Sunday, July 24, 2011

I know it's not fall, but it's ok.

(picture from 17 and Baking)

I know that pumpkin bread is technically out of season, but it's so good that I usually make it once during each season of the year, if not more. When I was seven and just learning how to measure flour in my mother's old cup measures and baking powder in steel teaspoons, my mother taught me how to bake pumpkin muffins. I loved the way the batter smelled, a mixture of spices and pumpkin all thick and deliciously creamy, and I loved the way the house smelled like thanksgiving while they baked.

This afternoon I was craving pumpkin and I stumbled upon this recipe from 17 and Baking and had to try it -- and you should, too, because it's wonderful.

Cream Cheese Rippled Pumpkin Bread

Cream Cheese Filling

8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour

Pumpkin Bread
1 cup walnuts, chopped
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled (I used 1 cup oil)
1 – 15 ounce can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9″x5″ pans.

For the Cream Cheese Filling: Beat the cream cheese just until smooth in a stand mixer or food processor. Add the sugar and process just until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, processing just until incorporated. Do not over process. Stir in the flour. Set aside.

For the Pumpkin Bread: Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl and set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs until lightly beaten. Whisk in the sugar and melted butter, then stir in the pumpkin, water, vanilla extract, and (optionally) nuts.

Stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture, being careful not to overmix. A few streaks of flour are fine. Divide the batter in half. Take one half and divide it between the two pans. Pour half of the cream cheese filling into each pan, then top with the remaining half of batter. Smooth the tops and bake an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool loaves to room temperature.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gold like Corn

I'm grinning from ear to ear (haha get it?), you know why?
It's Friday, the sun is out, and I just bought sweet corn from the market down the street.
And I'm about to whip up some of this parsley butter to put on it:

Lemon Parsley Butter
In a small mixing bowl, beat:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon finely snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sugar
with an electric mixer on low speed or stir until well combined.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour to 24 hours before serving to allow flavors to blend. Bring butter to room temperature before serving. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Also, I'm reading My Àntonia by Willa Cather, which is a wonderful book. More to come on corn and Cather later.

Have a sunshine and wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


This morning I planned to go shopping for some jeans (always unpleasant and fruitless), but I couldn't make myself. We went to a used bookstore instead, and I bought three books and wanted to buy more.

Oh how I love summer, and summer reading lists!

Friday, July 1, 2011

its the simple things that keep me going.

Last Sunday I visited Augusta, Kentucky, across the Ohio River -- a relaxed little town where they serve ice-cream sundaes at the general store and men play checkers on the street corners.