Category Archives: breakfast

sticky (rhubarb) buns

Oh, rhubarb. Often the first sign of spring, rhubarb emerges with fat, ruby-pink stalks and huge leaves. Over the past few weeks, any baking that I have done has included rhubarb. These sticky buns were a favorite among our group of Tuesday workers. Use this sweet dough recipe or your favorite sticky bun dough. I happened to use 3/4 whole wheat pastry flour and 1/4 white flour with good results, but if you want ultimate fluffiness, use all white flour. A bonus: the dough rises overnight so all you have to do is roll it out, fill it, and let it have its second rise and bake before you have a tasty breakfast, second breakfast, or morning snack.

Rhubarb should be in season now at markets in the northwest; I’m not sure how the season is going in the unseasonably mild northeast at this time. If not, you can swap out the rhubarb for whatever fruit suits your fancy. In the summer, blackberries would be super delicious!

Rhubarb Sticky Buns

Dough:

1.5 tsp instant yeast

1.25 cup warm milk (I used almond milk)

about 3 cups flour (I used a mix of whole wheat pastry and all purpose)

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup room temp butter

2 eggs

Filling:

1 lb rhubarb, sliced in 1/2 inch coins

1/3 cup sugar (or more to taste)

2 tsp vanilla or the pulp of 1 vanilla bean

1-2 tbsp soft butter

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted

honey for drizzling on top

To assemble the dough:

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk the yeast, milk, and sugar together. Whisk in the eggs. In a separate bowl, combine the flour(s) and salt. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir until it comes together. Gradually, add small pieces of soft butter until it is all incorporated. Turn dough out on to a floured board and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, but not really sticky. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Place in a fridge or a cool-ish place for an overnight rise OR let dough rise in a warm area for about 2 hours (or until doubled).

Filling:

In a medium saucepan, cook the rhubarb and sugar together until soft and thickened. You may need to add a slash of water to get everything started. Stir in the vanilla bean, if using. Or, turn off the heat and add the vanilla extract. Cool.

Assembly:

Punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured board. Roll dough out to a rectangle, roughly 12″x16″. Spread the dough with the softened butter and spread on the rhubarb filling, leaving a 1″ border. Sprinkle on the chopped walnuts. Roll the rectangle up and try to get the seam side down. Slice the roll with a sharp knife into 9 or 10 even rolls. Place the rolls in a well butter dish and sprinkle with a bit more sugar. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes. At some point, preheat your oven to 350. When the buns have risen, bake for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove and immediately drizzle with honey to taste. Serve warm!

Photos by Taylor, the other farm intern.

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blueberry thyme muffins

Everyday I crack open the freezer and see stacks and stacks of frozen fruits and vegetables that I harvested or purchases in bulk from last summer. Part of me wants to horde this stash of produce for special occasions or when we don’t have anything fresh in the house. However, we are at the start of a new season of a new growing year and now is the time to use everything up! Here in the Northwest, we are at the time where most of the winter crop is out (leeks, carrots, potatoes, etc.) and before any of the new crops are ready for harvest (asparagus! tender greens!). Each week at the market, we peruse through piles of cold storage roots, dwindling mounds of kale, and the last of fall’s apples and pears. It is great to be able to supplement these reliable winter vegetables with tastes of the bountiful days of summer, by cracking open jars of all types of pickles, jams, and salsa and defrosting frozen green beans, corn, and berries.

Muffins are a quick and easy way to use up your own stash of Summer 2011 berries! These muffins make an easy breakfast or a substantial snack and are full of whole grains, while still being light and fluffy. The addition of thyme is gives these muffins a interesting hint of herbal flavor, but does not overpower.  The crumble topping is optional, but very much recommended.

Blueberry Thyme Muffins

Inspired by Bon Appetit

Muffins:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup brown sugar or sucanat

2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax + 6 tbsp warm water, mix and let thicken) or 2 chicken eggs (lrg)

1 cup yogurt+ 2 tbsp milk to thin out a bit

1 tsp vanilla

2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves

zest of one lemon

1 generous cup blueberries. If frozen, do not thaw!

Crumble:

3 tbsp oatmeal

3/4 cup almonds

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp brown sugar

pinch of salt

2-3 tbsp oil

 

Preheat oven to 375. Line or grease a muffin tin. If you don’t have any muffin liners and want them, use squares of parchment paper cut into squares.

In a small food processor or blender, make the crumble. Pulse the oatmeal, almonds, cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt until the almonds are finely chopped. Slowly drizzle the oil while pulsing the mixture until it comes together and is, well, crumbly. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and thyme. In a separate bowl, rub the lemon zest into the sugar (to release the lemon’s oils). Then whisk in the coconut oil, flax eggs, yogurt/milk mixture, and vanilla. Toss the blueberries with a bit of the flour mixture (this prevents the berries from sinking to bottom). Fold the wet mixture into the flour mixture, just until everything comes together; do not overmix! Fold the blueberries into the batter and spoon into the prepared muffin tin. Top each muffin with a spoonful of the crumble mixture. Dust everything with a bit of sugar and bake in the center of the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out of the center cleanly. Cool and enjoy!

