Posts Tagged ‘bread’

Gnocchi, Spinach, Italian Bread

July 8, 2009

Gnocchi, Spinach, Italian Bread

Now, I’ve blogged about gnocchi before, but I really just wanted to talk about this bread.

This bread, you see, has revolutionized my bread-making abilities. Ok, revolutionized may be a bit strong, but it certainly has changed how I’ve made bread going forward. What was the big discovery? Dried herbs.

It sounds so simple, no? It is, but you get such an amazing effect from them it’s almost a waste not to use them. They’re cheap, don’t go bad (well, eventually) and pack a ton of flavor.

That also leads me to the perfect bread recipe. I mean perfect.

6.5 cups of flour (use any kind you want, just make sure that 4 cups of it is high gluten – whole wheat or even all purpose. The full 6.5 cups of something like spelt flour or barley flour just won’t work).
2 tablespoons of yeast
2 tablespoons of salt
.5 cup of olive oil (or any kind of oil, flavored or otherwise)
3 cups of water (lukewarm, but don’t stress the temperature too much)
Seasonings to taste – I’ve yet to add too much

Combine all ingredients and store in a non-reactive container (I use a stainless steel bowl) lightly covered. On the day you want to bake, just pinch off the size of loaf you want and form into the shape you want. Bake on 400 degrees until it’s nice and dark on the outside. If the bread is sticking to your hands while you’re shaping, add more flour (whole wheat or all-purpose) until it stops doing so. You should let the bread rest at least 15 minutes before cutting into it – no matter how tempting it may be.

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Cluckphrey Teese Sandwiches

June 18, 2009

Cluckphrey Teese Sandwich

I’ve been passing by the Cluckphrey chicken products for what seems like forever. So, one day I decided to pick them up. And then they sat in the freezer for what seems like forever. But then I went out of town and when I returned they were gone – eaten, and enjoyed by my wife.

So, next time we had the opportunity we picked up some more. And then they sat in the freezer for what seems like forever. But then I had the brilliant idea to make chicken parmesan sandiches.

Not really sure where the bread came from – oddly, I didn’t bake it and this was several weeks ago so I can’t remember.

But anyway, I sauteed the patties in a little olive oil and layered them on the bread with marinara sauce and sliced Teese, wrapped the whole thing in foil and threw them in the oven for about 10 minutes to make sure they were hot. I should have left them in longer – the Teese didn’t melt, but it may have been because I sliced it instead of shredding it. I served the whole thing with some extra marinara for dipping.

Layered

The sandwich was really tasty and I’ll certainly make it again but the Cluckphrey patty was a bit disappointing. It didn’t hold up very well and was kind of “mushy”. I would probably get it again, but maybe prepare it differently.

Veggie Burgers

June 15, 2009

Built

Sometimes you just can’t phone it in. So I didn’t.

I knew I wanted veggie burgers – I had been craving them for a while. What I didn’t know was what they would become after our trip to Publix. While there the ideas just kept coming. Spinach? Yes, please. Caramelized onions? Of coures. Mushrooms? Uh, ok (I don’t like mushrooms, but made them anyway. Check that, I didn’t like mushrooms).

I still had some Klaussen pickles leftover from somethingorother as well as some delicious roasted tomatoes we picked up at Harry’s (same as these). They’re expensive, but oh so worth it.

The veggie burger mix we use is no longer in production (previously manufactured by Archer’s Midland Harvest, this was the exact mix that Cafe Sunflower uses for their “World’s Best Soy Burger”). It seems as though another company bought the formulation rights and plans to distribute it, just not yet (Ed. I spoke too soon! and will be placing my order just as soon as I finish this post).

So, I got all of my mise en place cut, sauteed and seasoned while the burgers were “marinating”. They take 15 minutes after you mix with water. A quick sautee on each side and the burgers were ready for assembly.

Mise en Place

The buns were something new for us. made by Arnold they are called Sandwich Thins and are great when you don’t want a lot of bread (a rarity for me, but with so many delicious ingredients I didn’t want anything that was going to overpower).

Piled High

Anyway, I layered up the veggie burgers with all of my garnishes and was off to the races. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. Mmm….veggie burgers….

Calzones

May 27, 2009

Overflowing

So, I had a very busy day that culminated in calzones. I made the aforementioned marinara, roasted garlic, pesto and the dough for these calzones. It was an excellent day off.

The dough for these were half semolina and half whole wheat flour. I also increased the yeast from 1.5tbsp to 2tbsp which resulted in an airy and fluffy dough.

