Monday, July 30, 2007

No-Brainer Bread - Candied Lemon Loaf

“Mom, I’m bored. I have nothing to do.” It was a constant complaint ringing in my ears, the standard whiny demand of a kid having a day unfit for the usual pleasures and curiosities. Under normal circumstances, I would have been able to satisfy even the pickiest youngster with a coloring book and crayons, popping a DVD in the player, or tossing down a pile of jigsaw pieces of an Alps village onto the coffee table. But these tempting diversions were not going to cut it this time, for the simple reason that I don’t have a kid. The tape whining to mother was all in the head, my head.

Everyone has had those days, the adjustment period between life’s crash course of chores, worries, and responsibilities that lets loose the floodgates of adrenaline, and the easier cadence of predictable daily routines. This period can seem downright dull in comparison, no matter how sunny the day nor relieved you are to get off that roller coaster. If I were Pierre in War and Peace, I would assuage my ennui with contemplative Masonic metaphysics. If I wanted to find comfort in kindred spirits, I would compare notes with famous philosophers and the just plain famous. If I wanted to fill my head with megabytes of minutiae, I would loose myself in one of the many online labyrinths of puerile laughs and brain teasers. Any of these avenues would be just the thing on any other day, but on this particular day, I suspected there would be no jump start, except forcing myself into any activity just to get myself moving again. So I started in on the periodic ritual which I continually procrastinate against: the rearranging of all the boxes, bottles, jars and cans that chaotically cram against one another during episodes of cooking haste.
My first task was emptying the cupboards onto the countertops to assess just what I had and how much. From there, I collected all errant pasta packages and returned them to their original shelf. Then I worked on the canned goods. When I was halfway through the clutter, I found two unopened tubs of candied lemon peel, fixings of last Christmas’ mincemeat pie. The expiration dates were perfectly sound through the next holiday season, yet I could hardly afford the space they took up. I was ready to fling them guiltily into the garbage bin when one of the labels caught my eye, advertising a recipe using the peel. I was no longer guilty and no longer bored.

As I waited for the two fragrant loaves of lemon bread to be lifted from the oven, the world was exciting again, full of possibilities. I was giddy with options. Would I tuck into a good book, watch an old movie or go for a walk? I quickly pushed the remaining groceries back into the cupboards. The reorganization ritual would just have to keep. Tomorrow, next week, next month, even next year, was another day.
This post is being submitted to Becke of Columbus Foodie, host of Bread Baking Day # 2 - Bread with Fruit.


Been There, Done That

Lemon ~
Lemon Curd Shortbread
Lemon Curd Cheesecake

Quick Bread ~
The Laziest Loaf - 2-Hour French Bread


sra said...

This is what I do, if I find something, I throw the rest back in, order be damned! Lemon bread sounds light and citrusy - I know that's 'duh' and stating the obvious but that's more a touch & feel comment :)

Truffle said...

You are such a wonderful baker! I'm making a collection of your recipes for the next time I have a serious baking day.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Susan, I have never tried candied lemon but I'm sure I would love it - give me anything citrus and I'm a happy girl forever! :)

These loaves look so good!

Nanditha Prabhu said...

this seems to be a perfect loaf to raise your spirits !will have to give it a try!thank you for this recipe!

Mishmash ! said...

Susa, you got attracted by the recipe on the label and I am getting tempted seeing your first pic...I have a series of stuff to be baked in teh coming weeks and I am wondering where I can fit this in....!!


Shaun said...

Susan, lovie - Candied peel seems like the perfect ingredient to throw into a loaf when one needs a pick-me-up - comforting and zingy all at once. I know that Eric and I have some odd packets, bottles, and boxes of who knows what all over the place. I need to get through as much as I can before leaving because I know Eric doesn't really have the time. I have taken care of the errant pasta boxes, however.

foodiedani said...

That looks so yummy! Must show my husband as he is a sucker for anything lemon!

Suganya said...

Lovely recipe Susan. Lemon is always refreshing!

