Baking


There is just something about Mark BIttman’s recipes/dishes that keeps calling me back. I know you know the feeling. You find a chef/cook/baker you really like and then you just want to keep making their goodies. I am that way with Madjur Jaffrey, Donna Hay, and Mark Bittman, among others..

So when it came time to do another potluck for I heart Cooking Clubs I went with Bittman – again.

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    8 ripe pears peeled, cored, and roughly chopped into smallish pieces
    1/4 – 1/3 cup sugar
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    8 – 10 sheets whole-wheat phyllo dough, thawed
    4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
    Powdered sugar for dusting

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the pears, sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
Set the phyllo on your work surface and cover with a piece of plastic and a damp towel to keep it from drying out. Remove one sheet and put it in front of you, brush it with some butter and fold in 1/2 length wise.

Put about 1/8 of the pear mixture at one end of the phyllo strip and begin folding the filled section of the phyllo to form triangles back and forth along the length of the strip, like folding a flag. Keep folding the triangle back and forth until you reach the end of the sheet.
Transfer the turnover to the prepared baking sheet, seam side down, and brush it with a little more butter. Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets and apple mixture. You should have 8 turnovers.

Bake the turnovers until deeply golden and crisp (it’s okay if they ooze a little juice), 25 to 35 minutes.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar or


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    cinnamon sugar.

These were quick, crispy, flaky, tasty and the perfect light dessert. They are on page 565 of Bittman’s The Food Matters Cook book

For the other Pot Luck picks visit us over at IHCC

Move over Rice Krispy Treats! You have a rival! Dorie’s “Rice Krispy Treats” are going to make your Snap! Crackle! Pop! seem plain.

Don’t get me wrong I LOVE Krispy Treats. Especially made with Some Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chips. But These. THESE! Are Really Really Good!!

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How can you beat CARMELIZED crispies on a Buttery cookie bar and chocolate?

Nuff Said!

Except for one thing – Caramelized Rice Krispies are regular krispies coated in a simple sugar syrup and stirred and stirred and stirred until nice and brown. (page 428)

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You can find the recipe on page 324 of Dorie’s baking chez moi.

And visit the other bakers on the BCM website.

A NEW HOUSE!

    HOW EXCITING IS THAT?
      TO BUY A NEW HOUSE!.

Your friends come and celebrate all the work you have to do to get it just right. They bring food. They bring gifts. Appropriate gifts for a new home. But IS there an appropriate gift? Maybe we should ask about TRADITIONAL Housewarming gifts.

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And since Grace over at Happa Mama just remodeled her house and it’s almost like a new one, we are celebrating.
In the US, traditionally we give:

    Salt: Given with the message “That life may always have flavor”, can also represent added luxury or flavor to life
    Wine: Symbolizes the hope “That joy and prosperity may reign forever”…or…”That your family will never be thirsty”…or…”So you will always be of good cheer”
    Bread: So that this house may never know hunger…or…So your cupboards will always be full

I cannot make salt. I don’t know how to make wine – although my Dad made some Elderberry Wine once.
But I can make bread. And since tradition doesn’t say what kind of bread to include who says it has to be a LOAF of bread.

So, how about a nice Flatbread? With Olive Oil. And Rosemary. Like this Pizza Bianca from Jim Lahey.

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This is some kind of good bread. Puffy, crunchy, chewy the way good bread should be. Just out of the oven it was perfect.

Ingredients:

    400 grams (3 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
    4 grams (1/2 teaspoon) fine sea salt
    4 grams (3/4 teaspoon) sugar
    175 grams (3/4 cup) cool water, plus more if needed
    3 sprigs rosemary leaves
    4 grams (1/2 teaspoon) coarse sea salt

In a medium bowl, mix flour, yeast, fine sea salt, and sugar. {In the book the salt and sugar were left out of the “Mix flour, etc..” so after the fact I googled it and add the salt and sugar late to the mix after I had already mixed in the water. Worked just fine.} Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix for at least 30 seconds, until you have a soft, somewhat sticky, loose dough. If it seems too dry, you can add up to 2 Tbl safely.

