Monday, September 24, 2012

Reserve Your Friday Nights for This Bread: Best Date Bread

You won't normally see me making a bunch of hullabaloo over dates. But this date bread...toasted with a nice schmear of butter...definitely worthy of a night in.

I've been away quite awhile, eight months to be exact. I recently was trying to find my recipe for Sticky Chicken and then I remembered that it was on the blog. After retrieving it for dinner that night, I sorta stuck around on my own blog, reading past posts and getting a little nostalgic. I really started to miss it.

I figured I didn't have much time anymore to blog about food. I've been pouring all my energies into our Etsy shop, Lauren Alison, which is also the brand we sell our screen printed linens under. When I say "we", I mean the Hubs and I. You can read all about how he quit his day job to build our brand together on our Etsy feature, Quit Your Day Job, blog post here.

Between printing and sewing, I still am just as passionate about cooking and baking. And baking seems to be the big deal with me lately, especially bread. I happened on this recipe in a book I bought out of the bargain bin at Barnes and Noble about 2-3 years ago and never made a single recipe out of it! Man, I was missing out.

It's the perfect breakfast toast, although, it would be equally good served with cheese and fruit. It's dense, without being dry, hearty but not heavy and perfectly studded with sweet, sticky bits of dates. I'm thinking I may have to take a little break right now and pop a slice into the toaster for a evening snack.

I have modified it slightly to adapt to what I had on hand. Originally the recipe calls for figs and dates. All I had was dates and it was delicious. Enjoy with a hot cup of cocoa for those chilly, autumnal nights.

Date Bread
adapted and modified from Paul Hollywood's Recipe from 100 Great Breads

Scant 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. instant yeast
1/2 stick softened butter
1 tbsp. molasses
1 1/4 c. water
1 cup dates, chopped

Mix flours, water, salt, yeast butter, molasses and water together for 5 minutes. Knead for 5 minutes. Let dough rise for 1 hour, covered or uncovered, makes no difference.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Incorporate dates into the dough and divide into two equal pieces. Shape them into balls, place on sheet and let rise 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Dust loaves with flour and using a knife make three equidistant horizontal cuts all around each ball. Bake for 30 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

It feels so good to write after so long. I've tried keeping up with another blog for Lauren Alison, but I find myself getting behind on it too. But there are a few posts you might enjoy, you can check it out here-

Let me know what you've been up to! I miss you foodie friends!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Egg-Free Fruit Tart And Other Make-Shift Business

 Hello, dear Foodies! Long time, no blogging. I know. I wanted to let you know that I've been working away in my "studio" a.k.a dining room table, creating decorative pillow cover designs for my Etsy shop, Alice's Pocket. You can see a glimpse of my shop to the right... It's really fun with lots of eclectic bits. My pillows covers have been selling well and have even gotten some media attention!

~Q and A Interview in the Kansas City Star

~Mrs. Blanding's Blog post

~and I will be on our local Fox 4 Sunday Morning show this Sunday, the 26th at 8:10 am! They want me to do a short segment on how to make a pillow and have some of my designs displayed! I'm super excited and a little nervous because it's live!! I don't want to trip or flip flop my words around and say something like "cillow povers", because I do that a lot.

So, as you can see much has been happening since I opened it's doors and I'm finding myself more and more consumed with creating new designs and curating more vintage pieces (which the Hubs and I collect together) and neglecting my food blog. I've really missed blogging but I've missed the community of bloggers even more. This is my shout-out from my felt pit (I use Eco-friendly felt to create my pillow covers). I'm still kicking and I've got a new recipe for you too!

As you might know, eggs are not so friendly in our family. Two out of the five of us do respond kindly to them, so when it comes to baking, in particular, I'm always faced with de-egging sweet treats.

For years, fruit tart has been the Hubs birthday treat of choice- he's not a cake guy. Most fruit tarts have a sweet, custard-y filling that, of course, has eggs. So I found myself drawing inspiration from a friend, who made a lovely filling for a strawberry shortcake she made, which had yogurt and cream cheese.

It turned out beautifully! It was kinda like if a cheesecake and a fruit tart had a baby. I'm not a cheesecake kind of girl, but this is not as rich as a cheesecake. It's super fresh tasting and very satisfying...and a heck of a lot easier than making a custard.

 Egg-free Fruit Tart

use your favorite pie crust recipe for a single crust...or use my favorite
press it into a 10" tart pan with a removable bottom, and blind bake


1 softened block of cream cheese
1 16oz. container Fage or similar Greek yogurt (I used full-fat)
1/4 cup powdered sugar (adjust to taste)
juice of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Whip on high in your mixer for 3-5 minutes. Fill cooled crust (or stick your face in it). Top with 9 halved strawberries around the edge and fill center with a heaping mound of blueberries (about 1 cup). Chill at least one hour.

Love Ya, Foodies!

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