Category Archives: buttermilk

Sage and Goat Cheese Corn Bread


I was checking on my herb garden when I saw the sage flowering and I knew it was the perfect time to try this corn bread recipe. Another excellent recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, ‘The Herbal Kitchen’ by Jerry Traunfeld. The sun came out this afternoon and I hope it’s here to stay for awhile, maybe for the rest of spring and summer, wouldn’t that be nice?

I got lucky when I took this picture of the sage leaves on my deck, the sun just appeared for a few minutes before it went behind a cloud! It kind of reminded me that summer is right around the corner and I’m ready for it. Baking this sage and goat cheese cornbread made the house smell so good. I’m going to serve it for dinner tonight with a green salad with tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, peppers, shallots and a homemade vinaigrette with more fresh herbs. I want to do more savory baking and continue trying all the incredible recipes I’ve been collecting.

Ingredients and Directions
Preheat the oven to 375°F

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened for the pan
18-20 large sage leaves
3/4 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons organic cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup olive oil
4 ounces, 1 cup, crumbled goat cheese

Smear the butter all over the inside of a 9-inch glass Pyrex pie plate. Press the sage leaves into the butter in a circular pattern, saving 8-9 for the sides.

Stir in the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together with a wire whisk in a medium size bowl. Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and olive oil in a second bowl. Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients until the lumps smooth out. Stir in the cheese.


Carefully spoon the batter over the sage leaves in the pan and smooth out with a spatula. Bake for 25 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned and the bread springs back in the middle when you press on it. Let it cool for 15-20 minutes in the pan. Carefully loosen the sides with a small knife, then flip the corn bread onto a serving plate with the sage leaves on top. Serve while warm to savor the warm goat cheese and sage leaves.


Serves 8

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Lemon Buttermilk Rhubarb Bundt Cake

I love the smell and taste of buttermilk, lemon and rhubarb, so imagine my reaction when I saw this recipe in one of my cookbooks, ‘Rustic Fruit Desserts’ by Julie Richardson, who lives in Portland, Oregon, a city where people eat really well! I could barely contain myself when rhubarb began to appear in the market. After making the Irish brown soda bread I had some buttermilk left in the fridge and this recipe just seemed like a perfect way to use it up.

Preheat the oven to 350° and butter a 10 cup bundt pan.

Ingredients

2 & 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons to sprinkle on sliced rhubarb
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 & 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 teaspoons to sprinkle on sliced rhubarb
Zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and thinly sliced, about 3 cups

Lemon Glaze

2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, I didn’t sift and my glaze had little bumps!
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon soft unsalted butter

Directions

1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl, set aside.

2. Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest on a medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Stir in the lemon extract.


It is important to use good quality pure extracts, this one smells really good!

4. Stir in the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, don’t forget to scrape down the bowl occasionally. The batter will be thick and scrumptious looking.

5. Toss the rhubarb in a bowl with the flour and sugar. Fold about 3/4 of the rhubarb in the batter and save the rest to sprinkle on top.

I love this picture because the sprinkled rhubarb looks so pretty on top of the cake which will eventually be the bottom of the cake. I also like how it shows the baked cake pulling away from the sides of the pan.

6. Bake the cake for around 60 minutes, rotating the pan half way through. Cool the cake in the pan for about 30 minutes before inverting and removing from the pan.

7. Make the glaze by whisking the sugar, lemon juice and soft butter together. The mixture should be thick or it will run right off the cake and puddle around the bottom, like mine did!
The recipe says to whisk in more sugar to make it thick, I think the glaze needs to stand for awhile and thicken up before spreading over the cake. The glaze should be put on the cake as soon as you remove it from the pan.


This cake, covered with a cake cover or plastic wrap will keep on the counter for 3-4 days.