I went with my standard toppings for pizza, just stuffed in a calzone. The first one was artichokes, grape tomatoes and green peppers while the second one was pineapple and green peppers.

Filling

I wasn’t very happy with the results as I think I put too much Teese in them. My wife, on the other hand, loved them, though that wasn’t entirely surprising.

I’ll certainly make the dough again – it was really good as a dinner bread. I’d even make calzones again – just with more garnishes and less Teese.

Out Of The Oven

Artichoke and Olive Ravioli with Red Kale

April 24, 2009

Mmmmm - there's no other way to describe it

I made a big batch of marinara sauce the other day (post to come soon) so I had to try it out. The verdict? Awesome.

Normally we try out new batches with some angel hair pasta and bread to get a good picture of the sauce. This time we had just gotten done shopping and had purchased (among other things) some Rising Moon Ravioli. Specifically, the Creamy Artichoke and Olive variety. I’m not the biggest olive fan, but my wife is. I gave in and bought them and they were actually rather tasty.

I had some mise en place leftover from calzones a few nights prior (another post to come, I promise) so I sauteed it all (green peppers, artichokes and grape tomatoes) in a little roasted garlic oil.

Mise en Place

We also bought some red kale. We’ve been eating an inordinate amount of kale recently, but had yet to try the red variety and it didn’t disappoint. It was a little tougher than normal (may have been how I cooked it), but it was still really good. I added the kale and let it wilt.

Red Kale

As soon as the ravioli began to float I transferred it to the sautee pan, added the freshly-made marinara sauce and we were in business. With so many vegetables (and bread – I had some leftover pizza dough I baked like a boule) I only made one package of ravioli and it was more than enough.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Sauteed Asparagus, Corn on the Cob and Caraway-Rye Dinner Rolls

April 10, 2009

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Asparagus, Corn on the Cob and Caraway-Rye Dinner Rolls

Sweet potatoes were on sale, the corn on the cob looked really good in the supermarket and a dinner was born.

I cut the sweet potatoes and tossed them with extra virgin olive oil, salt, black pepper and some italian seasonings. 450 degree oven for about an hour and they were ready to go.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

The asparagus was sauteed in a little bit of roasted garlic oil, salt and black pepper until they turned bright green (any longer and they’re overdone).

The corn turned out to be very sweet and all I did was steam it for about 15 minutes (while everything else was getting ready).

Caraway-Rye Dinner Rolls

The caraway-rye dinner rolls was my first attempt at making rye bread from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. I substituted whole wheat flour for regular all-purpose and it overpowered the rye flavor. I’ll have to work on increasing the proportion of rye flour to wheat in future batches. It certainly wasn’t bad – quite the opposite, actually, just not as flavorful as I was hoping for.

Gnocchi, Kale, White Wheat Bread

March 20, 2009

Gnocchi

Gnocchi is one of my favorite things in the world. I’ve replaced it almost entirely for pasta (though some nice angel hair can be mighty tempting) as my starch for marinara sauce. I used to not even use marinara, instead sauteeing some garlic, deglazing with balsamic vinegar and adding a can of diced tomatoes. It was almost too easy (and fast!), but now that I’m trying to avoid BPA, I can’t use my beloved canned tomatoes.

So, marinara it is. Twist my arm, eh? The other substitution I made tonight was kale in place of spinach. Not sure why I wanted to change, but I bought two heads of kale the other night and wanted to use it up. The whole meal is super easy to make, starting with a little roasted garlic (and oil), wilting of the kale and adding marinara sauce.

Kale and Garlic

Once the gnocchi floats in the water, strain it, mix it all up and you’re ready to go. I told you it was easy, it’s just that you didn’t believe me.

I ran out of whole wheat pastry flour for my bread, so I had to use all “white wheat” for this batch and it was certainly a lot lighter, though every bit as delicious. I still haven’t done enough research into “white wheat” versus “whole wheat”, but that will have to be another day.

White Wheat Bread

Leftovers

March 16, 2009

I’d been accumulating too many leftovers, so it was time to use them all up.

Leftovers

Starting with the leftover pasta from the other night, I sauteed up some fresh kale, added a diced tomato, lima beans and the last of the pan-grilled vegetables. Simple, yet effective in that I had no more leftovers in the cooler.

I’m still loving my freshly-baked bread every night. I’ve lent my book to a few people at work, so I’m working off the same two recipes right now (traditional boule and the focaccia), but that’s just fine with me.

