Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Vive le New Year!

We went over to friends' for a French-themed NYE dinner party last night. I "signed up" to bring soup and bread... I'll try to update this later to include the outcome of the soup.

I'd never tried to make French bread at home before. No-knead bread is so easy, I usually stick with that, but I wanted to try it today. I started with Amanda Hesser's recipe from The Essential New York Times Cookbook for "An Honest Loaf of French Bread." It seemed like a fair compromise between my usually lazy bread-making practices and the all-out 30 minutes of kneading that Julia Child's baguette recipe requires.

Anyway, here's my version of the French bread recipe... you can see the results above.

1 1/8 t yeast (I used instant because that's what I had in the pantry... if you use normal yeast, proof it in 1/4 c lukewarm water)
1 1/4 c water
2 T unsalted butter
3 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 t salt 

Combine water and butter in a small saucepan and heat on super-low heat until the butter melts ~95-110 degrees, if you have a thermometer. Combine the yeast, flour and salt in food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add the warm butter-water and blend for ~10 seconds until the dough forms into a ball and starts to pull away from the sides.

 Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead quickly a few times with floured hands to shape it into a ball. Place in a greased bowl and cover to rise for 30-40 mins until doubled in size. This works best in a warm spot.

 Turn out onto floured surface again and knead briefly. Return to the bowl for another nap (till doubled in size) ~30-60 mins.

 Turn out and roll into a ball. Let rest for 5 mins. Flatten into a rectangular shape and roll it up into a cylinder. Put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment, seam-side-down with the ends folded under. Cover with a kitchen towel and let her nap again, about 15-30 mins.

As the dough does the final rise, heat the oven to 450. Just before placing in the oven, spray a sharp knife with oil and cut 3 diagonal slashes in the dough. Throw 4 ice cubes in the bottom of the oven and bake for 5 mins. Add another 4 ice cubes, and bake for 10 mins. Reduce the oven heat to 400 and bake for 15-20 mins longer, until the crust is nice and brown. That's 30-35 minutes in the oven total.

Cool on a rack for at least 10 mins. Yum!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Thank you, colony of swine!

We were in the mountains this weekend with a bevy of friends and relatives. We ate at least a full pig between the bacon, sausage, ham and this pork shoulder:

Crock Pot Smoky Braised Pork Shoulder

4 t. smoked or kosher salt
2 t. smoked paprika
1 t. ground cumin seeds
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. black pepper
1 5-6lb. bone-in pork shoulder
2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 T. canola oil
2 onions, chopped
7 cloves garlic, smashed
2 c. orange juice
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
4-6 c. low sodium chicken broth
3 oz. 62-65% cacao dark chocolate
Italian parsley, snipped

1. Heat Crock Pot on high with water.
2. Combine smoked salt, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, pepper.
3. Rub pork with spice mixture, then rub with 2 T. cocoa powder.
4. Heat oil over medium heat... add onions and garlic for 2 minutes. Brown pork on all sides.
5. Add orange juice, 3/4 c. cocoa powder and 4 c. stock. Simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Place pork in Crock Pot (cut, if necessary). Spoon sauce over pork until 75% covered.
7. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 10 hours.
8. Remove to serving platter, and reserve juices in Crock Pot... shave chocolate on pork and sprinkle with parsley.
9. Serve, with reserved juices.

Mmmm... good.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sunday, October 26, 2008

victory chili

The boy and I went to a football game of all places on Saturday evening, an ACC match up between my alma mater and his (soon-to-be). My school were major underdogs, but pulled out a phenomenal upset! It went down to the wire... the best football game I've seen in a long time. When we got home, we had wonderful, hot, steamy chili waiting for us in the crock pot.

Pumpkin Chipotle Chili

2 T olive oil
1 small-medium onion, chopped
1-2 red bell peppers, chopped
2-3 chilli peppers, chopped (or 1 can diced chillis added with canned ingredients)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 canned chipotles in adobo, chopped fine (remove seeds for less heat)
1 lb ground turkey (or frozen veggie crumbles)
2 cans (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (with juice) or 1 big can (highly recommend Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted)
1 can 100% pumpkin
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 can red kidney beans or black beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz frozen corn kernels
0-1 T chilli powder (to your spiciness preference...and to balance your chilli peppers)
1 t ground cumin
dash cinnamon
dash nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste

Heat oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, peppers and garlic; cook, stirring frequently until tender (7ish minutes). Stir in chipotle. Add turkey (or frozen crumbles) and cook until browned.

Add rest of ingredients to crock pot, stir in meat mixture. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6. You can't really cook it for too long.

Makes 6 generous servings. Leftovers get spicier as the flavors meld, and your team may upset the favorite, so watch out!