Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Loaded Baked Potato Bread

March 7, 2021

Once a week, we have bread and butter plus whatever little noshes I have around. The bread always starts with an adapted version of the King Arthur Flour Cookbook‘s Crusty Italian Loaf. I use half bread flour though, and bake my loaves (usually 2) in a dutch oven rather than braiding anything. Starting the preferment- the biga- overnight, makes the process a day and a half long project but it’s not very hands on. The flavor is great and it has a nice open crumb. Plus you can add whatever you like. A favorite is dried cranberries, walnuts, and white chocolate. Cheese and jalapeño hits the spot. Tonight was cheddar, bacon, and chives. Smeared with a little butter, it tastes like everything I want in a loaded baked potato.

A note on the cheese: You really do want to leave it in chunks. If it’s shredded or in small pieces it will disappear into the dough and just leave you with a sort of cheddar flavor and it will soften the bread a lot.

For the biga:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tbs cool water
1/8 tsp active dry yeast

For the dough:
2-2.5 cups bread flour
1/2 cup water
2 tsp yeast
1 heaping tsp salt (probably more 2 in my house bc I feel like bread needs salt)
6 oz aged white cheddar, large (3/4 inch) cubes
10 strips crispy bacon, chopped or crumbled
2-3 tbs chopped chives.

On the night before you wish to eat your bread, mix the bigga ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer. Just use your hands or a rubber spatula. It will be thick and pretty shaggy looking. Cover it with a shower cap or plastic wrap and then let it sit in your warmish kitchen over night. The longer it sits on the counter, the more flavorful the bread will be.

The next day: add the cool water, 2 cups flour, yeast, salt, cheddar, bacon, and chives to the bigga. Turn on the mixer and allow the ingredients to mix at a 1 or 2 speed until it just cleans the sides of the bowls. Add the rest of the flour in small amounts if it’s too sticky. I don’t really work the dough at all at this stage. It’s together in a ball, but it’s not stretchy.

Remove the dough ball from the bowl and let it rest on the counter while you wash, dry, and very lightly oil the bowl. I’ve never needed flour on the counter at this stage. Then put the dough ball back in and cover it again. Set a timer for about 40 minutes. By that time, the ball should have sort of loosened up and gotten a little bigger. Wet your hand, then slide it under the dough, scoop/stretch the dough from the bottom and sort of fold it over the top. Vaguely like this. Do that 4 or 5 times, working around the dough ball. Re cover, let it rise another 40 minutes, and then repeat. Leave the dough to rise for another 30 minutes. Were I making just a plain bread, I would reduce each of those 40 minutes to 30…. the add ins will weigh down the dough and it will take longer to rise. You’ll notice these loaves aren’t particularly tall… another consequence of the additions.

Next, shape your bread. May I suggest youtube for tips, bc there’s no way I can accurately describe it? There are 10,000 ways to shape but I generally cut the dough roughly in half and make two loaves. 1’s a boule and 1’s an oblong simply because those are the bannetons I have. Leave these two loaves to rise, covered, for about 75 minutes. I’ve also done just one large boule in the round banneton and increased the rising time to about 90 minutes. You would also need to bake it significantly longer.

While the loaves are rising, place your dutch oven with it’s lid in the oven and heat to 450.

When the loaves have risen, place one in the fridge to cook after the first. I make a parchment sling and turn my loaf out onto it from the banneton. Then slice a cross in the top. Remove the dutch oven from the oven. Working very quickly, place the loaf (seam side down) into the dutch oven. Replace the lid, and put the whole thing in the oven. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Remove the lid then bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the bread and allow it to cool on a wire rack while you repeat with the refrigerated loaf. Allow loaves to cool totally before cutting. I find it much easier to turn the loaf on it’s side and cut, rather than attack from the top.

The end result is a loaf w/ a crunchy crust that tastes slightly of cheese, an open crumb w/ little pools of cheddar remaining, and a nice smokey bacon flavor. We ate it off a cutting board piled w/ fruit and deviled eggs.

Stuffed Pork Loin Wellington

January 1, 2021


Mea culpa: I forgot to take a pic of the whole thing, but it was very pretty. This is a cross section on my plate. It was very rich, so I should have cut much thinner slices. Notice that we did have our New Years black eyed peas.


