As much as the holiday season excites me--the gift-giving, the baking, the gatherings--it also makes me miss the ones I've lost.
Last night, after a long week at work, I walked around downtown Austin until my bare hands demanded warmth. Entering Whole Foods (during perhaps its busiest part of the week), I watched people pick apples and taste wine and buy loaves of bread to go with their 12 dollar wedges of cheese.
I had my own grocery list, but like often happens when surrounded by large groups of people, I got caught up in the small details of human movement. The smoothness of an Indian woman's hands, the wiry beard of the man who was sampling salsa, and the laughter of two women who were spritzing expensive toners on their faces. I forgot about cream cheese and edamame beans, and just watched, moving aimlessly through the store, putting things in my basket I didn't need.
Coupled with the grocery trip that took an hour longer than it should, the presence of these gifts on my dining room table made me cry.
Silly, I know. But I wanted those people to be with me. I didn't want a package, I wanted my mom, my dad, my sisters.
So....black cloud descended, and didn't clear until this morning, when I made these loaves of pistachio bread.
This is why I bake, I tell everyone who asks, because it does something in my soul. Quiets the seas that often times are rocky.
These loaves are a wonderful way to conclude my week of quick bread recipes. They smell heavenly...easily better than any baked good I've made this fall. The toasted nuts, the coconut milk, and the vanilla meld together into something comforting...something that reminds me of home.
1 cup shelled pistachios, lightly toasted and finely chopped*
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cups sugar
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour 4 mini loaf pans or one regular loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Stir in your chopped pistachios. In a smaller bowl, whisk together your coconut milk, canola oil and vanilla. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour in your wet ingredients. Fold with a spatula until just combined. Be careful to not over mix.
3. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans. If desired, chop up an additional 1/2 cup of pistachios and sprinkle on top.
4. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes (for mini-loaf pans), 40-45 minutes for regular loaf pan. A wooden toothpick should come out clean when stuck in middle of loaf. Allow to cool for five minutes in pan before removing to a wire rack. Allow to cool for 30-40 minutes before slicing.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores