Artisan Boule Bread

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Wait! Don’t click away from this page because you think making homemade bread is too much work, too complicated, or too likely to fail.  I promise I can hook you with two words:

No kneading.

After reading this recipe and seeing that the word “knead” was no where to be seen, I knew I had to make this bread.  I am not a kneader by nature.  I get frustrated with kneading. Flour gets into every single possible kitchen crevice and all over my clothes because for some reason I thought it’d be a good idea to wear my new black shirt to make bread and oh my gahhh has it been 10 minutes yet or is the dough elastic enough I want to stop kneading my arms hurt. Welcome to my head.

There is a tradeoff for the no kneading with time.  The dough needs to sit over night.  So yes, it takes some time but no real work on your part.  All you do is proof some yeast (just add hot water!), pour some flour and salt.  Stir. Cover.  Sit on your counter. Bake. And viola: bread.  

But to sound fancy let us call it artisan boule bread.  Oh la la.

This would be a great bread recipe to make if you have never tried to make homemade bread before.  Or if you need a confidence booster after having several unsuccessful attempts.  I have about a 50/50 success rate with bread in general, but this bread has given me the confidence to try more homemade bread!

And complain more about how much work it is to knead.

ARTISAN BOULE BREAD
From The Comfort of Cooking

INGREDIENTS

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
1 1/2 cups water, 110°F

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl stir together all purpose flour, salt, and yeast.  Stir in water with a wooden spoon until mixture forms a wet dough.  Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let sit for 8-24 hours.  The dough will bubble as it sits.

Preheat oven to 450°F.  Place Dutch oven in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Form dough into a ball, adding more flour as needed. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let it rest while the Dutch oven heats in the oven. Place dough on a piece of parchment paper.  Transfer dough into the preheated Dutch oven.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove lid and bake for 10-18 minutes uncovered. Let bread cool slightly before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf of bread.

French Onion Soufflé

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Let’s make some souffléeeeeeeeeeeeeees!

That is my internet translation of my Julia Child impression.

While making these soufflés I channelled my inner Juliaaaa Chiiiild.  I felt fancy and French and accomplished. I was a little afraid given all those horror soufflé stories I have heard (I am scared by much different camp-fire stories than most people), but if you follow the recipe directions, everything will turn out okay. Your soufflés with cook and rise. You will be happy.  I have a vague memory of some 90’s movie where a soufflé fell due to loud noise, and while I did not shout or throw a dance party while cooking these, I had no problems.

The longest part of this recipe is caramelizing the onions, but caramelized onions are always worth that extra time. And soufflés with caramelized onions will seem so impressive to everyone you serve them to, so feel free to brag.   This is a definite celebration dish-  perfect for this time of year to celebrate your mom with a fancy dish on Mother’s Day.

And also feel free to speak in a French accent the entire time you make and eat this soufflé

FRENCH ONION SOUFFLÉ
Adapted from Cooking Light

INGREDIENTS

2 onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2/3 cup milk
Salt
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon beef bouillon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon white vinegar

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place baking sheet in the oven to preheat. Grease 4 6-ounce ramekins.

In a saucepan, add onions and butter over medium heat. Season with salt. Let onions sweat, about 2-3 minutes. Lower heat and let cook until caramelized, about 25-30 minutes. Stir the onions occasionally. Stir in the sugar about halfway through cooking. If the onions are getting too brown too quickly, lower the heat. If the bottom of your pan appears to be browning too much, add 1 teaspoon of water to deglaze.

Whisk in flour and milk. Season with nutmeg, beef bouillon, salt, and white pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Whisk in egg yolks and Gruyère cheese.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites and vinegar until medium peaks form. Fold 1/4 of the mixture into the flour mixture. Fold in remaining mixture until just combined. Divide mixture among your ramekins. Place on preheated baking sheet and put in oven. Immediately lower oven temperature to 350°F. Bake for 26-27 minutes. Eat immediately.

Makes 4 soufflés.

Streusel Sweet Potato Soufflé

This years Thanksgiving was a tremendous success!  Except for the fact that I did not take any pictures of food or people after the festivities began.  So a Thanksgiving that will have to remain in mental memory but a good one none the less.  I hope you all also had a great day yesterday.

We may have overdone it with the amount of food, but hey, that is what Thanksgiving is all about, right?  We made and ate green bean casserole for the first time, along with creamed onions, apple stuffing, dry and wet stuffing, cranberry sauce, corn casserole, and more.    Our turkey also came out great, I think we now have become a turkey salting family.  I am already feeling ready to tackle all those leftovers we have sitting in the fridge.  During the dinner, I actually didn’t even make it through all the way to dessert this year, which is shocking.  I will have to make up for it with leftovers and learn to plan ahead and work on pacing myself for Christams

One of my favorite dishes from Thanksgiving last year was the Streusel Sweet Potato Soufflé.  It was my first taste of the beloved orange vegetable, and I was hooked.  When I was making it again this year, I realized why it tasted so good.  The ingredients are mostly sugar, butter, and sweet potatoes.  A perfect combination in my mind- make it to go with your Thanksgiving leftover or to enjoy during these winter months.

