I don’t use my bread machine enough. I was doing really well for a while, and I can’t say exactly why we stopped feeding it all the ingredients to make a nice loaf in the morning. Yes, we used to load it up at night and have fresh bread for sandwiches I made before work. I must be getting lazy. While bread machine bread is good and requires almost no work at all, fresh baked, handmade bread is irresistible. I’ve posted about bread before, and am always looking for new recipes to try. Thankfully, Dana chose the recipes this month for the Easy Bake cOven. She chose two recipes, one Dilly bread – a dill and onion flavored, savory loaf – and Maple Oat Bread – a typical loaf good for sandwiches or for toast.
I chose to make only the Maple Oat bread for now, because Dana (my mom in law) made it for us when they visited M and I earlier this month. It was moist and delicious and would be a great accompaniment to any soup or simple pasta. The bread turned out well. The oats and whole wheat give it a dense and chewy texture (perfect for a giant slice of toast), and while it is light in color, it isn’t lacking in flavor. It’s plain and simple – good bread.
Maple Oatmeal Bread
one 1.5 lb loaf
Sprinkle 2 tsp. yeast (bread machine or regular) over 1 c. lukewarm (105-115 degrees) water—let stand while combining
¼ c. oil
¼ c. real maple syrup (not pancake syrup)—can substitute honey
1 ¾ tsp. salt
add yeast mixture
Stir in 1 c. rolled oats
Stir in enough of the 3 cups bread flour (opt. substitute 1 c. whole wheat flour and 2 c. bread flour) until a stiff dough
Kneed in the rest of the flour, and more if necessary, until the dough can be kneeded for 5-10 min.
The ball should spring back into shape when indented and be smooth and not sticky.
Roll in a greased bowl and leave to rise in a warm place with a damp towel over the top until double (1.5-2 hours)
Punch down and shape loaf
Let rise uncovered up to 1 hour or until less than double in bulk (don’t let it over rise)
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped, 30 to 40 minutes.
For a Printable version of both recipes, click here.
For the month of February, one of our members chose to make Croissants from scratch. I was kind of disappointed – mostly because I made puff pastry once before and it was so so. The vous al vents turned out well, but spending the entire day in the kitchen was not my idea of fun (unless it involved cakes). I like to say that puff pastry is something everyone should try at least once (maybe to gain a higher appreciation of the product) and once is definitely enough.
Today is the first day of 2010, so Happy New Year to you all. I thought today would be a good day to reflect on the past year of my blog and I have decided to recount my top ten recipes. Before we reflect, I’m going to tell you all about my baking plans for this year, resolution style. I don’t typically make resolutions because they tend to get shoved aside or are so unrealistic that they are on the skirts of achievability. Food related resolutions are new for me and definitely attainable. Do you all have resolutions for the new year?
I’m going to attempt to use more whole wheat flour. Not so much for health reasons, mostly because I tend to run out of all purpose flour all of the time and the whole wheat bag sits in the cupboard feeling unwanted and depressed. If I had a repertoire of more whole wheat recipes I would definitely cook with it more often.
I’m going to try hard and not skip the Daring Bakers Challenges for the whole year. This will require me to plan ahead, not procrastinate, and make some items I don’t like. It is difficult when you know the recipe at the beginning of the month and don’t have to post something until the very end. I might have to make up more reasons to celebrate with baked goods during the month.
I am going to make more bread. Plain and simple. I can’t really say quantity-wise what “more” is equal to, I’m just going to make more of it. I have a lot of great cookbooks at my fingertips and I enjoy bread a lot. (I believe I’ve mentioned before bread is one of my favorite smells). It would also be nice to have more home made bread with dinners or lunches. I’m not limiting myself to just hand made either, I’ll bring my bread machine to this challenge too.
I am going to post at least one non baking item each month. M and I cook a lot and I think some of these meals you might enjoy too. We have a plethora of food delivered to us twice a month from our local CSA and we cook with it each week, so why not share it too? After all, people who read this might not have the itch to bake quite as often as I do.
I would like to celebrate food more. This means all of you in San Fran might gain a few pounds with me. In an effort to appreciate the Slow Food Movement, and because M and I like to host dinners, I want to have people over more often for food. Cooking and eating together, good wine, what more could you ask for? (I haven’t discussed this one with M yet, but I’m pretty sure he will be ok with it).
I think this is enough resolutions for now, I’ll let you know if I come up with more later. Now, on with this recap of my favorites from ’09. (What do we call 10 by the way? It seems so awkward without the “O” in front of it). Here they are in random order.
Savory Puff Pastry
I enjoyed this Challenge for Daring Bakers. We made puff pastry from scratch (which I may never do again) and I came up with this savory topping. I absolutely loved them. You can make it store bought pastry but I definitely recommend trying the filling.
Making a wedding cake is one of the highlights of my year. The challenge of it was unreal. I would love to make another if the opportunity presents itself.
