Scones bring to mind something akin to a slow-paced and leisurely ambling sunny afternoon with time for a visit to the local tea shop or maybe a hour or two on the porch with a friend who happens to like to bake. Perhaps there’s a can’t-put-it-down novel to read while you nibble and sip or a string quartet playing in the next room… (Sigh, sigh.)
This luxurious bread is filling enough for breakfast, light enough for an afternoon snack, and is also perfect for the neighborhood potluck–especially during December when you hopefully have some cranberries left in your freezer. (If not, run to the store now and see if there are any left.) While it begins as a simple pan of down-home banana bread, the festive additions –cranberries, white chocolate, and walnuts– make sure it ends up anything but.
Baking at Thanksgiving. It’s a big deal to some people and a late afternoon stop at the grocery for others. Perhaps because often folks are cooks OR they’re bakers and rarely both. The pumpkin pie may have all the memories the turkey never garnered and the homemade yeast rolls and butter just might be why your grandson shows up. On the other hand, it could be all about the dressing, gravy or even the ham at your house where no one looks twice at dessert. I once brought turkey and dressing to a summer potluck, where a close friend refused to eat a bite. When I asked why, she said, “You didn’t make gravy. I don’t eat dressing without gravy.” She truly had some serious food traditions and it’s not unusual. Listen to your friends and family talk about Thanksgiving and you’ll see.
|A crispy-moist, very gingery muffin made with oats, whole wheat, and yogurt. Don’t tell.|
Somewhere on toward 6:30 and there was no light anywhere that October morning. Only the too-lazy-to-make-their-own-coffee guys were struggling down the street to the gas station where ethanol-fragranced cheap brews waited. No birds stirred. The dogs slept on. Donning jeans and t-shirt in the dark, she searched for her moccasins by sitting down and feeling around on the floor of the closet with her hands. Toddling down the hall to the bathroom, she made peace with her body, and then carefully made her way down the stairs, feeling each tread with her toes before proceeding to the next.
She approached it as she would a whole shark awaiting skinning, butchering, boning, and fileting down there in the deep, dark Saint Paul kitchen that morning. Coming around the corner, flipping on the light and the coffee maker in the same movement, she saw the big papaya waiting on the counter. The big fruit didn’t know its last minute (save the time it took to brew the coffee) had arrived. And she had no idea how she was going to kill it.
|In other words, I didn’t know from papaya. (Except all sliced up on a brunch buffet; I’m a mango girl.)|
|Looked like I should peel it, so I did.|
|Hmph. I chopped off the ends.|
|Sliced it down the middle. This thing was gorgeous! No wonder they call it “Fruit of the Angels.” A little light was peeping through the shades in the dining room.|
I sliced the papaya into moons and then chopped it up finely. Next, I mixed up the wet and dry ingredients for the muffins in the 8-cup Pyrex (my go-to muffin bowl) and spooned the batter into the greased tins with my ice cream scoop:
|These appear to bake forever and, actually, they do. Count on 30 minutes at 400 degrees F. They’ll be quite browned.|
|By then the dogs were padding around yawning. (file photo)|
|Hey, Dave! It’s breakfast!|
papaya-candied ginger muffins with cashews makes 14*
These muffins are not the biggest powerhouse of nutrition, but neither are they shirkers. They contain whole wheat, oatmeal, cashews, yogurt, and lots of papaya. They’re also fairly low in fat, using just 1/4 cup canola oil for 14 muffins, which is less than a teaspoon of oil (40 fat calories) per muffin. Not too bad! I looked at six or seven papaya muffin recipes for ideas and then used my own proportions to create this recipe using things I had in the larder.
One of my favorite Melissa Clark quotes is, “Muffins are just an excuse to eat cake for breakfast.” Not so here. Enjoy!
|Background is my kitchen wall. Love the color!|
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 plus 2 tablespoons milk (or 3/8 of a cup)
- 1 cup unbleached white flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup whole oats (not instant)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder**
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I like Penzey’s Vietnamese cinnamon–available online)
- 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger (can sub 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
- 1/4 cup chopped roasted cashews
- 2 cups finely chopped papaya
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease muffin tins thoroughly.
