Sunday, June 26, 2011

24 Hour French Bread

All right then. I found this recipe and I am intrigued, though there is absolutely no reason to make it. In fact it's down right insane to spend this much time catering to bread when you can if you really wanted to merely walk up your road to the bakery and pick up a delicious loaf without spending this much time nurturing dough to bread life. It better be good, this is all I can say. Never the less, this high maintenance recipe is no different than the brioche I baby and it is without exception, formidable. So without further adieu, I'm off to make 24 hour French Bread...feel free to join me.

2 tbsp. Active dry yeast, 2 1/2 cups Water (110-degrees), 7 1/2 cups Bread flour to 8 cups, 1 tbsp. Salt, 1 x Egg white (for glaze), 1 tbsp. Water (for glaze)

In large bowl of electric mixer, dissolve yeast in 2-1/2 c water.
Add 2-1/2 to 3 c flour; stir 1 minute.
Batter will have consistency of soft pudding.
Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap.
Let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, overnight or at least 8 hours.
The longer the sponge ferments, the better the flavor will be.
The next day, stir in salt and 1 to 1-1/2 c of remaining flour.
Beat at medium speed with electric mixer 6 minutes, or beat 600 vigorous strokes by hand.
Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.
Clean and lightly flour bowl.
Knead dough 15 to 20 minutes or until smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky.
Place dough in floured bowl.
Dust surface lightly with flour; cover with a slightly damp towel.
Let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until tripled in bulk, about 1-1/2 hours.
Grease 2 large baking sheets or 4 French-bread pans.
Punch down dough. Knead 2 minutes. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
For oblong loaves, divide dough into 3 or 4 pieces, depending on desired thickness of loaves.
On a lightly floured surface, shape each piece into a smooth log, gently tapering ends.
For round loaves, divide dough in half.
Shape each half into a smooth ball.
Place shaped dough on prepared baking sheets.
Cover with a dry towel.
Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Adjust oven racks to 2 lowest positions.
Place a shallow roasting pan on lowest shelf; pour in 2 c boiling water.
Preheat oven 15 minutes to 425-degrees.
Slash tops of oblong loaves with 5 diagonal slashes each.
Slash tops of each round loaf with 3 horizontal slashes and 3 vertical slashes in a tic-tac-toe design.
Brush loaves with cold water.
Bake 15 minutes.Brush loaves with egg-white glaze; bake 10 minutes longer.
Brush again with egg-white glaze.
Remove roasting pan from oven.
Bake loaves 10 to 15 minutes longer, for a total of 35 to 40 minutes, or until bread sounds hollow when tapped on bottom.
Remove from pans; place loaves directly on oven rack.
Bake 5 minutes longer.
Cool on racks.Makes 2 to 4 loaves.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bouchons Au Thon (or Puffed Tuna Souffle)

Are you prepared to cry...tears of joy and happiness? Really, I'm serious. I love these things and you can gobble up a plenty if you so desire because not only am I going to print the original recipe from an amazing food memoir called, A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, I'm going to give you the extraordinarily low fat version that I made this morning and you too....will love these "Bouchons Au Thon." Serve them for lunch with a nice green salad - but I don't think you'll be able to wait that long because I had them for breakfast with my coffee. But my oh my, I think they'd go nicely with a glass of white wine too! Enjoy this simple too easy dish that Molly Wizenberg can only describe as "What France Would Taste Like." Of course my version would be what the "Nicer Side of Suburbia Tastes Like When The Kids And Hubby Have Buzzed Off For The Day." Bon Appetite!

Molly's Version:

One 6 ounce can of tuna packed in water, drained well, 1 cup of lightly packed finely shredded Gruyere, 1/3 cup of creme fraiche, 3 tbsp. tomato paste, 3 large eggs, 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion, 2 tbp. of finely chopped Italian parsley, 1/4 tsp. salt.

Set oven rack to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease 8 cups of a standard-sized muffin tin, and set aside. Put the tuna in a medium bowl, ad use a fork, mashing and poking, to break it up into small pieces. There should be no chunks larger than a dime. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well with the fork, mashing a bit as you go, until the mixture is thoroughly combined. It will be a soft orange-pink colour.

