I’ve made some recent discoveries.

1. Trader Joe’s frozen vegetarian meatballs are delicious. I’m one of those vegetarians that other vegetarians are talking about when they say, it’s a shame that people eat so much fake meat. Obviously I’m on board with real foods. But I also love tofurkey deli slices, and these meatballs. I just ate them in a lunchtime sub, and they’d be great on a platter of plain old spaghetti with jar sauce.

2. Summery cocktails are refreshing in February too. A Campari spritz I made up last night: 1.5 oz. Campari, 1.5 oz. fresh orange juice, 1 oz. sweet vermouth, over ice, topped with soda water. Really mild, both in terms of booze and bitterness, and shockingly red.

I’ve got another quick bread on the docket. The first time I made this it was gone in a day. The next one lasted longer, but that’s just because two people can eat only so much quick bread.

nuts and seeds

mix the dry ingredients

I’m not a sesame-obsessed person, but recently I’ve grown more interested in how it might play on the sweet side of the arena rather than the savory. Especially when combined with other nuts, it brings this rich almost bitter quality to an otherwise mundane bread.

drip glaze

Toasted with butter is the best way to eat it.

sliced bread

Orange Sesame Bread

1/3 C coconut oil, melted
1/2 C brown sugar
2 T flax meal
1/4 C plus 2 T water
1 T orange zest
1 T vanilla extract
1 C soy/almond milk
1 t apple cider vinegar

1/2 C golden raisins, soaked in boiling water for 10 min. and drained
2/3 C toasted nut pieces (walnut was best, cashews very good)
1/2 C toasted sesame seeds, divided (reserve 1 T)
1 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C spelt flour
1 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
1 t kosher salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1 t ground cardamom

1/3 C powdered sugar
2 t orange juice

Grease and flour a 4×8 loaf pan and preheat the oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the first eight ingredients, the wet ones. In a separate, large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients, the raisins, the walnuts, and all but one tablespoon of the sesame seeds. Using a plastic spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just until there are no flour clumps remaining. Go slowly and avoid beating the batter. Spread the batter into the loaf pan.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean (45 minutes every time for me). Cool on a rack in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the loaf and let it cool entirely on the rack.

Whisk together the powdered sugar, orange juice, and reserved sesame seeds, adding a little more juice if necessary to achieve a drizzly glaze. Once the bread is completely cooled, drizzle the glaze over it. Slice the bread and serve.

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