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Archive for the ‘Breads’ Category

Less zucchini, hooray

Posted by Jeanne on July 28, 2013

They are still coming in fast and furious, but thanks to three batches of double-chocolate zucchini bread that Curt made, their numbers are dwindling.



It is really good.  Highly recommended.

I am now steeling myself for the influx of tomatoes.  Await post containing complaining about what a pain canning is sometime between now and the end of August.

This week:

Sunday:  pork tenderloin with mustard and herbs, roasted root veg


Monday:  gochujang glazed salmon, Korean cucumber salad

Tuesday:  cucumber, sweet corn & tomato chopped salad with grilled chicken

Wednesday:  chicken sausage, roasted cabbage

Thursday:  Buffalo chicken salad

Friday:  BBQ pork, coleslaw

Excited for a low-zucchini week – happy Sunday, everyone!


Posted in Baking, Breads, Cooking, Planning | Leave a Comment »

Daring Kitchen November 2011: Cooking with Tea

Posted by Jeanne on November 14, 2011

Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.

This is another good challenge for me – I’ve never made anything with tea before.  Most of the recipes you’ll find are for sweet baked goods – things like cookies and scones.  But part of the challenge was to make a savory, not sweet dish – so I was stumped at first.

I was thinking of doing a soba cooked in green tea – but then I thought the dipping sauces and toppings would overpower the tea flavor too much.  And then I dinked around for ages and THEN the challenge was almost due so I had to make SOMETHING… so I decided to make crackers.

Tea-flavored Homemade Crackers, based on this recipe


1 ¼ c. flour
1.5 Tbs. sugar (or honey, I used honey)
0.5 tsp. salt
0.25 tsp. black pepper
4 Tbs. butter
0.25 c. water
0.25 tsp. vanilla
dry tea leaves (I used rooibos for half the batch and an Earl Grey green for the other half)


Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and butter in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the dough is pea-shaped. Combine the water and vanilla in a measuring cup, plus honey if using, and add to the flour mixture. Mix well until combined and dough forms, but only as long as necessary for the most tender crackers.

Use parchment paper, a lightly greased cookie sheet, or an ungreased baking stone.

Only use half of the dough at a time.  Add the tea and knead to incorporate into the dough.

Roll the dough as evenly as you can. Keep rolling until the dough is as thin as humanly possible without tearing.

Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife and cut the dough into squares or triangles, about 1 1/2 inches each.  If you want all beautifully square crackers, you can trim the edges square.  I am lazy and don’t care so I didn’t bother.

If you have used a mat or parchment paper, just slide it onto the cookie sheet. If you don’t have either, you’ll have to move each cracker individually.  (I used parchment paper to avoid this issue).  Sprinkle the squares lightly with salt.

Repeat with the remaining piece of dough.

Bake the crackers until crisp and browned, 5 to 10 minutes. If you want to do two trays at once, you can put one on top and one and bottom and switch them halfway through the baking time.

If some of the thinner crackers on the edges brown too quickly, remove them and return the remaining crackers to the oven to finish baking. Watch closely as they bake quickly!   I did 5 minutes, rotated the sheets, and then another 2.5 minutes and they were done.

Check it out!  Crackers!

These are tasty – you get a hint of tea flavor, and they’re nice and crisp.  Will definitely make them again!  Thanks Sarah for a fun challenge!

Posted in Baking, Breads, Daring Kitchen | 3 Comments »

Daring Kitchen April: Edible Containers

Posted by Jeanne on April 14, 2011

Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at!

I came up with two ideas for this challenge:  beef & chocolate bock stew in an Irish soda bread bowl, and a chicken & peanut stew in a sweet potato bowl.

Beef & chocolate bock stew, inspired by this recipe.

3 TB canola oil, divided
0.25 C all-purpose flour
2 lbs. boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
5 C sliced onion (about 3 medium onions)
1 TB tomato paste
4 C beef broth
1 (12-ounce) bottle Sam Adams chocolate bock (or other dark beer)
Freshly ground black pepper
1.5 C carrot, cut into chunks (I used those pre-cut “baby” carrots)
2.5 C Yukon gold potatoes, cubed

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef with some salt; dredge beef in flour. Add half of beef to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining oil and beef.

