Category Archives: Back to Basics Cooking
All I know about sourdough bread making I learned here. I think it turned out OK, but the crust is very chewy and is a challenge that is best met by using it to dip in stew broth or something else. I may try a french toast, letting the bread soak in the eggs mixture long enough to soften.The different patterns on the loaves are due to two different floured towels used in the long resting stage just prior to baking. These were baked in the ginormous enameled cast iron Dutch oven, last used for these short ribs.
I tried to slash a nice slit in the loaf but was leery of burning myself on the pre-heated 500 degree cast iron. I may get one of those specialty tools that uses an old-timey razor blade, called a lame. It sure is pretty! I think the next time I will go with a shorter bake time, that crust is pretty and all, but damn!
This side is a coleslaw with vinegar dressing that I saw over at Serious Eats. First, you slice the cabbage and onions and grate the carrots plus whatever else sounds good to you – I like to slice colored sweet peppers – a few jalapenos work well, too. Then, with all of that in a big bowl you sprinkle salt and sugar over it and work it in a bit. That’s where we are in the photo above. This helps to wilt and soften the cabbage. After a few minutes rinse the salt and sugar off. I use a colander within a bowl, run water over the slaw until the slaw floats then stir it about and lift the colander out of the bowl.I liked this slaw so much I bought a salad spinner to help drain the water off after the rinse. This one is an Oxo and seems to be pretty sturdy. There are other ways to dry the slaw, like draining on a tilted tray or squeezing it out in a towel.
The dressing is simple enough:
1 cup apple cider vinegar (I use a seasoned rice vinegar)
1 cup sugar (Splenda or equivalent works well)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic (about 1 medium clove)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
The linked recipe calls for garbanzo beans but I didn’t have any so I subbed in a can of Great Northern beans. It also gets chopped celery and chopped green onions – chopped red onions are an option that also adds color.
The potato salad is very good and is pretty much self explanatory:
5 large red potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, 2 chopped and 1 sliced (use sliced egg for garnish)
2 heaping tablespoons sweet pickle relish, drained
1/2 cup salad dressing, (the Neely’s recommend Miracle Whip, we use Hellmann’s)
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
Paprika, for garnish
This is made from the green salsa I made from the tomatillos growing in my garden. There weren’t a lot, so I only had enough salsa for one meal. It was so good, I was disappointed by the amount.
I’ll post the recipe this weekend, fingers crossed. I’m very close to completing my original list of projects. The master bedroom is finished, complete with art on the walls. Freshly painted, shelves put in the closets, old furniture touched up, new bedding. My goal this weekend is to finish the music room (that will also serve as the guest room) and finish painting the new front door.
Meanwhile, I’m winterizing the yard, slowly, since it’s been 70 and 80s here the last week and predicted to be as warm next week. But the strawberries are almost ready to be put to bed. All my roses are blooming, so I’m holding off trimming them back just yet.
Oh, you wanted to know about the new puppy? It’s going well and I am charging up my video camera so I can get you some good tug of war action between Bailey and Bixby. It’s adorable. Until then….
I love this recipe, it is so easy. I was looking for a slow rise bread – they are thought to be easier to digest for people who have trouble with yeast or gluten sensitivities. And it has the added advantage of being super easy and almost fool-proof to make. Instant yeast is a must here, because the idea behind the slow rise is that the yeast has time fully flavor the bread and become more easily digestible.
Crusty Slow-Rise Bread
- 5 ½ cups unbleached flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 ¼ tsp instant yeast (instant is important)
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water (about 95 degrees F)
Add yeast to water and allow to proof for about 1 minute. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl until well blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Let rest uncovered for 5 minutes.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead for two minutes. The dough should be smooth, tacky, not dry or sticky. Adjust by adding flour and water as needed.
Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to four days.
It makes two loaves. If you’d like to make loaves separately, you can divide into to equal pieces, cover and refrigerate separately.
