Thursday, March 29, 2012

Peach Bread and Farm Fresh Eggs

I'm in major spring cleaning mode in my house right now. Essentially, the house looks like a tornado went through it, dashing magazines, clothes and books all over, but kindly leaving little clear paths between the rooms for me to walk on. I know this sounds counter-intuitive and not at all like cleaning, but I'm not just moving things around, I'm actually getting rid of a LOT of the clutter. Stuff is being listed on Craigslist (and boy has THAT been a fun little experience), sorted into donation boxes, and packed up to give away to friends and family. The more I dig the more I realize that in just 6 or 7 short years that I've lived in my tiny little home, I've accumulated enough "stuff" to impress Madame Trash Heap.

Among the things being cleaned out is the fridge. All of the mystery jars and random little tid bits have been cleared out and I've moved onto the freezer. That will take some time, I have a LOT of frozen fruit I never got to still left over from last summer/fall. I guess this winter has been busier then I thought. The first to go was the leftover bag of peaches I had brought back from a camping trip to Michigan last fall. I don't like using frozen fruit for pies, but in this lightened version of Peach Bread, they were lovely. The bread itself is not too sweet, quite moist, and very flavorful. The perfect thing to go with a cup of tea in the morning, afternoon, or a late night cleaning marathon. Hard work requires a few rewards, after all.

Peach Bread

Peach Bread
Adapted from Honey & Jam (one of my new favorite blogs).
I increased the measurements by 1.5 because my pans are a bit bigger and I wanted taller loaves, but feel free to halve the amounts if you only want 1 loaf or decrease by 1/3 if your pans are smaller. I also left my peaches in bigger chunks and used a bit more then called for because I really love it when fruit forms little sweet pockets in the bread and it felt silly to hang onto just a half a cup of peaches. The batter held the extra fruit like a champ.

5 eggs
1.5 cup dark brown sugar 3/4 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup applesauce
3.5 cups roughly diced peaches, drain well if using frozen
4.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
1.5 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoon baking soda
2.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and lightly flour two 9 x 4 inch loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Blend in the sugar, oil, applesauce and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; mix just to combine. Stir in the peaches. Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

On a slightly unrelated note, a few weeks back I visited my friend's sister's house and got to meet her 4 adorable red-headed chickens. Her husband had built them an ingenious penthouse coop and I've never seen happier chickens then these. It was already getting dark and I didn't have my camera with me anyways, so sadly I don't have pictures of the girls for you, but I was lucky enough to be given 6 of the beautiful, super fresh eggs to take home with me.


I'm still thinking of what to do with them to really let the eggs shine, but the first two got made into breakfast. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible, so these are sunny side up eggs fried in just a slick of olive oil and with a hearty dash of sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Egg Owl

I may be biased considering I've met the chickens, but I think the whites were fluffier and the yolks were creamier in these eggs. I don't have room to keep chickens of my own, and considering all the baking I do buying local eggs is a bit out of my price range, but I think I'll need to splurge occasionally because these really were amazing.

Egg Last Bite

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spiked Coconut Macaroons

Pi/Pie Day has come and gone, along with a half dozen birthdays, the ever popular St. Patrick's day, and at least a half dozen other food related, little known holidays, and yet this site has stayed quiet. Believe me, I enthusiastically participated in all of them. There were pies made when pies were called for, cakes and cupcakes made for all the March birthdays, cookies when no theme was given, and tarts when I had free reign. In fact, there was so much late night baking that there were almost no pictures to serve as proof for all this activity, not to mention absolutely zero energy or brain capacity to do any sort of a write-up. But I must get back on track, and I'm going to start with these:

Spiked Coconut Macaroons 4

These are spiked coconut macaroons that I had made for St. Patrick's day for work and squirreled a handful for myself for later. Luckily, these get better after they sit for a day or two, though not after a week, then the bell curve of their goodness begins to plunge once more.

Spiked Coconut Macaroons 2

They come together faster then anything you can imagine, they're way less fussy than macarons, their very very very distant cousins, and with a splash of booze and a few drops of green make perfect little treats to celebrate St. Pats. Because, you know, making nothing for a holiday would be a travesty of epic proportions. Though there's also nothing stopping you from just leaving them white, or adding lime juice in place of the booze, or standing on your head when you eat them (or, ahem, talking about them a week after the holiday has passed). Really, get as crazy as you like, they wont mind one bit.

Spiked Coconut Macaroons

Spiked Coconut Macaroons

2 14 oz bags sweetened coconut flakes
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp sour cream
2 Tbsp Irish Cream or Frangelico (or heavy cream if you don't want booze)
1 Tbsp Vanilla
A few drops of food coloring if you want

- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Combine all the ingredients in a stand mixer bowl and give it a quick stir with a spoon, otherwise when you turn the machine on all the coconut will fly out and hit you in the eye. I'd like to prevent casualties whenever possible.
- Mix for a few seconds in the mixer using the paddle attachment, just until everything is evenly distributed. Scoop onto a baking sheet. You can make these into any size you want. I wanted them smaller so mine are about the size of ping pong balls, but there's nothing stopping you from making tennis ball sized macaroons. Well, unless you fear your dentist (these babies are sweet).
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes, depending on the macaroon size, or until the bottoms and just the tips of the top are very light golden color. Don't worry if they still seem soft, let them cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and they'll firm right up.
- Dip in chocolate if you like or enjoy au naturel.