Aug 28, 2013

Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic Tartlets

Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic Tartlets


These little tartlets are comprised of a combination of pretty amazing ingredients: Caramelized onion jam. Goat cheese. Puff pastry, Balsamic syrup. Thyme. Seriously good. While they are fabulous as an appetizer or part of a lunch paired with a great salad, I've actually reheated the leftovers for breakfast. 

Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic Tartlets

This recipe makes 4 four-inch rounds, but I am thinking that it would also work scaled down to mini appetizers or even baked in a mini muffin tin.

Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic Tartlets

Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic Tartlet Recipe

Adapted from the gorgeously photographed and exquisite What Katie Ate

Ingredients

1/2 C balsamic vinegar
2 T brown sugar
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
1 egg yolk, beaten with a bit of milk
6 to 8 T caramelized onion jam (from this post
4 slices of goat cheese, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
Thyme leaves from about 4 sprigs
Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Prepare the balsamic vinegar syrup: Simmer the vinegar in a small saucepan until it has been reduced by half. Add the brown sugar and simmer until you have syrup that coats a spoon. Cool and refrigerate to thicken. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. Cut the puff pastry into four 4-inch rounds and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. 
  4. Using a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter, cut 1/2 way through the rounds, creating a 1 inch border. Do not cut all of the way through. 
  5. Pierce the center of the rounds (inside the 2 1/2 inch border) several times with a fork. 
  6. Brush the outer 1 inch with the egg yolk.
  7. Spread the onion jam in the middle of the pastry inside the cut border.
  8. Top the center with a goat cheese round and sprinkle with thyme leaves and black pepper. 
  9. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until golden and puffy. 
  10. Drizzle with the balsamic syrup.
Enjoy!


Aug 25, 2013

Homemade Flour Tortillas #SecretRecipeClub


I have always wanted to make my own flour tortillas, but I thought I needed a tortilla press (the one kitchen gadget I do not own). Then I started looking through Tara's blog, Tara's Multicultural Table, and I came across this "how to" post and recipe about making your own tortillas. No fancy tortilla press needed. All you need is a rolling pin, a food processor, and a hot skillet. What a revelation!


The only changes that I made to Tara's recipe are that I made six inch rather than eight inch tortillas (as a newbie tortilla maker, I wanted to make it easier on myself, plus it gave me some room for error), and I used (gasp!) lard for the fat. A box of it jumped into my cart at the Mexican market the other day, and I needed an excuse to use it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I mean we eat bacon, right?

As serendipity would have it, a colleague gave me some of her stash of roasted Hatch chiles that make a brief appearance this time of year, so I made some Hatch chile quesadillas with these tortillas.


This is is my first time participating in the Secret Recipe Club, and I was assigned Tara's blog Tara's Multicultural Table. Tara is adorable, and her blog has so many fabulous recipes for foods from around the world. I will be visiting her blog often. Thank you Tara for inspiring me to finally make my own tortillas.

Flour Tortilla Recipe


Ingredients

3 C unbleached all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 heaping tsp salt
5 T lard, shortening, unsalted butter, or vegetable oil
3/4 C warm water plus more if needed

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, using the dough blade, add all of the dry ingredients and pulse a couple of times to evenly distribute.
  2. Add the fat and pulse until crumbly. 
  3. Slowly add the water until the dough just comes together. 
  4. Remove the dough from the food processor and knead by had to create a smooth dough.
  5. Cut the dough into 12 pieces for eight inch tortillas, or into more or less pieces, depending on how brave you are. 
  6. Roll the pieces into balls and cover with plastic wrap and let rest for about 10 minutes to relax the gluten. 
  7. Heat a dry skillet or comal (I used a cast iron skillet) over medium heat and, one at a time, roll out each ball (keeping the others covered) into a very thin round (or amoeba in my case), and cook about 30 seconds per side, until lightly browned. Place in a tortilla warmer or stack on a plate and cover with a towel. 
  8. Continue rolling out and cooking each tortilla until done. 
  9. Serve immediately or wrap with foil or plastic and refrigerate. 
  10. To reheat, microwave two at a time or reheat in a skillet one at a time. 
Enjoy!

