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Sunny combination for chilly winter morning

Recipe: Orange cranberry bread full of bright flavor

Loaf of tea bread with orange slices
Oranges and cranberries complement each
other in this sunny tea bread. (Photos: Debbie
Arrington)



Oranges and cranberries naturally complement each other – and not just in Thanksgiving relish.

This simple tea bread makes the most of those bright and sunny flavors, and it’s good for you, too. Both oranges and cranberries are packed with vitamin C.

This recipe was inspired by Nicole Routhier’s excellent “Fruit Cookbook” (Workman Publishing, 1996). This version has been tweaked to play up the oranges and fresh citrus flavors. It takes about two to three fresh oranges to yield the necessary juice.

So close to the holidays, fresh cranberries are still available. (You may have some in the refrigerator right now.) By mixing the fruit with the flour, it stays suspended in the batter instead of sinking to the bottom of the baking pan. Avoid over-mixing; that brings out the gluten in the flour and toughens the tea bread.

Without too much sugar or butter, this tea bread comes out with a lovely golden crust – and lots of fruit flavor. It’s just what you need on a chilly winter morning.

Oranges, juice and cranberries
Here's a fresh wintry mix: Oranges, which have
just come into season, and cranberries, still
available in stores.
Orange cranberry bread


Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup whole cranberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)

½ cup raisins

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

2 large eggs

½ cup sugar

¾ cup fresh orange juice (2 to 3 oranges)

1 tablespoon orange zest, finely grated

¼ cup (½ stick) butter or margarine, melted and cooled

Loaf of tea bread sliced in half
Both dried and fresh cranberries add color and sweet-tart
flavor to this bread.

Instructions:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease loaf pan, preferably 8-1/2-by-4-1/2-by-2-1/2-inches; set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add cranberries, raisins, dried cranberries and walnuts to flour mixture. Stir until well combined and fruit is covered with flour.

In another bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add sugar, then orange juice and zest. Stir in melted butter.

In the big bowl, make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the juice mixture. With a wooden spoon, stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Don’t over-mix. Batter will be very thick.

Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until top is golden brown and a skewer or toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Let cool for 15 minutes. Remove from pan.

Serve warm.

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RECIPE

A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.

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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Sept. 25

This week's warm break will revive summer crops such as peppers and tomatoes that may still be trying to produce fruit. Pumpkins and winter squash will add weight rapidly.

Be on the lookout for powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that may be enjoying this combination of warm air and moist soil.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Plant for fall now. The warm soil will get cool-season veggies and flowers off to a fast start.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with "eyes" about an inch below the soil surface.

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