Showing posts with label bread. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bread. Show all posts

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pizza Dough, Two Ways (Plus a bonus recipe!)

It is hard to believe that it’s time to start planning for Thanksgiving already, and this year is the added bonus of a joint Thanksgiving and Chanukah celebration. While I was poring over my stack of Thanksgiving themed food magazines, I came across a welcome distraction. In the November 2009 issue of Food & Wine there was an article entitled “Asia Comes to America.” Joanne Chang from Boston’s Flour CafĂ© and Bakery (and Myers and Chang) contributed a handful of recipes for traditional Chinese items made from non-traditional ingredients. The one that caught my eye was for scallion pancakes using store-bought pizza dough. Since I have been eating scallion pancakes almost every Thursday for the past few months (maybe year...), I thought I would give the recipe a try. (Recipe here, I quartered the recipe to make 1)

Does scallion pancakes every Thursday seem a little odd? Not when the delicious Mei Mei Street Kitchen truck parks across from your office every Thursday. When dumplings aren't on the menu, my next choice is whatever they are serving on a hot griddled scallion pancake. Some week’s it is braised beef, cheese, and pickles others it is roast beef, potato salad, cranberry hoisin and Swiss chard, or sometimes the double awesome. I know I can’t recreate the full Mei Mei experience at home, but the scallion pancake seemed like a good thing to try.

With a 22 oz. ball of pizza dough from the store, I didn’t need to use all of it for the scallion pancake. Earlier in the day I turned 3 pounds of local apples into an apple butter flavored with maple and pumpkin pie spice. This apple butter was packed with as much New England fall as I could find! Apples from Shelburne Farm (Stow, MA), pumpkin pie spice and apple cider from Bolton Spring Farm (Bolton, MA), and granulated maple sugar from The Warren Farm and Sugarhouse (North Brookfield, MA). I thought about making a batch of warm biscuits to slather it on, but then I remembered the leftover pizza dough in the refrigerator. Perfect for a no-fuss dessert!

I tore up the remaining dough and tossed the dough balls in a generous amount of cinnamon sugar. After arranging them in a Bundt pan they got smothered in a mix of my fresh apple butter and melted butter. Thirty minutes and a flip later, maple-pumpkin pie spiced-apple butter monkey bread! There is no recipe for this one, tear up your favorite pizza dough (or even refrigerated canned biscuits), toss in cinnamon sugar, top with melted butter and apple butter, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool for a few minutes, invert onto a plate, and watch it disappear in no time at all.

One ball of dough plus a few great sources of inspiration equals a delicious day in the Good Cook Doris kitchen. Hope your fall is just as tasty!

Maple Pumpkin Pie Spiced Apple Butter
Inspired by Overnight Apple Butter, Domenica Marchetti, Cooking Light, October 2004

1/2 cup granulated maple sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider
1 ½ tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
10 medium apples, peeled, seeds removed, and cut into large chunks (2 ½ - 3 pounds apples)

Add all ingredients in a Dutch oven or large, heavy bottomed pot
Cover and cook over medium-low heat 1 – 1 ½ hours or until apples are very tender, stirring occasionally
Place a large fine-mesh sieve over a bowl; spoon one-third of apple mixture into sieve. Using a spatula, press the apple mixture through sieve. Discard pulp. Repeat with remaining apple mixture.  (This took a little while to do, you want to get as much apple goodness as possible in the finished product)
Return  the apple butter mixture to the pot and cook over medium low for approximately 15 minutes, or until desired thickness.

10-15 minutes prep time, depending on your apple peeling speed
10-20 minutes sieve time, depending on your arm strength
Total cook time: 1 ¼ hour – 2 hours

Peeler, measuring spoons and cups, knife, Dutch oven or heavy pot, and spatula

This recipe is not sweet – if you like your apple butter sweeter you can add up to double the amount of sugar and honey. I prefer a less sweet apple butter, to let the apples’ natural sugars determine the final sweetness.  

I used a variety of apples from our recent apple picking outing: Cortland, Red Delicious, Empire, Golden Delicious, Rome, and a few others I can't remember. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Daring Cooks Challenge: Pate and Freshly Baked Bread

Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

When I first saw this month's challenge, I wasn't quite sure what to think. When I think of pate, I think of liver, and that is not very appetizing to me. I think about my grandfather ordering steaming plates of liver and onions and happy hour at my other grandparent's club where the star dish was chopped liver. Needless to say, I was very happy to see the vegetarian choice on the recipe list! I have also been trying to bake more breads at home and this was a perfect opportunity to try out a new recipe.