Aug 24, 2013

Cinnamon Nut Roll Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Nut Roll Coffee Cake Brioche

Oh my goodness. Check out this amazing Cinnamon Nut Roll Coffee Cake. While it is called a coffee cake, it really is a brioche bread and should be thusly named. I now dub thee Cinnamon Nut Roll Brioche. And, it's "no knead!"

Cinnamon Nut Roll Coffee Cake Brioche

The dough is stirred the night before and left in the refrigerator overnight. It is kind of a sticky mess when you first put it together, but it comes together during the cold fermentation. It also seems like not enough dough at all for a bread the size of an angel food cake. Well... it is... amazingly enough.

Cinnamon Nut Roll Coffee Cake Brioche

Once again, the Bread Baking Babes are baking a new yeasty concoction. This month, Jamie of Life's a Feast has chosen this recipe for the Babes to bake. You need to read Jamie's great story about her three attempts at this bread, and you need to follow her blog. She is such a fabulous writer and photographer. Don't question me people. Just do it. You will be in awe.. as am I.

Cinnamon Nut Roll Coffee Cake Brioche

This bread is amazingly delicious, and when it is baking it fills your home with a fabulous cinnamon aroma that makes you happy.

You can use any type of nuts that you like and grind them to whatever texture you like. I went for a coarse grind with my food processor, but if you want to make sure that you have no gaps with the filling, go for finely ground nuts.


Cinnamon Nut Roll Coffee Cake Brioche

I am baking along with the Bread Baking Babes as a Buddy. Check out Life's a Feast for more information about being a Buddy.

Cinnamon Nut Roll Coffee Cake Recipe


Dough

14 g instant yeast (I used SAF gold)
1/4 C warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
1/2 C warm low fat milk (110 to 115 degrees F, I warmed the water and milk together in a microwave)
16 T unsalted butter, melted
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 T sugar
3/4 tsp salt
325 g unbleached all purpose flour plus more for rolling out the dough

Filling

3 large egg whites
1 C plus 3 T sugar, divided
2 C ground pecans (or other nuts). I used a mini food processor to grind the pecans. 
2 T low fat milk
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Topping

Low fat milk
Sliced almonds
Powdered sugar

Instructions


To make the dough:

  1. In a medium bowl or 2 quart dough rising bucket, add all of the ingredients and mix with a spoon or dough whisk.
  2. Cover the container with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.

To make the filling:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the egg whites on medium high until you have soft peaks.
  2. Add the one cup of sugar, one tablespoon at a time at high speed, until it is fully incorporated and you have a thick, glossy meringue. 
  3. In a large bowl, combine the nuts, milk, 3 T of sugar, and the cinnamon. Stir until moistened. 
  4. Fold the meringue into the nut mixture until fully combined. Don't worry too much about collapsing the egg whites. 

To assemble the bread:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Butter a 10 inch angel food cake pan. 
  3. Spread about 1/2 C flour onto a work surface and turn the dough out onto it.
  4. Cut the dough in half with a bench knife or dough scraper and set one half aside. 
  5. Place one half onto the floured surface. Add more flour if necessary. Flip the dough over so that both sides are dusted with flour, and then roll it out to a 12 inch by 18 inch rectangle. 
  6. Spread 1/2 of the filling onto the dough, leaving 1/2 inch all around. Brush one of the long edges of the dough with milk to help it stick after rolling up the dough. 
  7. Beginning with the other long edge, roll, as tightly as possible, the dough up into a log or jelly roll. Seal the milk brushed end by pinching the dough together. 
  8. Place this log into the pan, seam side up. Pinch the ends together once you have formed a circle in the pan.
  9. Repeat with the other piece of dough, and place it seam side down on top of the first log/roll.
  10. Brush the top of the dough with milk, and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
  11. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for one hour. 
  12. Bake the bread for about 45 minutes, until the interior temperature reaches 190 degrees F.
  13. Cool the bread in the pan for about 10 minutes on a rack.
  14. Run a sharp knife along the edges of the pan and lift out the center tube. Cool on a wire rack for about an hour. 
  15. Run a sharp knife along the bottom and center of the pan to loosen the bread. Place two spatulas under the bread and lift it onto a serving plate. 
  16. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
Babe-a-licious!


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Aug 23, 2013

100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread


This whole wheat bread is so great for sandwiches. While it definitely has a whole wheat taste, it is still soft and moist and easy to slice. The secret ingredients? Orange juice to mellow the flavor (you can't taste it at all), and potato flour, to absorb and retain moisture.