- Whisk together oil, yogurt, egg, and milk in a small bowl and set aside.
- Stir together well all of the dry ingredients (flour-cashews) in a medium bowl.
- Pour the milk mixture into the bowl and stir until just combined.
- Add the papaya and stir gently. Divide prepared batter evenly among greased tins.***
- Bake about 30 minutes until quite browned. Muffins will be moist.
- Serve hot or at room temperature as is or with butter, if desired.
*I made one 12-count muffin tin full and then greased a large oven-safe coffee cup and made one extra-large muffin. You could also use a couple of custard cups to make the extra two muffins.
**These muffins are quite dense, though not heavy. But if you’d like a lighter muffin, try increasing the baking powder to 2 teaspoons.
***I like to use an ice cream scoop, but a big spoon will do.
Papayas are available year-round (though they’re more prolific come summer and fall) and weigh about a pound each, though some grow much bigger. Wonderful as is, or with plain yogurt, the beautiful orange “meat,” is delicious and the seeds are edible, too. Full of antioxidants, along with vitamins (lots of vitamin C) and minerals, the papaya also contains papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins.
chart courtesy WHfoods.com–click for more information about the beautiful papaya
If I had to say what papaya tasted like, I’d wager a cross between honeydew melon and mango. And….
I can’t resist: So buya some papaya!
Join our blogging group!
I blog with a great group of writers every Friday where we cook our way through the list of foods from Whole Living Magazine’s Power Foods: 150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients: Read more about tasty papaya this week at these sites:
Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
- We’d like to have you as part of the group. Get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits: Mireya@MyHealthyEatingHabits.com
Sing a new song,
|A bread for Jacque Franklin, who broke bread for me so many times. Thank you and be well, my friend.|
Back to the bread. I made this bread when I was working on an article called, “Quick Bread 101,” in which I attempted to work out a basic quick bread recipe that let you add whatever you had on hand …say bananas, apples, blueberries, etc. I think I got it right, but this variation is my absolute favorite. It would be a sweet Mother’s Day gift, a great addition to brunch.
*You could choose to use all bacon.
|copyright 2012 alyce morgan|
|Solution for a cold winter’s day|
You know how you feel you know your weatherman? Dave and I refer to the ones we like (Mike and Craig on channel 5 in Colorado Springs -NBC affiliate and Al Roker on TODAY) by their first names, though they wouldn’t know us from Adam.
“What’s Craig say today?”
“Did Mike say what the temperature would be tonight? Should I bring the herbs in?” (cover the annuals, shut off the sprinklers, bring in the car…. oh the things governed by Mike.)
“Why is Al in another studio?” “And what’s he wearing?” “How’d he lose all that weight?” Answer is always, “I dunno.”
Today these intimate friends have forecast all day long for horrible weather…across the country, including Colorado Springs. I canceled a trip to go oversee an inspection on our new house (actually quite old-built in 1915) in St. Paul:
So the snow would come and go and disappear. But the sky stayed gray. Which it doesn’t in Colorado Springs. Except once a year or so. But bad weather? Not happening. Not here. Not yet. No how. Maybe later or tomorrow.
Who knew, though? Bad weather? I make soup. I make bread. And I did.
The soup is hearty enough for a Super Bowl stew; it’s a beef vegetable soup with nearly only root vegetables and some barley. Maybe it could be made from your pantry; I did it from mine.
