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Finally, I got to bake again!

October 6, 2009

Since I was so productive today in getting cleaning and homework done, I had time to make dinner and bake!

A note before the recipes: the boy and I bought a 1930s mahogany highboy at a reasonably priced antiques place not too far from home because we desperately needed another dresser. Our closets are quite small and mine basically holds my dress clothes and cardigans and a few wool coats. For a long time my non-button-up-shirt laundry languished cleanly on the floor, getting wrinkled and eventually becoming indistinguishable from the dirty. I cannot tell you how excited I am to have a whole dresser to myself! However, since the dresser is coming on Thursday and I’m spending all day tomorrow up at Albany and most of Thursday at work (and the boy is gone : ( at an NPS conference until Thursday afternoon), today was the day I had to clean, rearrange, and make room for the dresser! Yesterday I organized almost all of my clothes and shoes, including bringing my winter stuff out of storage. Today I moved furniture, dusted, and hauled books and drawers around to make room for the new piece. I also did my reading homework and wrote a paper for tomorrow’s class. Oh, and I did a giant load of dishes and cleaned the kitchen. See what I mean about a productive day?!

Anyway, so I finally had the leisure time to make dinner and bake for the first time in forever.

I used to work at Nichole’s Fine Pastry back home in Fargo, and they have (or had) a salad on the lunch menu called Asian Noodle Salad. It was amazing. It was basically cold soba noodles tossed in sesame oil and topped with sliced chicken breast, sliced celery & green peppers, mandarin oranges, chopped green onion, toasted sesame seeds and peanuts and served with a very salty, very yummy homemade peanut sauce. It was amazing. And y’know what? It’s not hard to make! Here’s my version:

Sesame Soba Salad

1 bunch soba noodles
1/4 small head green cabbage, very thinly sliced (optional)
1 medium navel orange, peeled and chopped
2-3 green onions, chopped
2-3 ribs celery, sliced
1-2 tablespoons sesame oil
6 or so shakes of soy sauce
peanuts (I use reduced salt peanuts)
pinch of salt to taste

Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add green cabbage and let boil for a minute or two, then add soba noodles and boil 4 minutes (or as directed on package). Drain and let cool slightly. Put noodles in bowl and add celery, green onions, and orange pieces. Add sesame oil and soy sauce. Toss to coat. Taste and add additional salt if necessary. Top with peanuts before serving. Serves 2-3 as a main portion or 4-6 as a side dish.

And for once, I actually have a picture! Here it is!

Sesame Soba Salad

It looks kind of slimy and gross in this picture, actually, but I promise that it is delicious!

I also got to bake today. Finally! Remember that blueberry oat quick bread I made a while ago? I decided to use up some peaches I had on hand and made a peach almond bread! The sad but good news is that I added the dry ingredients right to the chopped peaches (instead of folding those into the batter at the end) and added the sugar with the dried ingredients (instead of whipping it with the buttermilk & eggs), but it still turned out! Here’s the recipe:

Peach Almond Oatmeal Quick Bread (adapted from thekitchn.com)

1-2 cups washed and chopped peaches (I left the skin on and you can’t even tell)
1/2 cup chopped/crushed whole raw almonds
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking or steel-cut)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (or a few pinches)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract (this much extract makes the bread taste quite a bit like mild marzipan; add less if you don’t like that much almond flavoring)

Pre-heat the oven to 325°. Grease one loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the almonds and the peaches and toss to coat. In separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and stir gently until you see no more dry flour.

Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and bake for 50 – 60 minutes, rotating the pan partway through. The loaf is done when the top is puffed and dry, and when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes before unmolding. Allow it to cool completely before slicing.

Haha. I can never let this stuff cool before slicing. So good! If you are allergic to nuts or don’t like almonds, you could sub chopped candied ginger for the almonds, vanilla extract for the almond, and if you really wanted to ginger it up, ground ginger for the nutmeg and/or cinnamon. Hmmm, too bad I don’t have any peaches left or I’d try that, too!

And what’s that? I have a picture of this one, too! Why yes, yes I do! Enjoy:

Peach Almond Oatmeal Quickbread

What’s that? It seems that I have two pictures for you!

Peach Almond Oatmeal Quickbread unmolded

And now, kiddles and bits, it’s time for me to review my paper, e-mail it to the boy for further revision, and get packed up for tomorrow. We’ve got another field trip tomorrow, so I’ve got to get up to Albany by 9:30 am. That means leaving by 7:30 am or earlier! *sigh* I will be happy when I can schedule next semester’s classes on one day. The commute isn’t terrible, but it gets old.

Anywho, I’m off! Enjoy the recipes!

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