Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spiced Hazelnut Pumpkin Bread

It's pumpkin time of year. In other words, the best time of year. It's only halfway through October and I've already gone through 6 sugar pumpkins, and have 3 more waiting to be turned into pumpkin puree. Autumn is so my favorite season ever.
This bread originally called for pecans, not hazelnuts, but I don't think hazelnuts are used in recipes nearly often enough, and I thought that they would taste good with the pumpkin and spices.
I also used stone ground whole wheat flour to add a more hearty texture.
Another very important component of this bread awesomeness is what kind of oil is used. Mild oils like sunflower or grape-seed (which is what I used in this recipe) don't leave that odd aftertaste that oils like vegetable or canola oil can. And it helps keep the bread deliciously moist.

This bread is delicious by itself, but it is really the best with homemade pumpkin butter, which I will be posting a recipe for soon! I got the original recipe from the blog Season with Spice. Hope you all enjoy and happy Autumn!!

Spiced Hazelnut Pumpkin Bread (adapted from Season with Spice)
Makes one loaf

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup grape-seed oil
2 large eggs
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (and more for toppings)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine flours, baking soda, salt, and spices.
3. In another large bowl, beat sugar and oil. Then mix in eggs, pumpkin puree, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Combine with the dry ingredients. Then stir in the chopped hazelnuts.
4. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle chopped hazelnuts over the top.
5. Bake until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean – should take about 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Then transfer to a rack and allow to cool for ten minutes. Finally, slide bread out from pan and allow to cool completely.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Avocado Chocolate Pudding (Vegan)

I was extremely skeptical about this recipe. Vegan chocolate pudding? No, I told myself, that should not work. That won't work. I tried it anyway. It worked. Ridiculously well, actually.

You can blend this up in about 5 minutes and it is ready to eat immediately. No chilling and no stove required. All you need is a food processor. Simple as dump, blend, eat.

The original recipe (found here) called for regular non fat milk. I used almond milk instead to make it vegan-friendly.
This was my first time using agave nectar, and I am very happy with it. I will probably still use regular sugar in most of my recipes, simply because of the cost difference, however.

This recipe was a huge hit with my friends, and I will be adding it to the keep file :)


Vegan Chocolate Pudding

1 medium ripe avocado
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup raw agave nectar
1/4 cup almond milk

Blend all ingredients into a blender until smooth and creamy. You may need to add more agave nectar depending on the size of your avocado. It's ready to eat immediately or you can also refrigerate.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Butternut Squash Whole Wheat Crackers

Crackers are one of the best snacks, in my opinion. They are basically little pieces of crunchy bread, so what's not to like?
That being said, buying crackers is expensive. Stupidly so, actually. Now that I've discovered how beautifully easy making your own crackers is, I probably won't be buying crackers from the store much from here on out.
The recipe I found originally called for sweet potato to be used, but I didn't have any sweet potatoes, but I did have a butternut squash. The only difference that really made was the flavor is milder, and I had to use more flour because butternut squash has a higher water content when cooked than sweet potato does.
You could make these with all-purpose flour, but you shouldn't because whole wheat is healthier.
Make sure you roll the dough out very thin, otherwise they will stay kind of gummy in the center, which will result in the crackers tasting stale within a day. If you get them nice and thin, they will brown up nicely and be deliciously crunchy, as crackers should be.
I sprinkled the crackers with paprika and sesame seeds before baking, but I found the sesame seeds didn't stick very well, even though I pressed them down before I put them in the oven.

Butternut Squash Whole Wheat Crackers
Adapted from Fuss Free Cooking

1 cup cooked butternut squash, mashed
2 cups whole wheat flour (more as needed)
2 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp cold butter, cubed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
ground paprika (optional)
sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Combine the milk and squash mash and set aside.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cold butter in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the squash and process until it forms a dough that is only slightly sticky, adding more flour as you need to.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead about 80 turns. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll each out very thin (about 1/16 inch). Cut into whatever shape you want and place onto the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with paprika and sesame seeds if desired.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bottoms are slightly browned. Turn the crackers over and bake for 4-5 minutes longer.
Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Poppy Seed Bread

    I really don't know why I have not put this recipe on my blog yet. This is my all time favorite bread. Ever. In all the evers. You can have this bread for all the meals of the day, (even elevenses!). There has been more than one occasion where I have made this bread in the morning, ate a piece (or two) fresh from the oven, packed it for my lunch for work, and then had it for my light dinner after coming home from work. Yes, I may have a problem. But it's a delicious problem, so just shush.

