Apple Cream Cheese Quick Bread

Apple is our ingredient of the season. Expect quite a bit of baking, a sampling of hard cider, and a house full of aroma (if you’re lucky!) from this series.

The same mystery apple tree that provided the inspiration for our German Apple Cake keeps on giving, so we keep on taking! Alex makes it a daily stop, and I’ve run over a few times when we needed an apple for this or that; today’s bread being the perfect example. We went on a one-night camping trip last weekend, and whenever we’re camping and I know there’s going to be a chill in the air I like to pack along a baked good – just something to snack on when we need an energy boost or want a little treat with our camp breakfast. Since this recipe comes together relatively quickly, it’s an easy last minute treat whether you’re staying home or packing the car (and forgetting the hotdogs!) as you head out for the weekend.

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In addition to the apple, this bread gets its flavor from a touch of cinnamon, fresh nutmeg, and vanilla. And I loved the hearty addition of cream cheese, reminding me of another fall favorite ~ the pumpkin roll!

Ingredients

  • 2 apples, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar, separated
  • 3 eggs (2 for the bread, 1 for the cream cheese filling)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup white flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 6 oz. cream cheese
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The How-to

  • Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly oil a loaf pan.
  • Place the apples, oil, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix well. Gently fold in the flour, baking soda, salt, spices, and walnuts until wet. Pour the batter into your prepared pan.
  • With an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 egg. Pour over the top of the bread batter and swirl with a fork or knife.
  • Bake for 30 minutes with a loosely covered foil tent. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an addition 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean.
  • Allow the bread to cool before slicing.
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As I mentioned, this is a nice hearty bread. It was the perfect treat on our camping trip, especially with a cup of hot tea at the breakfast table. My cream cheese didn’t marble into the bread so much as it sunk into the middle and the bread seemed to bake up around it, but we didn’t mind – it made it more like a filling.

I adapted today’s recipe from Today’s Creative Blog, adding the walnuts, reducing the sugar, and taking her suggestion for a combination of whole wheat and white flour. I found the core recipe to be easily adaptable, so feel free to experiment and make it your own!

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Vegan Rosemary Tomato Scones

Rosemary is our ingredient of the season.  Sometimes we use it in food, sometimes in alcohol and other times in our home.

Scones are a simple alternative to everyday breakfast foods.  I’m guilty of forgetting about these little treats until I see them piled up in coffee shops, but you don’t have to wait until you go out for this treat. Scones are extremely simple to make at home, and that’s coming from someone who shies away from baking!  They’re quick too.  Start this vegan rosemary tomato scone recipe, and you’ll actually be finished mixing and kneading by the time the oven is preheated.  Only dirty a few dishes will be dirtied, so you can clean up while they bake and by the time the buzzer sounds you’ll be sitting down with your morning coffee or tea.

Try this vegan version; it’s a bit healthier since it lacks the usual butter and heavy cream.  It’s always nice to build a vegan and vegetarian recipe repertoire to accommodate vegan guests, introduce healthier alternatives to dairy and meat loving friends or round out your own diet. These scones are not only yummy, but beautiful too.  The tomato gives them a nice orange color and the roughly chopped rosemary really stands out.  It’s an easy way to add a pop of color to your breakfast and you can even make them the night before (bonus!) if you’re entertaining.

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Irish Soda Bread

Are you still recovering from yesterday? I must admit, it isn’t a holiday that we celebrate in any special way, except that every March I get the urge to bake a loaf of soda bread and drink a Shamrock shake*.

liveseasoned_spring2014_sodabread_baked_wmFor the longest time I baked a basic soda bread sometimes with raisins sometimes without, either way not giving it much thought. Then I tasted an out-of-this world loaf from La Farine in Oakland, and ever since I’ve been on a mission to recreate it. La Farine’s version contains caraway seeds (something I never thought to include), raisins, and, at least to my tongue, it tasted sweeter than what I was accustomed to.

I haven’t been able to find a recipe for their bread, so I’ve made do with sampling from recipes I’ve found online. Today’s recipe is a variation of one found on Whipped. And remember, we usually include some tips and tricks at the end of the recipe, so read it in its entirety before starting.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/3-1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp orange (or lemon) zest
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup cold butter
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp buttermilk
  • egg wash: 1 egg + 1 Tbsp water + pinch of salt

 

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the caraway seeds, raisins, and zest.
  • Cut your butter into 1/2 inch segments and add it to the dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter or the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, incorporate the butter until the mixture becomes mealy.
  • Add 3/4 cup of the buttermilk, missing it in for about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl, making sure to incorporate the dry ingredients that remain. Add enough additional buttermilk until the dough holds together. I used the full quantity of buttermilk, but you may use more or less depending upon humidity and how arid your ingredients are.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into two evenly-sized disks. Score the loafs into quarters and brush  with the egg wash.
  • Bake the bread for 20-25 minutes, it should be a light brown with a shiny finish when done.

