Posts Tagged ‘Bread’

Green Crostini

In Cooking on August 31, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Since our trip to the Dallas Farmers Market dishes have been clean, simple and fresh. It’s been all about utilizing and enjoying the produce in season and not burying those fresh flavors we crave so much in the winter.  This last week has also been about headaches. I have only escape a skull smashing, eye squinting, bed-stricken state twice this week. My husband luckily has been kind, patient and self-sufficient. I have awoken with ice-water at my bedside and never a cross word about lack of cooking or chores undone. I think I’ll keep him!

via Instagram

Two things I have really enjoyed this last week were a simple Bread Salad and this Green Crostini.  The Bread Salad is simple, sweet and a delicious way to use up leftover bread, or bread ends. I coarsely chopped up two large slices of a loaf of artisan garlic baguette, chopped up 4-5 small tomatoes, tossed in a Tbsp of olive oil, dash of lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and some coarsely chopped cilantro (any fresh herb will do); toss the bread in the mix letting it absorb the juices and oil and enjoy. It’s so so very good. Plus zip, zero, zelch cooking – on these hundred degree days that is a blessing!


makes 2 servings, four slices 
4 – inch thick slices of baguette (we used our artisan garlic bread) 
butter or oil for toasting bread
1 – large avocado
1 – Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 – Tbsp fresh jalapeno, finely chopped
1 – Tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
*plus more for serving – if you love it like we do!
2 – Tbsp pistachios, roughly chopped

Directions: Slice baguette; spread oil or butter and toast over medium heat in a skillet. Set aside to cool slightly while you prepare topping. Combine all the ingredients, except the pistachios, and gently mash. Salt and Pepper mixture to taste and then spread on prepared toast; sprinkle with pistachios and extra cilantro if desired.  Enjoy!

This topping is beautiful with all the different shades of green. It is mildly reminiscent of guacamole, but with a salty crunch from the pistachios.  The garlic bread really brought out the flavors of several ingredients, if you were using a plain baguette I would break the “green” theme and add a little garlic to the mix! Hope you enjoy and for tonight I am headache free – hallelujah!



In Cooking, Uncategorized on August 23, 2011 at 10:19 pm

We have been enjoying the August bounty of the Farmer’s Market. Tomatoes being at the top of the list! I love fresh grown tomatoes; especially straight from the farm, where they remain untainted by waxes.  One of my favorite ways to enjoy a good tomato is Bruschetta (pronounced “brusketta”). 


  • 6 or 8 ripe Roma tomatoes (or any small sweet tomato will do!)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, cleaned and cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or substitute balsamic vinegar)
  • zest of half lemon, optional if using lemon juice
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 baguette French bread or similar crusty bread
  • melted butter, for toasting bread

Directions: Wash tomatoes; cut them in halves or quarters; remove the seeds and stems from their centers.  Cut them into smaller pieces if desired. Add the tomatoes to a bowl; stir in 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and zest/vinegar, chopped basil and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside or in refrigerator while you prepare bread – this resting time allows the flavors to bloom.

 Cut the bread on the diagonal, about 1/2 inch slices. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Apply melted butter to both sides, with a pastry brush; add buttered slices to skillet. Cook on each side until brown and toasted. Remove and  rub both sides of the warm bread with the cut garlic; set aside on serving tray. Top warm buttered garlic toast with chilled tomato mixture. Serve with additional small basil leaves, for those like me who enjoy a lil’ extra basil. Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

We enjoyed ours with some fresh fruit and good cheese. I love the touch of lemon, instead of the much more common balsamic vinegar. It adds a brightness to the taste and smell of the dish.  Also, I love rubbing the warm toast with the garlic, instead of having minced garlic in the tomato mixture.  It adds amazing flavor and is still aromatic, while allowing you to control the garlic content and focus on the beautiful tomatoes!! Simple. Lovely. Summer.

Weekly Boozer: Baking with Bourbon

In Baking, Uncategorized on June 27, 2011 at 10:46 am

Bourbon is by far one of my favorite booze to cook with. It marries well with so many flavors.  Like cherries, pecans, bread… like Makers Mark Cherry Pecan Bread Pudding. Whew. That’s a big name! But, it is what it is and that would be fantastically delicious, comforting and worth repeating. Remember baking is just like cooking with alcohol – choose something you would drink as the flavor is transferred and sometimes amplified.  Taste tests may be necessary before baking 😉  If you don’t want the alcoholic version Makers Mark sells bottled cherries that have had the alcohol cooked off  which = all the flavor, nix the booze.

