Sunday, November 23, 2014

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup from Karen's Kitchen Stories

French onion soup is my all time favorite. I love the caramelized onion flavor, the toasted baguette croutons, and the gooey gruyere cheese on top. The beef broth is sweetly flavored with fresh thyme.

French Onion Soup from Karen's Kitchen Stories

This soup is really tasty, looks elegant, and the base can can be made in advance, making it really easy to prepare for company. Why haven't I made this before (she says, smacking herself in the forehead)?

French Onion Soup from Karen's Kitchen Stories

Thank goodness for Secret Recipe Club led by Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes, who works really hard to keep things going. It's a group of bloggers who are assigned another member's blog from which to choose a recipe to make once a month. We all reveal whom we had on the same day and at the same time. This was the impetus I needed to make my all time favorite soup.

My assigned blogger is Susan of Food, Baby, Life. She is raising three boys, all under 5 years old, and lives in Australia. She's actually been blogging for almost six years! Now that she is a mom, she likes to cook healthy, but I'll forgive her for that (just kidding Susan!). She also has been an avid Tuesdays with Dorie baker. Just check out her Recipe Index.

I immediately chose Susan's French Onion Soup, and I'm so glad I did. Delicious!

French Onion Soup from Karen's Kitchen Stories


French Onion Soup Recipe

Adapted from Food, Baby, Life, who adapted it from Taste.com 
Serves 6 to 8 as a starter, and 4 to 6 as a main course. 

Ingredients

6 T unsalted butter
4 very large brown onions, peeled and sliced crossways into rings
3 garlic cloves, sliced and crushed
1 tsp sugar
3 T all purpose flour
1/2 C dry red wine
6 C beef stock
1 bouquet garni (a few sprigs of thyme, parsley, and bay leaves tied together or wrapped in cheesecloth)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 good baguette, sliced on the diagonal in 1/2 inch slices
1 to 2 cups of freshly grated gruyere cheese (depending on how gooey you want your cheese to be. Next time, I'm adding more =)

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a large (6 to 8 quart) saucepan or saute pan over medium heat. 
  2. Add the onions and garlic and sprinkle with the sugar. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are soft and a medium golden color, about 30 minutes (I veered a bit from the original recipe here, and cooked the onions quite a bit longer)
  3. Add the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is cooked through, about a minute or two. 
  4. Add the wine, and cook for another minute or two. 
  5. Add the broth and bouquet garni and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  6. Remove the bouquet garni and season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
  7. Toast the baguette slices in a toaster, toaster oven, or under the broiler. If using the broiler, toast both sides. 
  8. Place an oven rack about 6 to 8 inches below the broiler and turn it on. 
  9. Fill broiler safe soup bowls or ramekins with the soup and top with two slices of the toasted baguette. Place a good handful of cheese in each bowl over the toast and soup. Place the bowls on a baking sheet, and broil for about a minute or two, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. If you don't have broiler safe bowls, you can sprinkle the toasts with the cheese, broil it, and place it on top of the soup. 


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Pain au Romarin | Sourdough Rosemary Bread

Pain au Romarin | Sourdough Rosemary Bread

When this Pain au Romarin is baking, your whole house will have an amazing aroma wafting through it.

The bread is so moist and flavorful. It is excellent with butter, and incredible toasted. While there is a decent amount of whole wheat flour, it does not dominate.

The recipe is pretty flexible, in that, once you have shaped your loaves, you can bake the bread the same day, or let them slowly rise for up to 18 hours prior to baking. The levain (starter) can also be refrigerated a day or two after it has been mixed and allowed to ferment.

Pain au Romarin | Sourdough Rosemary Bread

One of things I love about cold fermented bread is the resulting bubbly crust.

Pain au Romarin | Sourdough Rosemary Bread

Flexible baking schedule for making the bread in (almost) one day:

The night before baking day, feed your starter to create the levain.
9:00 am: Mix, autolyse, knead, and ferment your dough.
12:30 pm (approximately): Shape the loaves.
2:30 pm: Bake the loaves.

