Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Sweetie claims he doesn't like chard. For a long time we never had chard, but then I discovered Rainbow Chard, with those bright red and yellow and orange stems, along with the white and pale yellow ones. The leaves also have some of the brighter colors to match. They just look like a party when those colors and the deep, deep green are all together when the chard is in a bunch.
So I made Rainbow Chard and Spinach as a side dish for a recent party I cooked for a friend (for pay), accenting the chard and spinach flavors with onion, currant and lemon zest. But Sweetie wasn't there to taste it. He did sound interested when I described it later. Unfortunately, no photos.
Then a couple of weeks ago I decided to use the chard in the garden in a quiche for dinner. The sauteed chard was hidden on the bottom of the blind baked pie shell, along with caramelized onions and mushroom slices and some diced Swiss cheese. On top I put broccoli florets . A savory egg custard was poured over all of it. Once baked up nice and golden, it was lovely and smelled wonderful. Sweetie really enjoyed that quiche, even after I admitted that I had sneaked in some chard, too. You really can't tell from looking at the baked quiche that there is chard in there.
It really is a delicious vegetable, especially if you don't over-cook it. Fresh tasting, good for you, only a touch of bitterness to pique your taste buds. Chard.
Can you spot the chard hiding out with the other vegetables?
Swiss Chard and Spinach with Onions, Currants and Lemon Zest
1 large bunch chard, well rinsed...regular or Rainbow. If you can, buy organic for this recipe.
10 oz fresh baby spinach, well rinsed
1 small to medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic flavored olive oil
1/4 cup dried currants
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
Chop the chard across the leaves in one to two inch strips, removing most of the chard stems if they are tough. If they aren't tough, chop a few into a small dice and include them. Leave the rinse water on the leaves. If any of the baby spinach leaves have very long stems, remove the stems. Leave the rinse water on them.
In a large saute' pan with a lid, heat the garlic flavored olive oil and saute' the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the chard strips, stems, and the spinach leaves. Using tongs, stir and turn the leaves to coat them with the oil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and let steam for a few minutes until just wilted. Add the currants and lemon zest, cover, and cook one more minute. Serve at once. Serves 4-6.
Chard and Other Vegetables Quiche
One pie crust, blind baked for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F., then cooled. (Line the pastry-lined pie pan with parchment, fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice, then bake and cool. Remove the pie weights, beans or rice and store for another blind baking experience). I use a ready made pastry round available in most grocery stores in the refrigerator case.
1/2 bunch fresh chard, well rinsed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6-8 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons grape seed oil (or olive oil)
4 oz. Swiss cheese, in 1/2 inch dice
1 head of broccoli, in small florets
2 large eggs
1 cup whole or low fat milk
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Slice the chard leaves in 1-2 inch strips, discarding the stems. Set aside Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a saute' pan, cook the onion, garlic, and mushrooms in the grape seed oil over medium-low heat until caramelized, stirring often, 10-15 minutes. Add the chard, turn the leaves with tongs to coat them with the oil, cover, and steam for 5 minutes. Set aside.
Sprinkle the Swiss cheese dice over the bottom of the partially baked pie shell. Over the cheese, spread the chard mixture. Over that evenly sprinkle the broccoli florets. Beat together the eggs and the low fat milk. Stir in thyme. Pour the mixture over the vegetables and cheese in the pie shell. Grind a few grinds of fresh pepper over all (or shake a bit of pepper from a shaker).
Place pie in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until center just barely moves when pie is shaken. Cool for 5- 10 minutes, then serve warm. Serves 6-8.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Happy Holidays to everyone!
(Yes, the back is better...thank you to all who left kind and sympathetic messages...you are all great!)
Sunday, December 23, 2007
It was not the easiest log to get started, but soon he had it burning and discovered that it had a wonderful unexpected charm…no matter how long it burned, it never seemed to get smaller.
