Category Archives: Bread

Whole Wheat Beer Bread Mix

This whole wheat beer bread is one of the best recipes I’ve discovered in a long time.  I happened across it when I was brainstorming ideas for a food swap on Monday.  I needed something shelf-stable and inexpensive to take to the swap, and this simple, savory quick bread fit the bill. I stayed true to BLChrisman’s simple, original recipe and packed the dry ingredients into white paper bags for the swap.  The resulting beer bread “mix” made for a popular, easy swap item. I think it was popular because the recipe will be easy for the foodies in attendance to adapt according to their tastes. It’s also vegetarian and vegan friendly. Here’s the basic mix recipe:

Whole Wheat Beer Bread Mix
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups whole wheat flour (I used Richardson Farms‘)
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1.5 teaspoons salt
4.5 teaspoons baking powder

Preparation instructions: Combine dry ingredients with a 12 oz. bottle or can of beer. Put dough into a buttered loaf pan and pour 4 tablespoons of melted butter or vegan margarine over the dough and bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes.

Somehow I managed to attend the food swap, take my camera and forget to take pictures of my beer bread mix. So you’ll have to use your imagination here, and trust me that the finished products looked really cute.  I found white paper bags similar to the one pictured below at All In One Bake Shop here in Austin for $.35 each.

I put one recipe of the basic mix into each white gusseted bag and labeled it with this sticker:

For an extra cute touch, I used a green patterned scrapbook paper as the background stroke on the packages. For ease of production, I printed the label stickers on Avery name tags using my home inkjet printer. Easy peasy!

In the past week I’ve experimented a lot with this recipe and two variations I have made really stand out above the rest: a broccoli cheddar loaf and a vegan rosemary garlic bread.  For the broccoli cheddar version, I added one cup of minced broccoli, a clove of minced garlic, and 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese to the basic recipe, then I topped it with salted butter and 1 tablespoon of cheddar cheese. The texture of the bread was richer than the original recipe, and the flavor of the broccoli came through without being overpowering.

The vegan garlic rosemary beer bread came about after the food swap.  I got a bunch of rosemary and other herbs from Sarah of texpatsabroad, and on a whim I added a tablespoon of her minced rosemary and 2 cloves of minced garlic to the bread dough. I used Earth Balance instead of butter to top the dough and baked for 45 minutes. It was fantastic and crusty! I’m planning to make that again for Super Bowl Sunday.

Fellow food swappers, I hope you enjoy making your own versions of this beer bread! Please let me know what beers you cook with and whether you come up with any variations of your own.

Headed to your own food swap, or just looking to package up some hostess gifts? Here is the Microsoft Word document for the labels I designed for the beer bread packages, Avery name tag template 5395.

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Radish Tartine

I got a whole loaf of  bulgar wheat bread from my mom for Christmas this year.  She usually makes it for family dinners, and I was more than a little excited to see a whole loaf of the stuff in my stocking yesterday.  Mom’s wheat bread is simultaneously tender and hearty with just enough sweetness to help you lose track of how much you’re eating around the family table.  Yesterday during a particularly passionate discussion about deer meat, I caught myself nibbling on bread slice number three of the meal, slathered with farm fresh apple butter. Of course, I was way too full for a second helping of salad.  “Three slices!” I wondered, “How does this happen every year??”  The answer is that the nostalgia brought on by bulgar wheat bread tends to distract me from the detritus of adulthood, like counting calories or bothering with vegetables.

Still.  I have an entire loaf of this wheat bread in my grown-up pantry, and I need to find a way to use it that doesn’t involve me slurping up a whole jar of apple butter.

Enter radish tartines. These simple-to-make, open faced sandwiches are just the thing to awaken my palate from its nostalgic torpor. A thick slice of wheat toast buttresses a creamy-tart layer of cheese along with spicy radish slices from My Father’s Farm.  A pop of red wine vinegar, crunchy sea salt and cracked pepper top the whole thing.

