Cooking with Annie: Episode 3 – Traditional Boston Brown Bread

With all of the comments about folks not being able to find some ingredients (and wanting to stay away from the grocery store in general), I thought perhaps this recipe would be a good one to share.  It’s one of my favorite and is super traditional New England.  It uses whole wheat flour, which for some I’m hearing is easier for people to find than regular white flour, and NO eggs, which I’m also hearing are sometimes tough to come by especially around these Easter days when everyone is dying eyes with their kidos.

On the Riggin, I often serve this Boston Brown Brea with homemade butter, fresh garden radishes, an assortment of sea salts as one of many appetizers.  Here at home, we had it with lamb stew and then snacked on the remainder.  It’s delicious toasted with cream cheese or a little pat of butter.

The first recipe works well with either rye or whole wheat flour, but again, I have a hard time getting rye flour in ‘normal’ times, so wrote the recipe with whole wheat in mind.  If you don’t have buttermilk, it’s easy to make.  Combine just over 3/4 cup milk with 1 or 2 tablespoons of white or apple cider vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes or so.  The result is usually just a little thinner than store-bought buttermilk, so I just end up substituting a little less than 1 cup of homemade buttermilk for 1 cup of store-bought.

Hope you all love it!

Traditional Boston Brown Bread
1 cup whole wheat or rye flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup raisins

3, 14-ounce cans
waxed or parchment paper
foil
string

To prepare the cans, trace the edge of each can on waxed paper and then cut out 3 rounds. Liberally grease each can and place the waxed paper round in the base of each can.

Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the buttermilk, molasses, and raisins and mix until just combined from the center out to the edges of the bowl.

Divide the batter equally between the three prepared cans, cover with tin foil, and use string to keep the tin foil ‘lids’ in place.

Transfer the cans to a medium pot of simmering water. The water should reach just about half way up the side of the cans. Cover and simmer until the breads are set and gently pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 35 minutes.

Transfer the cans from the pot to a cooling rack, remove the foil, and allow the bread to cool. Run a knife along the inside of the cans to loosen the bread and then invert the cans into the cup of your palm or rap firmly on a work surface to dislodge the bread.

Makes 3 little loaves

Mom and Grandma’s Brown Bread 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons molasses
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inch bread pan. Cream together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon in a medium-sized bowl. Add the milk, eggs, and molasses and stir until just combined. Stir in the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Pour into the prepared pan, and let it sit 20 to 30 minutes. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the center springs back when lightly pressed. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing.

Makes 1 loaf

Annie
#staysafe #becalm #bekind

Cooking with Annie: Episode 2 – How to Use What You Have

I’m hearing a number of people talk about not being able to find one or more ingredients at the grocery store these days.  This makes menu planning, something I highly recommend for all sorts of efficiency reasons, difficult.  Does one still plan and then change the plan according to what is available?  Or does one go to the store without a plan and then create a weekly menu once the selections are made and purchased.  Well, I’d propose that both could be true. The question really becomes, HOW to be flexible and HOW to think creatively about what’s on hand.

This has always been true for those of us who have gardens or buy from a farmer’s market.  Sometimes certain ingredients are just not in season, in stock, or ready for harvest just yet.  Even with that, our current challenges are causing us to exercise our flexibility muscle even more than usual. In this latest video, I talk about what we picked up from our farmer this week and how I think about creating a menu around the fresh ingredients we were lucky enough to bring home.  Here’s a list of what we got and then some of what we ended up making through out the week.  While they aren’t recipes, per se, they are guidelines and ideas.  Have at ’em!

Large yellow carrots
Carrot Salad – Grate and toss with diced tomato, some radish micro greens, a minced green onion, some minced sorrel from the garden, evoo, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Sliced Carrots – Serve with preserved lemon hummus made with garbanzo beans.
Steamed Carrots – Toss with a little butter and fresh dill.

Baby Orange Carrots
Pan-roasted – Sear in extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.  The leftovers became a carrot, ginger, coconut soup.
Fresh – As a snack with dip or not.

Rutabaga
Mashed – Peel and cut into chunks just like for mashed potatoes.  When tender, drain the water and mash with a little butter and creme fraiche.  To be honest, I didn’t have high hopes for this dish and I was wrong to be so skeptical.  They were delicious.

Daikon Radish
Radish Salad – Grate and toss with garlic, ginger, lime zest, lime juice, sesame oil, and tamari.
Radish Pickles – Slice thinly and toss with salt.  Let rest for at least 30 minutes and then add apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Greens
They all got sauteed in extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper and then became a part of other meals.  I’ll often use greens in place of the carbohydrate at the meal.  So for example, if we are having lamb stew with mashed potatoes, I’d skip the potatoes and substitute the greens.

Pea Shoots
Pea Shoot and Quinoa Salad – Mix with dried blueberries, spiced pecans, crumbled feta cheese, and tangerine balsamic vinegar.

The list above is just an example of what could happen in your kitchen.  It was based entirely on my pantry and ingredients we already had on hand.  Yours might look completely different, but hopefully this gives you a starting point from which to begin creating in your own kitchen.

So what do you have in your fridge that you don’t know what to do with it?  What recipe do you want to make with an ingredient you can’t get right now?  Ask away!  I can help.

Annie
#staysafe, #becalm, #bekind