Oof. We had a whirlwind of tying up a few loose ends for our cookbook (out this coming spring, so crazy!) and I sort of abandoned this space. While this is a place I want to share good food illustrated by Hugh's gorgeous photos, it is also a place I come to write. In an inevitably vain way, I suppose a blogger mostly has his or her own life story to draw from, and my reality as of late has been about rearranging our work, marriage, schedule, chores, social life, alone time etcetera with Curran in the picture. Most definitely for the better (not to be confused with easier), the day to day looks different now and my story is currently about figuring out who I am now in all of these things. It sounds dramatic and woeful, but honestly, as any big change goes, it just takes a little time to create a new normal. Both my thoughts and iphone pictures used to be all food all the time and now I have a mini person who hijacked all that. Our little baby bug is tall and thin as babies go, so says the pediatrician. He has a big gummy smile, is a little stingy with giggles despite his mom and dad being completely hilarious, rolls and always wants to be grabbing something to put in his mouth. At night, he lays his head between my chin and chest and rhythmically coos as I sing songs from church and/or Beyonce and rock him to sleep... I'm not sure there is any sweeter feeling in the universe. It is all so wonderful and yet so very hard. Many parts of being a new mom are really tough. I didn't anticipate the high highs met with low lows but I can see balance on the horizon. I worry by nature, so 'choosing optimism' is my mantra for this fall. Everything will be OK. It is always OK.
Don't roll your eyes. Another pumpkin loaf! Just what you needed right? I have a good handful of things bookmarked in Amy Chaplin's gorgeous new book, At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen but I was in need of a fresh start, to ring in a new season, and a hearty, fall loaf seemed just the thing. This loaf is dense, barely sweet, is just the thing fresh out of the toaster with a swipe of good butter or coconut butter. It doesn't taste like dessert - it tastes like a breakfast loaf and that is the side of the loaf-preferences-fence I sit on. Hugh sits on the other side of said fence but nothing a little cinnamon sugar can't fix. Amy's cookbook is so comprehensive, beautifully designed and jammed full of recipes for the vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free and generally health nutty folks. There are a grip of fabulous cookbooks coming out this fall and next spring and I'm so anxious to try things and share them here.
PUMPKIN BREAD WITH TOASTED WALNUT CINNAMON SWIRL // One 9-inch loaf
Recipe adapted from At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin
The recipe is great as is, and as mentioned above, it is not super sweet as most breakfast loaves can be. I added a bit more spice and a little turbinado sugar on top for crunch. Amy suggests roasting a squash yourself and using the puree for the bread but canned pumpkin will work as well.
- // cinnamon swirl //
- 1 cup toasted walnuts
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp. muscavado, brown or maple sugar
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 cups whole spelt flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin or squash puree
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. almond or soy milk
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350' and lightly oil a loaf pan, lining it with parchment for a cleaner removal.
Steam your squash for 10-12 minutes if making a puree by hand.
To make the swirl, mix the walnuts, maple, sugar and cinnamon together and set aside.
Into a large mixing bowl, sift the spelt flour, baking powder and salt. Add the nutmeg and cinnamon. Whisk together the squash puree, olive oil, almond milk, vanilla, egg and maple syrup. Fold the flour mixture into the squash mixture until just combined. Spread half the batter over the bottom of the loaf pan. Layer cinnamon walnut mixture evenly over batter and top with the remaining batter. To create a swirl, run a knife in a zig zag through the batter. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar on top. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes before removing the loaf.
The slice is served best warmed with a generous spread of coconut butter or real butter.