I’ve sampled two versions of this sandwich so far, each slightly different because of the variety of radishes that came in our Local Box this week; I received a Spanish black radish, two watermelon radishes, and two French breakfast radishes in our bunch from My Father’s Farm.  Although I used the beautiful and mild-mannered watermelon radish in my pictures of the sandwich– who could resist those radiant reds and greens around Christmastime?– the Spanish black radishes’ assertive, peppery crunch made it my favorite tartine topper of the three varieties.

Even though you won’t have a loaf of mom’s bulgar wheat bread in your pantry, I hope that you enjoy the simple pleasure of crunchy radishes, rich cream cheese, tart vinegar, and nutty whole wheat with your own version of this easy sandwich.

Radish Tartine (serves 1)
1 thick slice of good quality whole wheat bread
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
1 tablespoon cream cheese
2 teaspoons sour cream
1-2 radishes, any variety, sliced very thin (about 12 slices)
salt
fresh ground pepper
red wine vinegar & olive oil

Preheat a grill pan or skillet over medium high heat. Brush one side of the slice of bread with olive oil and toast bread oil-side-down on a preheated grill pan or skillet.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix cream cheese and sour cream until well combined.  Place toasted bread cooked-side-up on a plate and spread cheese mixture over the top. Cover cheese with a layer of radish slices, then top with salt and pepper.  Drizzle sandwich with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar to finish.  Serve immediately.

Click here for the printable version of this recipe.

This post is sponsored by Greenling Organic Delivery, and appears on their blog “Eating Out of the Local Box.”

Cheddar Kale Muffins

image courtesy Howard Walfish

These savory muffins call for a whole head of kale, plus protein-rich cheddar cheese, making them a healthy and filling option for breakfast on the go.  You’re going to have to take my word for it that these muffins look good. I made a batch of them for us to take on vacation to San Diego, and I was in such a hurry to pack them up that I forgot to take a picture!  They were great travel food; not too smelly on the plane, and a big step up from any of the airport snacks.

Cheddar Kale Muffins (yields 12 regular-sized muffins)
1 head kale, washed and dried
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 cup milk
5 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 12-muffin pan with paper liners. Chop thick stalks off of kale and slice remaining leaves very finely. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, saute chopped kale in olive oil for about seven minutes, stirring occasionally, until kale is very tender and starts to look a little dry.  Set cooked kale on paper towels to drain and melt the butter in the skillet.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together milk, melted butter, egg, minced garlic, and cooked kale until the egg is completely beaten. Add flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cheese.  Stir until just combined; do not over mix.

Fill twelve prepared muffin cups with batter– about 1/4 cup per muffin– and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. The finished muffins will be slightly browned and a toothpick inserted into a muffin should come out clean. Remove the pan from oven and allow muffins to cool completely before eating. The kale flavor in the muffins is very strong while the muffins are hot; it mellows as they cool, resulting in a great breakfast treat.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

This post is sponsored by Greenling Organic Delivery, and appears on their blog “Eating Out of the Local Box.”

Austin Beer Week: Texas Chili Pie

I made this chili pie in support of the Rangers’ first ever World Series appearance and so far it is working! (We’re winning game one of the series as I type.)  The idea for this recipe came from the concession food I liked to eat at Rangers games when I was a kid: frito pie!  This healthier, non-processed version combines a spicy  chili with hearty jalapeno cheddar corn bread.  Pure Texan comfort food!

If tomatoes and fresh beans were in season, I probably would have added them to the chili.  However, this version will satisfy the most picky Texas Chili enthusiasts since it has neither.  In celebration of Austin Beer Week, I used a whole bottle of Independence Brewing Company’s Austin Amber Ale in the chili, plus a half cup in the cornbread topper. The cornbread also features roasted corn and jalapeno peppers plus local cheddar cheese for added flavor and  texture.  You could skip those ingredients in a pinch, but the pie wouldn’t be nearly as rich and tasty!  I adapted the cornbread recipe from The Beer Wench‘s “Some Like it Hot” cornbread.  If you’re interested in gourmet brew, check out her website, it’s very cool.