Irish Brown Soda Bread


Warm brown bread fresh from the oven slathered with butter and marmalade, a favorite for breakfast or in the afternoon with tea. I wish we could buy fresh bread like this at our neighborhood bakery but the good news is how easy this bread is to make at home. From start to finish this bread takes one hour. There is no yeast in this recipe and you don’t have to knead the dough. I found many recipes for Irish soda bread but I decided to go with one from King Arthurs Flour for my first attempt. I made one small addition, an egg. I formed the dough into a loaf and used an 8×5 inch metal pan. I still made a deep cut in the top of the loaf because how could I deny myself that simple pleasure? I used this Irish style wholemeal flour and it makes a great loaf of brown bread!

Now I can’t wait to get to the part about the ‘craggy’ dough because I love that description and sometimes the dough is called ‘shaggy’ which I don’t like because it reminds me of the shaggy dog and I don’t like to think about dog hair when I’m baking.


Preheat the oven to 375° and butter an 8×5 inch metal loaf pan.

Ingredients

3 cups whole meal Irish flour or regular whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 & 1/3 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1 egg

Directions

  1. In a large bowl whisk together the flours, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In a small bowl whisk the egg and add the buttermilk and melted butter. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon or spatula, the mixture will be stiff and craggy.
  2. Turn the dough out on a slightly floured surface and knead it about 10 times or until it all holds together. Form it into a loaf, the dough will be sticky, I like to wet my hands when I work with sticky dough. Put the dough into the loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes.

How do I know when it’s done? First off, around 40-50 minutes, the entire house will start to smell good like fresh baked Irish brown bread. The loaf will rise about 1/2 inch above the pan, it will be golden brown and crusty on the top, the sides of the loaf will shrink away from the pan. Let it cool for several minutes in the pan on a metal rack. When you remove the bread from the loaf pan, tap on the bottom and it will sound hollow. Let it cool to warm before slicing the bread and enjoying it covered with butter and marmalade. As good as this bread is fresh from the oven, it’s also good toasted the next day.

Easy Dinner Rolls

 
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I make my own rolls at Thanksgiving because they are so good! The actual hands on time to prepare the rolls is minimal and so worth the effort. I love the fresh yeast smell and if you time it right you can pull them fresh out of the oven right before dinner. This year I tried a new recipe from Rick Rodgers, Thanksgiving 101. I followed the recipe as written except I cut the amount of sugar in half. I left the rolls plain, rolled them into balls and brushed them with butter.

Makes 1 1/2 dozen

1 1/4 ounce package active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for brushing on the rolls
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
5 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over 1/4 cup warm water and let stand 5-10 minutes until creamy.

2. Place the buttermilk in a 1 quart glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 1 minute, or until warm. Stir in the the yeast mixture, melted butter, eggs, sugar, and baking soda.

3. Mix the flour and salt in large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the liquid ingredients and mix until dough begins to hold together. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough, adding more flour if dough becomes sticky, until the dough is smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes.

4. Place the dough in a large buttered bowl. Turn the dough to coat it in butter, leaving the smooth side up. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm draft free spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

5. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Punch the dough down, turn it out on a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Cut the dough in half and roll each half into a thick rope. Cut each rope into 9 equal pieces to make 18 total rolls. Place a piece of the dough on the work surface. Lightly flour your hands and begin rolling the dough into a ball. The bottom of the dough will stick to the surface as you roll the ball holding your hand like a cage over the ball and applying gentle but constant pressure to the sides as you roll it into a smooth sphere. Repeat with the remaining dough, transferring the rolls to the prepared pans, allowing 9 rolls on each pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand in warm place until almost doubled in size, about 40 minutes.

6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

7. Brush the tops of the rolls lightly with melted butter. Bake until golden brown about 20 minutes. Remove from the pans and serve warm.

Butter Leaf Salad with Green Goddess Dressing


1 large head butter leaf lettuce, washed & dried with leaves left whole

3 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves, 2 tablespoons chopped for dressing & 1 left whole for salad

1/2 ripe avocado, peeled

3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk

3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon minced red onion

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Place the butter leaf lettuce with the whole tarragon leaves in a large bowl.

2. Put avocado, lowfat buttermilk, white balsamic vinegar, chopped tarragon, red onion, sea salt & freshly ground pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.

3. Toss the lettuce with dressing and serve.

Any leftover dressing will keep in airtight container for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.