I like cheesecake. I don’t make it often because it is so terrible for you (though most of the desserts I make are not “good” for you) so I made the most of it using 4″ mini spring-form pans. They were so cute and tasty. I’d definitely make some of them again.
Cookie Cake Tower
Who would not like a three layer cookie cake for their birthday? I chose this one because I felt it was creative and good. Not to forget it traveled from California to Virginia in one piece!
French Style Bread
Bread, one of the techniques I attempted to master this year. I can’t say I am a master yet (hence the resolution to continue making more of it this year) but one day I might make bread like my dad numero dos. This french loaf was one of M’s favorites his dad made growing up, and I wanted to continue the traditions. It makes two loaves so you can save one for later or feed a lot of people.
Are you wondering why there is a picture of carrots here? It is because carrot muffins come from my early days of the blog when I was not obsessed with taking photos of food (or they were so good we ate them all before I could snap a shot). I didn’t post the recipe in my original post so you are welcome to view it here.
Frozen Lime Pie
Not only was this a wonderful dessert, it brings back lovely memories of the Grenadines. After a week of sailing we relaxed at one of the most beautiful houses on St Lucia. Check out these amazing pictures by M. Then be sure to check out the website for the house if you feel like taking an extravagant vacation (pictures on the website do not do it justice). The house comes with the chef and two other house staff (one of which created this recipe). She also makes amazing curry chicken and mahi mahi. I’d like to be there right now.
Walnut Ice Cream with Tomato Caramel Sauce
This recipe was inspired by my desire to make our plethora of tomatoes into a dessert. It worked, it just was not as literal as eating a tomato for dessert. Hidden in a caramel sauce the tomato gave a new depth of flavor to this amazingly creamy ice cream. If you have the supplies I recommend trying it.
Mini Fruit Pizzas
I used to make this dessert a lot. I changed the recipe a little bit most recently and enjoyed it more than usual, especially served cold. A crowd pleaser when fresh berries are in season.
One of M’s favorites. It accompanies soups, jambalaya, gumbo, fish, and whatever else we can create to go with it. I think it would go wonderful with a new recipe I came across Pumpkin Turkey Chili. Give it a try, you won’t even know the pumpkin is in there. We like it so much I sometimes think we choose recipes just so we have an excuse to make it. A good reason to keep buttermilk on hand at all times.
I know it has been a while since I posted about pumpkin or posted anything for that matter, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been using it (it just means I’m really busy). I still need to use up the rest of my pumpkin but it may have to wait until after the holidays.
I have a recipe for pumpkin cookies that I really like a lot. They are easy to make (I haven’t tried it with fresh pumpkin yet) and taste like little pumpkin cakes. Amazingly, they get better over time. I wanted to pack some up and send them far across the sea to my brother in law for Christmas but I didn’t know if they would make it a week in the mail. (I sent fudge and candied pecans instead!) The original recipe came from Allrecipes and I have managed to edit it to my liking. They were originally supposed to be glazed, but this reminds me of the pumpkin scone at Starbucks – drenched in frosting and sickeningly sweet, eew. I like sweet but sweet overload in a two bite cookie is a little much. Anyways, these are always favorites among friends so I invite you to try them! And apparently I’ve never taken a photo of these so try and picture the the cutest little puff of pumpkin cookie you can imagine….
The other pumpkin journey I traveled on was Pumpkin Butter – think Apple Butter – not creamy butter spread. It is a very simple combination of ingredients you probably have on hand (and you can use canned or fresh pumpkin) and stores for about a week. This would make a lovely present for holiday hosts, or you can keep it for yourself in a pretty little jar. I’ve been secretly dreaming of owning some canning jars by WECK for a while now. I want to try canning sometime and I’d like to as who wouldn’t with these pretty little products.
I made some bread too. I meant to make some Italian Feather Bread (Beard’s bread book) but ran out of time. Instead, I tried it on some nice white bread-machine bread. A huge slice perfect for toasting. I coated it generously with butter, and topped with a thick layer of Pumpkin Butter. This would make a nice light breakfast, or a great snack with coffee or tea (or hot cocoa). I will admit I tried it while waiting for M to get home from work. I was hungry, what can I say. If only there was a toaster at work, I think my co-workers would enjoy this treat.
adapted from Pioneer Woman
1 C fresh pumpkin puree (or canned)
1 C plain yogurt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 heaping C powdered sugar (more to taste)
Mix ingredients together and add more sugar to taste. Let sit for at least 3 hours or overnight in an air-tight container. Use liberally! Stores for about a week in the fridge.
Dessert and Rolls are what M and I claimed for Thanksgiving this year. We also threw together a cranberry relish, because what is Thanksgiving without cranberries? Last year I made two different types of cranberry dishes because we received so many cranberries in our CSA box (I had never made them from scratch before). This year we managed to make the favorite of the two and somehow it seemed better than last. We did reminisce about the cranberry sauce that comes in a can and kind of slurps out. I used to love the stuff when I was a kid… oh how things have changed. The relish was probably the easiest and least time consuming of the recipes we made – 5 minutes tops. The Creme Brulee wasn’t too difficult to prepare, it required 2 hours chilling time, and the rolls needed ample time to rise in our freezing apartment (thank you gas stove for staying warm while you weren’t baking to help out the process).