Two hours before baking, remove from the refrigerator. Shape into desired loaf, spray lightly with oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise about 90 minutes until it’s increased 1 ½ times its original size.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and remove plastic from bread. Just before baking, score with three slices across the bread with a sharp knife. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and place in hot oven. I add sesame seeds on the baking sheet and place the loaf on that so it doesn’t stick and has a nice sesame seed crust.
Add a tray of ice to a baking sheet and place on the rack underneath the bread to create a steam bath for the bread. This will give you a crispy, chewy crust.
Bake for 15 minutes, rotate pan and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until the bread reaches and internal temperature of 200 degrees F. For crisper crust, turn off the oven and leave the bread in an additional 5 minutes.
Remove to a bread board and let cool for 45 minutes (ok, seriously, if you can wait that long, you’re a better person than I – I’ve scorched my fingers more than once sneaking a fresh hot slice).
It was 47 degrees when I woke up this morning. I should have been suspicious when I was surrounded by furry bodies, snuggled up trying to stay warm. Who needs a down comforter?
Fall is rushing toward me, but I am not ready for pumpkin spice anything yet. In fact, I’m using up the pumpkin I have today to make puppy treats – these to be specific.
I have made more salsa, two batches of jelly and my favorite bread dough is resting in the refrigerator, waiting for me to form it into loaves. I’m still waiting for the bulk of the tomatillos to ripen so I can make a big batch of salsa verde.
I will post photos and recipes for jelly and bread later (today with luck), but first I have to go start cleaning the garage. The house is pretty much done, except I need to reorganize my office filing system…but that’s for a rainy day. And since today is scheduled to be almost in the 90s, garden and garage have priority.
The poor garage – it has a nice shelving system, yet shelves are all empty because everything destined for the garage landed in a pile to be dealt with later. Later has arrived. Time to clean, sort and shelve.
Be back soon with garden pix and yummy stuff…
Ok, I am so going to make these, but probably not in an cast iron kettle over an open flame.
I haven’t had a chance to look at his website, but he sounds like my kind fun, colonial cooking…with lard.
I could have sworn I posted this before, but I found this photo in my saved dinner photos and it hasn’t been used and I didn’t see any recipes using this technique. This is a great way to get very crisp and moist chicken thighs without added oil. It’s very similar to how you crisp up duck skin.
Start with a cast iron skillet or oven safe frying pan, COLD. Add two bone-in, skin on thighs (seasoned with salt and pepper), skin side down. Turn the burner to MEDIUM and let cook until the skin is super crisp, about 6 minutes. Turn heat down if it looks as if the skin will burn before rendering all the fat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Flip over thighs sprinkle rosemary or tarragon over them. Add quartered potatoes and sliced carrots, tuck them down and around the thighs so they cook in the rendered fat and juices. Bake at 350 degrees until thighs register 170 to 175 degrees. About 30-45 minutes.
Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serves two.
You can also braise chicken this way, recipe here.
I haven’t posted a lot of grilling recipes this summer because, well, let’s face it, I haven’t posted a lot of recipes! But this week I’ll post a few favorites. I’m still not doing much grilling because I’m saving up for a Traeger grill. Friends have one and I can’t imagine grilling or smokin’ on anything else since I’ve used it.
Until then, I’ll fry these up in my cast iron skillet. Great on the grill or in the skillet. And now that I’ve finally found a good source for tasty pita bread, a dinner favorite.
Serve with fresh corn on the cob and grilled eggplant (I have three Japanese eggplant almost ready to pick).
Curried Turkey Burgers
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 3 tbsp plain yogurt
- 1 tsp ground curry
- 1/8 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 4 pita breads
In bowl combine all ingredients except bread and mix well. Form 4 patties and grill, broil or fry to desired doneness. Serve in pita bread. Ground mustard and mayonnaise make good toppings or a little Greek salad dressing, along with lettuce & tomatoes.