Monday, May 31, 2010

Twisted-up Everything Bread ...and yummy stuff for shmearing...on Moon & Stars bread...or any other.

There's been lots of fun with yeast around mi casa over past week or so.  I went to make another batch of Whole Grain Artisan bread, only to realize I was basically out of Whole Wheat flour...and I had already begun mixing the other things. I changed it up a bit and hoped for the best.  I ended up having less than a cup of the ww flour, so I subbed bread flour...not quite as healthy, but turned out every bit as satisfying!  Next came deciding what to actually make from the dough.  This was a crazy week anyway with it being the last week of school for the kiddos...which included field trips, end of year programs and field day...so we were out of the house a lot.  That's one of the cool things about making the no-knead dough...it lasts a few days in the fridge.  Although, my dough was kind of iffy this week...it seemed to be getting a bit too wet!?  It was hard to form...it just sort of sat and spread it's way across the surface it was resting on.  Basically it didn't rise as well as it could have, but you know...it didn't lose any of its appeal. You know how I adore food with rustic appeal, anyway.

The first loaf I made was from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day...called Moon and Stars Bread...although I prefer to call it Crescent Moon bread; that's what it looks like after all!  Since this was the first loaf made from the dough, it wasn't quite as wet as it got later...but you can tell it didn't rise as much as a regular, kneaded loaf.  But the dusting of sesame seeds on top and the fun shape totally made up for it!  I used the recipe (slightly adapted, obviously...with the flours) for Whole Grain Artisan Bread found HERE at the HBin5 website.  From here you just form a 1 lb. size piece of the dough into tapered ends and form it into a crescent shape.  After a 90-minute rest, brush it with water and sprinkle it with sesame seeds before cutting slits around the sides with kitchen shears.  Bake ~30 minutes or until done.

This was a great tasting loaf made even better by shmearing with a little White Bean and Roasted Garlic Purée w/ Thyme, which is from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman.

White Bean Purée with Roasted Garlic (& thyme)
slightly adapted
2 c. cooked Great Northern Beans
20 roasted Garlic cloves
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbs. olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Purée beans, garlic and thyme in blender or food processor...adding a bit of the bean cooking liquid or water or stock until it just makes a smooth purée.  Add to small saucepan with olive oil and mix until hot.  Season with salt and pepper.  Dip it, spread it, shmear it!

...and now on to my favorite surprise from this dough...a happy surprise!  Although I had my doubts...when I turned out the last 3 pounds of the dough onto the counter, it was wet.  Very, very wet.  I added a bit of flour just to help me form the loaves.  I divided it into five ropes and rolled each rope in different delicious toppings.  I wanted to make a twisted-ropelike loaf...um...it was a struggle just to braid them.  Once I left the loaves (I cut it in half because it was a lot of dough) to rise...they just sort of melted together...no visible twist.  Ugh.  BUT, the gorgeous toppings were still twisted and combined and scattered...they looked gorgeous!

I let them rise for ~1 hour and cooked them at 450 degrees F for ~35 minutes, until they were golden and inviting!  What was really cool about the bread was the goodies enveloped inside...since the ropes melded together, there were seeds, crunchy salt, pungeant garlic and mellow, roasted, delicious garlic cloves hidden inside!  It was soooo tasty.  It didn't form and rise perfectly...as a matter of fact it kind of looked like a loaf of ciabatta...but man, was it tasty!

It was delicious sliced lengthwise and made into sammies!  I used what I had today which was salami, pepper-jack cheese, roasted red peppers and bbq potato chips...sound strange?  It was awesome! Mingled with all the deliciousness going on in the bread itself...I think I'll go make another when I'm done here, actually.

Me and my Twisted Everything Bread...we're goin' places.  Like on a picnic...yeah, that sounds perfect.

*I am submitting my Twisted Everything Bread to my friend Natashya at Living in the Kitchen with Puppies for Bread Baking Day #30~ Breads with a twist.
*I am submitting both breads to the current HBin5 Bread Braid...our host for HBin5 is Michelle of Big Black Dog...where the HBin5 group is based!
*The White Bean Purée with Roasted Garlic is my entry to this week's Herb Garden theme over at IHCC...please join us!
*And last, but not least...I'm sending the bread to Susan at Wild Yeast submission into Yeastspotting this week.
Whew!
BreadBakingDay #30 - last day of submission June 1st, 2010HBin5IHCC
This bread has been YEASTSPOTTED!!!





