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Posts Tagged ‘Bread’

I got some really lovely chicken from Marin Sun Farms and really wanted to make a delicious, summery meal to go with it.  I left the chicken simple, just with a bit of rosemary sea salt rubbed on it, and my husband threw it on the grill.  With it, a big bowl of pickled tomatoes and some fresh homemade cornbread

To make the cornbread, I borrowed from two recipes.  The pickled tomatoes were spicy, so I skipped the “firecracker” part of 101 Cookbook’s Firecracker Cornbread recipe, which I selected because I could use some fresh, sweet corn in it.  To make the cornbread more interesting, I borrowed an idea for honey butter from a Martha Stewart cornbread recipe.  With the chicken, the spicy tomatoes, and a cool glass of Simi viognier, I had myself a perfect summer dinner.

Fresh Corn Cornbread with Honey Butter
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Ingredients
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I used all purpose)
3/4 cup instant cornmeal (or instant polenta) or fine-grain cornmeal
1/4 cup natural cane sugar (or brown sugar)
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups corn, fresh (or at room temperature if previously frozen)

For the honey butter, mix a tablespoon of honey and a pinch of salt with 3 tablespoons of room temperature butter

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees, with a rack in the middle.

Just before you make the batter, in a small saucepan, melt the butter and pour into a 9-inch pie tin and place in the hot oven.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and corn.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir until just combined.  Now very carefully remove the hot pan with butter from the oven.  Brush the butter up around the edges a bit to make sure its evenly coating the pan.  Carefully fill it with the cornbread batter, pushing the batter out to the sides if needed.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the edges are golden and the center is just set. Remove and brush on the honey butter before slicing.

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I’m cheating a bit here because my husband made the hard part of this.

In case you couldn’t tell by my infrequent posts lately, I’ve had a hectic few weeks.  Crazy deadlines at work, trip to Sonoma with friends, more chaos at work, and friends from out of town.   Somewhere in the middle of that, I managed to flip through the current issue of Saveur, saw this amazing Lidia Bastianich recipe, and realized I had everything I needed to make it.  Unfortunately, the night that I had planned to make it, I was buried in work, so my amazing husband made the bread.  When I finally pulled myself away from my laptop to make the filling, that came together easily and dinner was ready.

So, I can’t really speak to how easy the bread was, but it didn’t look too difficult and it was delicious.   It was simple and delicate and would probably go well with a variety of fillings.

If you can’t find broccoli rabe, I think Swiss chard would probably go well here.

Umbrian Flatbread Sandwiches with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
Recipe by Lidia Bastianich from Saveur

Ingredients

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
4 cups broccoli rabe
1 1/2 lbs pork sausage (I used sweet Italian)

Directions

In a small bowl, stir together yeast and 10 tbsp. water heated to 115°; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Combine flour and salt in a food processor; pulse to blend. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to yeast mixture and, with food processor running, pour in yeast mixture. Process until a dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; knead for 6 minutes. Form dough into a ball; transfer to a large oiled bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 1⁄2 hours.

Punch the dough down; divide in half. Lightly flour one piece of dough and, using a rolling pin, roll into a 9″ disk. Place disk on a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover dough with a damp towel; let sit for 15 minutes. Heat a 12″ cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Working in 2 batches, cook each dough disk, flipping occasionally, until light brown, about 10 minutes.
To cook the sausage, fill a skillet with some water, add the sausage, and simmer until the sausage is cooked through.  Remove the sausage from the skillet and set aside.   Heat 3 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat in the skillet.  Add the garlic and chile flakes and stir for a minute.   Add the broccoli rabe and cook until hot, about 3-5 minutes.
Meanwhile, thinly slice the sausage and return to the skillet.  Stir in with the broccoli rabe until the rabe is cooked and everything is incorporated.

Slice each flat bread in half horizontally to create two rounds – this is easier than it sounds!  Arrange broccoli rabe and sausages on bottom half of bread, drizzle with a little oil if you’d like, and top with other half. Cut sandwiches into wedges and serve.

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If kindergarten teachers watched me in the kitchen, they’d probably give me a lecture about following directions.  I’m not very good at it.  To me, recipes are usually just suggestions or loose guidelines.

So, when I found this James Beard recipe for persimmon bread, the fact that he is practically the godfather of modern American cooking didn’t really stop me from deviating from the script.  Clearly, I have no shame.

Despite my wanton disregard for Mr. Beard’s recipe, the finished product was delicious.  My husband, however, said that he would have preferred the original.  If you are like me and get the shakes if you don’t find ways to consume as much ginger as possible, my version is right up your alley.  Otherwise, I imagine the original is pretty spectacular too.

If you’ve never tried persimmon, you are missing out.  The ripe Hachiya persimmon, which is used i this recipe, is essentially this fragrant orange pulp held together by a thin skin. 

 I just had to squeeze it slightly and it burst.  I just picked out the skin and membrane and no further preparation was needed.

Ginger Persimmon Bread
Adapted from James Beard, as found on David Lebovitz’s blog

Using the higher amount of sugar will produce a moister and, of course, sweeter bread.

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups sifted flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter and cooled to room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1/3 cup cognac, bourbon, or whiskey
1 cup persimmon puree (from about 2 squishy-soft Hachiya persimmons)
2/3 cup minced candied ginger

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter 1 loaf pan and dust with flour, shaking out any excess.

Sift the first 6 dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Make a well in the center then stir in the fresh ginger, butter, eggs, liquor, persimmon puree.  Mix gently, then add the candied ginger.  Stir until everything is combined and the ginger is evenly distributed.

Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

The bread will keep for about a week, if well-wrapped, at room temperature, and should freeze well.

The bread was delicious.  Persimmons have a subtle spicy taste to them, so they worked well with the ginger, cognac, and other spices.  It was almost like a really gorgeous tasting fruit cake. 

 

 

 

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Easy Stuff

I occassionally take on some pretty nutty baking projects that leave me exhausted, so I think that my idea of what is considered “easy” might give some people a coronary.  I insisted to a friend that these scones were easy, and I think she was cursing me while trying to figure out how to disperse the butter through the dough.

But, I think this recipe here is objectively easy.  One bowl, 6 ingredients, and it takes about 2 minutes to mix it all up.  And, if you are the type of person who keeps beer in their fridge at all times, you probably won’t even need to go to the store for ingredients to do this.

I got the recipe from the blog Ezra Pound Cake, who kindly gave me permission to publish it here.  There are lots of other beer bread recipes out there, but the simplicity of this one really made it sound appealling.  I think any kind of beer would work.  I used a Pumpkin Ale, which made the bread smell like pumpkin, though I wouldn’t say it tasted particularly pumpkiny.  Maybe next time, I’ll add a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon just to bring that flavor out a little more.

It’s fabulous warm out of the oven, with a bit of butter or nothing at all.

Beer Bread
From Rebecca Crump at ezrapoundcake.com
Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 bottle (12 ounces) beer
1/4 to 1/2 cup  unsalted butter, melted (I used 1/4 cup and didn’t find it lacking in buttery goodness)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9-x-5-x-3-inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. 

Using a wooden spoon, stir the beer into the dry ingredients until just mixed.

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It should take just a minute to come together.  The batter will be very sticky.

Pour half the melted butter into the loaf pan.   Then spoon the batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter.   It’ll be too sticky to get it to lay flat and smooth.  Just try to make sure it’s mostly evenly distributed in the pan so it bakes evenly. 

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Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately.

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