As You Like It Bread

 

There was a complaint that there haven’t been enough recipes lately, so here is one of my faves. I developed it from a much older recipe that made four loaves, two white, one carrot-raisin, and one molasses spice. Four is far too many for me, so I cut it in half and then experimented with various whole-grain additions. I make this all the time. It’s easy and almost foolproof. The loaves in the pic are made with cornmeal.

You need a bit of experience with yeast breads to be able to work out my sketchy instructions. If you want to use whole wheat flour, I recommend no more than two cups in place of white flour.

 

Combine in a mixing bowl 2 cups of flour and 1 tbsp. of dry yeast. If you use whole wheat flour, it should be now.

Combine in a saucepan:

  • 1 cup whole grain (cornmeal, oatmeal, bulgur wheat, whatever)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. sweetener (sugar, honey, molasses, whatever)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. salt

and heat, with stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Add 1-1/2 cup cool water and add to the flour – yeast mixture. Beat until smooth. Add flour until the dough is ready to knead, about 2-4 cups.

Knead until the dough is springy. Allow to rise until doubled, punch down and allow to rise until doubled again. Split into two and form into loaves in loaf pans. Allow to rise and bake 40 minutes in a 400 F oven. Turn out on a cooling rack.

 








Fall Menus: Another Week in October

Another week has flown by. This week’s menus include some of my favorites.

Monday, Cream of Potato Cheese Soup, always perfect on a chilly fall day.

Potato Soup Photo by JeffreyW

Wednesday features Pan-Fried Catfish and Buttered Potatoes. You can find all the menus here: October Menus 2

Thursday is a German Pocket Burgers and Apple Strudel.  And Friday will have the kids licking their fingers with Buffalo Chicken Legs, a healthy alternative to deep fried buffalo chicken.

Complete shopping lists are here: October Weekly Shopping List 2   A reminder that the menus and shopping lists are color coordinated. You can easily disregard any item you won’t need.

JeffW’s awesome biscuit photo.

Tonight’s bonus recipe is Garlic Biscuits, below.

That’s if for this week. What’s cookin’ for you this weekend?

Tonight’s bonus recipe:

Garlic Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tbsp buttermilk powder*
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or shortening
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 cup milk*

bowl and baking sheet or cast iron skillet, greased

I prefer using butter over shortening because it gives the biscuits a buttery, garlic flavor that is irresistible.

Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in butter, stir in garlic, add milk. Stir quickly with a fork until completely moistened, don’t over mix. Knead gently on floured surface for 10-12 strokes. Roll out to ½ inch thick, cut into biscuits. Place on baking sheet or cast iron skillet, and bake at 450° for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

*or substitute 1 cup buttermilk,  then omitting buttermilk powder and milk.

 








A Late Evening Snack: Challah French Toast

I decided to perdu some pain for dinner using most of one of the challahs I made on Friday for Yom Kippur. Or more accurately after Yom Kippur was over. So without further ado…

I make a very basic custard for the bread to soak in. Usually four eggs, about a 1/2 cup of milk, a pinch or two of kosher salt, and then brown sugar, honey, and cinnamon to taste.

Here’s a nice slice of challah having a nice soak in the custard.

And here’s several pieces cooking away in the pan.

Here’s the finished, sliced, and diced challah french toast luxuriating on a plate in maple syrup.

And just to balance things out because I hadn’t prepared enough calories, I made a salami omelette.

Open thread!

 








A Late Evening Snack: Happy Jew Year

On Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur (the head of the year and the day of atonement respectively) challah is round, not the standard braided loaf. For those who aren’t carb adventurous, challah is the traditional Jewish egg bread served on the Sabbath. For the religious new year and day of atonement round challah is served to symbolize the circle of life from one year to the next.

This year I decided that I’d do something nice for my Mom for the holiday. So I made her a Rosh HaShana challah from scratch. I used LGF’s Vicious Babushka’s recipe for honey saffron challah, which you can find here. Braiding instructions for a round challah can be viewed here.

It was very easy to follow, everything went smoothly in the prep, and it baked up beautifully. It tasted as good as it looked. One note: I made what are called 3 lbs loaves. So basically my yield from the recipe were two very large loaves of round challah. I’ll be making two more at the end of this week ahead of Yom Kippur a week from tonight. Pics below in order of preparation.

Everything coming together in the mixer:

After rising and waiting for braiding.

Braided and waiting to be made into a round. Or, if you’re prepping for a highland games or Celtic festival, just bake it like this for a Judeo-Celtic Cross. Very ecumenical…

Final proofing:

Proofed and egg washed:

Fresh out of the oven and cooling:

Open thread!








Fall Menus: September Week 2

Tuesday is Oven Fried Chicken

This is a little late, but I suppose better late than never. I’ve been crazy with work and glued to hurricane coverage, as I have Florida family (and friends).

Since we are moving into cooler weather, I’m bringing the meals in from the grill and into the kitchen. Although we do have a Grilled Steak on Monday – it’s in a soy/wine marinade that I love because you can use an inexpensive cut of beef and still get a great steak out of it.

One of my favorite meals, Red Beans and Rice, heads up Wednesday’s menu. And Friday is a slow-cooker BBQ Beef on Kaiser Rolls. 

All the PDF menus can be found here: September Week 2 Menus

The color-coded weekly shopping list is here: September Week 2 Shopping List The color coding allows you to eliminate any ingredients you won’t need if you skip a recipe.

Tonight’s bonus recipe is Creole Vegetables and Black Beans, (pictured above, recipe at the bottom of post)

What’s on your plate as you end your weekend and begin your week. If you have any questions, hit the comments and I’ll try and get you an answer. Have a great week!

