Jenny – contact me at email@example.com with your information and we’ll get this shipped to you ASAP! Congrats again, and thank you everyone for your entries!
In this installment of the ongoing saga of “Carbs and the Czech Girl” (this would be an Oscar nominated movie, I’m sure!) I wanted to share the joys of sourdough with you.
Sourdough, the one true bread.
Clam chowder just wouldn’t be the same in any other bread bowl, wouldn’t you say?
With the carb kick ongoing, I wanted to share the eternal joy of sourdough with you and with a little help from the fine people of King Arthur Flour, one lucky reader will be able to share in the exhilaration of bread baking on their very own! But more details on that later, promise.
King Arthur Flour was kind enough to send me the set up required to put together the perfect sourdough at home, including a starter with origins dating back to colonial America! 250 years! I’m sorry but if that isn’t the very definition of romance in baking, I don’t know what is!
So with my starter, I began – as you do at 5am. No, beginning at 5am is not a requirement. I just get up for work at an ungodly hour and this was my first chance to put my starter to work. To prep my little starter, “he” was given the necessary flour and de-chlorinated water to begin his yeasty journey.
Yeast + flour = bread destiny.
It’s an undisputed fact.
With a dough whisk in hand, the starter was combined, covered, and set aside to meld.
After a full day of brewing and bubbling he came out positively gassy, as he should have been. Perfection, indeed.
Regulating the pH of the starter was the next necessary step and then I began the work of preparing the dough.
With flour here, yeast there, and a glob of stater I was off to the races. Using the dough whisk I kneaded and beat the dough into delicious submission. It was quite the workout. I can only contend that anyone making a a few dozen loaves of bread a week in this fashion would soon end up with the forearms of Angelina Jolie. It’s intense stuff! And it made me value my Kitchen Aid all the more. But dang is it empowering when you realize you can do this on your very own and have a product that is absolutely divine.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred time – this is an empowering process.
With a whisking and a kneading done, it was time for a rest. For me and the bread.
After and couple hour rise, the dough was ready to be split into two loaves, risen again and finally – baked.
With a razor sharp knife and the courage of my convictions, two cross slices were placed in the top of each loaf and they were ready to go. Into the oven and onto a baking stone they went. And 25 minutes later they came out golden brown, sour to the smell and crusty as only a good loaf of artisan bread can be.
And even if it’s not holed out and filled with chowder – a slice toasted and slathered with butter is just fine by me.
Now – for the extra fun bit! The fine people of King Arthur Flour, the beacons of bread baking, have decided to provide a set up for sourdough to one lucky reader! The winner will receive a fresh sourdough starter, a dough whisk, a coupon for a free 5-lb bag of their All Purpose Flour and of course the recipes and how-to’s so you can recreate loaves of sourdough in your very own home for months, nay – YEARS to come!
Share the joy of crusty carbs and bread baking empowerment with your friends from the company that knows bread best!
To Enter: (mandatory entry)
Tell me and King Arthur Flour – What is your favorite type of bread?
That’s 8 entries total. Mighty fine odds there folks!
*Now for the fine print* - Leave a comment for each of these entries and you’ll be registered to win. The giveaway will end on Monday, February 6th with the winner being contacted by me via e-mail, announced on the Wanna Be A Country Cleaver Facebook page and tweeted to on Twitter. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me with their information, or a new winner will be chosen. All products were donated by the wonderful people of King Arthur Flour, the leaders in everything carby and delicious. Be sure to show them some much deserved love.
Ripe bananas, cream, egg, crunchy toasted sugar and booze. Does any of this sound unfortunate? I’m hoping it doesn’t, because it is utterly delicious.
And really, if eggs, cream and booze bother you particularly, I think you made a bad left turn on the Internet Parkway and ended up at the wrong blog.
*Pushes glass of rum your way* But if you are here, just stick around and have a drink with me. What da ya say? Friends?
So, moving on.
I’m begging you, just jump on this boozy bandwagon and throw caution to the wind. Skinny jeans need not apply.
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
Start with 1/4 cup of dark rum. Take a whiff, and imagine Orlando Bloom as a pirate. It’s a beautiful thing.
Pour it into a mix of 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (36% fat), 1/4 cup milk, and 1/3 cup baker’s sugar.
With an immersion blender, beat together all of the ingredients until smooth.
Add in two chunked riped bananas.
Blend again with immersion until the mixture is smooth.
