Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Herb and Onion Bread

When was the last time you baked bread?   What's that?  Can't quite remember?  Oh wait, you've never even tried to make bread?  I haven't baked bread in quite a while either.  It's not for the lack of desire, it's more like I just don't have the time.  Bread baking requires a day spent at home.  When I was a little girl snow days were bread baking days.  I have fond memories of walking into the house after a day of playing in the snow, to a warm kitchen filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread.

As a matter of fact, my mother only baked bread on snow days.  Maybe a snowstorm meant we wouldn't be getting our bread delivery that day.  Back then, we used to have bread delivered to the house. The Dugan's Bakery truck, a.k.a. the Dugan man would deliver baked goods to our neighborhood once a week.  I loved the Dugan man.  What's not to love?  A good looking man in a uniform would ring the doorbell bearing crumb cake, chocolate cupcakes and bread.  I think I had a crush on him.   I remember inviting him into our house after Christmas to show off my new toys.  Either he was truly a nice man and liked kids, or he feigned interest, a shrewd business move.  Be nice to the kids, and mom buys more.

The Dugan man is long gone, and most of the bread we eat today comes from the grocery store or an occasional bakery purchase.  But nothing can quite compare to a loaf of homemade bread.  I recently resurrected an old bread recipe I used to make.  The recipe comes from an almost 40 year old cookbook, The Vegetarian Epicure, that I've had since my Santa Cruz days.  It's not your typical bread recipe.  From start to finish it takes less than 2 1/2 hours to make, and most of it is rising and baking time.  It goes perfectly with a piping hot bowl of soup.  A turkey sandwich made on this bread tastes just like Thanksgiving.  Give it a try.  It's quick. It's easy. It's delicious.  Start it late in the day while you are making dinner and serve it warm.  If you're a newbie to bread making, its a great place to start.  I used my Kitchen Aid Mixer, but you can easily mix this by hand.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares

Are you sick of pumpkin yet?  I'm not.  Pumpkin is one of those things that most people either love or hate.  I fall into the first category.  As much as I like pumpkin, I only cook with it in the fall.  Thanksgiving is the end of pumpkin season for me.  Earlier this week I made penne with a pumpkin sage sauce for dinner.  I used some canned pumpkin to make the sauce leaving me with a cup of pumpkin to either use, or let it sit in the fridge for the week and eventually end up in the compost bin.  A cup of pumpkin usually finds its way into a small batch of muffins, but I was feeling somewhat adventurous and decided to do something different.