When I first got into bread baking, this was the first whole wheat bread that I tried. While it was tasty, it was kind of misshapen and lumpy after baking. That's before I learned about "oven spring." This is the rise that a loaf of bread does right after being introduced to a hot oven. If the loaf is not over risen, it will "spring up" in the oven. 

When baking bread with whole wheat, I now put the loaf in the oven while it is still slightly under proofed and let the oven take over. How do you know when the loaf is ready? Just when the middle of the loaf has just crested over the top of the pan by about 3/4 inches. I actually use a ruler. It's amazing how much the bread rises when first placed in the oven, and it holds its shape when it is done.


100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread Recipe


Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients


2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 C lukewarm water
1/2 C lukewarm milk (I used low fat)
1/2 C orange juice
5 T melted butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 T sugar
1/4 C nonfat dry milk
5/8 ounces potato flour or potato flakes (I've made it with both... this time I used the potato flour. Substitute by weight, not volume)
15 ounces whole wheat flour

Instructions


  1. Place all of the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Stir with a large spoon or dough whisk until just combined.
  3. Move the bowl to the mixer and knead with the dough hook for about 7 or 8 minutes, until you have a smooth dough. Adjust the water/flour as you mix. Do not add too much flour.
  4. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise until doubled, about 60 to 90 minutes.
  5. Gently flatten the dough and roll it into a log. Place it into a 9" by 5" bread pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 45 to 90 minutes, until the dough has just crested about 3/4 inches above the rim of the pan.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F while the dough is rising.
  7. When the loaf is ready, place it in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.
  8. Tent the loaf loosely with foil and continue to bake for another 25 to 30 minutes. The center of the loaf should reach 190 degrees F.
  9. Turn the loaf out onto a rack and let it cool for about an hour. 
Make sandwiches or toast. For days. 

For this loaf, I ground my own whole wheat with the Wondermill. Check out this post for more information.

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Aug 22, 2013

How to Make Popcorn in a Pot | Back to Basics

How to Make Popcorn in a Pot: Karen's Kitchen Stories

I have always liked making my own popcorn in a pot. While microwave popcorn is pretty convenient, freshly popped "real" popcorn is so much better. Plus, you can make enough for a crowd and the only ingredients are corn, oil, and salt (unless you add your own flavorings).

How to Make Popcorn in a Pot: Karen's Kitchen Stories

I've pretty much taken it for granted that everyone knew how to make "home made" popcorn until I mentioned it at work... and got the look. The one that says "you mean you can make popcorn without a popcorn maker or a microwave?"

And then I brought in a big bowl of the stuff.... LOVE all around!!!!

How to Make Popcorn in a Pot: Karen's Kitchen Stories

If you have never made popcorn in a pan, you need to give it a try. No special equipment needed. Just a sauce pan with a lid and a stovetop.

How to Make Popcorn in a Pot: Karen's Kitchen Stories

I have been guilty of making a big pot of popcorn and eating it in lieu of lunch or dinner when I have a serious craving. My two favorite toppings are either salt or freshly grated parmesan.

One more selling point. Popcorn is great when you are having a family gathering and you need an appetizer that kids will enjoy. The kids crack up when the growing popcorn begins to lift the lid off of the top of the pan.

How to Make Popcorn in a Pot

Ingredients

3 Qt sauce pan: 3 T oil + 1/2 heaping C good quality popcorn kernels (this ratio works best with a 14" wok)
4 Qt sauce pan 1/4 C oil + 3/4 C good quality popcorn kernels 
Salt

Instructions

  1. Place the oil in the saucepan with three kernels of the corn and heat with the lid on at medium heat. 
  2. When all three kernels have popped, add the rest of the kernels, place the lid back on and remove the pan from the heat for about 30 seconds (this is a trick I learned from Simply Recipes) and then move the pan back onto the heat. 
  3. Cook the kernels on medium heat with the lid on but slightly vented so that some air can escape. 
  4. As the kernels begin to pop, shake the pan a few times back and forth (no need to go crazy on this) to distribute the kernels evenly. 
  5. Keeping the lid on but slightly vented, cook the popcorn until the popping begins to slow, lower the temperature, and remove the pan immediately when the gaps between pops are several seconds. 
  6. Dump the popcorn into a large bowl and salt to taste. You can also add butter, parmesan, cheese powder, cinnamon sugar, paprika, or anything else you like at this point.
I've also made this popcorn with bacon drippings instead of oil. Seriously amazing. 