Scoop the dough into a 2nd bowl coated with Olive Oil and cover. It should sit for a minimum of 9 hours and up to 12 hours at room temperature (about 72°F), until doubled in size. This is a short rise compared to some of Lahey’s bread – up to 18 hours. {Mine only rose for about 7 hours because I was running out of time. Worked just fine.}

Scrape the dough onto a generously flour dusted work surface. Fold the dough over itself 2 or 3 times until it forms a rather loose ball. Sprinkle it with the coarse sea salt and some Olive Oil. Put the dough in a cozy, draft-free spot and let rise until doubled in volume, 1 to 2 hours.

30 minutes before the end of the second rise, place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 500°F.

Scoop the dough onto a well dusted peel sprinkle with olive oil and spread the dough out making dimples as you spread into a surface about 12″ in diameter. Sprinkle with rosemary leaves.

With quick, jerking motions, slide the dough from the peel onto the baking stone {I recently broke my stone so I used an upside down baking sheet. Worked just fine.} If it’s sticking to the peel, gently lift it around the edges, adding more flour to the peel. Bake about 12 – 15 minutes until nice and bubbly and golden.

Slide the peel under the pizza and transfer the pizza to a rack. Allow to cool for a minute or two, if you CAN, before slicing and serving.

The dough was smooth and silky and very elastic. So easy to work with. AND you don’t knead it!!

This was housewarming twice because the baking bread warmed up the kitchen and the fragrance warmed up the house while it was baking. Recipe is from Lahey’s my bread {page 137} but I found it online HERE and HERE but they are from my pizza and slightly different.

Grace Hwang Lynch (HapaMama) selected our theme this month: HOUSEWARMING? Check out the other goodies at:

BTW #LetsLunch is a twitter based cooking club. Every month a theme is chosen then we get to interpret that theme with FOOD. IT’s an international group of bloggers and awesome cooks with wonderful stories to tell. Search #LetsLunch for more on Twitter.

Okay. I did what she said. I got off the couch. And I cooked!!!

And cooked. And cooked some more.

Why, you ask? Because it was my JOB!! At least this month…It was my job to read through Sashi’s wonderful blog – Get Off the Couch and Cook and find something, anything, to cook. NOT an easy job. Her blog is “…not a health food site but the recipes are not bad for you.” Don’t you love that? I like foods that aren’t bad for me. But still delicious. And there is plenty of that here.

Sashi was my ‘assignment’ for March’s Secret Recipe Club and I had to pick at least one recipe.

But if you follow along each month you know I am not in the habit of just choosing ONE recipe. I started out with her lovely soft…

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These are very similar to the bread I make from KAF, where she originally got the recipe, but softer than my bread. They were perfect with burgers, pulled pork, and meatballs. What makes these really nice is that the dough is ‘worked’ in a bread machine then hand rolled and baked. You can make round buns or long hot-dog style. These were supposed to be long hot-dog but my shaping skills are a little rusty.

With the sandwiches I had to have a side…

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YES!, I did say bacon and cheese. Think of these as deconstructed baked potatoes with sour cream, butter AND the bacon and cheese. Without the skin.

    6 slices of bacon
    6 medium Russet potatoes, washed but not peeled
    4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    ¾ c sour cream
    4 Tbsp buttermilk (or regular milk)
    1 tsp kosher salt
    ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
    1 c (4 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese

Cook your bacon in a large skillet over med heat until crispy, 5-10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Drain on paper towels then crumble. Set aside.
Cut the potatoes into 3/4″ to 1″ pieces and boil until just soft – about 10 minutes. You want them to easily fall apart.
Mix the butter, sour cream, buttermilk, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
Drain the potatoes then add them to the bowl with the butter/sour cream mix.
Smash the potatoes into the butter and sour cream, stirring slightly while mashing the potatoes until just combined, leaving chunky bits.
Using a large spoon, fold in the bacon pieces and half the cheese.
Sprinkle with remaining, or more, cheese and let melt before serving.

Good stuff.

