want a barely homogenous batter, not activated gluten. Divide into the pans.
Bake for about 55-70 minutes in the preheated oven, until they pass the toothpick test.(I’d start testing the muffins a the half hour mark.)

Once they’ve cooled on the rack about ten minutes, brush them with the melted butter and generously sprinkle them with the cinnamon sugar. After about an hour – they should be blood warm – run the dull side of a butterknife along the edges of the pan and then give it a few whacks to make sure the loaf is loose enough to come out. You can let them cool in the pan overnight if you’re making this in the evening, or on the counter until they are wrappable cool. Don’t wrap before they are completely and totally cool, or the top will become a sticky mess.

I wish we could do dairy, because a schmear of plain cream cheese on these thick luscious slices would have been absolute heaven.

Ok – go make this right now. You’ll be sooo happy.

Apple Ginger Walnut Bread


We’re back, bitches. Where have I been? It’s a long story – I’ll post it after the goodies. In the mean time, it is Fall! Time for apple recipes. Himself loves candied ginger, and today I was thinking about making a chutney with apples and ginger, and then changed direction and decided on some breakfast cake. Because breakfast. And cake. And y’all already know how I feel about that.

Spicy Apple Nut Bread
Makes two 9×5 or four 8×4 loaves

Cream method:
In your mixer bowl, add:
4 c. AP flour
1 c. sugar
1 c. unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp. Baking powder
¼ tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp. cinnamon

Turn on low until mixture looks like fine crumbs.

Meanwhile, prepare the fruity nutty bits:
Peel and cube 3 medium tart apples (granny smith, pippin)
Toss with 1 Tbsp. sugar and about another ½ tsp. Cinnamon to keep them from browning.
Chop ½ c. candied ginger into pieces about the size of a chocolate chip
Chop ½ c. walnuts
Soak ½ c. raisins in 1 c. hot water and a couple drops of vanilla (or rum)

Grease and line with baking parchment your loaf pans. Preheat your oven to 350*.

Once the dry ingredients look like crumbs, turn off the mixer and add in:
1 c. buttermilk
4 eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla extract

Start low and go to high and let it go a couple minutes until the mixture is fluffy-looking and about a shade lighter in color. While that’s going, drain the raisins. Once it’s fluffy and lighter, add all the fruity nutty bits, and give it a couple whirs just to stir them in.

Divide between your pans and bake about 50-60 mins (larger loaf=longer time, obvs) until it passes the toothpick test.

When the loaves are mostly cool, remove from the pan to finish cooling on a rack. You can brush with melted butter and sprinkle of cinnamon sugar at this stage, if you’re feelin’ it. Or a simple water/powdered sugar glaze. Just something to hold in the moisture. Once it’s cool, prepare the drizzle.

The Drizzle:
In a microwave-safe bowl (or 4 cup pyrex!), put:
2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbps. water
Microwave until it is bubbling. (Mine took about 30 seconds). Stir in:
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar.
Stir. It should be the consistency of crepe batter. Put it in a pastry tube to drizzle over the cooled bread.

That drizzle is one of my favorites – it’s the salty, almost caramel taste that I just love.

Ok – enjoy! And thanks for coming back after my unplanned three-month hiaitus. Our Cindy dog fell ill back in June, and passed in July. She was our good girl for thirteen years and I was devastated. Right now writing this two months after she passed and I’ve got tears blurring the screen. Then something went wrong with the air conditioner and water got underneath the oak floor and we’ve been dealing with contractors and insurance and…..sigh. It’s sucked my will to create. I did not have enough joy for me, so I couldn’t find any to share. But ya know, that damn sun just keeps coming up every morning. Take care, y’all. And if you have puppers, give them a big hug because our time together is finite.