Somehow I have reached a place in my life that the town I left eight years ago no longer seems so terrible. A lot of this might be based on how pathetic the bagels are in California, and how good they are here.
Melted cheese on top of more cheese is a brilliant idea. And the bagels…. they have the perfect texture, and the flavors they have available are totally unique and delicious. I sat at a front table of the bakery, ate breakfast, and gazed out the front window at the blooming daffodils and forsythia while I woke up this morning. It was lovely and I will probably do it again tomorrow.
Ithaca Bakery has several locations; I went to 203 N. Aurora St., Ithaca NY 14850. You should too.
I’m in upstate New York right now, visiting my parents for the first time in a great while. If I ever decide to become a 400 lb. woman I will come here to do the dirty work… My dad is a loves to cook and my mom is a fantastic baker. Even though we’re supposed to be in the New Years Resolution phase of the holiday season, the shelves are still stacked with cookies, chocolates, marzipan, and other delicious treats. Given this situation, and the fact that now she’s wandering around the house talking about making tiramisu this evening, I either need to put on my sneakers and go for a run or maybe just buy some bigger pants.
Today I had warm Orange Pecan Tea Bread waiting for me when I woke up. It’s an adaptation of a recipe from Cooking Light, and a great way to use up some marmalade. My mom used the seville orange marmalade I made last winter, but you could use any type you have on hand. She didn’t bother with the glaze (see step 4 below), it was delicious without it. The citrus and buttermilk in this recipe will brighten up any winter day, no matter how snowy.
I am a terrible baker, unlike my mother. I can’t be bothered with things like recipes and measuring. I don’t even own a tablespoon (I may have once, but I lost it). The concept of preheating an oven is foreign to me, it’s either “hot” or “off.” Lasagna is ready when it’s bubbly and the cheese has nice golden brown spots, not when it’s been in the oven at 350 for an hour and fifteen minutes (this is a guess, I really am not sure how long I cook lasagna for). I often get angry at recipes for trying to tell me what to do. The nerve of these people…
If, unlike me, you can follow instructions, here’s the original recipe from Cooking Light (December 2009 issue):
Orange-Pecan Tea Bread
7.9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 c.)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. low-fat buttermilk
1/4 c. chopped pecans, toasted
3 tbs. 1% low-fat milk
3 tbs. canola oil
3 tbs. orange marmalade
2 tsp. grated orange rind
2 large eggs
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tbs. fresh orange juice
1 1/2 tsp. chopped pecans, toasted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk; make a well in center of mixture. Combine granulated sugar and next 7 ingredients (through eggs), stirring with a whisk; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
Spoon batter into an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Combine powdered sugar and juice, stirring until smooth. Drizzle glaze over bread, and sprinkle with 1 1/2 tsp. pecans. Yield: 14 servings (serving size: 1 slice)