Thursday, March 30, 2017

BLACK MISSION FIG AND CRACKED BLACK PEPPER BREAD



I have been listening to A LOT of books on tape.  First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen is one of my recent favorites.  The story is sweet and light and everything I needed for a quick escape.  It has a touch of magic. I cant wait to listen to another of her books.

In the book she wrote about fig and pepper bread. I had to make it, I was totally intrigued.  I made it twice now, the first recipe I did was a little dense but that probably was my starters fault, might have been a little depleted and in need of a feeding.  Today I made it again and used my own ideas about it and was happy with the way it came out.   I will definitely make it again.  Today I found a recipe for it from the author.  That was not on my cd , though I heard it was in the book.  I am totally going to try that one next.

BLACK MISSION FIG AND CRACKED BLACK PEPPER BREAD

3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
10 dried mission figs, chopped into pieces*
1 1/2 cups water

Mix flour, salt, pepper and yeast until blended, by hand or with whisk attachment of mixer.
Add the warm water. Then the figs. Knead for 10 minutes, or use dough hook attachment of mixer for 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and springy. Add in a little flour or water by the tablespoon to get it just right.

Oil a large bowl, place dough inside, and cover bowl with a damp hand towel.  Let sit in a warm place for approximately 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.


Turn into a Dutch Oven and cover, let rise for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile preheat the oven to 450°F.  Bake covered for 30 minutes.  Remove top and finish baking for another 15 minutes or so.  Check with temperature gage for 190- 200
° F.  Remove from oven, turn out on wire rack. Let sit for one hour.


*My figs were a bit old.  I chopped them up into smaller pieces and poured boiling water over them and let them soak.  I used the soaking water in my recipe, combined with some cool water to bring the temp down.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Stuffed Cabbage, also known as, Galumpki's



Galumpki's  (phonically spelled go-wump-keys, with the emphasis on wump). Says an English speaking Polish person.  This is how it is pronounced, in our family anyhow,

It's crazy how cabbage can be so different.  I need to talk to a farmer about this.  If you know, please tell me.  Sometimes cabbage comes off in thin leaves all the way down to the core.  Other times, as you get closer to the center, the leaves start to get very thick and curly.  It must be two different kinds of cabbage but honestly I need to know so I don't run into this problem again. I think it might be Spring and Winter cabbage????  Anyone know the answer to this conundrum?

If you make stuffed cabbage make sure you get the thin leaves all the way down to the core kind of cabbage.  The thick leaves are very hard to work with and just don't deliver the end product I like.  I really must try this again when I find the perfect cabbage.

I grew up on this dish.  My Mother is Polish and she also grew up on this.  I remember she always made it with mashed potatoes.  We would pour the juice over our mashed potatoes.  I would swirl it around together on my plate, playing with it.  Truth be told though, I didn't care much for cabbage when I was young.  I never ate the 'wrapper'.  Now, its a different story. As I really do like cabbage but in the Autumn I end up getting sick of it. Then it reestablishes itself in the kitchen in later winter as the source of an inexpensive vegetable for a meal.  Then there is Spring Cabbage- best cole slaw! But I digress.

When I went to Poland with my friend, like, a thousand years ago, her cousin made hers almost the size of cigars.  I really liked that... a lot.  Definitely need thin cabbage for that!

Stuffed Cabbage/Galumbki
You can use all beef if you like.  You can use cooked rice instead. Your preference.

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 1/2 cups rice, uncooked
1 cup onions, diced
1 can tomato paste
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 head cabbage

Sauce
1 cup tomato paste
2 cups water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoons sugar

Saute onions in butter until golden.  Set aside to cool.

Place a large pot of water on to boil.  Add salt to the water.

In a large bowl combine: beef, pork, rice, tomato paste, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper. Add in cooled onions.

Core cabbage head.  Place whole head of cabbage into water.  Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Take cabbage head out.  Carefully remove leaves one at a time.  Any broken leaves can be used at the end to cover the whole casserole.  Alternately you can soften leaves one at a time.

Place about 1/3 of a cup of filling into a leave and roll up tucking in ends.

Mix ingredients for sauce.  Spoon some sauce into the bottom of  the casserole dish.
Line bottom of casserole dish with some broken leaves, this will help keep your rolls from burning.
Place your rolled cabbage, tucked neatly in rows.  Remember they will swell a little as they have uncooked rice in them.  So don't pack too tightly.




