So the big news this week at our house is that we’re getting solar panels installed. I for one am super excited about this (clean energy! lowered electric bills! coolness factor!) The only downside of the whole process is that for the better part of one whole day, your power has to be shut off. As someone who uses a heavy duty hair straightener every day so I don’t look like Cher in some terrible ’70s Merv Griffin appearance, this news was disappointing.
Still, in a weird way, there’s a part of me that couldn’t help treating it like an experiment. With all the post-Apocalyptic story lines in recent TV/movies/books, you kinda have to wonder how you would respond if you were suddenly thrown back a couple hundred years in terms of technology. Going without power for one day is like a teeny tiny fraction of that experience, I know, but it’s one of those things that’s worthwhile as an occasional reminder of all we take for granted having electricity.
Anyway, we belong squarely in the 21st century, and tend to rely heavily on our toaster for breakfasts. That being the case, I decided to bake this carrot apple bread the night before the power outage–since I wasn’t up to the challenge of attempting it over an open fire the following day. (Yes, we could have had cereal and milk. I felt like baking anyway.) The funny thing is that before breakfast I drove to Starbucks for some coffee (again, not willing to MacGuyver some camping-style version of coffee in my fireplace) and was approached by a barista standing in the drive-thru handing out samples. She was handing out–you guessed it–apple bread. Well, Caramelized Apple Cake, to be more precise. Of course it was super tasty, as cake for breakfast always is. So when I got home and sat down to this bread, the contrast in sugar content seemed drastic. There was probably as much sugar in one ketchup-cup sample of Starbucks’ apple bread as in this entire loaf. After I got over the sweetness disparity, though, I felt proud of myself. Why? Because I have learned that breakfast doesn’t have to be drenched in sugar to be delicious and satisfying. (I didn’t used to know that. Years ago I would buy those giant trays of grocery store cheese danish, stick them in my freezer, and hack one off every morning.) And believe me, this bread is plenty sweet! It’s just not Stabucks-drive-thru-breakfast sweet, which is actually a good thing. It has both a fruit and a vegetable, a beautiful, fluffy texture, and that soft-but-firm exterior I love so much in a well-done breakfast bread. Substitute up to 1/2 cup of the white flour with whole wheat to make it even heartier.
All in all (if you were wondering) we survived our day without power. No one died, and no one had to cook anything in the fireplace. No one even had to poop in the woods! So it was way better than camping. Now let’s just hope no zombie Apocalypse happens in my lifetime. I’m not ready to go that hard-core.
Carrot Apple Bread
(Inspired by How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman)
2 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. butter
3/4 c. milk
1 c. loosely packed shredded carrots
1 small apple, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
Stir the dry ingredients together. Cut the butter into pieces, then use a fork or two knives to cut it into the dry ingredients. (I used a food processor to make this step faster.)
Beat together the egg and milk. Pour into the dry ingredient mixture and stir until just moistened. Fold in the carrots and apple. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.