Makers Mark Cherry Pecan Bread Pudding

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (use a high-quality extract, not an imitation)
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped 
  • 5 cups day-old French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (see Note)
    1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup Makers Mark Cherries*, diced 
    I made my Makers Mark Cherries by purchasing a jar of maraschino cherries, draining the juice completely and replacing with Makers Mark. I placed the mixture in the fridge for one week; shaking the contents daily.  This means of course these cherries have alcohol in them, unlike the store product. ~ you can also soak dried cherries in bourbon overnight before baking.

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch baking dish.

To make the bread pudding, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs until smooth, then work in the heavy cream, half & half, vanilla and vanilla seed. Then toss in the bread cubes, pecans and chopped cherries(drained). Allow the bread to soak up the custard before adding to the prepared baking dish. Bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until the pudding has a golden color and is firm to the touch. It will expand in the dish/oven, but should remain moist and an inserted toothpick should come out clean. Let cool to room temperature.

Note: I made a bourbon creme anglaise to accompany my bread pudding and to compliment the flavor – both are subtle so they work well together. Bourbon Creme Anglaise – click here. I added one Tbsp of Vanilla Bean Paste to this recipe.


Bread Pudding is like country decadence. This one is slightly sweet, has a nice crunch from the pecans and a little warmth from the bourbon.  This dessert could be made ahead as it is twice as nice the second day.  On another note, I kept my Makers Mark Cherry juice and am excited to create a cocktail with it!! Happy baking!


Loaf of Palmsey

In Baking, Uncategorized on May 13, 2011 at 9:11 pm

We have a really good friend. He is a bread maker. A darn good bread maker. We recently dined at his house with his lovely and talented wife. Am I laying it on too thick? Oh. Well our friend, whom I will refer to as Palmsey, gave my husband a bread making lesson. Yeah for Palmsey!  In the process he shared the recipe for “his” bread, which we refer to as a Loaf of Palmsey. It’s not measured in cups.  That is why I believe Palmsey to be a real bread maker and I am an apron clad house-wife baker. Too much again? Hmm well here is the recipe:

 Loaf of Palmsey:

Stand Mixer
Dutch Oven, with lid
Covered Bowl for rising 
Brotform, or a bowl will work nicely
18 to 21 ounces bread flour
water, 70% of the flour weight 
… yes you will require a scale and possibly a calculator for this, but it is worth it!
2 tsps salt
1-2 tsps rapid rise yeast

Directions: Add flour, water, salt and yeast to stand mixer. *Note if you are not a baker, bread maker or just weren’t privy – salt kills yeast so make sure to add them on separate sides of the bowl where they do not come into contact. Mix ingredients until hydrated.  Let dough rest for about 2 minutes. Oil hands; stretch and fold dough every 10 minutes for 30 to 40 minutes; or until it feels smooth (but a minimum of 3x). Place dough in an oiled container; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight and allow to double in mass.  Shape dough. Place in a floured brotform, or bowl, and allow to rise again until doubled.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 450 degrees with dutch oven inside.  Place shaped loaf inside dutch oven, cover with lid and allow to bake for 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove lid and allow loaf to continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes (total time of 30 minutes); or until the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. Remove bread and allow to cool on a rack.

I know this doesn’t look or sound simple, but it really came together quickly. The list of ingredients is so simple and the results are definitely delicious. It is a nice crusty bread, which is attained through the rising/baking methods detailed above. I know we will continue to make this bread in our house and we are both grateful for Palmsey and his bread slinging lesson.

P.S. if there is an error in ingredients or instructions blame my husband – he relayed the info. I took pictures and ate bread 😀

Spring Scramble

In Cooking, Uncategorized on April 18, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Soft scrambled eggs with ricotta and chives.  Light, fluffy, creamy, tangy… need I say more.