See my original post for the recipe.

Happy Thanksgiving & Crunchy Peanut Butter Sweet Potatoes

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you are all enjoying your time in the kitchen today.  Remember to try not to stress too much cooking dinner tonight.

I hope you all have plenty to be thankful for.  I know I have a lot this year to be grateful fo.  I am thankful that I am getting starting on a career path I love (even thought it keeps me too busy), I am thankful that I get to enjoy a big, yummy meal today, and I am thankful to spend time with my family, who I’ve been missing now that I live away from home.

Today count your blessings, and not the plates of food you eat!

Here are some great recipes to make with your leftovers:
Thanksiladas
Open Face Turkey Sandwich
Barbeque Turkey Wrap
Open Face Turkey Ruben
Thanksgiving Wraps
Cranberry Chicken Pizza
Streusel Sweet Potato Soufflé
Sweet Potato Fries

If you have some leftover sweet potatoes, here is an easy (but not very pretty) breakfast, or since I hope you all are sleeping in and relaxing, brunch.  Take some time to recover from the big turkey day and enjoy the remaining vacation from work.

These sweet potatoes will give you the energy needed to put up for Christmas decorations.

CRUNCH PEANUT BUTTER SWEET POTATOES
Barely Adapted from Fake Ginger
INGREDIENTS

3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Peanuts, optional

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F. While preheating, have your baking pan in the oven, so it is hot when you will put the sweet potatoes on.  This will help them crisp and not burn.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine sweet potatoes, peanut butter, butter, cinnamon, and salt.  Stir together until warm and sweet potatoes are covered with peanut butter (you may need more or less peanut butter based on the size of your sweet potatoes).  Spread in an even layer on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Stir and flip potatoes Increase heat to broiler and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes, until crisp.

Garnish with peanuts if desired.  Serve with toast, eggs, or as a side dish.

Serves 2-3.

Wild Rice and Fruit Stuffing

Thanksgiving is almost here!  Right now you will probably find me reading some articles, writing a paper, working on research, or something school related.  My plan to try and get everything I can done before the break, so I can actually take a break during the break.  What a novel idea- I will have to wait and see how this actually pans out.

But even before the big Turkey Day is here I plan to enjoy some Thanksgiving dishes.  This was a great dinner for me, but it could also be a new edition to a Thanksgiving meal if you are still searching for recipes to include in your menu.  This is a rice salad chock full of fall flavors: cranberries, butternut squash, and some turkey if you want to use up leftovers.  Easy and simple: love it.

Here’s hoping I am not reading the DSM next Thursday while shovelling turkey and stuffing in my mouth.  Instead, I will just psychoanalyze my family over some pie.

WILD RICE, FRUIT, AND PECAN DRESSING
Adapted from Bon Appetit
INGREDIENTS

1 1/3 cup brown and wild rice mixture
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 onion, sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
1- 1 1/2 cups roasted butternut squash
Salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces pecans, chopped
4 ounces dried cranberries
4 ounces dried apricots
4 ounces dried currants
1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup granulated sugar

DIRECTIONS

In a saucepan, combine rice and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce to a simmer.  Cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked, about 15 minutes.  Set aside.  (Or cook according to your rice’s instructions using chicken broth).

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add onion.  Season with salt and pepper.  Keep heat on medium to medium low and cook onions until brown and caramelized, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally   Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.  Add remaining butter, celery, and mushrooms.  Cook for 7-10 minutes, until vegetables cooked through.

Heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Add cranberries and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in sugar.

Combine rice, vegetable mixture, pecans, cranberries, dried cranberries, dried apricots, and dried currants.  Serve warm.

Serves 3 as a main dish, 6-7 as a side dish.

Roasted Pear and Cabbage Salad

Let’s talk about the best time of the year.  Sure, summer is great because you can get vacation from school (if you’re lucky), and you hit the beaches.   But then you sweat when you go outside- no thank you.  Spring brings pretty flours and fresh produce.  And spring break.  Flowers are overrated.  My favorite time of year is the beginning of fall and the early transition into winter.
I love this time of year.  Starting about mid-October, I begin to get that feeling.  I can’t describe it exactly, but it’s that feeling that comes with the holidays coming up.   I love all the holiday cheer and preparation.  When I walk into Walmart and see Halloween treats in September and Christmas cheer in October, I don’t complain.  Sometimes when I am driving or walking outside, and I see decorations and multicolored leaves, I just feel happy.  I soak it all up, cherishing it while it lasts.  And then the rest of the year I whine about how I wish it was fall or winter.
This salad is a simple way to utilize the produce of the season.  Sweet pear, heart cabbage, creamy cheese, and crunchy nuts.  So simple but so good and much more interesting that your typical salad with lettuce and veggies.  Healthy for you but still has great flavor.  This is a super winter salad right here.  Enjoy this time of year with me and put this on the schedule for lunch or dinner.
ROASTED PEAR AND CABBAGE SALAD
Slightly Adapted from The Sweets Life
INGREDIENTS

