Wednesday, July 4, 2012

On Lemon Breakfast Bread

As part of our continuing experiment with only spending money we actually have--even on important things like food--I'm having to get creative for meals. This is good, in many ways, the least of which being that I don't have to worry much about whether I've changed a recipe enough to publish it. The most of which is reinforcing the idea that there is always something we can do to feed ourselves. I had to make this puppy because though we had bread, we ran out of salted butter. (And white sugar and milk.) So I got up about 30 minutes earlier than I usually do and whipped up a quick bread so we could have something tasty to eat on the way to work.

Lemon Bread (adapted by necessity from Better Homes and Gardens)
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c white sugar
1/4 c brown sugar (or 3/4 c white sugar if you have it)
2 t baking powder
1/2 t kosher salt (or 1/4 t salt and 1/4 c salted butter if ya gots it)
3/4 c milk, warm
1/4 c sour cream (or 1 c milk if you have it)
1/4 c unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1 t lemon extract (or almond or vanilla IT ALL WORKS)
White sugar for top (optional, if ya have it)

1. Prepare a 8x4x2-inch loaf pan by greasing (Pam, butter, shortening or just oil applied with your fingers) the bottom and a third of the way up the sides and preheat oven to 350 degrees. This will let the batter arch up and give you a nice-shaped loaf.
2. Mix flour, sugars, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.
3. Combine milk, sour cream, butter, egg and lemon extract with a wire whisk.
4. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture. This is a quick bread, so the batter will be slightly lumpy. Resist the urge to overmix!
5. Pour into pan. Sprinkle with sugar if you have any. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
6. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove onto rack. As soon as it is cool enough to handle, slice, then lay slices on a rack and toast under the broiler until lightly browned.

This is totally possible on a work morning, by the way. Its baking time is non-active time for you so all you need to do outside of your typical routine is get up early enough to heat the oven and put the mix together, and of course to relish in your resourcefulness. Also, if you need a dessert why not toast up a piece and drizzle on some jam?

Disassociating "different" from "poor" is very, very important. If you lock yourself into only having one kind of breakfast and one kind of side dish and one kind of dessert not only will you have a very boring time but you'll feel frantic whenever you run out of a single ingredient. You will stop learning how to make do. How to improvise. How to celebrate the food you have on hand.

Which you should celebrate, even early in the morning.

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