I hardly ever eat oranges anymore. It’s not that I don’t like them. They are delicious and I have fond memories of sucking on orange slices in the sunshine after my childhood soccer games.
That was back in San Francisco, however, where perfect oranges are easy to find. I live in Seattle now and I find the oranges here particularly unreliable. I avoid eating them altogether so that I do not experience the disappointment of biting into one only to find the pulp dry and the flesh tasteless. There is simply nothing worse than a dry orange.
This does not stop K, however, from purchasing armloads of oranges. I’m not sure if he fears scurvy or their color (one of his favorites) draws his attention to the exclusion of all other fruits at the grocery store. It is not uncommon for him to return from the store with a bag of oranges. This leads to an excess of oranges in our house. He has good intentions, but forgets that I won’t eat them. Then, he forgets to put them in his bag before he goes to work. They go bad and I send them back to the earth in the compost pile. It’s always the same.
Thus, in the spirit of changing things up and possibly less waste, I decided to use one of those sorry oranges this week. And, really, what better thing to use them in than a quick bread?
Are you familiar with the quick breads? You should be. I know I talk an awful lot about baking bread and the loveliness of yeast. All of that is so true, but, let’s face it, there are times when you’re simply not around enough to punch down a loaf or wait for the yeast to bubble. That’s where the quick bread saves you. It’s all about tossing a bunch of ingredients, including the the juice of those neglected oranges or those cranberries you were saving, into a loaf pan and cooking it solid.
Good stuff. I mean it. I love a good quick sweet bread with an afternoon tea. It’s one of life’s simple pleasures. I encourage you to indulge. I encourage you, if you have a questionable orange, to squeeze it silly so that you can make this delicious bread.
Cranberry Nut Bread
2 cups raw cranberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup honey
2 eggs at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
2 and 1/2 cups all purpose or white whole wheat flour
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray or butter and flour a bread pan or 18 muffin cups.
Put the cranberries in a saucepan with the sugar and juice. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until most of the berries burst and the sugar is dissolved, 4-5 minutes.
Cream the butter and honey in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, then add eggs one at the time and beat until smooth. Add the buttermilk. Combine the dry ingredients except the nuts and stir half into the batter. Add the cranberries, then the remaining flour, and fold in the nuts. Spoon the batter into the pan and bake in the center of the oven until well browned on top and a toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour. Turn onto a rack to cool.
Source: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Madison