the food: Blood Orange Quick Breadthe song: "Learn to Live With What You Are" Ben Folds
Wow! To quote the husband, it snowed "like a movie" in Austin today. As soon as I heard "90% chance of snow," I knew my Tuesday needed to include baking.
I had leftover raspberries in the fridge from our Valentine's Day meal, and my plan was to use them to make Blueberry-Oat Quick Bread. I've made this recipe before (using double the amount of berries) and it is so delicious- perfect for dessert and breakfast. I loaded up an episode of This American Life, opened the blinds so I had a good view of the snow, and started pulling out ingredients. When much to my despair, I found moldy raspberries.
This upset me a little bit. I had just gotten back from the grocery store, where I had a second carton of berries in my hand and had decided instead to just make due with what I had. I started thinking...what can I bake? The cold day was begging for the oven! I thought about oatmeal carrot cookies (also good dessert/breakfast), but I really had my heart set on that bread.
Ingredients with a ticking clock are my favorite. They inspire and present themselves at just the right time. The delicate little raspberries didn't make it, but my remaining Valentine's Day blood oranges were sitting quietly on the counter waiting for just the right moment. A few google searches later, I sat down and wrote out this recipe, working to use what I had on hand.
What I really like about this recipe is that it was made entirely with ingredients on hand. A while ago I ran across this kitchen challenge from the now defunct A Mighty Appetite food blog. The challenge is called Eating Down the Fridge, and it basically encouraging people to use what they have instead of buying all new things each time you visit the grocery store. This has influenced my menu planning to no end. It has also saved us quite a bit of money (I'm proud to say our grocery bill was less than $50 this week...that includes feeding a friend one night, and the sweet treat that is the topic of this post.) Planning meals based on what you already have lurking in the back of the fridge is immensely rewarding and I highly encourage it.
The bread turned out really nice. The orange is subtle and not too sweet. This is definitely a bread, though, not a cake (the above linked quick bread blurs the line a bit.) It would be delicious with dried cranberries or cherries thrown in to add a little more sweetness and texture. But it turned out quite good on its own, too. My bread came out a little dry, so make sure you watch it closely after that 45 minute mark. I cooked mine closer to an hour, and it could have used less time. We'll mostly eat the bread for breakfast as is, but a little butter on top a slice of warm bread never hurt a thing.
Blood Orange Quick Bread
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
juice from 2 blood oranges
zest of 2 blood oranges
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk plus 1/2 teaspoon vinegar)
1/4 cup almond slivers
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
2 tablespoons butter, melted
In large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, almonds, and salt. In a seperate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, orange juice and zest, sugar, eggs, butter, and vanilla or almond extract. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and stir gently.
Bake in a lightly greased loaf pan for 45 minutes at 325 degrees, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.