Day 1 and 2: Make rough puff pastry. Make sure it’s had at least 24 hours in the fridge after all of the turns. Can make as much as 48 hours ahead. (https://www.bonappetit.com/story/rough-puff-pastry-cheaters-guide)

Day 2: Make duxelles. I made basically this recipe, but used cognac instead of vermouth and flambéed it off. (https://www.thespruceeats.com/mushroom-duxelles-intense-and-refined-912879)

Day 3 (or day 2 after duxelles has fully cooled): Assemble the roll.

            1 roll cut pork loin, about 3 pounds

          ½ pound pork sausage

            2 large tart apples, peeled, cored, and cubed then tossed w/ lemon

            ½ cup panko bread crumbs
            1 tbs rendered bacon fat

            Prosciutto- I used about 10 thin slices.  Have extra for patching up

            1 egg beaten, w/ tsp water

Brown the sausage and break up into small pieces.  When it is almost cooked, toss in apples and cook to just soften.  If there is a large amount of liquid, drain it off.  Add panko and taste for seasoning.  This will depend on the flavor from the sausage.  The panko is just to soak up juice from the apple as it cooks.  Set aside to fully cool.

While the stuffing cools, roll cut the pork loin if this wasn’t done by your meat market.  Pound to about ½ inch thick, being careful not to leave any holes.  Season w/ salt and pepper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

When stuffing is completely cool, layer it on one side of the pork loin and press down gently.  Then roll from the short end to make a relatively tight spiral.  Truss tightly with kitchen twine.  Brown in hot bacon fat on all sides.  Then place the entire roast in the fridge for about an hour until cool.  Remove twine.

Lay out overlapping plastic wrap large enough to accommodate the circumference of your roast.  Create a thin, overlapping sheet of prosciutto.  It should be large enough to completely cover the roast when rolled up.  The prosciutto is used in part to stop juice from the roast from wetting the pastry so it should have no holes or gaps.  Put a thin layer of duxelles on the prosciutto leaving a ¼ inch strip at the edges clear. Place the cooled roast (with twine removed) in the middle of the duxxelles covered prosciutto.  Use the plastic wrap to bring the edges of the prosciutto up and fold in the ends until the roast is completed sealed in it. Look for gaps in the ham and if there are any, spackle them over with additional prosciutto.   Try to keep the entire roll tight.  Use the plastic wrap to make a tight, neat log and refrigerate this overnight.  The roast should be completely cold before enrobing in pastry.

Day 4: Roll rough puff pastry into a ¼ inch thick rectangle big enough to roll around your roast.  Remove roast from plastic wrap and then bring the pastry up around the roast as you did with the prosciutto.  Seal all edges with fingertips and place the pastry covered log on a baking sheet lined w/ parchment paper. (Seam side down). Score or decorate w/ excess pastry as desired.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove the pastry covered roast from the fridge.  Insert a digital probe thermometer into the very center of the roll.  Place in a 400F oven, then immediately reduce the temperature to 375.  Cook until the center of the roast reaches 145F.   Remove from the baking sheet asap so that the pastry isn’t sitting in any cooking juices.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then slice into thick cross sections to serve.





Chicken and Black Pepper Dumplings

September 20, 2020

When I eat my feelings it’s usually a riff on something my mother and grandmother made back in the day. Chicken and dumplings are a staple of my childhood. In their world chicken and dumplings were just a poached chicken and Bisquick dumplings. Adding veg and tarting up a biscuit dough is somewhat treasonous. As always when I make something I’m particularly proud of, my kids wanted none of it. Whatever. One of them is addicted to boxed mac and cheese and the other frequently chews on painters tape. Not arbiters of all that is tasty.

We ate the C&D before I took a picture. So here are the comfort food rejectors on their first day of pandemic school.

Soup:
1 large white onion, peeled and diced
4 large garlic cloves, sliced
2 tbs rendered bacon fat
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
1 heart of celery w/ leaves, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
¼ tsp poultry seasoning
8 cups chicken stock
1 pound shredded chicken
¼ cup sour cream
1 tbs Dijon mustard


Dumplings:
¼ cup butter, melted
2 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
black pepper, fresh ground
1 cup butter milk

Sauté onion in bacon fat.  Add the garlic and cook until soft.  Stir in carrots and celery, then add seasonings and stock.  Cook until the carrots are soft, about 20 minutes.  Stir in chicken, sour cream, and mustard.  Reduce to a simmer.

Melt butter in a microwave proof bowl.  Add all dumpling ingredients and mix to form a stiff dough.  Drop dumplings off of a spoon into simmering soup, but be careful not to boil them or they’ll fall apart.  Partially cover, and cook just simmering for about 20 minutes.

