Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pretty, tasty and best of all, easy.

No, I'm not talking about myself, silly.

It seems the last several months of life chaos have aged me about 50 years and left me with a nasty little hole in my stomach. Along with taking drugs (not the fun kind, unfortunately,) and avoiding just about everything that tastes good, I have also had to stop drinking alcohol. Oh, the unfairness!

The other day I opened up the crisper drawer of my refrigerator to find it not full of healthy green vegetables, but of apricot ale I had forgotten was there. I grabbed one from the drawer, held the cold moist bottle in my hand and looked longingly at the label. My mouth began to water as I grabbed a bottle opener from the drawer, popped off the lid and watched the frosty vapor emerge from the neck. Slowly, I brought the bottle close to my lips and inhaled the delicious scent while closing my eyes.

Then suddenly in my mind's eye I saw myself clutching my stomach while rolling on the floor writhing in agony, set the bottle down on the counter, and did the next best thing - turned it into bread.

Beer bread is fantastic. It's easy to make like a quick bread but isn't quite as dense. It still has that yeasty bread smell and taste. You can experiment with all different kinds of beer and additions to make it great for just about any occasion, like slathering it with butter and feeding it seductively to your naked moaning lover.

This recipe yields a bread with a little sweetness. I used Pyramid Apricot Ale because that's what I had on hand, but I'll bet it would be even better with Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat. Maybe with some dried cherries? It's also a recipe I wrote down and now can't remember from where. So if it's yours...I'm sorry....and thanks.

Here are the ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 12 ounce bottle of apricot beer
1/2 cup diced dried apricots

Preheat your oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Dice the apricots into chunky little pieces.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a great big bowl.

Make a little well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the vegetable oil and the beer. Ooooooo....pretty.

Stir the mixture just until no streaks of flour remain. It'll be very sticky and goopy.

Then throw in the dried apricots and mix them into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and put it in the oven. It's thick, so you'll probably have to scrape it out with a spatula. This picture shows two pans because I doubled the recipe. It's always good to have a loaf in the freezer.

Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top springs back when you lightly press on it. The bread should be light or medium gold. Turn it out of the pan and let it cool on a wire rack. It will look even better and browner and might even glisten if you give the top of the dough an egg wash. I didn't have any eggs, so mine isn't as gorgeous as it could have been.

Slather with butter, find a naked moaning lover and enjoy!


Indie said...

It looks fantastic. I think I'll try to make some. Sorry about your stomach, I completely understand. I think the aging about 50 years part is as unfair as the no alcohol part.

Ryan Burns said...

What a cool blog post. I'll have to give it a try.

Kato said...

That looks SO good... but, if I had a naked, moaning lover (and butter) in the house, I would not bother baking bread.

Very sorry to hear of your condition. I do hope you'll be able to double up on what vices remain available to you? Best wishes for easier months ahead.

Indie said...

I am just really appreciating Kato's advice on doubling up on remaining vices!

Anonymous said...

This post gave me about a hundred ideas all at once. Thanks for the brain tickler, cuz I know you love to tickle...

Kato said...

And I'm appreciating Kristabel's advice to "keep a loaf in the freezer"... so many metaphors there.

Carol said...

Get well soon, Kristabel.

\ said...

bummmer! maybe try taking a little milk before yuo eat.

Kristabel said...

Thanks for the get well wishes! totally make me snort. (That's a good thing.)


Joel Mielke said...

Mmmm. Looks good!
Easy? Not.
Look at all those fractions.