Category Archives: Back to Basics Cooking
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.
I LOVE spring rolls and they are so easy to make. And you can fill them with a variety of items, so use the recipe below as a starting point, but let your imagination run wild. This recipe is simple but full of flavor. It’s quick and you can buy shredded carrots and shredded lettuce to save even more time
Thai Spring Rolls
- ¼ tsp crushed garlic
- 1 tbsp fish sauce (or white wine vinegar)
- 8 spring roll wrappers
- 1 ½ cup shredded leaf lettuce
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
Mix together fish sauce and garlic. In a bowl of cold water (I actually use a large, deep sided plate), soak 1 wrapper, until limp. Lay out flat on a plate, add 1/8 of each of the ingredients, in order, then drizzle with fish sauce mixture.
Fold ends up and roll like a burrito. Moisten seam, press close and set seam side down on plate. Repeat for all wrappers.
Cover with a moist paper towel and refrigerate until ready to serve, with dipping sauce.
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (or fish sauce or rice vinegar)
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger (or more as desired)
JeffreyW plates up a good-looking Pot Roast Dinner
I love to cook in my pressure cooker – rice, beans, soups – they all get their start in my pressure cooker. But my favorite thing to do is that quick dinner that tastes like it’s been in the slow cooker all day, even though I completely forgot to even take the meat out to thaw.
My usual meal is to add about 1 cup of water to the pan, add a bunch of spices and herbs to the water, put the tray in and then layer halved potatoes, FROZEN skinless chicken breast or thighs (boneless or not, doesn’t change cooking time much), throw a couple of halved carrots on top and pressurize. Twenty minutes later, dinner is ready. The spices and herbs in the water infuse everything with flavor. It’s not as complex as roasted chicken, but for a quick dinner, it’s great.
Today I was wandering through the freezer, reorganizing to make room for holiday stuff and counting my bags of cranberries – which I stockpile in case there is a great cranberry shortage in the future. I pulled out a nice chuck roast I bought on sale a few weeks ago, half of which I used for the beef stew last week, half I tucked away for a nice pot roast dinner. I thought it would be nice to make tomorrow. Then I decided I wanted it today.
So I pulled out the pressure cooker. This would be a first, starting with a frozen roast. It was either going to work or I was going to end up with one tough piece of beef. But I wouldn’t know if I didn’t give it try. (I do these things so you don’t have to).
I put the roast on the tray, poured a little bourbon over it (since it worked so well with the beef stew) added water, bay leaf, salt, pepper, onion, halved potatoes and carrots. I pressurized it for 55 minutes. I was guessing at the time because I wasn’t sure with it frozen how much extra time I should add.
At the 55 minute mark, I turned off the heat and let it depressurize slowly (instead of cold bath method). When I opened it, the beef was perfect. Again, the flavor was not as complex as if I had been able to brown it ahead of time. But it was tender and moist.
The carrots and potatoes were good, although if I did it again, I would probably add them at the twenty or thirty minute mark and re-pressurize for another twenty minutes.
So I’ll mark this down as a win and know that if I need a quick dinner, I can put pot roast on the list of recipes that will go from frozen to dinner in an hour.