Dear neglected Recession Cookbook readers,
Yes, it's been awhile. 2010 was perhaps the busiest year of my life with lots of travel (7 international trips and multiple domestic), a proposal (I said yes!), a wedding, a new apartment, and a job change. Phew! Somehow when I did manage to cook in the midst of all that craziness, the picture-taking and blog-writing didn't quite happen.
My apologies for the prolonged pause, but I am excited about this new beginning and I have never been so inspired to cook and share my recipes and ideas with all of you! I am also thrilled to announce that I finally have my heirloom yellow table--rescued from my grandmother's basement in Kentucky--here in NYC. (After three years of dinners eaten on the floor in front of a coffee table, this is especially exciting for me!) I cooked Thanksgiving dinner a few weeks ago, and twelve of us sat around the yellow table, sharing stories and giving thanks for the many blessings in our lives. It was an absolute dream come true for me--to share good food and conversation with my 'NYC family' around a table that has held so many memories throughout my life. Let the dinner parties begin...
Though we may not be talking about the recession as much as we were in early 2009 (when I started the blog), cooking quick, healthy, budget-friendly recipes is still a priority to me. And since I live in a fifth-floor walkup apartment, it is a must to keep a well-stocked pantry so I can cook dinner on the fly without lugging a ton of groceries up the stairs. If I keep my kitchen stocked with staples (see Stock it Up: Recession Pantry Essentials), I can just buy fresh produce, meat (fish or poultry), and dairy in small quantities as I need them. The Recession Cookbook's name may eventually change to something a little less time sensitive, but the simple, fresh recipes and the passion for healthy, seasonal, affordable food will remain the same.
The cold weather and upcoming holidays had me in the mood to bake this afternoon, so I whipped up some cranberry orange bread with walnut streusel topping. I had just bought cranberries this morning and the rest of the ingredients were already in my pantry (love!). This is the perfect recipe to bring to any holiday gathering or--channel your inner Martha and bake mini loaves to give out as gifts. (Although when your apartment smells like a patisserie and there's a warm loaf sitting on your counter, you may not want to give any of it away...) You decide.
Cranberry Orange Bread with Walnut Streusel Topping
Vegetable cooking spray (or butter or vegetable oil) for pan(s)
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter (4 Tbs), softened
1 T grated orange zest
3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9x5" baking pan (or 4 mini loaf pans) with vegetable oil cooking spray or grease with a little butter or vegetable oil.
Combine walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl for streusel. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir in the cranberries.
In a separate bowl, cream the sugar, butter, and egg with electric beaters. Add the zest and juice, stirring to combine.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the orange mixture, stirring to combine.
Scrape the batter (it will be thick) into the prepared pan(s) with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle with streusel topping and place on the center rack of the oven.
Bake for one hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 30 minutes to an hour before serving (if you can resist...!)
(TIP: Check the bread after 40 minutes--if it is browning too much, cover with foil for the remainder of the cooking time.)