Archive for ‘Breads’

May 12, 2012

Simple Garlic Pasta & Garlic Bread

by cillefish

These are 2 recipes I don’t make together, but they’re similarly tasty and easy, and garlicky.

Pasta with Garlic and Oil

Great flavor: sauteing the garlic slowly gives it a perfect balance of sweet and strong with a lot of character and flavor. More subtle and nuanced than you’d expect from the amount of garlic in this thing.

Tips: Good with breadcrumbs on top, but toast these before you start the recipe. Also, you’ll need to add extra oil if you’re using fettuccine or another pasta with a large surface area. It doesn’t hurt to put a cup or measuring cup in the colander as a reminder to collect some of the pasta water before draining the pasta.

(serves 4 people as a main / only course. Half-recipe measurements are in parentheses)

  • Salt
  • 1 lb spaghetti (1/2 lb)
  • 6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (4 Tbsp), DIVIDED into 3Tbsp & 3Tbsp (or 2 and 2)
  • 1/4 c cloves garlic, smashed thoroughly and minced – a garlic press is a good call here. 1/4 c is ~ 30 small, 20 med, or 10 large, or 5 extra-large cloves (1/8 c is about 6-8 medium-large cloves). Reserve about 3 garlic cloves, mashed, for the end (2 clove)
  • 3/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes (1/4 + 1/8 tsp)
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves, or 3 tsp dried (1 1/2 Tbsp fresh or tsp dried)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (1 tsp)
  • 1/2 c coarsely grated Parmesan Reggiano (I use about the same for the half recipe
  • Optional addition: 1-3 roasted red peppers, minced fine using kitchen scissors


  1. Mince the garlic before starting this.
  2. Heat small, heavy-bottomed nonstick saucepan over low heat.
  3. On another burner, put over high heat to bring to a boil: 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp oil, and water per pasta package directions. Pasta will be done right after or partway through the other ingredients, so keep an eye on it. If it’s done before, drain and toss every 5 min to prevent it from sticking. Let the cooking pot cool mostly.
  4. Meanwhile, in the saucepan, combine half the oil (3 or 2 Tbsp), all the garlic except the clove or 2 reserved, 1/4 tsp salt. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, about 8-12 minutes until the garlic gets very sticky and looks the color of straw. It may foam. Remove from heat.
  5. Add in and combine thoroughly: the red pepper flakes, parsley, lemon juice, remaining garlic, roasted pepper (if using), and 2 Tbsp pasta cooking water. Add a little extra oil if it wants to stick.
  6. In cooking pot or heated serving bowl, thoroughly toss noodles and other stuff, and divide into dishes for serving. Top with Parm and / or breadcrumbs. Serve immediately.

Garlic Bread

This recipe is for a half a loaf of french bread – double it for a whole loaf

  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise (I use the olive oil mayonnaise for this, as the texture and flavor are much lighter and complement the seasonings well)
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp garlic, crushed in garlic press (about 1 medium clove)
  • 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp dried parsley or Italian seasoning
  • Pepper (optional – I don’t add this)
  • 1/2 c grated Parmesan Reggiano
  • 1/2 loaf french or sourdough bread, sliced lengthwise.
  • foil


  1. Preheat oven to 475° F.
  2. Cream mayo and butter in a cup or small bowl. Add olive oil as necessary to get it to a texture slightly damper than cake frosting. Add spice & garlic.
  3. Butter the bread thoroughly with the mixture, making sure to get the edges. sprinkle with Parm, focusing mainly on middle. Sprinkle with pepper.
  4. Put bread, butter-up on cookie sheet and bake 8-12 min, until cheese looks melted and edges of bread just turned a toasty brown but are not overdone.
  5. Let cool 3-5 min, then slice while it’s still pretty hot.
  6. Serve hot.
February 4, 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Penuche Frosting

by cillefish

I love pumpkin bread, and pumpkin cupcakes are even better …but for a brown, spicy, fall-flavored something like pumpkin bread, you need frosting to match. This simple penuche frosting comes from a recipe for applesauce cake, and makes a stiff, fondant-looking frosting somewhere between a brown-sugar glaze and maple syrup candy.

pumpkin cupcake topped with penuche frosting

This recipe (based on this one) is like real bread: time-consuming in spurts, with a lot of periods where you just ignore it and go do something else.

Beforehand: Clear a shelf in the fridge to accommodate a cookie tray full of cooling cupcakes. Prep cupcake pan. Gather a wooden spoon; a medium sized, heavy saucepan; and an empty cookie sheet. If you want to serve these with hot apple cider and some ice cream, get that together too.

Penuche-Frosted Fall Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin Cupcakes

  • 1 3/4 c all-purpose flour (or 1c wheat flour and 3/4 c white)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter (or 1/3 c applesauce)
  • 1 c packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/2 c white sugar (make it a heaping cup if your brown sugar is dark-brown
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp molasses
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 2/3 c water
  • Scant 1 c canned pumpkin puree (not “pie filling”!)
  • 2 large eggs or egg equivalent

Penuche Frosting

  • 3/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar (or half granulated, half dark-brown)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • scant 1/8 c milk (I used light soymilk and added a pinch of powdered xanthan at the end before the cooling stage to help make sure things bound properly. Despite the name and its prevalence in long lists of suspicious-looking filler ingredients, xanthan gum is a natural ingredient and a pretty cool substitute for gelatin to help firm things up).
  • pinch of salt

Pumpkin Cupcakes instructions:

  1. Butter (or add cupcake papers to) a 12-cupcake pan. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, spices. In a larger bowl, beat together butter, sugars, and oil on high speed until fluffy, scraping sides often.
  2. Add pumpkin and mix until blended. Add eggs or equivalent, one at a time, and mix until just incorporated. Mixing slowly, add flour mix and water until just incorporated.
  3. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, ~50min.
  4. Remove from pan (if using cupcake papers) or let sit in pan 20min, and allow to cool completely so that frosting won’t detach itself. Start making penuche frosting when the cupcakes are mostly cooled.

