Monday, April 18, 2011

Sourdough Bread

I made myself a starter a month or so ago and have been looking for a recipe that I really enjoyed since then. This is definitely it!
Annie's Eats is where I learned how to do the starter.
1 cup "fed" sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
5 cups Flour

Combine all of the ingredients, kneading to form a smooth dough. Allow the dough to rise, in a covered bowl, until it's doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
Gently divide the dough in half; it'll deflate somewhat.
Gently shape the dough into two oval loaves; or, for longer loaves, two 10" to 11" logs. Place the loaves on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.
Make two fairly deep diagonal slashes in each.
Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's a very deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.


One more down on my 30 by 30. This one was great and might just make me gain a few pounds before I hit 30. How have I never made this before? It was super easy and was delicious, especially on the sourdough bread I made last night!
I found a great tutorial of sorts on Joy th Baker.

1c heavy whipping cream
1/4t sea salt

Put whipping cream in your stand mixer with whisk attachment and whip... and whip... and whip until the fat separates from the milk. Use a wire mesh strainer to strain the milk out (the buttermilk) and put it bake into the mixer and beat a bit longer to solidify it. Add in the salt and voila! Butter! The boys really enjoyed watching it turn from liquid to solid and enjoyed it all the more melted onto some fresh bread!

Smothered Chicken

This is #10 on my list over there on the right. I made a version of this when Phil and I were living in Italy and I was still really new to cooking regularly. I found this recipe to be almost overwhelming. I am pretty sure I overcooked the chicken and just about burned the gravy as it bubbled all over our stove. I wanted to give this recipe another try to see if my ability to manage something like this has improved. It has. Majorly! This wasn't even the most stressful recipe I made this week! The benefits of time and experience at work.
It was pretty good but I can't imagine we'll make this too often. I also wasn't a big fan of the biscuits in this recipe. I think it could have been improved quite a bit by using a bigger fluffier biscuit like these. Here is the recipe I used, though.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 whole chicken fryer, cut into pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 tablespoon Paula’s House Seasoning
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup water
2 cups self-rising flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
For the chicken:
Heat the oil in skillet over medium heat.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Combine the flour and House Seasoning in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture and add to the hot oil. Brown the chicken on each side and remove from skillet. Add the vegetables to the skillet and saute until tender. Return the chicken to the pan and add a 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook until tender, approximately 25 minutes.
For the biscuits:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar and shortening. Stir in the milk and mix together until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
The dough will be sticky. Dust your work surface with additional flour. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Gently fold each side toward the center. Picking up the dough and dusting the work surface with additional flour. Return the dough to the floured surface and fold each side towards the center again. Turn the dough over and press it out to a 1-inch thickness. Cut out biscuits, using a 2-inch round cookie cutter.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat in a small saucepan. Spread 1 tablespoon on a 10-inch round cake pan and arrange the biscuits in the pan. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the remaining butter and set the pan aside to rest for 15 minutes before baking. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve with the chicken.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sally Lunn Bread

This bread was no nearly as good as I was hoping it would be. Putting it up here to document for my 30 by 30 thing. It's been pretty fun so far trying new things every few days. The one nice part about this was it was really low maintenance for bread, but I'd rather put in more work for a better tasting bread. But, now I know what Sally Lunn bread is like!

2 cups (250 grams or 8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams or 7/8 ounce) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
1 1/8 teaspoon (1/2 packet or 1/8 ounce) active dry yeast
3/4 cup (177 ml) milk
4 tablespoons (57 grams or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

In a large bowl, mix 3/4 cup flour, sugar, salt and dry yeast by hand or with an electric mixer.
In a saucepan, heat the milk and butter together until the mixture is warm (105 to 110 degrees); don’t worry if this butter isn’t completely melted. Gradually pour the warm ingredients into the dry mixture and mix with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or stir vigorously by hand with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes. Add the egg, yolk and another 1/2 cup flour and beat again for 2 minutes by machine or 3 by hand. Add the last of the flour and beat or stir until smooth.
Scrape down bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap. Let rise for one hour or until doubled. Meanwhile, butter and flour a 9×5x3-inch loaf pan. Once the dough has doubled, scrape it into the prepared pan. Cover with buttered plastic wrap and let rise for a total of 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, however, remove the plastic and preheat your oven to 375°F.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Heatter says the bread should make a hollow sound if tapped with your fingertips but I haven’t weathered mine enough yet that I didn’t find it unpleasant.
Cool in pan for 5 minutes then turn out to a rack to cool

Tortilla Soup

This recipe is courtesy of Pioneer Woman. I tweaked it as I was making it and it turned out delicious!! We'll be making it again probably in the near future.