As the days grew shorter and the night longer, the woodcutter became sadder and sadder. He missed the sunlight. Sitting in front of the Yule log, he took a nap. Hoping to cheer him up, his goodwife gathered her bowls and spoons and flour and sugar and eggs and butter and began to bake something wonderful.
First she made a flat layer of a cake like a sponge…called a genoise. Here she is sifting in the flour mixture, then folding it into the beaten eggs and sugar mixture.
While it was baking she made a delicious chocolate and Amaretto flavored buttercream. Once the cake had cooled enough to handle, she laid it on parchment and brushed it with more Amaretto liquor.
Then she spread half the buttercream over the cake and rolled it up like a jelly roll. A quick chilling soon had it firm enough so that she could work the magic she had in mind.
She cut off the ends at an angle, showing the swirl of light cake and darker buttercream. One of those ends was placed on the side of the roll. Oooh now do you understand? She is making a charmed log of her own!
The log and branch were then swirled with the rest of the buttercream. Now it really looked like a single piece of wood, especially when she took the tines of a fork and pulled them through the buttercream to look like bark.
For the final decoration, she had planned to create meringue mushrooms to place in tiny clusters about the log. Unfortunately she slipped on a mossy step and hurt her back, so no mushrooms. A dusting of confectioners sugar gave the appearance of a light snowfall.
When her husband awoke from his nap, she took him gently by the hand and brought him to the sideboard where the beautiful log she had made was sitting. Smiling sweetly she told him that this log, this Buche de Noel, was her Christmas gift to him. It would be gone much, much faster than the magic Yule log he had brought home, but it would carry memories of their time together this Christmas tide and the joy of sharing the cake with friends and family. She told him that she would make another one each year to remind them of the light returning to the world that Christmas brings.
The woodcutter was wonderfully cheered by the cake, impressed with her baking skills and with his goodwife’s kindness in making it. He knew that it would be a merry Christmas indeed.
As a Winter Solstice gift to you, Gentle Reader, the Daring Bakers from all over the globe have made many, many Buche De Noels. Our hostesses Lis and Ivonne, also the founders of the Daring Bakers, have chosen a superb recipe that reminds us of the presence of light during the darkest time of the year. Thank you Lis of Mia La Cucina and Ivonne of Creampuffs in Venice for this holiday gift, for all of your work in the background making this baking group such a wonderful online community, and for starting it all with a recipe for pretzels a little over a year ago.
I had never made a Buche de Noel and had such a good time playing with it that I again used the convention of a fairy tale to tell about making the cake. Unfortunately, the slip and fall is true, so that is why no mushrooms. *Sigh* Gentle Reader, the story is my own (as is the last one), but there are many stories today around the blogosphere. Check out the other Daring Bakers’ Buche de Noel’s by going to the Daring Baker Blogroll here. The recipe can be found at the bottom of this post if you want to make your own to capture your own winter memories.
(from Perfect Cakes by Nick Malgieri and The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Dessert)
Daring Bakers Challenge #14: December 2007
Hosts: Daring Baker Founders Ivonne (Cream Puffs in Venice) and Lisa (La Mia Cucina)
Posting Date: Saturday December 22, 2007 or Sunday December 23, 2007 (Note: To accommodate the fact that some of you want to serve this for Christmas, for the first time we're allowing you to choose your posting date. You can post on the Saturday or the Sunday.)
Recipe Quantity: Serves 12
Cake should be stored in a cool, dry place. Leftovers should be refrigerated
1. A genoise cake using the recipe below
2. A coffee buttercream frosting using the recipe below (Note: For those of you that have an aversion to coffee, you can use another flavour for your buttercream, however, the buttercream must be dark in colour. We don't want any white or cream-coloured Yule Logs!
3. Meringue or Marzipan mushrooms using the recipes below
Additional Information about Challenge:
If you are not going to use the coffee buttercream to fill your log, be sure to have the filling ready once the genoise comes out of the oven. If you do fill your Yule Log with fruit or with soemthing other than buttercream, please note that you may not be able to freeze the Log because the filling may not last.
