Swiss Chard Bread

Two months ago I had never had swiss chard before. Last week was the 3rd time our CSA came with a bunch, so I am starting to become more familiar with it. I found a delicious Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin recipe but felt it was too heavy for summer. I am going to save that for the fall. For now, I was craving some herb-seasoned bread. I found it used in a number of recipes online, so I decided to throw together my loaf. This bread has wonderful texture and flavor. I made the dough in the bread machine but baked it in a loaf pan in the oven – I wanted smaller loaves and didn’t want a hole in the middle.

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Rainbow Chard Herb Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of rainbow chard (amount to make 1 cup cooked)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 dried garlic cloves
  • 2 hot peppers (small red chilies)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 1/2 cup bread flour*
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dry active yeast

Directions

  1. Cut the stems off the chard and place in a food processor. Pulse into small pieces. Add leaves and continue to pulse into small pieces. Remove from the food processor and place into a microwave-save container. Lightly cover the dish and microwave for 1 minute to soften.
  2. In the meantime, add basil to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add other spices and oil. Pulse until well mixed. Push down the sides and add the steamed chard. Process for a few seconds to mix well.
  3. Lightly spray the bread machine pan with cooking spray to prevent excessive sticking. Add water, salt, oil, and chard mixture first. Then add bread flour. Sprinkle the top with sugar. Scoop a small hole in the center of the flour and place the yeast. Make sure the yeast doesn’t come in contact with the salt (that’s why you put it under the flour)**.
  4. Put the bread pan in the bread maker and set on the dough cycle. You can set it on the regular baking cycle if you’re OK with the shape of the bread pan loaf.
  5. If you’re going to make the bread in the over, prepare 1 or 2 loaf pans.
  6. Once the dough cycle is done, lightly flour the counter and dump the dough onto the flour. Try to touch the dough as little as possible. Split in half and place each  half in the baking pan (or all into 1 if you are making  a big loaf).
  7. Cover pan with a clean towel and let sit for 20-30 minutes in a cool, draft-free place (I use the pantry).
  8. Preheat the over to 350F. Once the dough has doubled in in size, DON’T touch the dough. Gently move the pans from their resting spot to the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is golden.

*I didn’t used whole wheat but you could probably do 1/2 and 1/2 if you wanted. Remember, this has a leafy green it in, so you can give yourself a pass if you want to just use all bread flour

**salt kills yeast, sugar feeds yeast. You put salt in bread to prevent it from over-proofing, so don’t try to be a health freak and omit it all together. The salt in this bread is not the reason we have problems with high blood pressure in this country.

Almond Flax Bread

I’ve had tummy troubles since college. Nothing that needs to be discussed here – maybe if you’re lucky I’ll show some pictures of how pregnant I look (despite not being pregnant) when the battle in my tummy is waging on. Until then, just know it isn’t fun 😦 I occasionally try different diets hoping I find the solution to all of my tummy woes, but they always turn out the same – no improvement – just more time spent making special foods with ingredients that cost more and [usually] don’t taste as good. For the last 2-3 weeks I was doing gluten-free, with hopes of some improvement. Prior to starting I was only eating 1-2 servings of wheat each day, so it really wasn’t that much of a change. I did notice I was crazy hungry the first week. It was the oddest feeling – I was hungry but all of the veggies I was eating made me so full, so I was always dancing a fine line of hunger and pain. I decided I needed to make a bread substitute.

I didn’t want to buy the $6/loaf brick loaf of gluten-free bread at the store, so I set out on a search for a homemade version. I made a loaf with my banana bar recipe that was actually really good. I wanted to try a 100% grain-free recipe and stumbled on this beauty – Dark “Rye” Bread.

