Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wednesday Fun #31 - The one with all the spatters...

A while back we had a cookbook call-out for WF, and it looks like folks have a LOT of cookbooks... but if you're anything like me, there are one or two you just keep going back to over, and over, and over again.

So today I ask...

Which cookbook do you use the most?

And why do you keep coming back to that one?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

When Sewing Bee (aka Turtle, aka Pumpkin's godmother) was out visiting us, I was telling her all about (and feeding them bread from) this great cookbook my MIL gave me at Christmas, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. She was very enthused, so we baked some up and mixed up a new batch for the frig so she got to see the whole procedure. I'd told her I meant to post it, but just hadn't gotten around to it, but lo and behold if I didn't find an email from her in my inbox today with it all typed up, including a YouTube link about it. So without further ado, here is:

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

In 5 qt. lidded plastic container: (Ice cream pail works great.)

Mix together – leave lidded on counter for 2 hours or up to 5 hours then refrigerate.

3 cups warm water
1 ½ Tbl. yeast
1 ½ Tbls coarse salt (1 generous Tbls fine salt)
6 ½ cups flour

Leave in the fridge for up to two weeks. Bake when you need bread or the night before it serves great the next day. Recipe says it can make 4 loaves. We tend to make 3 loaves per batch. [MHH - I agree. I only ever get three loaves, too.]

To Bake: Break off about 1/3 of dough with floured hands. Turn it to cloak it. (Turn it under at the sides all the way around to make a round loaf.) Sprinkle pizza peel (or flat [rimless] cookie sheet) with corn meal and lay bread on that area. Leave for 20 minutes then turn oven to 450 degrees and put a broiler pan and pizza stone in the oven. (Broiler pan or jelly roll works great.) [MHH - pizza stone on lowest possible rack.] Set timer for 20 more minutes while oven heats up and bread keeps rising.

Before you put it in the oven dust with flour and slash with a knife. When timer goes off slide bread in the oven off the peel and pour 1-1 ½ cups water into the hot broiler pan. Bake 35 minutes.

MHH - There are a ton of variations for this recipe in the cookbook, including foccacia (which I made today, but with grape tomatoes instead of onions). It really is super easy and convenient and the bread is FABULOUS with olive oil and vinegar.

Here's the YouTube video; it's an appearance by the authors on a MN morning show. It shows how easy it is to mix up and how to "cloak" the dough when making a loaf.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Recipe: Frittata

I tried this out last week because it sounded so light and spring-like, and it was! Quite a bit of zing between the goat cheese (you could easily sub feta) and lemon zest. I wish I'd served it with a starchy side or garlic toast or something to undercut it a bit.

Wild Rice, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese Frittata

2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
5 large eggs
4 large egg whites (I just used 7 whole eggs, because that's how many I had. It was fine.)

1 cup asparagus slices (1-inch)(about 1/4 lb)
1 clove garlic minced
1 cup green onions thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil thinly sliced
1/2 cup grape tomatoes halved
1/2 cup wild rice, cooked
1 teaspoon lemon rind grated
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (1-oz)

1. Preheat broiler.
2. Combine first 5 ingredients, stirring well with a whisk; set aside.
3. Heat a large in an oven-proof skillet (I used cast iron) over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add asparagus and garlic, and saute 2 minutes. Add onions, and saute 1 minute or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Add tomatoes, rice, basil, and rind; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Reduce heat to medium. Pat mixture into even layer in pan; sprinkle with cheese. Pour egg mixture over rice mixture; cook 4 minutes or until almost set.
4. Move to broiler; broil 4 minutes or until golden brown and set.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wednesday Fun #30 - The Best WF yet!

Ha! Tricked you! This Wednesday Fun is actually a suggestion box disguised as a Wednesday Fun.
('Cuz I'm tricky like that.)

(Also because the Spring Cleaning post only got one comment so far. Anonymous commenter, thank you for sharing your opinion!)

So today's WF-like fill-in-the-blank is....

I'd find this site more useful if more of the recipes were ___________.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wednesday Fun #29 - Maybe NEXT Easter...

Instead of a question this week, I bring you this fabulous idea...

Easter Cakes Baked In Egg Shells!

Imagine it - peeling what you think is a hard-boiled egg (but probably a strangely lightweight one) ... and finding... cake?! Inside the eggshell? Cool!

No, seriously, Maggie over at Mighty Girl did it, and here's her post about it.

She links to this post where she got the idea.

It's too late for Easter this year, but oh, doesn't that sound like fun for next year?! I'm thinking that cake mix with the confetti dots inside would look really cool.

P.S. If you want to answer a question, HERE's one that's looking for responses.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wednesday Fun #28 - Condiment Contest!

Ah, how fun and easy are the Name 3 Challenges. This week it's...

Name (at least) 3 condiments in your refrigerator.

(Extra cool points if they relate in some way - start with the same letter, all the same color, etc. And as always, you don't need to be a Recipeeps contributor to play... let us know what's in your frig!)

ETA: For AKJ, I added in the (at least) above, so now nobody will have to feel guilty about listing more, especially if they fit a theme!

Spring Cleaning

Happy Spring to you all! And with spring comes spring cleaning. And I'm hoping for some help and/or advice and/or opinions and/or ideas from you. (Yes, I mean you.)