Into four ramekins, evenly divide the banana/sugar/egg/cream/and(most importantly)booze mixture.
Place the ramekins into a 13×9 inch pan and fill half way with water.
Gingerly slide the whole rigamaroo into the oven and allow to bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Remove from water, allow to cool and then place in fridge for at least two hours. When cool, sprinkle with baker’s sugar and place under a broiler until the sugar caramelizes. Serve immediately and imagine far away places with booze, bananas and washed up sword-fighting eye liner wearing pirates. Just sayin’.
1/4 cup Dark Rum
3/4 cup Heavy Cream (36%)
1/4 cup Milk
5 Egg Yolks
1/3 cup Baker's Sugar + 1 Tbsp. for caramelizing
2 ripe Bananas, chunked
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
In medium bowl with an immersion blender, beat together rum, cream, milk, egg yolks and sugar until smooth. Beat in ripe bananas and blend until smooth.
Divide into four ramekins.
Place filled ramekins into 13x9 inch pan. Fill pan half way with water. Transfer whole dish set up to oven and allow to bake for 1 Hour and 15 minutes.
Remove ramekins from oven and water bath and allow to cool. Place into fridge for at least two hours to cool. Or overnight.
When ready to serve, sprinkle remaining baker's sugar over the creme brulee and place all ramekins under broiler until sugar caramelizes.
Serve and devour immediately.
There are few things in life more fine than a homemade slice of pizza. Topping the crust with ingredients that make your imagination run wild, and then devouring it unceremoniously while it’s still piping hot and dripping down your chin. It’s glorious.
Yesterday, Ben and I were craving that sensation. Craving the golden brown crunch of the crust and the molten gorgonzola dripping off the sides – I went to work.
Now this crust is not quite an ordinary pizza crust. Well it is and it isn’t. It’s a carby and delicious pizza crust to be sure. But it gets a little bounce in it’s step due to one change in ingredient. The olive oil.
I’m a big fan of olive oil pizza doughs, positively yummy – and this one included not just olive oil – but rosemary infused olive oil from Star Fine Foods. My experience with the Star Olive oils goes back a ways, when during a dinner party we played a little game of guess the infusion over ricotta cheese and garlic toast. Talk about fun for dorky foodies. Between the lemon, garlic, basil and rosemary oils- we had our taste buds positively dancing.
In this recipe I wanted to utilize the warm comfy flavor of the rosemary and take the dough to the next level, which it totally did.
For the rosemary pizza dough, I wanted to top it with something to play off of and balsamic stewed figs, caramelized onions, gorgonzola and prosciutto seemed just the ticket! The dough is incredibly easy, the pizza incredibly sinful. It was a match made in heaven, and one I’m sure you’ll want to repeat in your own home.
Now – for the giveaway!
Star Fine Foods would like to give a few lucky readers a chance to enjoy some of their products in their very own homes. This week I’ll be giving away 2 – $4 coupons to four different readers! Everyone could use a bottle of wine vinegar in their homes, don’t you think? A mini kitchen goods spree!
Follow Country Cleaver on Pinterest – send me an e-mail in the Contact Me form for a Pinterest Invite!
Just leave me a quick comment for each one and you’ll be entered! This giveaway will run until Friday, January 27th. The four winners will be notified through e-mail, on Facebook and in this post. Good luck all and now – go make some pizza!
1/2 tsp. Yeast
3/4 cup Water; -100 degrees
2 cups Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 c. Star Fine Foods Rosemary Infused Olive Oil, Plus 2 Tbsp for coating bowl
Bloom yeast by pouring it over the warm water. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
In stand-mixer bowl whisk together flour, salt and Rosemary olive oil until combined. Once yeast has bloomed, pour into flour/olive oil mixture. Attach dough hook to stand mixer and knead dough until uniform - about 4 minutes.
Pour 2 tablespoons of oil into clean bowl and coat. Toss the ball of dough into the oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or linen towel and allow to rise for 1-2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
Use on your favorite pizza, stretching to size and topping as you like. Bake at 500 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
My carb-oholic streak continues. And for that I feel no shame. A couple of weeks ago I took a bread class and dove right into the wonders of yeast and artisan bread. Every carb-oholic’s fantasy. But after all was said and done, I was terrified of recreating them in my own home without the instructor holding my hand each step of the way. Alas, I persevered and created a dozen English Muffins on my very own, sans yeast tantrums! Victory, indeed.
