Sunday, December 11, 2011

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Breakfast Sausage

Homemade Breakfast Sausage (serves 8)

Avoid lean or extra-lean ground pork; it makes the sausage dry, crumbly and less flavorful.

2 lbs ground pork
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I didn't actually use this...)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Mix Sausage
Combine pork, garlic, syrup, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a large bowl. Gently mix with hands until well combined. Form mixture into 2.5-inch patties, about 1/2 inch thick. (You should have about 16 patties)

2. Brown Sausage
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook half of patties until well browned and cooked through, 3-5 min per side. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate and tent with foil. Wipe out skillet. Repeat with remaining butter and patties. Serve.

Make ahead: The raw sausage patties can be refrigerated, covered, for 1 day or frozen for up to 1 month. To cook frozen patties, proceed with step 2, cooking patties for 7-9 min per side.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Knead To Keep Busy Bread

My Grandpa was the only dentist in his small Iowa town of 2000 people. So everyone called him Doc. This is Grandpa Doc's famous bread recipe that he picked up as a hobby after retiring. He made a ton of it and would give it out to everyone in town. It is very wholesome, hearty and delicious. There are a lot of cool wheat ingredients. I suggest finding a bulk foods store to pick up most of these. Please note the key to this bread is giving it a lot of time to rise.

In large bowl mix:

2 ½ C white flour

1 C of the following:
2 T soy flour
2 T wheat germ
2 T nonfat dry powdered milk
1 T wheat bran
(Use additional white flour to fill up cup if necessary)

1 tsp salt
2 packages yeast

In second bowl:

2 C stone ground whole wheat flour
1 C cracked wheat
Mix and set aside

In third bowl:

2 C white flour
Set aside

In sauce pan:

½ C packed dark brown sugar
½ stick soft margarine
2 ¾ C water

Heat contents in sauce pan to 100 degrees or test warm mixture on wrist. Pour ingredients into large bowl. Mix with wooden spoon. Add whole wheat flour (second bowl) and then white flour (third bowl) about a third at a time. Scrape sides of bowl and continue stirring until the ingredients are thoroughly blended and tend to form a ball that breaks away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is very stiff, add a tiny bit of water.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead until the dough (about 10 min) no longer feels sticky and has a smooth, satiny, elastic texture, adding more flour if necessary. Lightly grease large bowl, place dough in bowl and roll around so all sides are coated. Cover with cloth and set aside in warm place. The yeast must be pampered with constant warmth to keep it active. You can use a cool oven. Let dough rise until it has doubled in size (1 1/2 to 2 hrs), punch down dough and replace in cloth covered bowl for 20 min. Remove dough and cut into 3 equal parts. Place in 3 greased bowls for 10 more min. Remove, shape into 3 loaves and place in bread pans. Let rise an hour (at least). Place in preheated 350 degree oven. Bake 20-25 min. Remove from pans and place on rack to cool. Brush margarine on top.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Delicious and easy pizza dough

I made this dough for a little pizza-making event, and it was a huge hit. It's thin, crispy, and totally delicious. It's one of the easiest breads I've ever made, as it requires almost no kneading and really very little work altogether. It needs to be made at least a day in advance and sit in the fridge overnight. Best of all, the topped pizzas only take 5-8 minutes to bake.

You'll need:

4 1/2 cups flour, chilled
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast (rapid rise)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 3/4 cups water, ice cold (40°F)
Cornmeal for dusting
Pizza stone

In advance:

1. Stir together the flour, salt, and instant yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). With a large metal spoon, stir in the oil and the cold water until the flour is all absorbed (or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment), If you are mixing by hand, repeatedly dip one of your hands or the metal spoon into cold water and use it, much like a dough hook, to work the dough vigorously into a smooth mass while rotating the bowl in a circular motion with the other hand. Reverse the circular motion a few times to develop the gluten further. Do this for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are evenly distributed. If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes, or as long as it takes to create a smooth, sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn't come off the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a tea- spoon or two of cold water. The finished dough will be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50 to 55F.

2. Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with baking parchment and misting the parchment with spray oil (or lightly oil the parchment). Using a metal dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you are comfortable shaping large pizzas), You can dip the scraper into the water between cuts to keep the dough from sticking to it, Sprinkle flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Lift each piece and gently round it into a ball. If the dough sticks to your hands, dip your hands into the flour again. Transfer the dough balls to the sheet pan, Mist the dough generously with spray oil and slip the pan into a food-grade plastic bag (or cover in plastic wrap).

3. Put the pan into the refrigerator overnight to rest the dough, or keep for up to 3 days. (Note: If you want to save some of the dough for future baking, you can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag. Dip each dough ball into a bowl that has a few tablespoons of oil in it, rolling the dough in the oil, and then put each ball into a separate bag. You can place the bags into the freezer for up to 3 months. Transfer them to the refrigerator the day before you plan to make pizza.)

Day of:

4. On the day you plan to make the pizza, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before making the pizza. Before letting the dough rest at room temperature for 2 hours, dust the counter with flour, and then mist the counter with spray oil. Place the dough balls on top of the floured counter and sprinkle them with flour; dust your hands with flour. Gently press the dough into flat disks about 1/2 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil, and cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag. Now let rest for 2 hours.

4. On the day you plan to make the pizza, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before making the pizza. Before letting the dough rest at room temperature for 2 hours, dust the counter with flour, and then mist the counter with spray oil. Place the dough balls on top of the floured counter and sprinkle them with flour; dust your hands with flour. Gently press the dough into flat disks about 1/2 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil, and cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag. Now let rest for 2 hours.

5. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone either on the floor of the oven (for gas ovens), or on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven as hot as possible, up to 800F (most home ovens will go only to 500 to 550F, but some will go higher). If you do not have a baking stone, you can use the back of a sheet pan, but do not preheat the pan.

