Thursday, August 28, 2008

Warm, With Butter

Since I haven't really been posting lately, have no themes going and no blog "brand" to speak of, there's really no reason I can't just post a random recipe right now, is there? I think not.

As part of a little social studies unit we're doing about New England, I wanted to make something approximating Boston Brown Bread. More concerned with simplicity than authenticity, I chose to pull out a nearly forgotten recipe for Steamed Molasses Bread from my file instead of searching further, and made it today. It's been feeling downright fall-ish around here in the coolest August I can remember, so the homey smell of baked goods was well-suited to the day.

Oh, folks, it was delicious. Served warm with butter. Mmmmm.

Of course almost anything sounds delicious "served warm, with butter." It's a powerful phrase.

Try "Octopus, served warm with butter." Wait. Some of you may actually enjoy octopus to begin with. It's possible.

"Tree bark, served warm with butter." See? You at least considered it, didn't you?

"Earthworm, served warm with butter..." Ok, the phrase has its limits.

In any case, perhaps you might like to try this recipe, too. It's sweeter than a typical whole wheat bread, but not nearly as sweet as a typical pumpkin or banana bread. It's... different. And delicious.

The bread is made in a slow cooker, and requires some sort of pan or container that will fit in your slow cooker and hold about 8 cups. There are molds made specifically for steam baking in a crock pot, but I've never had one. A small coffee can is the mold traditionally used by many people, but anything that fits will do. (I have a square Pyrex dish that happens to fit.) This needs to be set upon some sort of metal rack, trivet or, as I've even done, a couple of spoons, in the bottom of the crock pot just to keep it off of the direct heat and allow steam to surround it. Get creative; you have something in your kitchen that will do the trick.

So then.

Steamed Molasses Bread

2 cups All-Bran cereal
2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins (these can be optional for the raisin-haters)
1 egg
1 3/4 cups buttermilk (or add 1 1/2 T. vinegar to regular milk and let stand 5 minutes)
1/2 cup molasses

Place a metal rack or trivet in a slow cooker. Grease and flour an 8-cup mold.

In a medium bowl, combine cereal, wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and raisins.

In a large bowl, beat egg. Add milk and molasses, and stir to combine. Stir in dry ingredients, without overbeating.

Pour into greased mold, and cover with foil. Pour 2 cups hot water into slow cooker. Place mold on rack in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Remove from pot and cool 5 minutes. Loosen edges with spatula and turn out on plate.

And don't forget: Serve warm, with butter.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Few Thousand Words

Does this blog look abandoned to you? Cast aside and forgotten?

It may be neglected, but it has not been abandoned, despite appearances.

I simply have been lacking the time and physical and emotional wherewithall to write anything. I could flesh out that last statement with details, but that would require writing, wouldn't it? This almost could have been written by me. Almost. Far too many coherent sentences.

I've been popping in to visit blogs here and there, and look forward to writing here when I can. But for now, just to show that I'm still alive, posting a few summer pictures would count for something, wouldn't it?

They're worth-- what?-- around a thousand words apiece?

A Girly Girl with three brothers looks like this...

The Class of 2021 looks like this...

A brand new nine year-old & a mom sorely in need of a hair cut look like this...
A picture that really needs of a post of its very own might just look like this...