Whole Wheat Rolls

Pan-Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

March 14, 2009

Sandwich

Now, I’ve got a grill. But it’s outside. And it’s not worth the extra time to get the charcoal out, get it to a good temperature and squat over it while I hope to not have anything fall the cracks or off the side. So I improvise.
A really hot pan gives you the same caramelized flavor with a lot less effort.

I had baked some Whole Wheat Bread resembling a Ciabatta Loaf in anticipation of the sandwich. While it came out a little heavier than traditional Ciabatta (being whole wheat and all), it was really good.

The sandwich itself? I’m pretty famous in my immediate family for making Veggie Sandwiches that are fresh vegetable-based with vinaigrette-soaked bread. But, “this could replace Veggie Sandwiches” came out of my wife’s mouth only a few bites into her half. I was hesitant to buy into the hype even hours later. But a day later? I’ll make it without qualm. It was out of this world. Really.

So, how did I do it? Easy. Good food always boils down to quality ingredients and the right seasonings. Every time. I was recently asked if I had any good recipes for Venison. I don’t, but my response was: Olive Oil, Garlic, Salt and Black Pepper works for almost everything.

To get things started, I wrapped up my Ciabatta-esque bread in aluminum foil and put it in a 300 degree oven while everything else got ready.

I got everything else started by caramelizing a Yellow Onion. I started with some Roasted Garlic Oil in an already-hot pan (the key to having a stainless steel pan not stick is to have the pan already hot before adding anything else). Once the oil started to smoke I added my Onions and began stirring.

Balsamic Caramelized Onions

As those got nice and hot (and coated by Garlic Oil), I finished cutting the rest of my vegetables. In this case that meant: Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Portobello Mushroom (side note: I do not like Mushrooms as a rule, but I really want to like them, so I’m going to start sneaking them in now and again).

As my Onions were getting to that nice golden brown color, I added a few teaspoons of Balsamic Vinegar to the pan. This does a couple of thing:
If your onions or anything else is sticking to the pan, this gets it unstuck.
Once it cooks down, the Balsamic will get very sweet, adding to the flavor of the onions.

I cooked the onions until they started to stick again and put them aside. I splashed the pan with a little water to deglaze it again and got it very hot again. A little more Garlic Oil and it was time to start searing my vegetables. A single layer in the pan, sprinkle a little Salt and Black Pepper and heat until desired level of caramelization. Flip and repeat. After I finished searing all my vegetables it was time to assemble.

Pan-Grilled Vegetables

Pulling the soft bread from the oven, I worked quickly to ensure everything would stay warm, if not hot. The bread smelled heavenly as I sliced into it and could have been eaten on its own – but this loaf was meant for something more. Quickly, I slathered Sabra Roasted Pine Nut Hummus on each side. This is by far the creamiest Hummus I’ve ever had and it was perfect in this application. The base complete it was time to start layering. Zucchini, Squash, Mushroom, Zucchini, Squash, Caramelized Onions and topped the whole thing with the last of the Organic Baby Romaine Lettuce.

The Final Product

I wish words could describe just how good this was – just thinking about it now makes me want to go back downstairs and make another one. Or two.

(Multigrain) Risotto is not very photogenic

March 12, 2009

Multigrain Risotto

See, I told you!

It also wasn’t too great. Certainly not bad, but not my finest hour.

You see, I had all of these miscellaneous grains in small quantities that I needed to use, including some Arborio Rice. The entire dish consisted of the following: Arborio Rice, Long Grain Brown Rice, Israeli Cous Cous, Split Chick Peas, Orzo, Bulghur Wheat and Red Quinoa.

They key to a creamy vegan Risotto? A sprinkling of Parma! and a spoonful of Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream. I know, it seems so simple in hindsight, right?

To finish it off, I used some Tarragon Pesto right at the end. A few months ago we were given a large bunch of fresh Tarragon from a home garden. Not entirely sure what I would do with all of it, I made some Tarragon Pesto. Honestly, this is the first time I’ve used it and I was kind of underwhelmed by the flavor. Even drizzling some more over the top of my Risotto didn’t evoke the kind of flavor I was hoping for.

Dinner also included Whole Wheat Bread from the night before (I’m trying to bake two night’s worth so I’m not waiting two hours for dinner each night) and a salad. The salad was certainly the highlight of the meal, featuring Organic Baby Romaine, D’Anjou Pear, Golden Raisins, Fried Onions, Sliced Almonds Vine-Ripened Tomato and Italian Dressing. We picked up a few more Bosc Pears to eat over the next few days, but I’m not sure if they’ll make it into another salad or not.

Salad