Red Fife, Cheddar and Chive Quick Bread

I'm feeling it deeply.  Like it's permeating from my bones and my gut.  It's an energy.  Sometimes it makes me want to cry.  Sometimes I'm so full of love that I'm not sure what to do with it all.  I've heard people say things life life is energy.  Life is movement and vibration - although death is also movement if you consider decomposition... that's morbid - and that is what I'm in right now.  Movement, both inward and outward.  It could be the Spring and sunshine and warmth.  It could be that many people close to me are experiencing some life altering situations both good and bad.  Whatever it is, I feel all warm inside and fuzzy and like reaching out and helping and hugging my friends and generally embracing life and my community.

Something opens up inside of me when I see the chives breaking the ground in the spring.  It's probably the same feeling that coaxed us from our hunter-gatherer life to an agrarian one.  Somehow I feel like I'm conquering nature and working with it all at the same time.  Definitely in this urban life that I'm living now it makes me feel more connecting with the earth and with the food that I'm eating.  Maybe my feelings of movement and change and love are all part of that ancient desire to plant as well.  Who knows... and once again, I'm over thinking.

Here is one of the 'life altering' narratives that's playing out in my KT's life right now.  She and G finally have their bundle.  They are officially foster parents and their bundle is about a week and a half old.  For those of you who've had children, you know well what those first few weeks are like.  The adjusting, the upside down schedules, the diapers and the feeling of crazy love and crazy crazy because you barely know which end is up.  One of the things that got me through the newborn stage was family and friends supplying food.  Even if it was a can of beans it was appreciated.  Definitely having entire meals brought over by my mother-in-law would almost reduce me to tears.  Realizing that you have a community of people supporting you can be just the thing to carry you through those moments when you think you just might be losing your marbles.

So, with KT and G's new life change I'm looking to do my part as much as I can and make sure that every time I show up at their house I'm carrying something edible with me.
I was scrolling through my long list of favourite blogs this morning and this bread literally screamed at me.  I also happened to find some more Red Fife flour at my favourite locavore food store and snapped it up.  So I thought that this bread would be a great opportunity to christen this years harvest season and to simultaneously send something off to help my BFF feel some love.

Red Fife, Cheddar and Chive Bread adapted from Local Kitchen
makes 1 loaf

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup Red Fife flour (or whole wheat pastry)
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne or red pepper flakes (or just plain pepper for non-heat-freaks)
3 eggs room temperature(ish)
1/3 cup milk at room temperature(ish)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chives, chopped (I used the stuff just starting to fill up my garden)
1 generous cup cheddar, shredded

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour a loaf pan and set aside.
In a bowl, combine both flours, baking powder, salt and cayenne together.  Stir and set aside.
In another bowl whisk the eggs until they're quite foamy and fluffy.  Add in the milk and olive oil and whisk together until everything is combined well.
Add the flour mixture to the liquid.  Mix well.  The batter will be quite thick.  Add in the chives and cheddar reserving a little of each to sprinkle onto the top.  Stir just until combined.  Scoop the batter into the loaf pan.  Spread out fairly evenly.  Sprinkle the remaining cheddar and chives onto the top of the batter.
Bake for about 35 - 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Let the loaf cool for a bit in the pan and then remove and slice.
Tastes best if eaten with the first 2 days of baking.

Pear Bread with Streusel

I'm sitting on the hardwood floor in my living room.  There is glass of red on the floor beside me and a 'touch of sea salt' dark chocolate bar calling me gently but persuasively.  It sounds idyllic. It should be one of those moments in life which bring me deep satisfaction... except I feel like I've been hit by a truck.  One of those big ones withe more wheels than you can count.  Not those little things that people call trucks but are really just little SUV thingy's.  Nope a big, fat, hairy tractor trailer truck.
Yep.  There it is.  I'm not even sure why exactly.

One of the bright spots in this 'short-work-week-that-feels-like-two-work-weeks' was this bread.  I've made this bread before.  Hell, I've even blogged this bread before.  This time is a little different though.  I'm using pears this time.  Those crazy canned pears that I made last fall.  Those crazy pears that I made wayyyy too much of.  Those pears that I still have 7 jars of in the cold room.  Yeah.  Those pears.  Hindsight being 20/20 I totally could have used 3 cups of pears here.  If you were using fresh fruit then 3 cups would probably be about 3 large or 4 med/small pears.  In jar units that would be about 3/4's of a jar.  It would make for a slightly more moist bread and might therefor increase the baking time.  If it meant getting through almost an entire jar of pears then it would be worth it.

Work is in an odd place for me at the moment.  It's equal parts completely exciting and awesome and absolutely frustrating.  It took a lot of years to get to the 'exciting and awesome' part of the job that I'm starting to see now.  I'm trying to figure out a way to keep the 'absolutely frustrating' part from completely tainting the other part.  I understand that every job has it's 'challenges' and I'm more than willing to accept that and work with it.  This 'challenge' is really starting to rock my core though.  It goes a little deeper for me than just something that bugs me.  I gotta figure out how to turn this around but just at the moment I'm stumped... and utterly empty.

I won't tell you how big the slice was that I took to work with me today but I will tell you that it was what got me through the day with my hair intact ie. not pulled out of my head via their roots.