Flexible baking schedule for making the bread over two days:
7:00 am: feed your starter to create the levain.
6:00 pm: Mix, autolyse, knead, and ferment your dough.
9:30 pm: Shape the loaves and refrigerate.
6:00 pm: Remove the loaves from the refrigerator and preheat the oven.
7:00 pm: Bake the loaves.

These schedules are given as guidelines, and can be customized based on your own schedule.

The original recipe calls for 28 grams of finely chopped fresh rosemary, which is quite a bit (about 1/2 cup). I cut it back to about 17 grams, and the loaves were still very aromatic. If you want big rosemary flavor, definitely go for it.

This formula for this bread was contributed by my breadhead friend David of Hearth Baked Tunes. It was inspired by the book From the Wood Fired Oven by Richard Miscovich.

The author/baker always bakes a sprig of rosemary into the bottom of the loaves. How cool is that?

Pain au Romarin | Sourdough Rosemary Bread

Pain au Romarin Recipe

Ingredients

Levain

227 g bread flour
227 g water
45 g starter

Mix the levain ingredients in a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature for 8 hours. At this point, you can either use the levain immediately, or refrigerate it up to 24 hours. 

Final Dough

454 g water
454 g of the levain (I used all of it)
457 g bread flour
228 g whole wheat flour
17 g salt
17 to 28 g finely chopped rosemary, depending on taste

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix all of the ingredients except the salt and rosemary. Let sit for 30 minutes (autolyse). 
  2. Add the salt and rosemary, and knead with the dough hook for about 8 minutes. 
  3. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and let it rise for about 2 1/2 hours, folding the dough four times at 30 minute intervals. 
  4. When the dough has doubled in size, gently pull it out onto a lightly floured work surface. 
  5. Cut the dough in half with a bench scraper, and shape each half into a ball. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let sit for about 10 minutes. 
  6. Dust two bannetons with flour, or line two 9 inch bowls with floured tea towels. 
  7. Shape the boules a second time, creating a taut "skin" on the outside of the dough. Place the dough, seam side up, into each basket. 
  8. Cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature, for about 2 hours, until puffy. Alternatively, refrigerate the dough for about 18 hours. 
  9. Place two Dutch ovens in the oven and preheat it to 500 degrees F (If you only have one Dutch oven, bake one loaf at a time). 
  10. Remove the hot Dutch ovens and place the dough, seam side down, into them. Slash the loaves with a lame or sharp knife, cover, and place back into the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.
  11. Bake for 25 minutes covered, and 15 to 20 minutes, uncovered. The interior temperature of the bread should be 205 to 210 degrees F. 
  12. Cool the loaves completely on a wire rack. 
Sharing with Yeastspotting

20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

I'm making my shopping list for Thanksgiving dinner. While I'll probably try a new recipe or two, most of the meal will be from my "tried and true" favorites, especially the turkey and the stuffing. Who needs the extra stress, right?

If you are in the mood to serve one or two new dishes, here are some of my favorites that you might want to try. They are all pretty tasty.

pumpkin martini and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

This pumpkin martini is a delicious way to use up any leftover canned pumpkin. While I'm usually not a big fan of sweet or creamy cocktails, this one is very good.

caramelized onion tart and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

For an elegant appetizer, give this caramelized onion, goat cheese, and balsamic tartlet recipe a try.

caramelized onion jam and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

You can also assemble a platter of toasts, Boursin, and caramelized onion jam. The jam can be made in advance, making this hassle free to serve.

cabbage and apple salad and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

This cabbage salad with Braeburn apples and spiced pecans is a perfect combination of sweet and savory, and all of the components can be made in advance.

carrot soup and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

If you like to serve soup, this carrot soup garnished with bacon is satisfying without being too filling. The bacon doesn't hurt either.