Lucy said...

Those days often end in something unexpectedly good. Like this. Fragrant with lemon, fresh from the oven - no wonder your mind was cleared!

I really need to sort out my pantry too...

Nora B. said...

What a perfect way to refresh your day. Your loaves look sooo much better than the photo they put with the recipe on the website. I feel like making a loaf of something when I get home, maybe a quick bread but your lemon loaf is calling out to me...

Lydia said...

Lemon bread with candied lemon -- sounds so good! When I start to clean through my pantry, I end up throwing away the odd bits of this and that, combining all the leftover dry pasta in one humongous jar!

Susan said...

Hi, Sra. Glad I’m not the only one to hide the clutter behind closed doors. And touch/feel comments are always welcome. Thanks!
Truffle, you are a sweetie. Thanks! Baking doesn’t have to be serious to turn out well, as this post illustrated. I was very happy with the results, considering it was a quick bread.
Thanks, Patricia. Citrus is such an easy flavor to brighten your day.
Hi, Nanditha. I hope you try it. It does, indeed, raise the spirits with minimal effort.
Shn - So many recipes, so little time. Oh, I know the feeling!
Dear Shaun – Recipes on product packaging are more likely to be successful since they are kitchen tested to ensure you buy the product again. Candied peels tend to be hard to find out of the holiday season, so next time I will overstock again. I’ll worry about where to store it all at the time. I think we first collect the pasta up b/c we just can’t do without it very long. Carbohydrates, the first drug of choice.
Thanks, Dani. I can promise this is a first-rate, easy recipe. I made no changes at all to it; there was nothing to improve upon.
Suganya – Thank you. Lemon is very uplifting.
Lucy – Beware! Once you start messing about with your larder, you will be easily distracted!
Thank you, Nora. I did notice the web photo wasn’t the most appetizing, but the recipe itself looked sound. No regrets. I’ll definitely make it again when I can find the lemon peel.
Thanks, Lydia. In terms of flavor and texture, the bread was like a cross between panetone and biscotti, but so much easier than either.

Jyothsna said...

This reminds me of a lemon cake I'd baked long ago, must get to that once my oven works again!

Rosa said...

Lemon, I can't get enough of it! Thanks for giving me yet another excuse to use it.

Cynthia said...

I have to confess that I have a very slight of OCD so while I would want to abandon what I am doing, I'd feel so guilty and compelled to complete the task set (lol)

I'm glad you stopped and made this fruit bread for us to enjoy!

Toni said...

I adore lemon flavored anything. This bread looks terrific! And I loved your story of how you approach boredom! Unfortunately, I don't know what boredom is. As a result, things remain unorganized for very, very long periods of time!! ;-)

zorra said...

That looks so delicous! Next time your bored you could arrange my cupboards and bake such delicious bread, too. ;-)

Susan said...

Hi, Jyothsna. Even though it is routinely hot where you are, you must miss your oven and like the option of using it when the mood strikes.
Hi, Rosa - This is quite easy, and an excuse that even a non-baker could appreciate, as well as a professional like yourself.
Hey, Cynthia. My OCD is limited to my cooking/baking. I sure wish a little could be spared for organizing things! Now you have me LOL!
Thanks, Toni. Boredom is not an enviable position, but luckily I snapped out of it pretty fast. As you can see, I'm still disorganized. ; )
Thank you, Zorra, and welcome! I'm sure your kitchen is full of inspiring, hidden treasures, too. I'll be right over!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love lemon and your bread looks extremely tasty! A delicious treat!

Sandeepa said...

Would love to have a piece of that right now, can smell the sweet citrus scent

Susan said...

Thanks, Rosa. Lemon works well in so many things.
Hi, Sandeepa. So would I, but it's all gone. : {

Nancy said...

Is there a recipe for the candied lemon loaf?

Susan said...

Nancy - Thanks for visiting. : ) The recipe is linked in the text, if you have a closer was a very easy and tasty tea treat. I hope you enjoy it.