 

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cardamom pear and almond bread

This time of year is hard for creative cooking. We are on our fourth month of kale salads, vegetable soups, lentils, and root vegetables. It is hard to not keep wishing for spring to arrive, along with asparagus, strawberries, and snap peas! I am definitely grateful for all of the work that I put in last summer, canning, preserving, and freezing produce for these months. Nothing perks up a simple meal like a ramekin of dilly beans or pickled carrots!

Baking is what I turn to in the winter. Not only do I get a treat afterwards, but the apartment is warm and cozy for the next few hours! This is an easy tea bread that makes use out of another winter storage staple: pears. A lot of pears are good cold storage types, allowing farmers to keep coming to the market with local fruit all through out the winter. If you do not want to go through the (very little!) effort of making pear sauce, you  are more than welcome to use a commercial applesauce; just make sure it is unsweetened. Cardamom is one of my favorite spices and here it compliments the pear and almonds quite nicely. I decreased the sugar from the original recipe a bit because I intended on eating this sliced, lightly toasted, and spread thick with last year’s apple butter. Delicious for a light breakfast, with a cup of afternoon tea, or as a not-to-sweet dessert.

Cardamon Pear and Almond Bread

adapted from eatliverun

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup sucanat or sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardamom

1 egg or flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaw + 3 tbsp water)

1 cup pear sauce (about 2-3 ripe pears, diced, and cooked for about 5 minutes or until soft and pureed until mostly smooth) OR applesauce

2 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil

about 1 cup of almonds, ground almost finely in a food processor or blender

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, egg, pear sauce or applesauce, and melted fat. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry mixture, until just combined. Fold about 3/4 of the ground almonds into the batter and pour into the prepared pan and top with the remaining almonds and a sprinkle of sugar. Bake about 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack and enjoy!

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pumpkin gingerbread

Less than two weeks until Thanksgiving! I am excited to cook the big meal, maybe run a turkey trot, and turn my mind towards holiday baking. I love all of the warm spices often associated with the season, especially ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. So it is no surprise that I gravitate towards gingerbread and ginger cookies. I am only slightly embarrassed to say that this is only one of several gingery recipes that I have made so far this season and there will most likely be many more.

This pumpkin gingerbread has a good punch of spice and rich molasses flavor and still manages to be light and delicate. A square warm from the oven makes a great dessert (ginger is good for digestion, right?) and any leftovers make a pretty delicious and slightly indulgent breakfast the next day. The original recipe includes an additional suggestion for a cinnamon infused buttercream on top, but I really liked this just by itself.

On a side note, I recently purchased several plates from the new West Elm in Seattle, such as the one above, from the Organic Shaped Dinnerware collection. I love them and they are pretty cheap to boot!

Pumpkin Gingerbread

slightly adapted from Oh She Glows, one of my favorite vegan food blogs.

1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)

3 tbsp maple syrup

1/2 cup sugar or sucanat (if you like things sweeter, go up to 3/4 cup)

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1/4 cup molasses

1 flax egg, 1 tbsp ground flax plus 3 tbsp water, mixed and set aside until thickened. Or, 1 egg

1 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

generous handful of chopped, toasted walnuts, optional, but highly recommended

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line a 9″x3″ loaf pan or an 8″x8″ pan. A square pan bakes a bit fast, allowing me to eat this gingerbread a bit quicker.

Combine the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, sugar, oil, molasses, and flax or real egg in a mixing bowl. Sift together the flour, baking soda and powder, spices, and salt in another bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and fold until just incorporated. Fold in the toasted nuts, if using.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 50-60 minutes (loaf pan) or 25-30 minutes (square pan) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack, stealing small slices every few minutes, and hope that no one notices.

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sweet potato doughnut muffins

Seattle is a good doughnut town. In most coffee shops, you can find Top Pot doughnuts or Mighty-O doughnuts. However tasty, those doughnuts are usually an occasional treat. Doughnut muffins. on the other hand, I could eat every week. I have been seeing more and more recipes using doughnut pans lately. No hot oil or frying? Sounds like a much more pleasant Sunday morning to me. However, living in a small studio really make storage difficult and I was reluctant to make room for another pan. Then I remembered about the delicious doughnut muffins from the Downtown Bakery and Creamery in Healdsburg, California. Light, fluffy, and coated in cinnamon sugar, these doughnut muffins were almost as delicious as regular cake doughnuts and definitely better than your average muffin.

