Monday, October 19, 2009

End of The Garden Herb Bread

Before I decamped New York for a visit to Florida this past spring, my Mother's landscaper and I conspired to tame an ever-widening swath of ground cover on a ledge above her pool. This weed-come-plant pretender, of unknown variety, is the sort which could be employed in wars in difficult terrain: Given two weeks, it kills everything, decomposes the evidence, and takes over small continents. It is the most obnoxious green-black evil-doer that has ever sprung from any ground of ours and I was left no choice but to conclude that rousting that infernal slayer of all flora beautiful was the only way to return peace to the home's outliers.

But the thing had staying power. Three attempts at extrication yielded only a more determined intruder, who had arrived on the scene as a "gift" from a friend of my Mom's. One wonders what sort of friend this might be, or what my sweet Mama ever did to that plant giver. In any event, the landscaper and three other sets of hands finally held a destructive rally which involved pitchforks, chemicals, and healthy dose of angry flames and then called it a day after I suggested they were only missing an excorcist.

When the war was over and the air cleared, I planted an herb garden on the spot for Mother's Day. Now, as the season winds to frost, it seems one might need a method of employing the late season herb cuttings. Just such an idea has been lurking around here for sometime, each time it props up when I am looking over the garden, I feel guilty about not trying sooner. Then I made the recipe, and the guilt went from bad to worse.

Can you blame me? The recipe sounds like a long shot at best: yogurt, mustard, cheese. You know, ick. What can I say? When I grow up I will learn to stop making assumptions. I can only hope others around here have learned from my doubt and procrastination.

End of The Garden Herb Bread

adapted from The Provence Cookbook, Patricia Wells (2004, Harper Collins)

Perfect alone and sliced fresh at room temperature, toasted with or without butter for breakfast, and fabulous as a canape base for more benign flavors. It seems odd this combination, surely, but as always, you will have to take my word for the worthiness of this food for your table.

3 tablespoons butter softened, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
3 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons finely minced thyme
1 tablespoon finely minced sage
2 tablespoons finely minced oregano

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter a 1 quart loaf pan and set aside.

In the standing mixer bowl, cream three tablespoons, mix until butter until color lightens. Add the eggs, mix until combines. Add flour, baking powder, salt, yogurt, and mustard; blend thoroughly, stopping once to scrap down bowl. Add the cheese and herbs.

Pour batter into prepared pan. place in the center of the oven and bake until firm and golden; the center of the bread does not bounce back to the touch, about 40 minutes. remove from oven, allow to cool ten minutes, turn onto a rack and cool completely.

Serve at room temperature or toast to serve under a canape or as croutons.


Kristin said...

I wouldn't mind a loaf of that right about now!

thislovelycity said...

YUM! I absolutely must try this! XO!