Baby tomatoes

Baby tomatoes

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Italian tomato and herb beer bread

I'm having a Monday. On Wednesday. Irritated. Crabby. Overall not happy. Why?  MORE SNOW in the forecast!! Enough is enough already! So to ease my frustration and get me through the winter weather advisory that starts NOW I am already thinking ahead to dinner. 

I know it's going to be leftovers. We had the best roast last night- so delicious. Nice big chunk of Angus beef seasoned with lots of awesome spices and herbs, lots of vegetables including Asian long beans, carrots, sun dried tomatoes and potatoes and a couple secret ingredients The Chef would kill me for revealing, it was delicious. And BIG. Lots of leftovers for tonight.

But since it's going to be another lovely Iowa below-zero, wind-howling, snow-drifting night it's time to heat up the oven and bake something. I might bake a cake just because I can, but for sure I am going to whip up a quick loaf of bread. 

Now I have a lot of experience with breadmaking. I love making yeast breads and kneading the dough, punching it down, watching it rise again. But it takes a long time, and not so easy to do on a weeknight. Beer breads are the perfect solution. You can mix them up and get them in the oven as fast as a cake mix or brownie mix. The best part about this recipe is you can FORGET the expensive, purchased beer bread mixes which are nothing more than flour and a leavening agent, flavors and a few assorted chemicals and make your own from your choice of flour, baking soda, sugar or honey, and beer. Plus you can season it however you want. I am going with sun dried tomatoes and Italian herbs, but you can flavor yours any way you want, to match your meal or just for fun. Lots of garlic and cheddar for a whole loaf of that awesome Red Lobster biscuit- imagine it! 

So let's get to making our loaf of bread. I hope I have a can of beer in the fridge!

Italian Tomato and Herb Beer Bread

3 c. flour (either all purpose or self-rising)
3 tsp. baking soda (omit this if you use self-rising flour)
1 tsp salt
1/4 c. sugar
12 oz can or bottle of beer
1/4 c. melted butter (NOT margarine)
palmful dried herbs of choice- I used a mixture of thyme, basil and marjoram
1/4 c. finely chopped/diced sun dried or dehydrated tomatoes
1/4 c. shredded cheese- parmesan, cheddar, whatever you like

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients in bowl. Slowly pour in beer. Mix just enough to moisten, don't overmix. Spread batter into greased loaf pan. Pour melted butter over top. Bake approximately one hour. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from pan.

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