Tag Archives: bread

Carrot-Zucchini Bread

19 Aug

Thank you Alice for the amazing tip on the easiest apple pie ever! I now have a packet of puff pastry in my freezer for those last minute dessert needs.

So we’ve explored quite a few fruit desserts recently, but how about a sweet vegetable bread?

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Being the end of summer here in Minnesota everyone has an overabundance of zucchini from their gardens, so why not make bread with it?! This recipe from Leite’s Culinaria intrigued me because of the addition of carrots and candied ginger to a basic zucchini bread recipe. Yum!

Carrots & Zucchini

I grated the zucchini and carrots in my greatly loved, ancient but usable food processor.


They can very easily be grated with a hand grater as well. Just take care with your knuckles!

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See, so pretty!

My friend and sous chef Karen measured out all the dry ingredients.

dry ingredients

We got to try the candied ginger, which was delicious and quite expensive. After a bit of poking around, I think I might try to make my own as it doesn’t look too difficult to do. David Lebovitz has a lovely recipe that I mean to try shortly.

candied ginger

I mixed the eggs in the mixer until they were frothy,


then added sugar, oil and vanilla. Once they were all well combined

eggs and sugar

I tossed in the shredded veggies and mixed those in as well.

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At that point the dry ingredients were tossed in all at once and stirred together just until combined.

add dry to wet

While I was mixing and combining, Karen had gotten a loaf pan and a muffin pan all ready for the batter by greasing them with spray oil.

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We filled the baking pans and into the oven they went.


Because the recipe gave baking directions for the loaf but not the muffins, I improvised and checked the muffins at 30 mins. They were perfectly done.


They looked like party muffins with the green and orange flecks and then every once in a while there was a spicy chunk of candied ginger to liven things up.

The loaf baked for a full hour at 325°F/162°C.

Carrot Zucchini Bread with Ginger loaf

It was quite delicious plain, but slathered with butter is even better.

Carrot Zucchini Bread with Ginger

I experimented with the zucchini loaf and some sharp cheddar in trying to make a grilled cheese sandwich. It was quite tasty, but the slices of the bread should be very thin to allow the cheese to melt before the bread starts to burn.

Carrot Zucchini Bread grilled cheese

via Leite’s Culinaria
Makes two loaves or 24 muffins

Nonstick cooking spray
3 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup minced candied ginger
3 large eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup carrots, peeled and grated
1 cup zucchini, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (162°C). Coat two loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray or butter. You could also make them in two muffin tins.
2. Sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Stir in the salt and candied ginger.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until light and foamy. Add the canola oil, sugar, and vanilla, whisking vigorously until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the carrots and zucchini.
4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture all at once and stir with a wooden spoon just until blended. Divide the batter evenly between the pans.
5. Bake until the zucchini bread is well risen and firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour for a loaf pan or 30 minutes for muffin tins. Let the zucchini bread cool in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert them and finish cooling them right side up on the rack. Of course, a thin slice for the cook while the loaves are warm isn’t out of the question.

Muffuletta Sandwich on Foccacia Bread

21 Jan

I was excited to see that Alice used olives in her recipe. I am a huge fan of olives! And it gave me an opportunity to make a couple of my favorite things – foccacia bread and a muffuletta sandwich.

I’ve made foccacia bread in many different ways, using many different recipes and it’s a very easy yeast bread to make. Yeast breads tend to scare people who are new to bread making, but after you try this bread, it might just give you the confidence to go on to bigger and better things!

Foccacia is a perfect accompaniment to any Italian dish, it is delicious cut in wedges and dipped in olive oil, it is great as a deep dish pizza crust, or as a base for artichoke dip. It is also just the thing for Muffuletta sandwiches. I first had a muffuletta sandwich in New Orleans, at the Central Grocery deli. They sell the sandwiches in wholes, halves or quarters. I liked it so much that I bought a half sandwich to bring home with me to Minneapolis.

The secret to a great muffuletta is the olive salad.

I happened to have a jar of Central Grocery’s olive salad (which they sell online here)
or you can easily make on your own with this recipe

I mixed up my flour, salt and yeast

Added the warm water and mixed it with my hands until the dough was sticky, but not too sticky.

Then I turned it out onto a very well floured counter and kneaded the dough, incorporating a little more flour as I did so.

Kneading is such a therapeutic thing for me. Really, kneading is just turning the dough upon itself and pressing down with the heel of your hand, turning a half turn and repeating. If you need to get out some aggressions, you can always pick up the dough and slap it onto the counter. Do it! It feels really good!

Then I put the dough back in the mixing bowl with a little more flour and covered it with a clean cloth. I allowed it to rise in a warm spot for about an hour or until it had doubled in size.

I pulled it out of the mixing bowl with oiled hands, shaped it into a large ball and placed it onto an oiled baking sheet.

I then pressed it into a large circle and poked holes into it with my finger, making sure the holes didn’t go the whole way through. I drizzled it with olive oil, scattered the rosemary leaves, pressed the olive halves into the dough and sprinkled with salt.

After letting it rest for a few minutes – 10-15 or so – it went into a 425F oven for 25-30 min, until it was golden brown in color.

I let it cool, then cut it in half and covered the bottom with the chopped olive salad.

Over that, I placed a layer of slices of genoa hard salami, a layer of slices of hot capocollo ham (or you can use smoked ham instead if you want a more mellow flavor),

then a layer of provolone cheese. Topped with greens – I used baby arugula, which has a mild peppery sharpness to it – it was nearly complete.

I drizzled the top half of the bread with olive oil (I just used the olive salad oil)

and put the two halves together. It’s best to let it sit for about an hour, for the flavors to meld.

Cut in wedges and serve.

This sandwich tastes wonderful the next day, which makes it perfect for picnics. Just wrap the entire sandwich in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

Kalamata olive and rosemary focaccia

Recipe loosely based on this recipe by Nigel Slater.

Makes one round bread about 10 inches (25cm) in diameter.

4 cups (450g) bread flour
1½ tsp salt
1 packet (7g) fast-acting yeast
1 1/2 cup (400ml) warm water
a good handful of Kalamata olives
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp rosemary leaves
sea salt flakes

Put the flour, salt and yeast into a large bowl, mix well, then pour in the water to make a sticky dough. Start with 3 1/2 cups of flour, then add more as needed to make a sticky, but workable dough.

Flour the work surface generously, then turn out the dough and knead lightly. Knead in some of the flour from the work surface, adding a little more if the dough remains sticky. It should come away from the work surface cleanly, but should be a little more moist than the usual bread dough. Keep kneading until the dough no longer sticks to the board. Continue kneading in no particular fashion for a full 5 minutes then put the dough into a floured bowl and set aside, covered with a clean tea
towel, until it has risen to double its size. This generally takes anything up to an hour depending on the warmth of your room.

Rub the bottom of a baking sheet with a little oil. You can also scatter it with a thin layer of cornmeal – this will keep the base crisp and prevent it from sticking as it cooks (I did not do this). Set the oven at 425F (220C).

Remove the dough from its bowl (it will sink, but no matter), shape it into a ball and place it on the oiled baking sheet. Let it rest for another 15 minutes or so.

Slice the pitted olives and remove the rosemary leaves from the stalk.

With a floured finger, push several holes deep into the dough, then drizzle olive oil and rosemary leaves over the dough and press in the olives. Scatter liberally with salt flakes. Bake for 25-30 minutes till pale gold, crisp on top and springy within.

Many thanks to Amy for the beautiful photography. I think I’ll be cooking at Amy’s house a whole lot more!

Alright, Alice. What are you going to tempt me with next?

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