Saturday, January 31, 2009

BDD: Crusty Cheese Bread

The French call it Gannat, I call it darn good! It is even better made into my favorite grilled cheese sandwich (the secret is a thin smear of Hienz 57 sauce). I figured this would be the perfect entry for this months Bread Baking Daily challenge Bread with Cheese.

Crusty Cheese Bread
A World of Bread, Dolores Casella @1966
1 pkg yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
2 large eggs
1/4 cup scalded milk

Dissolve the yeast in the water
Shift the flour, sugar and salt together
Combine the butter, cheese, potatoes and eggs and beat until blended
Add the yeast mixture and the dry ingredients, mix thoroughly
Turn on to floured surface and knead for 5 minutes
Place in buttered bowl, cover and let rise
Punch down and knead for 2 minutes
Shape loaf and place in well butter pan until doubled
Bake in 375 degree oven for 25 - 45 minutes

Temper's Take:
I loved the way toasting the bread made the whole house smell cheesy. And the bread turned so soft when I made the grilled cheese sandwiches, it was just perfect. I am thinking that making cubes with the remainder and saving them for baking experiments are the way to go, an apple brown betty maybe or some really great stuffing.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Spinach with Bacon

Spinach is not real high on my list of favorite vegetables. Canning and freezing are just not good for it. Fresh spinach on the other hand can be great.

Spinach with Bacon
3 pieces bacon
1/2 cup sliced Onions
1 clove chopped garlic
lots of Spinach

Fry the bacon until crispy and then set aside to drain. Drain most of the bacon fat out of the pan(leave a table spoon or so), Turn heat to med low and add onions and garlic sauteing until the onions are translucent. Add the spinach (remember it cooks down alot)and salt to taste, continue sauteing until the spinach is wilted. top with crumbled bacon and Parmesan and serve!

Temper's Take:
Very good, though it took more salt then I expected. I think adding a splash of balsamic next time would be good too. (for a vegetarian option nuts substituted for the bacon could be quite nice)

Turkey Miso Soup

I have been told that this is not soup, it is much to chunky. Well too bad, this is what I call soup! I like lots of big pieces and general numminess, perfect for pairing with some crusty bread.

This soup was inspired by the fantastic mirepoix from the November R2R challenge: Squash Soup with Vanilla Crème Fraiche.

Turkey Miso Soup
1 sliced leek bottoms (rinsed)
2 carrots (peeled and sliced)
2 shallots (peeled and sliced)
2 clove garlic
Salt and pepper

Sweat all of the vegetables with butter. Sweat down and deglaze with honey. Stir and add miso. Season with salt and pepper. Add honey and miso to taste I used about a tablespoon honey and 2 or 3 of the miso.

Add turkey and broth till you reach your desired proportions.

Serve with warm crusty bread and a hearty appetite!

Tempers Take:
I love Miso, it adds depth to so many things. This soup was my latest experiment and boy was it good.

I've been a very good Girl!

I must a been a very very good girl last year. How else would you explain these? Homemade cutting boards!

On the other hand my computer has been very very bad, I was down for another two weeks (video card and reinstalling windows). I am back up for now, My monitor is a little funky so if the color on my images is a little off I apologize.

Tax season has also started, that means 4 months of 60 hour weeks. How this will effect my posting I have no idea, I will probably do more batch posting. Cook and take pictures and then post several things all at once.

In that spirit I have three posts today! lucky you!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Georgia Street Squares

Georgia Street Squares were a treat my grandmother made for fancy get togethers. I always knew she did not invent the recipe but could find no clue as to their origins. Until I started food blogging and saw them on Food Gawker where for some reason they were called Nanaimo bars. Since the name is definitely hard to pronounce I can see why she changed it, but why Georgia Street Squares I don't have a clue.

What they are is delicious, delectable, addictive and fattening (we figured it up once, 4 pts for a 1 inch square). Any time I show up at a family gathering these are what I am expected to bring. And the best part? They aren't that hard to make.

Georgia Street Squares
1/2 cup coco powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 cups crushed Graham crackers
1 cup flaked coconut (the sweetened variety works best)
1/2 cup chopped nuts

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 - 2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and chopped nuts. Press the mixture evenly into lightly buttered 9X13 pan. Cover and refrigerate until firm (about an hour).

1/2 cup butter
3 Tblsp milk
2 tsp instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups powdered sugar

In your electric mixer cream the butter. Beat in the remaining ingredients. If the mixture is too thick to spread, add a little more milk. Spread the filling over the bottom layer, cover, and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).

3/4 cup chocolate chips (I usually use 1 cup)
1 Tblsp butter

In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Spread over the filling and refrigerate. (add milk for a better spreading consistency)

TO SERVE: To prevent the chocolate from cracking, using a sharp knife, bring the squares to room temperature before cutting.

Temper's Take:
I have tried variations, adding some amaretto to the middle layer was definitely yummy, and I like using french vanilla pudding even if it does make the layer slightly yellow. though these Raspberry Nanaimo Bars from Cake or Death.
Cakespy also has a good little article on them here and some really nice pictures.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What I did during December.

I had a very busy December. I spent the first part of the month trying cookie recipes and the last half making candy and the Xmas necessities. Here is a list of my successes and failures.

I tried two cookies from the Gourmet's magazines favorite cookie list. The same two everyone appears to have done.

The first one was their Brown Butter cookies. I love brown butter cookies, taste wise, I am not however thrilled about the sandy texture they all seem to have. I am at the point now where I am going to try making my own recipe. these were easy and nice tasting but way to crumbly.