Next on the list of items to recreate at home was the Pain de Epi, or in lame-man’s terms – fancy ass sounding baguette. It’s baguette people. The only difference is the way you slice the bread before you bake it. Pain de Epi is cut and formed to resemble a stalk of wheat. It’s beautiful, like small wheat buds that you can just pluck right from the bread stalk, slather with bread and devour. Baguette is Pain de Epi with just small slits in the top for venting. To-may-to, toe-ma-toe. Either way – the results are divine.
Now as a warning before you make this at home – not that this is meant to scare of deter any of you – the total time this recipe takes to create is about the sum total of time it would take you to birth a kid. Just sayin’. And sorry for the visual.
Bread baking is far less gross, much more “fun”, and a lot more tasty.
The point is – that much like a NASCAR race you can walk away from your bread for hours on end, come back and then do a little more. This doesn’t require too much attention, just bits here and there. Plus who could do something, like watch cars make a left hand turn all day, and not need a break? So, behold – a recipe.
Begin with your Poolish, or starter on Day 1. Remember, this is a long process, but only long because everything needs time to work it’s magic and meld. Weigh out 7 ounces of bread flour, 7 ounces of water at 80 degrees and 1/4 tsp of yeast.
In a large non-reactive bowl, whisk it all together until it becomes a batter, cover it with plastic wrap and set it aside until tomorrow. Five minutes of your time isn’t a bad way to start the process.
Onto Day 2 you can create these wonders with a few kneads and a lot of rest. This is a great project in between vacuuming and laundry changes. With your poolish from yesterday sufficiently bubbly and burping with excess CO2, you’re ready to knead it into dough.
In your stand mixer with the dough hook, add in 14 ounces bread flour, 7 ounces water (90 degrees), 3/4 tsp instant yeast, 2 tsp salt, and your poolish.
Knead on low for 3-4 miinutes, then let’er rip on medium for an additional 3 – until the dough becomes uniform and smooth. Look how stretchy it is! It’s like grown up play dough. Just yeastier.
Pour the lot into your greased bowl, cover again and let rise for 45 minutes.
Whammy – 45 minutes later and it’s risen to high heaven!
Turn the lot out onto a floured surface. Gingerly create a rectangle shape, and then fold the right side over to the left, and the left over the right, creating a tri-fold. Imagine folding a pieces of paper into three sections. Now, repeat this process from the top and from the bottom. And again – back into the bowl she goes! Grease’r up, cover her up and let ‘er rise another 45. See what I mean – lots of rest and relaxation. If only our real lives were this easy – a massage and a nap. I’m envious of bread.
After this rise, preheat your oven to 475 and allow your baking stone to heat up to temperature. Turn out the dough on a floured surface and cut into four sections, each weighing about 8 ounces. Form these into a short log, doing the tri-fold maneuver once more for each. Place the logs seam side down on a linen towel, cover with another towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
Now – you’re ready for your final shape and rest. I swear this is the last one!
Place each rectangle log of dough onto a floured surface. Fold the dough, width wise over onto itself. With the heel of your hand seal the dough from left to right. Now roll the dough log into a 14″-16″ length. Pinch the ends to seal the seams all around. Place onto floured sheet of parchment, 2 baguettes per sheet. Cover with towels and let rest for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes of the final proof, using a sharp knife make four slits into the tops of each loaf. This will allow them to vent while baking.
Place the two loaves on parchment onto preheated baking stone, and place a shallow dish of water onto the bottom rack of the oven. The steam created with help give the bread that extra crispy crust. Bake two loaves at a time for 15-25 minutes. Each oven is different, so check after 15 minutes. Immediately take out of oven and allow to cool on wire rack. Serve while warm and crusty. With butter. Lots and lots of butter. Paula Deen with diabetes style. Too soon? Yeah, too soon.
14 ounces Bread Flour
7 ounces warm water (90 degrees)
3/4 tsp Yeast
2 tsp. Salt
Day 1: Poolish
In bowl, whisk together flour, water and yeast until consistency is smooth. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and towel allowing to develop over night in a dark, draft free area. Keep at room temperature.
Day 2: Bread
Grease large mixing bowl with vegetable oil and set aside.
For dough, place your bread flour, starter, warm water, yeast and salt and rested poolish into a stand mixer bowl with the dough hook attached. Mix on low for 3-4 minutes. Increase speed to medium and knead for additional 3 minutes or until the dough is smooth consistency.