The recipe was simple enough and the ingredients were all things I had on-hand. The fresh product was delicious! The recipe she posted only fills the pan 1/2 way (note she used a mini pan that I don’t have), so I had to make a 2nd loaf and double the recipe. After it sat out for 3 days, I realized why she used a small loaf…this bread goes rancid quickly. It makes sense, the base is just fat (flax and almond meal). If you make this recipe, I have a few words of advice – don’t double the recipe. Make a single batch in a large pan and eat it as a snack OR invest in a mini loaf pan. A 3rd option I just thought of would be to make muffins with the dough.

almond flax bread 2

Almond Flax Bread
Recipe from Elana’s Pantry

Ingredients

  • 1 cup finely ground almonds
  • 3/4 cup flax seed, ground (I bought it whole and ground what I needed)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3 eggs (you could get away with less yolk – I was fine with 2 whole and 1 white)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1-2 tbsp seeds (I used whole flax)

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 350F. Generously spray or grease a baking pan (I didn’t do this enough the first time around and my loaf stuck to the bottom and broke in half)
  2. Combine the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Whisk wet ingredients together in a small bowl.
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until combined. Let stand for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Pour ingredients into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  6. Cool completely before removing. The loaf is very tender. Once cool, slice thinly and store in the refrigerator.

If you notice the bread gets a funny taste and appears stringy when you break it apart, that means it has gone bad because the fats have begun to go rancid. You need to throw it out at this point…there is no hope 😦

Beer Bread

photo (7)I made this bread and wanted to share a picture and some notes.

All in all, the bread is pretty good. It is SUPER easy to make, which is a plus. It took less than 10 minutes to mix things together and get it into the oven. It was extremely moist and had a wonderful texture. The beer bitterness took some getting used to, but after a few slices I was hooked. I could see how it would be really good with a cheesy dip (stay tuned for a semi-healthy cheesy dip in the near future, hopefully).

The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter but states you can get away for 1/4 cup. Honestly, you could get away with 1/8 cup (2 TBSP). This was SUPER buttery and I can’t imagine what it would be like with twice what I used.

Be sure to shift the flour (or at least fluff with a fork). The original recipe has many notes from people who tried the bread and it was too dense.

I plan to to try this recipe again soon with a few modifications – less butter and the addition of some tasty herbs. I’ll update again if I have anything new to share about it.

Note: the beer was DELICIOUS and I recommend you all try it if you ever end up in Hayward, WI. It is brewed by the Angry Minnow.

Pull Apart Bread

Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread that is super easy to make.

To make it healthier:

  • Use homemade biscuits made with whole wheat flour (find a recipe from this post under “biscuit topping”)
  • Use olive oil instead of butter for the garlic-Parmesan topping
  • Be sure to use REAL parmesan cheese (not that powdery stuff) so you get more flavor with less cheese.

 

Veggie Pot Pie

Growing up, chicken pot pies from the freezer were my favorite treat. Imagine my surprise in early college when I learned that some people actually make their own pot pies from scratch! It was an amazing revelation and since then I try to make them every few months. While the one’s from the freezer have biscuit all around, mine usually just have a biscuit topping. I try to limit the breads in meals like this since it seems we always eat too much bread. Also, too much biscuit fills me up so I can’t enjoy all the delicious filling. This is a vegetable  pot pie, but you could add any meat you want. I have clarified in the directions when you should add the meat.
 

Veggie Pot Pie

Adapted from the “Turkey Pot Pie” recipe at EatingWell.com
Serves 6
 
Filling Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Biscuit Topping Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup buttermilk or equivalent buttermilk powder
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Directions

  1. To prepare filling: Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add onions and carrots; cook, stirring, until golden brown and tender, about 7 minutes. 

  2. Add 2 cups broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. Mix cornstarch with the remaining 1/2 cup broth; add to the pan and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens. Stir in and meat (if using), peas, corn, salt and pepper. Transfer the filling to a 2-quart baking dish.

  3. To prepare biscuit topping & bake potpie: Preheat oven to 400° F. Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and thyme in a large bowl. Using your fingertips or 2 knives, cut butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly. Add buttermilk and oil; stir until just combined. 

  4. Drop the dough onto the filling in 5 or 6 even portions. Set the baking dish on a baking sheet.

  5. Bake the potpie until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes; serve.