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
¾ cup of sugar
½ cup cake flour - spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off (also known as cake & pastry flour)
¼ cup cornstarch
one (1) 10 x 15 inch jelly-roll pan that has been buttered and lined with parchment paper and then buttered again
1.Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
2.Half-fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so the water is simmering.
3.Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, salt and sugar together in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Place over the pan of simmering water and whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm, about 100 degrees if you have a thermometer (or test with your finger - it should be warm to the touch).
4.Attach the bowl to the mixer and, with the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the egg mixture is cooled (touch the outside of the bowl to tell) and tripled in volume. The egg foam will be thick and will form a slowly dissolving ribbon falling back onto the bowl of whipped eggs when the whisk is lifted.
5.While the eggs are whipping, stir together the flour and cornstarch.
6.Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the beaten eggs. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, making sure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl on every pass through the batter to prevent the flour mixture from accumulating there and making lumps. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture and finally with the remainder.
7.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
8.Bake the genoise for about 10 to 12 minutes. Make sure the cake doesn’t overbake and become too dry or it will not roll properly.
9.While the cake is baking, begin making the buttercream.
10.Once the cake is done (a tester will come out clean and if you press the cake lightly it will spring back), remove it from the oven and let it cool on a rack.
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
24 tablespoons (3 sticks or 1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons rum or brandy
1.Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over simmering water and whisk gently until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
2.Attach the bowl to the mixer and whip with the whisk on medium speed until cooled. Switch to the paddle and beat in the softened butter and continue beating until the buttercream is smooth. Dissolve the instant coffee in the liquor and beat into the buttercream.
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup (3-1/2 ounces/105 g.) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (1-1/3 ounces/40 g.) icing sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
1.Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Have ready a pastry bag fitted with a small (no. 6) plain tip. In a bowl, using a mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until very foamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar while beating. Increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Continue until the whites hold stiff, shiny peaks. Sift the icing sugar over the whites and, using a rubber spatula, fold in until well blended.
2.Scoop the mixture into the bag. On one baking sheet, pipe 48 stems, each ½ inch (12 mm.) wide at the base and tapering off to a point at the top, ¾ inch (2 cm.) tall, and spaced about ½ inch (12 mm.) apart. On the other sheet, pipe 48 mounds for the tops, each about 1-1/4 inches (3 cm.) wide and ¾ inch (2 cm.) high, also spaced ½ inch (12 mm.) apart. With a damp fingertip, gently smooth any pointy tips. Dust with cocoa. Reserve the remaining meringue.
3.Bake until dry and firm enough to lift off the paper, 50-55 minutes. Set the pans on the counter and turn the mounds flat side up. With the tip of a knife, carefully make a small hole in the flat side of each mound. Pipe small dabs of the remaining meringue into the holes and insert the stems tip first. Return to the oven until completely dry, about 15 minutes longer. Let cool completely on the sheets.
8 ounces almond paste
2 cups icing sugar
3 to 5 tablespoons light corn syrup
1.To make the marzipan combine the almond paste and 1 cup of the icing sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on low speed until sugar is almost absorbed.
2.Add the remaining 1 cup of sugar and mix until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
3.Add half the corn syrup, then continue mixing until a bit of the marzipan holds together when squeezed, adding additional corn syrup a little at a time, as necessary: the marzipan in the bowl will still appear crumbly.
4.Transfer the marzipan to a work surface and knead until smooth.
5.Roll one-third of the marzipan into a 6 inches long cylinder and cut into 1-inch lengths.
6.Roll half the lengths into balls. Press the remaining cylindrical lengths (stems) into the balls (caps) to make mushrooms.
7.Smudge with cocoa powder.
Assembling the Yule Log:
1.Run a sharp knife around the edges of the genoise to loosen it from the pan.
2.Turn the genoise layer over (unmolding it from the sheet pan onto a flat surface) and peel away the paper.
3.Carefully invert your genoise onto a fresh piece of parchment paper.