The bread is a recipe from one of my favorite food writers,Mark Bittman- New York Times. It’s the quick version of the famous 2006 No-Knead Bread. If you haven’t yet made that bread, here’s the link to the original article about Jim Lahey (Sullivan Street Bakery) and the bread. It’s world famous, by now. Well, nearly. Definitely the most famous recipe in the New York Times, at least for Bittman, in ten years. That’s what he said in his last (boohoo) column. That’s saying something. ( I have made the “regular” no-knead bread, as well, and will include a pic of that below.) And, yes, the longer version is definitely better, but the the quick one’s good and it’s short! We don’t always have 20 hours. Here’s how:
Root Vegetable Barley Beef Soup for a Bad Weather Day (right)
- 3T canola oil
- 5 # beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1″ cubes
- 3 large onions, chopped, divided
- 1 bunch celery, including leaves, chopped coarsely; divided
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 carrots, cut into 1″ pieces; divided
- 3-4 parsnips, peeled and cored (if large) and cut into 1/4″-1/2″ pieces; divided
- 1 large turnip, peeled and cut into 1/4″- 1/2″ piece; divided
- 2 qts water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 c fresh parsley, chopped finely; divided
- 2 qts beef stock, low sodium (your own fresh or frozen or boxed/jarred from the store)
- 1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes, no salt
- 2 c shredded green cabbage
- 2 t kosher salt
- several drops of Tabasco
- 2/3 c medium pearled barley
- 1T basil or 1 t dry thyme, optional
- In a very large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat and add half the beef. Let brown well and turn. Let that side brown and remove meat to a plate. Add rest of beef to the pot and repeat. Add in onion, the garlic, and 1/3 of the celery, carrots, parsnips and turnips. When meat is well-browned, add the already-cooked beef and stir well together.
- Pour in the water and add the bay leaf, pepper and half of the parsley. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer until beef and vegetables are tender, 1 1/2- 2 hours.
- Bring back to a boil and add the rest of the vegetables (including the cabbage), parsley, stock, tomatoes, salt, Tabasco, barley and basil or thyme, if using. Cook until barley is tender, 40-50 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Serve hot in large, warmed bowls with hefty hunks of baguette and butter if you didn’t make the bread.
Cook’s Note: This is a one-afternoon soup in Alyce’s tradition of making the stock and the soup nearly all together. While it’s not a perfect solution, it’s tasty and workable. You cook the meat with a few vegetables and make a stock, adding the rest at the end and including some store-bought stock to round out the soup. It’s definitely not original, but I worked it out myself raising a houseful of kids who needed meals every night for about twenty years. Before adding the second round of vegetables and jarred/boxed stock, you can also remove the already cooked vegetables and puree them, if you like. Of course, you throw them right back in the pot. It gives you the opportunity for having only freshly-cooked veg in the final soup if that’s important to you.
Cook’s Note for the Bread: Read the recipe and instructions thoroughly before beginning.
A little gallery for you:
|House so cold, I had to leave bread in the oven and take a temp; it needs to rise at 70 F.|
|Heat bowl 30 min 450F first|
|Smelling and tapping… Anyone remember James Beard’s bread book?
Note: Above bread is the quick version of the No-Knead Bread.
|Cooked up the beef trimmings for the pups…|
|80th Birthday for Grandpa Gene–Quite a party!|
One or two things I make during the holiday season go from September-January. Pumpkin bread is one of them. If you know me well, you’ve eaten my pumpkin bread. I have several versions and every one is different and unique and yummy and… special. I kind of work of it from year to year. My choirs eat it; my husband lathers cream cheese on it. I make it into muffins; my friends husbands say to their wives, “Why don’t you make anything like this?” (Mostly because they’re eating cake at dinner.)
This year, I had sweet ideas. Whoa: Candied ginger. Black pepper. Cayenne. Pumpkin seeds. I tried it out. Twice. Increased the ginger the second time. Passed it around at home and elsewhere. I took some to St. Paul, where we visited for Thanksgiving, froze our butts off, made it through a job interview (me-whewgladitzovah), 13 houses, and came home drop-in-bed sick from. We ate it there for breakfast. Every day. Ah. Thanksgiving time! So I’m keeping this version. It seemed to go over well, even with Sue’s friend Gladys, a top-notch cook and baker at 91. She did say, however,
“WHAT is in this? I don’t like eating stuff when I don’t know what’s in it.”