Add onion to pan; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

Return meat to pan. Season with salt & pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil. Cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add carrot and potatoes. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are tender.

Irish soda bread bowls, inspired by this recipe.

3.5 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking-soda
0.75 tsp salt
1.5 C milk

Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly flour baking sheet. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Mix in enoughmilk  to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball.

Turn onto a lightly flour surfaced and knead just until dough holds together, about 1 minute. Stretch dough until it is about 2 inches high, and cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter.  Or the lid of a jar.

Have you seen my biscuit cutter?  It appears to have run away from home.

Bake until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer bread to rack and cool until they can be handled.

Cut through the top of the bread, around in a circle, and remove.

Scoop out the insides of the bread, trying not to poke through the outer edge.

Serve stew in bread bowls.

And secondly:

Chicken & peanut stew, inspired by Bittman’s The Best Recipes In The World

2 TB vegetable oil

8 chicken thighs, about 2 lbs. (I used boneless, skinless thighs)

Salt & pepper

1 medium onion, chopped

One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated

0.75 tsp cayenne pepper

0.25 tsp ground cumin

One 14-oz. can diced tomatoes

4 C chicken broth or stock

0.75 C natural peanut butter

Chopped scallions, for serving

Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken pieces with salt & pepper and add to the skillet, browning well on all sides.  Remove chicken from pan and set aside; return the skillet to the heat.

Add the onion and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened.  Stir in cayenne, cumin, and tomatoes and cook until tomatoes begin to break down, 3 to 5 minutes.

Return the chicken pieces to the pan and add 3.5 C of the stock.  Bring to a boil, and then simmer until chicken is cooked through and tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

While chicken cooks, whisk together remaining 0.5 C of chicken stock and the peanut butter.  When the chicken is cooked through, add the peanut butter mixture to the pan.  Simmer another 20 to 30 minutes, or until sauce mixture thickens.

After the dish was fully cooked, I cut up the chicken into small bites and added it back into the sauce.  I wanted smaller bites, rather than full pieces of chicken, so they would fit well into my sweet potato bowls!

Sweet potato bowls

2 lb. sweet potatoes

Olive oil


2 TB butter

0.25 C flour

Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.  Rub sweet potatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place in a baking dish and cover with foil.

Bake until very soft, 40 to 60 minutes.  Cool, uncovered, until the sweet potatoes can be handled.  Lower heat to 350F.

Peel sweet potatoes, discarding skins.  Add butter and flour,  mash until very smooth, and season with salt & pepper to taste.

Prepare a muffin tin with butter, oil, or cooking spray.  Place a heaping tablespoon of sweet potatoes into each cup, and press up the sides to form a small “bowl” shape.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are firmed up and can be removed from the muffin tin.

Serve the chicken stew inside the sweet potato bowls, garnished with scallions.

Yummy and cute!  Thanks to Renata and the Daring Kitchen for another great challenge.

Posted in Appetizers, Baking, Breads, Cooking, Daring Kitchen, Entrees, red meat, Soups & stews | 1 Comment »

Tastespotting at random – homemade bread

Posted by Jeanne on January 30, 2011

Today’s inspiration comes from Apple Pie, Pastis, and Pate‘s post about ciabatta bread.  I lack the mental fortitude to begin making bread today that cannot be eaten for several days, so instead of making a starter and then not making bread until Tuesday, I decided to make the basic bread recipe found in Ruhlman’s Ratio book.


1000 g flour

600 g water

2 g salt

3 g yeast

Combine all of the above ingredients in the mixing bowl for a stand mixer.

Mix the dough using the dough hook, and once combined knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Cover and rest the dough until doubled in size.  Turn onto a floured surface and knead briefly to redistribute the yeast and press excess gas from the dough.  Rest dough for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450F and place a cast-iron pan in the oven on the lowest rack.  Shape dough (I made a round, boule-like thing and then baked it in a Dutch oven).

Add 1 C water to cast iron pan to create steam in the oven.  Add bread and bake for 10 minutes at 450F.  Lower oven temp to 375F and bake another 40 – 50 minutes, until bread sounds hollow when you knock on it.

There is something magical and amazing about bread.  Flour and water?  Glue.  Add some salt and yeast? Bread.


