Sunday, October 25, 2009

Melding the Seasons with Quickbread

It's funny sometimes how the seasons start to meld together over the years - for instance, I can recall times when I knew precisely when Summer had "officially" started (as soon as we went up to the marina the first time in May), and when Winter made itself known (via the first snowfall, or when Mom started making us wear our winter boots). These days it seems like we don't even get a Spring or Summer season anymore, just a "not freezing cold" lull of a few months when all the construction crews come out.

I think a large part of this "melding" of seasons is that now people in general are so busy with everything else in their lives that we hardly ever slow down to appreciate the different elements that appear throughout the year. For myself, I don't even really look at the changing foliage outside anymore - it's a given that leaves go from green to red before falling off and leaving the ugly tree skeletons behind. The only time I see enough trees at once for a decent length of time is actually when I'm stuck in traffic driving into Toronto (and locals will know the whole DVP corridor I'm talking about!). Even the foods that used to be so season specific are now commonplace at the local grocery store, and people still think nothing of picking up a strawberry shortcake or peach pie from there either regardless of the fact that without copious sugar and cream to carry it, the key ingredient is totally flavourless!

I know I'm not one to throw stones either. My family (though not necessarily me) still buys tomatoes in December and acorn squash in May, and regardless of how gaudy the markup is my mother still puts clamshell containers of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries into the grocery cart every week. I would, over the Summer at least, take any dwindling berries from the baskets and freeze them on trays before storing them in freezer bags. I had plans for some kind of cake or pie too, or possibly even a jam, but all of a sudden school started and lo and behold the freezer was still full. Couple that with some delicious, creamy and seasonal "buttah", and a general lack of willpower or motivation to do anything remotely scholarly, and somehow this loaf came about. It melds the warmth of Summer with the chill of Fall, and the intoxication of sweetness with the homey scent of toasting oats and comforting spices. It's a blending that I'm not ashamed to embrace.

Changing Seasons Quickbread
Serves 12
2 1/3 cups Roasted Sweets and Apple Butter (or pumpkin pie filling - not pure pumpkin)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant or quick cooking)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup fresh or frozen (unthawed) small blueberries
1/3 cup sliced fresh or frozen (unthawed) strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 375F, lightly grease a loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together butter or pumpkin pie filling, sugar, egg, vanilla, flaxseed and milk. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl whisk together flours, oats, baking powder and baking soda.
  4. Gently fold into the wet ingredients, stirring until just moistened.
  5. Fold in berries and stir just until combined.
  6. Bake 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350F and bake a further 20 minutes.
  7. Cool in pan 20 minutes before turning out onto a rack and cooling completely.
Amount Per Serving

Calories: 197.2
Total Fat: 1.9 g
Cholesterol: 18.2 mg
Sodium: 81.2 mg
Total Carbs: 42.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.8 g
Protein: 4.1 g

2 comments :

DaviMack said...

Wait: you're studying food science. This was research! :)

kat said...

I think belonging to a CSA has really made us appreciate the summer & the foods as they come in & out of season