Category Archives: Breakfast and Brunch

E.A.T Sandwiches with Sun-dried Tomato Aioli

 

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E.A.T–Egg, avocado, tomato…  Three things I haven’t been able to enjoy for a while now.  I’m at the tail end of a month-long break from a chemo drug that made me lose a crazy amount of weight, and decreased my appetite and tolerance for many of the foods I love–you can imagine how hard this has been based on my clear obsession with food.  Right now, food tastes absolutely magical.  Every time I eat, I feel like I’m in some sort of kaleidoscopic hippie dream.  Whoa man, these flavors are for real!  A month ago, I got down to my lowest weight ever (not a good thing), and I keep a chipper face, because whatever the “normal” of the hour happens to be, I’m going to make it the best damn normal I can.  I’m nervous to be off the medication that has helped me so much, but all I can really worry about is right now; and right now my job is to eat, be, and enjoy the technicolor tastes of all my long lost food friends.

E.A.T Sandwiches at Spoonwithme.com (1 of 1)

E.A.T Sandwiches at Spoonwithme.com (1 of 1)

I eat like Van Gogh painted; crazed and unapologetic, making up for lost time.  I’m eating for my life and my health, to add some extra strength and pounds.  My soft-coated wheaten terrier has felt the inconvenience of my increased food intolerances.  She looked on eagerly as I prepared her favorite food, which she hadn’t eaten in a very long time.  Luca, today is a special day, I told her as I fried up the egg with some cracked pepper and fresh thyme.  I found some positively juicy heirloom tomatoes, and layered it all up on toast slathered with sundried tomato aioli, with buttery sliced avocado, fresh arugula, salt, pepper, the egg of course, and a drizzle of tuscan olive oil given to me for my birthday.  

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I crunched through the bread, and when the combination of tomato juices, peppery olive oil, and egg yolk hit my mouth,  it got audible.  Hunched over my counter top, I mumbled expletives between bites, messily devouring in my exploded kitchen (maniacs don’t have time to clean as they go). Luca looked up at the spectacle, waiting expectantly for me to sprinkle a few bits of egg on top of the uneaten food in her dog bowl.  We both ate voraciously, and gratefully.  I don’t know what will happen when I go on my new medication.  I don’t have to care about that right now.  Right now, food is my hot crush and psychedelic escapade, and I’m going on an unapologetic magic carpet ride.

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You can swap ingredients to fit your dietary needs of the moment–use gluten-free bread, or just serve it right on top of the greens like a salad.  You want some cheese?  Slap on some white cheddar, vegan cheese, or whatever will give you your technicolor egg sandwich experience.  You may customize to your heart’s desire, but promise me this: You will eat this E.A.T sandwich voraciously and unapologetically, as if rediscovering something you’ve gone years without.  Knowing that will make my day!  

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E.A.T Sandwiches with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli

This recipe can be customized as you wish, and easily scaled up.  The aioli is easier to blend when made in a larger quantity, and will keep for about a week in the fridge.  It can be used for sandwiches and wraps, or my favorite, on this rosemary tortilla española.  If you’d like to make less,  chop and smash the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and salt into a paste and mix it by hand into the mayonnaise.  It will not be as smooth or deeply colored, but will still taste delicious!

For the aioli:

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise or vegan mayo
  • 3 TB finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, or sherry vinegar if you have on hand

For the sandwiches:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • leaves from a few sprigs thyme, roughly chopped
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • sliced tomato
  • sliced avocado
  • baby arugula/baby spinach mix, or your choice of greens
  • 2 slices sprouted grain bread, or your favorite sandwich bread
  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  1. Make the aioli: Blend all aioli ingredients in an immersion blender, blender, or small food processor until smooth.  Adjust salt and pepper, and lemon juice or vinegar to taste.
  2. Cook the egg: Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat.  Sprinkle a bit of salt, and pepper onto the pan, then crack the egg on top.  Sprinkle the top with the thyme, and a bit more salt and pepper.  Cook for about 4 minutes for over-easy, or 5-6 minutes for over-medium.
  3. While the egg is cooking, toast the bread.  Spread the aioli on the toast, then layer the avocado, tomato on one side, and the  arugula-spinach mix on the other.  Drizzle the olive oil over the greens, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the fried egg on the bread, and serve while hot.

