19 February 2014

Little loaf

My little sister just got admitted to college. About 15 minutes from where I live. One of the first things I thought was, uh oh, am I gonna fall into some maternal-style older sis spying? I promise to not. But sometimes, you just want to know something... One thing I like to know? That on a weekday morning breakfast is waiting on the table. No pans to mess, just, banana bread.

Do you have a mini loaf pan? A typical banana bread recipe is easily divided by three, into three little loaves or, if you're like me and manage to save just one banana at a time that gets a little too speckled, easily made into one little loaf for a small household. Banana bread recipes run the gamut, and everyone's got an opinion, but here I started with a popular David Leite recipe, threw in a little hint from Alton Brown and Salvegged it a touch.

I used a blend of oat flour and all purpose ( Alton uses a little oat but I upped it to half) and a little yogurt and crunchy toasty walnuts for contrast. If you are in the the mixer mood, check out these muffins from Dorie. But a nice thing about this little loaf is it can be done bowl to bowl. I won't resort to the sister spying next year but maybe I'll stop by with a little loaf (sans nuts!). 

Mini Banana Loaf

makes one 5 x 3

1/3 c / 42 grams unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 c / 30 grams oat flour (you can sub more all purpose, or a little less oat if you prefer)
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp vanilla
33 grams beaten egg (2/3 of a large)
20 ml plain whole milk yogurt (1.5 Tbsp)
28 grams (2 Tbsp) butter, melted
1/4 c sugar
4 oz/ 1 med very ripe banana

2 Tbs lightly toasted, cooled walnuts, chopped rough

Preheat oven to 350, butter and flour a 5 x 3 loaf. 
Whisk flours, soda, salt and spice in a medium bowl.
Melt butter and set aside to cool slightly.
Mash banana and sugar together well, add vanilla.
Stir together egg and yogurt, and add to banana mix. Stir in butter to combine.
Pour wet into dry and fold gently to just combine, adding walnuts into the last two strokes.
Pour batter into pan and place in oven.
Bake 30-40 mins. I pulled this at just close to 40 but ovens differ so start checking at 30. A toothpick should come out almost clean.

16 February 2014

A scape of time

East coasters: more glorious snow. Aren't you tired of going to the supermarket in stock up mode...? I live, in urbanity, across the street from one, but that presents a new set of issues when I march over to it, plan-less and ingredient-sparse, looking for supplements...like fearing, will it be closed for some crazy reason? It hasn't been. We've had work, too. So in lieu of a post this week, I thought I would share a few noteworthy things I've been making. 

First off, reading this. Bedtime (or weekend) delight of powerful memoir prose. 

Above pic: scones, again and again.... Same base recipe  as of late but went for a full half  split spelt and all-purpose, and some chopped up coconut-dark chocolate bar as the add in. 

Below: Rye blueberry coffee cake muffins. Kim Boyce via Oregon Live. I haven't seen this recipe around out there at all, except on that website and the photo isn't great. And it isn't in her book. But I mean, blueberry, rye, brown butter, brown sugar-almond topped? We reallly liked them. 

Oatmeal cookies. This way...nutless...with coconut shreds.

And, this way. I nixed the traditional frosting route and snuck in a few chopped almonds, but smeared some honey stirred with cinnamon and mascarpone between a few for the sandwich effect option. These are a nice, soft batch, from the quick cooking oats. Whoa, it's been awhile since I've had a sandwich cookie. I can see why they are all over right now. I'm not sure what I was missing with the frosting, but I quite liked the mascarpone and honey.

Paleo chef salad to balance out, albeit whole grain, sweets...

New York Times whole grain and nut thumbprint cookies via Chad Robertson. This buckwheat almond combination, which no one reports to try that I have seen, works nicely too.

This pumpkin bread. A winner. Though there is a brown butter pumpkin loaf on here and a whole wheat olive oil one too, this one is pretty impressive. Tall, soft and spicy, I love the recipe from Sweet Amandine. You make it in the mixer with creamed butter. With good leavening, and more eggs and flour than most recipes, it gets better rise than a lot of breads out there. As with loaves, the flavors deepen as it sits a day or two, making it my favorite evening baking choice for the next day. Home made kabocha purée and a little rye flour notch it up a level nutritionally, too. 

