whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts

whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts | A Brown Table

It starts with a swirl. Dark brown circular lines that slowly give way to bright golden yellow rings of pure sweetness. A part of me was tempted to blend it in a little more while the other part of my mind knew this would only be a fleeting moment. It eventually would morph into a deep toffee like color as the molasses mixes into the white yogurt. Molasses are delicious and if you ever get a chance to watch them being made, they can even become fascinating. Mix this sweetened yogurt with figs, walnuts and some flour, you'll end up with a loaf of bread that's full of rich flavor and color. This is one delicious soda bread recipe that Marian Bull shared in Food52’s latest cookbook on Baking!

And if you feel like experimenting a little, fold in some freshly cracked black pepper and the figs and walnuts will take on a whole new level of flavor.

Today, I'm giving away a copy of this book and believe me when I say, you will LOVE this book for the easy instructions and fool-proof tips and of course, unique recipes that will pique your interest. From a spice cake made with tomato soup to brown butter cupcake brownies, you get my drift.

The contest is open to readers who are legal residents of the U.S. and Canada only. To enter to win, all you need to do is leave a comment below to tell me what is the one thing you’ve always wanted to bake but haven’t yet tried to. The contest will start on Tuesday, September 22st 2015 at 9am EST and end on Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 at 9am. The winner will be announced after the 29th and will be notified by email. Good luck! 

whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts | A Brown Table
whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts | A Brown Table
whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts | A Brown Table
whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts | A Brown Table
whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts | A Brown Table

Here are some kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this bread,

  • The dough is pretty heavy and dense. So don’t be nervous, the baking soda will help it rise and get airy once it bakes in the oven. 
  • You can spice this bread up a little bit just as I did with the black pepper. However, I don’t recommend overdoing it and making it too complex as you more intense spices can mask the flavor of the main ingredients used to make this bread.
  • Stick with whole fat dairy as recommended by Food52 or the bread might end up too dry. 
  • This bread is not very sweet, in fact I love it for this very reason. The molasses give a very gentle hint of sweetness but an intense golden brown color. Most of the sweetness you will taste is from the figs baked into the bread. 
  • I ate this bread with salted butter. You can melt some brie over a slice or lather it with some fig butter or jam. You get the point, here. There are several different ways you can enjoy a slice!
whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts | A Brown Table

whole wheat molasses yogurt bread with fig and walnuts (from Food52: Baking cookbook)

yields: 1 loaf

ingredients

2 1/2 cups (300gm) whole wheat pastry flour or

1 1/2 cups (210gm) white whole wheat flour + 3/4 cup (100g) rye flour

1/2 cup (80g) medium or coarse-grind cornmeal

1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder, freshly ground (optional)

1 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 2/3 cups (395mL) whole milk yogurt or

1 1/2 cups (355mL) whole milk plus 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

1/2 cup (120mL) dark molasses

1 cup (100gm) toasted walnuts, chopped

3/4 cup (105gm) dried figs, chopped

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

1. Place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat the oven to 325F. If using milk rather than yogurt, mix it with vinegar.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour cornmeal, salt and baking soda. 

3. Separately, whisk together the yogurt and molasses. Add to the flour mixture in two or three additions, stirring in round, sweeping motions and making sure to incorporate the flour at the bottom of the bowl; mix until just a few small pockets of flour remain. The dough will be quite thick. Now fold in the walnuts and figs. 

4. Melt the butter in a standard loaf pan or a 7 inch cast-iron skillet and put it into the oven until the butter melts. Tilt and swirl the pan to coat it evenly. Gently transfer the batter to the buttered pan without mixing it any further. The dough will be sticky and heavy.

5. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. The bread will be golden brown in color when done and is ready when a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean and the the top should be slightly firm but soft to touch.

6. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bread to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Then remove the loaf and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Wrap leftovers tightly in foil and eat within 3 to 4 days. 

indian walnut curry

Indian walnut curry #indian #curry #walnut #food #foodphotography #foodstyling

This is one of those recipes where it's easy to make, there are a few "shortcuts" and the end result is delicious. But before we get to the recipe, let me just take a moment to talk about the mathematical wonder that is a Romanesco broccoli (technically it's a cauliflower and not a broccoli). But those damn fractals, they get me every single time! (for some reason they remind me of pine forests on a globe)

Indian walnut curry #indian #curry #walnut #food #foodphotography #foodstyling
Indian walnut curry #indian #curry #walnut #food #foodphotography #foodstyling

Now let's get back to this curry, this is definitely a very different type of Indian curry that I've shared with you. The base of the curry is made with walnuts and then seasoned with a melange of spices to create a rich and creamy sauce. Arkhot (walnuts in Hindi) curry is a rather easy dish to prepare, I use a few shortcuts here because it makes life easy and when you're short on time, you can use a rotisserie chicken like I did. Since rotisserie chicken is precooked you don't need to cook it for too long in the walnut curry base which is helpful because ground nut pastes can burn quickly so stir it carefully and often.

