Monday, March 13, 2017

Matcha Monkey Bread with Pistachio

This overnight sweet brunch bread is a perfect way to start off a St Patrick's Day celebration. Delicately, naturally, green from matcha powder, this monkey bread is rolled in pistachios for flavor and crunch.

image of delicate green hued monkey bread flavored with pistachio and green tea powder

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photo of green tea and pistachio-flavored monkey bread

I like to celebrate holidays with food, even if it's not a holiday I claim as my birthright. I'll make Pumpkin Cranberry Maple Kugel even though I'm not Jewish, and Corned Beef, Cabbage & Dubliner Pizza although my People went a viking to the Emerald Isle then returned home to Scandinavia. It's fun to celebrate with food, especially colorful food. Recently I shared an attempt at green muffins that did not work out exactly as I'd hoped--even if they were tasty!

green tea flavored bread dough

One surefire way to have naturally-colored baked goods is to make the dough ahead of time, letting it rest in the fridge. This allows the color to deepen, and has worked for me with several Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share vegetables. It seems, in my experience, that a cooked vegetable as part of the moisture for a yeasted dough results in vibrant breads. My two favorite examples, so far, are my three color Mardi Gras Braided Bread and my bicolor Overnight Sweet Potato Pecan Monkey Bread. Today's recipe is a fusion of those two--taking the green matcha dough from the Mardi Gras bread and baking it in the manner of the monkey bread. I kept up the green theme by using pistachios in place of pecans, but this recipe remains inspired by the book Make Ahead Bread by Donna Currie.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Sausage Pasty Meat Pie

A savory meat pie stuffed with seasoned pork sausage and vegetables.

photo of a sausage and vegetable-stuffed meat pie

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With Pi day (March 14, or 3.14) coming up, how about a meat pie? Meat pies make a wonderful dinner and a great leftover lunch. You can combine Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share vegetables with meat into a simple and satisfying vehicle for nourishment.

cooking the sausage and finely chopped vegetables for the sausage pasty filling

I did not grow up eating meat pies. My spouse did--in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where the pasty reigns supreme. Last summer we took the kids on a Lake Michigan Loop (up one side and down the other). We ate pasties in multiple places. Each was different (pasty sliders?!) and nearly all were amazing. [At one tourist place I had a merely 'good' pasty, but the brown gravy served alongside it was a new twist for me, so I considered that visit not a total loss.

a serving of sausage pasty meat pie

This pasty uses pork sausage. It was inspired by my visit to the Runyan family of Oak View Farm Meats where I received a basket of pork products to play with at home, including the pound of pork sage sausage I used in this recipe, and loads of ideas on how to use them. You can take a virtual tour of Oak View Farm Meats with me here. I wanted to make a colorful filling to stand out from the paleness of the sausage, so I grabbed what I had handy--some potatoes from the basement Strategic Winter Squash Reserve--and a package of marked down chopped vegetables from the store. The key is to use finely chopped vegetables so that you have a cohesive filling.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Apricot Pistachio Matcha Muffins #MuffinMonday

Chunks of dried apricots and chopped pistachios flavor these delicate green tea muffins for fruit and nut muffins with a twist!

Photo of green tea muffins with chunks of apricots and pistachios

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Since I bake muffins many times a month (I think our family's Friday Night Pizza Night pizzas are the only items I fix more consistently) I like to play around with themes. I was going for a festive St Patrick's Day muffin here--naturally green colored with chunks of orange to echo the Irish flag. Clearly, I'm not Irish, but I'm happy to eat and drink and celebrate anyway! While I admit I failed with the color, the flavor of these muffins makes them worthy of a Muffin Monday post.

close up image of matcha muffins with dried apricot and pistachio chunks

After my success with naturally coloring pizza dough green with spinach, and naturally colored green, gold, and purple braided Mardi Gras bread, I figured green muffins would be a cinch. However, something about the quick nature of muffin batter does not lend itself to the deeper colors, I'm afraid. Much like my Beet Horseradish Muffins, the batter color bakes out into an orange muffin with a tinge of my goal color--green. But hey! No artificial dyes in these muffins so there's something to hang your . . . apron . . . on!

Basset hound lounging in the kitchen while green tea muffins are ready to bake
Robert Barker remains hungrily hopeful that I'll have a catastrophic accident on the way to the oven.

If not a vibrant green color, what do these muffins have to offer? Simple--they are a refreshing fruit-and-nut muffin, great for breakfast or a snack. We prefer them served warm with plenty of butter. They're lightly sweet, with a nice bit of crunch from the pistachios and a tender bite from the apricots.  They're unexpected--I've been craving raisin walnut bread and these muffins are a faster way t get that fruit/nut flavor while my bread dough was rising . . . and rising . . . and rising. [Yes, I baked a loaf of apricot walnut cinnamon chip swirl bread while also making these muffins. I need to work on my swirling technique, but boy does the toast hit the spot!]

Chunks of dried apricots and chopped pistachios flavor these delicate green tea muffins for fruit and nut muffins with a twist!

If you'd like to make a non-traditional nod to St Patrick's Day, give these a shot. After all, you can't eat corned beef and cabbage for breakfast . . . or can you? I went there with these Corned Beef Hash Waffles, so I suppose you can.