 

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Filed under Breakfast and Brunch, Main Dishes, Sandwiches and Burgers, Sauces, vegetarian, Vegetarian and Vegan

Rosemary Tortilla Española with Watercress Sauce

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I had to google myself today.  Not to see if my fame has taken over the internet.  Not to make sure the paparazzi hasn’t posted any pictures of me without makeup outside my mini mansion (ha!).  Not even because I haven’t posted in so long that I had to check on myself (glad to be back, by the way!).  I had to google myself, because I really couldn’t believe I haven’t posted this recipe yet, because it’s such a staple in our house.

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The Mister and I first had a taste (or many tastes) of this dish when traveling around Spain a few years ago.   Tapas bar?  Tortilla Española.  Sandwich place?  Tortilla Española between two slices of crusty bread, with an obscene amount of mayonnaise (which I believe is Spain’s national condiment).  Dinner?  You guessed it, Tortilla Española served atop a big hunk of bread.  I think that in Spain, farmers have trained special breeds of hens to lay their eggs, harvest potatoes, and immediately turn them into Tortilla Española.

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Why is this dish so good?  It’s so basic. Tortilla has nothing to do with the wraps we are used to.  Rather, it’s a Spanish Omelette, similar to a fritatta, made with thinly sliced potatoes and onions sauteed in what you’ll think is way too much olive oil, then nestled in a pillow of eggs.  Traditionally, it’s started on the stove, finished off in the oven, then the entire thing is flipped over so that the new top is spotted golden brown.

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Sometimes keeping the tortilla in one piece as you flip it is iffy, depending on your pan. The method that works for me is to give it a short stint under the broiler, and to serve it right out of the pan.  I also add fresh minced rosemary as a twist on the original version.  Taking a cue from the Spaniards, I usually whip up a batch of some sort of aioli, such as garlic or sundried tomato.  This time, I was craving something with a hit of freshness, so I created a tangy, herbacious sauce from nutrient-dense watercress, which complemented the richness of the tortilla.

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Tortilla Española makes a great crowd-pleasing breakfast or brunch dish, but how we most enjoy it here in the Spoon house is for dinner over a crusty slice of bread, drizzled or dolloped with whatever sauce or aioli materializes out of ingredients we already have.  It comes together in less than 30 minutes, and as a bonus, can be eaten for breakfast in the morning as well.

Muy delicioso.  Now all I have to do is work on training those hens.

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Rosemary Tortilla Española with Watercress Sauce

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Best International Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch rounds
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled, halved and sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 10 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • watercress sauce for serving (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 425˚f.  Heat the oil in a 10 inch oven-proof pan over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the potatoes, onion, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring, and scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally (the potatoes tend to stick), until the potatoes and onions are soft.

In the meantime, whisk together the eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and the rosemary in a medium bowl until well combined and slightly frothy.  Add the eggs to the pan with the cooked potatoes and onions.  Gently and quickly stir and fold in the eggs to combine.  Cook an additional 2-3 minutes on the stovetop, until the eggs begin to set.

Transfer to the middle rack of the oven and bake until the top is puffed and the eggs are set, about 9 minutes.  Switch the oven to broil, and cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until the top is spotted golden.

Allow to cool slightly.  Either slice and serve directly from the pan, or loosen the edges with a rubber spatula, and flip the tortilla onto a serving plate.  Serve with watercress sauce.

Watercress Sauce

Is it a vinaigrette?  Is it an aioli?  Maybe on both accounts.  It’s creamier than a vinaigrette, and looser than an aioli.   Call it what you want, but what matters is that it’s packed with nutrition, and is bright and herbaceous, a perfect contrast to the richness of the Tortilla Española!

  • 1 bunch watercress, upper stems and leaves only, about 1 cup packed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Puree all ingredients using an immersion blender (or regular blender).