2 whole
 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Cumin
2 teaspoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 teaspoons Salt
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Diced Red Onion
1/2 Diced Green Bell Pepper
3 cloves Garlic, Minced

1/2 mild Chile (I used an Anaheim)
1 can
 (28 Oz. Can) Diced Tomatoes 

4 cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock
4 cups Hot Water

2 cans (15 Oz. Can) Black Beans, Drained
3 Tablespoons Cornmeal
5 whole Corn Tortillas, Cut Into Uniform Strips Around 2 To 3 Inches
For the garnishes:

Sour Cream
Diced Avocado
Diced Red Onion
Salsa Or Pico De Gallo
Grated Monterey Jack Cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix.

Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (I used frozen chicken breasts and so baked them for 40 minutes), or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.
Pour in tomatoes, chicken stock, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.
Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed—add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.
Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and grated cheese, if you have it! (The garnishes really make the soup delicious.)

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Found this one on Annie's Eats and we LOVE it! It'll be a keeper around here.

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground sirloin (or ground turkey)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
1¼ cups dry red wine, divided
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. dried pasta, such as shells
Pinch of ground nutmeg
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
¼ cup heavy cream
Parmesan cheese for serving
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Crumble the ground meat into the pan.  Cook until no longer pink and starting to brown, 5-7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add 1 cup of the wine to the pan and stir, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water according to the package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, finish the sauce.  Stir in the nutmeg, basil, cream, and remaining ¼ cup wine.  Simmer for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


While at Dunkin Donuts one morning I looked at the shelves and had a realization. If I could successfully make pretzels which are a boil then bake recipe... I could probably make bagels too! So here we are! 
I mixed in about 1/2 whole wheat flour attempting to feel less guilty about eating these. 
Oh and for the record, I did try my recipe for chocolate chip donuts but was completely unimpressed. I'm checking it off the list, but I won't be making that particular recipe again.

  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  1. In large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour and yeast. Mix water, 3 tablespoons sugar and salt together, and add to the dry ingredients. Beat with a mixer for half a minute at a low speed, scraping the sides of the bowl clean. Beat at a higher speed for 3 minutes. Then, by hand, mix in enough flour to make a moderately stiff dough.
  2. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes). Cover, let rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Cut into 12 portions, shape into smooth balls. Poke a hole in the center with your finger, and gently enlarge the hole while working the bagel into a uniform shape. Cover, let rise 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, start a gallon of water boiling. Put 1 tablespoon of sugar in it, mix it around a bit. Reduce to simmering. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. When the bagels are ready, put 4 or 5 bagels into the water, and cook 7 minutes, turning once. Drain them. Place on a greased baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

40 Minute Whole Wheat Rolls/Hamburger Buns

This one wasn't on my list, so we'll call this an extra credit assignment. Boy, were these perfect! Phillipp even said, "No more store bought buns for us!" I found this recipe here.

  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups all purpose flour
Dissolve yeast in water. Add oil and sugar. Let stand 5 minutes. Add egg, salt, and enough flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding remaining flour as needed. Do not let rise. Divide into 12 pieces (for buns I divided into 9), shape each into a ball. Place about 3 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pizza Bites

I am officially kicking off my plan of trying to make 30 new things by the time I turn 30! This was my first attempt. It was a raving success! Perfect way to start!
I found this recipe here.

1 - pizza dough
pizza or marina sauce for dipping
2 - tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 - tablespoon olive oil or melted butter
1/2 - teaspoon garlic powder
1 - teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
mozzarella cheese or string cheese cut into pieces
Pizza toppings of your choice:
pepperoni slices, hamburger, sausage, ham, veggies, pineapple, etc.

You can use homemade pizza dough or store bought. Preheat oven to heat specified on pizza dough package. Usually it's 400 degrees. If you make your own dough, 400 is usually a good heat as well. Unroll your pizza dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll the dough so it's about 12" by 8". You're going to want to cut it into 24 squares.

Place cheese and desired toppings on each square. (Note you're not putting the marinara sauce on the dough- it's for dipping after). You need to be able to enclose the toppings in the dough. When all of your dough squares have cheese and toppings on them, carefully lift up each square and wrap the dough around the toppings. Pinch to make sure each ball is sealed shut and then place them seam side down in a lightly sprayed pie pan (or similar sized dish).

Brush the tops of the dough balls with olive oil or melted butter (I used butter) and then sprinkle with the garlic and Italian seasoning and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve warm with warmed marinara sauce on the side for dipping.