I used this recipe for the pate: and this recipe for the baguette
(great step by step guide here). I started both recipes on Saturday afternoon and finished them up on Sunday. Right now I'm enjoying the results while I flip between the Tony's, the Celtics, and blogging.

I assembled all the ingredients for each layer, prepped my new red loaf pan, and got to work. For the bean layer I opted for fresh oregano. Oregano is not really one of my favorite flavors and I especially do not like dried oregano. I also mashed and blended by hand - in the past when I've used the food processor the mixture has become too liquidy.

Not too much too report on the red pepper layer - just dump and pulse! For the pesto, it was also pretty straightforward. I toasted the pine nuts in the toaster on the light toast setting. All the ingredients went into the quickly washed food processor and pulsed and processed until I had a pesto.

As a creative touch, I decided to put a lemon slice and some oregano leaves in the bottom of the loaf pan for decoration. After making sure the layers were even and the loaf was tightly wrapped with plastic wrap, the loaf went into the refrigerator to chill overnight. Twenty-four hours of chilling later and 30 minutes in the freezer later, the loaf was ready to unmold. Now on to the baguette before I finish the story of the pate.

I started the baguette before working on the pate. Mixing up the starter was easy - though it did call for one of the only kitchen utensils I don't have (1/16 teaspoon measuring spoon). I whisked together the yeast, water, and flour and left it on the counter to work its magic while I headed out to a sorority alumni event.

When I woke up this morning I was happy to see that my starter looked like the starter in the King Arthur Flour baking blog. After a quick breakfast with farm fresh eggs from Smith's Country Cheese and uber wheat toast from B&R Artisan Breads, I started on the next steps for the baguettes.

I dumped the starter, salt, and flour into my trusty red KitchenAid mixer bowl and whisked the yeast and water in the empty starter bowl. Then it was all in to the mixer for 5 minutes of kneading.

Now the waiting. I planned to be home all day so I could check on my dough almost hourly. Here's a few looks at the bread during the 5ish hour rising process. Having no AC and warmish day was helpful to the dough during the process. After rising, gently deflating, rising, gently deflating, dividing, flattening, folding, and more rising the baguettes were ready for the oven!

I followed the tip to spritz the dough with warm water to create a crispy crackly crust. After 25 minutes the baguettes were golden brown, crispy and maybe just a little too dark on the bottom (almost, but not quite burned).

Now the fun part - putting it all together! I took the loaf out of the freezer and decided on using my cake stand for a dramatic presentation. I sliced up one of the baguettes and flipped the pate. Success! It stood up on the plate (don't mind my off-center decoration)!

Now for the review.... The flavors are great. Although as I sit here snacking, it does taste much better at room temperature (as opposed to ice cold right out of the mold). I also thought that the bean layer was way too big relative to the other two layers. I think next time I would put a smaller layer of beans on the top, then the pepper and pesto, and beans on the bottom. That would also give it a more stable base.

The baguettes are fabulous! We have already polished off one of the three and the others aren't going to be around for long. Even though it was a 24+ hour recipe, it was worth it! Thanks to the Daring Kitchen ladies for picking such a fun challenge!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fresh From the Oven: Homemade Breads

I have a lot of experience with baking quick breads, but I've never tried to make homemade breads before. I was intimidated by the process and didn't think I had the skills or the time. On a grocery shopping trip, I passed the bakery and saw a loaf of cherry chocolate bread that looked so good I decided to make my own chocolate bread at home.

I found a recipe online and set out to make chocolate bread! Long story short, the bread did not turn out as desired. It didn't rise, didn't look very pretty, and was quite dense. While it wasn't a nice fluffy bread, it would have made a great base for a dessert bruschetta. I imagined toasting it and topping it with fresh strawberries and cream. But that is for another post - this is all about the bread.

After my failed attempt, I was motivated to conquer the bread baking challenge. Not too much later, one of my favorite new foodies posted an article entitled, "Yes, You Can Bake Bread" on Local in Season. Inspired by Jane's can-do attitude and seemingly easy recipe for cinnamon raisin whole wheat bread, I gathered the ingredients, got out my red KitchenAid mixer and got to work!