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6:00 Asparagus with Toasted Ciabatta and Creamy Eggs

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Midnight asparagus?  Who am i kidding?  Midnight is as mysterious and unfathomable as a unicorn between the months of August and May.  Perhaps I should back up a bit to say that I based this recipe on the Splendid Table’s Midnight asparagus.  Tonight, and most nights, it’s more like, “it’s 6:00 on a wed and I just got home from a meeting and a day full to the brim with bouncy spring-fevered kids” asparagus.  You other teachers out there know exactly what I’m talking about!

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Hence, my version, 6:00 asparagus.  It comes together in a snap when you feel like eating but not cooking.  Toasted ciabatta, creamy eggs, cracked pepper, and roasty asparagus, all speared together with a piece of ciabatta to dab up the runny yolk that creates the sauce.

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I think we all should have recipes that come together this easily to lure us, if only briefly, to the kitchen after a long day at work!

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6:00 Asparagus with Toasted Ciabatta and Creamy Eggs

Adapted from the Splendid Table’s Midnight Asparagus

  • 1 bunch pencil thin asparagus, about 12 oz
  • 1/2 medium red onion, halved peeled, and cut into 1/4 inch wedges
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 medium lemon, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 eggs (or as many as you’d like to serve)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 crusty loaf bread, such as ciabatta, cut into 1 inch slices

Preheat broiler on high, and set an oven rack to the highest position.  On a rimmed nonstick baking sheet, toss together the asparagus, onion,  garlic and lemon with the olive oil.  Add a couple of generous pinches kosher salt and some grindings of black pepper to taste.  Spread everything out on the pan into a single layer.

Broil on high 4 inches from the top of the oven for about 4-5 minutes, until starting to brown and crisp-tender.  Remove from the broiler.  Push the vegetables to the sides, and crack the eggs onto the pan, wherever they will fit around the asparagus.  Sprinkle the eggs with salt and pepper.  Put the ciabatta into the oven to toast.  Broil the eggs and asparagus for 1-2 minutes longer, until eggs are cooked to your desired doneness (keep in mind that the eggs will continue to cook once removed from the oven. 1 minute eggs will be runny, and 2 minute eggs will be more set).  Squeeze the lemons over the asparagus.  Serve hot on the toasted ciabatta slices.

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Filed under Breakfast and Brunch, Main Dishes, Vegetarian and Vegan

Kale, Potato, Tomato and Onion Mini-Frittatas

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Frittatas are all about fancy.  I mean, dahhhling, I just whipped up a frittata.  See, doesn’t it sound extra fancy?  The best part is, it’s one of those secret weapon skills to break out when you want to serve something special that will whip up in a flash.  I’ve had many people tell me that they can’t cook without a recipe.  Dishes like this are very customizable based on what you have on hand, even if you’re not a habitual improviser.

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The process, in a nutshell, is to mix up your egg base, saute and cool the other ingredients, mix together, then bake.  Sure, you could make a big frittata, but these little guys are perfect for grab-and-go breakfasts on the run, or serving at a brunch or baby shower, no serving utensils needed.

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This particular frittata is chock-full of veggies and contains some of my favorite breakfast ingredients–sauteed onion, kale, potato, and cherry tomatoes.  Although you could add dairy, I promise, the recipe doesn’t need it.  The nutritional yeast gives these little guys the rounded out, rich flavor that dairy offers, in a healthier way.  The mister and I have been known to whip up frittatas for any meal of the day, including dinner on nights that we are tired and at a loss for what to make.

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A sum up of lessons learned today:

  1. Frittata.  Just say it.  Ooh, you’re so fancy!
  2. I can make frittatas in muffin cups faster than deciding on where to eat out
  3. These look good.  I’m gonna make ‘em.  Then, I’m gonna go rogue with all sorts of crazy combinations.  Oh snap.

I’d love to read your comments on any favorite ingredient combination ideas! 

Here are some of mine…

Green hatch chiles+potato+diced tomato+onion+queso fresco+chorizo

Spinach+mushroom+turkey sausage (or vegetarian sausage)

Tomatoes+oregano+onion+crushed red pepper+mushroom (pizza frittata!)

Kale potato mini-frittatas|Spoonwithme-com

 

Kale, Cherry Tomato, Potato and Onion Mini-Frittatas

Makes 10 muffin-sized frittatas

Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full, and don’t be overly concerned if the frittatas bubble up over the sides of the muffin tins.  The scraggly edges of the eggs can be easily tucked down around the frittatas using a butter knife.  

