Butternut Squash Spoon Bread

IMG_5541Spoon bread seems to be in every magazine right now, and I figured it was about time I found out just what it is!  Trolling online and through cookbooks, I found out just a couple of essentials.  Firstly, it is made with cornmeal, secondly it has eggs in it, and thirdly, no self respecting American southerner would ever whip the egg whites, folding them into the batter.

I finally found an old James Beard recipe from 1965 in one of my books.  I had seen pumpkin & sweet potato versions, so thought I could use up some leftover butternut squash.  When cooking it, the fragrance of the spices reminded me of bread pudding, and likewise, when eating it, the texture was very similar.   Savory with just a hint of sweetness, it’s definitely meant to be served as a side dish, much like a stuffing or dressing would be.  It’s easy to imagine it sopping up gravy.  This would be a welcome addition to the holiday feast for everybody, including anyone who is gluten intolerant.

Alongside the original Beard recipe, it was written that slices of it are to be enjoyed the following day for breakfast, after being fried in butter, and drizzled with honey or maple syrup. I didn’t fry it, but I did take a slice, warmed it up in the microwave for a bit, and then did enjoy it with maple syrup.  Amazingly good! Continue reading

Polenta & Veggie Slice

IMG_2910A warm breakfast without eggs or gluten is easy to do ahead of time by making this savory polenta slice.  It makes enough for 4 good-sized servings, and has enough of a nutritional punch to keep you going for several hours.  Simply reheat it either by using the microwave or gently frying in a bit of oil or butter.  If you want to add more protein, put some grated cheese on top, and broil it until the cheese is melted.  My favourite add on is to top a slice of polenta with a poached egg.  Either way, it is delicious and nutritious, an easy start to your day.  Continue reading

Struan Bread

Bread making is a passion for some, while for others it’s a way to have in-home made bread.  Then there are those that like to enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labour. There are still millions of people who do it simply because they need to feed their families.  I get pleasure from the sight of uniform loaves that have an aesthetic appeal, that smell great and can be enjoyed just as is.  I used to hand knead all my bread, and while doing it would fondly remember the maple bread counter that Dad built Mom when they redid their kitchen in Vancouver about 40 years ago.  It was the perfect height for Mom to knead on.  It was secured on three sides, and made of 2” thick boards.  Although it was a wee bit too high for me at the time, it would be perfect for me now, as I ended up to be the same height as my mom.  We didn’t consider it an essential when planning our kitchen, and now, with the Kitchen Aid, I can cope well without it.  Before the arrival of the Kitchen Aid, I would stand at a broad expanse of the kitchen counter faithfully kneading for 10 minutes, or however long was required, all the time wishing I was just a couple of inches taller.  But the view over our front meadow was always worth it. 

The original version of this recipe is from Peter Reinhart’s Brother Juniper’s Bread Book.  It is a favourite of mine, as it is good on its own, with a smear of butter, toasted, or the start of a great sandwich.

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