roast turkey and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

This is the easiest turkey ever. No brining, no flipping the bird over during roasting. The turkey is covered in salt pork and a wet cheesecloth, which makes the turkey super moist.

stuffed turkey breast and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

This post contains my favorite stuffing recipe (it's pretty old fashioned, but that's the way I like it), as well as a recipe for stuffed turkey breast, in case you don't want to cook a whole bird.

buttery dinner rolls and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

Of course, what would Thanksgiving be without a bread basket? Here are a few suggestions:
Pull-apart buttery dinner rolls. These are incredibly soft and fluffy.

cranberry pumpkin rolls and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

Or you could make these fluffy Cranberry pumpkin rolls

sourdough corn rolls and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

or Sourdough cornbread rolls with fresh sage

spaccatini and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

or Spaccatini, little Italian rolls. I'm going to have a hard time choosing.

sauteed carrots and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

These sauteed carrots are so easy, and are full of flavor.

garlic mashed potatoes and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

I have two mashed potato recipes. These garlic mashed potatoes are the bomb,

make ahead mashed potatoes and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

or if you'd like potatoes that you can make days in advance, these make-ahead mashed potatoes are amazing. You won't have any leftovers.

cranberry sauce and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

Once you've tried making your own cranberry sauce, you'll never buy the canned stuff again. This ruby port cranberry sauce is so good, and makes a great jam and cookie filling too.

apple cider pie and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

Desserts you ask! How about apple cider pie,

pumpkin cheesecake brownies and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

or pumpkin cheesecake brownies,

pear almond tart and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

or a pear and almond tart,

mini pumpkin cheesecakes and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

or mini pumpkin cheesecakes,

cranberry and white chocolate shortbread cookies and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

or cranberry and white chocolate shortbread cookies using the fresh cranberry sauce you just made?

turkey soup and 20 Thanksgiving Day Recipes and a Bonus Turkey Leftover Recipe

Bonus recipe: Here is a wonderful recipe for turkey soup to make the next day.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Buttery Ginger Shortbread Cookies

Buttery Ginger Shortbread Cookies  from Karen's Kitchen Stories

These buttery ginger shortbread cookies are crispy and crumbly, and are flavored with both candied ginger and vanilla. The ginger flavor is mild and sweet and the ingredient list is relatively short (for me, right?). I think they would make a lovely gift packaged in cellophane bags and tied up with a pretty ribbon.

While these were baking, my house smelled like Christmas.

Buttery Ginger Shortbread Cookies  from Karen's Kitchen Stories

Another nice thing about these cookies is that you can make them on impulse! No chilling of the dough is required. Okay, you do have to let the butter reach room temperature, but if you cut it into pieces, it reaches room temperature pretty quickly. Cookie gratification.

Buttery Ginger Shortbread Cookies  from Karen's Kitchen Stories

These were a huge hit in this house for both residents and visitors (grandkids! My favorite customers).

Recipe notes:

  • The recipe calls for superfine sugar. To make it, just pulse granulated sugar in a mini food processor a few times. 
  • If you would like a stronger ginger flavor, you could add some powdered ginger to the dough. 
  • To get the dough to lift off of the wax paper, roll it out, lift off the top piece, place it back onto the dough, flip the dough over between the two sheets of paper, remove the (now) top piece of paper, and cut the cookies with the cookie cutter. This method will keep the cookies from sticking. 
  • If you'd like an even stronger ginger flavor, try this homemade ginger snap recipe

The Creative Cookie Exchange is making cookies with ginger! Check out all of my friends' ginger cookies after the recipe.