Spring Scramble

4 eggs
1 1/2 Tbsp half & half
1 Tbsp chives, minced
1/4 tsp coarse salt, plus additional for serving
1/8 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1 Tbsp butter
2 slices of bread, for toasting (favorite kind…)

Directions: Whisk eggs, chives, half & half, salt (fleur de sel is a great choice) and pepper in medium bowl. Melt butter in heavy medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add egg mixture and stir with silicone spatula until eggs are almost cooked but still runny in parts, do not over stir – this will make your eggs tough, you can tilt the pan as necessary to distribute uncooked liquid. Remove from heat. Fold ricotta gently into eggs.

Meanwhile prepare bread as desired: toaster, broiler with butter, on a griddle… Top bread with spring scramble, sprinkle with additional salt, pepper and extra butter if desired. Enjoy!

We had breakfast for dinner – I love it.  I remember as a child thinking breakfast for dinner was magically.  Later my grandmother confessed it was an easy and cheap way to get dinner on the table in a hurry.  It’s true, but still special in its own weird way! The chives bring a fresh peppy element to the eggs and the ricotta takes them over the top! Next time I am going to do a more Greek style scramble with feta.

Loot: Spicy Apricot Loaf

In Baking, Loot, Uncategorized on February 23, 2011 at 9:41 pm

I am sure the readers of this blog will tire of my exploits with my friend Alisa’s jams, preserves and foodie type gifts.  Alas, that is what my loot posts are about! Wonderful gifts that inspire me in the kitchen and her Angry Apricot Preserves were the muse for this bread. (Thanks AJ – as always you rock my socks off ).  These preserves are delicious and if you want to substitute for regular preserves that would be fine, if you want them to be angry… crank up the heat with some crushed red pepper!! Other options for this bread would be any jam or marmalade which you love – orange marmalade would be lovely!  (Same goes for dried cranberries… feel free to use raisins, sultanas, currants or even dates!… or add nuts with the dry ingredients…)

Spicy Apricot Loaf


1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1/2 cup Preserves, chopped (or jam, marmalade… etc)
1 stick of butter
2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Jamaican allspice (or pumpkin pie spice)
pinch of coarse salt
1 large egg, beaten

Directions: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar, milk, raisins, preserves (chopped down smaller or roughly processed in food chopper), and butter; stir well and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and let cool completely.  (so weird, but the concoction smelt amazing and looked like creepy porridge!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9 inch loaf pan with wax paper or grease and lightly flour.

Stir the flour, baking soda, allspice, salt, and egg into the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon.  Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for approximately 50 – 60 minutes, or until top is golden.  (Can test the middle of loaf with a toothpick to ensure doneness… if it does not come out clean continue to cook the loaf.)

Remove from the oven; let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack; once it has cooled cut slices and serve; or wrap up to give… eat – that is what I do… eat and it’s the best part!

Apparently I have had a tea time thing going as of late (and for the Palmer Family this week!).  This bread does not fall short of that category and would make a lovely gift.  This is the first time I have used this method where you cook the wet ingredients and then cool before assembling – very interesting and I am sure it will inspire further exploration of ingredients, combinations and other random ideas. As for the taste: I adore the spiciness from both the allspice and the Angry Apricot Preserves, the bread is dense and has sweet surprises with the bits of cranberry and apricot, it was great with hot tea!! As always AJ, love ya and your mad jammin’ skills 😀

Rum Roasted Banana Bread

In Baking, Uncategorized on February 15, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Personally I have been calling this Drunk Monkey Bread.  I doubt my parent’s would be impressed with the name, but my brother referred to roasting bananas in rum as drunk monkey food and a new name was born!  Rum roasted banana’s bring the flavor of this bread up to the next level!  This is not a really sweet banana bread – so if that is your thing and you intend to eat this without the sauce (which is sweet) then you may want to increase the sugar.  You should try the sauce though, which uses the excess butter rum  sauce to create a foster style cream to put on top… well it is heavenly if you must know and here is how:

Rum Roasted Banana Bread Glazed with Foster Cream
Recipe adapted from Mix It Up! By Jamee Ruth
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dark rum (I used a jigger)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts (I substituted 1/2 cup hazelnuts)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (I substituted greek yogurt w/ honey)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9-inch loaf pan.

Peel and slice the bananas; melt butter (in pan, microwave… or any method you desire); add 1/4 cup butter to a heavy bottomed skillet and bananas – saute for 1 minute.  Sprinkle brown sugar over bananas, add rum, and saute for an additional 2 minutes.  **SMELLS INSANELY GOOD  With a slotted spoon transfer bananas to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Add the cream to remaining liquid in the skillet, stir, and turn off the heat.  (Note: this is the foster cream sauce – taste the mixture before adding the cream… it is delicious on its own and you may stop and use as is or add the cream!!)

