Are you cold? I'm cold. It's pouring outside, in a way that makes me worry about the storm drains, but grateful that I'm inside. The best thing to do on days like this is to hunker down and cook, cook, cook. Not only does it get me out of a grey-day funk, it warms up the house to a nice cozy fug. Lest I forget to mention the aromatheraputic benefits of a home-cooked something.
On my days off I do a cook-up for myself to eat from during the week. My projects today include split pea soup, romesco and pesto sauce, tahini-yogurt dressing, chopped greens, quinoa, whole wheat pasta and brown rice. I'll roast up some cauliflower, and yams. I'll bake some salmon and drain some tofu. This becomes lunch and dinner for the next five days, plus some to freeze for later.
But my favorite snack is the one I just finished up, and it might not make it to the end of the day. Today I made this awesome quickbread with a healthy spread. The smell of this freshly baked bread and squash spread makes it almost too good to resist cutting into immediately!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
For the quick bread:
- Butter, oil or nonstick spray for coating the pan
- 2 cups plain, nonfat yogurt
- 1 egg or 1-1/2 teaspoons dry egg replacer plus 2 tablespoons cold water, whisked together
- ½ cup molasses
- 1-1/2 cups each white and wheat flours
- 1 teaspoon each salt and baking soda
- Cool water, as needed
For the squash butter:
- 2 small Delicata squash, skin off and seeds removed, cut into medium chunks
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup unsalted butter or margarine (soy margarine can also be used), softened
- 1-1/2 teaspoons five spice
- Pinch cayenne
- Optional: ¼ cup salted, roasted pepitas
- Salt and pepper, to taste
To make the bread: Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine the wet ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Stir together with a wooden spoon until ingredients just come together. Add enough water, if needed, to make a slightly loose batter (it shouldn’t be stiff like yeasted bread dough).
Spray or grease a 9” by 5” loaf pan. Pour ingredients into the pan. Place on a baking rack fitted in the middle, and put the loaf pan directly in the center of it. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, giving the loaf a half turn once. When a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, remove from oven and let cool for 15-20 minutes before turning it out of the loaf pan. Slice and spread with squash butter.
To make the butter: Bring the two cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, fitted with a vegetable steamer. Place squash carefully in the steamer, cover and steam for 5-7 minutes or until they are easily pierced with a knife. Remove from steamer and let cool until they can be handled with your bare hands. Place them in a food processor with the butter and pulse until combined. Add pepitas, if using, and pulse again until they are roughly chopped into the butter.
Remove the butter from the food processor and place in a bowl. Add seasonings, stir and taste. Adjust for flavor. Sprinkle a few more pepitas over the top, if desired.