Pour into greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 45 minutes.
Once rested, turn out dough onto floured surface. Grabbing the right side of your dough, stretch and fold it as if you were folding a piece of paper into three sections. Repeat this with the left side of the dough. Repeat this process from the top of the dough log and then the bottom of the dough. Just imagine the tri-fold.
Place into freshly greased bowl, cover and allow to rise again for an additional 45 minutes.
Place a baking stone into the center rack of your oven, preheating the oven to 475 degrees. If you don't have a baking stone, double up two lightly colored baking sheets. Fill a shallow pan with water, set aside. The pan will heat the water, creating steam - essential for a crispy crust.
Pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into four sections, approximately 8 ounces each. Pat the dough to remove any gas bubbles. Shape the dough into a short log. Allow to rest again with the seam side down on a linen dish towel, covering with another linen dish towel and let rest for about 20 minutes.
Return logs to floured surface, pressing on dough to release air bubbles. Flip dough over so seam side is facing upwards. Fold the log in half from the top down. Now seal the dough using the heel of your hand. Roll the dough until it becomes a log about 14-16 inches long. Repeat on the rest of the loaves.
Set them onto a pan lined with floured parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise one last time for 45 minutes.
After final rise is complete, cut small slits into loaves with a sharp knife or razor blade. This will allow the bread to vent while baking. Transfer baguettes on parchment, 2 at a time, to baking stone or doubled baking sheets.
Place shallow dish filled with water to bottom rack of oven and close.
Bake bread, 2 at a time, for 20-25 minutes. Check after 15 minutes to make sure they are not done early. All ovens are different. When toasted and brown, remove and transfer to wire cooling rack.
Allow to cool and serve, with butter. Lots of butter.
Where in the name of all that is holy has Biscoff spread been all my life? I’ve maintained an every present stance that Nutella is the ruler of the nut spread world – and it is and will forever remain. But. BUT! In the land of cookie spreads – Biscoff is king. Carbs pureed into cream that you spread over toasted carbs? This is the very meaning of life for a carb-oholic Czech girl!
For this recipe – I wanted to do something with Biscoff besides eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon. Not that I didn’t do that before hand, but with the rest of the jar I actually did make something with it – cake.
I found a recipe on Pinterest for a Nutella Mug Cake and resolved myself to make it. And I intend too. But for now, I wanted to shake it up a bit with Biscoff instead. And hot damn, my world has tilted on it’s axis.
So in 10 minutes you can nuke yourself a cake and change your life and those of the people you love. One mug of cake at a time.
Into each mug you wish to make, pour in all of your ingredients, whisk together and nuke for 3-4 minutes (depending on your microwave.) Easy flippin’ peasy.
Include into each mug – 4 Tbsp Self-rising flour*, 3 Tbsp. sugar, 1 egg, 3 Tbsp Bicoff Spread, 3 Tbsp Milk, and 3 Tbsp Veggie Oil.
Looks delish in this state, huh? Oh I know it looks nast-eh but in about 30 seconds of whisking it will start to look like a real cake batter and positively golden and delicious.
There ya go. Much better. Now, into the micro – nuke for 2-3 minutes or until set and Whammy! Dessert!
Eat it straight outta the mug with a little extra Biscoff on top, or plopp’er on a plate so it looks a little more dressed up. Ish.
It’s rich, and so worth the loosening of your belt.
*Self-rising Flour* – If you don’t have any, you can make some at home with 1 cup All Purpose Flour, 1 1/4 tsp Baking Powder and a pinch of salt all whisked together.
In a large mug, whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, or until set. Each microwave is different, use your best judgement for your machine.
Let cool until you can handle the mugs, they will be hot. Top with a small dollop of Biscoff spread so it melts or top with whipped cream. Serve while warm.
As I sit recovering in an uncomfortable, yet totally worth it, state I wanted to fill you in on my exploits of this last weekend. Beka’s brother and sis in laws reside in Portland. So together, as besties do, we adventured down Portland way to celebrate her sis in law’s birthday – in seriously high style. Cause, that’s how we roll.
If you happen to follow me on Instagram (@CountryCleaver), Twitter, or Facebook you may have seen some of these pictures already, chronically the adventure in near real time. I stuffed my face with food and clearly thought you should know about it.
Well, in case you did miss the pictures here they are again, chronologically and drooling over every little morsel I consumed. Oh Jabba the Hutt, you got nothing on me. Somebody come and pry me from this couch and onto a treadmill.