Bonus Recipe:

We’re trying to do a vegetarian night a few times a week. This was one of my favorite creations.

Creole Vegetables with Black Beans and Rice

  • 1 cup Jasmine Rice
  • 1 -15 oz can no salt black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • limejuice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 green onions, chopped (including greens)
  • 1/2 each: green, red and orange pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1-14 oz can no salt diced tomatoes
  • salt to taste

Cook rice according to package directions, keep warm.

Add beans and a dash of limejuice and salt to saucepan and heat through.

In a skillet, heat olive oil, add onions and saute until softened, add peppers and celery, saute for 2-3 minutes. Add carrots, cook additional 2-3 minutes and add tomatoes. Add a tablespoon of Creole seasoning (recipe below) and mix in. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium low and let simmer until carrots are tender.  Salt to taste and add more seasoning as needed.

Place rice, beans and tomato mixture in separate bowls and let everyone mix to their own taste. Put remaining Creole Seasoning on the table for garnish.

Serves 4.

Creole Seasoning

  • 2 tsp paprika (go for the good stuff)
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp dry basil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on the heat you like)

Mix all together and grind with a mortar and pestle or run through a spice grinder.  Add to tomato mixture.

*you can use dried beans, cooked and drained








Fall Menus: September Week One

If it’s a pizza photo, it has to be JeffreyW’s.

Fall is not quite here, so the menus still include grilling favorites.  Monday is Fruit Juice Marinated Chicken on the grill.  Tuesday is Pasta Rustica and Garlic Cheesy Bread.

For all of the PDF menus, click here: September Week One Menus

Thursday is Spicy Beef and Broccoli (photo above from JeffreyW) and Friday is a fun Kid’s Menu of fun and easy pizzas.

Complete shopping lists are here: September Week One Shopping List

Tonight’s bonus recipe is Blueberry Coffeecake

What’s on your plate for the holiday? Anyone else in denial it’s September already? If you have any questions about any of the recipes, let me know in the comments.

Bonus recipe:

Blueberry CoffeeCake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp cultured buttermilk powder (or 1 cup butter milk  & omit water)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 8 oz frozen blueberries

Topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup flour

8×8 baking dish, greased

2 bowls

In bowl, add flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, buttermilk and mix well. Make a well in the center add egg, water & oil. Stir quickly until all everything is mixed well, but don’t over mix. Fold in blueberries. Spread batter evenly in baking dish. In bowl, mix topping ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the top of batter. Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.








Summer Menus: August Week 3-4

I know I totally flaked out on you last week…so week 3 will be the last August menu and we’ll jump into September next week.Tonight’s bonus recipe is Veggie-Meatballs in Fire Roasted Tomato Basil Sauce is below.

This week takes advantage of the late-summer/early fall harvest.  Patty pan squash, nectarines, plums, peppers and tomatoes.

Click here for the menus PDF: August Week 3 Menus

Click here for this week’s shopping list: August Week 3 Shopping List

JeffreyW has some nice looking tomatoes, mine are still green on the vine. I’m prepared to survive any frost so they have time to ripen.

Bonus recipe:

Most of the recipes I looked at used Italian Breadcrumbs. But I really feel these need fresh breadcrumbs, so I’ve included instructions for making your own. I didn’t season mine because I didn’t want them to overpower the delicate flavors of the cheeses. Fresh breadcrumbs absorb flavors and moisture more than packaged ones, so I thought it gave the whole meatball a better, lighter texture. I added a bit of  garlic powder (fresh garlic did not work with this, it was overpowering and a touch bitter), basil, oregano and fennel. The fennel really took it up a notch. I think next time I might add a bit of red pepper flake.

Spinach and Ricotta Vegetarian Meatballs

  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (instructions below)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, asiago, romano cheese mix
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (not salt)
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 eggs, beaten

=======

  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, asiago, romano cheese
  • Olive oil

Breadcrumbs: this took a full 1-lb loaf of day-old Italian or French bread. I bought it from the day-old rack for cheap. I tore it into small pieces, spread out on a baking sheet and dried it in a 200 degree F oven for about 30 minutes. I didn’t want them toasted or seasoned because I thought it would overpower the delicate flavors of these meatballs. Once they were dried, I ran them through the blender. I reserved 1/4 cup for rolling the balls in before cooking.

Meatballs: Mix together ricotta, grated cheeses, spinach and spices. Add the eggs and mix well. Then add the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup at a time. You want it to come together to form soft balls, but you don’t want it to be dry. Once you can form a soft ball with some structure, you don’t need to add more breadcrumbs.

Scoop up a heaping tablespoon (I used my cookie dough scoop) and roll the mixture into balls.

Mix together 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup grated cheeses in a bowl and roll each meatball in the mixture, coating on all sides.

You can bake or pan fry these. I chose to pan fry, it used a bit of oil, but it gave them a nice flavor. Baking them would be my option if I was doubling the recipe.

To fry: heat olive oil in a skillet on medium and add the meatballs, leaving enough space between them to easily turn them. They are soft, so it’s a delicate process. The good news is, if you really want them round (instead of kind of flattened) you can reshape them after they come out of the pan. Turn them until they are golden brown on all sides.

To bake: place them on a well oiled baking sheet or use parchment paper. Brush them with a bit of oil if desired. Leave space around each one so they brown evenly and bake at 375 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. You can turn them halfway through if desired.

Fire Roasted Tomato and Basil Sauce

  • 28 oz fire roasted crushed tomatoes or better yet, click here to make your own.
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp fresh chopped)

Add ingredients in saucepan, bring to a low boil, reduce to low and let simmer while prepping meatballs.

Serve sauce and meatballs over your favorite pasta.

That’s it for this week. What do you have cooking as you wrap up another weekend?