1 small head cabbage, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt
2 brown pears, chopped
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/3-1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
2 ounces cashews

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Toss cabbage with olive oil.  Spread cabbage and pears on a rimmed baking sheet and season with a pinch of salt.  Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning at least once.  Stir in white balsamic vinegar (transfer to bowl or skillet if baking sheet won’t hold liquid).  Sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles and cashews.

Serves 2-3

Mushroom and Wild Rice Casserole

 

Dinner for a food blogger is often a race against time.  I start cooking feeling very calm and serene, confident that I can finish everything according to plan, with everything timed to finish together.  But then something always happens, and I begin to realize that once again I severely underestimated the time it would take.  Taking too long means I loose the natural light and will eat late if I don’t starve before (I grew up eating dinner at 5:00 people, I can’t make it too late into the night without food).  Then I begin to rush and inevitably forgot an ingredient, drop food on the floor, become super messy, or all of the above.  My new nightly routine is rushing around the kitchen like with a chicken with its head cut off,quickly try to snap a semi-decent photo.

Casseroles are one of the foods that are notoriously hard to photograph, and this mushroom and wild rice casserole is no exception.  This picture is my fourth or fifth attempt to capture a decent photo.  This casserole may not be as cute as a cupcake, but I promise this casserole delivers.  It’s deliciously cheesy, eggy, and mushroom-y (I like to add a y to the end of words to describe food if you can’t tell).

Casseroles have a bad rap and are often not the favorite dinner item on the menu.  For years my family have talked about the horror when our mom dared to serve us what we deemed a “healthy casserole”.  It had noodles, chicken, and…vegetables.  How dare she. In hindsight, the casserole she served back then is pretty similar to dinners I make for myself now (but don’t tell her that, we still love to joke about that casserole).

Every family needs a casserole to talk about.  Make this casserole your family’s healthy casserole.

On a side note, this week is only a 4 day week for me (!!!) since I am going back to Houston Friday for a friend’s wedding.  Why is the week so much better when you have one less day (and get to go to Trader Joe’s over the weekend)?

MUSHROOM AND WHILE RICE CASSEROLE
Slightly Adapted from Annie’s Eats
 
INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups wild rice mix
1 tablespoon olive oil
20 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/3 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1 ounce Romano cheese, grated
2 scallions, sliced

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare rice according to instructions. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Coat pan in olive oil and heat for 1 minute. Add onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. Add Worcestershire and cook until mushrooms and onions are cooked through and all cooking liquid has evaporated. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a large bowl, whisk cottage cheese, sour cream, eggs, and nutmeg together. Season with a generous pinch of salt and freshly cracked pepper. Fold in rice, mushrooms, and onions (make sure these ingredients have cooled). Fold in 3/4 of the Romano cheese, reserving the rest for topping.

Grease a large baking dish. Pour casserole mixture into pan. Top with remaining cheese. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on top. Top with green onions and serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side dish.

Corn, Green Bean, and Blueberry Salad

This is summer in a bowl.  All of the sweet produce of summer is cooked together and lightly dressed.  It’s fresh, light, and lovely.

I love salads like this where you throw vegetables and fruit together (not necessarily always with lettuce, don’t limit yourself!), but this summer salad is taken to the next level with the toasted hazelnuts.  Don’t forgo the hazelnuts.  I was planning on leaving them out, but by pure chance- or fate- I had some hazelnuts already sitting in the fridge left from my hazelnut macarons (yummm, those are coming soon).  The crunchiness and nuttiness really adds a whole new nuance to this salad.  And if you are feeling a little indulgent, some warm goat cheese stirred in would also be delicious.

Now get a move on- summer is almost over and you haven’t made this yet!

CORN, GREEN BEAN, AND BLUEBERRY SALAD
Adapted from The Chew
INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 ears of corn, shucked
2 cups green beans, cut into thirds
1 spring onion, chopped
1 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Crumbled goat cheese, optional

DIRECTIONS

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, corn, and green beans.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, until corn begins to develop some color.  Add leeks and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.  Turn off heat and carefully stir in blueberries, honey, and remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.  Top with toasted hazelnuts and crumbled goat cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 3-5 as a side dish.