That warm (or, you know, warmer than frosty breath temperatures) weather at the end of February was such a tease!
It was like "taking me to the top of the mountain and showing me the world and then marching me back down and saying there's what you CAN'T have..."
Anyone? Anyone? Anyone remember Circle of Friends? No? Just us? Did we just completely date ourselves?
Ok. We get it. We're old. No one has seen that movie in 20 years.
But that's essentially what Mother Nature was saying to us two weeks ago (capturing the voice of famed Circle of Friends protagonist Benny Hogan, obviously). She's all; do you like this? Do you like this balmy 55 degree weather? You think you might want some more of this? You think maybe it's finally Spring-time? You think you want to eat berries and sit outside?
Well, nice try, suckers! Mwaaahahhahaha!
Geez, Mother Nature is such a brat. She must have PMS. Or maybe she just got dumped. Awwww, poor Mother Nature. Being a single mom is tough.
But, whatever. Two (er, or three) can play at that game. We blue-eyed's can be as bratty as the best of them.
So you know what Mother Nature? There may not be warm weather and blooming flowers. There may not be brunches at a sidewalk cafe or leisurely Sunday strolls past all the shops. But, darn us, if there isn't going to be berries! That's right, you heard us, BERRIES.
No, they are not fresh, but they are fresh frozen which we think it mostly the same thing and they taste absolutely marvelous baked into a warm, cinnamon-y quick bread and no one can tell the difference and it's almost like tasting Spring (fine, Strawberries are more summer-y but work with us here).
And, we can always use fresh strawberries if we want to that cost $6 a pint but are in season in South America. Boo-yah!
Take that, Mother Nature.
Makes 2 9x5" loaves
3 cups frozen strawberries (without syrup)
3 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1 lemon's worth)
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans (optional, we didn't use them)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously butter and flour two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and lemon zest in large bowl (we used a Kitchen Aid mixer with the paddle attachment). Mix well. In a separate small bowl, blend oil and eggs together. Slowly add oil and egg mixture to flour mixture, blending until dry ingredients are barely moistened. Fold in the frozen strawberries and pecans (if using). The batter will be thick.
Divide batter into the prepared pans. Bake for about 55 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted comes out clean. The loaves may take up to an hour and 15 minutes so don't stress if yours aren't done until after an hour in the oven. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out the loaves and cool completely on a wire rack.
PS- This bread would also be delicious toasted and spread with cream cheese....YUM!