I found a partial bag of cranberries in my freezer and since soon we will be getting bags of fresh ones, I came up with a quick bread using what I had on hand. It was very good and served as dessert for a couple of lunches and dinners for my daughter and me.
CRANBERRY ORANGE NUT BREAD
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ tsp. salt
1-½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ cup oil (canola)
¼ cup orange juice concentrate mixed with ½ cup water
1-½ cups fresh or frozen (thawed) whole cranberries
½ cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Prepare one greased 9-inch loaf pan or two greased 7-½ inch loaf pans, sprinkled on bottom and sides with a mixture of 1 Tblsp. granulated sugar and 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
In a large bowl whisk together 1-½ cups flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
In a separate small bowl, whisk egg with oil and orange juice from concentrate. Add to flour mixture and stir in lightly.
In a small bowl, place cranberries and ½ cup flour, stirring to coat cranberries. Add this mixture to the batter along with the chopped nuts. Stir just until flour is absorbed and mixed throughout the batter.
Spoon batter into prepared pans and bake in preheated 350 degree F oven approximately 40 minutes for 7-½-inch loaves and 50 minutes for a 9-inch loaf. Test for doneness by inserting a tester in the center of one of the loaves to be sure it comes out clean.
Rest loaves in pans for about 10 minutes and then loosen around sides and turn onto rack to cool.
Yield: Two 7-½ inch or one 9 inch loaf
Cut into one-inch wide slices to serve. Stays moist for several days.
Tip: I always have a problem keeping a juice container lid secure once it’s opened. I found that a small mason jar lid works perfectly and keeps the concentrate fresh for the next use.
I started making zucchini dishes in 1982 when my husband, 12-year-old daughter and I were living in Blue Jay, Ohio, on the Indiana border. We had two acres which my husband had filled with every kind of plant, tree and bush that would produce something edible – barely leaving room for a small house in the center. He loved to grow zucchini because he was rewarded with basket after basket of them and as a novice country dweller, I tried to make use of every single piece of fruit or vegetable he brought in the house.
By 1987, I had tried a lot of zucchini recipes and was looking for something different to take to our Hamilton County Fair (Cincinnati). I decided to take a favorite recipe from the Bear Wallow Zucchini cookbook and change it from a spicy zucchini bread to a chocolate one. The bread not only won the blue ribbon at the fair, but also won the Best of Show rosette. It’s a delicious zucchini treat.
BEST OF SHOW CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD
- 3 eggs
- ¼ cup cocoa
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1-¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups grated zucchini (unpeeled)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour loaf pans of your choice
In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs; add cocoa and whisk until smooth. Whisk in oil, sugar and vanilla.
Stir in zucchini.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, soda and salt. Stir into zucchini mixture. Stir in walnuts.
Pour into greased/floured pans, filling about 3/4 full, and bake @ 350 degrees F.
Loaves are done when a tester inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean
- Two 9×5 loaves – bake for approximately one hour
- Two 7-1/2×3-¾ loaves and one 5×2-1/2 mini-loaf – bake for approximately 50 minutes (check mini-loaf at 35 minutes).
- Six 5×2-1/2 mini-loaves and one 7-1/2×3-¾ loaf for approximately 50 minutes (check mini-loaves at 35 minutes).
Allow bread to cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to cool completely on a rack.
This is one quick bread that could easily be a dessert. It’s rich, chocolatey, moist and full of crunchy nuts. But the most important thing to me in 1987 was that it used 2 cups of zucchini.
My picture was taken for the fair’s publication, “The 132nd Annual Hamilton County Fair Salutes its 1987 Best of Show Winners”. (I had won Best of Show with three different items that year.)
I have a very slim Irish line in my ancestry, but I married a man who was was fiercely proud of his Irish lineage. Frank used to take off work on St. Patrick’s Day so he could grab his green derby and head for the nearest pub to spend the day. One St. Patrick’s Day, he showed up on the evening news coverage at Hap’s Irish Pub with his derby slightly askew, surrounded by his cronies, waving a big mug of beer and bellowing out, “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”. His mother said, “Jesus, Joseph and Mary, I’m mortified to death” that her friends saw him in such a state, but this is the woman who was doing the Irish jig for her grandchildren well into her 80s and who said her grandmother washed her clothes on the banks of the river Shannon.
So, I raised four mostly-Irish children and celebrate St. Pat each year with some Irish food. My oldest daughter was in an Irish dance group and I loved going to the competitions and the annual Feis. In 1990, they had a food competition and I entered the Scone, Soda Bread and Brown Soda Bread contests. I won a first-place gold medal in each of the divisions. I was particularly pleased because the judges were some visitors from Ireland.