   Quick note: this bread can be made with almond milk for a still amazingly yummy, but slightly less sweet flavor.
   My mom used to make this bread for my siblings and I when we were growing up, and I used to hate having to share because it was so tasty. Now that I'm an adult and one of my most favorite things to do is to share food that I make, I love this recipe because 1 batch makes two loaves. So I always keep one loaf for myself and share the other. It's really almost too perfect.

  So, without further ado, I give you the recipe for the most awesome bread ever.

Poppy Seed Bread (makes 2 loaves)

3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbs poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup milk or almond milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tsp butter extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients and mix until well combined.
Pour into 2 well-greased standard size loaf pans and bake for 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan before removing. Cool completely before slicing.

Devour voraciously and with wild abandon. Or sit down and calmly eat a slice. Whatever.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Diary & Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies shouldn't work. No flour? No butter? There is only peanut butter, sugar and an egg? Seriously? They just shouldn't work. But oh boy, do they ever! They have become my new favorite cookie for several reasons, the most important of which is how completely and utterly delicious they are. The second is they are so incredibly easy. About 3x easier than cookies with flour and butter, actually.

I got this recipe from Leanne Bakes. There isn't a terribly huge amount I can say about these cookies, except for they are incredibly simple and way too delicious.

Something I will mention is I used Enjoy Life dairy free mini chocolate chips, and 1 1/2 cups was way too much for a single batch, so I had to double the "dough" to even out the ratio of chips to dough. But that just meant more cookies, so I wasn't complaining. But if you want just a single batch of cookies, and if you are using the same type of chocolate chip, only use about 3/4 of a cup.


Dairy and Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups dairy free chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheet with parchment paper, or a baking mats.

Mix all ingredients until well combined.

Shape into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheets. Flatten with a fork.

Bake for 10-13 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

Consume with reckless abandon. Waiting until they are cool is purely optional, and not recommended.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

German Chocolate Cake

Here is an interesting tidbit of information for you: German Chocolate Cake has absolutely nothing to do with Germany. Having lived in Germany and completely fallen in love with the country, its people, its history, and its food, I was a little disappointed that this recipe was not yet another delicious German recipe. Instead, however, this cake was originally called German's Chocolate Cake, after American Sam German, who developed a brand of dark baking chocolate for America's Baker's Chocolate Company. The product, Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate, was named in honor of him.

History of origin aside, this cake is unbelievably rich and tasty. Rich because it uses both baking cocoa and dark chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 72% cocoa dark chocolate bar) and because it uses a total of 1 whole pound of butter. So, no, this cake is not exactly cheap to make. It is very much a special occasion cake. Every weekend is a special occasion, right?
One thing that I really love about German Chocolate Cake, besides the epic yumminess, is the very unique flavor it has because of the 1 cup of strong brewed coffee that goes into the cake batter after being mixed with 1 cup of buttermilk. The hint of coffee goes so tremendously well with the dark chocolate flavor of the cake.
Then, of course, you have the caramel pecan coconut frosting, which, well, I don't really need to expound on that, do I? I didn't think so.
Now, just a warning, if you either do not have a sweet tooth, or have just a minor one, don't waste your time baking this cake, because you won't be able to enjoy it. I have a gigantic sweet tooth, and can eat absurdly rich desserts with no problem. I took 3 bites of this cake and felt like I wanted to lie down and not get up again for a couple days...it was amazing. Wanting to sink into a coma of happiness is how you know a recipe is worth making again. This is without a doubt the most decadent cake I've ever eaten or made.
It was quite a bit of work and mess, I won't lie, but it is most certainly worth all the hassle. If you serve this at a party, you will have all the sugar and chocolate junkies worshiping at your feet.
So make it. Unless, of course, you don't want chocolate and sugar junkies worshiping at your feet..then make something like...meatloaf, or whatever....

I got this recipe from Shared Sugar.