Saturday, May 29, 2010

Key Lime Cake with Pepitas

I saw a picture a couple of months ago...I couldn't get it out of my head.  It was a picture of a cake...a cake that looked so simple...but whose name implied it was so much more!  That picture was on a newsletter from Rick Bayless (say it with me...genius!).  It was a cake developed in his test kitchen by his test kitchen chef, Deb (I should probably lump her into the genius! category, as well...she's the one behind the scenes, afterall).  Imagine if you will a cake flavored with that classic tartness of the key lime...yet grounded through the nutty, earthy crunch of toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds).  Are you feelin' it?  I adore the simplicity of this more than anything else...the rustic look.  It's not too sweet, but it's moist and very easy on the tastebuds.  There was a time, up until recently, if I was asked the question "cake or pie?", I would have said an enthusiastic "PIE!".  I was always a pie and coffee kind of gal.  And I still lean more towards pie...but I've discovered  a lot of cakes over the last year or so (including this one) that make me ask "what kind of cake?" before I answer that question these days.
Key Lime Cake with Pepitas
recipe from Rick Bayless
Serves 8 

Cake
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons grated key lime rind
1/2 cup toasted and salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Key Lime Syrup
1/2 cup fresh squeezed key lime juice (approximately 12 key limes)
1/2 cup superfine instant dissolve sugar
9-inch x 2-inch deep cake pan, buttered, bottom lined with parchment

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until soft and light. Add the eggs and continue mixing until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add in thirds, alternately with the sour cream. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the grated key lime rind. Scrape the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and sprinkle the pepitas evenly over the top. Place the cake on the middle rack and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

While the cake is baking, whisk together the key lime juice and superfine sugar in a small bowl. Continue mixing until all the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then, using a wooden skewer, poke holes all over the surface of the cake. Spoon the key lime syrup evenly over the cake while it's still warm. You can unmold the cake once it's completely cooled.

The key lime syrup soaks in and permeates every bite!  A nice change...one I prefer...from standard Key Lime Pie.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll let this cake work it:

SUPERMODEL!

flash-back Friday Cookin' for my Captain


Friday, May 28, 2010

Can you smell my GARLIC BREATH!?

We are eating lots and lots of garlic here at la casa this week!  Yup, we love our garlic...can't get enough.  I tried two new and successful, I might add ways to use garlic in the past couple of days.  What's not to like about garlic...it's tasty, it's good for you, it helps repel bugs and most vampires....  I found some gorgeous Tuscan Kale at the Farmer's Market this week, so I knew that was getting matched up with some stinking rose!  I found a great recipe in Food Matters by Mark Bittman that used both, plus paired them with tofu.  This was my favorite of the two dishes I'm sharing today.

Pan-Cooked Greens with Tofu and Garlic
slightly adapted from Food Matters
yield: 4 svgs.

1 lb. firm tofu
1 1/2 lb. kale, Napa cabbage, bok choy, or other thick-stemmed Asian greens I used Tuscan Kale, sliced in 1" sections
3 Tbs. peanut or veg oil, plus more if needed
3 Tbs. nam pla (Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce), or soy sauce   I used fish sauce
1 small chile, stemmed, seeded if you like, and minced, or crushed red chile flakes to taste  I used crushed red chiles
1 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. lime juice or rice vinegar, or to taste  I used rice vinegar
2 or 3 cloves garlic, cut into slivers  I used 4 cloves, sliced paper-thin
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Press excess water from tofu.  Cut into slices, cubes or crumble. Set aside. Put one Tbs. oil in large skillet over medium-high.  Add kale (or do it in 2 rounds if pan is not big enough) and cook, stirring often until it is tender and slightly browned.  Repeat if necessary.  Remove from pan.  Add another Tbs. of oil and sauté tofu until slightly browned; add garlic to pan for another minute or so.  Add kale back in and toss around.  Remove from heat.  Combine remaining ingredients and toss. Eat.