I’m pretty sure this is going to be his traditional dish for Thanksgivings to come. And whether they show up next year the size of your face I guess we’ll wait and see.
I love monkey bread. It never occurred to me that people did not know what this delicious bread was until I was making it for brunch. My friend told me she never heard of it until college and she was on the phone with another friend who had never heard of it either. So, for those of you in the same boat I welcome you to the land of deliciousness… Monkey Bread is a sweet pull-apart bread made of mini rolls dipped in a sugar/butter mix and baked into a sticky gooey mess. It is great for brunch or even dessert and unfortunately has nothing to do with real Monkeys.
For now (whilst my dear pumpkins are decorating the house for the season) I have been busy with the canned version. Over the next few posts I hope to share some of my favorite pumpkin recipes including this first post about a very versatile bread base. I found a recipe a few years back on the AllRecipes.com website that I have altered many times to cut the fat. It can be turned into loaves of bread or muffins, or a combination if you use the whole recipe. It tastes great with nuts or chocolate chips, and this time I made a loaf with green pumpkin seeds. All delicious.
Pumpkin is something I never grow tired of, and one of the first pies I made from scratch. It is so simple to use from a can, especially since the canned pumpkin folks haven’t added strange life extending chemicals to the mix. I am happy to say that my can of pumpkin contains solely “pumpkin”. Pumpkin from scratch is good as well but a lot more work. First you have to cut it in pieces which may be a challenge if you don’t have a super sharp chef’s knife. Then you wait around while it roasts, then you scoop out the contents, then you blend it up and hope your pumpkin was big enough to yield more than enough for you recipe. I enjoy cooking it from scratch every now and then, but typically I am using a butternut squash and making an amazing soup. Maybe this year I’ll try and recreate one of my favorite dishes, pumpkin curry with chicken….
I used the entire recipe below and made muffins – half with chocolate chips and half with a crumb topping. I had the crumb topping left over from the apple crisp and will say that it was not the most interesting addition to the muffin. Chocolate chips on the other hand are amazing. Pumpkin and chocolate go together well. I was mildly depressed that I hadn’t just made the whole batch with chocolate chips (I think M was too). The other half of the batter I dumped into my loaf pan and topped it generously with green pumpkin seeds. These are really tasty seeds and when added to the top of the bread toast very well. I don’t much like my muffins to taste like they should be a dessert so I steer clear of the cream cheese filling. A dear woman who my sister and I call “grandma Blanch” makes a very heavy pie with cream cheese and lots of whipped topping. I can only eat a sliver of it. I can however eat a decent slice of pumpkin cheesecake (which I should make for this Extravaganza). I hope you find some canned pumpkin to try out the upcoming recipes with. If you have any great ideas let me know!
Pumpkin Bread Base
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 C plain yogurt
2/3 C water
2 C white sugar
3 1/2 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
and a splash of vanilla if you feel like it
1/2 C chocolate chips, 1/4 C pumpkin seeds, 1/4 C walnuts or almonds chopped
Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease and flour one 9×4 inch loaf pan and line 12 muffin cups. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, yogurt, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Fill the muffins 2/3 full and pour the rest into the loaf pan. Bake muffins for 25 minutes and the loaf for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Maybe some delicious finger foods, a small room full of girls, old friends, new friends, and lots of great conversation. I think we had it covered. A couple of weeks ago my good friend Joey and I hosted what we called the Tea & Book exchange. Our intention was to get a bunch of girls together to exchange books. Yes, that simple. Joey and I have been exchanging books back and forth for a while now and we decided it was time to branch out. We had a lot of girls show up (just over 20) and they brought the expected chick lit, some books stolen from husbands, and a few serious books. It was a hit. We requested each lovely lady bring one book but most people brought a lot more.
1 cup packed cilantro ( leaves and stems)
1 cup packed mint (leaves only)
1/4 small red onion coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Up to 2 tablespoons water
Blend it all in a blender until you get a smooth paste. Add water if
needed to aid on the blending. Refrigerated chutney will keep for 4
day. Smear on bread with cucumber for a tea sandwich or add to fish too.
2 cups flour
1-2 tblspns green tea powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
sift the flour, powdered tea and salt into a bowl. In a mixer bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar until fluffy. Add flour mixture to mixer bowl and mix slowly until dough just comes together.
Pull dough into a log aprox. 2″ in diameter. Wrap dough log and place in freezer for 30 minutes until dough has firmed to the touch. Slice dough into 1/4″ rounds and place on silpat lined cookie sheet, aprox 1″ apart.
bake on preheated oven at 325 for 16 to 18 minutes or until cookies
start to turn golden