I heart you...

Flowers are a girl's best friend : )  Until soon. Xoxo

06 February 2014

Little Buckwheat Berry Scones

Hey friends, I've been wanting to share this little scone rendition with you for a bit but got distracted by cookies. And posting a budget salmon dinner for 2 on Shop Rite's blog. Definitely check that out if you're looking for classic ideas for budget meals. Also Melissa Clark has a fun sheet pan dinner in The Times. Gotta love the sheet pans. They pretty much get the workhorse treatment in my kitchen too. Anyways, back to breakfast. Since I made Kim Boyce's popular buckwheat-jam scone a few months back on here, I didn't think I needed another recipe for a deliciously charcol-colored scone swirled with bright jam. But I wanted to experiment with just dropping a bit of buckwheat into my regular un-rolled scone dough.  So I did just that. Here is the dough, unbaked. I mixed it in the bowl to form a mound then sliced it twice on the sheet pan. 

It's been so snowy over here, and therefore a prime time to turn on the oven. Since I knew these warm morning goodies would be dark grey as Bob's Red Mill buckwheat is a darker breed that dyes everything, I decided to throw in some black and blueberries for color coordination. I also infused my half-and-half/egg mixture with a little maple syrup for flavor. I think that idea was born out of the desire to make some buckwheat pancakes in the near future, but not wanting to stand at the stove and flip flip flip. While scones and muffins cook, a pop in the shower is possible : ) Side note: I did, however, break out our waffle maker last week to make Roost's almond flour waffles and they were great! I highly reccommend them. For now though, let's move on to buckwheat, berry, maple, in scone form. 

We've done this dance before, only it's just a bit bluer (sorry, can't help it).The dough is quick to mix up, even quicker if you memorize, and needs very little handling. The flavor was just right on the buckwheat front, with a nice crumb, jammy berry puddles and just a hint of maple. Enjoy with a smear of honey and mascarpone (my fave) or your fave jam and butter. 

Buckwheat Berry Scones 

makes 4

93 grams (3/4 c) grams all purpose flour 
30 grams buckwheat flour (1/4 c)
pinch lemon zest
1 1/2 heaped Tbsp natural cane sugar 
1/4 tsp sea salt 
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda

50 grams (scant 4 Tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/2 large egg (lightly beaten, measured to 26 grams)
50 ml scant 1/4 c half and half
10 ml maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

heaped 1/4 c (small handful fresh blue and/or blackberries, cut in half if large)
Turbinado to sprinkle, a little extra flour and half and half

Oven to 425, rack in center.
Cut butter into pieces, and blackberries in half if large. Set both (butter and berries of choice) in the freezer.
Set sheet pan aside with a little parchment on it, and dust with a sprinkle flour. 
Whisk to combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, soda, zest in large bowl. 

Whisk to combine measured egg with half and half and vanilla in small bowl. Set in fridge.

With fingers (my choice here) or pastry blender, rub butter into dry mix to form coarse meal with pieces no larger than a pea. Work quickly to keep butter solid. Stir in half of berries gently. Make a well and pour in half and half mix, stirring from outside to moisten and stirring gently only to combine. Stir in rest of berries. 

When mix starts to hold together, flour your hands and form dough into ball. With floured hands transfer to dusted tray. Pat dough into mound a heaped inch, and with a lightly floured knife, slice in half, then in half again. Wedge the pieces apart either in a line or separated circle. 

Sprinkle with a little turbinado. I always put the pan in the freezer for a minute while I clean a little. Bake about 20 minutes, checking towards the last 5. The dark color dough will mask golden-ness but there should be some browning on top and bottom of the scones. Let cool on the sheet pan on a rack for at least 5 minutes, then for another 5-10 off the pan on a rack. Spread with a little mascarpone and fruit butter or jam!