Sunday, March 1, 2009

Feed Your Family, Feed Your Soul

For me, nothing is as satisfying as preparing a nice meal for my family. Simple, homey meals are best. And even though I had intended to do some major housework today, spending the afternoon in the kitchen was just too irresistible. So, I started a fire in our wood-burning stove and got cooking!
First up was a loaf of beer batter quick bread-

We hardly drink and always end up with numerous bottles of beer after parties. A neighbor down the street also brewed his own and I used to find AudioDad returning from a run, six-pack in hand. I finally stopped buying it and after it sat for a year or more, didn't dare serve it, but I wasn't one to waste it. Coming across this recipe was the perfect solution. It's delicious and so fast to make, with a buttery crust that I adore (and I'm finally making a dent in the stock of beer in the garage!)

Beer Batter Bread
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a loaf pan. In a bowl, stir together 3 cups of flour, 3 tbs. brown sugar, 1 tbs. baking powder, and 1 tsp. salt. Pour in 1 bottle of beer and stir the batter until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and drizzle 2 tbs. melted butter over the top. Bake the bread for 40 minutes, test it by inserting a toothpick into the center of the loaf- if it's comes out clean, it's done. Remove from the oven and let the bread cool in the pan for a few minutes before turning it onto a cooling rack. Let the bread cool at least 20 minutes more so it's easier to cut, and generously slather on the butter!

To with the bread, I also made a big batch of soup- during dinner, we were playing around with the Munchkin and decided to call it "Banzo Barley Soup"-

2 pkgs. chicken apple sausage, sliced in half lengthwise, then 1-inch thick
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 c. carrots, peeled and sliced 1-inch thick
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 c. chicken broth
2-15 oz. cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 c. pearl barley
1/2 c. roasted red bell peppers, chopped
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano

Heat the olive oil in a 6-qt. stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sausages and cook about 10 minutes until sausages are beginning to brown and onion is soft. Add the carrots and garlic and cook a few minutes more before adding the chicken broth, garbanzo beans, barley, roasted peppers, soy sauce, and oregano. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium/medium-high, cooking at a quick simmer for about 30 minutes. Keep it covered with a lid slightly offset while cooking, and check that the barley is tender before removing from heat and serving.

Finish off the meal with a square of this simple and satisfying lemon cake. I had been looking for a recipe to help me use up some buttermilk and a nice, brightly flavored lemon cake seemed like just the thing on a rainy day. The only thing I'd do differently next time is add a tablespoon or two of lemon juice to the cake batter (I really like a strong, tart lemon cake) and for a real treat, add a dollop of barely sweetened, softly whipped cream!


Cheffie-Mom said...

YUM! YUM! YUM! I love cooking for my family also. A delicious meal around the table is wonderful family time. Thank you for the recipes!

Chris said...

That looks yummy. I am not much of a cook. Any chance you hire out? LOL!

Journey on! by Kelleye said...

I wish I lived by you so you could show me those ropes! I could smell that yum from here! That bread looks so scrumptious! but I would have to have the sausage of course to go with it!

Veronica Lee said...

This looks soooo marvelicious. Thanks for sharing!!

Deb said...

I want to try this! We also end up with all of this beer in our fridge. People think because my husband is Canadian that they should always bring us beer. Please bring us chocolate instead :)

Jean Stockdale said...

I am in the same Follow Me Club at MomsBlogger. You have a great site. Stop by mine when you get a sec.

janice said...

Cheffie- I've been meaning to try YOUR recipes forever- they sound equally delish!

Chris, Kelleye & Veronica- These recipes are SUPER simple. I like to make things that give you the most bang for your buck- and don't take hours to make! You should at least try the beer batter bread- so worth it!

Deb- Let me know how it goes if you try it!

Jennifer said...

Hi Janice! Came over from MBC/Follow Me group. Just wanted to say 'hi' and that I'm following...

This post is making me hungreeeh! Now I've gotta go dig something out of the fridge, scrape off the mold, and eat it before my baby wakes up from his nap! ;-)

Opus #6 said...

That looks really good. Very homey.

Jennifer said...

Mmm! That bread. Ugh, I'm drooling.