From when I was born until I was about fourteen, I spent at least two Sundays a month at my Nana's house. To this day, I can navigate directly there from I-95/Rte 128, though if you asked me to write directions down, I'd probably have to go to Google Maps. Anyway, Nana was a great cook. Sunday dinners were often turkey, but occasionally she made roast beef (which I have yet to be able to duplicate, darnit). Either way, there was mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy.
Now Nana had a heavy hand with the black pepper, so when I found the recipe, I knew I had struck gold. Check out the ingredients:
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- .75 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- .5 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp black peppercorns, cracks (I crunched them a bit with a mortar and pestle. I really need to get one of these of my own and give the one I'm using back to my friend Vivian)
- 1.5 tsp fresh rosemary
- .75 cup peccorino romano cheese, grated or shredded
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of milk
- .25 cup extra-virgin olive oil
I liked that it used olive oil instead of butter, as well as employing whole wheat flour, which gave it a nice chewy, but not off-putting texture. Don't ask me to eat whole-wheat pasta, for example, but I digress.
The instructions are simple:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8.5 x 4.5 loaf pan
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, pepper, rosemary and cheese. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and olive oil. Pour your wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine until it is evenly moist.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for five minutes, then move to a rack to complete cooling.
My sweetie and my youngest cousin (she's in her teens) thought the pepper was a little heavy-handed. My aunt and uncle loved the pepperyness.
I made three of these. One per the above recipe. Another with rosemary, fresh sage (left over from the chicken marsala of a few weeks ago) and some dried thyme (no parsley, only my uncle and I got the joke), which is what got served at dinner. The third, I made with dried marjoram, just for something different. Everyone was eager to take the leftovers home, so I had to promise my sweetie I'd make another one.
I did make a yeast bread a while back, that will be coming up in a future post. Additional plans include shrimp & grits and a chicken tikka marsala. I'm also due to make chili for one of my gaming groups. I hope three pounds feeds the lot of us.
Happy holidays whatever you're celebrating!
Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear from you.