Thursday, January 3, 2008

Best of 2007: Breads

As self-proclaimed carb-0-holics, our family enjoys all things that are bread and pasta! Here are a few of our favorite new-to-us recipes from 2007.

This Marbled Chocolate- Banana Bread from Cooking Light has been around quite a long time but we only discovered its goodness last year. It's a wonderfully moist banana bread with a chocolate swirl throughout that is not overwhelming (thus light), and it's one of those quick bread recipes where the flavor improves with age as it sits on your counter. My 6 year old absolutely loves this bread and literally begs me to make it often. He could, however, make it himself. He won a blue-ribbon with this recipe at the San Diego County Fair this past summer!

On our summer vacation in Massachusetts last summer, we were able to pick up the largest blueberries known to mankind. I'm not even a huge eat-them-by-themselves blueberry fan, but these were just truly amazing. I made several recipes with those gargantuan blueberries, but this one was our favorite: Whole Wheat Banana Blueberrry Muffins. As you can see from the picture, the blueberries I used were prominent in these muffins and provided for a juicy blueberry mouthful in every bite. This recipe comes from a wonderful cookbook true to the theme of our east-coast vacation: The Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard Cookbook.

I learned the hard way this past year that you need to pick up bags of fresh cranberries when they're in season and throw them in the freezer for when you need them in off-season times. I needed them for a recipe in early fall and had to search 5 stores before I finally found one bag hidden in the corner of a small gourmet grocery store's freezer case for $5.99. I'm well stocked for 2008 with several bags tucked into my freezer! Cranberry- Orange Bread was a big family favorite in the quick-bread category. It's super moist and just the right thing for a fall breakfast. We ate almost the whole thing in one breakfast sitting. This recipe comes from the San Diego Junior League cookbook: California Sol Food.

Another Cooking Light recipe, Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Cloverleaf Rolls, made the top bread picks for us this year. These were pretty time-intensive but well worth the effort. I think they'd be easier to make the second time around. They were our rolls for Thanksgiving last year, and they turned out perfect. I made them early in the day and then simply heated them up in the oven a bit while carving the turkey. Thanks to Joe at the Culinary in the Country blog for recommending this recipe!
The first recipe made in my new Kitchen Aid mixer this year was Pete's Whole Wheat Bread. The handy dough hook saved me from going into kneading madness! This bread was also one of my first ventures into trying to make yeast breads. I've made these loaves a few times this year and they've been right-on every time. Who is Pete? He's a fellow forum member who generously shared his bread recipe that he's been using for the past 35 years! Thanks to Pete for this terrific everyday bread recipe.

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