After the obligatory stop at S-bux we were on our way. For me it was a grande non-fat toffee nut latte. For Beka, a Grande Triple Soy Cinnamon Dulche latte with a shot of rainbows and unicorn tears – Holy hell can that girl order a drink!
Three hours later we were in a place not all that different than our own town (Seattle) – it was raining. Alot.
First stop with our people was to Little Big Burger. When was the last time you had a rootbeer float and gourmet burger? You should try it sometime, cause dang it was epic. EPIC.
A little burger with a big punch doesn’t quite descibe it. But all natural beef topped with bleu cheese, thick bacon and a brioche style bun. It doesn’t get better than that. Or does it?
It does – because the fries are tossed in white truffle oil and sea salt. Mind. Blown.
Our Saturday night drinks included a stop at Bartini where we guzzled cosmos of varying flavors, martinis with herbs and spice and dipped carbs into hot cheese to our hearts content. Thank goodness we did some walking or else it would have been impossible to cram it all in.
After our cramming and struting session, we took in dessert at Papa Hayden. As I write this, the last half of my Marjelaine is finding it’s way to my hips and ass.
But after taking it home and putting it to bed, just like we did ourselves – it was a dessert worthy of the sweet dreams I had.
Beka’s and my morning snuggle came in the form of a 30 pound beagle – Cain, Hurri-cain, or Cain-iac as he is so lovingly called. After eating Beka’s Toms’ I think he was making up for his grievances with extra puppy love and wiggle worming under the covers. If I thought Huck’s ears were the softest things in the world – this pup may just have him beat. Sorry pupper. Mama still loves you.
But after a couple of cups of coffee and plenty of Cain-kisses our last food’venture took us to Besaw’s. We braved the cold and impending snow for nearly an hour to feast on quite possibly the most scrumptious bloody mary’s of our lives. Fresh horseradish, spicy pickled vegg and above all – served in a wide mouth mason jar – as every bloody mary should be served.
Our last meal in Portlandia entailed Madame Croque for me, Tuscan Bendict for Beka, and a egg scramble for Tim. Roasted garlic and rosemary potatoes, swirled with egg yolk from the croque was divine intervention on a fork.
And then proceeded our three hour drive home, unbuttoning our jeans and letting our girly guts lose, reminise over our new memories, breaking in new shoes and recovering from our gluttonous and sinful ways.
It was an epic weekend. Can’t wait ’til next time. Portland is truly a foodie paradise.
Somedays I need a change. Should I spring for that bright-ass colored shirt and obnoxious necklace that jingles every time I step? Somedays that mom-sweater from Eddie Bauer I love so much just needs to take a rest.
*looks down at shirt regretting today’s clothing choice*
And somedays, I really need a change of pace in the kitchen. Now, I’m not going too far off the beaten path by any stretch of the imagination but I have been in dire need of an awakening. Much like my coffee in the morning that hasn’t really been doing it’s job in waking me up, my recipes and ideas in the kitchen have left me deflated as of late. Inspiration and a jolt was much needed. And it came in the form of my recently used Christmas gift from my parents – a cooking class.
Not just any class. No, no. One that speaks to me, the carbo-holic Czech girl — Artisan Bread.
Take that in for a minute, it’s okay. I’ll wait. Yes, artisan bread. For two days last weekend I was regaled in the delights and the ways of the bread. It was like Luke training to be a Jedi knight. But for girls. And with carbs. It was empowering.
*Sidebar* How did Luke not become a pompous little twit after all that training he so clearly rocked at? I mean c’mon kid, when you clearly kick so much ass it’s allowable to put a little spring in your step. This was bread – and even I felt like a rockstar! You’re a JEDI!
Okay, moving on. Like I said - cooking, baking and all things kitchen should be empowering and this really was. One of the first things we learned was the art of the English Muffin. Yeasted things and I don’t normally get along very well, as exampled here. But this time we did and all I could do was feel a tad bit of smug wash over me. And with this recipe – a little smugness could wash over you.
The pinnacle of importance in this adventure was the activation of my yeasts that normally don’t like to play nicely. This time they did. To make the muffins you being with a “sponge” or a stater, giving the yeast something to gorge themselves on and create copious amounts of carbon dioxide. It’s fun to say “copious amounts of carbon dioxide”. Try it. Now, fives time fast.