IRISH BROWN SODA BREAD
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 Tblsp. dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 Tblsp. softened butter
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Lightly grease a flat baking pan
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in the softened butter until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Add raisins.
Add buttermilk, mixing with a fork until dry ingredients are absorbed. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently until smooth, adding flour as needed (about 1/2 cup). Dough will still be slightly sticky. Shape into a ball and place on the greased baking pan, forming into a 7 x 1-1/2 inch circle. Press a large floured knife into the center of the loaf almost through to the bottom. Repeat at right angles to divide the loaf into quarters.
Bake @ 375 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until top is golden and loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove to wire rack to cool. Brush top with melted butter.
Makes one loaf. From a cookbook published by the Cincinnati Hoxworth Center called Adventures in a Culinary Vein.
The recipe for Colcannon comes from a cookbook my daughter brought back from Ireland, A Taste of Ireland by Theodora Fitzgibbon. I adapted the recipe by using half of the butter and cream it called for. Having tasted Ireland’s wonderful butter and cream, I can only imagine how rich the original dish is. My family likes this version with a little less fat.
- 4 cups shredded cabbage
- 6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 2 green onions with tops
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1 tsp. salt, divided
- Grindings of black pepper
- Pinch of mace
- 1/4 cup butter, divided
Cook cabbage until tender. I like to steam it for approximately 20 minutes.
Cover potatoes with cold water and cook on medium high heat for 20-30 minutes until potatoes are done, then drain.
While potatoes are cooking, cut up the green onions in small pieces.
Place in a small saucepan and cover with cream (about 1/4 cup). Simmer on low until onion is soft.
Beat drained potatoes with 1/2 tsp. salt, grating of black pepper, mace, 2 Tblsp. butter and green onions with cream. Add additional cream to get desired consistency (about 1/4 cup).
Place cooked cabbage in a large pot, add 1/2 tsp salt, grating of black pepper. Add the mashed, seasoned potatoes.
Mix well and turn into a large serving bowl. Make a well in the center and place 2 Tblsp. butter in the cavity.
Serve piping hot.
I started making this dish in 1993. The cookbook suggests frying leftovers like potato pancakes in bacon fat or butter. I haven’t tried this because we never seem to have leftovers.
HAPPY ST PATRICK’S DAY.
P.S. I came out to the kitchen this morning to find two handmade gifts from my daughter.
For Mother’s Day in 1985, my son and daughter-in-law in St. Louis sent me a cookbook that I loved. It was called Elsah Landing Heartland Cooking and was just full of good recipes like this one that I adapted for Black Walnut Lemon Bread.
My version won a 2nd place ribbon at the Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Fair that year. I’m the only one in the family who likes black walnuts, so I chose this week while my daughters are on vacation to make myself a batch. I like to bake quick bread in mini loaf pans (about 3×5″ measured across the top). I started making bread in small loaves to take to work for coffee break or lunch. This size pan makes two reasonable servings or one very generous serving. Using 6 pans results in a bread about 2″ thick, 4 pans would make a thicker bread and, of course, the bread could be made in a standard 9″ bread pan.
BLACK WALNUT LEMON BREAD
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1-1/2 Tblsp. lemon peel
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup chopped black walnuts
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tblsp. lemon juice
- 2 Tblsp. water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Grease/flour 4 or 6 mini loaf pans (3″x5″) or one 9″ bread pan
To make the bread:
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add sugar gradually, mixing well. Add the egg and lemon peel, beating to blend.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture – beating well after each addition. Stir in black walnuts.
Pour into prepared pan(s).
Bake @ 350 degrees approximately 20-25 minutes for the 6 small pans, 30-35 minutes for the 4 small pans or 45 minutes for the large loaf. Loaves will be a pale golden brown and will test done when a tester is inserted near the center of the loaves.
While bread is still in the pan(s), brush with the warm syrup. It looks like too much syrup, but keep going back and brushing – the bread absorbs the liquid – use all of the syrup.
Keep in the pans on a wire rack until bread has cooled, although I have been known to steal a loaf while it’s still warm and, wow, is that good!
Remove loaves to rack. Serve immediately or wrap and keep at room temperature for a couple of days. Loaves can also be well wrapped and frozen. When eating a cooled loaf, I like to warm it for a few seconds in the microwave to activate all that lovely lemon syrup flavor.
Since nobody else likes the black walnuts, I guess I can just eat all I want and not worry about saving any for the vacationers.