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Tarragon Lemon Quick Bread

A slightly sweet quick bread flavored with lemon and tarragon | mjskitchen.com

 

The first time I made this Tarragon Lemon Quick Bread was out of curiosity.  I saw it over at From My Sweet Heart, and after reading the list of ingredients I just couldn’t imagine how a bread with tarragon, lemon and black pepper would taste, so I had to make it.  Well…it was love at first bite!  Over the past year or so, I’ve made this bread several times, with a couple of minor changes to the original recipe, but nothing that affects the final flavor of the bread. The changes are noted in the Kitchen Notes.

If you love tarragon like I do, then you are going to love this bread. Not only does it just taste good, it’s so easy to make. You can have it in the oven within 20 minutes from the start, and, even with an ingredient change now and then, it never fails. It always comes out perfect and delicious.  It’s not a tall quick bread, but it’s not dense either.  It’s light and moist with a touch of sweetness, making it a wonderful breakfast bread as well as a nice complement for your afternoon tea.

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Fruit and Nut Yeast Bread

A slightly sweet and delicious yeast bread with dried and candied fruits and nuts. mjskitchen.com @MJsKitchen

 

My friend Giulia at Alterkitchen is always teasing me about the savory breakfasts that I and other Americans seem to like.  She has mentioned several times, that Italians like their sweet breakfasts – rolls, croissants, muffins, sweet cakes, and such.  Well, there are days that I, too, like something a little sweet to start the day.  Sometimes it’s just a slice of toast and jelly and other times I go all out and fix my favorite pancakes – Lemon Cornmeal Ricotta.  But for the past few week, it’s been this Fruit and Nut Yeast Bread.  A wonderful breakfast bread that makes a light and tasty breakfast.  Cut a thick slice, warm in the toaster and top with a touch of butter – no jam or jelly needed!

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Green Chile Pathiri with Pinon Nuts and Queso Fresco

Green chile stacked with crepes (Pathiri), pine nuts (pinon) and queso fresco. mjskitchen.com @MJsKitchen

 

This Green Chile Pathiri is a dish that I have had in my head and have been wanting to make for a very long time, so I was thrilled when I saw that April’s Daring Cook’s Challenge was to make a savory Pathiri.

What is Pathiri?  Pathiri is an Indian dish that is made by alternating crepes with a sweet or savory filling.  The crepes are normally made with rice flour and dipped in coconut milk or brushed with ghee during assembly.  This process is very similar to the one I use for stacked enchiladas, just different ingredients.  For enchiladas instead of rice flour crepes, corn tortillas are dipped in green or red chile sauce and alternated with a savory filling and cheese.

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Aloo Paratha/Aloo ka Paratha: Potato stuffed flat bread

Indian flatbread stuffed with a spicy potato mixture by Zesty South Indian Kitchen mjskitchen.com

 

Bet some of you are probably thinking – Is MJ taking on Indian Cuisine?.  NO!  I’m going to leave that to the experts, and the expert that made these beautiful parathas (Indian flatbreads) is the lovely Swathi of the Zesty South Indian Kitchen.  I first introduced Swathi to you about a year ago when she asked me to share my Southwestern Pileup on her site.  Now she is doing me the great favor of sharing one of her authentic Indian recipes on my site.  Swathi is from Trivandrum Kerala, India, and currently living in Texas. Her Ph.D. studies in Microbiology allowed her to work in Japan, Sweden and the United States.  As a result of this worldwide exposure, she has a love of ALL foods and her site is full of delicious recipes from all around the world.  For this post I asked her to share a traditional Indian recipe and I was so thrilled when I saw these gorgeous pictures of paratha!!!  I love paratha and am thrilled that she is sharing this recipe you.  I hope you enjoy.

It’s all yours Swathi!
 
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Multigrain Sandwich Bread

Multigrain sandwich bread made with a variety of grains and sunflower seeds. A wonderful PB&J bread!

 

There are just some recipes that are so good and work so well for one’s every day enjoyment, that it’s hard to move on and try something different.  This Multigrain Sandwich Bread is one of those recipes.  I started making it in the winter of 2012 and except for the 3 summer months when it’s just too hot to bake, I’ve been making at least two loaves a month.  It works great for just about any type of sandwich – turkey, grilled vegetable, grilled cheese – and Bobby says it’s his favorite bread for peanut butter and jelly.  I’m a big toast and jam person so I just love toasting a slice and slapping on a little homemade jam – like strawberry, apricot, or my other favorite – mixed berry jam.  YUM!