This is definitely a fall recipe. And it includes sweet potato! A vegetable! So go ahead and eat another one.

Sweet Potato Doughnut Muffins

adapted from Oh She Glows

To make this completely vegan, use vegan butter, aka Earth Balance. If you are not concerned about that, feel free to use buttermilk instead of the nondairy milk.

6 Tbsp milk (i used almond) + 1/2 tsp vinegar, mix and let rest for a couple of minutes. Or you can also use 5 Tbsp milk + 1 Tbsp yogurt.

1/2 cup mashed sweet potato (about 1 small sweet potato. I microwaved it until tender, peeled, and mashed it with a fork)

1/4 c sugar

2 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp applesauce

2 tbsp butter, melted

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup ap flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

dash ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

Cinnamon sugar to coat (start with about 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon)

melted butter (start with a couple of tablespoons)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease your muffin tin well. Note, this recipe made 8 muffins in a standard tin for me.

In a bowl, combine the milk+vinegar, sweet potato, sugars, applesauce, vanilla, and butter. In another bowl, combine the flours. baking powder and soda, spices, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold to combine. Be sure not to overmix! Portion out in the prepared muffin tin. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out dry. These bake up pretty quickly, start checking in around 13-15 minutes. As soon as the muffins are cool enough to handle, remove from the pan and brush lightly with melted butter and roll in the cinnamon sugar. Serve right away, but these are pretty tasty cold too.

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apricot fig bread

Oh no! It has started to rain here. And from what I have been told, will not stop until sometime next June. In defense, may I suggest some fresh apricot fig bread and a mug of hot tea? I have made this bread a few times and, as with most quick breads, it is best the first day. This bread is easy to throw together with whatever dried fruit you have on hand, but I really liked the combination of dried figs and apricots. It is whole grain, potentially vegan, and not too sweet.

Apricot Fig Bread

adapted from fannetastic food

2 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour or spelt flour

1/3-1/2 cup cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, or sucanant

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cardamom

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup applesauce (I have used a combination of applesauce and yogurt before and it has turned out fine)

1 large mashed banana (or 1/2 cup yogurt)

1 egg or flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with three tbsp water, set aside to thicken)

1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

1/2 cup dried mission figs, chopped (I have used prunes instead and it is also delicious)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, baking powder and soda, and salt. In another bowl, mix together the applesauce, mashed banana, and flax egg or real egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold until everything is just combined. Fold in the dried fruit, and pour into a greased and floured pan. I used a 8″x 8″ pan, but you can also use a loaf pan or make muffins. Sprinkle on a bit of coarse sugar and rolled oats to make it look pretty. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. For the 8″x 8″ pan, it was about 30 minutes; a loaf pan will take 45-50 minutes.

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apricot blackberry jam

Summer after summer, I have wanted to start canning. I didn’t want to can in our small kitchen here in Seattle, afraid that it would be too messy or there would not be enough room to work. However, all of these worries were uncalled for and I have been making lots of jam and pickles this summer. One of my favorites so far is this apricot blackberry jam, which, I think is better than apricot or blackberry jam. I used half apricots and half black diamond blackberries with a split vanilla bean and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. I also prefer to make a low sugar jam and, as a result, need to use a commercial pectin to thicken it up a bit. There are some rules that you need to follow if you want to actually can, be sure to read some general guidelines from the ball canning site or book.

I have been baking the jars to process them, instead of using the traditional water bath because my biggest pot is not quite big enough to accommodate standing pint jars with an inch of water on top. This method definitely is much easier and less intimidating, but I found the results a bit less reliable than the traditional water bath. Whichever  you chose, you will hear little “pings!” as the jars cool and the lids get vacuum sealed.

Preserving is much easier and less intimidating than most people think it will be. You don’t need to can 20 pounds of fruit in order to can. All you need is a couple pounds of apricots and berries to stretch the August into winter.

Apricot Blackberry Jam

2 cups mashed apricots (about 1 pound)

2 cups mashed blackberries (about 1 pound)

2/3 cup apple juice or white grape juice

1/2 cup evaporated cane juice or sugar

1/2 large lemon, juiced and zested

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

low sugar commercial pectin (i used the ball low sugar pectin, 3 tbsp)

Prepare the fruit. Pit and slice the apricots, no need to peel. Rinse and mash berries and apricots together. In a wide mouthed pot, like a dutch oven, Combine the apple juice, mashed fruit, lemon juice and zest, and the split vanilla bean and bring to a boil, constantly stirring. I usually cook this down until the juices are a reduced. Stir in the pectin and bring the jam back up to a boil. Stir in the sugar and boil hard for about a minute. If you wish to process and can this jam, follow the standard process. If not, spoon into clean glass jars and store in the refrigerator (eat soon) or freezer.

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