Posted in Baking, Breads, Tastespotting at Random | Leave a Comment »

Banana blueberry quinoa muffins

Posted by Jeanne on April 10, 2010

Using up all of the bananas is sometimes a challenge.  Curt will only eat them if there is not a speck of brown – I’m not quite that particular, but they can’t be much more ripe before the mushiness gets to me.

I made this recipe last weekend, substituting dried cranberries for the raisins.  It worked really well, and the muffins were tasty and very filling – a good workday breakfast for sure.  So when I noticed some rapidly blackening bananas on our counter, I wanted to use them in the recipe.

I ended up changing a few things from the original so the proportions wouldn’t be terribly off – here is the recipe I ended up making:

1 C quinoa, rinsed

0.25 C canola oil

2 C all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

0.75 C packed brown sugar

1.5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 exceptionally ripe bananas, mashed

0.75 C milk (I used 1%)

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup fresh blueberries, dusted with a TB of flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa, a pinch of salt, and 1 C water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; stir, cover, and cook until water has been absorbed and quinoa is tender, 11 to 13 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, grease a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or oil; dust with flour, tapping out excess.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cooked quinoa.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together oil, banana, milk, egg, and vanilla. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, and stir just until combined.  Add blueberries to batter and very gently stir so as not to break the berries and dye the whole batch purple.
  5. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups – I found that each muffin cup takes about a third of a cup of batter.  I also added some blue caster sugar, because there are not enough blue foods in the world.
  6. Bake until toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool muffins in pan, 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 5 days.

They are both pretty and delicious.

Also, we got a new camera.  I am in looooooove.

Posted in Baking, Breads | 1 Comment »

Banana, chocolate and ginger cake

Posted by Jeanne on January 22, 2010

It’s absolutely freezing in Omaha this January – the weather is miserable for man and beast alike. Combined with the ton of snow that won’t melt (since the temperatures are well below zero, forget plain old freezing…), being outside is utterly miserable.

I shouldn’t complain. Our house is warm and dry (if a bit drafty – old house + old windows will do that) and the oven works. And you know that if the oven works, you can always bake something to keep the house warm and make it smell delicious.

Bloggy baking/cooking-esque photo

I adapted the recipe for Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger from Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life.  Maybe you know Molly better as Orangette, which is simply brilliant and full of fabulous recipes.

I feel sort of guilty mentioning that I adapted her recipe, since I committed several cardinal sins of baking while making this.  Namely, I substituted a non-fat blueberry yogurt for the whole milk yogurt in the recipe, and I measured everything incredibly poorly.

It was delicious anyway.

2 cups flour

0.75 cup sugar

0.75 tsp baking soda

0.5 tsp salt (who are we kidding – some salt.  Shake it into your hand first so you don’t dump the whole shaker in.)

0.75 cup chocolate chips (I used half Ghirardelli and half plain old Nestle chips in the yellow bag)

0.33 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (we had this left over from Christmas baking.  This stuff is a pain to chop, FYI.  It sticks to the knife and the cutting board and your hands and to itself.)

6 TB butter, mostly melted

2 large eggs

3 large over-ripe bananas, mashed (about 1.5 cups)

0.75 cup yogurt (I used a 6-oz. container of Chobani non-fat blueberry yogurt.  I know, I know, I know.  WRONG.  So wrong!  I think strawberry would have been better, but honestly you can’t really taste it.)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat over to 350F.  Grease an 11×7 baking dish (or a similar equivalent – I used the blue oblong casserole dish thing I use for everything to make this) with butter or cooking spray and set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, chocolate chips, and ginger in a large bowl.  Stir to combine.

Lots of ginger

The butter should be about half melted and half very soft – I microwaved it for 15 seconds on high twice to get it to this state.  Mix the butter, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla with a fork to combine.  Add the mashed bananas and stir – mixture will be very lumpy.

Add the butter/banana mixture to the dry ingredients, and stir until all the flour is incorporated.  The mixture will remain quite lumpy.  Scrape into the prepared pan and bake about 40 to 50 minutes, until the top is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Try not to eat it all at once.  If you’re very nice, share some with your coworkers.

Posted in Baking, Breads, Desserts | Leave a Comment »

The power of ratios

Posted by Jeanne on December 27, 2009

I bought Ratio:  The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking when it first came out.  I read the introduction and glanced through the rest, but I haven’t made anything from it.