4.Spread with half the coffee buttercream (or whatever filling you’re using).
5.Use the parchment paper to help you roll the cake into a tight cylinder.
6.Transfer back to the baking sheet and refrigerate for several hours.
7.Unwrap the cake. Trim the ends on the diagonal, starting the cuts about 2 inches away from each end.
8.Position the larger cut piece on each log about 2/3 across the top.
9.Cover the log with the reserved buttercream, making sure to curve around the protruding stump.
10.Streak the buttercream with a fork or decorating comb to resemble bark.
11.Transfer the log to a platter and decorate with your mushrooms and whatever other decorations you’ve chosen.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1 cup finely chopped toasted almonds
1 cup milk or dark chocolate chips
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring.
When the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil, raise the heat and bring the mixture to 290 degrees on a cooking thermometer (soft crack stage.) It will be light brown in color, and syrup will separate into threads that are not brittle when dribbled into cold water.
Quickly stir in 1/2 cup chopped almonds. Immediately pour the mixture onto an ungreased baking sheet.
Wait 2 or 3 minutes for the candy surface to firm, then sprinkle on the chocolate chips. In a few minutes, when the chips have softened, spread the chocolate evenly over the surface. Sprinkle the remaining almonds over the melted chocolate.
When the chocolate hardens, crack the candy into pieces. Store covered.
This recipe from CDKitchen for Almond Roca serves/makes 1.5 lbs
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I'm going to use her excellent wording:
I will send a handmade gift to the first three people who leave a comment on this post requesting to join this Pay It Forward Exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, which is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is Pay It Forward by making the same promise on your blog.
So, if you have a blog and you like the idea of giving away stuff you’ve made to folks who read your blog, then leave me a comment and I’ll start dreaming up what to make you. Just make sure you send me an email address so I can get in touch with you about how to get that gift into your possession.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Now I've been part of many, many potlucks over the years. This one was the only one I can remember, especially at Christmas time, where only one dessert was brought. We had all manner of salads and three sweet potato dishes, rolls, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, ham, but only one basket of cookies. Perhaps healthy eating is becoming fashionable?
My contributions included a dolled up version of my favorite corn salad (another future post will include the recipe), plus a new recipe that I found in Southern Living Magazine's collection of recipes called Our Best Recipes, Volume 4.
This is the perfect thing to bring to a party. It can be made ahead, no pots and pans are required so it's no-mess, the ingredients are easily found and not too expensive, it is fairly healthy, it looks festive and colorful, and it is delicious. Who could ask for more?
The dish is called Mediterranean Chicken Couscous (although I made it with chunks of turkey). It would also make a great addition to your holiday buffet. Hope you find a chance to make this one.
Mediterranean Chicken Couscous
Serves 8 (more if part of a buffet or potluck)
1 1/4 cups low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
1 (5.6 oz.) package toasted pine nut couscous mix
3 cups chopped cooked chicken (or turkey)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 (4 oz.) package crumbled feta cheese
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Garnish: fresh basil leaves
(Note: You'll need to buy a 2/3 oz. package of fresh basil and 1 rotisserie chicken to get the right amount of basil and chicken for this recipe. Substitute 3-4 teaspoons (I used 3) dried basil if you can't get fresh. 3 cups of leftover cooked chicken or turkey in large dice works fine, too.)
Microwave chicken broth and seasoning packet from couscous package at HIGH for 3-5 minutes or until broth begins to boil. Place couscous in a large bowl, and stir in broth mixture. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork, stir in chicken and next 6 ingredients. Serve warm or cold. Garnish with fresh basil leaves or a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts, if desired.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
"Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without ... eating cookies," is a perfect reason to get out the baking sheets and the mixing bowls and bake some great cookies. These would make a great addition to the cookie platter or a delicious gift. I'm taking a box of these to a Christmas Party on Wednesday and I know they will be a hit.
