Nordic Nut Bread

Thanksgiving is over and I survived the mashed potatoes, the dressing and the gravy along with all the pies and sweet potato side dishes.  However, for those of us who appreciate the savory side of life here is an idea for  an addition to your next appetizer selection, traditional holiday smorgasbord, or just as a healthy late night snack while you binge on Vikings and wait for the next season to start.  This Nordic style nut bread would have been a familiar menu item on Ragnar Lothbrok’s table.

This is not bread in any ordinary sense, and it certainly isn’t the familiar sweet fruit and nut bread that we’re used to seeing on holiday tables, but it is an excellent delivery vehicle for a whole array of tasty toppings like paté, lingonberry jelly, a smear of brie cheese, onion jam or even peanut or almond butter.  Plain cream cheese is great too.  You could, of course, throw in some dried apricots, or raisins if you crave something sweeter, but my personal favorites are red onion jam and mushroom paté.  I’ll include quick versions of those condiments in this post.  This recipe is just unbelievably easy and very, very healthy.

NORDIC NUT BREAD

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Ingredients

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  • 3.5 oz  pumpkin seeds
  • 3.5 oz sunflower seeds
  • 3.5 oz almonds
  • 3.5 oz walnuts or pecans
  • 3.5 oz flax seeds
  • 3.5 oz sesame seeds
  • 3.5 oz poppy or chia  seeds or substitute 1/2 cup of chopped dried fruit (optional)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 3.4 oz  oil (I use grapeseed or avocado)
  • 3.5 oz water (optional)

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Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until it forms a thick mixture.

 

 

 

 

 

Press into generously oiled loaf pans (will make 3 small or 1 large).  Bake in a preheated 320 degree oven for 1 hour.   The look of the loaves will not change very much in appearance, just slightly brown around the edges.  Let the loaves cool completely before slicing.  The bread keeps for a week in the refrigerator, and freezes very well.

This is a perfect delivery system for all kinds of yummy toppings.  Here are some of my favorites.

DSCF2975You can use any combination of nuts or seeds that you prefer.  However, for every 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of additional seeds or nuts remember to add 1-2 extra eggs and water and oil as needed.

A good suggestion is to make a large batch of nuts/seeds, divide them into bags with enough to make the above recipe.  Store them in the freezer and take out a bag when you want to make the bread.

 

 

 

 

 

Red Onion Jam

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Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

6 cups thinly sliced red onions (about 3 1/4 pounds)

1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

2 cups apples, peeled and chopped

1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup Ruby Port

1/4 cup red wine

1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1/2 cup dried cherries

Directions

Heat the oil in a heavy pot over a medium heat. Add the onions and dried red pepper. Cover, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender.  Add brown sugar, vinegar, port, red wine and ginger. Cook uncovered over medium low heat until onions are very tender and mixture has a thick, jam like consistency.  Add the dried cherries and cook until mixture is very thick and dark, stirring frequently, about 20-25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool completely. Put in jars and refrigerate.  This stores very well and can be made well ahead.  I put this on all kinds of things and almost always have a jar on hand.

Mushroom Paté

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Ingredients

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1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

1/2 cup unsalted butter

¼ pound shitake mushrooms, chopped

¼ cup crimini mushrooms, chopped

¼ pound white button mushrooms, chopped

1/4 lb dried woodear mushrooms, rehydrated and chopped

1 tablespoon roasted garlic puree

¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Toast the walnuts either in the oven for 10 minutes at 350° or in a dry frying pan on the stove top until fragrant and slightly browned.

In a large skillet or sauté pan cook the shallots in butter until translucent.  Add the chopped mushrooms, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring often until most of the liquid is evaporated.

Process the walnuts and olive oil in a blender or food processor until mixtures form a thick paste.  Spoon in the cooked mushroom mixture and process until the desired texture.  I like mine smooth and creamy.

