Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Mother's Daughter

Growing up, I always thought I took after my father. My father is a talkative, outgoing person who loves to tell stories. He is also rather pig-headed and can give you the silent treatment like nobody's business. Qualities I happen to share with him.

However, as I have aged, I am starting to see more and more of myself in my mother. In fact, I have inherited an apparently genetic disease from her. No, not diabetes (but her genetics probably played a role in that too). It's "There's Not Enough Fooditis." 

As my mother prepared for Easter dinner, we listed off all of the food to be made, which included antipastos, dips, soup, fish, veggies, salad, and enough desserts to put me into a diabetic coma. We DEFINITELY had enough food. 

However, I realized that whenever I am preparing for a meal or party, where I am responsible for feeding others, my number one anxiety isn't if everything will taste good or poisoning everyone (though maybe I should move that concern up to the top of the list), it is will there be enough food. Which leads me only to make so much food that only a small army of men would be able to finish it all. 

Case in point, I recently had to prepare lunch for a staff meeting. Having worked a long day, I cooked for several hours after work, adding new dishes as I went to ensure plenty of food. However, whatever I had made the night before did not register as enough in my mind. I woke up the next morning and threw together this quick bread. 

Crazy for me. Lucky for you, because it happens to be an awesome bread!

This bread happens to be Herbed Sun DriedTomato and Parmesan Cheese Bread.
Buttermilk Quick Bread with 10 Variations
Adapted from TheKitchn.com
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2 tbsp olive oil


1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease or spray with nonstick cooking spray a standard 9x5 loaf pan.
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Melt the butter, if using. Whisk it in a separate bowl with the buttermilk and the egg.
3. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients. Gently stir and fold the ingredients until all the flour has been incorporated and a shaggy, wet batter is formed. Be careful not to over-mix.
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and pat it into the corners. Bake for 45-50 minutes. When finished, the loaf should be domed and golden, and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing and slicing.
5. Wrap baked loaves tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. Baked loaves can also be wrapped in plastic and aluminum foil and frozen for up to three months.

10 Variations:
1. Cranberry-Walnut Loaf - 1 c. dried cranberries, 1/2 cup toasted and chopped walnuts, 1 tsp vanilla, zest from one orange
2. Apple-Cinnamon Loaf - 1 c. diced apples, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup toasted and chopped nuts
3. Cherry-Almond Loaf - 1 c. dried cherries, 1/2 cup toasted and chopped almonds, 1 tsp almond extract
4. Blueberry Loaf - 1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries, 1 tsp vanilla, zest from one lemon
5. Ginger-Orange Loaf - zest from two oranges, 1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, pinch of cloves, pinch of nutmeg
6. Herbed Sun-dried Tomato and Parmesan Loaf - reduce sugar to 1 T, 1/2 c. grated cheese, 1 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp thyme, 2 T minced sun-dried tomatoes
7. Onion-Dill Loaf - reduce sugar to 2 T, one minced onion cooked until soft, 1 T minced fresh dill
8. Pesto Loaf - reduce sugar to 1 tablespoon, 1/4 c. pesto, 1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese
9. Spicy Jalapeno Loaf - reduce sugar to 2 tablespoons, 1/4 cup minced jalapeno peppers, 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese, 2 tsp chili powder
10. Irish Soda Bread Look-Alike Loaf - reduce sugar to 1/4 cup, 1 T caraway seeds, 3/4 cup raisins

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