Dorie Greenspan, from Baking From My Home to Yours
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup solid vegetable shortening (I substituted 4 oz. unsweetened applesauce)
½ cup sugar (I used dark brown sugar here)
½ cup molasses
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (I mixed walnuts and pecans about half and half)
1 cup coarsely chopped dried fruit (I used a combination of diced apricot, dried pear, dried apple, plus some golden raisins and dried cranberries)
2 cups chocolate chips
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the apple sauce and mix well, about two minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another two minutes. Pour in the molasses and beat for 1 minute more.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Reduce mixer speed to low and mix in the oats, then add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. Toss in the nuts, fruit, chocolate chips and coconut and, turn the mixer on and off quickly a few times to incorporate.
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared pans, leaving about 1 ½ inches between the mounds.
Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, rotating pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until the cookies are golden and just about set. Remove the baking sheets to cooling racks and let the cookies rest on the sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring them to racks to cool to room temperature.
These cookies were so dark from the dark brown sugar and the molasses that it was a bit difficult to tell when they were done. They were moist and the nuts, fruit, chocolate and coconut were barely held together by the dough. The molasses flavor was strong when the dough was unbaked, but the fruits and nuts mellowed the molasses flavor when baked.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Tanna of My Kitchen in Half Cups is the hostess of this month's Daring Bakers's challenge. She chose this wonderful and flavorful Tender Potato Bread from Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World, by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. You can find the recipe on Tanna's site and at the bottom of this post.
Be sure to check out the other Daring Baker's to read their stories and see their creativity with the Tender Potato Bread by visiting the Daring Baker Blogroll here.
Tender Potato Bread
(from Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour & Tradition Around the World by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid; who also wrote Hot Sour Salty Sweet)
Daring Bakers Challenge #13: November 2007
Host: Tanna (My Kitchen in Half Cups)
Post Date: Monday, November 26
Makes 1 large tender-crumbed pan loaf AND something more; one 10X15 inch crusty yet tender foccacia, 12 soft dinner rolls, or a small pan loaf
For Loaves and Rolls: melted butter (optional)
For Foccacia: olive oil, coarse salt, and rosemary leaves (optional; also see variation)
For Anchovy-Onion Focaccia: Instead of oil, salt, and rosemary, top with onions slow-cooked in olive oil or bacon fat, a scattering of chopped anchovy fillets, and flat-leafed parsley leaves.
Alternate fillings, seasons, shapes are up to you.
Some additional notes about this challenge, recipe and the dough:
If you are new to bread and already your whisks are shaking (or is that your boots), you may bake the bread (or one of it’s variations) just as written.
There are no pictures. I give you the recipe. I cannot give you a photo or drawing of the recipe because that part is yours. That being said there are lots of pictures of other bread recipes that will provide great ideas for you if you decide to unleash that aspect of this recipe.
Potatoes and potato water give this bread wonderful flavor and texture. The dough is very soft and moist and might feel a little scary if you’ve never handled soft dough before. But don’t worry: Leaving it on parchment or wax paper to proof and to bake makes it easy to handle.
Once baked, the crumb is tender and airy, with tiny soft pieces of potato in it and a fine flecking of whole wheat. The loaves have a fabulous crisp texture on the outside and a slightly flat-topped shape. They make great toast and tender yet strong sliced bread for sandwiches. The dinner rolls are soft and inviting, and the focaccia is memorable.
I have chosen this recipe because it gives directions for different ways of shaping the dough and provides oven times and temperatures for those variations.
Some Notes about Flour:
King Arthur Artisan Organic All-Purpose Flour is fairly new in the markets in the US now and is advertised to be best for making European-style hearth breads with a protein level of 11.3%
Conversion Chart for yeast:
1 oz/ 1 Tablespoon of fresh yeast = 0.4 oz/ 1.25 teaspoon active or instant dry yeast = 0.33 oz / 1 teaspoon instant or rapid rise (bread machine) yeast. Reference: Crust & Crumb by Peter Reinhart
Link to online conversion chart for converting recipes from Imperial to Metric: Cooking Conversion Online (http://www.convert-me.com/en/convert/cooking)
Remember, being a Daring Baker is about trying new recipes, techniques and taking risks. It’s reaching just beyond your comfort zone.