    German Chocolate Cake

    makes one 8-inch 3 layer cake

4 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Ghirardelli's 72% cocoa chocolate bar)
2-1/4 cups unbleached cake flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) strong, hot coffee
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk
1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups pure cane sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup pure cane sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 seven ounce package (about 2-2/3 cups) sweetened coconut
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
Pecan halves for garnish
    Cake layers:
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Butter pans and dust with cocoa powder (instead of flour which leaves white splotches on the chocolate layers), shaking off the excess.
    In a double boiler, melt dark chocolate. Remove from heat and cool. Quicken this step by cooling chocolate in the refrigerator.
    In a medium bowl, sift the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together coffee and buttermilk.
    In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about three minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping sides of bowl down after each addition. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the coffee/buttermilk mixture. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer and using a spatula, fold in the melted chocolate.
    Divide the batter evenly between the three pans. Batter should fill pans about half to two-thirds of the way full. Smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer cakes to a wire cooling rack for 20-30 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack and remove pans and parchment to let cool completely.
    In a large saucepan, whisk together egg yolks, evaporated milk and vanilla until well blended. Add sugars and butter and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 12 minutes, until mixture is thickened. Remove from heat. Mix in coconut and pecans. Cool to room temperature.
    Trim tops of cakes to level out surface, if necessary. Place first cake layer on platter or cake stand. Spread one third of filling on top. Add second layer and spread another third of filling on top. Follow with final layer and top with remaining filling.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cast Iron Skillet Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This is my new favorite cake. Have I mentioned how much I love fruit? Well, in case you forgot, I really can't get enough of delicious fresh fruit. And this cake really has it all: fresh fruit, deliciously moist cake, buttery caramel sauce, and rum. Like I said, new favorite cake.

And this recipe is surprisingly easy, for how complicated it looks. It's as simple as heating the butter, brown sugar and rum in a cast iron skillet until bubbly, layering the pineapple in the caramel, then dumping the batter over top of the pineapple and sticking it in the oven for 30 minutes.

Inverting the cake wasn't really even that difficult, though the idea flipping a cake out of a hot cast iron skillet was a little intimidating! I'm really happy with how this cake turned out, and I'll probably make another one within the next couple days to share with more friends than I got too this time and also since I have a crap load of pineapple to use up. It was also a huge hit with the friends which I got to share this with, so I'm going to always keep this cake in mind when baking for gatherings.
I really encourage you to try making this cake, it's easy, it's delicious, and it looks like it was horribly tricky to make, which apparently impresses non-bakers ;), so it's really an all around win-win situation for everybody involved! Enjoy!!

Cast Iron Skillet Pineapple Upside Down Cake (adapted from Bijouxs)
Serves 6-8

1/3 cup (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tsps rum of your choosing (I used Blackheart Spiced Rum)
7-8 slices of fresh pineapple, cut into 1/8" wedge slices
Maraschino cherries as desired
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast-iron or heavy ovenproof skillet. Add the brown sugar and rum and cook over a medium-low heat, stirring until the mixture is smooth and the sugar is completely dissolved, thick and bubbling. Remove from the heat and arrange the pineapple slices  in a concentric circle patter until the pan is covered. Place maraschino cherries as desired.

In a large mixing bowl or work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the shortening and sugar until well mixed. Add the vanilla and the egg and beat well until the mixture is creamy and well blended. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the shortening mixture, combining well. Add the milk and mix until the batter is creamy and smooth.

Spread the batter evenly over the pineapple topping, gently spread to edges without disturbing the pineapple slices. Place the skillet on a baking sheet and bake in a 350° oven about 30 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown.

Remove the cake from the oven and cool for 10 –15 minutes. Cover the skillet with a large plate and carefully invert the cake on to the plate, keeping the plate and skillet tightly pressed together as you invert the cake. Replace any pineapple slices that may stick to the pan onto the top of the cake. Serve warm or room temperature with freshly whipped cream, if desired.

Kiwi Lime Granita

I love slushies. Especially fruit slushies. So it obviously can't get better than homemade fruit slush, right? Yeah, that's what I thought too.

I don't usually buy kiwis. I love kiwis, but I always seem to overlook them in the store. Don't ask me why, because I wouldn't be able to tell you. But for some odd reason the other day, I purchased a few just for the heck of it. They were extremely ripe, so I knew I needed to use them as soon as possible, so I started scouring the internet for recipes, because why would I just eat the kiwi fruit like a normal person when I could make something out of them?! That would just be silly.

It's been pretty warm here recently, so I've been wanting to make more summer-y, cool foods. So when I saw a recipe on Mom de Cuisine for kiwi slush that also had lime (I'm in love with lime and lemon; slightly obsessed, actually), I knew I'd found the perfect solution to almost over-ripe kiwis.

This recipe is incredibly easy, but rather time consuming, since it requires A LOT of waiting. The only change I made to this recipe was that I used 5 kiwis instead of 4. When it was finally ready to eat, it was oh my, so very, very refreshing and tangy. I will definitely be filing this recipe away with my other favorites!

