Savory Greek Yogurt Quick Bread

a white loaf of quick bread
Greek Yogurt Quick Bread

GREEK YOGURT QUICK BREAD
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 eggs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
2 additional tablespoons ground flax seeds (for sprinkling on top)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Heat the oven to 375°. Line an 8×4″ bread pan with parchment paper. (I prefer heavy glass.) Set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, add butter, eggs, brown sugar, yogurt and milk. using the paddle attachment, stir on low speed until well blended. Minimal mixing is best.

3. In a separate bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and ground flax seeds. Gently add the dry ingredients to the wet ones mixing on low speed to combine.

4. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle more ground flax seeds on top and bake for 50-60 minutes. (In my oven, 60 minutes is best.)

For a savory quick-bread, not only is this not dry and crumbly, it has a nice spongy texture and holds together well. It is the yogurt that keeps it moist and tender, but you won’t taste yogurt, only good bread. It toasts well and freezes well. Use as a dinner bread, breakfast bread, or make open-faced sandwiches.

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Black Magic Cake

chocolate cake
Black Magic Cake

INGREDIENTS:
1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
5 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup cold, strong coffee

DIRECTIONS:
1. Make 8 ounces of espresso or strong coffee and chill.

2. Cut a piece of parchment paper or wax paper to fit the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish or similar casserole dish. Grease and flour the dish including the parchment paper on both sides. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one, put the vanilla; in another, the vinegar, and in the third, the oil.

4. Pour the cold coffee over the mixture and stir until moistened. Use a spoon rather than an electric mixer and yes, you must follow the mixing method or you will have a gooey pancake.

5. Pour into prepared dish and bake for 35-40 minutes or until it springs back when touched in the middle.

6. When cooled, loosen sides and turn out onto a serving plate. Remove parchment paper, dust with powdered sugar and garnish with fruit or a sprig of mint. 6-8 servings. (Recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9 x 13 pan. Bake a little longer.)

Adapted from an old-fashioned depression era chocolate cake recipe using no dairy or eggs.

Spaghetti Pie by Nadia

casserole made with spaghetti and baked
Spaghetti Pie

INGREDIENTS:
1 (6 oz.) pkg spaghetti noodles, broken into 2-inch pieces)
2 T. butter, melted
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 c. cottage cheese
4-5 provolone slices
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook and drain the spaghetti noodles according to directions. Stir in butter, Parmesan cheese, and beaten eggs. Using a spoon, pat the spaghetti mixture into a buttered 9-10-inch round, deep glass pie plate.

Spread cottage cheese over the spaghetti layer.

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and stir in the sauce until heated. Pour meat/sauce mixture over cottage cheese layer.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, switch to broil.

Layer 4-5 slices provolone cheese on casserole and sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top.

Return to oven, and broil until cheese is melted and golden brown. Let this sit for a few minutes before cutting and serving.

To double this recipe, use a 9×12 cake pan and bake 45-min or longer (until bubbling around the edges) before adding cheese and broiling.

Quick and Easy Holiday Stollen

stollen with fruits and nuts
Quick and Easy Holiday Stollen

EASY HOLIDAY STOLLEN
Indulgence alert: This is a luscious, rich, holiday treat especially good with coffee. I’ve reduced the amount of butter (the original called for another half stick of butter to be melted and poured over along with even more confectioner’s sugar). That much butter and extra sugar isn’t necessary. I also replaced candied fruits with natural, dried fruits and nuts. Other, more complicated stollens use yeast and take hours to make, but this is a terrific quick-bread method that is worthy of praise.

Easy Holiday Stollen
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick cold butter, divided into 6 T and 2 T (set aside 2 T)
1 cup Greek yogurt (the thick kind)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 tsp. dried cardamom)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup mixed dried fruits: golden raisins, cranberries or cherries, dried pineapple (chopped), apricots (chopped) or your favorites.
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Topping:
2 Tablespoons melted butter
½ cup confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut 6 T butter into the flour mixture until the butter is in pea-sized lumps (much like you would do if making pie crust). Mix in the dried fruits and nuts.

In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Stir these wet ingredients into the flour and fruit mixture. Using your hands, squeeze handfuls until dough begins to stick together. Knead 4-5 times or just until it holds together.