For the Vegetables:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small yellow onion, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced

1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes (or chopped if large)

1 medium yukon gold potato (about 4 oz), peeled, quartered and sliced into 1/8 inch thick triangles

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chopped dino kale leaves (about one bunch–don’t include the tough lower stems)

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

For the egg base:

8 eggs

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of choice)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon nutritional yeast*

Coconut oil, olive oil, or butter for greasing the muffin tins (or paper muffin cups)

1) Preheat oven to 375˚F.  Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium high heat.  Add the onions, potatoes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and saute until soft but not falling apart, about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic, and saute 30 seconds more.  Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for an additional 2 minutes until softened.  Add the chopped kale and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Cook for a couple minutes longer, until the kale is wilted.  Sprinkle in the lemon juice and add pepper to taste.  Set aside to cool to lukewarm before incorporating into the eggs.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, almond milk, 3/4 teaspoons salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast until the mixture lightens in color and appears frothy on top.  Stir in the cooled vegetable mixture.

3) Spoon the egg mixture into well-greased muffin tins (a scant 1/3 cup per tin).  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the eggs are set.  Switch oven to broil, and cook the frittatas on the top rack for 1-2 minutes to brown the tops if desired.  Best served warm.

*Nutritional yeast can be bought in bulk in health food stores such as Whole Foods

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Gluten-free, Dairy Free Cranberry Scones

Gluten Free Scones|Spoonwithme-com

I’m having a secret love affair with coconut oil.  At first it started off as an innocent flirtation, a little here, a little there.  It turned a little tawdry when I started using it as one of my main pan frying oils.  I freaked out when it actually worked to make a flaky pie crust.  I knew I had fallen deep when I substituted it for butter in my favorite chocolate chip recipe, and the cookies turned out beautifully, and my father in law tasted and said, “MMMMM!  There must be a lot of butter in these!”.  I may or may not use coconut oil as hand lotion.  My love grows day by day as I find more uses for it.  My most recent coconut oil celebration came when I found a highly reviewed recipe for gluten-free scones on the King Arthur Flour website and decided to give it a mini-makeover.

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I know first-hand that it is difficult when trying to cook for people with various dietary needs.  When the lactosally challenged and gluten-freegans are invited to the same brunch, menu planning is like a puzzle.  Do we have enough things that are dairy free?  Gluten-free?  Are there things that we can make that everyone can eat?  Sometimes I feel like Paris Hilton.  So high maintenance.

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When I came across this recipe on King Arthur Flour’s site, it matched all my requirements for a recipe.  Straightforward ingredients, nothing weird or overly processed.  I was intrigued by the idea that in the recipe’s footnotes, the author indicated that the recipe could be made dairy-free with a couple of substitutions.

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When I decided to whip up a batch of these scones on a Saturday morning, I was thinking, Don’t fail me now, my tropical jar of love.  I followed the recipe, substituting the coconut oil for butter, using almond milk instead of milk.  When they emerged from the oven, looking and smelling in every way like proper scones, I fed them to my most honest recipe tester, who just happens to eat scones every chance he gets.  His rating involved a full mouth, furrowed brows, an emphatically nodding head, and a garbled mmmmrahllygood.  Mister approved.

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These scones are not a half-hearted substitution for the real thing.  They are the real thing. Moist on the inside, biscuity crisp on the outside.  Dotted with cranberries.  Adaptable as far as your imagination will take you, with citrus zest and aromatic spices.  They are everything I would expect from a proper scone.  Even if you’re not lactosally or glutonially challenged, you won’t miss the butter or the flour.

My secret love affair continues.  Who knows where we will go next on our magical voyage?

Readers, have you jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon?  Any favorite uses?

Gluten Free Cranberry Scones

Closely Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes 8 Scones

  • 1  3/4 cups King Arthur gluten-free multi-purpose flour (or other multi purpose gf flour mix)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or other dried fruit
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup cold plain almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400˚F.  Grease a baking sheet with coconut oil or line with parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.  Add the coconut oil and work it in with your hands or a pastry cutter until crumbly.  Stir in the dried fruit.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla until frothy.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together until completely combined.