Once my sponge had doubled in size and was allowed time to feed, it was time to mix and knead the rest of the ingredients into a divine and satiny dough.
Into the mixer the starter went, along with the rest of the flour and salt. Salt and heat kill yeasts. Did you know that about salt? I didn’t. See how enlightening bread making can be?
After five minutes of kneading it was ready for one final rise, so into a greased bowl it went.
The hardest part of bread baking is by FAR the time required to let the dough rest on it’s own, undisturbed. It’s like watching a football game, or NASCAR (not that I watch much of that). You can walk away carrying on about your day, come back an hour later and it’s still. going. on. *rolls eyes* I don’t do well with things like that. So this gift in bread, was as much a gift in the lesson of patience. My mother knows me too well…
After another hour of rising, the dough was ready to be formed into muffins and cooked. Finally.
Onto a mat covered in corn meal the dough was stretched until it was between 3/4″-1″ thick. Be diligent to not overwork this dough. It’s soft and satiny, don’t make it chewy and tough for no good reason. Carb-crimes are not allowed here. (That’s the Czech girl coming out in me.)
With a 3 inch biscuit cutter, dipped into cornmeal so it doesn’t stick, cut out as many biscuits as possible. Re-roll the dough only one more time, so it doesn’t get tough. Efficiency counts here.
Once all are cut out, place one tablespoon of butter into a non-stick pan over medium-ish heat. Each stove is different so turn it up enough that the butter bubbles and will fry the outside of the muffins. My stove is notoriously craptacular, so it was almost on high for this to work.
Plunk each muffin down and allow to brown on each side. One minute or so each side. Set them on a parchment lined baking sheet and lather, rinse, repeat until they are all browned and on the sheet. Place them into a pre-heated 375 oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and beautimus.
Promptly transfer them to a cooling rack and resist all divine temptations to devour them on the spot. It’s tough. Trust me, I know.
Slather on some butter and jam, and off to the races you are.
Empowering and delicious – what every meal made at home should be. And at a cost of $3 per dozen, you’re totally ahead of the game. Take THAT Thomas Nooks and Crannies!
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil, For Greasing Bowl
4 ounces, fluid Water, Between 100-105 Degrees
7 ounces, fluid Milk, Between 100-105 Degrees
⅓ ounces, weight Instant Dry Yeast
2 Tablespoons Butter, Divided
1 pound Flour, All Purpose
1 teaspoon Salt
½ cups Cornmeal For Working Dough
Grease a large mixing bowl with vegetable oil. Set aside. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together water, milk, yeast, 1 tablespoon of butter (melted and cooled to between 100-105ºF) and 5 ounces of flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes to form a “sponge” or “starter” for muffins.
Once the sponge has doubled in size, attach dough hook to the stand mixer along with the bowl. Turn on low and add in remaining flour to the sponge that was formed. Add in salt. Allow to mix on medium and knead until satin and smooth, approximately 5 minutes. When kneading is complete, scrape dough from mixer bowl and transfer to greased bowl that had been set aside. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Dust a clean and sanitized countertop or work surface with cornmeal. Turn out dough from greased bowl and stretch evenly until it is about 3/4″ thick. Handle dough lightly so it does not become tough.
With a 3″ round biscuit cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible. Place them on parchment or silicone lined baking sheet. Re-roll dough to obtain more muffin rounds. But do not re-roll more than once.
In a large skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to coat the pan on about medium heat. Lightly brown each side of each muffin, about 1 minute per side. Place each muffin back onto lined baking sheet until all have been browned.
Place in heated oven for 15-20 minute until cooked through. Immediately cool on a wire rack when completely cooked. Serve warm with jam of your choice and devour.
The muffins can be frozen to preserve or eaten within 4 days.
When Huck does something ridiculously gooby, bad, or just does something to make me give him a one eyebrow raised expression, the words coming out of my mouth usually go something like this…
Long and exasperated, while simultaneously shaking my head and smiling or sighing depending on whether he has done something hilarious, or doomed another one of my baking essentials, like a bag of powdered sugar.
Which leads me all the way around the carousel to tell you that today is Monday and after waking up at 3:30 am for no apparent reason, I just let out and “Ohhhh, Monday”. Whilst shaking my head and trying to will that extra one hour of sleep I needed so desperately I realized – it’s Monday for all of us and I am surely not alone.
But perhaps the next three things on today’s agenda will cheer you up and get you back on track to a fabulous day.
