Entries in Bread (4)


Fake Thanksgiving Stuffing

Ahhhh fall. Changing leaves, crisp mornings, scarves all so nice. Then there is the food. Bring on the roasted root vegetables, squash, soup and rustic desserts - pies, galettes, crisps. Fall feels like gravy weather. Like all your food needs a nice warm blanket to cover it. The height of fall cooking comes at Thanksgiving for most people. All the favorite dishes from candied yams to green bean casserole and in between. 

But why wait - this meal is pretty awesome anytime. You can pull out all the stops and have a "Fake Thanksgiving" or just add one of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes to a roast chicken dinner. The options are endless. Who says gravy calls for grand occasion??

I have had Thanksgiving on my brain. I could not wait to taste the flavors of this amazing meal. Mr. Ramon and I have already planned most of our menu. But I needed a taste - something to get me even more excited. So with dinner guests heading over and celebrating both of their birthdays I decided to really go there with this Fake Thanksgiving. We also found out once they got here that they are going to be out of the country for the holiday so this was the only "traditional" Thanksgiving they were going to get. 

Of course I was not yet ready to handle a turkey so I decided a roast chicken would do. To round out the meal I added roasted brussel sprouts, stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy. Such a great day to cook. The babe took a couple long naps so I could get my groove on in the kitchen. The house smelled amazing with stock simmering on the stove. 

I love stuffing. Bread is my favorite thing on earth - now add aromatic bits of leek, onion, celery and kale and toss it all together with broth, sage and parsley. Bake that until the top is crispy. The crispy bits are the best. This stuffing I married all I know and love about stuffing and it was amazing! So amazing it is gone. Mr. Ramon took some for lunch and I just crisped up the rest in a pan with an egg on it. Yum!

This was my Fake Thanksgiving stuffing - my real Thanksgiving stuffing will be very similar I bet - but there will be a lot more of it!

This can be made a day in advance and baked the day of your meal. This recipes serves 6 hungry adults. 

Fake Thanksgiving Stuffing

1lb loaf of rustic sour dough bread

1 bunch lactino kale 

3 stalks celery 

1 leek 

1 onion

2 cloves garlic 

1/4 c pumpkin seeds

2 teaspoons sage

1 teaspoon thyme

2 cups stock - chicken, turkey or vegetable

2 eggs

3 tablespoons butter 



Tear the rustic loaf into bite size pieces. Place on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven until dry and crisp. Cool and place in a large mixing bowl.

Place pumpkin seeds on cookie sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for about 6 minutes - watch these. They can burn easily. Cool and add to bowl with bread pieces.

Fine dice the onion, celery and white parts of the leek. Heat some olive oil in a large skillet on medium and add the diced vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft and fragrent about 10 minutes. Pour over the bread pieces. 

Rough chop the kale removing tough stems. In the same skillet on medium add some olive oil then cook the kale until wilted and soft about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. When cool add to bowl with bread pieces. 

Mix with your hands or 2 large spoons all the cooked vegetables with the bread pieces until everything is well incorporated. 

Warm 1 cup of broth with the butter. Let cool a little then whisk in the 2 eggs, sage, thyme and salt and pepper. Pour the broth over the top of the mixture and mix again so it is well distributed. If you think the stuffing feels to dry - pour some of the remaining broth over the mixture. You can also add broth if needed during cooking or after to moisten.

Bake covered in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes - uncover and bake another 15 minutes so the top gets nice and crispy. 



For the love of grilled cheese!

Recently all I want to eat is grilled cheese. Toasty, melty, buttery grilled cheese. I think about it all the time. Nothing fancy either - just good white bread with some american cheese stuffed inside, buttered up and toasted until it is ooey gooey. I tried to think this craving came from the change of seasons. After all isn't time for warm food and butter? But more realistically this is probably some sort of weird pregnancy thing - one at least that makes me very happy. 

I stopped by Skillet Diner with Mr Ramon and ordered their grilled cheese. They do an amazing grilled cheese. american, cheddar and brie on toasted brioche. I hate to say it though - the brie ruins it for me, so I order it without. They pack it with cheese, it is so gooey! It hit the spot. 

