Hi my friends! How I have missed cooking and blogging and…really, doing anything other than sitting in the dark wishing my headache was gone.
I was migraine fighting the last couple of days, and last night I decided to man up and go over to my friends’ house to hang. We ate berry cobbler and watched Bridesmaids and voila! Headache gone. So now I know the real solution: a big dose of Jensen.
I also went to an ENT and he sent me up for some allergy testing and a CT scan to check my sinuses. It is ridiculous that after so many years of having migraines, I’m just now going through the process to figure out what is causing/exacerbating them. The biggest (and most obvious) thing I’m learning is that if you want answers about your health, you have to go out and ask for them! So we’re starting with the cheapest and easiest things first and seeing how that goes.
As far as cooking goes, I have a weird post for you. I made this sweet potato cranberry bread that I found on FoodGawker, and it was only a partial success. I really liked the taste, but the texture was just a little too dense/mushy for my personal tastes. If I had baked the loaf 10 minutes longer, it might have been better, but I had to go to class.
The solution? (No, not the Jensens). I turned the loaf into rusks.
Rusks are a South African kind of biscotti that you dip into tea and coffee–I absolutely fell in love with them when I met Fritz’s family. You essentially bake a loaf of bread (there are many kinds of rusks), then slice it and dry ‘em out until they’re biscotti-like. Easy peasy, and this mushy bread turned into a sweet and healthy snack.
I’ll give you the recipe for the bread, and you do with it what you like.
Cranberry Sweet Potato Bread
- 1/2 C dried cranberries (I used 1 C frozen, which I knew would add to the bread’s possible mushy factor)
- 1/2 C all-purpose flour
- 1 C whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 C brown sugar
- 1 t baking powder
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 t each nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice
- 1/4 t baking soda
- 1 large sweet potato (probably about a cup)
- 2 eggs
- 1/8 C canola oil
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1/2 t orange extract
One thing about baking more frequently is that i always have weird stuff like orange extract and allspice hang in’ out in the cupboard, so it’s easy to search for recipes I can make. I abhor having to run off to the store to get an ingredient, so it’s better that I stock up or I ain’t makin’ nothin’.
First off, peel and cube the sweet potato, then boil it in water until fork tender, mash, and set aside. This should only take 10-15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a bread pan.
Combine the dry ingredients (flours, sugar, salt, spices, baking powder/soda).
Mix in the remaining ingredients and stir until just combined.
Pour into the pan and bake on the middle rack for about an hour, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Allow the bread to cool in the pan before slicing. Now, either eat as is (it is good toasted), or slice normally and divide each slice with 3-4 vertical cuts to make rusk shapes. Dry them out on a cookie sheet in a warm oven, slightly propped open, until at the desired texture.
You may have noticed that I’m obsessed with cranberries lately. I just LOVE the tangy bite when you eat something baked with cranberries!
I remember this time last year I bought a bag of cranberries and I had the hardest time using them up, because all recipes use craisins (with their added sugar) to keep them from getting too bitter. Now I have no problem with that whatsoever, but I have to emphasize that I love, love, love, love the sourness you get from baking with fresh cranberries.
Obviously you need to consider using fresh berries vs. dried with all that extra liquid, but just try baking with fresh cranberries just once!
And if cranberries plus sweet potato doesn’t say Thanksgiving to you, then I don’t know what does.
While I was busy baking, Henry was really intrigued with our backyard.
Turns out he was being taunted by the world’s fattest squirrel.
Dream on, little cat. Dream on.