Monday, December 20, 2010

Cranberry Bread

Well hello! 
Are you still there? I am here! Really I am. 
I think of blogging often...but the 'real' world seems to have taken the front seat for awhile...
Things have been a little crazy...a little bit of this:
A little bit of that...
 A little tiny bit of this...
And a lot of yearning to get back to blogging!

Now that we are finally at least a little settled...decorated Christmas tree included...I can finally share some of the baking I've done while in the midst of packing, moving, de-wallpapering, unpacking, painting and actually working at my day job.

I found a GREAT cranberry bread recipe years ago...guess where I found it? The Fannie Farmer Cookbook Copyright 1990. My Grandmother gave me this cookbook in 1999 when I moved into my first apartment. I can't tell you how many great recipes this oldie but goodie cookbook has. 
I've made this cranberry bread for years, it works great in mini-form as gifts for friends, teachers, colleagues, and of course as full size loaves for yourself :) So I have found my go-to zucchini bread recipe , this is my cranberry bread up, banana bread! Open to your suggestions!

My in-laws were visiting in October and we were able to show them the beauty of Cape Cod, and most importantly, buy some fresh cranberries!
THREE pounds of fresh cranberries!
So, besides cranberry bread, I made a lot of acorn squash this fall.
Do you know how to tell when a cranberry is fresh? They bounce! Really, try it for yourself. 

So let's get to it!

You can add nuts to this bread, I just like a pure cranberry bread without nuts. So modify it to suit your taste. I've substituted orange juice for the orange with boiling water, and increased the amount of cranberries to really pump up the color and cranberry flavor.

Cranberry Bread : Fannie Farmer 1990

1 Orange
Boiling Water
2 Tbsp Butter
1 egg
1 c sugar
1 cup chopped cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
2 cups white flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

I have a mini-food processor...and I mean MINI. I have chopped these by hand...yes really...many times, but if you have one of these mini food processors they work perfectly for this amount of cranberries.

Zest the entire orange, squeeze all of its juice into a liquid measuring cup, including the zest. Add enough boiling water to make a little over 3/4 cup total liquid. ( 3/4 cup of orange juice will also work, but I find the zest really adds an extra layer of flavor and freshness)
Add the butter and stir to melt. (If you go the orange juice method, melt the 2 Tbsp butter and then add it to the juice)

In another bowl, beat the egg, and slowly add the sugar, making sure it is all well incorporated.
Add all remaining ingredients. Also add the orange mixture.
Mix well
Mmm...see all the bits of zest goodness?! yum.
Pour into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.

I love to make a decoration with halved cranberries on the top of the loaf before baking. Plus if you get a bite of a piece of the loaf with a big piece on top, it's an added flavor burst.
Enjoy the ridiculously good smells that will come from your oven.

As per usual, the bread will be done when a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean from the center of the loaf.
(Hmmm...pretty decoration didn't quite make it this time...but still tasted great!)

I've found that it is best to cool this bread in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove from pan and let it finish cooling on a wire rack.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Brimfield Antique Fair...September 2010

Stuff, antiques, junk...
Whatsits, gadgets, gizmos...
We decided to hit Brimfield for the 2nd time this year (look here for my blogpost about our trip in May), walked our feet off, bought some fun stuff and ate some great food!
Best. Sandwich. Ever.
Some tips? Wear walking shoes and be prepared to get dirty! Parking? Don't park at the first lot you see, keep driving, sit in traffic for a little bit (it always moves fast) and park in any of the lots right in the middle of the action.

We parked in J&J for the second time, and I really like it for its central location, relatively inexpensive fee ($6), and the fact that it puts you right smack dab into one of the best lots at Brimfield.
Something I didn't fully realize until we went this year is there are different 'shows', which are run by different promoters. What that means for you and me, is that there are different huge lots which technically all have different names...think of them as different named fields, each with hundreds of different dealers and booths to work your way through.
Can I just show you some cool pictures? I love taking pictures there, gorgeous stuff...all with its own history...
Rise and shine, time to head to Brimfield!
I love purple, especially purple bottles.

Seriously you can find anything here:
Lawn Ornaments...

Seriously had so much fun. On our feet for about 7 hours! But look at all of our loot!
Final tally:
Many bracelets, 2 were bakelite, red and orange glass bangles, and old school plastic bangles. They are so cute with the right outfit.
Grape jello molds
Sherbet dishes (4 green, 2 pink, 1 yellow) Can't wait for new dishware for blog posts!
Kitchen curtains for my Mom
Refrigerator box (glassware for the fridge...glassware that takes the place of a piece of gladware!)
Ball jar
Brownie camera to play with ($10!)
A purple bottle (hard to see in my pic, but it's on the right hand side)

One booth was just FULL of lab glassware, think beakers, graduated cylinders, test tubes etc. The guy said he bought out an old MIT lab. It was fantastic. My husband bought some great glassware that he has a grand plan to display some mementos from our recent travels.
The grape placemats are my own :)

We were literally the last car in the lot!
I don't know about you, but we are definitely headed back for the May 2011 show! 
It is just fun, plain and simple. Wether you are looking for something in particular or looking for something fun to do, go for it! See you there next year!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Blackberry Sorbet

Every August growing up, I would walk the edges of nearby fields, picking blackberries, and watching over my shoulder for neighborhood dogs on the loose!  Those blackberries were sweet, huge, juicy and plentiful. I'd come home with a sherbet container full, and more than a few prickers.
Nowadays, I get my blackberries at Wilson's Farm or the local grocery store. Unfortunately, they're rarely as sweet and large as they used to be, but still fantastic. 
This year my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I was left with a lot of blackberries in my fridge before leaving town for a few days...hmmm...what to do? I also had some watermelon and a few kiwis that I also didn't want to go bad...time for 'Everything but the Kitchen Sink' sorbet! 
This came out so well, I urge you to try something similar with some leftover fruit from your labor day weekend festivities!
This sorbet tastes like late summer, and is full of wonderful blackberry flavor. The addition of some sugar, with the sweetness of the watermelon and kiwis, brings out the true blackberry flavor even if you have some pretty sour blackberries.  This fruits of summer sorbet combines the light, refreshing flavor of mid-summer watermelon, the sweet taste of kiwi (which has a strawberry and banana cross flavor to it), and of course the end of Summer blackberries. So good!
Blackberry Sorbet

1-2 cups blackberries (approximately, use what you have)
1-2 cups watermelon (again, approximately)
2 kiwis
Juice of 1 lime (I squeezed gently, didn't go too crazy with the lime juice)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1 Tbsp Coconut Rum *optional...helps with scoopability post freezing

Blend with a blender or handheld mixer
I started to strain out some of the seeds, and did so with a fine mesh strainer and a rubber spatula...but decided to just leave everything in there, because a lot of the flavor comes from that pulp.
 In the end, the seeds were not a big deal at all! So don't worry about it. They are so fine, it did not make a difference.

Blend, pour, freeze...

EAT! Enjoy! Happy Last Days of Summer!