Category Archives: Bread

Roasted Garden Panzanella Pasta

I tried to get the essentials into the title—roasting, garden harvest, classic panzanella, and pasta. From the garden, I’m roasting tomatoes and green beans. My husband doesn’t care for tomatoes, but he tends the garden—sometimes you have to eat what you sow. The green beans are meant to draw him into the dish. I’m going to roast the bread cubes, as well, instead of toasting the bread in a skillet. Then it’s just a matter of making the right dressing and tossing it all with pasta and cheese curds. I know mozzarella is traditional, but I’m in love with Yancey’s Fancy® Fresh Cheddar Cheese Curds, and I think they will be perfect.

I’m going to use rice vinegar in the dressing, because it’s the mildest of the vinegars. I’m also going to seed the tomatoes before roasting and add all that liquidy stuff to the dressing, straining out the tomato seeds. But olive oil will be the star. The bread cubes, green beans, and tomatoes will all be tossed with extra virgin olive oil before roasting, and then some more will be in the final dressing.

I’m roasting more ingredients than I will use, but nothing is lost. The extra roasted tomatoes, beans, and bread cubes, will probably end up in lunches or snacks.

Roasted Garden Panzanella Pasta

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups cubed crusty bread, such as from a batard or baguette—I toasted the whole loaf, but only used 2 cups in the dish
  • enough tomatoes to make about 1.5-2 cups—use any type of tomato; mine were Early Girls, the first to ripen here. I roasted 10 tomatoes, but used only 4 in the dish.
  • 1.5 cups fresh green beans
  • 4 oz. pasta cooked according to package directions—I used whole wheat penne
  • 6 oz. cheese curds—mine were fresh cheddar, which is much more mild than aged cheddar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil for dressing
  • 4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for roasting vegetables
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar or other mild vinegar
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely grated
  • salt & pepper

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425º; line 2-3 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

  1. Bread: Toss bread cubes in large bowl with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil—I used 3 for the whole loaf—don’t overdo it. Spread on one of the baking sheets and toast in oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and set aside 2 cups for the dish.
  2. Vegetables: Core and seed the tomatoes, reserving the tomato seeds and pulp for the dressing—I had about 1 cup of liquid from the tomatoes. Place the halved tomatoes, cut side up, on one of the lined baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper.
  3. Toss the green beans with about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread on the second lined sheet; salt and pepper.
  4. Roast the vegetables on separate racks in the oven, about 15 minutes for the green beans and about 30 minutes for the tomatoes. I like a little caramelization on the tomatoes.
  5. Dressing: In bowl with reserved tomato seeds and pulp, add the 3/4 cup olive oil and vinegar. Whisk until combined, then pour through strainer to remove seeds—whisking helps to separate the gel from the seeds before you strain them out. Whisk in garlic. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more oil or vinegar to taste.
  6. Panzanella: In large bowl toss pasta, bread, vegetables, and cheese with dressing until well coated. Set aside and allow the dressing to be absorbed by all the ingredients. Serve at room temperature.

We also had a roasted pork tenderloin, but that was really just a bonus for the gardener, who did eat a few of the tomatoes.

Sour Cream Carrot Breakfast Muffins

I know it seems too soon to post another muffin recipe, but the Tropical Muffins are gone, because my husband was eating them two and three at a time. Well, these are not so sweet, with only half the sugar, and they contain the one secret ingredient that will curb his appetite—cinnamon. I can’t understand who wouldn’t like cinnamon, but there it is, and I use it to my own benefit sometimes.

In addition to sour cream and carrots, there are chopped walnuts and flaked unsweetened coconut, so there are plenty of flavors and textures in these muffins—they’re just not sweet ones. None of the additions—carrots, coconut, nuts, sour cream—are sweet, except for the brown sugar. I think the muffins would be great with some cream cheese and a nice big cup of coffee in the morning. You could certainly sweeten them up with different additions or with a sweet spread. I just wanted something hearty for breakfast.