Delight.  Utter delight.  Even given that my kids were all ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ because their mission is to fully reject the only food culture I can give them.

Anti- Cream of Chemical Shit Storm King Ranch Chicken

July 1, 2020

 

For those days when <waves hand> all of this is just too much to bear, but you’d still rather not ingest cream-o-chemical soup.

IMG_9865

For the sauce:
1 tbs bacon fat
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
4-6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp celery seeds
2 tbs butter
3 tbs flour
2 cans low sodium chicken stock
1 15oz can stewed tomatoes w/ chiles
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste. (Maybe some ground cumin too.  MOAR cumin!)

For the casserole:
1 sauce recipe as above
1 lb shredded chicken
1 lb sliced crimini mushrooms, sautéd in bacon fat
3.8 oz can of ripe olives, sliced
1 cup jack cheese, shredded
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
20 corn tortillas, sliced in half

I generally sauté the mushrooms in bacon fat in a straight sided skillet and set them aside.  Then in that pan, add some more bacon fat (Sorry… we’re not here for health today we’re here for the calming of existential dread) and soften your onions and bell pepper in that.   Add the crushed garlic and stir through till soft.  Then add all of the seasonings except the salt and pepper.  Fry them until the kitchen smells like you might survive after all.   Add the butter to melt, then add the flour and mix until it all forms a paste.  Let that brown a little.  Add the chicken stock and (well strained) tomatoes.  Simmer until it thickens then turn off the heat and add the sour cream.  Taste for salt and pepper.  Decide it’s not quite right and add some ground cumin.  Then maybe a little more cumin.  This is the sauce!  You did this to avoid cream of chemical shit storm in a can and it’s worth it.

Dump  a little sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish (Mine was glass and 13×9).  Then cover the sauce w/ tortilla halves.  Layer on more sauce, some chicken, olives, mushrooms.  Then more tortillas, then sauce, then chicken/olives/mushrooms, finish this layer with the jack cheese.  MORE tortillas but instead of sauce go straight to chicken/olives/mushrooms.  Then the rest of the sauce spread evenly over the top. Try to have a little more than 1/3 of the sauce left for this step.  Sharp  cheddar cheese on the now very saucy top.   Cover with foil.

I generally make casseroles either the day before or at lunch time and refrigerate, then bang them in a 400 F oven covered for 45 minutes and uncovered until bubbly.  About 15 minutes.  This is a good time to go take a statin and some blood pressure meds. Check that your jeans are sufficiently stretchy.

Let it stand on the counter for a while so that it sets and you avoid pizza mouth blisters.  Eat it.  Keep eating until you either burst or stop feeling all of the feelings you don’t want to be feeling.

At least it’s no preservatives… right?

 

Chicken Plov

February 26, 2018

IMG_1321

I based this on a beautiful chickpea plov recipe from 101cookbooks.com.  This was a bit more quickly thrown together, but worked very well.  I used white basmatti rice instead of brown since it cooks more quickly.

1 cup white onions, chopped
2 tbs olive oil
2 chicken breasts, diced
salt, pepper, paprika, chili flakes
1/3 cup black olives, diced
1/3 cup dill, chopped
1/4 chives, chopped
2 cups basmatti rice
1 tsp saffron threads
2 tsp kosher salt
2.5 cups chicken stock

Saute onions in olive oil at the highest heat level.  Add chicken seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika, and chili flakes.  Just brown.  Turn off heat.   Add chopped spices and olives in layers but do not mix with the chicken and onion mixture.  Pour rice over the herb layer, still without mixing.  Bloom saffron in chicken stock and add salt to the liquid.  Pour over rice.  The liquid should just cover the rice, if it doesn’t add water.   Lock lid in place.

Select “rice.”  On my Duo 6 quart, this brings up an un-adjustable 12 minute cycle.  After the rice cycle is up, allow a natural pressure release of 10 minutes.  If liquid still remains, do a quick 2 minutes on manual, with a quick release to follow.   Serve with yogurt, if desired.

Banana Nut Muffins

May 12, 2013

Okay. I admit once and for all that I don’t measure anything. Ever. So you’ll have to use your eyeballs when assembling these muffins because they were both the bomb and the diggity. If it looks too wet, add more dry. If it looks too dry, add more wet. We’re grown ups and can handle this, right?

3 horrendously over ripe bananas I’d forgotten on top of the fridge
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce I needed to be rid of
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted  (Yes.  You read that right.)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup maple syrup (I really  just glugged until Andy shouted “HOLY SHIT!”)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup pecans or walnut pieces

Beat the bananas and apple sauce until smooth. Slowly wiz in the melted butter. Add in the rest of the ingredients one at a time except the nuts. Fold those in at the very last minute.

