Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"New Book, New Bread Recipes"

I recently purchased a bread recipe book from Amazon called, "No Knead to Need," by Suzanne Dunaway, and absolutely love the breads now coming out of the oven.

The three breads here all came from the same batch of dough.  The baguette is a regular sized loaf, the two focaccias are about 7 or 8 inches by roughly, 11.


4 Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 3/4 Cups water (85 - 95 degrees)
2 tsps Quick Rising Yeast
2 tsps Salt
2 Tbl chopped rosemary
2 tsps Sea Salt
1 Tbl unsalted butter


Put the yeast in the water and stir until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add 2 cups of flour and and salt, then stir until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the next 2 cups of flour and stir until the dough ball pulls away from the side of the bowl. No more. Cover and, for full flavors, refrigerate overnight; or let sit in a warm place for about 2 - 3 hours until the dough ball has doubled in size.

Next day, turn your oven to 200 degrees, let warm. Put the dough, still covered, in the oven and close the door, not quite all the way. Let rise for two hours.

Pre-hear the oven to 500 degrees. Scrape the dough onto a floured surface, and cut into two equal pieces. Put one aside.

The Banguette: I go ahead and knead the dough 5 or 6 times, then form it into the baguette. Put the dough on a baquette pan, available in most kitchen stores, or online. Let sit for about 15 mins, then put into the oven, lower the temperature to 400 degrees. I also put a pan of water in the oven to keep things on the moist side.

The Focaccia:  Knead a few times, then spread the dough out on a floured cookie sheet. Use your fingers to punch down the holes, or indentions, in the dough. On one I spread olive oil, freshly chopped rosemary, and sprinkled the surface lightly with sea salt (just under a tsp). For the other, punch the holes: spread some unsalted butter, then sprinkle liberally with a sugar/cinnamon mix (or do them separately).  Heat at 450 degrees for about 12 - 15 mintues.

I did all three breads in the oven at the same time. Pre-heated to 500 degrees, then reduced to 435 for about 15 minutes, then reduced again, to 415 in another 10 mins. Internal temps for bread should be about 205 - 215 degrees for doneness.


Friday, December 26, 2014

"Mushroom Frittata with Endive Salad"

I first had frittata, that I remember, at a friend's home a couple years ago. It was such a culinary delight that I haven't forgotten about it. This morning while thumbing through an old magazine, I found this recipe for a mushroom frittata.  It also comes with an endive salad, but I'm thinking it might served just as well with some cubed and pan-fried potatoes.

No picture, yet.  Once I make this and take a few, I'll post one of them here.  

Serves: 4

8 large eggs
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
8 oz assorted mushrooms, sliced
2 tbl unsalted butter
1bunch scallions, chopped
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
2 tbl chopped fresh tarragon
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2/3 C grated gruyere cheese
4 heads endive, sliced crosswise
3 Campari or small vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon

1.  Set a rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat to 450.  Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until foamy.  Heat 1 tbl olive oil i a large nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Ad the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium. Add the butter, scallions, parsley, tarragon, 1/4 tsp salt and a few grind of pepper.  Cook until the scallions are wilted, about 3  minutes.

2. Pour the beaten eggs into the skillet in an even layer and cook until they start browning, about 3 minutes; sprinkle with cheese. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until set, about 5 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, combine the endive and tomatoes in a bowl. Add the lemon juice, the remaining 2 tbls olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss and serve with the sliced frittata.

Recipe from, "Food Nework Magazine," vol 7, no. 4, p. 108.  

Monday, December 22, 2014

"Honey-Crusted Chicken Breast"

My wife prefers meals quick and easy to prepare. This is a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hyper-tension) recipe, and it was so easy, I put it together during half-time of the most recent Seahawk football game (they won).  Along about the end of the 3rd quarter, we pulled the breasts from the oven and had dinner:  Honey-Crusted Chicken Breast, Garden Salad, baked potatoe, and some home-made French bread toasted and layered with melted parmesan cheese. The chardonnay finished it off.

We have both been diagnosed with high blood pressure, but we have controlled it with pharmaceuticals (doesn't that just leave a metallic taste in your mouth??).  I recently found the DASH recipes online and this is the second we have tried.  The first was the minestrone soup found in the previous posting on this blog.

The meat was moist, a total must with chicken breast. The honey flavor wasn't overpowering, or missing. It was very good.


  • 3 Chicken breasts, boned and skinless
  • 4 tsp honey
  • 12 saltines, 2 inch square
  • 1 tsp paprika


In a bowl, crush the saltines and add the paprika.  Mix.  In a larger bowl cover the chicken breasts with the honey. Once the breasts are covered, drag them through the saltine/paprika mix.  Cover all the entire piece.

