Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Kiwi in your Salad, Beer in your Bread

Simply add a spinach salad and some (incredible!) easy-to-make bread to make any meal extra-special.  We enjoyed these with the pork loin featured in the last blog.  A great combo of flavors!
Spinach Salad with Kiwi and Cranberries
Create some colorful plates from:

One package of fresh spinach - I always rinse it, and let dry.  I know the package says it's 'ready to eat.'  I'm overcautious, maybe - but safe.  You can also trim the stems from the spinach leaves if they're long.
2 - 3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced.  An ultra-easy approach to hard-boiling:  gently set the eggs in a saucepan, cover with cold water with at least an inch of water over the tops of the eggs.  Heat until the water boils - then from the boiling point, reduce to simmer and set a timer for 12 minutes.  Oh - you weren't watching?  Just figure approximately 10 - 15 minutes from the time you think it started boiling, because you're likely to miss the exact moment anyway.  Drain the water from the pan and fill/refill the pan with cold water until it stays cool.  This is what I do every time and they turn out fine.  I'd love to hear your method - according to a quick search, there are as many ways to boil eggs as there are cooks. 
2 thinly-sliced kiwi
5 slices cooked bacon - There were 7. Then there were 5. I love bacon. 
and 1/4 cup dried cranberries.  We made our own!  (Cut 3/4 c. cranberries in half; soak in 1/4 c. brown sugar and 2 Tablespoons American Honey liqueur for 2 or 3 hours.  Heat oven to 350, then turn it off and put them - on parchment paper - in the oven to dry.  They'll be good for a salad about the time the oven cools - and WAY better than the ones from a bag.)
The Salad Dressing is what makes this divine:  Mix 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon dijon or spicy brown mustard (I used one called 'honey champagne.')  Season with salt and cracked pepper.  This recipe makes plenty of dressing, so don't pour the whole thing in with the spinach.  Just drizzle over - and you'll have plenty left to enjoy later.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds for an added texture twist.

Jump off the low-carb wagon for just a few minutes...I'm sure this is among the quickest - and tastiest - breads you can make.  

I thought about calling this Blue Moon Bread  (yours might be Bud Light Bread or Killian's Bread or Coors Bread or....whatever you might borrow from the neighbor if you don't have any in the house) but to make it a little less wordy, let's just call it:

Beer and Honey Bread
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (because it needs to be hot as soon as the batter is ready, and that won't take long) and grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan.

Whisk together 3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 Tablespoons sugar, 1 Tablespoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Stir 1 bottle or can (12 ounces) of beer and 2 Tablespoons honey.  If you microwave the honey for a few seconds, it will stir in very easily.  Stir til just mixed - it should be foamy, and you don't want to break that down too much.

Melt 4 Tablespoons of butter.  Pour 2 Tablespoons of the butter into the bottom of the loaf pan, then spoon the batter into the pan.  Pour the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter evenly over the batter.  Oh yes, that's what it looks like...just do it. 

Bake 50 to 60 minutes - the top will become golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the bread will come out clean.  Serve warm.

You can turn this into beer-cheese bread by adding a cup or so of any kind of cheese - I'm thinking pepper-jack or sharp cheddar would be excellent choices!  I've read that the darker the beer, the darker the bread. 

And toast...if there is any left in the morning, what delightful toast...(no, it doesn't smell like beer - it smells like warm, toasty, honeylicious BREAD!)

1 comment:

  1. It all looks yummy! I do my eggs pretty much the same but when the water comes to a rolling boil, I put a lid on it and set it off the burner for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Always works.
    We had dinner with some friends last week and they made beer bread but didn't have any beer in the house so it was 7-up bread - was delicious!