One last thing: both the chili and the cornbread work as stand-alone recipes.  However, I think the presentation of the pie is really special.  Just like game day food should be! I hope you enjoy this easy and tasty Texas Chili Pie as much as we did, and let’s go Rangers!!

Texas Chili Pie (serves 6)
Chili:

1 lb. ground venison, beef, or turkey
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bell peppers, cored, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 bottle Austin Amber Ale
2 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornmeal
Cornbread:
1 ear sweet corn
1 fresh jalapeno pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour (n.b. I tried this with whole wheat and it wasn’t good)
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Austin Amber Ale
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten

In a heavy bottomed pan, brown meat over medium heat, adding a little oil if it’s very lean, stirring occasionally. While meat is browning, chop onions, garlic, peppers, and cilantro and add to pan. Stir the meat mixture and break up any large clumps of meat. Once onions are translucent and meat is broken up, pour in the beer and stir.  Add paprika, chili powder, cumin and salt.  Allow chili to stew, uncovered, for about half an hour while you prepare the cornbread topping.

For the cornbread: First, cut corn off the cob and mince jalapeno pepper.  Roast corn and pepper in a skillet over high heat with a little olive oil until some kernels of corn are brown.  Set aside to cool.  Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Add milk, beer, and egg and stir until just combined. (Lumps are okay.)  Finally, fold in shredded cheese, corn, and peppers.  Set aside and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Back to the chili: stir in cornmeal one tablespoon at a time until chili thickens to desired consistency.  After two tablespoons of cornmeal, mine was as thick as juicy taco meat, just how I like it!  Remove chili from heat and carefully pour it into a 1.5 quart casserole dish.  Gently pour cornbread batter on top of the chili.  Using potholders, put the casserole in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, until cornbread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Garnish chili pie with fresh sliced jalapenos, diced onions, sour cream and cilantro.  Cheer for the Rangers!!

Click here for a printable copy of this recipe.

Zucchini Breakfast Bites

These savory breakfast bites evolved from a  Crustless Zucchini Pie recipe I found on allrecipes.com a few months ago, and they have become one of my favorite healthy snacks.  Although they look like muffins, their texture is similar to firm quiche.  I like to make a big batch of these on Sunday night and store them in the fridge for on-the-go breakfasts during the week.  This recipe freezes well, too, so it’s a good way to use up extra summer squash.  If you prefer a casserole to these portable muffins, use two 9-inch pie plates and increase the baking time to 35 minutes.

Zucchini Breakfast Bites (yields 24 muffins)
1 large onion, about 3/4 cup diced
2 zucchini or summer squash, about 3 cups shredded
1 cup baking mix*
1 tablespoon dried dill weed or minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mild cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Grate squash with a hand grater or food processor.  Put shredded squash in a potato ricer to drain out as much liquid as possible.  No potato ricer?  Let the squash sit in a mesh strainer for half an hour before proceeding.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare muffin tins with paper liners. (Don’t skip this– these will stick to muffin tins and make your life miserable.)  Beat 4 eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.  Divide batter evenly between 24 muffin cups and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until muffins are firm and golden brown. Remove from oven and cool breakfast bites on wire racks. Store completely cooled breakfast bites in an airtight plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week.

*Either regular or gluten free baking mix work well here.

Click here for a printable copy of this recipe.

This post is sponsored by Greenling Organic Delivery and also appears on their blog, “Eating Out of the Local Box.”

Mini Rosemary Pesto Rolls

Rami and I are both in horrible moods since Texas lost to UCLA this afternoon.  We’re drowning our sorrows in rosemary, butter, and bread with these mini pesto rolls I created.

This is the recipe I’ve been tinkering with all week in preparation for the potluck at Greenling’s Best of Austin Bash next Thursday.  It meets the main four requirements for any potluck recipe:

  1. It tastes good.
  2. It’s pretty to look at.
  3. The recipe is cheap and makes a lot.
  4. It’s easy to make ahead of time, freeze and reheat.

