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Archive for March 31st, 2007

Pumpkin-Vanilla Loaf

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

One of the benefits of tax season in my life, is that I excavate the piles on my desk more thoroughly than any other time of year. I always find unexpected treasures sharing desk space with the financial documents. This year is no different. I found a lost recipe, which I had put on my desk long ago intending to share it with you.

When I visited Susan Luks months ago, I took her a loaf of a bread I had made to rave reviews previously. Her choosy-eater teen liked it a lot, he even went as far as asking for a repeat performance. Of course, soon after his request I lost the recipe.

My brother Eric and sis-in-love Diana enjoyed this bread for breakfast one week, after I took them part of a loaf. Altu’s teen daughter visited one day and thoroughly enjoyed her taste, reminding me of her delight on a subsequent visit. None of these folks have to limit the foods they eat, and they are fond of my allergy-friendly recipe for its taste alone.

I bake with unusual ingredients and they do make a difference. Making this the very most flavorful way will probably require that you make your way to a fairly large health-food grocery (or website if you have nothing local which will suffice). However, the results are worth the effort spent in rounding up the proper ingredients. If you are in a pinch, you can substitute wheat flour (hard wheat would work best) but it will be merely a cousin to the real thing.

Note: I don’t eat wheat because of an allergy, not a problem with gluten. Therefore I am able to eat a little bit of some grains related to wheat… on occasion. If you wish to make this for a friend who has food restrictions, please check first and see if they can eat gluten and/or wheat relatives.

This bread is made with Kamut grain, a relative of wheat whose true origin is buried in marketing hype. I will just say that it is a wheat-relative with a very nutty flavor, regardless of origin.

The flour’s behavior when poured is closer to sand than powder. It does not get sticky in baked goods (it also makes good pasta, which can be purchased at the same stores as the flour). For some reason I tolerate Kamut better than wheat, though I still do not eat it often.

This recipe has no spices in it, so it is not like any other pumpkin baked good I have tried. The subtle flavors are the kamut. the pumpkin and lots of good vanilla (I get mine at the Mexican grocery). It is nothing like any other pumpkin dessert/sweet I have ever tasted (and I’m crazy about pumpkin). It’s light and satisfying.

This loaf has no egg, dairy/milk, potato, corn or corn derivatives, yeast or mold-related foods, potato or wheat. It is absolutely delicious, you don’t miss anything!

I do use white sugar when I make this, because I do not want the molasses in brown sugar to compete with the subtle flavors in the simple ingredients. Your mileage may vary.

LynnH’s Pumpkin-Vanilla Loaf

2 c Kamut Brand Flour (wheat relative, not gluten-free)
1-1/2 c White Sugar
1-1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/8 tsp Salt (optional)
1 small can (1-3/4c) Pumpkin (not pie mix)
3/8 c Mild-Flavored Oil (I use pure olive, or try canola or soy)
2 tsp Real Vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl with wire whisk or sifter.
  • Mix in pumpkin, oil and vanilla with a fork or wooden spoon. The mixture will be very dry, but keep working and it will combine.
  • Divide mixture between two greased and floured bread pans.
  • Bake 1 hour, until toothpick comes out clean. (Test often, ovens are very different.)

Three Weeks, Four Students, (Almost) Five Socks

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

toeupsocks.jpgI just finished a First-Time Toe-Up Socks class at Rae’s shop this past Thursday. We had a blast! Three of the four students chose the heavy weight of Socks that Rock yarn, and one chose a pewter-gray Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran.

They did a great job. Two ladies finished one sock, one started a second and needs only to bind off the first, and the fourth is also ready to bind off the first. Considering we all have lives that do not allow knitting as much as we might like, this was a great result.

I like the variety here. At left we have a rolled-cuff “bootie” or slipper, then a traditional-looking K2P2 ribbed leg, then two pair with stockinette legs topped with an inch or two of ribbing. This is the whole idea of my pattern… to give folks guidelines for the foot and then let them go in any direction they prefer when they get to the ankle.

Go, grrls! Nice job.