One of the first things I learned in foraging on the Oregon Coast is that Banana Slugs are delicious. Might I clarify learned, as in, someone told me so. My pleasantly surprised, “Oh, I have so many of those in my backyard!” statement lead to the thankful explanation that the backyard ones should NOT be eaten. Those slugs live off poop.
Needless to say, I have not delved into the wonderful world of Gastropods.
Figures, since Sig donates his fair share of excrement to the earth, and waiting for the sun to dry the ground just enough to collect his donations hasn’t happened, since, well, pigs flew around dropping the money that grew on their barnyard trees. Thus, the slugs are back! They kill my rosemary plants every year, wrapping their black, slimy, squidgy bodies up and around the very top branch, leaving not one little pine leaf unslithered. Blech. And now they have taken a liking to little Siglet, attaching themselves to his furry shorts every chance they get (maybe to get closer to their food source?). There’s nothing like the comfort of walking around the house barefoot, until you step on a slug. Squish.
There are many home remedies for slug removal, the most common being beer. Can’t you just picture it: good ol’ drunk, fat slugs having their own little frat party until they pass out? (Don’t worry – no hazing involved. These are civilized slugs.) And normally, I’d be all for the drunken explosion of herb destroying slimy bugs, but there’s a big problem: Sig. Loves. Beer. We’d have dead slugs and a slurring Sig.
So in honor of the fact that I can’t kill the slugs, and Sig can’t have the beer, and Rob is underway and is not allowed to have beer, I decided to make a tasty pub concoction: Honey Oat Beer Bread. Toasted with a slather of Orange Butter and you’ve got a treat that any person, or slug, or Sig for that matter, would enjoy.
A Caution Tested Through Experience: This bread will make your house smell heavenly while baking. But, like most breads, it’s best after having cooled quite a bit. So, have a hanky ready (to wipe the ensuing drool) and consume yourself with a good book to avoid scalding your mouth.
- 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
- 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 c 5-grain oats, plus more for sprinkling on top (I use Bob’s Red Mill brand)
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 8 tbsp (1 stick) melted unsalted butter
- 1/4 + 1/8 c honey
- 1 bottle good flavorful beer
- 1 stick room temperature butter
- 2 mandarin oranges, zest and juice
- sprinkle of fine sea salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
To make the butter, using a small spatula, mix all ingredients together until incorporated. Taste for seasoning. When mixed, spoon onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and mold into a log. Put in the fridge to harden.
For the bread, mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add 7 tbsp of the melted butter, the honey (tip: it pours and mixes better when warmed; just heat for about 15 seconds in the microwave), and slowly pour in the bottle of beer. With a heavy whisk, mix together until just combined. The dough should be loose, but thick.
Pour into a prepared greased and flour-dusted loaf pan. Top with a sprinkling of oats, and then drizzle with the last tbsp of melted butter.
Bake until golden and when a took pick is inserted, it comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
Let the bread cool, then spread a dollop of Mandarin Butter on top.