Plus, since this is a Greenling potluck, the recipe had to use a lot of local ingredients.  These rolls use sweet potatoes from Naegelin Farms, rosemary and parsley from Pure Luck Farm and Dairy, garlic from Green Gate Farms, and Parmesan from Brazos Valley Cheese.  I am really excited to meet up with some of these farmers on Thursday so I can thank them for helping me to create this delicious recipe!

These rolls are time consuming, but worth it.  The sweet potato in the dough makes the bread very moist and tender.  The rosemary pesto, while too strong for most of my pasta recipes, holds up beautifully in the oven.  I think I’ll definitely be making these for Thanksgiving this year– but earlier in the week than the turkey since they’re so labor intensive.

Rosemary Pesto Rolls (makes about 90 mini rolls or 36 full sized rolls)
Roll Dough:
2 sweet potatoes
1 cup potato cooking water, reserved
2 sprigs rosemary
1 cup milk, room temperature
1 packet active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
5-7 cups all purpose flour
Pesto filling:
1/3 cup rosemary needles
1 cup parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pecan halves
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter

Preparation: Wash and chop sweet potatoes.  Boil unpeeled potato chunks with sprigs of rosemary until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the pesto filling.  Remove the rosemary needles from the woody stem. 

Combine 1/3 cup rosemary needles with the remainder of the pesto ingredients in a food processor.  Pulse until ingredients are processed into a smooth paste.  Scoop out pesto filling and set aside for later use. (You’ll have just over a cup of pesto.)  Clean out the food processor bowl, we’ll use it in the dough prep!

Now, back to the potatoes.  Once they are tender, remove from heat. Use a slotted spoon to remove the rosemary sprigs from the water.  Peel the needles off the woody stem, and mince with a knife.  Put about 1 tbs. of minced rosemary in the food processor bowl.  Remove peel from cooked potatoes and add those to the food processor, too.  Reserve 1 cup of the hot potato water.  Puree the potatoes and rosemary in the food processor.

You should have 1 to 1.5 cups of potato puree.  Add one cup reserved potato water and milk and puree.  The resulting liquid should still be very warm from cooking, about 110 degrees. (Use a thermometer to measure if you’re anal retentive like me.)

Transfer liquid to a large mixing bowl and add yeast and sugar.  Let yeast proof, then add melted butter and beaten egg.  If the liquid is slightly viscous and bubbly, you’re doing it right!

Add about 5 cups of flour to the mixture, stirring constantly. Stir and stir and stir until the dough becomes elastic and begins to pull away from the edges of the bowl.  If it is very humid outside, you may need an additional 1/2 cup or cup of flour for the dough ball to solidify.  Continue stirring until dough loses its sheen and can be removed easily from the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Cover the bowl with a damp towel and place in a warm spot for about 45 minutes, until dough volume is nearly doubled.

Punch down dough and knead on a floured surface with floured hands.  Once dough holds shape reasonably well, use a pastry cutter to divide into four even pieces.

Now the fun begins!  Set aside the extra dough and work with one piece at a time.  On the floured surface, roll dough until it is 1/4 inch thick and 6-7 inches wide and 18-22 inches long.

Spread 1/4 cup pesto filling on the dough with a spatula. Roll up the dough longways, using the pastry scraper to support the dough if necessary to keep from ripping. The tube of dough should be about the size of a broom handle.

Use un-waxed, unflavored dental floss to cut the roll into one-inch sections. Place the rolls about 1/4 inch apart in a buttered glass baking dish. Brush the tops of the rolls with butter.

Repeat this process three more times with the remaining dough and pesto.  I used one 9×13 pan, one pie pan, and two 7×11 pans to hold all the mini rolls.  Once all the rolls are assembled, cover pans with damp towels and place in a warm spot to rise.  Let sit for about an hour, or until rolls have doubled in size.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until rolls are lightly brown.  Eat these right out of the oven, or freeze them for later service. They’re delicious either way!