I just felt healthier eating that.  Hmmm.  And can I tell you again how much in love I am with Robert Rodriguez tofu!  Good stuff, Maynard.  I also made a quick dish using cod from HTCE by Bittman.  It used garlic in the finishing sauce...slightly spicy and very tasty.



Sautéed Cod w/ Spicy Garlic Sauce
from How to Cook Everything

1/4 c. peanut oil
salt & pepper
2 cod fillets
flour for dredging
2 Tbs. minced Garlic
1 Tbs. grated ginger
1 Tbs. dry white wine
1/2 c. stock or water
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic chile paste
cilantro and lime wedges for garnishing

Heat large skillet over med-high for a few minutes.  Add oil and when hot, season fish well and dredge in flour, shaking off excess; add to pan.   Raise heat to high and cook until browned on each side.  Total cooking time will be ~10 minutes.  Remove to warm plate.

Pour off any remaining oil in pan and carefully wipe it out.  Add 1 Tbs. fresh oil and turn heatr to high.  Add garlic and ginger and cook 15 seconds.  Add wine followed almost immediately by stock.  Cook for 30 seconds, then add soy and garlic chile paste.  Pour sauce over fish and serve immediately. Garnish with chopped cilantro and lime wedges.

I served this with Incan Red Quinoa and Broccoli & Shiitakes in a garlic-ginger-chile sauce.  It was a good meal...not my favorite ever, but good.

This garlicky goodness is all being to submitted to this week's IHCC theme Garlic Breath!!  Head on over there to see what other aromatic dishes are cookin'.
IHCC





Wednesday, May 26, 2010

First you were sent Over The Edge...now you're getting some Homemade Tortillas and Breakfast Tacos! You're welcome ; )

A year ago I posted some food so good you were in danger of being sent "over the edge"....do you remember?  Man, time flies!  Well, one of my favorite writer/director/producer/actor/cook/gorgeousguy has more skillz than just what I showed you before.  I am, of course, referring to Robert Rodriguez...and this time I'm making his Breakfast Tacos...with homemade flour tortillas (his grandma's recipe).  This is from his 10-Minute Cooking School short on the Sin City dvd. 

Let's start with the homemade flour tortillas...

Flour Tortillas
a la Robert Rodriguez
yield: ~10 tortillas

2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 c. butter or lard (or combo)

Crumble fat into flour and mix until coarse crumbs form.  Add ~3/4 c. warm water and knead until smooth and elastic.  Form into ~10 golf ball sized balls.  Cover w/ damp cloth while you make filling.
Okay, I'm skipping ahead a bit to finish up the tortillas.  Heat a heavy skillet (I use a cast-iron comal) until pretty hot.  Flatten your dough into disks & roll out w/ rolling pin if necessary.  Lay one disc onto hot pan until bubbles form...it'll have those nice brown spots on under-side, ~1-2 minutes.  Flip and press; cook for another 30 seconds to a minute. 
Transfer finished tortillas to a tortilla warmer. Stuff with delicious breakfast taco (or other) fillings.  They're awesome just warm and plain, too.  Or with butter and cinnamon & sugar. MMMMMMM.
On to the fillings...two types.  Potato & egg and Migas. 

for the Migas: 
onion, chop
tomato, chop
jalapeño, chop
corn tortillas, cut up & fried until crisp
eggs, beaten
salt & pepper

for the potatoes & eggs:
potatoes and eggs...go figure.  Cut peel & dice the taters.  Beat the eggs.  Fry the tater cubes in some oil until golden and cooked through.  Remove from oil. Salt & Pepper.
Put some butter in a pan, add beaten eggs and potatoes and scramble until done.  Season with salt and pepper. Simple.

Put some butter in another pan...or the same, with potatoes & eggs transfered to a bowl...and add veggies.  Cook for a few minutes until they begin to get tender.  Add beaten eggs and fried tortilla pieces.  Season to taste and cook until done.  Again, simple.

Load up your warm tortillas and top as you wish...I used salsa, cilantro and queso fresco.


If Robert Rodriguez wasn't already married...and if I wasn't already married...I'd totally want to marry him ;)

Now that you've seen me cook it...watch him cook it...it's much more fun!

...and if you liked this...please say you did...head on over to my post from last year and watch him make Puerco Pibil...ah, dreamy and delicious.