This is a Daring Baker Challenge, not a contest and not a competition because at its heart and soul is support and sharing the how to of the baking we do.
Metric measurements are from the European edition. Thank you Linda (Linda.kovacevic.nl) from Make Life Sweeter
4 medium to large floury (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks.
Tanna Note: For the beginner bread baker I suggest no more than 8 ounces of potato; for the more advanced no more than 16 ounces. The variety of potatoes you might want to use would include Idaho, Russet & Yukon gold, there are others.
4 cups(950 ml) water, reserve cooking water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
6 ½ cups to 8 ½ cups (1 kg to 1350g) unbleached all-purpose
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (130g) whole wheat flour
Making the Dough (Directions will be for making by hand):
Put the potatoes and 4 cups water in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and cook, half covered, until the potatoes are very tender.
Drain the potatoes, SAVE THE POTATO WATER, and mash the potatoes well. Tanna Note: I have a food mill I will run my potatoes through to mash them.
Measure out 3 cups(750ml) of the reserved potato water. Add extra water if needed to make 3 cups. Place the water and mashed potatoes in the bowl you plan to mix the bread dough in. Let cool to lukewarm (70-80°F/21 - 29°C) – stir well before testing the temperature – it should feel barely warm to your hand. You should be able to submerge you hand in the mix and not be uncomfortable.
Add yeast to 2 cups all-purpose flour and whisk. Add yeast and flour to the cooled mashed potatoes & water and mix well. Allow to rest/sit 5 minutes.
Note about Adding Yeast: If using Active Dry Yeast or Fresh yeast, mix & stir yeast into cooled water and mashed potatoes & water and let stand 5 minutes. Then add 2 cups of flour to the yeast mix and allow to rest several minutes. If using Instant Dry Yeast, add yeast to 2 cups all-purpose flour and whisk. Add yeast and flour to the cooled mashed potatoes & water and mix well. Allow to rest/sit 5 minutes.
Sprinkle in the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and the softened butter; mix well. Add the 1 cup whole wheat flour, stir briefly.
Add 2 cups of the unbleached all-purpose flour and stir until all the flour has been incorporated.
Tanna Note: At this point you have used 4 cups of the possible 8 ½ cups suggested by the recipe.
Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, incorporating flour as needed to prevent sticking. The dough will be very sticky to begin with, but as it takes up more flour from the kneading surface, it will become easier to handle; use a dough scraper to keep your surface clean. The kneaded dough will still be very soft. Place the dough in a large clean bowl or your rising container of choice, cover with plastic wrap or lid, and let rise about 2 hours or until doubled in volume.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently several minutes. It will be moist and a little sticky.
Forming the Bread:
Tanna Note: It is at this point you are requested to Unleash the Daring Baker within. The following is as the recipe is written. You are now free to follow as written or push it to a new level.
Divide the dough into 2 unequal pieces in a proportion of one-third and two-thirds (one will be twice as large as the other). Place the smaller piece to one side and cover loosely.
To shape the large loaf:
Butter a 9 x 5 x 2.5 inch loaf/bread pan. Flatten the larger piece of dough on the floured surface to an approximate 12 x 8 inch oval, then roll it up from a narrow end to form a loaf. Pinch the seam closed and gently place seam side down in the buttered pan. The dough should come about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 35 to 45 minutes, until puffy and almost doubled in volume.
To make a small loaf with the remainder:
Butter an 8x4X2 inch bread pan. Shape and proof the loaf the same way as the large loaf.
To make rolls:
Butter a 13 x 9 inch sheet cake pan or a shallow cake pan. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball under the palm of your floured hand and place on the baking sheet, leaving 1/2 inch between the balls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 35 minutes, until puffy and almost doubled.