Pour into lined muffin tins, almost filling each cup. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until just done. Makes about 2 dozen muffins.

Feed them to a baby so hungry, she’s prepared to eat her own foot. Save some for yourself.

Low Carb Banana Bread

July 24, 2011

A completly unrelated photo.

For most of this pregnancy I’ve been trying to keep my carb count and glycemic index low.  I figure that with a few pounds left over from Moxie and a strong family history of diabetes, the last thing I need is to go sugar crazy.  I am; however, plagued with an abundance of ripe bananas since the world’s cutest toddler will only eat them in exactly the right window of ripeness.  I came up with this version of a low carb banana nut bread by starting off here.  My version is basically doubled, but with more banana, more leavening, and less sweetener and oil.  It wasn’t very flavorful until fully cooled and was very slightly grainy.  Otherwise, I give it a thumbs up.

6 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup agave nectar
3/4 cup olive oil
4 eggs
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbs cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cup chickpea flour
1 cup chopped pecans

Mash very ripe bananas in a bowl using a wooden spoon.  Stir in all remaining ingredients.  The batter will be pourable.  Distributed it into 2 prepared loaf pans.  Bake at 350F for approximately 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Roughly figured on fitday.com (assuming 24 servings) I get
Calories: 188
Total carbs: 16g
Total protein: 5g
Total fat: 12 g

In regular banana nut bread
Calories: 216
Total carbs: 30g
Total protein: 3g
Total fat: 10g

Vegetable Korma

September 21, 2010

A rather awful picture of tonights supper.

I started off w/ a recipe sent by my sister and changed it up thusly:

1 tbs cumin
1 tbs grnd corriander
1 1/2 tbs garam marsla
1 tsp tumeric
4 whole cloves
1/2 tsp grnd cardamom
1 tsp grnd cinnamon
4 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs minced fresh ginger
1 white onion, chopped
1 can fire roasted tomato w/ juice
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup cashews, grnd
1 head cauliflower, chopped
3 small potatoes, chopped
3 carrots, diced
1/2 cup edamame, shelled
1/2 cup chickpeas

Comibine spices in a heavy bottomed pan and dry fry until aromatic, about 2 minutes.  Add oil, and mix to combine with spices.  Fry garlic and ginger in the oil and spice mixture for about 2 minutes, then add onion and cook until softened.  Crush tomatoes into the pot and add the juice.  Mix in the ground cashews and whisk until incorporated.   Add coconut milk and vegetables.  Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are as soft as desired. Could be al dente. Could be mush. It’s your choice.

Ground cashews: 1/3 cup cashews soaked in about 1/2 cup water for an hour.  Remove most of the liquid, then grind in mortar or in food processor.

I used edamame because I mostly hate green peas.  Try to find them fresh around here.  I dare you!  My sister’s recipe called for chicken instead of the veg.  I did poach a chicken breast in there for Andy, then cubed it on top of his plate.  Hers also had heavy cream in place of the coconut milk but I have baby weight to loose!  Top w/ yogurt and cilantro if desired.  Serve over basmati rice.

Meat Pig

February 12, 2010

1 medium onion, diced fine
4 stalks celery, diced fine
4 carrots, diced fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs olive oil
½ cup red wine
1 tbs fresh oregano, minced
1 tbs fresh sage, minced
1 tbs fresh thyme
3 lbs ground meat (I like one each beef, lamb, and turkey. Venison is also good.)
1 egg, beaten
½ cup marinara
½ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup instant oats
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper

In large skillet, heat olive oil. Add onions, garlic, carrot, and celery. Cook until softened. Deglaze pan with red wine and allow liquid to reabsorb. Add fresh herbs. Allow to cool. Combine cooked vegetables and all other ingredients by folding together, not squeezing. Form into a loaf, by hand and refrigerate on a lined cookie sheet for one hour. Bake at 350°F until cooked through, about 1-1½ hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the giant loaf reads 160°F. Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Note: Add more marinara if too dry, more bread crumbs if too wet. I admit that these measurements are only approximate. Meatloaf is something that changes every time I try it.  I always: limit myself to one egg, eschew loaf pans, and use the cooked vegetables.

You can of course shape the loaf any way you like.  It’s a horrible photo, but as you can tell, Andy is very fond of pigs.

