Saturday, April 30, 2011

No Knead Bread and chicken Soup

This bread recipe goes against every bread making rule that I have ever learned. It's so easy to make a that even a monkey could do it.

No-Knead Bread

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast (not a typo, strange I know)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt (that's a lot of salt, I reduced this amount a lot and the bread tasted fine)
1 and 1/2 cups of water
A big heavy lidded pot (cast iron or dutch oven).
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed (I used cornmeal).

1. Mix all of the ingredients (except for the cornmeal) together. That's it! It makes a really gloppy, sticky mess and you will think there's no way you've done this step right. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit there for 12-20 hours. (Note: do this step before going to bed if you want bread for supper.)

2. With floured hands shape the dough into a ball shape and let it rest for 2 hours on a floured dish cloth (not a terry cloth, the dough will stick). My dough wasn't overly sticky so I used a bit of cornmeal instead and it didn't stick to the dish cloth.

3. Preheat your oven to 450 F. Put the dutch oven in the hot oven to preheat.

4. When the dutch oven is hot, dust the bottom with some cornmeal or wheat bran and plop the dough on top of it. I also scored my bread because I can't help myself, but you don't have to do this. Put the lid back on and bake for 30 minutes on 450F. Then remove the lid and continue to bake for another 15- 20 mins (it was less than 15 mins for me.)

5. The end result. The bread is crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.

Chicken Soup

1 whole chicken
bay leaves
pot herbs
salt and pepper
frozen or fresh peas

Put a whole chicken in a pot with some celery stocks, carrots, garlic, onions and salt and pepper. Cover with water and boil the chicken until it is cooked and remove it from the pot. Place the stock in the fridge over night and in the morning remove the layer or partially remove the layer of fat that has risen to the top. Fat does add flavor but if you are watching your fat intake, you may want remove this layer. Put the pot of the stove to boil and add some chopped carrots, celery and rice. Add in some salt and pepper to taste. My little secret is that I add in some tumeric to give the soup color. I don't like using bullion but I don't want my soup to look like ditch water either. The tumeric adds the color you like to see but without the artificial coloring and flavoring found in the bullion. Tumeric has numerous health benefits as well. Simmer with bay leaves and pot herbs of your choice. Add in some cooked chicken and frozen peas at the end. Dip the yummy bread in the homemade soup and try not to make love making sounds like my husband does while eating it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding Recipe

4 slices day old bread or enough to fill the pan you are using, cubed or torn
apple pie spices
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 cup of raisins or dates
1 egg
3/4 cup of brown sugar (this is a lot of sugar, you can reduce this amount)
1 tsp. vanilla
pecans, maple syrup and brown sugar (optional)

Place bread in a buttered pan and sprinkle generously with apple pie spices. Add the raisins or dates on top. Mix together the milk, egg, brown sugar, vanilla and salt and pour over the bread. Bake in an oven at 350 for 30 minutes or until done. You can double the recipe but I wouldn't double the sugar. If you want to add a topping for a bit more interest and yumminesss, you can mix together some pecans, maple syrup and brown sugar and put it on top of the pudding prior to baking. It tastes wonderful served with caramel sauce and topped with whipped cream.

Beer Can Chicken

Beer can chicken is so simple to make and is really tasty. All you need to do is rub a chicken with your favorite spice blend (we usually use Jamaican jerk seasoning). Then you pop open a can of beer and drink half of it. Then just shove the half empty can of beer up the chicken and pop the chicken on the BBQ. It's done in about an hour or so. I personally never test a meat for doneness by using a thermometer but chef Micheal Smith is more detailed in his description if you'd like to follow this link. I didn't notice that I took of photo of the back of the chicken until I looked at this post but hopefully you will get the drift.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Pulled Pork Sandwich Recipe

Dry Rub:

3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
pork- I used tenderloin

Mix the above ingredients together. I used a pork tenderloin because it is a lean cut of meat, even leaner than chicken. I removed all of the visible fat first then I rubbed the spices all over it. I placed the seasoned meat in my slow cooker and cooked it on high until it was finished. I think I put it in at lunch time and we ate around 5:30ish. When it's fully cooked shred the pork with two forks and make the sauce...

3/4 cup of cider vinegar (don't confuse this with apple cider vinegar. You may want to reduce this amount even further than I did. The original recipe called for 1 and 1/2 cups.)
1/4 cup of yellow or brown mustard (you may also want to further reduce this amount as well.)
1/2 cup of ketchup
1/3 cup of brown sugar
2-3 cloves of pressed or finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon of salt (I omitted)
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (you may find this too much if you don't enjoy spicy food. You can omit it if you like.)