Press the mixture into oiled ramekins or bowls.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.     ♥

Sunshine Soup and Lettuce Wraps

I recall that on May 1st last year there was snow on my lawn.  This year spring seems to have started in earnest, the trees are almost in leaf and my allergies are going crazy.  No regrets.  Mayday, or Beltane, or whatever name you choose too give this date, is one of my favorite celebrations.  It’s time for one of my sunshine soups, and this year, in honor of the wonderful weather I’m making Summer Sun Soup and juicy, crunchy lettuce wraps.   Summer Sun Soup is one of my favorite spring/summer soups because you can eat it warm, or you can enjoy it cold.  You’ll love the color, the velvety texture and the slightly spicy, deliciously tangy flavors.

Summer Sun Soup

Photo by E. Broughton

Photo by E. Broughton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs yellow summer squash (about 3-4 medium)
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch dried orange peel
  • Pinch dried lemon peel
  • Pinch dried celery
  • 1 cup yogurt (plain)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Cut the squash in half and then into 1/2-inch dice (about 8 cups); cut the bell pepper into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups); cut the carrots in 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/4 cup); cut the potatoes in 1/2 inch dice (scant 1 cup).

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Medium chop the onion (about 1 cup).

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Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low; add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened.  Add the squash, pepper, carrots and potatoes to the saucepan along with the vegetable or chicken stock; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer partially covered until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool, 10 minutes.
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Add the lemon juice and zest.  Add in the turmeric, ginger. dried orange peel, dried lemon peel, dried celery powder or celery salt and salt and pepper to taste.  Use a food processor or blender to puree the soup.

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Reheat or serve cold with a swirl of plain yogurt.

Lettuce Wraps

  • 6 leaves of butter lettuce
  • Cole slaw with diced granny smith apple

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Photo by E. Broughton

Photos by E. Broughton

Happy May 1st and Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

Okay, so in honor of the promise of spring and St. Patrick’s Day I made a special dinner for the Irish-at-heart.  Since I’m not eating red meat, I decided to go with the next most Irish protein, salmon.  Perhaps it will make me wise and I’m certain it will be tasty.  The menu is simple and economical: salmon croquettes, (basically canned salmon with onion, red sweet pepper and dill).  If you’re offended by the can, just remember it’s wild caught, canned fresh and it’s cheap, Irish mothers rejoice.  It’s served alongside a big bowl of colcannon, with Irish soda bread, and for dessert I’ve got bread pudding slathered in Bailey’s Irish Cream sauce, so let’s get to it.

Irish Rosemary Soda Bread

Irish Rosemary Soda Bread

Irish Rosemary Soda Bread

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped rosemary (or other herb of choice)
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Grease an 8-inch pie plate or baking sheet and set aside.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and finely chopped rosemary.

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Make a little well in the center and add the buttermilk.   Stir until a dough forms (feel free to use your fingers if you want).  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until the dough is smooth and not sticky.

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Place the dough on the greased pie plate and cut a half inch deep X across the top of the dough.

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Bake for 50 minutes or until a dark golden brown.  Transfer to a rack to cool.

Irish Rosemary Soda Bread

Irish Rosemary Soda Bread

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do not slice until the bread has cooled.  Wrap in a moist towel until ready to serve.  I usually bake the bread the day before and store in a bread bag until the next day before slicing.

Creamy Colcannon

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My version of colcannon has a couple of extra ingredients but I think you’ll like it, unless of course you hate peas in which case just leave them out.

Ingredients

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  • 2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 small or half of a large cabbage, cored and chopped
  • 2 small or 1 large leek (white part only) sliced into rings
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 cup of fat free milk
  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (use black if you don’t have white pepper)

In a large pot of water, boil the potatoes until tender (about 20-25 minutes).

Steam the cabbage for about 10 minutes or until tender.  Drain, cover and set aside.

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In a small saucepan, simmer the leeks in milk just until soft (about 5-7 minutes).  Then remove the leeks with a slotted spoon, set aside, and reserve the milk.