Note: Recently I have been enjoying wok cooking and discovered from this book that cooking popcorn in a wok is great for seasoning it, so if you have a wok, it works fabulously with this recipe too. 

Aug 20, 2013

Johnnycake Cobblers

Johnnycake Cobblers: Karen's Kitchen Stories

I'd never made cobbler before! I've always wanted to, but cobbler is something that is best served right after baking it, and I am not so good at dinner and dessert unless at least some of the courses can be made in advance. Too much of a high wire act when all I want to do is enjoy being with good friends and family.

I don't know why I waited so long. This recipe is so easy! I got home from work at 5:45, tossed the ingredients together, and this was ready for dessert. To serve this dessert for dinner guests, you can make the filling and mix the the biscuit ingredients except the milk in advance. Keep the biscuit mix in the fridge to keep the butter cold, and then add the milk just before assembling and baking the cobblers. How cool would it be to pull hot, fresh cobblers out of the oven and serve them to your guests?!

Johnnycake Cobblers: Karen's Kitchen Stories

Why the name johnnycake, you ask? I asked the same question. The name comes from johnnycake meal, which is a coarsely ground white corn meal, also called Rhode Island white corn meal. I couldn't find it locally (although I didn't try all that hard). Fortunately, yellow corn meal works just fine and is actually really pretty against the colorful fruit. They taste like a cross between biscuits and corn bread.

Johnnycake Cobblers: Karen's Kitchen Stories

I cut the original recipe in half, and used low fat milk instead of cream for the biscuits (mostly to avoid going to the store). I used both plums and nectarines for the filling, but any stone fruit or a mix of stone fruit and berries would work.

The biscuit dough is very wet, but don't be tempted to add more flour. It bakes into a beautiful crunchy biscuit that works beautifully with the fruit filling. Rustic and elegant at the same time.

Johnnycake Cobblers: Karen's Kitchen Stories

This week, the Tuesdays with Dorie group is baking two desserts from Baking with Julia. We could choose from either the Johnnycake Cobblers (p. 389) or the Raspberry Fig Crostata (p. 374). Check out the Tuesdays with Dorie website for links to everyone's posts. I always learn so much after I've tried a recipe and then get to see how everyone else fared.

This is 1/2 of the original recipe and makes two cobblers with four inch ramekins. I had a lot of extra biscuit dough left over, so you could probably adjust the proportions.

Johnnycake Cobblers


Ingredients

Filling

1 1/2 T unsalted butter
2 T sugar
4 large plums and 2 large nectarines, cut into pieces (about 3 cups of fruit pieces)

Biscuit Topping

3/4 C unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 C coarsely ground corn meal (white stone ground corn meal if you want to be totally authentic)
1 1/2 T sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 C plus 2 T milk or cream

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan or saucier over low heat.
  2. Add the sugar, raise the heat to medium, and stir until the sugar is melted.
  3. Add the fruit and cook on medium until softened.
  4. Raise the heat to medium high and cook the fruit, stirring often, until it reaches a pie filling consistency but still juicy. 
  5. Spoon the filling into two 4 inch ramekins.
  6. Place the ramekins on a foil lined baking sheet. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place a rack in the middle of the oven. 
  8. Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix.
  9. Add the butter pieces and toss them with a spoon to coat them with the flours.
  10. Pulse a few times until you have the consistency of course polenta/grits.
  11. Pour the flour/butter mix into a bowl, add the milk/cream, and stir with a fork until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. You will have a mixture with the consistency of oatmeal. 
  12. Spoon the batter over the filling. I had quite a bit left over. 
  13. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown on top. 
  14. Cool on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes. 
This dessert is best served warm, but can be kept at room temperature for a few hours. 

Aug 17, 2013

Caramelized Onion Jam

Caramelized Onion Jam

This sweet onion jam is made by taking four large onions and cooking them down for about 90 minutes until you have this caramelized jammy sweetness that even onion haters would love.

You start with about 4 quarts of thinly sliced onions..
Caramelized Onion Jam

 and end up with about three cups of sweet jam.