I think it was the candied ginger and the cranberries. Of course the black pepper might have done it, too. Or the cayenne. Well. I like pepper in bread; sue me. And I’m gonna go right on making it. Like that. It does make super gifts and can be made as tiny loaves, muffins or big loaves. Maybe even T-tiny muffins for a buffet. Try it; you’ll like it. Everyone else did. Better make a bunch. (Provenance: I think the original recipe for this came from THE FANNY FARMER BAKING BOOK.) Freezes well. (No longer than 2-3 weeks, though)
|Pumpkin seeds. Use some in the bread. Eat the rest. Good for you. Great in bread!|
Alyce’s Newest Pumpkin Bread Featuring Candied Ginger and Black Pepper. OH, and Cayenne, too.
- 1/2 c dried cranberries
- 1 c boiling water
- 2/3 c butter, soft (to cut fat, use half apple-sauce–no more than that)
- 2 c pumpkin ( a can is 15 oz now; add applesauce to complete the 2 c)
- 4 eggs
- 2 1/4 c sugar
- 1/3 c candied ginger, minced
- 2/3 c evaporated milk, low-fat or fat-free (can use regular milk instead)
- 3 1/3 c unbleached white flour
- 2 t baking soda
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 1 1/2 t salt (sorry, left out of original post–corrected 11/18/11)
- 2t Chinese or Vietnamese cinnamon
- 1/2 t freshly-ground nutmeg
- 1 t ground cloves
- 1/2 t black pepper, freshly ground
- 1/4 t ground cayenne pepper
- 1/4-1/3 c salted or unsalted pumpkin seeds (I like salted)
- Preheat oven to 350 F for bread or 400 for muffins. Grease and flour pans. For muffins pans, grease only.
- In a small bowl, stir together cranberries and boiling water. Set aside.
- With hand-held electric or standing electric mixer, beat together in a large bowl butter, pumpkin, applesauce, eggs, sugar and candied ginger until light and fluffy. Beat in milk until well-mixed.
- On top of the wet ingredients, measure dry ingredients: flour, soda, baking powder, spices. Carefully mix just the dry ingredients with a spoon or rubber spatula, trying to avoid mixing the dry ingredients into the wet. Using electric mixer, beat wet and dry ingredients together until just incorporated. Don’t over beat. Drain cranberries well and stir into batter gently.
- If desired, sprinkle pumpkin seeds into bottom of prepared pans (9×5) or baby loaf pans (3×5 or similar) or muffin tins. Use ice cream scoop for muffins.
- For loaves or baby loaf pans, bake at 350 for about an hour or half-hour, respectively. Test for doneness with a toothpick or skewer; it will come out almost clean when the bread is done. Leave in pans 5 minutes. Bang bottoms of pans on board, floor or counter before turning out on to racks carefully to cool completely. If sticking, use thin, sharp knife to go around edges. When absolutely cool, wrap well in foil. Store on counter 1-2 days, in frig for 2-3 days, and in freezer up to 2-3 weeks.
- If in muffin tins, bake at 400 F for maybe 15 minutes or until nicely browned and firm to the touch. Turn out immediately onto metal cooling racks. Follow storage instructions above, though muffins store well in large plastic containers that are freezer safe.
|This is a great pumpkin bread pan loaf. Pan available at Williams-Sonoma. (Design changes year to year.)|
Just thought you’d like to see the options….
Bake now while it’s quiet one night. Wrap up your treasures carefully in shiny foil. You can even put ribbons on them before you put them in the freezer. Be ready as you move through Advent into Christmas. Or as you hit the second day of Hanukkah. Breathe and study. Live and love. Don’t get crazy over what you’re supposed to do. Or as you live through another day…
Don’t let the light go out (see and hear song, LIGHT ONE CANDLE) and, while you’re at it, pray that I see the the path where God is undoubtedly shining it if I just could only be aware enough…
After a long week of writing, cooking, baking, directing, practising and dogsindogsout/getthecatoutfrom underneath that stairway, it’s just cool to kick back and grill a few lamb chops for dinner. Maybe steam some cauliflower and add a little gouda on top. Open a Christom Syrah.