To make focaccia:
Flatten out the dough to a rectangle about 10 x 15 inches with your palms and fingertips. Tear off a piece of parchment paper or wax paper a little longer than the dough and dust it generously with flour. Transfer the focaccia to the paper. Brush the top of the dough generously with olive oil, sprinkle on a little coarse sea salt, as well as some rosemary leaves, if you wish and then finally dimple all over with your fingertips. Cover with plastic and let rise for 20 minutes.
Baking the bread(s):
Note about baking order: bake the flat-bread before you bake the loaf; bake the rolls at the same time as the loaf.
Note about Baking Temps: I believe that 450°F(230°C) is going to prove to be too hot for the either the large or small loaf of bread for the entire 40/50 minutes. I am going to put the loaves in at 450°(230°C) for 10 minutes and then turn the oven down to 375°F (190 °C) for the remaining time.
Note about cooling times: Let all the breads cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Rolls can be served warm or at room temperature.
For loaves and rolls:
Dust risen loaves and rolls with a little all-purpose flour or lightly brush the tops with a little melted butter or olive oil (the butter will give a golden/browned crust). Slash loaves crosswise two or three times with a razor blade or very sharp knife and immediately place on the stone, tiles or baking sheet in the oven. Place the rolls next to the loaf in the oven.
Bake rolls until golden, about 30 minutes. Bake the small loaf for about 40 minutes. Bake the large loaf for about 50 minutes.
Transfer the rolls to a rack when done to cool. When the loaf or loaves have baked for the specified time, remove from the pans and place back on the stone, tiles or baking sheet for another 5 to 10 minutes. The corners should be firm when pinched and the bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles, if you have them, if not use a no edged baking/sheet (you want to be able to slide the shaped dough on the parchment paper onto the stone or baking sheet and an edge complicates things). Place the stone or cookie sheet on a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450°F/230°C.
If making foccacia, just before baking, dimple the bread all over again with your fingertips. Leaving it on the paper, transfer to the hot baking stone, tiles or baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack (remove paper) and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
Based on a recipe from the New York Times Heritage Cookbook
1 large sweet red onion, halved, sliced thinly, and separated into half rings
1 ½ pounds shrimp – cooked, shelled and deveined (with tails left on)
4 oranges, peeled and sliced into wedges
1 ½ cup oil
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup wine vinegar
1/3 cup catsup
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Bed of lettuce leaves (optional)
Combine onion rings, shrimp and orange wedges in a large glass or ceramic bowl (or large resealable bag).
Mix together oil, lemon juice, vinegar, catsup, sugar, celery seeds, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, garlic and parsley. Pour over shrimp mixture and marinate 24-48 hours (48 hours is better!) in the refrigerator.
At serving time, drain off the marinade and serve the shrimp, onions and orange wedges. Looks nice served on a bed of lettuce, but for close friends just pile on a platter. (Include a small dish to hold the discarded tails.) Provide plenty of napkins. Serves 6
Saturday, November 24, 2007
One of the enduring combinations in the food world is bread and chocolate. A croissant filled with some melted bittersweet chocolate is how I remember first learning about the joining of two of my favorite flavors.
The other morning I didn’t have time to even think about the first little part of making croissants, but I figured out a way to make Sweetie some sweet rolls for breakfast that combined chocolate, jam and fruit. When it's cold outside (and we had frost on the grass this morning) a pan of warm sweet rolls is a wonner.
The day before I had peeled, cored and thinly sliced a quince. Then I had candied the slices. These, chocolate, nuts, and some quince jam went into a lovely pan of breakfast rolls. The photos at the beginning of the post show the progression of rectangel of biscuit dough with jam, then fruit, then chocolate. Don't forget to add the nuts. Too bad I had to go to work and didn’t get to have any until dinner time. He said that they were much better fresh out of the oven. I didn’t even have time to glaze them, but I included directions if you want to.
