Friday, June 25, 2010

Yummy Comforts

When my sister and her husband traveled back from their honeymoon, they came bearing gifts (to our great joy). They gave me and Camille two handy, cute little cookbooks that they had found in one of the gift shops at the Biltmore Mansion. Mine is a book of bread pudding and dessert recipes (they know me so well!). Camille's book contains recipes that are sweetened solely with honey, maple syrup, or sorghum - definitely the perfect cookbook for her.

The recipe below is from the 'Honey' section of her book. I made it the other day when I was feeling domestic.... and hungry. It was amazing! So, if you have time, and feel inclined, try out this yummy honey loaf.


Honey-Nut Loaf Bread
(Quick Bread)

2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup honey
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped nuts

In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl beat egg and honey with milk and vanilla. Stir in melted butter. Gradually stir liquid mixture into flour mixture. Fold in nuts. Place dough in a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Bake in 350 F. oven 35-40 minutes.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Problem of Salad

I close the laptop screen and inwardly scream, "Gretchen, you lazy bum, get up and do something productive!" (I have found that such thoughts are the fruit of Summer drowsiness)
I look at the clock, and my horizons suddenly brighten. It is 11:15 - the perfect time to eat lunch! I get up from my chair and practically skip into the kitchen. "Camille! Come fix lunch with me and eat!" I shout with my head in the refrigerator.
Camille, with her head in the computer screen (doing something very productive, like writing her new blog) calls back, "I'll be there in a minute. I want to finish this first!"
"Oh," I think to myself, "Camille doesn't know what really matters in life. Poor girl. Poor, poor girl."
Despite myself, I had been affected by Camille's daily afternoon salad routine, and thus the spinach leaves are out in a jiffy. The following five to ten minutes are filled by a discussion like the following -
Gretchen - "Do we have any avocados?"

Camille - "Yeah. They should be in the bowl on the counter."
Gretchen - "Oh, I see them now."

A moment passes -
Gretchen - "Do you want avocado on yours?"
Camille - "Yes."
Gretchen - "Do you want me to make yours?"
Camille - "No."
Gretchen - "Why not?"
Camille - "I want it to be small."

........ WELL!!
Gretchen - "Alright. I'm leaving the stuff out for you."
Camille (very tranquil) - "Okay."

A few moments pass -
Gretchen - "The boiled egg is kind of blue, but it's still good. Do you want some?"
Camille - "Yeah, that's fine."

Gretchen - "Do you want cranberries and almonds on yours?"
Camille - "Uh-huh."

As I continue my preparations, sounds of typing float from the Den. Poor Camille. I sprinkle feta cheese crumbles on the top of my salad. It looks amazing! I inwardly pat myself on the back - "Good job, Gretchen! You can make yourself a salad with no help! This is a great day!"
I poke my head into the refrigerator and proceed to knock jugs and cartons around, searching.

My muffled voice comes to Camille from the kitchen.
"Are we out of Briana's Bleu Cheese Dressing?"
The bomb has fallen. My hopes are dashed..... Without the dressing my salad is NOTHING!! MEANS NOTHING!! IS NOTHING!!! WHY!!!!!!
I shut the refrigerator - my heart in my shoes. "Camille?" I call plaintively... weakly, "What am I going to do?"
"There are other dressings in there."
No! She doesn't understand! What are Ranch, Thousand Island, or Italian to Briana's Bleu Cheese Dressing? What?
Camille calls again, "There is a recipe for Bleu Cheese Dressing in the Healthy Cookbook in the cabinet."
....It's not Briana's, but maybe I am saved.
Ten minutes later, I have a small bowl of ''salad dressing'' before me. It consists of - 1 C. plain yogurt, 1/2 C. buttermilk, 1/2 C. bleu cheese crumbles. I whisk, taste, and wrinkle my nose in disgust. I take it to Camille.
"Does this taste anything like bleu cheese dressing to you?" I ask her.
She tastes, and grimaces. "No! Not a bit!"
The dressing goes down the garbage disposal. The fruit flies are beginning to gather.... I am running out of time.... my salad is waiting.... WHAT AM I GOING TO DO??? If i was Camille I would put some hummus, or cream cheese spread on top to make the salad palatable, or just go with nothing at all. But am I Camille? NO! I will not stoop to such tactics! What is my last resort?
I sigh and open the fridge. It meets my eye................ Ranch. It calls to me in an eerie voice of salad dressing, "I am your last resort... do you want crunchy, dressing-less salad? Of course not! HA!" A wicked laugh drifts from the bottle, but there is no other choice........ I drizzle the creamy white stuff over my once beautiful, fresh salad, and sit down at the kitchen table to eat my previous glory.
Camille walks into the kitchen, "Will you read my new blog after lun...." She stops, staring at the filthy, attacked, mangled counter. "You didn't make mine?"