Until today.  Today, I wanted to make bread.

Basic loaf, modified from Ratio

20 oz. flour

12 oz. water

2 tsp salt

1 tsp yeast

Combine and knead about 10 minutes, until a handful of dough can be stretched so you can almost see through it.

Let the dough rise until doubled in size, and knead a bit to push out the bubbles.  Let rest ten to fifteen minues, and preheat your oven to 450F.

As always, super-70’s bowl optional.  Note the little dent where I was testing the dough to see if it was ready… Must remember not to poke the food before photographing.

Shape the rested loaf into the desired shape – round boule, baguette, ciabatta – I made a boule, isn’t it cute?

It is at this point when I first think I should have made those cuts longer, but I figured they would rise out.

Let rise another hour while the oven warms to temperature.

Bake for 10 minutes at 450F, and then another 45 to 50 minutes at 375F.

Cool until you can no longer stand the smell of freshly baked bread and must cut into and sample the bread.

Also, my bread looks like a pomegranate.  Boo.

Tasted good though, especially the first warm slices.

Posted in Baking, Breads | Leave a Comment »

Thanksgiving 2009 – Sides

Posted by Jeanne on December 1, 2009

The turkey was awesome, but Thanksgiving isn’t really Thanksgiving without a whole bunch of sides.  I tried to do mix some traditional things with some not-so-traditional, and I think they were all a success.

1. Rolls – I used this recipe.  I was very, very afraid during the “rising” steps – the dough is unlike anything I’ve ever made before. I did follow the recipe exactly, and they looked just like the picture on the recipe.

Sadly, I have no photographs of either the process or the finished product.  Bad blogger.

2. Carrots –  I glazed the carrots with about 2 TB butter, 0.5 cup orange juice, and a pinch each of fennel and red pepper flakes over medium heat in a covered Dutch oven for about 20 minutes.  They were really, really yummy.  I highly recommend this method.

3. Mashed potatoes – Yukon gold potatoes, milk, half and half, butter, salt, and pepper.  That’s it.  You know how to make mashed potatoes.

4. Brussels sprouts – about 1 pound of brussels sprouts (frozen, picked from the garden in mid-October.  I roasted them in about 2 to 3 TB of duck fat (seasoned with salt & pepper) in a 350F oven for about 45 minutes, shaking every 15 minutes to move them around.

5.  Gravy – While the turkey was roasting, I boiled the neck and heart in water to make a light stock.  Once cooked for about an hour, strain and set aside – you will want about 7 cups of stock.

When we were about 30 minutes from eating, I put one stick of butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  When the butter was foamy, I added about 0.5 cup of flour and whisked to make a roux.  Once the roux was a dark blonde (lighter than peanut butter but not completely white), I started adding the stock I made earlier.  Add the stock gradually, in about 1 cup batches, and whisk the whole time.  Have someone else chop 2 shallots and the turkey heart, and add to the gravy.  When Curt took the turkey out of the roasting pan to carve, I added some of the pan juices to the gravy too. It really helped round out the flavor and make it more turkey-ish.

6.  Cranberries – I used one bag of cranberries, one cup of sugar, and two cups of orange juice, some dried ginger, and a bit of salt.  Cooked overnight in the slow cooker, and then blenderized them.

We have a ton left.  Anyone want some cranberry sauce?

7. Root vegetable gratin – I peeled and thinly sliced about 2 lbs. each of celeraic and turnips, and layered them in a buttered casserole dish.

I seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper, and then poured .33 cup of half and half and .33 cup of milk into the bottom of the dish.  Topped it with grated gouda, and then I baked it for about an hour at 350F.

The finished dish is at the back of the photo here.

8.  Dressing – Ah, dressing.  This is my favorite side – I used 2 lbs. of cubed bread, and made a mirepoix of chopped carrots, celery and onions.  I sweat the vegetables in butter and salt & pepper until soft, and added about a pound of chopped mushrooms (a mix of cremini and chanterelle).

I mixed with a few cups of stock, and then baked it for about half an hour just before serving.  I would have liked the dressing to be a bit more crisp on top, but you can’t have everything.  I think I used too much stock.  Oh well.

And that, as they say, was that.

Can’t wait until next year!

Posted in Baking, Breads, Cooking, Side dishes | 1 Comment »