The wonderful thing about these rolls is that the biscuits are a great foil for the chocolate. You taste the richness of the chocolate and tang of the buttermilk. The jam and quince lend sweetness and an almost haunting flavor that stays with you. These take a little while to prepare, but will make a memorable breakfast or snack. Use the best quality chocolate you can find because the chocolate shines here.
Bread and Chocolate Sweet Rolls
2 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (a food processor works well)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 to 3 1/2 cups Bisquick (I used the lowfat version because that’s what was in the cupboard) - use enough to make a firm dough
¼ cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup quince jelly
1 quince, candied (see below)
½ cup walnuts, toasted and cooled, finely chopped with 1 tablespoon of sugar A food processor works well)
In a small bowl, microwave the butter and chocolate one minute at half power. Stir. Microwave again one minute at half power. Stir. Repeat until the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a mixing bowl, mix the Bisquick, sugar, and buttermilk to make a dough. Turn the dough out on a floured board and knead a few times, then roll out in a rectangle about 12 inches x 8 inches.
Take the jam and put it into a bowl. Stir with a fork to break up the jam to make it more liquid. Spread the jam on the dough rectangle, stopping about an inch away from the edge on the long sides.
Take the candied quince slices and spread them out as evenly as possible over the jam, stopping about 1 inch from the edge on the long sides.
Take the cooled chocolate mixture and spread it over the jam and fruit. Sprinkle at once with the nuts, distributing as evenly as possible over the chocolate.
Roll up starting at one of the long edges. If the biscuit dough is very soft, you may need to freeze the rectangle for 10 minutes so it can be rolled. Slice the roll into 12 slices, each about an inch thick. Place each roll, sliced side down, in a greased cast iron skillet.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree F. oven for about 40 minutes, until rolls are cooked and golden brown on the top.
Serve warm. If desired, drizzle when they have cooled 10 minutes with a mixture of 1 cup confectioners sugar and 1 tablespoon warm milk. Let the glaze harden before serving.
1 medium to large fresh ripe quince, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
Mix the sugar and water in a medium sized pot and stir over medium heat until the sugar melts and mixture is clear. Add the quince, turning and stirring until all slices are covered with the sugar mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir, cover, and simmer for another 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer, stirring occasionally, another 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand until cool.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Credit for most of this recipe goes to Dorie Greenspan, although I made a few changes. Dorie's book Sweet Times is a wonderful collection of sweet recipes. As usual, the recipe was well written and foolproof. As you can see, we had no trouble in convincing everyone to help themselves.
I think that this is the perfect dish to bring to Peabody's open house. It should travel well and feeds a lot of people, plus it's sweet and baked! See you there on December 8th.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup broken walnut pieces, toasted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
6-7 large ripe Bartlett pears (about 3 lbs.) cored and stems removed
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup fresh cranberries (if using frozen, do not thaw)
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Topping: Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture forms large curds, about 1-2 minutes. Alternately, mix everthing but the butter in a bowl, then cut the butter in with a pastry blender or two knives. Set aside.
Fruit: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Quarter the pears and cut each pear quarter lengthwise into 3 slices. Dip the slices in a bowl containing the orange juice. Then arrange the slices in the bottom of a deep dish pie pan or a 2 quart baker. (I left on the peels, which worked out fine.) Repeat with all of the pear quarters, coating the slices in the juice to keep them from darkening. Sprinkle the cranberries evenly over the pears, then sprinkle on the golden raisins.
Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the fruit.
Sprinkle the orange juice that you dipped the pears in over all, then sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit.
Place the crisp on a baking sheed with raised sides and bake 40 -45 minutes, until the top is brown and the fruit juices are bubbling. Remove the crisp from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving, but can be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Serve vanilla ice cream, heavy cream ot pour, or whipped cream to garnish if desired. Serves 6-8, or more at a buffet.
The photo below was taken in the morning where the fog was burning off right near the clinic building. That is a very old redwood tree on the left.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
He is starting to feel better, but it will be a few more days before he has his energy back and probably longer before the cough goes away. Guess we should have been more alert to when the flu shots were being given.