One. A recipe. It is super fast, uses one of the best fruits in season and it will impress whomever you serve it too leaving you with a smug sense of accomplishment. It’s okay, smug is allowed.
Pre-heat your oven to 375. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup Flour, 1/2 Oats, 1/3 cup Brown Sugar, and 1 teaspoon Cinnamon.
Source yourself 4 pears, I used Bartletts – slicing them in half and then on the outsides of each half, slice off a small portion so the pears will lay flat and not roll around. No one wants to be chasing a pear all over the place whilst they try to nom it down.
Next, using a spoon or melon baller scoop out the seeds and center of the pear. Place all the halves (middles up) into a baking dish or onto rimmed baking sheet.
With 6 tablespoons of butter that has been cubed and chilled, cut it into the previously whisked flour/sugar/cinnamon mixture with the help of a couple forks or pastry cutter.
One it’s all come together in large crumbles, top each pear half as high as it will go. Why lie, if some is good more must be better!
Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until the crumbles start to brown. Serve warm and if you’re feeling daring and rebelious – with a scoop of ice cream. Printable of the recipe is below.
Now that that’s covered, we’ll move onto number 2.
In the next few weeks I’ll be covering some new baking topics of which I am very excited. For Christmas my parents bought me a two day class to learn about artisan breads. Oh holy hell there went my diet, but it was well worth it. So I’ll be packaging up all I learned into some wonderful recipes that will hopefully inspire you to make more bread at home. This week I’ll be featuring English Muffins. Take that Thomas Nooks and Crannies! And there might be a giveaway in it for you. Just sayin’, ’cause that’s the kind of blogger I am.
Numero tres – Are y’all apart of Tasty Kitchen? Well if you aren’t, it’s the user driven site started by the one and only Pioneer Woman. You know, PW. The one with that show on the Food Network and the malodorous basset named Charlie? No big. As featured member this week on Tasty Kitchen – I just wanted to encourage you all to check out the site and meet a range of food bloggers and users creating magic in their own kitchens. There are a ton of them who are so deserving of your attention. Drooling on your keyboard is a sticky side effect, but allowable when looking at all the recipes featured.
And FINALLY, (I know, you were just waiting for me to shut up and get to this part.)
Number 4 – and yes, I know I said there were only three things to discuss – We have a winner for the ATK Healthy Family Giveaway!
4 whole Bartlett Pears
⅔ cups Flour
½ cups Oats
⅓ cups Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
6 Tablespoons Butter, Cubed And Chilled
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
On a cutting board, slice pears in half. To ensure that the pears lay flat while baking, slice off a small piece on the outside of each pear. The middle of the pear should be facing up. With a melon baller or spoon, scoop out the seeds of the pears. Place pears onto a baking sheet, or in the bottom of pie dishes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. With a pastry cutter, cut in butter until crumbles develop.
Top pear halves with crumbles.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until crumbles turn golden brown on top. Serve while warm. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if you’re feeling daring.
*Obligatory Author’s Note – Now that we have a winner, I reserve the right to choose a new one if I don’t hear from the winner within 72 Hours.
Fajitas. Margaritas. Lime. Mexico. Talk about things that just scream summer to me – and dang, do I need a hit of summer right now. Seriously, January – can we just move on, so Megan can get a real dose of Vitamin D and a little tan? I don’t ask for much. Just sun and a good drink. And Huck’s furry puppy face, of course.
Anywho, recently I stumbled onto a recipe from Lisa of 100 Days of Real Food. Lisa and I go way back, actually just a few months ago when we went head to head for a TODAY Food Home Chef Challenge. It was a battle of epic proportions for the appetizer category. Talk about no holds bard throwdown! Well, anyway – she’s a big deal with her movement. Kinda cool. On her site there was a recipe for Slow Cooker Fajitas and well, I had to give it a whirl…
On my terms.
First came the dicing of half an onion. And a lot of tears.
Then the addition of 1 tablespoon of dried garlic. Or three cloves or the real stuff. I was just lazy and didn’t want to chop if I didn’t have too. I’m not above it.
1 1/2 teaspoons of coriander seeds.
Zest of one lime.
1/2 cup of jarred roasted red peppers, chopped.
And last the addition of 1 tsp of pepper, 1 tsp of cumin, 1 1/2 tsp chili powder, 2 Tablespoons soy sauce, 1/4 cup water, and of course the most important part – a 1-2 pound flank steak – we’re off to the races!