*Linked to May BOM event!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bacon Cheeseburgers sliders...thanks Donna!

Apparently we've got a special place in our hearts for Bacon Cheeseburgers around our house. I say that because each time one of the kids birthdays rolls around, I get a request for them! I always ask what they want for Birthday dinner...and back comes an enthusiastic....Bacon Cheeseburgers!!  Since I get that request so often, I try to mix things up and throw a little variety in...not sure if you saw the last ones which in which I stuffed the bacon and cheese in the middle?  This time I decided to go for a mini version and make sliders.  Not just any sliders, either.  I've been holding on to Donna's (My Tasty Treasures) brother-in-law's recipe FOREVER!  I knew I'd eventually get around to making them.  Yay, cross another one off the list!  Sliders were a fun option...it was my littlest one's day anyway and these fit into his hands just right!  They worked out perfectly, so thanks Donna...and thanks Hurley!  Check out the secret ingredient in these...wasn't sure whether or not to announce it before people ate them.  A couple of the neighborhood kids came over to eat, too...I shushed mine, telling them not to give it up before they took a bite...which I immediately regretted since so many people have strong allergies...but fortunately these kids didn't (whew)!  PLUS, they asked for seconds...even after my little one spilled the beans about the secret ingredient.

Hurley’s Sliders
from Donna at My Tasty Treasures

I halved the recipe and got 16 sliders

4 pounds ground beef (85%)
2 pkgs Onion soup mix
1 cup milk
blob that's the technical term peanut butter
Dinner Rolls, ~16 for the halved recipe or however many you're making
Sliced American cheese
Lots of diced onions, ~6
I added bacon, cooked & crumbled
Condiments

Put meat, milk, soup mixes and pb in large bowl and mix w/ your hands.


Split the meat in half and place in large baking sheets. Roll out w/ a rolling pin and then flatten with your hands til it meets the edges.


Bake in a 350 oven for about 10 mins. Remove.

Scatter a bunch of onions all around the edges where the meat has shrunk. Place back in oven for about 10 minutes.

Open dinner rolls. Place bottom half of roll face down & top with top of roll face side up. Take meat trays back out of oven and scatter some raw onions on top, top with sliced cheese and bacon!, if desired and top with lined up, prepared dinner rolls. Cook another ten minutes (this softens the rolls).

When they come out of the oven, use a pizza cutter to cut along the dinner rolls to make the burgers. Lift it up, remove the top roll, flip the burger on the plate, and top with the top roll.





Add your choice of condiments and serve with fries.



Oh yes, and don't forget the cake for dessert...birthday boy wanted a Devil's Food Cake with fudge icing and sprinkles....
...so that is exactly what he got!










Monday, May 24, 2010

Whole Grain Artisan Bread


It seems like a long time since I posted my last yeast bread...I guess cuz it has been.  Hmmm (easy explanation).  Well, don't worry...I haven't given up bread ; )

This Whole Grain Artisan Bread from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day is a great all-around bread dough (and a Master Recipe from the book).  I love slicing it for sammies, ripping it off for sopping up lovely juices or soups and forming it into pizza dough...it's fantastic!
I'm going to give you the link for the Whole Grain Artisan Bread recipe at the Healthy Bread in Five website...because it's long...and I'm lazy.  Far too lazy to write it out...but I'll show you some highlights.
The beautiful rise...works every time!

Free-form baguettes rising

I wanted to add some gorgeous sea salt to the top...

Oh, Yeah!

Check out that nice crumb!



Can't you just smell it!?  This is a fabulous book for both beginners and advanced bakers, alike.  I recommend it to anyone who loves the smell of fresh baked bread permeating their kitchen!  I'm gonna try to add this to the bread braid for HBin5, hosted by Michelle of Big Black Dog...except that the braid for this particular bread was waaaaay back in January (while I was on hiatus)...time for me to get baking so I can catch up!
This bread has been YEASTSPOTTED!

I am also linking this to Chaya for her Meatless Mondays over at My Sweet and Savory. ...and to Laura of Hey What's for Dinner Mom's Just Another Meatless Monday!
Hey What's For Dinner








Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chish and fips for Eating for England...

