Monday, July 30, 2012

Interesting Things

Happy Monday!  Here are some interesting things I bookmarked this past week:

Salad in a jar-so perfect!  I hate taking salad in my lunch because it would always get soggy!

I always make my pizza crust with yeast, but this St. Louis style pizza crust made with baking soda intrigues me. plentiful.  These zucchini bread pancakes just rocketed to the top of my list of things to try with my ton of zucchini.

Extreme cuteness!

A savory cobbler?  Yes, please!  Especially if it comes with blue cheese biscuits.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Savory Sunday-Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates

Run, don't walk, to the store and purchase yourself some fat little dates and make these.  My mouth was so happy and they only take about 6 minutes, start to finish.  (There would have been a photo of the finished product, but we ate them so fast...)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Makes my life easier or at least better smelling-Vanilla Sugar

If you use a vanilla bean, throw the empty pod into your sugar container.  The sugar will absorb the scent and flavor of the vanilla bean making your sugar taste and smell amazing.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Soft Italian Bread and Walnut Pesto

Oh my good grief, this pesto is good.  I made it for the first time last year and this year I planted six basil plants to ensure that I would have enough basil to make this stuff by the bucketful.  It is great on pasta and really good slathered on some soft homemade bread.  Rumor has it that pesto can be frozen for use this winter and that is good news.

Walnut Pesto adapted from Brown Eyed Baker-makes about 2 cups

4 cups sweet basil
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups whole walnuts
1 cup olive oil
3 teaspoons minced garlic

Take the whole walnuts for a spin in the food processor.  When they are coarsely ground, add in the Parmesan cheese, garlic and the basil.  Pulse several times.  Turn the processor on low speed and drizzle olive oil in the mixture until the ingredients come together.

Store in an airtight container with a thin layer of olive oil and plastic wrap pressed against the pesto.  The basil will oxidize quickly so be sure to keep it well covered.

Italian Bread adapted from The Bread Baker's Apprentice

3 1/2 cups biga
1 1/2 bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup water

Take the biga out of the refrigerator about an hour before you are ready to mix the final dough.  Stir together the biga, flour, salt, sugar, yeast, olive oil, and 3/4 cup water.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until a smooth dough forms.  You may need to add more water to the dough to make it smooth.  If you are kneading with a dough hook, knead 8-10 minutes.  If kneading by hand, go for a bit longer.  Cover and allow to raise for about an hour.

After an hour, divide dough and shape into loaves.  I like round loaves because when cut, they make nice large pieces of bread.  Cover and allow to raise for another hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bake loaves for about 30 minutes.  Allow to cool.


2 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup water

Stir ingredients together.  Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes.  Cover on the counter for 4-5 hours.  Refrigerate overnight or for a couple days.  You can wrap tightly and freeze.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Interesting Things

Here are some interesting things I bookmarked this past week or so:

I have probably bookmarked this before, but the Bacon Jam from Tasty Kitchen looks so good it is worth bookmarking twice!

Noshings Slow Roasted Walnut Granola seems like the perfect thing to go in my morning yogurt.

Stickygram is a great way to print your Instagram photos and turn them into magnets!

Not Without Salt's Rosemary Lemonade looks so refreshing and her photos of her kiddos selling lemonade are so precious!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Homemade Naan

For a time, my husband and I lived in the lovely but rainy city of Seattle.  There, I worked at a humane society where, probably needless to say, most of my co-workers were at the least vegetarian, and many vegan.  Occasionally after work, we would all go out to dinner.  One night, we went for Indian food, my very first time.  This meat and potatoes Midwestern girl was stunned at how flavorful this vegetarian food was.  My favorite thing though, was the naan.  It made a perfect vehicle for the saucy, spicy main dishes. 

Naan from an Indian restaurant is cooked in a Tandoor.  Naan in your kitchen is not.  Do they taste the same?  No.  Does homemade naan still taste awesome?  Yes.  It is the perfect flat bread accompaniment to your favorite homemade Indian food.

Homemade Naan adapted from Crust and Crumb


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1/3 teaspoon instant yeast

Stir ingredients together and allow to sit out for about 4 hours.  Refrigerate overnight.  Get out of the fridge about an hour or so before you want to make your final dough.


  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk powder
  • 2 cups poolish
  • about 1 cup of water

In a clean bowl, put the poolish, flour, salt, yeast, and olive oil.  In a separate smaller bowl, mix together buttermilk powder and water.  Add to the flour mixture.  Stir together.  Add in water slowly until a dough forms.  Turn out on a floured surface and knead or knead with dough hook for about 10 minutes.  Cover and allow to raise for about 45 minutes.

After the first raise, turn out onto a floured surface and divide into 8-10 pieces.  Cover and allow to raise for another 45 minutes.

Roll pieces out until very thin.  If the dough gets stretchy when you roll it, allow it to rest for 10 minutes or so.  Preheat oven as hot as it will go, mine will only go to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.  Preheat oven with baking stone inside to heat the stone as well.  When the oven is good and hot, toss the thinly rolled pieces of dough onto the hot stone.  Bake for about 3 minutes.  Flip naan over and bake other side for another 3 minutes.  Repeat with any remaining pieces

Eat immediately, or wrap in a warm towel.  The naan tends to get stiff as it gets colder and older. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Makes my like easier-powdered buttermilk

Buttermilk is a wonderful wonderful baking tool.  It adds the right tang to pancakes, breads, batters.  The trouble with buttermilk is that it has a short expiration and, at least where I live, you must buy too large of a container to use on short notice.  

This is where powdered buttermilk comes in handy.  The back of the canister has a handy indicator about how much powder and water to add in to substitute for buttermilk.  It keeps in the fridge for ages and relatively speaking, inexpensive and easy to find.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I suppose it is getting a little late in the season for a strawberry rhubarb pie.  Strawberries reached their peak about a month ago and rhubarb, well I have no idea because I have never been able to find fresh rhubarb in the stores around me.  (Note to self, plant rhubarb next year).  Luckily, this recipe works as well with frozen berries as it does with fresh so you can enjoy the sweet tang of strawberry rhubarb pie anytime of the year. 

I had a heck of a time with a traditional pie.  Pile the fruit and sugar and cornstarch in the pie crust and bake.  My poor husband's birthday pie was a liquid mess.  I baked that pie for ever and ever and it just never thickened.  My friend Katie, an amazing pastry chef, taught me to cook my apple pie filling on the stove top before putting in the pie shell.  I took the same theory and applied it to the strawberry rhubarb pie.  The result was a thick, jammy pie that tastes so good with some vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

filling before it goes into the pie shell

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie


3 cups chopped strawberries, fresh or frozen
3 cups chopped frozen rhubarb
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 cup cold water
1 tablespoon vanilla
3-4 tablespoons butter

1 9inch double crust,
1 egg beaten

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Pour in strawberries and rhubarb and 1/2 cup sugar.  Cook over medium heat.  The sugar will juice the berries.  Cook the everything until the berries are soft, about 10 minutes.  In a separate little bowl, mix together the cold water and the corn starch.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the filling.  Once the filling thickens, about a minute or two, remove from the heat.  Add in the additional 1/2 cup of sugar and vanilla and stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Pour filling into unbaked pie shell.  Cover with other crust.  Brush with beaten egg.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Because the filling is already cooked, you only need to be concerned about baking the crust.

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