Apologies and Bribery

So. Sometimes I forget that this blog is a medium that exists outside of the confines of my own mind. For the last several weeks, I have been writing largely in my head, jotting down bits and pieces if I happen to be near my computer. Unfortunately, this does not translate to something 1. accessible to other people and 2. coherent. To anyone that keeps up with these posts from time to time, I apologize and I will do my best to take those half-baked scraps of content and turn them into something I can post. And while I’m at it with the apologies, I’d like to say sorry (not sorry) for the horrible pun I will make later in this post.

Fortunately, one reason I’ve been dragging my feet about posting has been because these last few weeks have been incredibly busy. Between classes starting and meeting new friends and generally settling in and making a comfortable place for myself in Savannakhet, I haven’t actually had too much free time. Seeing as one of my fears was that I would get bored here, this has been a pleasant surprise. I’m taking a break from my regularly scheduled activities to bring you this post because I’m sniffly and a little sick. (Mom, before you freak out, I’m fine, I just need to take it easy for a bit.) So tonight I’m replacing Muay Lao with knitting and am drinking ginger tea with Theresa and Mari instead of beer with the expats.

By way of apology, I will bribe you, dear readers, the same way I bribe people around me – with food. While several posts I have remain half-baked ideas, one thing I have baked recently is some delicious chocolate chip squash bread (I warned you about the pun). I’m hoping to post recipes for Lao food on here from time to time, but this recipe turned out too good not to share. On our most recent visa run to Thailand, we invested in a table-top oven and while it’s too hot here for sweaters and PSLs and boots, this autumnal bread was a good tribute to the cool weather we’re missing back home. Grab your favorite kind of squash and get baking… I’m off make some more tea and polish off the last slice of this stuff.

Chocolate Chip Mystery Squash Bread

Adapted from Science of Mom

(I halved these quantities for our little oven and ended up with 3 small loaves)

Ingredients

  • 1 hunk of your favorite squash (I used some sort of mysterious variety similar to kabocha)  – 2 cups of purée required
  • 1 cup vegetable or soybean oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 175 C.
  • Prepare your loaf tins with a thin coating of oil.
  • Wash the outside of the squash. Scoop out the seeds and slice it into crescents and wedges.
  • Lightly brush squash pieces with olive oil. Roast on a foil-lined baking sheet for 40-50 minutes. Flesh should be very soft.
  • Scoop the squash flesh away from the skin. Purée in a food processor or simply mash well with a fork or pastry masher.
  • Measure two cups of squash purée and combine well with the oil, eggs, and sugar.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add to the liquid mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in the nuts.
  • Pour batter into prepared loaf tins and bake for 45-55 minutes (still at 350F) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before slicing… or eat immediately because the burns will probably be mild and worth it.
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