Friday, June 26, 2009

Sylvie's Bird Bread (banana cranberry super-oaty oatmeal bread)

Well, after several months of experimentation and taste-testing, my family's favorite snack food is good to go! I started with a basic recipe from Good Housekeeping, combined some tips from Fannie Farmer & internet research, added ingredients that my family likes, and ended up with a well rounded and pretty healthy Quick Bread. Husband loves it, baby loves it, and dog simply can't get enough of it. One of the biggest differences with my recipe is that I more than double the amount of oats in a typical oatmeal bread which of course means I also need to offset the liquid ingredients. I've tried a lot of liquid combinations (more butter, less butter/more applesauce, the addition of oil or shortening), but this seems to get it just right. I use as many organic ingredients as I can for this recipe. Sylvie's Bird Bread is open to interpretation, so if you come up with a good variation, post it here please!

1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole-wheat white flour (like King Arthur's)
2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 stick unsalted butter (I use "European Style"), room temp
3 large extra ripe bananas (sometimes I do 4)
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup-ish of cranberries, dried or fresh (if you use Craisins, know you are sweetening the recipe)
3 tablespoons applesauce (if I'm out of applesauce I've been known to use pear babyfood)

3 tablespoons each of:
Brown sugar
Whole-wheat white flour
Unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9" by 5" loaf pan.

In a medium bowl mash bananas and butter together with a potato masher until they are a marble-y mix. These two ingredients prepare each other for deliciousness on a chemical level. Set aside. In large bowl, mix baking powder, baking soda, salt, flour, oats, and brown sugar until blended. Stir in milk, vanilla extract, eggs, applesauce, butter/banana mixture and cranberries (in the photo you may see that I also added a handful of fresh blueberries last time - it is bird bread, so scavenge away!) Beat with a mixer just until you think the eggs are blended, maybe 30 seconds. Spoon batter into pan.

In the same bowl you mixed your bananas in (save on dishes, right?) mix 3 tablespoons flour, 3 tablespoons oats, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and 3 tablespoons margarine or butter until blended. it's easiest to mix by hand to get the ingredients all hunky-dory with each other. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over batter. Oh yeah!

4. Bake bread 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan and finish cooling on wire rack.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

i cooked you some delicious soup.

tonight i was not hungry, not hungry, not hungry and then all of a sudden i was ready for dinner. i had no idea what i wanted, so i was perusing the freezer and found a bag of "mini chicken cilantro wontons" from trader joe's and decided to have some wonton soup. i put about 2 1/2 cups of water on to boil and added 3 packets of (also trader joe's) savory chicken broth - good stuff - it is kind of like boullion but not as salty and much tastier. i left it to come to a boil and then after it did, added 10 mini wontons and a generous shake of dried chives. i think bean sprouts would have been good too, or scallions, but i did not have any.
this soup is really good!