Drop the dough by the 1/3 cupful onto the prepared baking sheet.  Allow the scones to rest for 15 minutes.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

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Filed under Baked Goods, Breads, Breakfast and Brunch

Whole Wheat Banana Bread with Walnut Crumble

Crumbly Banana Bread

Nothing makes teachers act like kids more than a snow day. It’s a dirty little secret that teachers hope for snow days with even more fervency than students.  A couple nights ago, Facebook was abuzz with weather-related status updates.  SNOW DAY!  WOOHOO!…Finally got the call!  No school tomorrow!…Very happy camper right now…  And then there was my status:  Saaaaahhhhnnoooooooowwwwww daaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy! Yesssss!  I was the teensiest bit excited.  Now, what does one do in winter conditions with time off and a bowl full of spotty bananas?  Do I even need to say it?

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Smitten Kitchen’s Jacked Up Banana Bread is my go-to recipe.  For years, I actually followed the recipe as written–besides replacing the flour with whole wheat pastry flour, and the bourbon with other various liquors.  I had never thought to drastically change it, because I knew I had found everything I was looking for in banana bread. It was moist.  Sweet, but not too sweet.  Spiced and fragrant, with an underlying boozy hum.  I was completely satisfied with the recipe, and not tempted to change a thing.

Smashed Bananas--SpoonWithMe.com

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But then…  My eyes began to wander.  Visions of coffeecake crumble danced in my head, and I just couldn’t shake the thought.  Banana bread and coffeecake in one?!?  Do you think?  Nawwwww!  Deb’s recipe is perfection.  You can’t!  But you must!

Mixed Up--SpoonWithMe.com

Walnuts--SpoonWithMe.com

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I started tinkering around, trying to create a nutty crumble to complement, but not over-shadow the banana bread perfection.  I finally arrived at the perfect intersection between coffeecake and banana bread: a fragrant crumble with toasty, wal-nutty clumps on top, and my favorite (almost) original “Jacked Up” banana bread underneath.

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Banana bread up close--SpoonWithMe.com

You won’t even need to summon the snow gods to make this banana bread.  Just a little bit of time, and few spotty bananas!

Sliced Banana Bread--SpoonWithMe.com

Whole Wheat Banana Bread with Walnut Crumble

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes one loaf

For the Banana Bread:

4 ripe bananas, smashed with a fork

1/3 cup melted salted butter (or earth balance vegan butter)

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon brandy or bourbon (optional)

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

pinch of ground cloves

1 1/2 cup of whole wheat pastry flour

For the Walnut Crumble:

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup walnuts

3 1/2 tablespoons cold butter (or Earth Balance vegan butter)

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of salt

Process:

  1. Spread the walnuts on a cutting board and smash them using the bottom of a measuring cup or jar. Combine all walnut crumble ingredients in a medium bowl. Using clean hands, blend the ingredients together until the butter is completely incorporated.  Squeeze handfuls of the crumble in your hands, then break apart the bigger clumps to form pieces resembling a coffeecake topping.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Lightly grease a loaf pan with butter.
  3. Put the bananas in a large bowl, and use a fork to mash them.  Mix in the melted butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, brandy, and the spices.  Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the top and mix it in.  Add the flour, and mix until just incorporated.
  4. Pour into the buttered loaf pan.  Spread the crumble topping evenly over top.
  5. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool before slicing and serving.

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Cranberry-Orange Cinnamon Rolls (Vegan)

Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

Christmas and the art of procrastination

I’ve tried to be organized and efficient.  Believe me, I would love to muster up just a drop of the left-brained efficiency required to tackle tasks in advance, in a calm and serene manner.  Gifts purchased or homemade, wrapped and placed under the tree. Strings of cranberries draped around the perfect tree.  Mulled cider wafting through the clean house.  Stockings all hung by the chimney with care, and nothing left to do to but settle down for a long winter’s nap.  Unfortunately, try as I may, Christmas Eve is always a whirlwind.  It’s the deadline for tying up all the loose ends of holiday to-dos.