Divide the mixture evenly among the 8 prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the bouchons look set on top and around the edges. Transfer the tin to a rack, and let cool for 5 minutes. Carefully run a small, thin knife arond the edge of each bouchon to make sure it isn't stuck, then carefully remove them from the tin. They will collapse a bit as they cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

My Version
(perfect for those on the Dukin or any low carb diet)

1 tin of tuna (mine was in oil) drained, 1 cup of low fat cottage cheese, 1/3 cup of Laughing Cow cheese, or four wedges, 3 tbsp. of sugar free ketchup, 3 eggs, 1/4 cup of chopped onion, 1 tsp. of dried dill, 1/4 tsp. of salt, 1/4 tsp. of pepper.

Mix all of the about ingredients up until nicely blended. Spray 8 muffin tins with Pam cooking spray, and fill up the cups evenly with the tuna mixture. Put into a 325 degree oven until shiny and brownish on top for 20-25 minutes. Take out of the oven and cool and then run a thin knife around the edge of each bouchon to make sure it doesn't stick and carefully remove from the tin with a spoon.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Beer Baked Scalloped Potatoes

Well, I made this delicious concoction for two Dad meals. One for my hubby accompanied by a Prime Rib Dinner, and the second time for my Dad over brunch yesterday for Fathers' Day! It was super good and everyone loved them, especially the guys. I think you to will really enjoy these man potatoes!

Here's what I did:

Peel 8 potatoes and cut them into 1/2 inch thick slices. Then boil them in a pot of water for about 20 minutes until they're just tender. Once done, drain, cool and put into a buttered casserole. Then chop up one onion and throw into a pot with one can of beer and bring to a light boil, turning down the heat to simmer until 1/2 a cup of beer left in the pot.

Add the cooked onion to the potato and save the 1/2 cup of beer liquid in the pot.

Finally mix together the 1/2 cup of beer liquid, 1 1/2 cups of milk, 2 heaping tbsp. of flour, and 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Stir and pour this mixture over the potato onion mixture and cook for about 1/2 hour at 375 degrees until nice and brown. It will smell and taste positively divine.

BBQed Chicken Thighs with Kraft Low Fat Italian Dressing

I was reading the latest Good Housekeeping magazine (July 2011) issue with Angie Harmon and inside her interview she said she made the yummiest chicken with two ingredients: Hidden Valley Ranch Italian Dressing and Worchestershire Sauce. So I thought to myself, how easy is that, I think I'll try that tonight. Easy peasy I say. So I marinated about 16 chicken chicken thighs in 1 cup of low fat Italian Dressing and about 2 tbsp. of Worchestershire for about an hour - adding a few of my own spices like pepper and garlic. Then I heated up the grill and put the thighs on when the grill was hot and BBQed until both sides were nice and juicey and brown. Delightful. It's hard not to make thighs delicious on the BBQ, but this easy marinade was yummy. You could even, after cooking the chicken, brush a little more "freshly made" marinade over the thighs again for additional taste. Also, you could add some fresh herbs to the marinade. Cheers to Summer!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Yummy Quick Appies For Summer!!!!

I bought THE BEST MOST CHARMING COOKBOOK the other day. And as I gear up for one of my favourite seasons to entertain, this book was a great inspiration. It's called, "Simple Stunning Parties At Home." In fact, I've been out so much to restaurants, hotels, and parties that I'm craving a home party and cooking for a group of friends at home. I love going out, but after spending a pile of money on half the food and wine in a restaurant, I think I'm at a place in life where I truly believe most of the time, there is no place like home kitchen cooking. Of course there are those "best ever" restaurants you don't mind saving your money for on a special occassion, but the truth is, more often than not I find myself thinking, "I could have done a better job." Here are some quick recipes you can make for your friends soon!

Goat Cheese With Walnuts and Honey:
Buy a large slice of good goat cheese. Unwrap it and press one flat side of the cheese into a plate of finely crushed walnuts. Place the cheese ona pretty plate walnut side up and finish with a spoonful of clover honey and a crack of fresh black pepper.