Kiwi Lime Granita

4-5 kiwis, peeled and roughly chopped
3 limes, zested and juiced
3 cups water
1/2 cup honey

Bring water to a boil and stir in honey until dissolved. Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Combine the kiwi, lime juice and zest in a food processor. Puree to desired consistency. If you don't want seeds in your granita, just pass the mixture through a fine strainer after pureeing.
Stir together kiwi mixture and cooled honey mixture. Pour into a large, rimmed glass dish. Freeze for 4-5 hours, stirring every 30 minutes, until the granita is the texture of a slightly too-frozen slushy. Scoop into a freezer safe container, or serve immediately. Will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Oven Baked Zucchini Fries

    I impulse buy food. It's a very bad habit of mine. I never have problems going to a store and impulse things like jewelry or shoes or anything like that. But send me to a grocery store, and I'll probably come back with about 15-20 random items that weren't on my list and I probably don't need. Simply because I see some delightful looking edible and I feel I must taste it and make something with it or my life will not be complete.
    And that is precisely what happened when I went grocery shopping a couple days ago and came home with 5 small zucchinis, along with a few other items. I don't cook with zucchini very often. I love zucchini bread, and shredded zucchini in salads, but other than that, I don't use it much.
   My original plan had been to bake some zucchini bread, but the day after I bought them, I took them out of the fridge, stared at them for a minute and realized that I didn't want zucchini bread.
   'Well, what on earth are you going to do with 5 zucchini then? Maybe you should have thought a little more clearly before buying 5 for just yourself, you silly woman!'. My conscious is mean to me....
   I did some digging around in my pantry and came up with olive oil and panko bread crumbs. Eureka! Baked Zucchini Fries. And yes, that's all I used, zucchini, olive oil and panko. Sooo easy and simple, but really, some of the most satisfying and delicious food is the simplest to prepare.
   So I just cut the small zucchini into spears, dunked them in olive oil, and rolled them around in the bread crumbs. I laid them out on a cookie sheet, and baked them in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, and then I turned the broiler on high for just a couple minutes to get the panko nice and golden brown.

Remove from oven. Let cool 10 seconds. Devour.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Okay! Well, I've been gone for awhile. My bad. Hopefully, I'll be able to post some tasty recipes on here as soon as possible! I'm think within the next few weeks I'll be up and running again. The reason for my too long hiatus was I'm going through a divorce, so I've been dealing with that and moving into a new place, hence: monkey wrench thrown into food blog plans.
No worries, though, I didn't completely drop off the face of the planet, and I shall return with more deliciousness to share with you all soon. Thank you guys for not giving up on me, I'm sorry I had to be gone so long!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza

  Holy deliciousness, Batman! This is the best pizza ever. Ever. And almost too easy, honestly. I got this recipe from this blog right here, and you can follow his directions if you wish, but I'm going to tell you the few tweaks that I threw in. Most of them are time saving tweaks, so listen up. The first time I made this, I followed those directions to a T. The second time...well, you all know how good I am at leaving recipes just how they are...
  First off, you don't HAVE to refrigerate the dough for 2 hours (after letting it sit at room temp for an hour), and then bring it back to room temperature for an hour. I just coated it in oil, set it in a clean bowl and let it double. Then I made my pizza, and the crust was just as awesome as when I took the 3 extra hours for the other 2 steps. The only thing that was different was the crust was slightly more dense than the first time.
  Also, you don't have to make your own pizza sauce. You can, obviously, and it's sure to be delicious, but I just used a can of pizza sauce. I used Muir Glen (no, I'm not getting paid to promote them.), because frankly, those people know tomatoes. Yum. This will probably be the only time I suggest using anything canned over making it yourself. Put it on your calenders.
  Lastly, unless you have a gas stove, do not heat your skillet up (with the pizza in it) on the stove top over high heat for 3 minutes before putting it in the oven. I did that the first time with my electric stove, and it burnt the dickens out of the bottom of the crust. This time, I just put the dough in the skillet(s), and placed them over medium low heat on the stove for only as long as it took me to put the toppings on. So like...1 minute or less. Then just straight into the 450 degree oven and the crust was perfect, and best of all, it wasn't burnt.
  I highly recommend using a stand mixer with a dough hook to get the dough started, but just until it sticks together nicely. Knead by hand, because it's too easy to over knead this dough in a stand mixer. And kneading dough by hand for 8 straight minutes gives your forearms a great workout.
  I doubled the recipe to make 2 8-inch pizzas and 1 10-inch. A single batch is perfect for just one 10 or 12 inch pizza. I am just going to include my version recipe for the dough, as the sauce and toppings are all up to your personal preference. The entire original recipe, if you want it, is attached to the link I posted earlier in this post.

