Did you watch last night’s Top Chef? You know, the new one in Texas. I recorded it then watched it this afternoon. And while I usually love Top Chef, this episode left me feeling… well, a little annoyed.
I get that they wanted to make it bigger being in Texas and all that. But shouldn’t we be starting the real competition in episode 2? I mean, come on. Instead we get 2 hours of qualifying rounds. It feels like filler to me. Maybe I’m just annoyed because I didn’t get to see who all of the finalists will be.
Maybe I’m spoiled?
It’s not that I have anything against the qualifying rounds, I just think they should have gotten them all done in the premier last night so we could get on with it. But I guess their strategy is working, I’m going to watch next week so I can see who else made it into the “main event”. Hrm. I feel so cheap.
Let’s move on, shall we?
It all started a week ago when I innocently bought a slice of pumpkin bread with my soy latte at Starbucks. The Target near me has a Starbucks inside and sometimes I like to sip a latte while I look at the stuff I don’t need. But anyway, the pumpkin bread. Yum.
I left Target and hit Trader Joe’s to pick up a few essentials and was greeted by stacks of their boxed pumpkin bread mix.
So I bought one.
And then I went home and made it. And then I ate it.
Well, I did share it with Dan and the boys but I got mine…
As I wiped the counters clean of the last remaining pumpkin bread crumbs, I realized that I have not made pumpkin bread in a long time, if ever. By made I mean, with a recipe not a box (not that there is anything wrong with the right box).
It took me a week of hemming and hawing and avoiding Starbucks and Trader Joe’s, but I finally did it. I made pumpkin bread. And it is delicious.
Pumpkin Bread with Walnuts and Cranberries
(recipe adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking)
This bread is perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon. It is easy to mix up (by hand even), and it tastes like autumn.
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree, canned or make your own
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit). Grease a loaf pan lightly (with butter or baking spray).
- Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, and salt).
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and water. Add the sugar and blend well. Add the pumpkin puree, oil, and vanilla extract, and blend well.
- Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until blended smooth.
- Stir in the walnuts and cranberries. Pour the batter into your greased loaf pan.
- Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (NOTE: it took my loaf 75 minutes to cook through. I had to put foil over the top for the last 10 minutes to keep it from over-browning).
- Cool on a baking rack until you can’t stand the wait any longer, then slice off a piece and enjoy it with a cup of tea.