Mix all of the ingredients together and allow the sauce to simmer until is has thickened and the sugar is no longer grainy. Spoon the pulled pork and sauce over some crusty bread. I served it with some parsnips, carrots and brussel sprouts that I roasted in the oven with olive oil, garlic, onions, and a little bit of salt n' pepper. It makes delicious leftovers, if you have any. I had to beat my husband away from the slow cooker.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Salmon Cakes with Yogurt Dill Sauce

My husband will literally eat anything, except Salmon. Especially after he was hospitalized and it was on the menu. I can't imagine trying to swallow poorly cooked, stinky fish when I'm not feeling well. It makes me queasy just thinking of it. He will happily devour these though...

Salmon Cakes

Salmon- I used fresh and cooked it. You can use canned if you like.
Potatoes, cooked, drained and mashed
onions and garlic, chopped and sauteed (this ensures that you don't chomp down on a raw onion, while everything else is nice and mushy.)
dill- I had dried on hand, you can you fresh if you like
tiny bit of lemon zest
black pepper and salt to taste.

Mix all the in ingredients together and form into a patty with your clean hands. Fry them in a little oil or non- stick cooking spray until they are crusty, brown and delicious

Yogurt Dill Sauce

plain yogurt
dill- fresh or dried
lemon zest
tiny bit of mustard

mix everything together and let the flavors marry one another. It's going to be a white wedding. Spoon the sauce over the fish cakes.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Beef Stew and Focaccia Corn Bread

Beef Stew
beef stewing meat, trimmed of fat
potatoes, cubed skins on
carrots, cubed
turnip, cubed
parsnips, cubed
onions, chopped
frozen peas
bay leaf
pot herbs
1 cup of water
2 tbs. flour
2 tsp. or more of beef bullion
oil for frying if the meat is lean.

I like to make my stew in a cast iron frying pan. I brown the beef and add the onions, then add the veggies. I take a large glass and add around 2 tbs. of flour, along with the beef bullion, and then I fill the glass with water. Pour the mixture into the pan with the beef then add the veggies. Add the bay leaf and allow the stew to simmer until the gravy has thickened. Then add the pot herbs and frozen peas lastly.

Focaccia Corn Bread

Add focaccia bread spices to your favorite corn bread recipe, you won't be disappointed. Here's my recipe that I got from a Better Homes and Gardens bread cookbook. I picked the cook book up at a yard sale several years ago, when we first moved into our house.

1 cup of flour
1 cup of yellow corn meal
1/4 cup of sugar
4 tsp. of baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt (reduce if you like, the focaccia spices with add flavor, you won't miss the salt)
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup of oil or shortening (I use olive oil or canola oil)
focaccia bread spices (around 1 to 1 1/2 tbs. is my best guess.)

Stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, bp, and salt. Add eggs, milk, focaccia bread spices, and oil. Beat just until smooth. Turn into a greased 9x9 pan. Bake at 425 F for 20 to 25 minutes. Tip: if you have time, I would suggest adding the bread spices to the oil for a while prior to mixing all of the ingredients together. It softens the spices and your bread will be more moist.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pineapple Beef Stir- Fry

I think everyone has a go to meal, this would have to be ours. It requires simple ingredients that we always have on hand and it's easy to put together. I got the recipe from a Company's Coming cook book that my dear friend, Jocelyn gave me for my birthday last year. I am not much of a recipe follower, but I understand that some people do prefer to cook with a one, so I've written it out for you. This recipe makes enough for two people...

Pineapple Beef Stir- fry

2 tbs. ketchup
2 tbs. soy sauce- I reduce this because of the high salt content
1/4 tsp. ground ginger- I use freshly grated ginger
1/8 tsp. garlic powder- I use crushed garlic
1/2 pound beef stir fry strips
cooking oil
2 cups of stir fry veggies
1/2 cup of pineapple tidbits- you can used canned- I use fresh
1 tbs. pineapple juice- I use fresh pineapple juice, you can use canned if you like
1 tbs. toasted sesame seeds- you can omit these if you are following a low fat diet like ourselves.
hot cooked Jasmine rice- it's our favorite, but any rice will do.


Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl, reserve 2 tbs in a small cup. Add beef to bowl. Stir until coated and let stand in the fridge for 30 mins (it's not a big deal if you're in a hurry and don't have time for this. The meat will not be as tender or flavorful, but it'll work fine). Stir fry the beef mixture until done. Remove the beef from the pan and add the next 3 ingredients until the veggies are tender crisp. Add beef and reserved ketchup mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. I serve it over hot jasmine rice.

nutritional information provided in the Company's Coming Cook book:
I think it would be substantially lower in fat without the sesame seeds.
per serving (half of recipe without rice): 346 calories, 14.8grams of fat, 26g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 28g protein