Last week was different. Maybe you’ll think I’m slacking. Yesterday I started to feel a little guilty for not having prepared anything new to post on my blog. Here’s what’s been goin’ on.
It all started when my husband announced, “I need to prepare you for something.” Hmm… you know this doesn’t sound like I’m getting a new car. And it doesn’t sound like the start of a conversation where the girl gets to say, “Isn’t that a pretty ring!” What was I being prepped for? Spring break… Miz-Zou…at my house…again! Last week the University of Missouri was on spring break; my son was home and he brought part of the wrestling team along! Yep, just one of the many benefits of living on the coast! LOL!!! So on today’s post, I am sharing a few images from the past week and I’ll allow you to connect the dots, fill in the blanks and use your imagination to picture what life in my North Carolina home has been like.
Have you caught spring fever? Do the sights of sprouts poking out of the ground excite you? Are you coveting your gardeners’ seed catalog? Does it just make you happy to shed some layers and show some skin? All of the above trigger my spring fever, and so does this months Recipe Redux theme, Green with Envy, Fresh Herbs. With the abundance of fresh green herbs in local markets, it’s the perfect season for bringing these flavors into your kitchen. Our challenge was to use any fresh green herb in a nontraditional way.
Although I am no stranger to fresh herbs, and I use them in a myriad of ways (from meats to marinades), I am rather traditional. So today, my herbs and I are heading to where we’ve never been before. I will attempt to prepare a homemade bakery item with a fresh green herb. Hmmm,… not only is this my first time,… but I can’t recall eating many bakery goods prepared with fresh green herbs. Can you?
Unsure of what to bake feeling completely lost, I though it best to brainstorm about all of the delicious baked goods that scream SPRING: strawberry shortcake, key lime pie, lemon bars. It was then that it hit me, apricot bread is to spring as pumpkin bread is to fall. Apricots are both sweet and tangy and I have enjoyed some extraordinary dishes (both sweet and savory) made with them. Many of them also included basil so I know these flavor profiles should pair well. That my friends, is how my apricot bread with fresh basil evolved.
As you can see from my photos, the bread came out of the oven looking delicious. But as the saying goes, the proof of the pudding in the tasting. In other words, we aren’t sure it’s good unless we taste it. My daughter took a bite a proclaimed, “Mom, I’m soooo proud of you.” (A little dramatic, but I’ll take it!) This bread is moist, light, not too sweet, and let’s face it, this is not your mother’s apricot bread! If you are ready to blow off the winter blues and serve your family and friends something that tastes like spring, give it a try!
Don’t forget to check out all of the other links at the bottom of this post for more delicious springtime recipes using fresh green herbs in nontraditional ways!
What are your experiences baking with fresh herbs? How are you blowing off the winter blues and welcoming in spring?
Apricot Bread with Fresh Basil
by Diane @ Cape Fear Nutrition
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Ingredients (8 slices)
3/4 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup skim milk
3 T low fat Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cup flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Chop apricots and heat in milk on low heat. DO NOT BOIL! Add butter. Set aside to cool. Once cool add low fat Greek yogurt and mix to combine. In a separate bowl, beat egg and add sugar, salt and baking soda. Add apricots and milk mixture. Stir and add to flour and baking powder. Add chopped fresh basil and mix to combine. Pour into a 8-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes.
Ditch the humdrum and do something extraordinary this spring; pamper someone with brunch in bed! Brunch is a festive meal perfect for many springtime events such as Easter, Passover, Mother’s Day, graduation and wedding celebrations. But even if you don’t have an event to commemorate, brunch in bed can be the perfect way to give someone a little extra tender lovin’ care!
Today’s post is a recipe I reserve for some of life’s sporadic occasions, even if they are simply ‘brunch in bed.’ When I think of brunch, I think of quiche. It’s so delicious. I have taken a treasured quiche recipe and adapted it to my very own frittata. A frittata is an Italian dish, similar to an omelet. It’s is excellent for brunches since it can be served at room temperature (unlike an omelet) and I especially like that it can be made a day ahead and reheated.
This recipe serves six, so use leftovers for wonderful Lent meal, lunch for meatless Monday, or serve ‘ breakfast for dinner’.
by Diane Boyd
1 – 9oz. bag fresh spinach
1 large sweet onion, sliced
1 large baking potato, sliced lengthwise into paper thin slices ( I use the de Buyer Kobra adjustable slicer)
8 fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup skim milk + 2Tablespoons
1/4 cup Greek low fat yogurt + 2 Tablespoons
8 oz. Swiss cheese, grated
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
cracked black pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons fresh herbs (parsley, chives, dill)
for steamed spinach
Clean spinach and pull off woody stems. Add 2 Tablespoons of water to a deep pot with a lid. Add spinach and place pot over low heat so the spinach cooks gently for about 5 minutes. Drain cooked spinach in colander and press out excess water.
Preheat in oven to 350 degrees F. Thinly slice raw peeled potatoes lengthwise with a slicer to get uniform paper thin slices. (I use the de Buyer Kobra adjustable slicer.) Slice onions and mushrooms.
Saute onions and mushrooms in oilve oil, until they have released liquid. Drain.
In a large bowl combine eggs, low fat Greek yogurt, skim milk, salt, pepper and fresh herbs. Set aside.
Spray square (8×8) glass baking pan with cooking spray. Add a layer of paper thin potatoes followed by a layer of each of the following: onions, spinach, mushrooms. Lightly season with pepper and sea salt. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Pour 1/3 of egg mixture on top. Add a second layer starting with paper thin potatoes, onions, spinach mushrooms, salt and pepper, 1/4 cup cheese. Pour 1/3 egg mixture on top. Repeat. You should have 3 layers . Top with remaining cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serves 6.
Disclosure: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Southeast United Dairy Association. I am eligible to win prizes associated with the content. I was not compensated for my time.