Is it too cliché to make fish & chips when I'm feeling in a Britishy mood?  I mean, it's not like it matters since I already made them...just wondering out loud.  I can't help it that I've been craving fish & chips for at least a year now seriously and just kept meaning to make them for all that while...and then pick up a delicious book by a British writer talking non-stop about British food.  It was inevitable.  Although, for a time during my mental trip to England, I entertained other fancies.  I'm referring to Nigel Slater's Eating for England which is our  current Cook the Books selection (well, current until tomorrow...then it'll be our previous selection) hosted by Johanna of Food Junkie not Junk Food.

I went in without any expectations about Slater, because this was my first experience with him.  I have to say...he's pretty great.  He sucked me right in with his food-laden memories and humor...and the history! You know I adore food history.  Um really, the Kit-Kat is from England?  Huhn. Whodathunkit?  I mean, I guess I kinda knew subconsciously that Cadbury was, but clueless as to the Kit-Kat....and that intrigues me.  This book is broken up into bite-sized portions.  I loved being able to to sit down and read for as long...or as short...as I liked!  I'm the kinda gal that hates stopping in the middle of a chapter.  I have to get to a "stopping point" before I can put a book down!  Some books have long chapters and I know if I can only steal a few minutes to read, I may as well not even pick the book up.  But in Eating for England, I was able to keep the book with me and steal a five minute read here and there...faaaa bu looooouuuuus. 

So, back to those temptations and new information....how fun is British lingo?  Okay, the Queen's English... or is it British lingo?  I'm actually pretty ignorant on the fact, kinda embarrassing.  Jammy Dodger.  Digestives.  Biscuits as opposed to cookies.  Cracknel.  Haggis.  Marmite.  Treacle. Wafers.  Faggots and Gravy.  And perhaps my favorite thing to say...Tin.  Simply tin.  I love calling a can a tin...it's such a great word.  I love to say tin.  I try to  use it instead of can, actually...always have.  Well, always since I first heard a can called a tin.  I'm just kind of rambling, it seems.  I think that's because I can't settle on what to tell you about this book.  There was just soooo much information my brain can't settle on something.  So, that's all you're getting.  I will tell you there's 8 pages to the table of contents...because some "portions" are less than a page long...is it any wonder that I don't know where to begin?  But, I'll go to what's important...where to end!  I'd almost made it all the way to the end NOT knowing what I was going to make.  Too much inspiration.  And then I got to page 278 (of 280).  Sarson's Vinegar.  Do you know what this is?  Malt Vinegar.  I'm totally ga-ga for malt vinegar...'specially when it has fish & chips dipped in it!  It is has the smell that Slater calls "the smell of Britain."  So, although I couldn't find Sarson's...and I tried...I had no problem using another malt vinegar...for the craving that once again bared it's teeth FULL FORCE!  What Slater's dad insisted on calling Chish and fips.  I must make Fish & Chips.  I  mean, after all...according to Slater "the rest of the world thinks (we) live on."  Yup, I love those Brits and the fish & chips they survive on ;)

Fish & Chips Lunch for a sunny afternoon... yes, that's really what I'm calling this brilliant meal
serves 1

4 oz. cod, cleaned, boned and cut into strips ~2"wide
vegetable oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. AP flour
1/2 c. Newcastle Brown Ale
1 egg white
1 russet potato- peel, slice any way you wish ~ 1/4-1/2" thick

accompaniments:
Malt Vinegar...and plenty of it.
2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered & salted
1 garlic-dill pickle, quartered
More Newcastle...for drinking

Pat the fish dry and season with salt and pepper.  Preheat enough oil in a deep pan to submerge the fish (~350 degrees F). 

Mix flour and ale.  Beat the egg white until it holds a soft peak and then fold it into the mixture.  Dip the fish into the batter and place carefully into hot oil until cooked all the way through.  Remove to paper towel lined plate.  Drop your sliced potatoes into same oil and fry until golden and cooked through.  Remove to paper towel.

Serve with all accompaniments on a sunny outdoor table. 

...you could always grab a copy of Eating for England to read while enjoying...


Tuck in!

Head on over to Cook the Books in the next couple of days to see what Eating for England inspired everybody else to make...and see what they thought of the book.  And while you're there, why not join us in reading our next selection, The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister.CooktheBooksClub