021Drain the potatoes and add about half the milk used to simmer the leeks.  Mash the potatoes to desired consistency (I like mine a little lumpy).   Add the cream cheese and pepper and mash until blended.  Use the remaining milk if needed.  Stir in the cabbage, leeks and peas.  Serve immediately, or refrigerate and reheat in the microwave for serving later.

 Salmon Croquettes (Patties)

Ingredients

  • 1 15-oz can wild caught salmon
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon dried or fresh dill
  • Salt and pepper

Salmon Patties

 

 

 

Combine all ingredients and form into patties.  In a skillet, sauté the patties until crisp and browned.

Really Easy Bailey’s Irish Cream Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 1-lb loaf cinnamon raisin bread
  • 3 cups half and half or whole milk
  • 1 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream (Brady’s also works)
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Bailey's Bread Pudding

 

 

 

 

Tear bread into small pieces and place in a large bowl.  Add the milk and Bailey’s and let soak for about 10 minutes.  Work the mixture in with your hands until the milk is absorbed.

In another bowl combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, spice and butter.  Add to the bread mixture and pour into buttered baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Let rest on cooling rack until fully set.  The smell was making me irrational and I forgot to take pictures.

To create a quick sauce, combine 1 can of sweetened condensed milk with 1/2 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream.  Warm in the microwave (very carefully).  Pour over the bread pudding and serve.

So there it is.  My culinary homage to St. Patrick’s Day and if you want green beer you’ll have supply your own.  Enjoy!

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Great Pumpkin Remainders

Just in case no one has noticed, Thursday is Thanksgiving.  You know, the day before Black Friday that actually starts on Thursday which is Thanksgiving.  It’s traditional to post something about turkey, potatoes, gravy or exotic side dishes, maybe even pumpkin pie.

I’m feeling seasonally challenged so I decided to explore some of the other ways to use up that leftover pumpkin puree, starting with breakfast (or as they say in my house, brunch).  There is a deep philosophical divide among family members about how thick or thin pancakes should be.  Some want them fat and fluffy.  I’m more of a crepe, Swedish pancake type.  But, since I’m cooking, I chose the middle path.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

In a medium size bowl or large measuring bowl, beat the egg until fluffy.  Add the pumpkin puree, sugar, milk, sugar, and coconut oil.

Once that is combined, add the flour, baking powder, salt and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.  Mix well to make sure the dry ingredients are incorporated, but leave it a little lumpy.  If you think it’s too thick add a couple of tablespoons of milk.

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Heat your skillet over a medium heat (about 375 degrees).  Grease with coconut oil, or butter if you prefer.    Pour about 1/4 cup of batter in the center of the pan and swirl the pan to spread the batter.

Pumpkin Pancakes 006Cook until the top is bubbly and the edges are nicely brown.  Turn and cook the other side until golden brown.

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Fold on the plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with warm maple butter syrup.

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Up next is something different that could accompany breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Savory Pumpkin Popovers

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Now, I know Martha Stewart says if you don’t have a popover pan, just cut little bands of parchment paper and make these cute little cup extenders for your muffin pan.  Sounds great but I don’t have an army of interns sitting around measuring, cutting and stapling, so my recommendation is just spring for the $16 popover pan at Bed, Bath and Beyond, or do what I did and use the muffin tin.  The popovers won’t be as tall or impressive, but they will turn out just fine.  Please note there is no added sugar, so these are perfect to serve with lunch or dinner, or as a breakfast bread.

Ingredients

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  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Generously grease the popover pan or muffin tin.  Put in the oven to heat.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, and pumpkin puree in a large bowl.  Stir in the melted coconut oil.

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Add the flour, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Combine, but don’t over beat or the popovers won’t puff up.

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Remove your muffin tin or popover pan from the oven and fill the cups 1/2 to 2/3 full.   Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.  DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN until ready to remove.

 

 

Serve with butter, honey, maple syrup or peanut butter.

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Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!    Ε