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and nuts in a bowl.  In the mixer bowl with  the bananas, add yogurt, eggs, reserved melted butter, and vanilla.  Using a mixer blend the mixture on a low-speed for 1 minute; leaving a lumpy consistency.  Add the flour (all at once) and stir together until flour is moistened; mixture will be dry in places, but don’t over mix so bread will remain tender.  Transfer dough to your prepared pan.  Shake the pan/batter to make sure it evenly distributes. 

Bake  for about 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; cool in a wire rack for 5 minutes before slicing. 

While the loaf is cooling, finish the sauce: warm the skillet with the cream mixture (or w/o cream) over medium heat.  Cook the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes, until it is thick and creamy.  Slice the bread and drizzle with sauce; serve immediately and as always enjoy!

Black Pepper Parmesan Bread

In Baking, Uncategorized on January 31, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Today was the last day of National Bread Machine Month. Apparently regular National Bread Month is November.  I don’t know why,  but the internet says it is so and I believe it.  I own a bread machine.  Most people don’t know that, but I received it as a wedding present and in last two plus years I have used it three times.  Guess I am a bit of a traditionalist. Also, I don’t like to clean equipment or utensils unless I REALLY need them, so maybe it is kinda a lazy thing too? Though I have to admit letting a bread machine make your dough – very rewarding!

I did such a thing this last Friday with this bread.  I let the machine do the hard work and then I removed the dough to rise and bake.  It was nice and worth the cleanup as I made the Bacon & Onion Scones during the “down time”.

Black Pepper Parmesan Bread:

1 cup warm water
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
3 cups bread flour
1/2 heaping cup of grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp freshly ground pepper
2 1/4 tsp yeast, active dry
Egg Wash
1 egg
1 Tbsp water
additional freshly ground pepper for dusting loaf


Directions: Place ingredients, in this order, into the bread pan fitted with the kneading paddle.  Bread machine settings should be as follows: medium loaf; French/Italian style loaf; medium crust.  Once you have selected your setting press the Start button.  You can let the bread machine do the whole kit and kaboodle; however, I hate the squat loaf shape of the bread machine pan and like the liberty to egg wash my bread.  You can even let the machine knead and rise the bread and remove before the baking cycle…If you choose to do so continue below:

Option One: (Rise bread out of machine) Lightly oil (olive oil) a large bowl; remove bread dough and place in bowl covered with a tea towel to rise (in a warm place – I always put mine on the dryer and load it up)  Let the dough rise for 45 minutes to an hour and half, or until doubled in size; punch the dough down and knead on a lightly floured surface; repeat rise.

Option Two: (Bake bread out of machine) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  You can now use a loaf pan, shape the dough and cook on a cookie sheet, or make a round loaf in a round cake pan.  Whatever you choose either lightly grease the bake-ware and dust with cornmeal before placing the bread.  I folded the dough into a rounded shape and placed on a cookie sheet, crease down.  You can dress the bread up even more by making a few slashes with a very sharp knife, by making diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep across top of the loaf.  Prepare egg wash by beating egg and water together and brush loaf; bake for 20 – 25 minutes.  Remove loaf and brush with egg wash a second time; grind fresh pepper over the second egg wash so it will adhere to the loaf; bake an additional 15 – 20 minutes until the bread tests done.  Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing (hot bread is much harder to cut!).

Review: I made this bread on Friday – it is Monday and there is no bread.  Kinda speaks for itself. Let me see just plain this bread is light, tender, and has a very subtle cheese and pepper flavor, but toasted… OH My toasted this bread takes on this amazing deep cheese flavor and hearty crustiness that is irresistible.  This bread would make show stopping croutons for a salad.  At least I thought so, but this loaf didn’t survive long enough to test.  Actually I don’t think anything happened to this bread beyond toasting and a smear of butter and it was a good thing 🙂

P.S. When I made this bread I had no intention of posting or sharing. I was just using up some parmesan cheese I had leftover and alleviating the stress of breakfast for company, but it was too delicious not to share!!