Place dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and shape into a log about 8-9 inches long, 4-inches wide, 2-inches high. It will spread slightly while baking. Place in oven and bake about an hour or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.

Remove from oven and brush with reserved 2 Tablespoons butter and dust with confectioner’s sugar. (To dust, place powdered sugar in a wire strainer and tap the edges to shake out the sugar.)

Once cool, wrap in plastic wrap. Will keep at room temperature for about two weeks—if it lasts that long. Give it a fresh dusting of powdered sugar when serving if desired.

Shaping and baking option 2: Line a loaf pan with greased parchment paper with edges up above the sides (to allow for lifting out later) and bake for 1 to 1-1/4 hrs. Finish with butter and powdered sugar.

Shortbread Cookies

shortbread cookies
Shortbread Cookies

EASY SHORTBREAD COOKIES
Only three main ingredients, no need to roll out dough and no mess on your counter top.

2 cups flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/2 tsp salt

Mix ingredients with a pastry blender, food processor, or your fingertips much like you would a pie crust. It will look like coarse meal.

Press into the bottom of a greased, 11×17 inch sheet pan or cookie sheet. It will seem a little dry and you may think this won’t work, but it will if you take care to pat and press, working dough out from the middle in order to keep an even thickness to the edges, even a bit thinner in the middle and thicker around the edges.

Place in oven and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until slightly puffy. Then temporarily remove from oven and score the cookies with a crinkle cutter or pizza cutter, marking the lines where you will break cookies apart. It’s okay to cut all the way through. 1-1/2-inch x 2-1/2-inches is a good size, but do as you please. Next take a fork and poke holes in each cookie. Work quickly, while they are still hot.

Return cookies to the oven for another 10 or more minutes until center area just starts to get golden and the edges are browning. Yes, you do want some variation in the coloring. If they are too evenly white, they won’t be crisp enough. Or you can carefully remove the outer, browner cookies and return the middle to bake until golden. Makes about two dozen cookies.

Ratatouille

a vegetable stew in a tomato base
Ratatouille

RATATOUILLE

My Aunt Frances calls this “peperonata” but it is the same dish. She adds eggplant and potato where I use bok choy. In this summer vegetable stew, you can get creative and use what you find in the garden.

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup coarsely chopped bok choy
1 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper (or fresh
green beans)
1 cup coarsely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup diced zucchini squash
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped Swiss chard or kale
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Set a large saute pan or high-sided pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and carrots to the pan, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes, then add garlic. Add the bok choy and green and red peppers. Continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add zucchini, tomatoes, oregano, Swiss chard, salt and pepper and cook for a final 5 minutes. Stir well to blend and serve either hot or at room temperature.

Variation: substitute ¼ c tomato paste and 1 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth for the chopped tomatoes.

Rustic Rhubarb Scones

rustic-rhubarb-sconesRUSTIC RHUBARB SCONES

3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup raw sugar plus ¼ cup raw sugar, plus another 3 tablespoons
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6-7 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into bits
4 cups frozen diced rhubarb (when thawed, with juices, this will be about 2 cups)
1 large egg and 1 egg yolk (white reserved)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper sprayed lightly with cooking oil.

In a small bowl, mix thawed rhubarb with 1/4 c. sugar and the 1 egg, and additional egg yolk (keeping one egg white reserved).

In a large bowl, lightly mix the flour, ½ cup raw sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir the rhubarb mixture into the flour mixture. Dough will be wet and sticky. It’s the extra juices from using frozen, then thawed rhubarb that makes this dough more wet than ordinary scone dough, and this recipe was designed to work this way.)

With slightly wet hands, pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter) on the lined baking sheet. This next step is optional: Depending on the wetness of your dough, you might try scoring it into wedges or squares.Brush top with remaining egg white (lightly beaten) and sprinkle top with reserved granulated raw sugar. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, or top is a deep, golden color. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool before serving and cutting.

These scones are moist, almost cake-like, with a crispy crust on day one. On day two, the crust softens, but they are still moist and delicious. They also freeze well. Serve plain, with coffee; or serve as a dessert, with a dollop of whipped cream. Rhubarb is a surprisingly high source of calcium. Optional: for a less sweet scone, eliminate the ¼ c. sugar and leave rhubarb natural and more tart. Serves 12, 295 calories per serving.