Sour Cream Carrot Breakfast Muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 375°; prepare a muffin pan with paper liners or butter.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

Preparation

  1. Beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add sour cream and egg and continue beating until well combined.
  2. Stir in dry ingredients—flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon—just until lightly combined.
  3. Add carrots, nuts, and coconut and mix until well combined. The batter will be thick.
  4. Scoop the better into the muffin cups—it should mound high in the cups, but it will not spread out or run over.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 25 minutes worked for me.

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Tropical Ricotta Muffins

Calling these muffins tropical was easier than putting all the ingredients in the title, and I figure anything with coconut can be called tropical. Besides ricotta, the ingredients that flavor these muffins are dried apricots, flaked coconut, and roasted almonds. The muffin batter is plenty sweet, so I used unsweetened coconut and apricots.

The batter is very thick and you can see that I used a large scoop of it in each cup without the muffin spreading out or running over the cup. I find that thick muffin batters work that way, so I don’t follow those fill to 2/3 full directions you see so often.

I adapted this recipe from my Heavenly Lemon Ricotta Muffins.

Tropical Ricotta Muffins

  • Servings: makes 12 regular muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 350°; line a muffin pan with paper liners.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 24 dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped (mine were oven roasted and salted)

Preparation

  1. Beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add ricotta and vanilla; beat until combined.
  3. Beat in egg.
  4. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until beginning to combine. Do not over-beat.
  5. Add milk and beat at low speed until combined.
  6. Stir in apricots, coconut, and nuts until well distributed.
  7. Scoop batter into liners in muffin pan.
  8. Bake for 18 minutes and check for doneness. Mine needed another five minutes to be done in the center.
  9. Cool in pan on rack for at least 15 minutes before removing to completely cool.

Recipe Review: Edible Irish Soda Bread

I’m not sure yours will be so green

If my Ancestry DNA profile is correct, I have 22% Irish ethnicity. Not that you’d know it by anything in my upbringing. Apparently my maternal grandfather was bullied as a Protestant dog by the Irish Catholic boys in his small Ohio hometown, so he was determined to just be a “red-blooded American.” Thus, I wouldn’t know an Irish custom, or any other ethnic custom, unless I read about it. I have read about Irish soda bread and have tried many different recipes for it, only to be disappointed. All the recipes I’ve tried come across as poor tasteless cousins of the scone, but maybe I’ve been expecting the wrong results. Luckily, I ran across this “nouveau” version, and it is a game changer, even if it might lack in authenticity.

I’m testing and reviewing “Nouveau Irish Soda Bread” from Food 52, which I discovered through A Pug in the Kitchen, where the original recipe was adapted, mostly by leaving out the vegetables. Vegetables? Yep. That’s one reason why I call this soda bread edible.

I followed the recipe exactly, except for the beer. The recipe calls for an Irish-style lager—I don’t even know what a lager is. Not being a beer drinker and at the mercy of whatever my husband might have on hand (he doesn’t drink much nor often), I used 4 oz of the one lone bottle of Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat beer in the fridge and poured the rest down the drain. Otherwise, I carefully measured the celery and green onions, and I actually had fingerling potatoes on hand, although they were multi-colored (does that matter?). I used a good Greek yogurt and a good enough tablespoon of honey. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the one purple potato, though, because the cooking water was definitely purplish, but that doesn’t explain how green the bread turned out. I mean shamrock green!

Please follow the original recipe for Nouveau Irish Soda Bread and flip through the photos at the top of the page, where you’ll see some green, but not as much as mine.

I baked the bread for the full 45 mins, tenting the loaf with foil for the last 15 so the edges wouldn’t burn. The internal temperature was 190° when finished. It slices best after resting for a while.

This is a moist and delicious bread, even if it doesn’t connect with your ideas of what Irish soda bread should be. If it’s not what you’re looking for on St. Patrick’s Day, all the more reason to make it whenever it suits you. We ate it with venison white bean stew yesterday, and I ate a slice this morning. It is still moist.

Five stars: ★★★★★