Meat Pig

Lentil Moussaka

January 10, 2010

We’ve decided to stay up in Vermont for the winter. I know! I know! Most people fly south for the winter.  After spending 29 of my 30 years in Texas, however, I decided an actual winter was in order.  So I wake up to this every morning:

This is where Andy spends most of his winter days.

Of course, the dude can work any where he likes. I on the other hand am continuing my unemployment trend in pursuit of another life long goal.  This gives me ample time to cook and blog.  Hopefully this will end the 6 month or so long blog dry spell.  I’ve been cooking all this time, but also teaching 8th grade, so there’s been very little time to actually write about it.

The weather seems to make me want nothing but soft, warm comfort food. When I was recently asked to bring some sort of hearty vegetable dish to a family gathering, the only thought that would come into my head was Moussaka.  I love all things Greek. I love eggplant. I love feta cheese.  I certainly love béchamel.  The only thing I don’t love is the current lack of Zoe-friendly meat in my freezer.  We’re pretty much on vegetarian rations right now.  That’s fine, actually.  I do love the challenge of filling us up without the ease of using meat.

The following is what I came up with after pursuing recipes for moussaka.  It’s a combination of different points from the many that I read.  Over all, I loved it.  It was a rather time-consuming recipe, but I was in the mood to chop and fuss and prep.

Filling:
1/2 cup of green lentils
4-6 cups water
2 small yellow onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup beer
2 (14 oz) cans tomatoes, diced
1 cup cherry tomato, halved
2 tbs fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 tbs fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
2 tbs fresh oregano leaves, chopped
kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper

Casserole:
2 eggplants, peeled and sliced
2 zucchini, sliced
2 baking potato, sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup whole grain bread crumbs

Bechamel:
5 tbs unsalted butter
4 tbs unbleached flour
3 cups 2% milk
1 cup half and half
1 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of white pepper (which I didn’t have, so I used black)

Peel eggplant, and slice it about 1/8 inch thick.  Place the slices in a large colander and apply a very liberal amount of salt.  Set this aside for at least 30 minutes while you prep the filling and slice the other vegetables.  The goal here is to pull some of the moisture from the eggplant.  After 30 minutes, rinse thoroughly with water and then dry with paper towels.

To prepare the filling: Boil the lentils in the water (salted) until almost done.  Leave them with just a little bite to them.  Drain and set aside.  In a large pot, sauté the onions in a small amount of olive oil.  Add garlic, and cook just to soften.  Deglaze the pan with the beer, then add the canned tomato. Add back the lentils, fresh tomato, and seasonings.  Simmer the filling for a bout 30 minutes.  The filling should be quite, thick and most of the liquid will reduce.  (I had extra filling which I used on top of some whole wheat spaghetti for lunch.)

In a large skillet, heat a little bit of olive oil.  Brown the eggplant, one side at a time. Set aside.  Brown the zucchini in the same pan and set aside.  Add a small amount more oil, then cook the potatoes until they are a bit softened, but not fully cooked.  Set aside.

In a 13X9 inch pan, lay down a layer with each of the vegetables.  You will have more eggplant than anything else, so try to work it so that each of the 3 layers will have some of each vegetable.  I placed eggplant, zucchini, and potato in bands.  For the bottom layer I placed: eggplant, zucchini, eggplant, potato.  In the next layer I placed the vegetables so that they were directly above a different vegetable. The idea was that each piece cut from the casserole would contain all three vegetables.

On top of the first layer of vegetable spread about 1 cup of the lentil filling, then top that with a little feta and a little Parmesan.  Top with another layer of vegetables, then filling, then cheese.  Make sure to end the layering with vegetables on top.  Bake the casserole at 350°F for about 25 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow it to stand for about 15 minutes.  The casserole may be a little watery when taken from the oven, but should reabsorb most of the liquid.

While it cools, make the white sauce.  In a straight sided skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Sprinkle the flour on top of the butter and whisk together to form a roux.  Cook the roux until it is a dark sandy color, just starting to brown.  Add the milk and half and half, whisking to incorporate.  Continue to stir until the mixture thickens.  Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Taste for flavor, and re-season if necessary. (You will have extra white sauce.  Use it on pasta, or any recipe that calls for a cream sauce.  Mine will probably go into Tuna Noodle Casserole to be frozen for later.)

Pour just enough of the béchamel over the vegetable casserole to cover it lightly.  Top with the bread crumbs and more cheese if desired.  Bake uncovered until the potatoes are fully cooked, about 30 minutes.  Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.