Saturday, March 18, 2017

Cinnamon Apple Scones



I love King Arthur.  Great site, great recipes, great products.  These scones were inspired by this recipe from King Arthur Flour.  Even though they are brown in appearance they are super moist.  All that applesauce and apples help with that.

I think when you are making scones or baking in general, technique is as key to the success as the the recipe itself.  A few things to remember when making scones.
1. Do not over mix (and this is really true with any flour recipe when baked- except for bread).
2. Butter should be cold.
3. Take the time to cut them into triangles or rounds, separated. If you bake as a big round (as some recipes actually suggest), they run the risk of being goey in the center or over done around the edges and perfect in the middle. Its just too thick.
4. Er on the underdone side.  Its better to have the scones a little underdone then overdone and dry. 

CINNAMON APPLE SCONES


2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter
3/4 cup chopped fresh apple, in 1/2" pieces (about half a medium apple); leave the skin on, if you like
1 cup cinnamon chips
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup applesauce, unsweetened preferred

In a food processor or large bowl, blend together dry ingredients. Add butter in pieces until mostly blended.  In a separate bowl combine, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  Turn out onto flat surface and gently knead in cinnamon chips and cut apples.

Divide dough into 10 or 12 equal pieces.  I used my scone baking pan which is very handy and worth it if you make a lot of scones. Bake at 425° for 25 to 30 minutes

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Jalapeño Cheddar Bread

How about a nice crusty loaf of spicy, warming jalapeno bread and a big bowl of soup while the snow is flying outside.  We are getting socked with snow today, tonight and tomorrow.  Settle in and bake some bread.  Warm the belly!


Jalapeño Cheddar Bread


3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cheddar cheese, finely cubed.
1 large jalapeño, chopped
1 ½ cups warm water

To add in the last 10-15 minutes of baking:
3 tablespoons cheddar cheese, grated
3 to 5 thin slices of jalapeño


In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and yeast. Fold in the cheese and jalapeño until well coated. Add the water and stir until a wet mixture forms, it will be super sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours (up to 24).

Preheat oven to 450F. Place a cast iron dutch oven with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, transfer the risen dough onto a heavily floured surface (mixture will be sticky; do not knead) and lightly, gently shape into a round loaf.

Remove the hot pot from the oven, remove the lid, and carefully set the dough inside. Cover the Dutch oven and return it to oven for 30 minutes. Then, remove the lid, sprinkle the top of the loaf with grated cheddar and jalapeño slices, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until golden and crisp. Carefully remove the pot from the oven and place the loaf on a cooling rack to cool. Best enjoyed warm, fresh from the oven.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Blueberry Cornbread




I was listening to a book on tape and heard about blueberry cornbread.  It totally piqued my curiosity. What a great breakfast treat idea.

Do you listen to books on tape? I love it.  Every day my commute to work, that 80 minutes round trip is made better by listening to some book teaching me something or a story that I can escape into.  So precious!

I am struggling to figure out a rhythm of being a working Mom.  Maybe its futile.  So many things I still want to do and am trying to cram it into small spaces.  Sounds familiar, right?  I guess we all are in that same boat no matter what's on your plate.

Thankfully I have been able to make dinner every night.  I did not want to give that up.  My husband said he would pitch in.  I considered it.  Nahhhhh.  Me!  I want to continue cooking because I do enjoy it.  The other day though, I came in to find him making pancakes and eggs for dinner.  That was a nice surprise and I was very grateful.


BLUEBERRY CORNBREAD

2 cups (10 oz) all purpose flour
1 cup (5 oz) yellow cornmeal
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup Greek yogurt
½ cup white sugar
½ cup whole milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 (11 oz) can whole corn kernels, drained
1 cup blueberries

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 10” cast iron skillet or a 9" square baking pan.
Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the greek yogurt, sugar, milk, melted butter, and eggs together until smooth. Gently fold the sour cream mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the corn kernels and blueberries.
Pour the batter into the skillet and smooth the top. Bake until cornbread is golden yellow, about 17-20 minutes. Don’t over bake - you don’t want your cornbread to be dry! Remove from the oven and cool completely.
For the cinnamon honey butter, stir together all of the ingredients until fully combined. Serve with cornbread.

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