6. Generously dust a peel or the back of a sheet pan with semolina flour or cornmeal. Make the pizzas one at a time. Dip your hands, including the backs of your hands and knuckles, in flour and lift I piece of dough by getting under it with a pastry scraper. Very gently lay the dough across your fists and carefully stretch it by bouncing the dough in a circular motion on your hands, carefully giving it a little stretch with each bounce. If it begins to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue shaping it. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss as shown on page 208. If you have trouble tossing the dough, or if the dough keeps springing back, let it rest for 5 to 20 minutes so the gluten can relax, and try again. You can also resort to using a rolling pin, though this isn't as effective as the toss method.

7. When the dough is stretched out to your satisfaction (about 9 to 12 inches in diameter for a 6-ounce piece of dough), lay it on the peel or pan, making sure there is enough semolina flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide. Lightly top it with sauce and then with your other top- pings, remembering that the best pizzas are topped with a less-is-more philosophy. The American "kitchen sink" approach is counterproductive, as it makes the crust more difficult to bake. A few, usually no more than 3 or 4 toppings, including sauce and cheese is sufficient.

8. Slide the topped pizza onto the stone (or bake directly on the sheet pan) and close the door. Wait 2 minutes, then take a peek. If it needs to be rotated 180 degrees for even baking, do so. The pizza should take about 5 to 8 minutes to bake. If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone to a lower self before the next round. if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone for subsequent bakes.

9. Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Wait 3 to 5 minutes before slicing and serving, to allow the cheese to set slightly.

Makes six 6-ounce pizza crusts.

[Lifted from]

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chicken In Milk & Cinnamon & Garlic & Lemon

OK, so this is a weird recipe. It involves roasting a chicken in milk and some other stuff. The milk sort of curdles.

But y'know what? It also happens to be amazingly delicious. Tender, zingy, zesty, flavorful, moist... and you get some great broth out of it.

Here goes:

1 whole chicken
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
115g/4oz or ½ a pack of butter
Olive oil
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 good handful of fresh sage, leaves picked
Zest of 2 lemons
10 cloves of garlic, skin left on
565ml/1 pint milk

Preheat the oven to 375°, and find a snug-fitting pot for the chicken. Season it generously all over, and fry it in the butter and a little olive oil, turning the chicken to get an even colour all over, until golden. Remove from the heat, put the chicken on a plate, and reserve the oil and butter left in the pot. This will leave you with tasty sticky goodness at the bottom of the pan which will give you a lovely caramelly flavour later on.

Put your chicken back in the pot with the rest of the ingredients, and cook in the preheated oven for 1½ hours.* Baste with the cooking juice when you remember. The lemon zest will sort of split the milk, making a sauce which is absolutely fantastic.

To serve, pull the meat off the bones and divide it on to your plates. Spoon over plenty of juice and the little curds. Serve with wilted spinach or greens and some mashed potato.

*Note: the recipe doesn't mention whether or not to cover the chicken. We covered it for most of the baking time, to delicious effect.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Delectable Pumpkin Holiday Soup Surprise

For friend's thanksgiving this year, Darren was inspired by the lesser known, yet surprisingly potent aphrodisiac, pumpkin. We whipped up this soup, borrowed line by line from The Greens Cookbook, by Deborah Madison.

Seeds and scrapings from inside pumpkin or squash
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 celery stock + leaves, diced
1 turnip, peeled and diced
2 bay leaves
½ t. dried sage leaves or 5-6 fresh sage leaves
4 parsley branches
3 thyme branches
½ t. salt
8 cups cold water (we could have used more stock, the soup was really thick, I would add more water here)

Combine stock ingredients and bring to boil, simmer for 25 minutes. Strain, saving stock.


1 pumpkin or squash weighing about 2 ½ pounds. They suggest sugar pumpkins or any non-stringy squash with a delicious flavor

3 T. butter

1 medium yellow onion, diced

½-1 t. salt

6-7 cups of previously mentioned stock

½-1 C. light cream

White pepper (we used black)

3 oz. Gruyere cheese, finely grated

Thyme leaves for garnish

Preheat oven to 400. Bake pumpkin face down on lightly oiled baking sheet until skin is wrinkled and flesh is soft. About an hour. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle peel off skin. Reserve any carmelized juices for the soup. Melt butter in soup pot, add onion and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add cooked pumpkin, juices, salt and stock. Bring to a boil, simmer covered for 25 minutes. Pass soup through food mill (or use an immersion blender) to blend to desired consistency. Add cream and more stock if necessary to thin soup. Salt and pepper to taste, stir in cheese, garnish with thyme and voila! Girls, eat your heart out.

Serves 4-6

Monday, November 30, 2009

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

This is a really simple, really delicious wheat bread. It makes three loaves, but since the average person does not have three bread pans, feel free to make two loaves and experiment with the third (Rolls? Bread sticks? Baguettes? Other free-form breadery? Go nuts!).

I've made this three times, and each time I've increased the ratio of whole wheat flour to bread flour - one day I might just buck the odds and go 100% whole wheat. Thus far, 2:1 whole wheat to bread flour has worked really well, but I'll leave the recipe as is:

You'll need:

3 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/3 cup honey
5 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon salt
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Then do this:

In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and 1/3 cup honey. Add 5 cups white bread flour, and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.

Mix in 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/3 cup honey, and salt. Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour. Flour a flat surface and knead with whole wheat flour until not real sticky - just pulling away from the counter, but still sticky to touch. This may take an additional 2 to 4 cups of whole wheat flour. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Punch down, and divide into 3 loaves. Place in greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans, and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes; do not overbake. Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine when done to prevent crust from getting hard. Cool completely.