Caramelized Onion Jam

I have been thinking about how I'm going to use this jam. First, I served it as an appetizer along with some Boursin, toasted sourdough baguette slices, and a sprinkle of thyme along with some grapes.

Caramelized Onion Jam

I loved the combination of the cheese and the onion jam on the toast.

Caramelized Onion Jam

I'm sure this would be incredible on burgers or pulled pork sandwiches. I'm also thinking that it would be great in a grilled cheese sandwich, baked as a swirl into bread, or as a filling for savory pastries. How about mixed with cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo for a caramelized onion dip? How would you use this jam?

Caramelized Onion Jam Recipe

Recipe adapted from the stunningly beautiful cookbook, What Katie Ate: Recipes and Other Bits and Pieces.

Ingredients

4 very large onions, thinly sliced
3 T olive oil
Sea salt or Kosher salt flakes
3 T balsamic vinegar, plus more if necessary
2 T light brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Place the onion slices in a very large sauce pan. I used a 6 quart pan. 
  2. Pour the olive oil over the onions and stir them to coat all of the slices with olive oil. 
  3. Sprinkle a large pinch of the salt over the onions.
  4. Cook on medium high heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  5. Turn the temperature to low and continue to cook the onions for 30 minutes. Stir every few minutes to redistribute the onions and scrape up any onion bits from the bottom of the pan.
  6. Add in the vinegar and brown sugar and stir. Continue to cook on low for another 30 to 45 minutes, stirring regularly to scrape up browned bits, until it reaches the consistency of jam and is sweet and golden brown. If it gets too thick, add a tiny bit more vinegar.
  7. Cool, place in clean glass containers, and refrigerate. The jam should keep for about a week. 
This post is participating in Eating the Alphabet hosted by Brenda of Meal Planning Magic. We'd love to have you participate too. This month's letters are M, N, and O. This is a time to get creative and try a new ingredient you're not too familiar with or perhaps share a family favorite that you know is a winner. Savory, sweet or in between--that's up to you! If you'd like to join in, check out this post about participating. It's not too late. And check out the other recipes with ingredients that start with M, N, or O in the thumbnails below. 




Letters M, N &/or O Link up on 8/15/13

Aug 16, 2013

The Yale Cocktail

The Yale Cocktail

This is the Yale Cocktail. It has a lovely flavor that isn't girlie at all, blue color notwithstanding. 

It's back to school time! Because this cocktail is named for one of the Ivy League colleges, I thought I'd make it in honor of the start of the new semester.

The Yale Cocktail

There are several versions of this cocktail, and evidently the original recipe involved creme de yvette, a liquor that is a blend of berries and violets. I guess for years creme de yvette was not available, so variations of this version with blue Curacao became the standard formula.

The Yale Cocktail

For the rest of the country, summer is usually winding down right about now. For those of us in southern California, there are still a few more weeks of heat left... pretty much until Halloween. September can be pretty brutal. One of the last college football opening games I attended, several band members were carried off of the field on stretchers due to the heat. I guess I'm saying that it's really difficult to get into the "back to school" spirit here.

Therefore, to toast back to school, I offer my take on this refreshing cocktail, Ivy League name and all that. While it's not quite Yale blue, here's a toast to the annual back to school routine.

Yale Cocktail

Ingredients

2 1/2 ounces gin
1 1/2 tsp dry vermouth
1 1/2 tsp blue Curacao
dash of orange bitters
Optional: a squeeze of half of a Clementine orange

Instructions

  1. Chill a martini glass in the freezer or fill a cocktail glass with ice. 
  2. Fill a glass or martini shaker with ice and add the ingredients.
  3. Shake or stir and strain into the chilled or ice filled glass. (In the summer, I will sometimes allow some of the ice pieces slip into the cocktail glass. Purists will object, so it's up to you whether or not you want to let some of the ice shards into your cocktail.)
  4. Toast to back to school. 

Aug 13, 2013

Hot Pepper Beef | Wok Wednesdays

Karen's Kitchen Stories: Hot Pepper Beef | Wok Wednesdays

This Hot Pepper Beef from Grace Young's Stir Frying from the Sky's Edge, a James Beard Board Foundation Award Winner published in 2010, is, as Grace describes it, pretty accessible for those who don't have access to specialized Asian ingredients. That does not mean that the dish isn't amazing.

