Sunday, June 14, 2009

Orange Date Bread

Have you ever bought an ingredient without having a plan or purpose to use it right away. You know, that product that pops out from the aisle and begs you to purchase it. That is what happened to me several weeks ago. For some reason I was drawn to the dried fruit section and bought not one, not two, not even three but four bags of dried fruit.

Of course I used the cranberries right away and gobbled up the apricots and prunes. But there it was sitting on the pantry shelf neglected for weeks...dates. Oh what to do, what to do??? Finally, Ina Garten had an idea (and it didn't involve chicken!) Date Nut Bread!

I made it for my mom, aunt and grandmother and they all loved it. I topped each slice with the cream cheese spread from my previous post. It would be a great gift bread for the holidays. It is chewy, moist and just plain good.

Orange Date Bread
adapted from Ina Garten 1 loaf
1 (80z). bag of dates, chopped
1/3 c. orange juice, freshly squeezed
4 T. unsalted butter
3/4 c. light brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
Zest of 2 Navel Oranges
2 c. AP flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves
1 t. salt
3/4 c. orange juice, freshly squeezed (used from zested oranges)
1 (2 oz.) bag of pecan pieces
  • Butter, flour and line a loaf pan with parchment. Set oven to 350 degrees
  • Combine dates and 1/3c. orange juice in bowl and set aside for 30 minutes. Toss occasionally.
  • Cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed. Add egg, vanilla and orange zest and mix on low speed until combined.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves and salt.
  • With mixer on low, add flour mixture alternately with the orange juice, beating until just combined.
  • Stir in dates with liquid and pecans.
  • Pour into a loaf pan and smooth out top. Bake for 50-60 minutes
Serve with Orange Cream Cheese Spread

Sunday, June 7, 2009

An Interview With My Blogger Mommy

I've always had a great passion for food. I love the warm, sweet and inviting smell of melting chocolate. I loved noshing on holiday confections my grandmother delicately created. And it just doesn't seem like Christmas if our table is not graced with a dinner of ham, chicken and dumplin's (yes, I said dumplin'), black eye peas and pea salad. I enjoy talking about food just as much as eating it, hence the B-4-B blog, an outlet for this stay-at-home-mom to express her inner-foodie.

I was quite fortunate to come across the Adopt A Blogger Event via Dine & Dish. Wow, there are so many people out there passionate about food and what a great tool to share and learn from one another. Being that my food blog has been running for 6 months, I was considered a "newbie" and was matched with Bunny from Bunny's Warm Oven. Bunny, my blogger mommy had adopted me and how lucky am I!

She has a beautiful blog, delectable recipes and a shared passion of baking. I know I'll learn a lot from her. If you've never visited her blog, I urge you to do so.
Please enjoy the following interview featuring Bunny! Do any of you share common interests?

Do you have a favorite cookbook?
As a matter of fact I just bought 2 new cookbooks this week....Martha's Cookies and Martha's Cupcakes. I love both of these cookbooks!! I've seen so many wonderful recipes in them that it just makes me want to run to the kitchen and bake!!
What would people be surprised to find in your kitchen?
Boy this is a hard one, I have a measuring tape in my kitchen gadget drawer. I swiped from my hubby! I am seriously measurement impaired! If a recipe says something has to be this long and this wide I have to measure it, eyeballing something just doesn't work for me.
Name three things you always have on hand in your refrigerator or pantry.
There are three things that you will always find in my fridge...cream cheese, I wait till it goes on sale at 10 pkgs for 10.00 and stock up. Butter is a must, and sour cream would be the third. With these three items in the fridge I'm good to go for baking!
Do you have a favorite comfort food?
My favorite comfort food would be anything made with cinnamon and apples. I love the combination, just the wonderful aroma coming from the oven is comfort to me.
Where would your ultimate culinary destination be?
Believe it or not my ultimate culinary destination would be right here in the good ole US. I would head south, I LOVE southern food!! The biscuits the cobblers, cakes .....mmmmmm!!! I would love to sit at the hand of a southern baker and learn everything about southern cooking and baking.
What are you having for dinner tonight?
Because I have to be into work at 2pm today I'm making Ham and Green Beans in the crockpot so it'll be waiting for the kids and Sam when they're ready to eat. It's one of those meals they really like having. During the summer when the kids have no schedule to keep and Sam and I are working the crockpot is my best friend!
What is your favorite thing about blogging.
Sharing great recipes with people who are as excited about baking as I am! The whole reason for my blog was to share recipes and learn. I have learned so much about baking through other bloggers. The blogging community is wonderful group of people. The friendships I've formed are priceless to me. I look forward to sharing, learning and making new friends for the years to come.

Here is a tasty tease of a recipe using one of Bunny's staples, cream cheese. I'll post the bread early next week, so come back by and visit!

Cream Cheese Spread
adapted from Ina Garten

6 oz. whipped cream cheese

1/3 c. sugar
Zest of 2 oranges
  1. Combine all ingredients until just combined.
  2. Spread on Orange Date Bread (recipe featured next week)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Lime Pie with Gingersnap Crust

Pies are much like their makers-each have their own personality. One can be sweet and simple or rich and decadent. Others can be spicy and good or just plain ol' nutty.

Lime pie with gingersnap crust welcomes summer with it's bright, fresh and tangy filling. The crust will have you yearning for an early change of season with its warm autumnal spiciness. The recipe itself is simple, quick and can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Eat it plain or serve it with sweetened whipped cream.

Bright and fresh, warm and inviting, the two create a flavor combination (or personality) as unique as any.

Lime Pie with Gingersnap Crust

1 1/2 c. gingersnap cookies crumbs
1/2 T. sugar
4 T. unsalted butter, melted

1/2 c. lime juice
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 egg yolks
  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. Combine cookie crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl. Add melted butter and combine until mixture resembles coarse sand or can hold its shape when squeezed together.
  3. Press evenly into a glass pie plate and bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool on rack. Increase oven temperature to 350F.
  4. Meanwhile, mix lime juice, condensed milk and egg yolks until smooth.
  5. Pour into cooled pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool on rack.
  6. Transfer to a refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.