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza Dough:
2 1/2 Cups bread flour (I used King Arthur flour for this, and did not regret it. Also, not getting paid for that either, sigh)
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 Teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup warm water

Mix the sugar, salt, yeast and warm water in a large bowl, or in a stand mixer bowl. Let sit 5 minutes, or until the yeast has started to foam. Add the flour slowly, mixing until the dough becomes firm, not too sticky or stiff, and holds it's shape. If it's too dry, add a small amount of water, if it's too sticky, add a little more flour.
Let the dough sit for 5 minutes.
Remove it from the bowl and knead it on a clean surface for 8 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic. Shape into a round and place it in a clean bowl, coat it in about 1 to 2 Tbsp of olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and let it double.
After it's doubled, take it out and knead in a just enough flour to help soak up the excess oil. Roll the dough into a round about 4 inches bigger than whatever size skillet you're using. Just plop the crust into a very lightly greased cast iron skillet (if your skillet is well seasoned, you shouldn't need much cooking spray at all). Cut the excess off, leaving about an inch going up the sides of the skillet. Fold the edges and tuck it up under itself to form the crust. Place the skillet over medium low heat and add your choice of sauce and toppings. As soon as the toppings are on, remove from the stove top and place onto the center rack of a 450 degree oven for about 18 minutes. Once it's done you should be able to easily slid a spatula under the pizza and just slip it right out of the pan. Well seasoned cast iron is awesome that way. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cincinnati Chili

I have always hated chili. I despise chili powder. The chili I've had was always either too spicy, too tomato-y or had way too many beans (which, by the way, is any beans at all).

That being said, I could not stop shoving this chili in my face. So freaking delicious. And no beans! It's not very traditional, it's not spicy, and it has allspice and cinnamon in it. And it's served over spaghetti in true Cincinnati style. With a mountain of cheese on top. And really folks, does it get better than that? No, no it does not.

I got this recipe out of my Cook's Country 'Best Lost Suppers' cookbook, which is also where I got the recipe for the Boston Brown Bread.

Normally chili takes 1-2 to 5 hours to make, right? Not this pot of awesome. 30-40 minutes, with prep. I made the chili in my cast iron dutch oven, and it was perfect! I'm seriously thinking of replacing most of my pots and pans with cast iron; it never ever fails to make food turn out amazing. Disclaimer: cast iron pots and pans will not give you delicious cooking superpowers of awesome. But they might help ;)

When you serve up this chili, pour it over a nice helping of spaghetti noodles, top it with chopped onion, beans if you really feel the need, which you shouldn't, because beans in chili is a sin, a monstrous portion of shredded cheddar cheese, and lastly, oyster crackers (which I forgot to include in the picture. My bad.) Try not to make yourself sick by eating too much.

Cincinnati Chili

1 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 onions, minced
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 Tbs. chili powder
1 Tbs. dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups tomato sauce (I recommend Muir Glen organic for this, just simply because it's AMAZE)
2 Tbs. cider vinegar
2 tsp dark brown sugar
1 1/2 pound 85% lean ground beef
Optional: cooked spaghetti noodles, chopped onion, white beans, cheddar cheese and oyster crackers

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven (works great with cast iron) over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned around the edges, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, garlic, 1 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp pepper, and allspice and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the chicken broth, tomato sauce, vinegar and sugar.
Crumble in the beef, breaking up any large clumps with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer and cook until the chili is deep brown and thickened slightly, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve over spaghetti noodles with plenty of chopped onion, beans, oyster crackers and a mountain of cheese.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Baked Boston Brown Bread

This is a pretty intense bread, and not for the faint of heart...or stomach, I guess I should say. This bread was eaten a lot in the 1930's and 40's, and was traditionally steamed in a tin can. This recipe has you bake it in a regular loaf pan, but that does create a different texture than steaming it would. It also means it's not shaped like a tin can, which is kind of disappointing. Maybe I'll have to make this again, and try the tin can method.
  If you like dense bread, you'll love this stuff. It's got buttermilk, molasses, brown sugar and raisins in it. It's pretty rad. It also calls for stone ground graham flour. I had never heard of that, nor could I find any, but I did find some stone ground whole wheat flour, and that worked just as well. If you can't find even that, just regular whole wheat flour will do.
Like most bread, this bread is best hot and fresh with butter slathered all over it. Enjoy!

Baked Boston Brown Bread
2 cups stone-ground graham flour (or whole wheat if you can't find graham flour)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup molasses
1 large egg
3/4 cup raisins
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup boiling water

Adjust an oven rack to the the middle of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan and set aside.
Whisk the flours, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk, molasses, and egg in a separate bowl. Gradually stir the wet mixture into the flour mixture until combined. Stir in the raisins. Stir the baking soda into the boiling water until dissolved, then stir into the batter until just incorporated.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
Cool the loaf in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the pan to loosen, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool for 1 hour before serving.