Hot Pepper Beef

The only things I had to buy for this dish were a red onion, green bell pepper, and a flank steak. Everything else was in my pantry. Cool.

Hot Pepper Beef

This recipe is amazingly easy. Even I, the mess queen, do not make a giant mess when making this stir-fry. Just a medium mess. Mostly because I do not read ahead to get everything prepped in advance. I try.... I really do. With this recipe, it was really easy.

Hot Pepper Beef

The one thing that I would like to figure out about stir-fry is how to host a dinner party with a variety of stir-fry dishes. I love the dishes in this book, and would love to do a sort of Chinese food dinner party with all of these recipes. I've done it with my family, but dinner guests get really uncomfortable when you are conducting a stir-fry high wire act in front of them.

So what am I saying? I think this dish would really lend itself to being made in advance and warmed up, kind of like Chinese take-out. Other dishes from this book that would work? Maybe these Wok Seared Vegetables, this Chinese Indian Vegetarian Fried Rice, and Stir-fried chicken with carrots and mushrooms. We have a rice cooker that would create white rice to go with these dishes. What do you think? Would you come to my house for dinner? Any other suggestions from the book?

While you are thinking about it, I just want to add that this Hot Pepper Beef is incredibly flavorful and amazing. Flank steak, red onion, green bell peppers, Hoisin, and Ketchup are the stars of this dish. I added some red bell peppers that we had grown in our back yard, and I like the flavor and the color. I think some yellow bell peppers would be nice too.

Let's just say, I made sure that I snagged any leftovers.

To get the recipe, visit Grace Young's website. or buy the book (for not just this amazing recipe, but many more seriously good stir-fried dishes). It looks like she too added some red bell peppers.

Thanks, Grace, for an amazing recipe... again.

I am participating in Wok Wednesdays hosted by Matthew Lardie. Join us!


Aug 11, 2013

Sourdough Rosemary Bread with Olive Oil

Sourdough Rosemary Bread with Olive Oil

This sourdough rosemary bread with olive oil is made with both natural and commercial yeast. If you'd like to skip the commercial yeast in the final dough for a stronger sourdough flavor, just allow for a longer rise time.

Sourdough Rosemary Bread with Olive Oil

This bread is wonderful dipped in olive oil and balsamic with some ground pepper, or even made into garlic cheese toast. It also makes excellent garlic croutons. The crust is super crunchy, and the bread itself is so full of the flavor of rosemary.

Sourdough Rosemary Bread with Olive Oil

If you don't have a sourdough starter, you can substitute a poolish. Mix about 7 ounces of water with 7 ounces of flour, add a 1/4 tsp. of instant yeast, stir, cover, and let the mixture sit for about 8 hours at room temperature and then overnight in the refrigerator.

Sourdough Rosemary Bread with Olive Oil

Sourdough Rosemary Bread with Olive Oil Recipe

Makes two 20 ounce loaves

2 ounces warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
1 tsp active dry yeast
14 ounces 100% hydration sourdough starter
8 ounces room temperature water
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C fresh rosemary, chopped
15.3 ounces unbleached all purpose flour
2.8 ounces whole wheat flour
1 T plus 2 tsp Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water and yeast and let it sit for about 5 minutes until foamy.
  2. Add the starter, the water, olive oil, and rosemary and mix with you hands, a dough whisk, or the paddle attachment for a couple of minutes. 
  3. Add the flour and salt and mix on low with the dough hook until it comes together. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a bowl scraper and adjust the hydration with extra water or flour. 
  4. Knead on medium low for about 7 minutes. Let the dough rest, covered with plastic wrap, for 20 minutes. Knead for another couple of minutes. The dough should be soft, tacky, and not very stiff. 
  5. Put the dough into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket and let it rise, covered with plastic wrap, for one hour. After and hour, deflate the dough by folding it over itself from all four "sides" and then placing it seam side down in the oiled bowl. Cover and refrigerated the dough for 8 to 16 hours. 
  6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature, about 2 hours. 
  7. Flour two nine inch brotforms/bannetons (see the photo in this post) or bowls. 
  8. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and gently form them into boules. Be careful not to deflate the dough too much. Place them seam side up in the baskets/bowls and cover with plastic wrap. 
  9. Allow to rise for about 75 to 120 minutes, until doubled. 
  10. In the meantime, place two cast iron Dutch ovens into the oven and preheat it to 450 degrees F.
  11. When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pans from the oven, turn the dough out into the pans, slash, cover, and return them to the oven. 
  12. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes, carefully remove the lids from the pans, lower the oven temperature to 400 degrees F, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until the bread interior reaches 200 degrees F. (Note: Sometimes I will move the breads to a sheet pan at about 25 minutes to prevent burning of the bottom of the loaf.)
  13. Cool on a wire rack. 
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Aug 10, 2013

