I do an almost embarrassing amount of reading about food, and it seems to me that we can categorize our approaches to food: commemoration, expense (both time and money wise), environmental impact, and nutrition. There may be more, but these are what comes to mind. You’ll notice that I didn’t include flavor or taste in these groups. As of yet, I have not come across a recipe or piece of culinary writing that has denied the goal of creating delicious flavors; it is implied. Each of these approaches is double sided though: either we want something that reminds us of where we come from, or we crave a dish to mark a new beginning. We may crave a meal’s decadence, rarity, or high cost so that appreciating the effort or sacrifice that went into creating it is part of the culinary experience. Or we need a quick, possibly inexpensive delivery of nutrients so that we can focus on other aspects of our lives like work, family, or travel.
I’m not here to condemn one approach or another, but I have noticed that commemoration and environmental impact affect my cooking and writing. In contrast, I tend to avoid the convenient side of the expense approach. Perhaps it is because it often feels gimmicky to me and lacks the thoughtfulness and dedication that I so enjoy in my kitchen. However, having graduated from college almost a year ago, I am coming up on my first summer without a well defined summer vacation. I am trying to enjoy the warm weather and general excitement of that my favorite season brings as much as possible, while still working 8-5, 5 days a week. I’ve planned 3 short getaways to visit friends, several weekends at the beach, and I’ll be moving twice and taking the GRE at the end of all that (I’m coming for you grad school). All in all, I think that this means I will have to embrace a more convenient summer cuisine.
If all goes as planned, this summer’s meals will rely on quick preparation, quick clean up, and the overflow of fresh summer fruits and vegetables that I’m sure to find at the farmers markets and what ever road side stands I stumble upon over the next two months.
First up, and a winner as far as easy preparation and clean up:
Lemon Almond Bread
Quick breads are just that, quick. And depending on what you decide to add to your quick bread, they can be fairly inexpensive. This bread makes a wonderful hostess gift, an easy on the road breakfast, or a lovely addition to a lazy morning brunch.
- 9×3 loaf pan
- cooking spray
- 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of iodized salt
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons of lemon zest
- 3/4 cup of almond milk (I used unsweetened, original)
- 1/2 cup of canola oil
- 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon of almond extract
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- slivered almonds and lemon zest (for decoration)
Preheat oven to 350° and spray your pan with cooking spray.
Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
In a separate bowl, combine sugar and lemons zest. Rub the two ingredients between your fingers until combined and fragrant. Stir this into the flour mixture.
In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining wet ingredients.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix until just combined – over mixing the batter will give the bread a rubbery texture.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. Test readiness with a toothpick or knife. It should come out clean when inserted into the center of the bread.
Allow the bread to cool and then run a knife around the edges so that it can be removed easily.
To make the glaze, simply combine the three ingredients. Pour the glaze over the bread and sprinkle the top with lemon zest and toasted slivered almonds.
Now the actual baking part does take a while; however I found that it is the perfect amount of time to clean those dishes and pack your bags for a summer adventure. Try it out and let me know what you think!
Original recipe taken from Mikey’s In My Kitchen