Once all of the ingredients are assembled – now, this is really tough here, preare yourself – Whisk together all the ingredients, minus the meat, and place half of them on the bottom of your dutch oven. Place your meat onto the mixture and top with the remaining half of the seasonings.
I know you were really sweating that one weren’t ya? Whew. Take a breather and a drink.
Now – cover your dutch oven, turn it on medium low heat and let simmer for 5 hours. Walk away if you know what’s good for you. The last thing you need to do is stand over the thing and sniff it like a crack addict.
For the last hour – place in two sliced bell peppers. I didn’t want to put them in and let them all turn to mush, hence the use of the jarred roasted version to get the flavor and the fresher ones to maintain some structure.
Once it’s for tender and you can pull it to shreds with forks, you’re ready to devour. Prep all the rest of your fixing, avocado, cilantro (a must!), etcetera etcertera and NOM. Hard.
In a dutch oven, stir together all spices, soy sauce, coriander seeds, jarred red peppers, chopped onion, jalapeno and garlic.
With half of the mixture in the bottom of the dutch oven, place flank steak on top. With remaining second half of mixture, pour over the flank steak coating it.
Place on stove over medium low heat for 5 hours, or until the meat pull apart with a pair of forks. During last hour of cooking, slice bell peppers, removing the seeds and place into dutch oven to steam and cook.
The fresh peppers will retain their structure, where the jarred peppers will be nearly indistinguishable after cooking.
Serve with warm tortillas, and any other extra toppings you like - such as, cheese, cilantro, avocado, and slices of lime for spritzing on top.
With the new year in full swing, we are in the throws of renewal. Renewing our diets, our goals, our lives. And I have one more step to complete my sloughing off of 2011 – literally. My love of all things Bath and Body works knows no bounds. I’m addicted. Coupon? I’m heading in. Buy two get three free – you bet I’m there! But sadly, the cost is too much to bear on my pocket. I’m a girl on budget.
Between the wedding to plan and pay for, a allergy ridden hound to take to the doggie dermatologist and fueling my all out obsession with World Market dinnerware, I’ve got to save money where I can and dumping boat loads of money into body scrubs just isn’t where it’s at.
But no fear! I have the answers. Like Oz, just prettier. And I don’t look that good in green.
This scrub is made from things most likely found in your own kitchen, or if they’re not – they’re all easy enough to find and put together.
Start this project off with a bag of raw sugar, light olive oil or saffola oil, 1 vanilla bean and mason jars of whatever size you choose.
Fill your mason jar 3/4 of the way with raw sugar. Easy enough.
Pour enough Saffola oil over the sugar to saturate it. Use a spoon to incorporate the sugar and oil together. If you like your scrub super oily like Bath and Body Works, add more oil. If you like it more grainy add less. This is the beauty of it – it’s all up to you!
Take half a vanilla bean, slicing it length wise and scraping out the caviar. Stir in the caviar and the vanilla bean remnants, stirring to incorporate again.
Cap it off with a lid and ring and bam – ready to use.
These make a great gift for the girls on your list. Talk about making your hands soft and primed for a manicure – and for the chicks out there (most of you) – sugar scrub will give you the most epically soft legs ever. Scrub, shave, revel in your smooth legged glory. Sorry for the detour guys, I’m done now. Back to my regularly scheduled blather.
The point is – this is simple, easy, inexpensive and easy adaptable for whatever scent you want. Omit the vanilla, and add in citrus zest – whisk yourself away to an imaginary island paradise.
Now, go forth and scrub yourself into utter relaxation and a new year.
Make one scrub or many for all the women in your life!
For one 8oz. jar-
2/3 cup Raw Sugar
1/3 cup Saffola Oil
1/2 Vanilla Bean
1 8oz. Mason Jar
For Multiple Jars-
1 - 2lb. bag Raw Sugar
1 quart Saffola Oil
3 Vanilla Beans
Into clean 8oz. Mason Jars, fill each jar with 2/3 - 3/4 cup Raw Sugar. Top with 1/3 cup of Saffola Oil. Add more or less oil to get desired consistency of scrub. Stir to incorporate sugar and oil.
Halve vanilla beans. With knife, run along the length of bean and split open. Scrape out caviar and stir into jars of scrub. Add skins of vanilla bean into the jars and allow to remain there to infuse.
Seal jars with lid and ring. Use whenever you need to slough off a hard day's work.