Tequila-Soaked Olives With Blue Cheese:
Buy a jar of good olives and a hunk of blue cheese. Toss the olives in a bowl with a splash of tequila and a splash of lime. Slice the cheese into small chunks and spear toothpicks with one olive and one blue cheese chunk each. Then the author suggests making, "Margaritas and say ole!" I so agree!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tarragon and Lemon Hamburger Patties

First and foremost I must say that I've been away for a while and am sorry I haven't been more regular with my postings. Why is that you may wonder? Because, being a Vancouverite I've been royally consumed with the Stanley Cup finals and I am on edge at this moment praying that our gorgeous team will bring home the Stanley Cup tonight. I'm still cooking though, but since Vancouver's been vs. Boston our dinner time is earlier and the food much simpler because hell I need to watch the game! Here's a really simple and delicious hamburger I made last night.

1 lb. of lean ground beef, 1 egg, 1 tbsp. of dried tarragon leaves, 4 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of cottage cheese. Mix all of these ingredients together, form into four hamburger patties and bake in the oven, on a lightly greased baking sheet, (I used Pam cooking spray) at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through. You could also BBQ if you like (the game was on and I couldn't miss a moment of hockey on TV so I used my oven).

It's a super nice flavour and succulent because of the cottage cheese. Top with a soft peaceful tasting cheese like Laughing Cow, Cream Cheese, or even a slice of Brie so it won't over power the lemon and tarragon. Go Canucks Go!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Peppers with Lime, Thyme, and Parmesan

This is so yum, so easy and healthy.

2-4 red bell peppers cut up and put on a baking sheet. In a separate bowl mix together the marinade: 1/8th cup of olive oil, 1 tsp. of garlic powder or 1 clove of garlic sliced, 1/2 tsp. of thyme or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, 2-3 tbsp. of lime juice, salt, and pepper. Pour marinade over peppers and roast in a 400 degree oven until softened (about 30 minutes). Once done, sprinkle peppers with 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheeese.

Spago's Cucumber Salad

Oh, you will LOVE this simple and delicious refreshing salad. Serve it on the side with anything...salmon would be nice. I served it with our dinner tonight and could have just eaten this.

2 cups thinly-sliced cucumbers
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar or artificial sweetener
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Slice 1 cucumber and arrange on a plate. Mix together the rest of the ingredients and pour over cucumbers. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Let marinate for 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Very refreshing and very delicious.

Orange Soy Marinade For Pork

I'm cooking a nice little roast pork tonight for dinner and made the most fabulous marinade for it.

1/2 cup of sugar free orange marmelade, 2 tbsp. of low sodium soya sauce, 1/8th cup of olive oil and 1 tsp. of garlic. Stir it up and pour over the pork before you cook it. Continue to baste until it's done.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Creamy Low Fat Potato Salad

This is a nice take on a traditional summer potato salad!

1 1/4 pounds of red potatoes, 1 cup of plain low fat yogurt, 2 tbsp. of country style Dijon mustard, 2 tbsp. of finely chopped fresh tarragon, or 1/2 small green or red bell pepper cut into fine strips, 1/3 cup of finely chopped green onion, 1/3 cup of thinly sliced celery.

Cook potatoes in a medium sized pot for about 20 minutes, drain and then cool. Cut into quarters and put into a bowl.

Whisk yogurt, mustard, and tarragon in a bowl until blended. Add potatoes, bell pepper, onions, celery, and toss. Season with pepper. Cover and put into the fridge for a few hours so the flavours mingle. Yummy.

Sweet and Sour Coleslaw

Here is a nice low fat summer salad that is super delicious!

1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup apple juice or apple cider, 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil, 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp. of sugar or artificial sweetener, 1/2 tsp. of salt, 4 cups of finely shredded red cabbage, 4 cups of finely shredded green cabbage, 1 large carrot shredded, 1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh parsley.

Whisk cider vinegar, apple juice, vegetable oil, minced garlic, sugar and salt in a large bowl and blend. Add remaining ingredients to vinegrette mixture and toss all the veg so that it's all coated well. Season with pepper, cover, and put into the fridge for 2 hours before serving.