Meyer Lemon Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

Meyer Lemon Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

These Meyer lemon vanilla shortbread cookies are a little softer and more airy than your typical shortbread because they contain some cream and baking soda. I'm telling you that as a baking expert.

Not.

I have no idea why one shortbread is different from another. I do know that most of the shortbread recipes I've tried do not have leavening or extra liquid. Thus my scientific observations.

I will tell you that this recipe created a lot of naked lemons. The victims...

Meyer Lemon Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

We have a very productive Meyer lemon tree in our tiny back yard. I have no idea how old it is, but the lemons it produces are huge but the rind is very thin, so I am guessing that if you make these cookies with "regular" lemons, you will not need as many.

Meyer Lemon Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

These cookies have a mild lemon vanilla flavor. The lemon is not overpowering, and they are not overly sweet. I think they are perfect with tea. Even so, my young grandsons loved them and declared them "delicious." They don't usually do that with any dessert that does not contain chocolate, ice cream, or whipped cream.

So there you go. For cake-like shortbread cookies, check these out. If you want them to be a little more "sandy" and crumbly, freeze the dough before cutting and baking the cookies.

Meyer Lemon Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

Adapted with permission from Miette: Recipes from San Francisco's Most Charming Pastry Shop.

Ingredients

5 ounces sugar
2 T lemon zest
10 ounces all purpose flour
1 C cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
6 T heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
Sparkling sugar for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Stir the lemon zest and sugar together in a small bowl, using the back of the spoon to rub the two ingredients together. Make sure they are fully combined. 
  2. Combine the flour, butter, salt, and baking soda in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the paddle attachment on low until you have a mixture that resembles corn meal. 
  3. Add the cream, lemon sugar, and vanilla until just combined. Don't over mix. 
  4. Roll the dough into a log that is one inch in circumference and wrap it with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for at least one hour, and up to 24 hours. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  6. Slice the log into 1/2 inch rounds and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Place any dough that doesn't fit back into the freezer to bake after the first sheet is done. 
  7. Sprinkle the cookies with sparkling sugar (if you don't have it, regular sugar will do just fine) and bake, one sheet at a time, 10 to 12 minutes, until golden. Remove the cookies to a cooling rack. 
  8. Bake and cool the second group of cookies as you did the first. 
Enjoy! 

Aug 8, 2013

Garlic and Sea Salt Pita Chips

These garlic and sea salt pita chips are an easy and delicious appetizer. 

Garlic and Sea Salt Pita Chips

These garlic and sea salt pita chips are a happy result of my pita bread experiment. After baking a batch of pita bread for this Mediterranean pizza, I had several pitas left over. I posted a photo of some of the ugliest misshapen versions of the pitas on Instagram, and my nephew suggested pita chips.

Garlic and Sea Salt Pita Chips

Oh yeah. The best part of these chips? They are so crunchy savory good. The worst part of these chips? I couldn't stop eating them. Fortunately, my son dropped by and took them off of my hands. I was kind of out of control.

Garlic and Sea Salt Pita Chips

Garlic and Sea Salt Pita Chips Recipe

Ingredients


4 pita breads, split in half so that you have eight rounds
1/2 C olive oil
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Coarse sea salt or Kosher salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine the olive oil, garlic, and pepper and allow it to sit for about 30 minutes. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Brush the pita rounds on both sides with the infused olive oil and then cut the breads into eight triangles with a pizza cutter or a sharp knife.
  4. Arranged the triangles on a baking sheet and sprinkle them lightly with your fingers with the salt.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes and then flip them over with a spatula.
  6. Bake until crispy, about another 10 to 20 minutes, depending on their thickness.
  7. Cool the chips on paper towels. Once they are cooled, place them in an air tight container. If you can resist them. 
Garlic and Sea Salt Pita Chips