Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Looking and Cooking Ahead

We took advantage of the swim meet (kids transported by bus far away and then home safely hours later) to make my dear friend Rachel’s Sweet Potato Cranberry Quick Bread. Rach often includes a sweet potato recipe in her holiday greetings. She slipped this one to me on the side last year (admittedly, through Facebook). I can’t begin to describe the comfort and bliss the aroma of this bread baking gives me. EPIC. When I’m down and out? Forget Simon, Garfunkel, any bridge over any water. Give me this baking bread.

Fresh cranberries from the fridge, bought during an “oh, shiny!” moment at the grocery before Thanksgiving, with full knowledge we wouldn’t use them for that particular holiday. We get ‘em while we can, as these edible garnets aren’t available year-round in our grocery. Add Bob Evans (yes, processed) sweet potato, rescued from the mark-down bin at our grocery, stored in the freezer until now. The price of a few preservatives to make this bread when the cranberries are fresh isn’t a difficult one to justify.  We have boiled and mashed fresh sweet potatoes for this purpose before and been rewarded with a simpler taste, but sometimes we use what we have available. We added butter, orange juice and eggs from the refrigerator, then slivered almonds, spices, brown sugar, flour (1/3 whole wheat) and baking powder from the pantry.

One batch fits well in the stoneware mini-loaf pan from Pampered Chef. Yields four GREAT holiday gifts. Another batch (with the additional ½ c. sweet potato left over) made a nice Bundt pan sized brunch bread for Sunday.

We shared this bounty with our Sunday school class (at least with those not training for some half or full marathon or something, those healthy-minded folks… bring on an oven marathon and I’m in training!). We gave the rest to a friend whose family eats and appreciates EVERYTHING shared their way.

Oh, I have four mini-loaves left for holiday gifts. Look out, First Janet, these may well find their way to your caroling party!!!

Rach's Cranberry-Sweet Potato Quick Bread
makes one regular (9"x5") or four mini-loaves
2 1/2 c. flour (I like 1 c. whole wheat and the rest white)
1 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 c. mashed sweet potato
3/4 c. egg substitute (the original low-fat version) or about 4 eggs (Rach uses her own hens' organic eggs)
1/3 c. orange juice (squeeze it yourself if you have healthy oranges!)
1/4 c. margarine (original version - yuk) or butter (that's more like it), melted and cooled
1 c. cranberries, chopped (Rach says you can use dried cranberries, but they'll be much sweeter and less bright)
2 T. almonds, chopped
Mix dry ingredients and make a well in the center.  Beat eggs slightly with OJ and butter, pour into well and mix lightly.  Mix in remaining ingredients.  Spoon into baking pan(s).  Bake at 350degF for 1 hr 10 min.  Cool 10 minutes, then unmold.  Make coffee and eat well.


Jane in NH said...

Hmmmmm ,did someone mention a Pampered Chef product ? I will making this recipe for sure :)

Jennifer S said...

My mailbox is available for any extra loaves... ;)