Penuche Frosting instructions:

  1. Combine all frosting ingredients in heavy saucepan over medium-low to medium heat stirring with a wooden spoon until boiling (boiling sugar is HOT, so be careful!). Reduce heat to a simmer and let it cook undisturbed for about 5min, or until it registers 234F on a candy thermometer (I don’t have one).
  2. Have cupcakes ready, removed from their pan and assembled next to the cookie sheet.
  3. Remove frosting from heat, add xanthan (if using), and stir vigorously (don’t splash) until well combined again, then keep stirring gently until mixture starts to look a little paler and lose its gloss. This mixing / cooling process may take 5-10 minutes of pretty lazy stirring.
    What to look for: A blop of the mix, removed with a spoon and drizzled back into the rest of it, should retain some type of shape for several seconds, demonstrating some reluctance to melt back in right away. What we want is frosting that will cool enough on the cupcake that it will harden up before dripping off the edges. The penuche will still have a bit of translucency, but it will look a bit closer to homemade caramel than to maple syrup.
  4. Immediately begin to dip tops of cupcakes in still-wet frosting mix: invert cupcake, dip, twist, and then wipe off the edges against the side of the penuche pan.
  5. Assemble frosted cupcakes on the cookie sheet as they are frosted. One or two drips are OK, but if the 1st one is dripping before the time you get to the 3rd or 4th one, you need to wait a few more minutes.
  6. Put cookie sheet full of cupcakes into refrigerator to cool. Penuche should lose remaining translucency to look like in picture.

Serve cold, with hot apple cider and a bit of light vanilla ice cream.

January 7, 2012

3-Minute Banana Bread or Carrot Cake (Single-serving)

by horseradishsauce

First post-Iraq post!

Today is one of those days where I was planning to go to the gym earlier so I didn’t make lunch—but then I ate a bunch of gummy bears and shopped for furniture online and now it’s 1310 and I need to go buy a mattress. Well, now I want food before I go shopping. I am also procrastinating because I hate shopping for anything.

I went into my kitchen and spotted a brown, overripe banana. If I hadn’t eaten all my oatmeal, I would make oatmeal with a banana and walnuts. Instead, I decided to make a banana and walnut mash of goodness. But no, wait! How about banana bread?! Banana bread it is.

I know everyone’s been posting microwave single-serving desserts for a while now. I think it’s funny everyone “just” discovered that you can make baked things in the microwave. Perhaps they were never up late procrastinating  studying for finals.

This is a quick, sloppy banana bread recipe for the lazy or those in a hurry.

What you need:

  • 1 very ripe banana
  • a handful of walnuts (shelled of course. Unless you like to eat the shells.)
  • about 2 1/2 tblsp whole wheat flour
  • maybe 1/4 tsp baking soda or less.
  • about 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • two dashes of nutmeg
  • two dashes of allspice
  • about 1/2 cup of water
  • a bowl
  • a fork
  • a microwave

Peel the banana. Put it in the bowl and mash it up. Crumble the walnuts and put them in. Add the dry ingredients. Pour in enough water to make it a little wetter than cookie dough and more viscous than normal banana bread batter.

Cook it in the microwave for 2 minutes. It will be sticky at that point, but I like my banana bread sticky, so I went no further.

Now it’s time to buy a mattress.

I've been eating oatmeal in this bowl for the past 5 days without washing it. Mmmm

It may not look particularly appetizing--but it's a single serving. Nobody's judging your skillz here.

P.S. I made carrot cake the next day.

5-Minute Carrot Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots
  • 3 tblsp Whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tblsp molasses
  • 1 tblsp honey
  • about 1/2 cup water
  • a handful of walnuts, crumbled

Shred the carrots. Mix the dry ingredients. Mix in the water, molasses and honey. Mix in the carrots and walnuts. Cook for 3 minutes. Consume.


August 8, 2011

Summer Blackberry Cornmeal Cake

by cillefish

This moist summer cake balances rich sour cream with cornbread’s grainy goodness — the result is fresh, summery, and sweet, but avoids the dense cakiness of winter treats. Adapted from this recipe by Matt’s mom.

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg*
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1/4 cup for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon for skillet
  • 2 containers fresh blackberries (5.6 ounces each), or 11.2 ounces frozen, thawed, and drained (about 2 1/2 to 3 cups)

Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar. In another bowl, whisk together sour cream, eggs, vanilla, and melted butter; pour over flour mixture, whisking to combine.

In a 10-inch skillet (preferably cast-iron; a large square stoneware or pyrex dish also works), heat remaining tablespoon butter in the oven until melted and skillet is hot, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven; swirl to coat bottom of pan. Pour batter into skillet; scatter blackberries on top, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup sugar.

Bake, with a baking sheet on rack below (to catch any drips), until top is a toasty gold color, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool slightly, about 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen; cut into 8 wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature. Excellent with vanilla ice cream.

*Matt’s mom tells me she grinds fresh nutmeg into the dry ingredients until it looks right — I’ve never seen that in action, so 1/4 tsp seemed a reasonable guess based on other recipes I know that use nutmeg.