Monday, August 31, 2009


I've heard there are two kinds of people in this world: I'm one of those who can't stand cilantro. Joe brought home our CSA/farm delivery this week and before he even had it sat down on the counter I could tell there was cilantro in it.

It doesn't taste soapy to me but it still tastes mightily unpleasant. I adore salsa but nothing ruins a batch for me quicker than finding it full of this leafy green stuff.

Note my cilantro is all wilty in the photo? This is because it took me a full ten days to work up enough cold in my nose intestinal fortitude to drag it from the fridge to snap its mugshot.

Know what's sad? I'm not even sure if Joe likes it or not. I'm so opposed, I didn't bother finding out or even attempting to do anything with it. I meant to bring it to work in case someone at the office might be more inclined (I'm not a fan of letting things go to waste) but I couldn't imagine being trapped in a car with it for my twenty minute commute.

Sorry, cilantro, you're no friend of mine.

Do you have an herb that you're violently opposed to or am I the only one so horribly offended by green flavoring-thingys?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Amish Friendship Bread

A couple of weeks ago we were visiting with a friend and his family for the evening. When it came time for dessert, I not only received a sweet treat but a total blast from the past - Amish Friendship Bread. She served us up a nice warm helping and also sent me home with a starter so I could make my own. When I mentioned this to a pal from Texas, she had never heard of it so I thought it might be worth sharing.

Here are the instructions/recipe:
Amish Friendship Bread

This is more than a recipe - it's a way of thinking. In our hi-tech world almost everything comes prepackaged and designed for instant gratification. So where does a recipe that takes ten days to make fit in? Maybe it's a touchstone to our past - to those days not so very long ago when everything we did took time and where a bread that took 10 days to make was not as extraordinary as it seems today.

The recipe comes to us from Mrs. Norma Condon of Los Angeles. Amish Friendship Bread is a great bread for the holidays. When you've made your bread, you can give your friends a sample and the starter that made it! Then your friends can make their own and pass it along to their friends. This is why the bread is called "friendship bread". It makes a great homemade birthday and Christmas present. Church groups and hospitals have spread a lot of love and cheer by making Amish Friendship Bread for their members. Many people make it regularly just because it tastes so good!

Amish Friendship Bread is a genuine starter bread. If you know someone with a starter, you are in luck. For those of you without access to a starter, we've done our research and found a great option. It's a special starter in powder form that can be activated with flour and water; it's safe, very inexpensive and we can send it to you. Starter for Amish Friendship Bread (G-110)

The Recipe

Important Note: Don't use metal spoons or equipment. Do not refrigerate. Use only glazed ceramic or plastic bowls or containers.

Required Main Ingredient
1 cup live yeast starter (see above)

day 1:
Do nothing with the starter.

days 2-5:
Stir with a wooden spoon.

day 6:
Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Stir with a wooden spoon.

days 7-9:
Stir with a wooden spoon.

Day 10:
Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Stir. Take out 3 cups and place 1 cup each into three separate plastic containers. Give one cup and a copy of this recipe to three friends. To the balance (a little over one cup) of the batter, add the following ingredients and mix well.

1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

In a separate bowl combine the following dry ingredients and mix well:

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 - (5.1 oz) box instant vanilla pudding
1/2 tsp salt )
1 cup nuts (optional)

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix and pour into two well-greased and cinnamon sugared bread pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.
When I made mine, I just poured everything into a traditional-sized glass cake pan to bake. After an hour I turned the oven off and left the cake to finish baking in the ambient heat.

Also, the friend who gave me the starter told me she routinely freezes her starter so she always has some. I now have three plastic baggies of starter in the freezer just waiting to thaw on day 0 and then start at day 1 again.

Part of me does wonder how all that milk sitting out at room temperature doesn't develop some kind of mad cow disease or bovine flu and kill us all but I guess years and years of history can't be wrong, right? Just ask the Native Americans!

I know the photo isn't great and makes the bread appear dry - however it's very moist. I'd say it's really a misnomer to call it a bread because it's really much more of a cake consistency.

We've enjoyed this both with a bit of vanilla ice cream in the evening or in the morning with some butter alongside our coffee. The sweet cinnamon flavor works well in both situations.

I grew up in Upstate New York - not that far from the Pennsylvania Dutch Country so I'm fairly familiar with the culture and some of their crafts/yummies. I'm interested in hearing if you've heard of this before, as well as a bit of geographical information.