Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sweet and Savory: Olive Oil Bread

My baking music is a mix of Adele, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Bareilles, Amy Winehouse, and other smoky voiced soul singers that have me bopping around the kitchen, stirring and blending on the beat. Last night, in part to protest the hundred degree heat (it's September! doesn't that mean sweaters?!) and in part because I have an early meeting and feel that my team might need sustenance, I decided to make a sweet-savory olive oil bread, perfumed with orange and lemon zests, and stuffed with almonds - a dense bread, almost a cake, with strong flavors that tells me fall is on the way. It's rich, delicious, and autumnal, and the recipe itself was inspired (with several twists in my kitchen) by smitten kitchen's Olive Oil Muffins.

Sweet-Savory Olive Oil Bread

1 cup white flour
3/4 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sliced and toasted almonds

4 eggs
1 (heaping) cup of sugar
zest of a lemon
zest of an orange
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons whole milk
3/4 cup olive oil

optional: a dash of nutmeg, dried fruit, diced apples

1. Set the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the dry ingredients, including the spices and nuts, together and set aside.
3. Blend together the eggs, sugar, and fruit zests, blending until the three are uniform.
4. Add the vinegar and milk, stirring thoroughly.
5. Pour the olive oil in to the mixture slowly, letting the ingredients become acquainted gently.
6. Grab the dry ingredients, and gradually fold them in until everything is mixed together.
7. Pour into a cake pan and bake for 50 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

cooking as civil disobedience

I came across this opinion piece on a blog in the New York Times a few days ago, and I love the idea of a young boy cooking as "civil disobedience." It's still an act of disobedience in these days - there's so much easily available pre-made food in a grocery store that doing anything from scratch involves more time and effort than picking up a cake mix or buying a frozen pizza.  The daily, sometimes repetitive work in your own kitchen is deeply undervalued as a way to spend free time, especially as a busy woman, when there are so many shortcuts - though I would argue that the nutritional quality of those "timesavers" eliminates their ultimate value. And there's something so satisfying in creating the meal out of its real components, being a wizard whipping disparate elements into the combined whole, that I doubt I'll step out of the kitchen any time soon.

stand out against the crowd!