April 20, 2011

Can you forgive me for a totally out of season baking recipe?

Especially after I just finished reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver? This is basically the bible of eating locally, and in season, and here I am craving pumpkin bread in April. Not only did I crave, but I gave in and MADE. One day this week, Zak was having a particularly bad day at work, and I was feeling a little blue myself, so I thought "what we need to do is bake, get the house smelling delicious, have something warm and comforting to bite into." Even if we can't control the forces of the universe that can make life crappy sometimes, we can eat well dammit! And for some unexplainable reason (pregnancy) all I could think of was pumpkin bread. So I broke out the canned pumpkin (the horror! not fresh?) and got to work.

Walnut Streusel Pumpkin Bread

Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350°.
To prepare topping, combine the walnuts, sugar and butter in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. cover and keep in the fridge.
To prepare bread, combine all dry ingredients (flour through nutmeg) in a mixing bowl. Making sure to lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife when measuring. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine the wet ingredients (pumpkin through eggs) in a bowl, and add to flour mixture. Stir just until moist. Spoon batter into a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle with the streusel topping. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
 This Rosy the Riveter hand towel showed up in one of my moving boxes, I have no I idea where it came from

This turned out so delicious! Some of the streusel topping kind of melted down into the middle of the loaf and made a kind of filling inside, I don't know if this was because of some mistake I made or what, but it was a very happy accident! The rest of the topping made a satisfyingly crumbly and crunchy crust of the kind that you leave for the very last bite when you have a slice.

April 15, 2011

Finally Home

I am back and finally settled in for good!

It feels so good to say that. For the past six months, Zak and I have been going through the arduous process of buying a house. The last two of these have been incredibly stressful with mortgage lenders and accountants causing us all sorts of trouble resulting in us having to move twice in one month. We have been in a temporary place all of March, where the Internet wasn't so reliable, so I haven't been able to blog, or do anything I normally do, really. The wonderful, amazing good news is that we are finally in our new place, and it is amazing.

The kitchen is everything I could have hoped for and more...I, for the first time in my life, have a nice oven. Gas ranges and everything! I have enough room to cook to my hearts desire, to finally achieve a real sense of mise en place that I have only dreamed of before. What does this mean for my readers, or any random person to stumble across my little blog? MORE recipes! MORE culinary experiments! MORE food!

Also, I am a pregnant woman after all, and nesting has taken over in a big way. I now have all the room and all the tools I need to start some major DIY projects I have been planning for over a year. What does this mean for you dear reader? Instructionals on salvaging old furniture (especially if most of your furniture comes from the dumpster, like me) and rehabbing your own busted up things as well. Slightly less instructional posts on my adventures in learning how to sew. How to turn random crap you find in the thrift store into awesome home decor!

Did I mention I get to set up my garden completely from scratch, exactly how I want it?

So I am back for good, and ready to dedicate some serious time to this blog! What to look forward to in the future:

Homemade Mozzarella
DIY Chandelier centerpiece for the bedroom
The vegetable garden of course
Home brewed beer and apple cider

Thanks to everyone for sticking around through all these delays!