Pear Bread with Streusel adapted from 'More with Less'
makes 1 loaf

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup sour milk or buttermilk
2 cups diced pear or apple
1/2 cup streusel (find recipe here)

Butter and flour a loaf pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the four, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.  Set aside.
Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in the eggs and mix until all fluffy and well combined.  Add the vanilla and mix.
Add the flour mixture and the sour milk alternately beginning and ending with flour.  Mix thoroughly.
Add in the pear and stir until mixed.
Pour the batter into the greased/floured pan and bake for about 55 - 60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean (I think mine took about 65 - 70 minutes this time around).

Oatmeal Bread

I was going to go in on a whole post about what I wish about myself.  You know, the 'I wish that I didn't smoke' or 'I wish I was a size 2'.  What I realized is that I'm kinda content with myself.  Maybe that's bad.  Maybe that's just lazy and apathetic disguised as contentment.  For now though I'm just going to go ahead and feel like it's a pretty cool thing and be proud of myself.
I think that I've spent a large portion of my life wishing that I could be like someone else but totally not being able to be that person.  Wishing I could act differently - that's a necessary adaptation sometimes though I'll grant that - and doing my best to do it.  Wishing I could believe differently and trying my best but never being able to be as truly and deeply heartfelt about certain beliefs as I wished. Generally wishing that I had a little more of this and a little less of that.  Therefor, realizing that my personal wish list (you gotta check out my 'lists' post to fully understand why I even conceive of a personal wish list) would be pretty small is, yeah, kinda cool.
It seems that age - I've got a little bit under my belt by now - has given me this ability to look backwards with a totally different kind of angle than I would've had even ten years ago.  I can see that underneath all my hand-wringing back then I was really me anyway.  I'm thankful because somehow through all that guk back there I can draw a line that's ends up with me here and now... happy with who that is.
This is a good lesson for me to absorb right now because I have Kid #1 quickly approaching an age when it's literally impossible for her not to be hungry... ever... and also when her own wish lists might start getting in her way.  Maybe my own journey through will be able to help her negotiate her own steps a little better.

I'd like to tread water here, in this place, for a little while.  Take in the scenery and breath deeply for a bit.  But I know that life doesn't always works like that and even now I can feel the ground shifting around me.  For now, like I said, I'm just going to go ahead and feel pretty cool about myself and my 'un'need for a personal wish list.

Yesterday was a day off... which I promptly filled up entirely with chores.  I made bread.  Just so you know, it really did take 1 1/2 hours for the first rise which seemed like a lot to me but the taste and crumb of this bread is well worth it.  This is by far one of the tastiest breads that I've made up to now and it toasts beautifully.  I
 did adapt it quite generously and the recipe below reflects my adaptations.  You can always check out the website for the original.

Oatmeal Bread adapted from King Arthur Flour

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup non-fat dry milk powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
dash of nutmeg and cinnamon
1 cup boiling water
1 cup oats
6 tbsp warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp yeast
1/4 cup (a generous one) melted butter
1/4 golden syrup or molasses

Combine the flour, milk powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside.
Combine the boiling water and oats together and set aside for about 15 minutes.
Combine the warm water, sugar and yeast together.  Stir and set in a draft free place for about 10 minutes to proof (should get all bubbly and yeasty smelling and double in volume).
In the meantime butter or grease a medium sized stainless steel bowl for the dough to rise in.
Once the yeast has proofed and the oats have soaked combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
Mix well and once the ingredients have formed enough of a dough to stick together then start to knead.  (I did not use any additional flour to knead this bread but if you do then I would try to add as little as possible) Knead for about 7 - 8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and pliable.  It shouldn't be too sticky.
Place the dough into the greased bowl and cover with a clean cloth.  Place in a draft free spot for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
Grease a med/small loaf pan.
Once the dough has doubled in volume then punch it down and form into a loaf/log.  Place in the greased loaf pan.  Cover with a clean cloth and place in a draft free place to rise for another hour or so.  It should be about 1 1/2 inches over the top of the loaf pan.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake the bread for about 30 - 35 minutes.  You should be able to knock on the bottom of the dough and it will sound hollow.  Brush a little butter on the top of the warm dough.

Easter Garden

This was done by Kid #2... he's 5.  It's pretty cute.  We didn't see it until after it was done which is kind of a good thing because we might have tried to get him to fix it.  It's so damn adorable that I even put it on Facebook.  I never put photos on Facebook.
It's Easter today... today people, not the whole weekend.  Please keep on top of the liturgy here.  Just because it's a holiday we do not wish each other 'Happy Good Friday'.  Jeez.  Happy Easter Vigil... NEVER.

I haven't really gotten to any serious cooking or baking but it's on it's way.  Instead I went to The Hunger Games movie with Kid #1, went out for some serious connecting with KT, went for a 10k run and survived with my foot none the worse for wear (my poor body however is not exactly happy with me today), had some much needed time with D over a pint or two, spent some time with the in-laws and my own parents... and I washed my windows.  All in all not so bad for a long weekend and it's not over yet.  The weather cooperated today so I've also taken some pictures of the up and comings in my garden.

I don't know quite how this has happened but its the second year now that I've gotten parsley coming up on it's on.  I didn't think it was a perennial - I think it's a biennial - but what the hell... here it is and I'm not complaining.

You know it's spring when the chives start to poke through the brown earth and green up the place.

The scent isn't quite as strong this year but my little hyacinth's are going strong.  Another sign that spring is here to stay.

And lastly my favourite, homely rhubarb.  Just doing what it does best, forming huge leaves and hiding the gorgeous red stalk underneath.  In about a month it will be ready for me to start cutting... that should give me just enough time to get through all those damned canned pears that are still sitting in the cold room.  Happy Easter.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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