Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bread and Birch

Perfect cranberry and orange bread. A co-worker brought in her mom's cranberry bread to the office last week. It was the best that I have ever tasted, moist, tart, and nutty. I got the recipe today, thanks A, and made it tonight. I had enough batter to also make 6 muffins, which of course, you don't see because they were really good with our tea tonight and the other 2 are put away for breakfast. Each of these loaves is made with 2 cups of cranberries and a cup of walnuts. The moisture comes from orange and cranberry juice and there is also some orange zest for more flavor. It is pretty tart and you can really taste the cranberries, which I love. These are going in the freezer for the holidays so I will have something to go with the evening tea and coffee.

This next photo was yesterday afternoon's project. One of the women from basket guild makes the most beautiful little birch bark baskets. This photo does not do them justice. I went over to her house and she graciously showed me how to prepare the birch for basket-making. This stuff, after you strip off the outside white paper and the inside dark brown lining material, is gorgeous. It is supple, like leather and has that feel too, because it has natural oils left in the bark. This is bark from fallen birch that I picked up in the woods last summer while we were in Munising. It looked awful, was dirty brown and stiff, and probably at least a year old. But after scraping is going to make lovely baskets. It is every color of tan and cream imaginable. And we scraped it at M's kitchen table and just swept the floor afterwards. I left the big plastic bag of fire-starter with her. I'm not going to get to the baskets until after the holidays, but it is now stored properly, in C's dresser, don't tell her, and will be ready when I have time.

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