What do you like about Recipeeps 4 Us? What don't you? What do you wish there was more of or less of? Is it as helpful as you'd hoped? If so, what do you find useful? If not, what would make it more so? Are there kinds or categories of recipes of which you'd like to see more? New labels that would be helpful to you? Any ideas you've been tossing around in the back of your head that would make this a better / more useful / more fun / prettier / whatever site?

And do check back to this post to read others' comments and continue discussion about them. If you'd like to comment anonymously, feel free, but I think we're up for some review/ constructive criticism/ probably revision now that Recipeeps has been up and in use for 6 months.

(I started to make this a "Wednesday Fun," but it's really not so much fun as it is hopefully useful. But I figured I'd piggy-back on those of you who check in on Wednesdays for the fun and pick your brains, too.)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Can you fix this recipe?

I got this recipe from a blog at work-it mom. I tried it out- but it was pretty bland - I really think it needs something else, but I don't know what. Any ideas or suggestions? Maybe I just need a better curry powder? I think it could be a great easy crock pot recipe with a little tweaking.

Chicken Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Coconut Rice

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 onion, cut up
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2/3 cup orange juice
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
3 tsp curry powder
1 clove garlic, minced

Put the chicken, onion & sweet potatoes in the crock pot. (dice the potatoes to a medium size, you want them to cook, but not to get too mushy). Mix orange juice, garlic and spices together, pour over the top of everything in the crock pot. Put the lid on your crock pot, set it to low and let it cook 5-6 hours.

Coconut rice
Use coconut milk to replace 1/2 to 3/4 of the water you use to boil rice. (i.e. 2 cups of rice, 1 cup water, 1 cup coconut milk). You can use the "lite" but the full fat milk will give you more flavor. Works best with Jasmine or Basmati.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Blackberry Sour Cream Pie

There were some good looking blackberries at the store, so I made this pie over the weekend. So yummy and fresh. You could use mixed berries or raspberries or whatever you like, but I think fresh blackberries are best, they make it a good balance between tart and sweet.

(**I actually made a basket-weave top crust this time instead of the crumb topping. Both are good!)

Blackberry Sour Cream Pie

1 unbaked pie crust
1 16-oz. bag frozen blackberries, thawed (or 4 cups fresh)
1 cup sour cream
3 T flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

Crumb Topping**
2 T sugar
1/4 c. fine bread crumbs
1 T butter, melted

Mix together sour cream, sugar, salt, and flour. Pour blackberries in bottom of pie, and spread sour cream mixture on top. Mix together topping ingredients, and sprinkle on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until topping is browned.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wednesday Fun #27 - Foreign Food Cravings

Here's an idea that came via TNGreatAunt, and since I'm reminiscing about our stint in Ireland, now that we've been back in the US a year, I thought I'd use it.

If you've ever lived in or visited another country (or currently live in one in which you didn't grow up), what food and/or drink do you miss?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Brown Soda Bread

**Edited to add: Here's a link to another recipe for Irish brown bread that looks good. It makes it in a loaf pan, so if that's more what you're looking for, it might be just the thing. I haven't tried it yet, so if you do, let us know how it is!

**Edited later: This stales quickly, so don't plan on making it on the weekend & then serving it on Tuesday or something. It's best used the day it's made.

**2011 St. Patrick's Day edit: Here are the approximate amounts for a one-third-sized loaf, which is what's baking in my oven right now! 1 3/4 c. flour, 1 3/4 c. whole wheat flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. baking soda, & what ended up to be maybe 1 1/4 c. buttermilk - 1 c. wasn't enough so I kept adding a bit at a time until it stuck together. Remember to reduce baking time since it's a lot smaller than the original!

As requested by Pusher, here's the recipe for Brown Soda Bread from The Ballymaloe Bread Book with what notes I remember, since I haven't made it for a while.

Makes: One large loaf [extremely large - I'd recommend halving the recipe or turning it into two]

Cooking time: 40-55 minutes

What you need:
  • 1 1/4 lb. brown wholemeal flour (*shrug* I haven't made it here... maybe whole wheat flour?)
  • 1 1/4 lb. plain white flour
  • 2 rounded teaspoons of salt
  • 2 rounded teaspoons bread soda [baking soda], finely sieved
  • 1 1/2 points buttermilk, approximately

[If you want to halve it, that'd be 10 oz. of each kind of flour, a single rounded teaspoon each of the salt and baking soda, and 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk.]

What you do:

Fully preheat the oven to 230C/450F/regulo 8.

Mix the flours, salt and bread soda together in a large, wide bowl.

Pour most of the milk into the middle of the flour. Using your hand with the fingers open and stiff, mix the ingredients in a full circle drawing in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk of necessary, until the dough is softish, but not too wet. [Yeah, I use a spoon.]

Turn out the dough onto a well-floured work surface. Then wash and dry your hands.

Tidy up the dough by lightly rolling it around with lightly floured hands. Then pat it gently into a round about 6 cm/2 in high.

Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet, cut it across and prick it with your knife in the usual way.*

Bake in the fully preheated oven for 15-20 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 200C/400F/regulo 6 for a further 20-25 minutes. Turn the bread upside down on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before the end of baking. When the bread is cooked it will sound hollow when tapped.

Cool on a wire rack.

*Here's the "usual way" from the earlier recipe for White Soda Bread in the same book:
With a sharp knife cut a deep cross in it, letting the cuts go over the sides of the bread. Then prick the four triangles with your knife: according to Irish folklore this will let the fairies out!