Steamed Brown Bread

February 3, 2009

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When you need something to warm your heart and bones, try my sister’s brown bread. Yes, you can steam it in a soup can, and, yes, it is deliciously rich and wonderfully good for you. Slather on some cream cheese and you’ll have a sumptuous breakfast.

PS Soup-can brown bread makes a delightful gift-from-the-kitchen.

1 ½ cups white cornmeal
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose white flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup dark molasses
2 cups dark raisins
2 cups buttermilk

In a large mixing bowl, mix the cornmeal, whole wheat flour, white flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the molasses, raisins, and buttermilk. Spray one 1-quart mold and two to three 10 ¾-ounce soup cans with cooking spray. Fill all containers two-thirds full of batter. With kitchen twine, tie aluminum foil tightly around the tops. Place the mold and cans on racks in Dutch ovens. Fill the Dutch ovens with water halfway up the sides of the containers. Heat to boiling, reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 2 hours 30 minutes. Add water as needed.

Carefully remove the mold and cans from the Dutch ovens. Remove the foil tops. If the bread is still wet, bake at 250 degrees F for 15 to 30 minutes. Turn out the bread to cool on a wire rack.
Makes one 1-quart mold and 2 to 3 soup cans.

From All-American Comfort Food

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Gingerbread

March 13, 2008
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Some cooks bake gingerbread just for the smell! SAM

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan on the bottom only and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, spices, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the sugar, butter, water, molasses, and egg. Stir just to blend and pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
Makes 9 servings.

Adapted from Emily’s cookbook All-American Comfort Food.


Rosemary-Cheese Dinner Rolls

February 13, 2008
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Remember Emily’s AC guy’s Last-Minute Dinner Rolls? Well, here’s a fun variation. If anyone in your family doesn’t like rosemary, use dill weed instead. SAM

1 cup self-rising White Lily flour
1 teaspoon finely snipped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, rosemary, and Parmesan. With a fork, stir the milk into the flour mixture until just blended. Add the mayonnaise and stir until just blended. Do not overwork the dough. Divide evenly among the cups in the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 18 minutes.
Makes one dozen rolls.


PB&J French Toast

January 6, 2008
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Into the mouths of babes? It’s a marriage made in childhood heaven … peanut butter-and-jelly and French Toast! Sometimes the best ideas the simplest. SAM

3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup half-and-half
16 slices thin-sliced bread
1/2 cup grape jelly, or your choice
1/2 cup peanut butter
Confectioners’ sugar
Maple syrup, hot

In a shallow mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and half-and-half and pour into a 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Make 8 peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches and place them in the egg batter, turning twice to coat all sides. Lightly grease a griddle or skillet and heat to medium-high. Fry the sandwiches about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve with confectioners’ sugar and hot syrup.
Makes 8 servings.


Poppy Seed Bread

January 5, 2008
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Poppy Seed Bread is popular at brunches and for good reason. It’s crunchy, beautiful, and totally delicious. This easy version adds the nutty richness of whole wheat and molasses. You can toast it or serve it with butter and/or jam. I even make thin-sliced cream cheese sandwiches out of it. Like so many rich breads, it’s even better the second day. SAM

4 eggs, lightly
1 cup salad oil
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 (13-ounce) can evaporated milk
6 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons poppy seeds, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans and set aside. With an electric mixer on medium speed or a pastry fork, beat together the eggs, oil, molasses, and sugar until smooth. Combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and baking soda and add to the egg mixture alternately with the milk, beating well after each addition. Add 6 tablespoons poppy seeds and the vanilla extract. Pour into the prepared pans and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons poppy seeds. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out onto the rack to cool completely.
Makes 2 loaves or 24 servings.


Whole Wheat Banana Bread

December 14, 2007

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A breakfast bread so packed with flavor and pizzazz you’ll want to make it a permanent part of your morning routine. SAM

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
1 egg
2 very ripe bananas, mashed (1 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar and oil. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat until lemon colored. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the bananas, beginning and ending with flour, and blending well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack and cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely on the wire rack. Wrap tightly and store in the refrigerator. Bread will be better the second day.
Makes 1 loaf, or 16 servings.


Garlic Croutons

December 6, 2007

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Add these to your Winter Veggie Salad and you’ll have a meal to remember! SAM

PS Really, they’ll turn any salad into a meal.

1/2 cup butter or olive oil
4 cups cubed French bread or Italian bread
6 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon snipped fresh rosemary
4 (3-inch) sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the garlic, sautéing until soft, not brown. Add the rosemary and thyme and remove from the heat. Let cool for 15 minutes. Add the bread, tossing to coat evenly. Place a single layer of cubes on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring 3 times, until croutons are golden brown. Remove from the oven, discard the thyme, place in a large bowl, and toss with the cheese.
Makes 4 cups.