A key learning from my first experience was that my kitchen is not warm enough for dough to rise. To remedy this I put the oven on warm for about 10 minutes (while I kneaded the dough) and then turned it off before putting the dough inside. With the door cracked, the dough doubled in size as specified in the recipe. I think I didn't quite let the dough fully rise the second time and I left in the oven a little too long trying to get the right color. But, much better than the first try! You can get the recipe at I used honey for my sweetener and regular raisins. I also used my KitchenAid mixer to do the kneading.

After my success with Jane's recipe, I felt confident and decided that I could make my own breads every weekend. The next week I found a few recipes on the King Arthur Flour website and picked two to try - honey oatmeal and a white sandwich bread. The honey oatmeal was a very hearty bread - with oats, instant mashed potato flakes, and flour. The white sandwich bread was a more traditional milk bread.

Honey Oatmeal

White Sandwich Bread

I fired up the mixer, heated up the oven, and started the 6 hour bread breaking process. Both breads rose according to plan (a small miracle) and baked to a nice golden brown. The honey oatmeal was great toasted with a little peanut butter. The sandwich bread was a little sweet for my taste, but got rave reviews from my chief food tasters - my hubby and my friend Renee.

I am glad to know that I can add breads to the list of foods that I make at home instead of buying at the store. Plus, bread baking works well with my usual Sunday homework plans. Mix the dough - study for 2 hours while it rises - punch down the dough - study for 2 hours while it rises again - bake - watch TV - and then enjoy!

I would love to hear about your bread baking adventures - both failures and success!

Photos of my breads are in the running to win a picture contest through a drool-worthy website, Refrigerator Soup. If you have a minute, please click through and vote (it's by popular vote). Leave a comment here and let me know that you voted - I'm going to pick one lucky winner and send them a freshly baked loaf of bread! Vote here!
***New Feature***
Haikus from the hubby, of When He Fends for Himself.
Out of the oven
Two pieces toasted and sliced
Crumbs are everywhere

Monday, August 17, 2009

Summer Zucchini with a story

It's that time of summer where freshly picked zucchini is everywhere - here in Boston is no different. My coworker and her husband are not big fans of vegetables and she offered me a few zucchinis from her neighbor's garden. I couldn't imagine them going to waste, so I accepted!

The real story here is that my hubby and our friends Aaron and Amanda used to live in the same house that my coworker now lives in. Amanda built and planted a nice veggie garden out back so she could eat sustainably. So in fact, this zucchini came by way of Amanda (just 6+ years later). Thanks Amanda!

I wanted to make zucchini bread, but a quick scan of the fridge didn't show too many ingredients. I googled a recipe for zucchini bread + 1 egg (the ceaseless wonders of search engines) and went with the first recipe that popped up - Lemon Zucchini Bread. One thing I've learned is to check out the reviews with recipes. I followed the tip to add in some vanilla to the batter. It turned out great and we ate it all!

After the bread, I still had another zucchini left. We were getting to head out of town for wedding #3 of the season and wanted to use it up before we went. I cut it up and pondered something quick and easy to make. With the hot summer temperatures I wanted something that didn't completely heat up the house.

I sauteed the zucchini with some olive oil and salt and added it to some tri-color rotini. In the spirit of grow-your-own food, I added some fresh basil from our plant and kept it simple with olive oil and lemon juice. The hubby topped his with grated Parmesan and proceeded to clean his bowl - the sign of a tasty dinner.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Strawberry Bread

The picture does not do this Strawberry Bread justice. I have no idea where I got this recipe, it is in my stack of printed recipes with no title and no source. I found it last summer when we went strawberry picking and needed a lot of creative ways to use up what we picked. It's a quick bread - mix and bake for 1 hour and enjoy! The recipe calls for frozen strawberries, but I just used a few extra fresh ones and added a dash of orange juice for a little extra moisture. Enjoy!

Strawberry Bread
1.5 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup sugar
10 ounce package or 1 and 1/4 cups frozen strawberries, thawed
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup nuts chopped (optional)
1/2 cup cooking oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease and flour a loaf pan
Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl
In a separate bowl, mix all liquid ingredients (including strawberries and a dash of orange juice)
Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients, stirring only enough to mix
Do not over mix - batter will be lumpy
Pour into loaf pan
Bake for 1 hour
Cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan

Note: if you use fresh strawberries, cut off the stems and slice them into quarters

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
2 bowls, spatula, loaf pan


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