Spelt’s protein content is similar to that of pastry flour, and therefore, is the perfect grain to use to make a delicious, light, and flavorful banana bread.
After weeks of craving banana bread, I finally made it! Not only that, but I made it with spelt flour I milled on my small mill that attaches to a kitchenaid stand mixer. The mill I have is called a Mock Mill and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to mill their own grains at home.
Date Nut Banana Bread
1½ cups spelt flour
¼ cup flaxseeds (ground)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4 small/medium bananas (mashed (some chucks are fine))
⅓ cup coconut, date, or raw sugar
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup chopped nuts (toasted (I used walnuts and pecans))
1 tablespoon coconut, date, or raw sugar (for the top)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 4½x8inch pan with oil or butter.
Mix the spelt flour, flaxseeds, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, mash the bananas.
Add the eggs, sugar, olive oil, and vanilla to the bananas.
Add the banana mixture to the spelt mixture and stir until the flour is just blended in. Mix in the nuts and dates until evenly dispersed.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan, sprinkle the top of the loaf with the tablespoon of sugar, and bake for 50-55 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean.
I cut up the loaf and keep it in the freezer for easy access to banana bread whenver I want. Defrost in a toaster oven or on a skillet over low heat.
There are debates about what should be in a ‘traditional’ Irish soda bread, but this is the way I have always made it.
The recipe first came from the local newspaper, but I have altered it over the years to my liking. Soda bread is leveled with baking soda (and baking powder sometimes) rather than yeast, which makes it extremely easy and quick to make. Hope you enjoy.
Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread
2 cups whole wheat flour
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter (cold, and cut into 1/2 inch piece)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 inch circular pan, or an 8 inch cast iron skilelt with butter or oil.
Mix the flour, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
Add the cubed butter to the flour mixture and massage with your hands into the flour until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas.
Add the raisins to the flour mixture and mix to coat the raisins (this allows an even suspension of raisins throughout the bread)
Add the buttermilk and mix until no flour streaks can be seen.
Transfter the dough to the prepard pan and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and knife inserted into the bread comes out with no crumbs sticking to it.
1 small butternut squash or 2-3 medium large sweet potatoes, cut it half long-wise and seeded (about 2-3 cups of squash)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups broth, vegetable or chicken
½ cup cashews
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ground
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
2 teaspoons, plus 1/4 cup sage leaves
2 tablespoon olive oil.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a pan with parchment paper. Slice your butternut squash in half and remove the seeds. Roast the squash, cut side down on your parchment lined pan for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted slides through easily
In a heat proof measuring cup, pour 1-2 cup boiling water over the cashews and let it sit for 1 hour.
Remove the skins of the cooked squash, and place the flesh in a blender
Strain the cashews, and add the cashews to the blender
Add the remaining broth, vinegar, nutritional yeast, salt, black pepper, nutmeg, and 2 teaspoons sage leaves.
Blend until extremely smooth.
Pour 1 quart of sauce over your favorite pasta sauce. In a small pan, heat up oil and toast the 1/4 cup sage leaves until crispy. Top the pasta and sauce with the crispy sage leaves.
This recipe makes 8 quarts and takes a while to make BUT it is well worth the time and effort. Give concentrate to your friends or hide it in beer growlers in your garage during the winter months. I won’t judge either way.
My love of baking started with chocolate chip cookies.
In these chocolate chip cookies butter is replaced FULLY by tahini, which gives these cookies a slightly nutty and delicious change that the original chocolate chip cookie was needing all these years. I found a version of this recipe on Food52 a few years ago and was intrigued ever since. I tweaked it a little bit and never turned back.
My favorite tahini brand is Soom Tahini, based in Philadelphia. It is a woman owned company and has some of the best tahini I have ever had. If you can get your hands on a jar I highly recommend supporting this company and enjoying their creamy product in these cookies (and on its own!)
Drying herbs is a simple way to preserve your favorite fresh herbs all winter long. I recently dried copious amounts of rosemary, sage, mint, oregano, and thyme. Once completely dry, these herbs will last for a few years. I mostly use these herbs for cooking, but mint can be use to make your own tea too. Drying your own herbs is an easy way to preserve your herbs at the end of the season, and aid in your cooking all winter (year) long.
The oldest technique to drying herbs is taking a small bunch, tying it with a string, and hanging it upside down for 1-3 weeks until the herbs have lost all moisture. I hung mine under the stairs/on a shelf and they were all dry about 2 weeks later.
How to dry your own herbs:
Once you are home, wash the herbs and dry them throughly with towels.
Take twine, and a nickel sized bunch of the herb and tie them together at the top.
Leave extra string so you can then tie the herb bundle on a shelf or any spot where it can hang freely.
Allow the herbs to dry for 1-3 weeks until fully dry.
Remove the herbs from the stems and store whole or crushed in a jar with a lid or a bag.
My favorite flours and cornmeals are sourced from Castle Valley Mill. This mill is based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and began milling grain on the land in 1730. I order their flour in bulk so I can use it for all my cooking needs. My favorite of their flours is the bolted hard whole wheat.
During the colder seasons, I crave my favorite cornbread recipe to bake and share with family and friends. This cornbread has sweet potato in it to add moisture, along with other simple ingredients you are sure to already have on hand. I usually use leftover sweet potato or squash from a prior meal for this recipe. My cornbread is best when I use Castle Vally Mill cornmeal and flour! Hopefully you find as much joy and cosiness making this cornbread as I do.
Mix the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar together. Set aside.
Blend the apple cider vinegar, milk, maple syrup, sweet potato, and oil together.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the wet mixture. Mix until just combined. If the dough looks too dry, add a tablespoon more milk at a time until all the flour has combined and the dough looks moist.
Pour the batter into either a 9-10 inch cast iron skillet or a 9×9 square baking pan.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the cornbread comes out clean.
This recipe is extremely forgiving to those who bake it. Enjoy!