Who else regularly falls down an internet rabbit hole? What, who me? who you? It starts so innocently, doesn't it? Just a mindless click of a finger, following a link or a Pin or a Facebook share, never realizing that ten minutes later, we'll look up, wondering, Now, where was I? Acck. Our screen-filled lives make it so easy to get lost, to focus intently on something of momentarily great but altogether fleeting import.
And then again, the rabbit hole can lead to cheese bread! A savory cheese bread, to be exact, plump with artichoke and if you like, olives too. Last week, I asked if favorite recipes should be added to my small collection of artichoke recipes. E-mail subscriber Louise Black wrote back right away, "We have visited Castorville, California (the Artichoke Capital) many times and eaten at the Giant Artichoke Restaurant there. They serve Artichoke Quiche, Artichoke Quick Bread and lot of other artichoke food! Would love to have the recipe for the quick bread and quiche."
Hint, hint. Artichoke quick bread? Dowwwwwwwwwwwwn the rabbit hole I went. And when I returned to screen-free consciousness, this is what emerged from the oven, a moist loaf of cheesy bread stuffed with artichokes and olives. Thanks for the suggestion, Louise, this is one rabbit hole I'm happy to have dropped into!
"I made this tonight. Tasty, but WAY too salty!" ~ Anonymous (see comments for this cook’s suggestions on how to use less salt)
"I made the bread yesterday - delicious! " ~ Mel
RECIPE for ARTICHOKE ASIAGO CHEESE BREAD
Time to table: 90 minutes
1 large egg
1-3/4 cups buttermilk (I used Homemade Buttermilk)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter, melted
1 or 2 15-ounce (425g) cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (set aside 1/4 cup)
1 cup green olives, halved
4 ounces (113g) Asiago cheese, cut in tiny cubes
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 250g
1 cup all purpose flour, fluffed or 125g
1 tablespoon (yes, tablespoon) baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup chopped artichoke hearts
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
Heat oven to 325F. Spray a standard-size loaf pan.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg, then whisk in the buttermilk, butter, artichoke hearts, olives and Asiago cubes.
In a separate bowl, combine the flours, leavening and seasoning. With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir flour into egg mixture just until combined, this is a "quick" bread, over-mixing will create holes in the baked bread.
Transfer to the loaf pan, the batter is thick, you'll need to pat it into the corners, smooth the top. Press the 1/4 cup chopped artichoke into the top, top with the grated cheese.
Bake for 60 - 70 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan and slicing.
Best warm or toasted. Keeps for a couple of days.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
I usually say that a loaf of quick bread serves 16, that's 8 slices from a standard loaf pan, each one cut in half. But this bread's crispy top is a little hard to cut, making it hard to cut thin slices so I've adjusted this to 12.
I used just one can of artichokes and wished, later, I'd used two.
Why "chunks" of cheese one place and grated another? Chunks create little cheesy pockets that make the bread seem "more cheesy" with less cheese. But grated cheese can be spread further more easily, that's why it's perfect for the topping.
We served this as the table bread when friends came for dinner and it was definitely a meal to repeat! We cooked steaks using the same technique as for Perfect Thick-Cut Pork Chops with creamed spinach (a richer version of Healthy Creamed Spinach, seasoned with garlic powder instead of nutmeg) and balsamic green beans.
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