Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Much Of The Best Of 2013

We are at about the half-way point of this blog's existence. There is an average of 8 posts a month, about two a week and many of them are recipes. The Bread Baker's Dog blog hasn't been used since 2011, so all the recipes are right here and the index for them is mostly on the right in the web version.

I started the year off health-wise by having a bad case of kidney stones, resulting in both surgery and not being able to post as Kitchen-of-the-Month with the Bread Baking Babes when I was supposed to. Fortunately Elizabeth picked up my job and we did end up with some Buddies for the Jam Fan Tans, a fun, individual sweet roll (photo above).

Cherry Soda Bread (above top), Maple Pecan Bacon Soda Bread (above) and fresh Blueberry Soda Bread (below)
                                                Fresh Blueberry Muffins (below)

There are also a number of versions of Irish Soda Bread this year, including Michigan Cherry Soda Bread, the unusual Maple Pecan Bacon Soda Bread,  another made with fresh blueberries; Soda Bread with Blueberries. Of course you can have fresh blueberries in your classic Blueberry Muffin, too.

                                Irish Corned Beef (above) and Bridies (below) by NoHandle

NoHandle was a guest blogger a few times, too. One you may want to try is the Irish Corned Beef in March, the story about and recipe for Bridies, a portable lunch, and the chocolate chip cookie challenge with the link found a few paragraphs down.

The garden was bountiful in the summer and fall, so there are post about lots of ways to cook with tomatoes. One that is easy but delicious is Five Ingredient Tomato Salad, which also has burrata as one of those ingredients. Our local strawberry farm plants different varieties, so we often have strawberries from spring through early fall, which allowed me to bake a French Strawberry Tart in the early December!

On the classic recipe front, we ended the year with scalloped potatoes with cheese and milk from Julia Child and Simone Beck from Mastering the Art of French Cooking . This delicious side dish, also known as Gratin Dauphinois, has been updated a bit by using Yukon Gold potatoes, along with butter, salt and pepper, Swiss cheese and milk. It's decadent and delicious and not really difficult to make. The same post has a recipe from Julia Child's Baking with Julia for Buttermilk Rolls, light and delicate yeast rolls that are perfect as dinner rolls.

In the same vein, I baked a
Classic Pound Cake using a recipe from Jim Fobel's Old Fashioned Baking Book. It's everything you want a pound cake to be, with a tight crumb and just the right amount of sweetness.

If pound cake isn't your favorite, how about a
Classic Macadamia Nut and White Chocolate Cookie? This one is from King Arthur Flour and it's a winner. While you are thinking cookies, you may want to see NoHandle's guest post exploring which of two classic chocolate chip cookies is better...including the one for which someone paid $250 for the recipe.

2020 was the year of Banana Bread as households locked in due to the pandemic restrictions took up baking. I have a really good recipe for
Banana Bread with Walnuts and Chocolate, just in case you are getting a yen for some now.

Another classic, and one that has been lost for a while as fizzy tablets from the store took over Easter, is the old fashioned way to color
Easter eggs. With the pandemic people seem to be looking to revive lost skills and arts, so you might want to try this way.

            Butternut Squash Soup made with Caramelized Onions made in a Crockpot (above)
                    Fresh Tomato Gazpacho (above) and Home Made Oyster Stew (below)

Soup is one of my favorite things to eat for lunch or dinner and this year I made a wonderful
Butternut Squash Soup and a recipe for Crockpot Caramelized Onions which you need for that squash soup, a bright harvest time Fresh Tomato Soup, and Oyster Stew for the months with an 'R' in them.

Since baking is one of my favorite pastimes and a big part of this blog, it's fun to look at some of the baked good, especially ones that aren't classics, which I made this year. In December baked  Persimmon Nut Bread, a sweet tea bread, using persimmons from our tree. That post also explains why ingredients for baking should be at room temperature. The persimmons are the kind that are soft and sweet when ripe and you might still find some at your farmers market if you want to try this bread.

For a yeast bread that impresses, but is fairly easy and foolproof, try Fast Focaccia. The post has lots of photos to get you to the finish line.

Another kind of bread (which is called a cake but actually bread) is old fashioned Lardy Cake, made with real pig lard. It really adds to the crisp topping and probably the light texture of the cake, too. For an actual cake, and one that uses fall fruit, how about a Quince Pecan Upside Down Cake? The hard part is finding ripe pineapple quince (bottom photo).

We've done bread and cake, so how about pie? Lots of people avoid making pie because they are afraid of making the crust. Well, Martha Stewart has a pie crust made in a food processor that is pretty much fool proof...and excellent. Food Processor Pie Crust makes enough for two circles of a double crust pie like an apple pie or two single crust pies, like pumpkin or pecan, right? What would you choose?

Speaking of pumpkin, it has become a trendy flavor in the fall, mostly as 'pumpkin spice' coffee or ice cream, but I have an unusual pumpkin spice muffin that has a hidden surprise in each muffin. Spicy Pumpkin Muffins with Creamy Filling might just become your favorite way to feed your pumpkin spice cravings.

To round out the baked goods, how about Apricot Scones? Sweetie loves these with dried apricots in every bite.

I'm going to end with a pot luck dish that I love. It has both brown and wild rice and seasonings and carrots. If you make it with water or veggie broth, it is vegan, a nice thing to bring to a potluck since the pickings for vegans are often slim. It is also dairy free, a concern of mine. Most of all it is pretty easy to make and delicious. The carrots add a dash of color and the dish I brought it in is always empty long before I'm ready to go home; Wild and Brown Rice with Carrots and Herbs.

There are plenty of other delightful recipes in 2013, so after you check out some of these, wander around the blog and discover your own favorites!

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