Later that weekend we went to pick up some groceries and decided to make our own version of the ultimate grilled cheese. I think that mixing cheeses makes a great grilled cheese and it is one of my little secrets. We found a piece of cheese that was a fontina/white cheddar blend. That seemed like a good melter. We also picked up some american slices. I know - not really cheese but I love the stuff in a melted sandwich. The last component was the bread. I thought brioche might be to heavy so we went for a nice thick white bread. 

My other secret to a good grilled cheese is shredding the cheese instead of slicing it. It helps it melt quicker so your bread does not get over browned while you are waiting for the cheese to melt.  

Ultimate Grilled Cheese 

Makes 2 sandwiches

1/4lb grated cheddar or cheddar fontina blend

4 american cheese slices

4 slices thick white bread 


Heat a grill pan or skillet to medium heat. Butter outside of two slices of bread and place on hot pan. Divide grated cheese between the two slices of bread. Add the american slices on top of the grated cheese. Place the other two slices of bread on the sandwiches and butter the outsides. 

When the first side in the pan is crispy and brown, flip over to the other side and let it toast nice and brown. Your cheese should be melted all the way through. Remove from pan - slice and enjoy!!


Dreaming of spring!

While it is still technically winter we are starting to get glimpses of spring here in the Pacific North West. Bulbs are sprouting and the first daffodils are open with their happy yellow faces teasing the rain. A day here and there of brilliant sunshine. These days get me so excited for starting the garden. This last weekend we carved out a small bed against the fence of our garden and put in Sugar Peas and Snap Peas. I loved working out in the garden, digging in the dirt again.

Today it rains again so I took some time to start planning our garden. Drawing out the beds and pouring over the Maritime Northwest Garden Guide to plan when to put in each plant. Day-dreaming of lettuce, tomatoes, squash and the like. Looking through our carrot seeds spurred me to bake today. I had an abundance of carrots in the refrigerator and with every store filled full of Easter candy and stuffed bunnies holding carrots it just seemed appropriate to make some Carrot Ginger Bread. 

I love quick breads. They are just that quick. The outcome feels like you worked harder than you did and they are all so yummy. This one is filled with fresh grated carrots and several types of ginger for a spicy punch. Top it off with a ginger cream cheese frosting.

Carrot Ginger Quick Bread

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed finely grated carrots (from about 2 carrots)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and dry spices.

In your electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla, ginger and carrots.
With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; mix just until combined.
Transfer batter to prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
Let cool in pan 5 minutes.
Turn cake out onto a wire rack, and let cool completely.

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh finely grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
Beat all ingredients until fluffy. 
Frost top of cooled cake.

Banana Bread Trial Recipe #1

I am on the hunt for the perfect banana bread. I feel a bit like Goldilocks. This one it too sweet and this one is too dry and this one is too greasy. I think I know what I want in the perfect Banana Bread - nice crumb, moist without being soggy and a pronounced banana flavor. Join me on this search. You may be looking for something else in a banana bread and one of these recipes just might fit the bill.

This recipe was adapted from a recipe on Epicurious. It makes 2 standard size loaves. 

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas (6 large)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (I use Greek style yogurt)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (9- by 5- by 3-inch) metal loaf pans, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Whisk together 3 1/4 cups flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl.

Put eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium-high speed until very thick and a pale ribbon is formed when the beater is lifted, about 10 minutes.

Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream, mixing, then mix in bananas, yogurt, and vanilla.

Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture and raisins gently but thoroughly.

Divide batter between loaf pans, spreading evenly, and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 60 - 75 minutes.

Cool loaves in pans on a rack 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack. Immediately turn loaves right side up and cool completely.

This is what I got - 2 dark brown loaves slightly sunken in the middle. Not the prettiest baked goods. But maybe it's what is inside that counts.

Once I cut into them I found them to be very moist and flavorful. I still am not a fan of the dark crispy exterior. The banana flavor was nice and overall a really good bread.

So onward we go to find the perfect banana bread!