Buttery Ginger Shortbread Cookies

Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, room temperature
1/2 C superfine sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1/2 C finely chopped candied ginger
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
8 3/4 ounces (2 C) unbleached all purpose flour
Sanding or granulated sugar for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. One of the oven racks should be in the middle of the oven. 
  2. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix it with the paddle attachment on medium for about a minute. 
  3. While continuing to beat the butter, slowly pour in the sugar, the vanilla, and the candied ginger. Mix for another 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. 
  4. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add the salt. Then add the flour in thirds, mixing about 15 to 30 seconds between additions. The flour should be just incorporated. Don't over mix. 
  5. Gather up the dough and place it on a large piece of wax or parchment paper. Moosh the dough together and pat it into a rough circle. 
  6. Place another piece of wax/parchment paper on top of the dough, and roll it out, between the two pieces of paper, to 1/4 inch thick. 
  7. Cut the dough into 2 1/2 inch rounds with a scalloped or ruffled edge cookie cutter.
  8. Place the cookies onto the parchment lined baking sheets.
  9. Gather up and roll out the scraps and cut more cookies.
  10. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for about 12 to 13 minutes minutes, until the edges are beginning to brown. 
  11. When you remove the cookies from the oven, immediately sprinkle them with the sparkling or granulated sugar while the cookies are still hot. 
  12. Cool the cookies on the pan.
  13. The cookies can be stored up to five days in an airtight container. They freeze quite well. 
Recipe inspired by Sarabeth's Bakery




The theme this month is Ginger! Dried and ground, candied, fresh--if you like ginger in your cookies you have come to the right place! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links. You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hearth Sourdough | #BreadBakers Celebrate National Homemade Bread Day

Hearth Sourdough | #BreadBakers Celebrate National Homemade Bread Day

This is a special month. Not only is November a month for thanks and giving, November 17th is National Homemade Bread Day. Since we're #BreadBakers, we just had to celebrate! Our usual posts are themed, but for this one we we let our individuality shine through. There's a little bit of everything from bagels to rolls to buns to muffins and quick breads. We've got a pretty diverse line-up for you! I hope you enjoy and are inspired to bake some homemade bread today! 

Hearth Sourdough | #BreadBakers Celebrate National Homemade Bread Day

For this event, I decided to bake a bread that represents the reason and inspiration for my baking bread in the first place. Sourdough.

Baking bread, especially sourdough, is not like any other baking. There is nothing precise about it. It is affected by the weather, the activeness of the starter, and many other factors. You have to use your instincts to understand the dough. You have to have a tolerance for ambiguity and the ability to adjust to the feel and behavior of the dough in your hands.

There is something about about baking sourdough bread that has captivated me, fed my soul, and sustained me through some difficult times. That is why I chose this recipe for this particular day.

Hearth Sourdough | #BreadBakers Celebrate National Homemade Bread Day

Hearth Sourdough

Ingredients

Preferment

15 g sourdough starter (My original starter came from King Arthur Flour about five years ago. There are also lots of resources on the interwebs for growing your own)
1/2 C water
105 g (3/4) whole wheat flour

Final dough

All of the starter
240 g (1 C) lukewarm water
375 g (2 1/2 C) bread flour
12 g (2 tsp) fine sea salt

Instructions

  1. The night before baking the bread, mix the preferment ingredients in a medium bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit or 12 hours. 
  2. Mix all of the final dough ingredients in a very large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  3. After 30 minutes, stretch and fold the dough from all four "sides." Repeat the "stretch and fold" two more times at 30 minute intervals. 
  4. Cover the dough and let it rise until almost doubled, about 2 hours. 
  5. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. 
  6. Flour a banneton or towel lined bowl with a mixture of wheat and rice flour. 
  7. Shape the dough into a boule by folding the dough over itself. Lift the dough up like it is a water balloon and let the outer skin stretch over the bottom (future top) of the dough. Pinch the top of the "balloon" together. Plop it into the banneton or lined bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. 
  8. Let it rise for about 2 to 3 hours, until it is puffy. 
  9. Place a Dutch oven in your oven and preheat it to 475 degrees F. 
  10. Place a parchment lined plate over the banneton or bowl, and turn the contraption over so that the banneton is upside down. 
  11. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven. 
  12. Score the dough, and lift it, parchment and all, into the Dutch oven. Cover and place into the oven. 
  13. Bake for 20 minute. Remove the lid, and bake for another 15 minutes. The bread will be done when the interior temperature reaches about 205 degrees F and the crust is a deep golden brown.
  14. Cool completely on a wire rack.
This recipe has been adapted from Josey Baker Bread, the perfect book for the bread beginner. 