I thought about making one of her desserts, like her Lemon Blueberry Cake, or the Dutch Apple Pie, or some Chocolate Bacon BarkYUM!! but in the end, since I still had cake and ice cream in the house, I went with another savory – Baked Pork Egg Rolls

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I just happened to have some roast pork so these seemed a perfect way to use up some left overs. Stuffed with pork, carrots, cabbage, mixed with honey, peanut butter, mirin, chili sauce and sesame oil these tasty eggrolls were not fried as we are used to but rather, baked. So pretty healthy and not at all bad for me. Just like Sashi advertised for her recipes.

I am definitely going back for more recipes from Sashi. They are easy, fresh, delicious, and not at all bad for me!!!

NOw that my job is done….why don’t you head on over to Secret Recipe Club and sign up to join in the fun.

But between now and then check out the other goodies from the other members. See how much fun they had with their ‘assignments’ this month.

Madeleines are such fun to make. So much fun that after missing the first madeleine recipe with the first Tuesdays with Dorie group I bought the pan and looked forward eagerly to each and every Mad recipe. We made them several times and once again with Baking with Julia. No matter how often I make them it never gets old so I was happy to see them for this week’s Baking Chez Moi pick.

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These little sponge cakes had plenty of lemon zest and then to make them even lemony-er we dipped them in a lemon glaze and baked them another two minutes or so. Yes! Please! I think lemon is my favorite citrus to bake with. The taste is always fresh and summery.

These were made a little differently from other Mads we had made. The batter was chilled. Then after filling the molds the batter was chilled again in the molds before baking in a hot (400 F) oven. The recipe says the batter will make 12 I actually came out with 17. I made a batch and made twelve from the batter but they overflowed the molds so I made another batch and made them smaller.

While I didn’t get much of the characteristic hump they are still pretty and tasty.

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I glazed some and left some alone. Definitely something to make again and again. I mean, really, how can you NOT make those pretty little shell shaped sponge cakes??

You can visit with the other Doristas and drool over their madeleines by visiting the Tuesdays with Dorie website. the recipe is on page 212 of Dorie’s Baking Chex Moi. Buy the book. Join the fun!!

Waking up to a warm Blueberry muffin makes a Monday worthwhile. Even though I had to make them myself it was still a great way to start the day.

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You can actually use just one bowl to mix these up and, according to Donna, the variations are endless. Which is probably why I added lemon to my batch.

We usually don’t include the recipe but I made some low-sugar changes.

2½ cups (375g) self-raising (self-rising) flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar and 1/2 cup Stevia in the Raw (or other blended no calorie sweetener)
½ cup (125ml) vegetable oil
1 egg
½ cup (125ml) milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon oil
300g fresh or frozen blueberries
granulated sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a good sized bowl. Make a well in the middle. Place the oil, egg, milk and vanilla in the well and whisk to combine. Slowly work the liquid into the flour mix until just combined. Add the blueberries and mix to combine. Spoon mixture into a a regular muffin tin using paper baking cups. Sprinkle the tops with sugar and bake for 30–35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Remove from tin and cool on a wire rack.

I made a few to test for sweetness and ended up adding about a 1/4 tsp of raw Stevia. That made them just right. If you don’t have raw stevia use a little more of your favorite non-sugar sweetener.

The original recipe is HERE.

This week was Chaya’s turn to choose. And she chose well.

We visit and leave your links at Wednesdays with Donna Hay so hop on over and see what the others thought of the muffins.

In January Avid Bakers Challenge moved from baking with King Arthur Flour to baking with Christina at Scientifically Sweet. Unfortunately I missed out on January (Double Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins) and February (Orange, Date & Almond Biscotti) so I knew I had to jump in for March. And it was a good decision.

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This is a nice little loaf with plenty of lemon flavor. And although mine didn’t brown very well or rise very high it was a hit. I liked the texture the cornmeal added. More than cake, less than cornbread. It was just right.

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You can find the recipe on Susan’s Page. The only change I made was to cut the sugar in 1/2 and sub in some Splenda and a little raw Stevia for the sweetness. Now I’m thinking – how good this would be with some Blueberries thrown in. Next time!!

You can see all the Lemon Loaves over at THE AVID BAKERS CHALLENGE.

Next month we are making Fudgy No Butter Brownies – I am definitely in for that one!!!

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