I realize that it might be hard for some of you to find a Romanesco but you can substitute the same amount of cauliflower or broccoli florets in the recipe. I decided to boil the Romanesco because I wanted a tender texture to go with the soft chicken otherwise I felt it might be too complex. If you're vegetarian you can skip the chicken and chicken stock (use vegetable stock) and add a couple of chopped carrots and peas as the meat replacement. 

Indian walnut curry #indian #curry #walnut #food #foodphotography #foodstyling

I ended up serving this with some left over walnut bread that I picked up from the Tartine bakery but if you want to keep the dinner Indian themed, serve it hot with Indian rotis, naan or plain rice.  

Indian walnut curry #indian #curry #walnut #food #foodphotography #foodstyling

walnut (arkhot) Curry with romanesco and chicken

yields: 4-6 servings

ingredients

2 teaspoons kosher sea salt

1 lb romanesco, cut the florets

1 lb rotisserie chicken

2 cups (4 7/8 ounces) chopped raw walnuts 

4 cups low sodium chicken (vegetable) stock

2 cloves of garlic

1 inch root of ginger, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 green Thai chili peppers (use one if you prefer it less hot, you can also leave the seeds out)

2 cloves

4 black peppercorns

1/2 " piece cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons walnuts toasted for garnish (optional)

1. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt to a large pot of water to boil. Add the romanesco florets to the water and boil for about 8-10 minutes until tender. Test with the tip a knife to make sure the florets are tender but not overcooked. Remove the florets and drain the excess liquid. Keep aside.

2. Separate and shred the meat from the rotisserie chicken, discard the skin. Keep aside.

3. In a food processor, add the 2 cups of walnuts, 2 cups of the chicken stock, garlic, ginger, onion, cumin, chili, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon. Pulse until you get a fine and smooth paste. You might need to add more stock to keep things moving in the blender. 

3. Add the vegetable oil in a large non-stick pan or cast iron skillet and heat on a medium-low flame. Add the ground walnut paste and cook for about 1 minute with constant stirring. Add the remaining chicken stock and remaining salt and stir together. Bring the contents to a boil and constantly stir the contents of the pan as the walnut paste can burn easily. Immediately reduce the flame to a gentle simmer, fold in the chicken and romanesco florets, cook for one minute. Remove from flame and garnish with toasted walnuts and serve immediately.

Note: You can adjust the consistency of the curry to suit your preference by adding a little more stock. Don't make it too thin or it will be very runny.

chilled cucumber walnut yogurt soup

chilled cucumber walnut yogurt soup1

Summers are warm and depending on where you live, they can be excruciatingly hot and sometimes, even worse, accompanied by the dreaded "H" word............. humidity! And as much as I like hot weather, humidity is another story, I'll happily avoid it! But even in a hot and humid day, things can be fun and cool, especially if you can indulge in a bowl of this chilled walnut cucumber soup.

chilled cucumber walnut yogurt soup4

I've made a chilled mint yogurt soup in the past but this time I wanted to make the soup full of earthy flavors yet every bit cooling so you feel refreshed with every spoonful. By adding a few toasted walnuts to the yogurt, the soup acquires a rich and creamy texture which makes it delicious. I couldn't resist adding a little chili pepper but that is completely optional, if you don't want a little hot, skip it or remove the seeds from the pepper.

chilled cucumber walnut yogurt soup
I added a few cups of Stonyfield's organic plain low-fat yogurt to make this chilled soup, the yogurt by itself has a naturally fresh tangy flavor that really brought out the taste of the ingredients in the soup, making it the perfect summer soup.

 Note: Here's some geeky biochemical science for you! Cucumbers can be slightly bitter and there a couple of ways to get rid of the naturally occurring compound called cucurbitacin that causes this taste. The amount of cucurbitacin can vary within cucumbers picked from the same plant, however in general, the bitter compound is present in the peels and green parts and it will be less in the center. To get rid of cucurbitacin, I use the method I learned at home, slice the ends of the cucumber off and keep the tips aside, then with the pointed tip of a knife prick a few random holes into the cut ends of the cucumbers. Now rub the exposed cut ends of the cucumber with the cut tips for a minute or two, a slight white foam will form. Rinse the foam off under cold running tap water, repeat this on the opposite exposed side. Once you're done with this, peel and discard the skin and tips. 

chilled cucumber walnut yogurt soup2

chilled cucumber walnut yogurt soup

yields: 2 servings

ingredients

3/4 cup toasted walnuts

1 cup peeled cucumber, diced (see note above on how to remove cucumber bitterness)

1 teaspoon kosher sea salt 

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1 green thai chili pepper (optional)

2 tablespoons lemon/lime juice, freshly squeezed (I used lime)

2 cups plain low-fat (non-fat) Stonyfield yogurt, chilled

a few chopped toasted walnuts for garnish

a little fresh dill/tarragon for garnish

a little walnut oil/extra virgin olive oil for garnish

1. Place all the ingredients from the walnuts to the yogurt in a blender and pulse until completely smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust the amount of salt and pepper if needed. You can also add a little water to the soup to adjust the consistency if needed.

2. Remove from blender, pour into chilled serving bowls. Garnish with a few toasted walnuts, dill/tarragon and a light drizzle of walnut/olive oil. Serve immediately. 

Disclaimer: I am honored to be a member of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club. I received product or coupons for writing this post, but all opinions are my own.