BreadBakers

I hope you enjoy our love of bread just as much as we do on this National Homemade Bread Day as you browse through these new recipes!




#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.

Sharing with Yeastspotting

Bouchon Bakery Shortbread Cookies

Bouchon Bakery Shortbread cookies

These shortbread cookies are a magical combination of flour, butter, sugar, vanilla paste, and Kosher salt. They are so simple, yet they can be so elegant, and they are perfect for a holiday table or a gift of Christmas cookies. You can make the dough in advance and refrigerate or freeze it, making holiday baking that much easier. The baked cookies can also be frozen.

Bouchon Bakery Shortbread cookies

This Short Bread recipe comes from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel. The book is big, nearly 400 big pages of heavy stock paper, and includes positively stunning photographs. It's also full of beautifully written stories about the bakery, the bakers, and the various recipes.

I bought the book about two years ago, but it has been languishing on a shelf since then. Silly me. Since I picked it up again, I can't seem to put it down.

Bouchon Bakery Shortbread cookies

Bouchon Bakery Shortbread Cookie Recipe

Ingredients

180 grams (6.3 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
90 grams (1/2 C) granulated sugar
2 grams (5/8 tsp) Kosher salt
5.9 grams (1 tsp) vanilla bean paste
270 grams (1 3/4 C plus 3 T) all purpose flour
2 to 3 T sanding sugar for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter with the paddle attachment on medium low speed until smooth.
  2. Add the sugar and salt and mix on medium low for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the vanilla and mix for 30 seconds.
  4. Add half of the flour, and mix until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Repeat with the second half of the flour.
  5. Place a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter, and mound the dough on top of it. Form the dough into a 5 inch by 5 inch block. Wrap it with the plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. 
  6. When ready to bake, place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  7. Roll the dough out to a 9 inch by 9 inch square between two pieces of wax or parchment paper. You may have to pound it a bit with your rolling pin to get it to roll out. If it gets too soft, you can put it back into the refrigerator to firm up. 
  8. With a sharp knife, and using a ruler, score the dough into four 2 1/4 inch wide horizontal strips. Next, score the dough into six 1 1/2 inch vertical strips. Sprinkle the dough with sanding sugar or granulated sugar. 
  9. Cut the dough along the scoring into 24 individual rectangles. Place the rectangles about 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet. 
  10. Place the sheet in the oven, and bake, using convection, for 13 to 15 minutes, or if not using convection, for 17 to 19 minutes. 
  11. Cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, and then move the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to three days. 
Slightly adapted from Bouchon Bakery.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Palets de Dames, Lille Style | Tuesdays with Dorie

Palets de Dames, Lille Style | Tuesdays with Dorie

Palets de Dames, Lille Style, are small, cake-like vanilla cookies, lightly glazed with a sweet icing.

They are the first recipe the Tuesdays with Dorie group is making from Dorie Greenspan's new book, Baking Chez Moi, Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere. When I first found out about this book, I preordered it, sight unseen. I am such a fangirl. In this book, Dorie Greenspan has compiled a collection of simple dessert recipes that represent the various regions of France, where she has lived for almost 20 years.

Palets de Dames, Lille Style | Tuesdays with Dorie

As always, Dorie makes what might seem complicated completely accessible.

Palets de Dames are a favorite cookie in the patisseries in Lille, a city in northern France, according to the book. They also have various iterations across the country, but the ones in Lille have this lovely pale icing.

Palets de Dames, Lille Style | Tuesdays with Dorie

These little two-bite cookies are so easy to make and so worth it. Perfect for afternoon tea.

The recipe can be found here.  To check out how other Tuesdays with Dorie participants liked the recipe, visit here. You can buy the book here.