Tips and Tricks

  • If you don’t have buttermilk, you can substitute with regular milk and 1 Tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice. Mix it together and let it stand for 5 minutes before using in the recipe.
  • The original recipe called for 1/3 cup sugar, but in trying to recreate the sweetness of La Farine’s bread, I increased it to 1/2 cup. Either will work depending upon your preference.
  • The original recipe called for orange zest. I would have loved to use it, but alas, I didn’t have any fresh citrus in the house. I did, however, have some dried lemon rind that I rehydrated and used. It was delicious, but I’m craving another loaf with the orange zest.
  • Sarah here: If you’re like me and you don’t own a pastry cutter or stand mixer, hold a butter knife in each hand and cut in the butter that way.

Soda bread is such an easy bread to make, no waiting for the dough to rise or kneading required. It’s delicious hot from the oven, and even better with a pat of butter. If you have the urge to bake, I hope you’ll give this recipe a try!

*Back to the Shamrock Shake. I’m not talking about this disgustingly sweet new version that looks to be 90% neon green syrupy goop, but the old one of my childhood that was a perfectly minted shake (and even if it wasn’t made from 100% ice cream, milk, and mint, it was a good imitation). This may be the year I finally break down and make my own. [insert tiny Sarah on your shoulder chanting dooo it, dooo it!] 
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Sweet (Heart) Potato Skillet

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If you’re looking to shake up your breakfast menu, try this sweet potato skillet.  It’s a quick and hardy dish with the perfect amount of spice.  The eggs are a great source of protein and the sweet potatoes add lots of fiber and potassium to the dish.  What’s my favorite aspect of this recipe?  The lack of dirty dishes.  Since you cook and eat out of the  skillet, clean up is easy peasy.

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Ingredients:

  • Splash of olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ an onion
  • 1 small sweet pepper
  • few sprigs of cilantro
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • shake of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Equipment:

  • Finely chop half an onion, the pepper and a clove of garlic.  Over medium-low heat, add a splash of olive oil to a small skillet.  Add the chopped onion, pepper and garlic. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the onion mixture.
  • Wash, peel and julienne (or grate)  the sweet potato while the onion mixture is sautéing.
  • Stir in the grated sweet potato and turn up the heat to medium.
  • Finely chop the cilantro and add it to the sweet potato mixture along with the cumin, cayenne and red pepper flakes.
  • Stir every so often until the sweet potato begins to soften.  About seven to ten minutes.
  • Place a rack at the top of the oven and turn on the broiler.
  • Make a heart shape in the middle of your skillet and crack two eggs into it.  Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the raw eggs.
  • Place your skillet in the oven, under the broiler, to lightly cook the eggs.  Anywhere from 2-5 minutes depending on your preference.  I broiled my skillet for only two minutes because I like my eggs runny. (Katie here ~ what? you like your eggs runny? I’m not sure if we can be sisters anymore!)

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If you’re serving it with toast you can put the slices under the broiler too.  I ate my skillet with an expensive ($8!), but delicious gluten-free loaf from the Saturday Farmers’ Market.  I’m not allergic to gluten, but the loaves at Imagine That Gluten Free looked so delicious that I had to give them a try.  It was a cold and windy (read absolutely freezing) Saturday and I was wandering around near closing time so the vendor even gave me a baguette ($6) for free!  That combination of friendliness and deliciousness will keep me coming back for more.  I wish I had a photo of the baguette.  It seriously looked like a piece of art.  My guy and I scarfed it down that day.  Stay tuned via Instagram and I’ll snap a picture of the beautiful baguettes this Saturday.

I hope you enjoyed this simple yet filling recipe.  The heart makes me smile every time I serve this up.  Do you ever play with your food?  Morph your pancakes into any fun shapes lately? If so, snap a picture, share it on instagram #foodart and tag us!  I’m off to make dinosaur pancakes and heart-shaped donuts!

 

*I highly recommend buying a julienne peeler.  It basically transforms any veggie into a noodle.  It’s my new favorite toy.
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