SoNo Baking Company’s Brioche

In Baking, Uncategorized on December 18, 2010 at 5:53 am

Brioche from the SoNo Baking Company Cookbook

There are a few things you should know about brioche: 1) this is a very cakey bread (yes I say cakey a lot… but it is true and good!); 2) this is a two-day bread, since it has to be refrigerated overnight; and 3) this bread is delicious on its own, but also makes the most amazing bread puddings and croutons.  Making this bread is worth three days of baking and cooking!  This is not my favorite recipe which is a Jean-Louis Palladin recipe (link to another blogger’s hard typing work!)

This is the first time I ever let my stand mixer do my kneading… it was a breeze.  I will have to try the recipe the good ol’ hand made way to see if there is any repercussions.  I will keep you posted on that.  The bread however did not last long enough for me to make homemade croutons – so couldn’t have been all bad to take the lazy way out 🙂

SoNo Baking Company’s Brioche Recipe:

Recipe makes one loaf or 12 buns.

2 tsps active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm milk

3 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading

2/3 cups bread flour

2 Tbsps sugar

1 3/4 tsps coarse salt

14 Tbsps (1 3/4 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cubed

1 egg, beaten, for egg wash


In a medium bowl, combine the yeast and the warm milk, and let proof for 5 minutes.

When the yeast has proofed, add the eggs and egg yolk and whisk to blend.  Combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the wet ingredients and beat on low-speed until the flour is absorbed and a stiff dough comes together, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once.  With the mixer on low, add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until the butter has been absorbed.  The dough will be VERY sticky.

Knead in the mixer by replacing the paddle with the dough hook and beat on medium-low to medium speed until the dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic, and completely cleans the sides of the bowl, 10 to 15 minutes.  Add 1 to 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour as needed. Or to knead by hand, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Knead by successively scooping the dough up from underneath with the thumb and the first two fingers of each hand, then slapping it down on the board as you pull your hands away.  At first, the dough will stick to both boards and hands, but as the gluten develops and the flour absorbs moisture, the dough will pull together into a ball and become less tacky.  Knead for a good 15 minutes, adding flour as needed, or until the dough no longer sticks to the work surface.

Turn the dough into a buttered bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Butter an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and let it soften for a few minutes.  Pat or roll the dough to a rectangle (or oval) about 12 inches by 8 inches, with one of the long sides facing you.  Fold in the sides so that they meet in the center and the dough is about 6 inches wide.  Starting from the top, roll tightly into a log.  Place the loaf seam side down in the prepared pan.  Cover with oiled plastic wrap or enclose in an oiled plastic bag, and let rise until increased in bulk by 1 1/2 times and very soft, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. (I put mine on the dryer – I am sure the professional baker who wrote this would think that was white trash, but I get results so I am totally fine with that!)

Set an oven rack in the middle position.  Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash.  Place the loaf pan on a baking sheet and put it into the oven.  Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake, rotating the sheet about two-thirds of the way through the baking time, until the brioche is golden brown on top and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom (use an oven mitt to carefully lift it up, and gently tap the bottom with your knuckles), 30 to 35 minutes.  Turn the loaf out immediately on its side onto a wire rack to cool completely.

EAT. Though it is not my all time favorite brioche recipe I would recommend it, especially since my stand mixer put all the elbow grease into it!  Also I loved the way it cracked – random note. Hope you enjoy!

Buttermilk Biscuits

In Baking, Uncategorized on December 13, 2010 at 4:44 am

Thursday we had company in route to our home… so I hopped in the kitchen to bake a few goodies to get us through the mornings!  I prefer laid back mornings filled with coffee, breads and well relaxation (dog hugs are always on the agenda!!); mornings where people get going and eat at their own pace.  Whats perfect for this mentality?? Well biscuits!  Heat em’ up with butter, jam or a little egg and cheese – biscuits are always good for breakfast.

Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe by Alton Brown

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 cup chilled buttermilk

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender cut butter and shortening into dry ingredients until it resembles crumbs. (Much like the beginning of pie dough.)

Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.

Turn dough onto floured surface, sprinkle top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 6 times.  Roll into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough.  Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch.  Roll the remaining dough out gently, cut and place on baking sheet.

Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.

These biscuits are light, tender and so quick to make! They also reheated well, which is great for smaller families.  Oh and… they are gone!! 🙂 Always a good sign.