You know what I like? When I get to bake a chocolate cake and call it "bread."
If this is bread, can I make a sandwich out of it? How about toast? Would it follow that it could be justifiably slathered in a.) butter, b.) peanut butter, or c.) jam? Let me tell you, friends, that if this is indeed bread, man can, in fact, live on bread alone (or woman, at least). Because this bread is - I think you already knew this - made of chocolate.
As if that fact alone weren't enough to make you run immediately into your boss' office and alert her that you have swine flu and must leave the office posthaste (in order to go home and bake this "bread," naturally), let me tell you this: this bread that is magically chocolate - it's also...pretty healthy! To be clear, it's not exactly the nutritional equivalent of a shot of wheatgrass, but as far as chocolate baked things go, it's one of the better things you could eat.
How is this possible, you ask? For one thing, I adapted a chocolate and zucchini bread recipe, subbing in apple for the zucchini (I had several apples that needed some love quickly). I also used olive oil as the fat (not butter), and reduced the amount of sugar in the recipe (because I figured the apples would lend a natural sweetness on their own, which they did).
CHOCOLATE APPLE BREAD
1 1/2 cups shredded raw apple
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (not Dutch-processed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (optional - I didn't use these)
Grate the apple, using a medium sized grater. Set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground allspice. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract until well blended (about 2 minutes). Fold in the grated apple. Add the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Then fold in the chocolate chips (if using).
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the bread has risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely. Makes one - 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf.
This Chocolate Apple Bread was so good, even Sascha Fierce wanted in on the action! Go make this right now!
Luckily, the photos of the bread came out nicely, because Haluski, while simple and delicious, is not very photogenic. It's simply cabbage, onions, and noodles, which is pretty monochromatic (which I like in my outfits but don't like on my plate). If you can get past that, though, you'll have a great dinner whipped up in no time.
Haluski is a Polish dish that's traditionally made with a lot of butter - we're talking 3 sticks of butter. I only used about a half-stick of butter, which still sounds like a lot, but this recipe makes about 5-6 servings, so it's really not that bad (for one serving, you end up eating the amount of butter you'd spread on a couple slices of French bread). The real key to making this dish amazing and and not bland is seasoning it really well. Throw in a few pinches of salt, cook it, taste it, then add more if needed. You just really do not want to under-season it, because under-seasoned cabbage just isn't pleasant. The salt will also help the cabbage and onions to release their moisture, aiding in the cooking process.
I had some leftover hot Italian sausage that I quickly browned and scattered around Ross' plate, but I topped mine with a simple fried egg (I must say, one of my favorite ways to add protein to a dish - I'm an absolute egg fanatic). The original recipe is meat-free, and I've seen a lot of online Haluski recipes that use a rustic dumpling in place of egg noodles. With more time on my hands, I'd make the dumplings, maybe adding some potato for texture, but since I was crunched for time, I just threw in the noodles and it was still good. (I've made it before using egg noodles, which are great. The No Yolks brand are delicious as well as better for you than other types of egg noodles.)
1 medium head cabbage, thinly sliced
1 large sweet onion (Vidalia or yellow), halved and sliced into thin half-moons
6 oz. dried pasta (I used fusilli, but egg noodles are traditional)
1/2 stick butter (calm down, I'll explain)
1-2 T. olive oil
1-2 eggs (optional)
1 hot Italian sausage (optional); or kielbasa, if you like
salt and pepper
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet that has a lid. Add the cabbage and onion, season well with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally. This should cook until the veggies are tender and beginning to caramelize.
Meanwhile, boil the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
About 5 minutes before you want to turn off the heat on the cabbage/onions, add the noodles to the haluski in the skillet. Add some olive oil, season some more with salt and pepper, and toss the noodles with the rest of the mixture. Cook a few more minutes.
If you're going the route of topping your haluski with a fried egg (that's how I like mine), fry the eggs when you add the noodles to the pot. I served Ross' portion with some hot Italian sausage, simply browned in a pan and scattered around the haluski. Place some haluski on each plate, top with an egg and/or sausage, serve, and enjoy!
The Haluski came out great - and it was still yummy the next day when I ate it for lunch. One of the best things about it, too, is how cheap it is! I found the cabbage for 19 cents/lb. at my local grocery store, onions are cheap, and so are noodles - and this recipe makes enough to feed at least 4 hungry people! I think Haluski is the perfect example of people all over the world have been able to create delicious meals out of very little that then become hallmarks of their local cuisine - some leftover cabbage, a little onion and butter, some flour and water made into dumplings - voila! A Polish national treasure.
Thanks for reading! More soon...