Roll the Dough

Christmas preparations happened extra late this year.  Who am I kidding, with me, Christmas preparations always happen in a somewhat frenzied manner.  Take, for example, the Mister and I’s foolproof method for procuring the perfect tree.  Let fate choose your tree for you.  To do this one must make sure to wait long enough that most tree lots are empty.  When you find a tree lot that has a few mis-shapen trees left, you’ll know you’ve struck gold.  This year, we were thrilled to find a tree, flouncy and filled out on one side, and relatively flat on the other, a perfect fit against the living room wall.

Zest and Sugar

Zesty Sugar

Now, this next one takes a bit of advance planning.  When purchasing a house, be sure to move next to neighbors that use more than their fair share of electricity around Christmas time with a gaudy holiday display.  When lit, the reindeer on their roof will cast a pleasant holiday glow on yours until you can put up a couple strings of lights.

Filling the Rolls

Risen Rolls

The thing I love about Christmas morning is that the frenzy comes to an end.  Even if you have to rotate from house to house like the mister and I, making the rounds, there is nothing left to buy, and whatever is, just is.  I’m finally tying up preparations, and thought I’d throw out one more last-minute idea to all of my fellow procrastinators who haven’t yet thought about Christmas breakfast.  For all the organized people out there, who already have plans, these rolls would be great for any breakfast or brunch.  They are scented with cinnamon and orange, tender and gooey inside, their sweetness punctuated with tart cranberry.

Baked Golden Brown

Gooey Baked Rolls

However you celebrate, I hope you enjoy the people around you and some delicious food.  And most of all, fellow procrastinators, enjoy the calm after such a whirlwind of holiday preparations.  Merry Christmas!

Cranberry-Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Makes about 24 rolls

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

For the dough:

2 packages of yeast, dissolved in 1 cup lukewarm water
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons vegan butter, such as Earth Balance (or use real butter), softened
1 cup granulated sugar
7 1/4  cups all purpose flour (plus more if dough is still sticky)
2 cups hot water
1 tablespoon salt
grated zest from 1 medium orange, about 1 tablespoon

For the Filling:

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Zest of 2 large oranges
3/4 cup granulated sugar

For the orange sugar topping:

Zest of 1 large orange
1/2 cup granulated sugar

For the frosting:

4 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
1  tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Dough:

1. Add the yeast to 1 cup of lukewarm water. Stir and set aside for about five minutes, or until proofed (the top layer should look foamy and bubbly)

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the coconut oil, 3 tablespoons butter, sugar, and salt to hot water and beat for about a minute, or until the butter and coconut oil are melted.  Allow to cool to lukewarm. Stir in 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth.  Stir in the yeast mixture and the 1 tablespoon orange zest and mix until well combined.

3. Gradually stir in the remaining flour and mix with the dough hook for about 2 minutes. Remove dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured counter. Knead by hand for about 8-10 minutes, adding flour as needed if the dough is sticky,  until satiny and smooth.

4. Put the dough in a floured bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise for 30 minutes or until dough doubles in size.

5. Remove dough from bowl and place on a lightly floured counter. Divide dough in half. With a rolling pin, roll one half of the dough into a rectangular shape.

6.  Add the filling: spread dough evenly with 4 tablespoons of softened butter. Sprinkle the dough with 1/2 cup  and 3/4 cup dried cranberries. Rub the orange zest, cinnamon, brown sugar and granulated sugar together in small bowl. Sprinkle half of the mixture over the dough.

7. Gently roll up dough into one long roll. Cut rolls, using a piece of dental floss or thread, about two inches thick (after cutting with the floss, you may need to finish cutting it with a sharp knife). Rub the zest of one orange and half cup of sugar together in a small bowl. Dip and twist the rolls into the orange sugar mixture. Place rolls in greased 9X13 baking pans.Now follow the exact same steps with the other half of the dough.

8. Place the rolls in a warm spot and cover with a towel. Let rolls rise until double in bulk, about an hour. Bake  425 degrees F for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 5-7 more minutes or until golden brown. Remove pans from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

8. To make the frosting-in a medium bowl combine, butter, powdered sugar, almond milk, orange zest, orange juice and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Frost rolls generously with frosting. Serve warm.

*Rolls may be re-heated in a 300˚ oven if needed

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