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Red Chile Garlic Bread with Manchego Cheese

A red chile focaccia type bread

 

Last summer when we were going through a kitchen remodel, one of the item we replaced was our 1980’s microwave.  In its place we put a combination microwave convection oven.  Let me tell you folks, this is now one of my favorite appliances, second only to my stovetop.  Here it is the end of June and I’m baking!!!  In the past, I never baked in the summer because I refused to use the oven.  It’s just too hot; however, the amount of heat that this little convection oven puts out is negligible in comparison to our regular oven.  Because of this I’ve been able to bake a few loaves of this delicious Red Chile Garlic Bread even with 95°+ outside temperatures. Talk about a life changing experience – homemade bread in June!

Obviously I’m very excited about being able to make bread in the summer, but I’m just as excited about making THIS bread.  I’ve made a few loaves already this month and each one has disappeared faster than it took me to make it.  This red chile loaf is very similar to a focaccia in that it’s flat and I poke holes in the dough to place chunks of Manchego cheese.  But that’s where the similarities stop.  There are no herbs nor olive oil and it’s definitely not Italian.  Instead there are three types of chile powders, some roasted garlic, and chile infused oil that are all combined into a paste.  This paste is then incorporated into the dough, and right before placing in the oven, cubes of cheese are pressed into the dough.  It’s SO good and SO easy to make!  You can make it by hand or use your Mixmaster with a dough hook.

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Brandied Orange Marmalade Quick Bread

Quick bread with orange marmalade and Cointreau

 

A few months ago I saw a muffin recipe over at Baker Street for brandied orange marmalade muffins (shown on the computer screen).  The recipe sounded absolutely delicious, except – it was for muffins, something I rarely eat, have never made, and really have no interest in making.  However, I do love a good quick bread. So I decided to try making a quick bread using the same recipe.  I followed the recipe pretty much to a tee, including preheating the oven to 400° F.  That was the only thing I ended up changing. Fifteen minutes into the bake, I noticed that the bread was already starting to brown on top. So I turned the temperature down to 350° F and cooked for another 35 minutes. The bread turned out GREAT! I will definitely be making this again once I have another jar of orange marmalade!

Rather than putting the recipe into this post, I’m sending you over to Baker Street. Click on the link for the Brandied Orange Marmalade Muffin recipe.  Below are a couple of alterations and other kitchen notes.

  • For the brandy, I used 1 Tbsp. cognac and 2 Tbsp. Cointreau
  • The orange marmalade was a failed jar I had in the refrigerator that I had overcooked and it had started to crystallized.  Because you process the wet ingredients “until smooth”, the sugared marmalade worked great and kept me from having to toss it.
  • The recipe calls for a food processor, but since I don’t have one, I used the processor attachment for my immersion blender, then switched to the blender attachment to finish processing.
  • Used a bread pan instead of a muffin pan, obviously.  Prepared the pan by coating with butter, then lightly dusting all surfaces with flour.
  • Next time, I will preheat to 350° F and cook for about 50 – 60 minutes.  I always use the toothpick test on quick breads: stick a toothpick into the center of the bread. If it comes out clean, it is done. If it doesn’t, cook for another 5 minutes and test again.

Thanks to Anuradha at Baker Street for such a great recipe and ALL of her wonderful recipes!

 

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Experimenting With Pizza Stone – Pizza with Poolish Method by Alterkitchen

Pizza with Stracchino, Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula

 

We’re into the last week of our kitchen remodel (hopefully), so my dear Italian friend Giulia of Alterkitchen has brought us pizza to help get us through the week!  What a friend!!!  When I first came across Alterkitchen well over a year ago, I knew that I needed to know more about the person behind the blog.  Everything on her About page hit home.  She loves to read, travel, watch movies, cook, knead bread, and even though she is only in her 20’s, she loves 70’s rock music! Talk about having a lot in common (everything but being 20 something :))!  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know my young Italian friend, her food, and her country.  She has taken me to places I have never seen and has turned me on to dishes that I had never heard of.  Thank you Giulietta!!!

Today Giulia is sharing a traditional Italian method for making pizza (pizza crust) – the Poolish method; something else I’ve never heard of and can’t wait to try!  To check out her other wonderful recipes, be sure to click on Alterkitchen before you leave here.  So I’ll shut up now and turn you over to Giulia!

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A Celebration of Garlic

 

For anyone who has been following my blog for more than a day knows that I LOVE, I mean LOVE garlic! So in honor of this versatile and tasty bulb, I am dedicating this post to all foods garlic.  Through the last several months I have found others that celebrate garlic as much as I do, so I am sharing their love and my love with you through a variety of recipes, all of which use a respectable amount of garlic.  Cook and Enjoy!
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