Two Bread Recipes

Everyone likes bread. It’s so communal, and allows for plenty of creative freedom when dried fruit or nuts are added. Here are two basic recipes using some of the most ubiquitous fruits and vegetables around:

Zucchini Bread (for Chris)

adapted fromthe smitten kitchen

3 eggs
1 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups [or more] grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cranberries, raisins or chocolate chips or a combination thereof

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans. Or if you are making muffins, line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla. Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, as well as chocolate chips and/or dried fruit, if using. Stir this into the egg mixture. Divide the batter into prepared pans. Bake loaves for 60 minutes, plus or minus ten, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Muffins will bake far more quickly, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

Yield: 2 loaves or approximately 24 muffins.

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Banana Bread (for Libby)

½ cup Crisco shortening
1 ½ cup sugar
2 eggs
2 large ripe bananas mashed (apx. 1C+)
½ cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ – ¾ cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat together shortening and sugar. Beat in eggs. Add bananas and sour cream, then all dry ingredients. Add vanilla and mix. Fold in chocolate chips. Grease and lightly flour a bread loaf pan, or put paper liners in muffin tins and fill ¾ full or slightly more.

Bake bread for about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick through the middle just comes out clean. Muffins will take less time, only about 25 minutes. 

Makes a dozen muffins, or one loaf of banana bread.

Beer Can Chicken… in the oven!

I’ve wanted to try this one for a while. Grilled beer can chicken is so easy and fun to make, but access to a grill in Boston is surprisingly hard to come by. So we improvised and stuck the birds in the oven to astonishing success!

These are Cornish hens which are smaller than most chickens, and easier to fit in apartment-size ovens. The hens are too small, in fact, to fit over a beer can, so we filled empty tomato paste cans with Colt 45. The recipe follows:

Beer Can Chicken… in the oven!

2  1.5-2lb. Cornish hens

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

About 6 tbsp. spice rub (or a mix to your liking of chopped garlic, onions, sage, thyme, paprika, brown sugar)

some beer (appx. 1 can)

Rinse the hens under running water, pat dry, and rub them inside and out with 1/2 cup olive oil. Lightly salt and pepper them, then liberally apply the spice rub on the inside and outside of the bird. Fill tomato paste cans 3/4 full with beer, and set them in a roasting dish or shallow pan.  Sit the hens one on top of each can so that they won’t fall over while cooking. Use the legs for balance. Now get those birds in the oven!

Cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for appx. 1.5 hours. Rotate the pan after the first half hour to ensure even cooking. When the juices from the chicken run clear, they’re done. Take the pan out of the oven, and let the hens sit for 10 minutes. Serve with roasted red potatoes and asparagus, yum!