Place the chicken into a baking dish and then in the oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meat is 165 degrees.

Remove and serve.

Friday, December 19, 2014

"Diego's Killer Minestrone"

Winter is the time for soups, stews, and good breads, so when this recipe for minestrone soup appeared in our local newspaper this December, it jumped up and made me take notice. I thought it looked good on a number of levels; but the recipe needed modifications in a few places, so here it is, "Diego's Killer Minestrone."


1 medium onion, chopped
1 large stalk celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups fat-free, broth *
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes *
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 cup or more chopped spinach or other greens
2 15 oz cans, one kidney and one pinto beans , drained and rinsed *
1 cup uncooked whole-grain small shell or other pasta
1 small zucchini, diced
2 tbl fresh basil, chopped or 2 tsp dried
2  tbl nutritional yeast, optional (didn't use this one)
1 tbl dried cilantro *
1 tbl dried oregano *
2 tsp dried dill *
salt, pepper, Tabasco to taste *

In a large saucepan, heat about two tablespoons of water over medium heat.  Add the onion, celery and carrots and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.  Add more water, about a tablespoon at a time, if vegetables begin to stick to the pan.

Add garlic and continue cooking for another minute. Stir in broth, tomatoes, rosemary, spinach, and beans.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and add pasta. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add zucchini, or green beans, cilantro, oregano, and dill. Cover and cook for 5 minutes more.

Remove from heat and stir in the basil and yeast. Simmer until time to serve, or cool, then refrigerate for later re-heating.

* The original recipe called for unsalted broth which wasn't available; a large tomato, but tomatoes this time of year are dismally free of taste thus the can of diced tomatoes; one can of beans, either kidney or pinto, we love beans so we tossed in one of each; cilantro, oregano, dill, salt, pepper and Tabasco were added for additional flavorings.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Almost No Knead Bread"

Click on the pic to watch the interview conducted by
Mark Bittman, New York Times food reporter, which started this craze.   

Few things beat a full-flavored slice of buttered bread, or one slathered with peanut butter and honey, or simply toasted and savored with a meal.

  • 1/4 tsp Instant Yeast
  • 3 oz room temperature water
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 C All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tbl white vinegar
  • 7 oz room temperature beer


Add the yeast and water, stir just enough to mix.
Add the salt, the flour, the white vinegar and beer.

Stir with a wooden spatula until you get a nice ball of dough.  At first it will feel too wet, then it will feel too dry, then it will begin to feel just right. Stir until most of the dough on the sides of the bowl have disappeared into the ball.

Cover with plastic wrap and sit for 12 - 15 hours

Using a spatula remove the dough from the bowl onto a flour lined surface.  Knead about 6 to 10 times, form into a ball, then place into a skillet lined with parchment paper that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

Let sit for about two hours, or until the dough has doubled in size. Pre-heat the oven and dutch oven inside to 500 degrees.

Once dough is ready, and the oven/dutch oven/ are hot, pick up the dough by the parchment paper and gently lay it inside hot dutch oven.  Cut one slice across the top, about 1/4 inch deep.  Sprinkle with flour.  Replace the dutch oven lid and put it back into the oven.

Lower the temp to 425 degrees and let bake for 30 mins.  Remove lid and bake another 10 - 15 mins to bring a nice dark color to the crust.  Internal temp should be about 200 - 220 degrees.

Remove, let cool completely prior to slicing.


"Beef Jerky"

Beef jerky can be tricky.  I tried it once a few years ago, and gave up on the first try. The meat reduced down to less than 50% of its original purchase weight, it was dry and crunchy.  Not what I wanted.

A few nights ago, at a Christmas party, a friend brought some in he had smoked on his Traegar smoker, and it was delicious!  After picking his brain, I decided it had to be tried again.

Use meat low in marbling, it won't render down to less than what you purchased.  He also used a jerky packet purchased at one of the local stores where barbecue supplies are sold.


  • 5 lbs of carne asada (I bought mine at Costco for 4.98/lb . . . cheap in comparison to the jerky you buy at the grocery store).
  • 1 pkt "Jerky Cure & Seasoning" (about $6.00 - contents good for 15 lbs of meat).  I was surprised at how many flavors are available. For this first attempt, I went with "Mandarin Teriyaki."


Follow the directions in the packet which include cutting the meat, mixing the ingredients, the curing the meat overnight in the fridge, then cooking it the next day. I smoked it at 200 degrees in my Traegar for about 2 hours.

I'll be sharing this with my son, son-in-law and daughter, and there will be plenty left over to enjoy during the Seattle Seahawks football game.