The Sugar Shuttles where a bit of a disappointment. I was promised a soft sugar cookie and what I got was a dense lump. The sugar coating was brilliant though and I will definitely keep it in mind for other projects.

Also on the fail side of the list was Twisted Yeast Cookies from one of my favorite bloggers Vera of Baking Obsession. There is nothing wrong with her recipe, it just wasn't what I expected, a little more breadsticky then 'caramelized puff pastry palmier' for my taste. They were very pretty thought and Indra especially liked the breast cancer ribbon looking ones. It was a cool idea and one I may play with to make something more to my taste.

I also tried a new sugar cookie recipe. I know I should have stuck with my old favorite, but this one was from Pillsbury. Classic Sugar Cookies (pictured above), Unfortunately while good weren't what I really wanted Land O'Lake's BEST EVER BUTTER COOKIES. Or my great aunts' recipe that I haven't managed to weedle out of them yet. they were just a little to soft and not buttery enough. Santa seemed to like them just fine though.

Now for the successes, Mandelbrodt, Jewish Biscotti, definitely the good stuff. it was easy and oh so good. Definitely better then the biscotti I made earlier, but that may just be because I am partial to cinnamon and sugar. I thought about dipping them in chocolate but decided they were perfect as is. When it comes to baking those Jewish people know what they are doing. This one is on my make again and again list. And as a bonus it was easy.

I also made the GOLDEN VANILLA BEAN CARAMELS from the November's Daring Bakers Challenge (recipe follows). This reaffirmed my hatred of working with hot sugar. The end results were so Luscious that Indra immediately vetoed my plan to share with friends and told me to go make some more. I think I will be making more of these in the future, next time she gets to wrap them though.
- makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels -
1 cup golden syrup
2 cups sugar
3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure ground vanilla beans, or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened


Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Combine the golden syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile, rinse the spatula or spoon before using it again later.) Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more. Attach the candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook, uncovered (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 305°F. Meanwhile, combine the cream and ground vanilla beans (not the extract) in a small saucepan and heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.

When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly, to 260°f for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F; for firmer chewy caramels.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using it. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight until firm.

Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels with an oiled knife. Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.

I also made truffles, White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie and German Chocolate balls. The pumpkin pie ones where made with a pumkin pie dip mix and rolled in gram crackers. The German Chocolate ones where inspired by the cake of the same name. I made a batch of the frosting (coconut, pecans and goey sugary goodness) that I had over cooked and after it had cooled rolled in German chocolate for a shell. they were very very nice (also on the make those again list for Indra).

What I didn't do, that I wanted to, make fudge, make date pinwheel cookies, make shortbread cookies, make chocolate truffles. still I think I managed to do pretty good. Next yr I am starting earlier though.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bread Baking Day #16: Bread with Cheese

I feel very lucky to be the first host of the new year. I wish I was as eloquent as some of the past host in expressing my gratitude to Zorra founder of Bread Baking Daily for selecting me. I grew up baking bread of all description, I even baked bread while in the dorms at college (the air conditioning made that a real challenge) once I got out into the real world I suddenly found I lacked the time to make my own bread. When I started food blogging I searched for some challenges to keep me motivated. Zorra's Bread Baking Daily challenge was perfect and I have slowly started not only baking bread again but baking new breads. Thank you Zorra and all the other hosts.

Annarasa closed out the year with festive breads, which was a perfect choice. Apparently I am not the only one to think so. Check out the roundup here, here and here.

As far as I am concerned you don't need much more for a good meal then some fresh bread good cheese and some fruit. The combination of bread and cheese is a classic, what child doesn't love grilled cheese sandwiches or pizza? I was inspired by this recipe from King Arthur Flour for Gruyere Stuffed Crusty Loaves and a picture on Food Gawker. Who could resist that lovely molten cheese oozing from a bread volcano.

Any recipe you choose is fine as long as it incorporate cheese as a major flavor. Want to bake the bread and add the cheese later? Go ahead, I have nothing against grilled cheese sandwiches or quesidillas. After you post your cheese with bread baking experience on your blog, send your entry to me, at Tblackthorne AT gmail DOT com, with the following information:
Subject line of the email should begin with BBD16.
  1. Kindly include in English the following details:Your name, Your location, Your website’s name, your bread’s name and URL of the posting the bread(s) you chose to make

  2. Finally, attach a photo of your creation, size does not matter I will resize as needed (bigger is better).

  3. If your blog is not in English, then please send me a translation of your post in English or create the BBD post on your blog in English.

  4. If you do not have a blog but would like to be a part of this event, please send me your recipe and write-up (with picture, if possible) and I will include it in the round-up.

The deadline is the 1st of Febuary and I should have the roundup posted by the 5th.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Taste and Create: Hokey Pokey

For this month's Taste and Create I drew Stef at Cupcake Project, under normal circumstances this would have meant cake, or rather Cupcakes! but with everything else I was doing for the holidays that wasn't happening. What I did choose fit in perfect with the rest of my holiday baking.

Hokey Pokey is brittle, honey comb candy and about a dozen other names that spell delicious (and easy). I opted to add nuts (I had a bunch left from other projects, and hey who doesn't like nuts?) dipped a few in chocolate and then hoarded the results. Hey look! after 30 some yrs of not even making good fudge I made candy! Its a Xmas Miracle!

Hokey Pokey by Nigella Lawson
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbs golden [dark corn] syrup
1 1/2 tsp bi carb [baking] soda

Put the sugar and syrup into a saucepan and stir together to mix. You can't stir once the pan's on the heat.
Place the pan on the heat and let the mixture first melt and then turn to goo and then a bubbling mass the color of maple syrup - this will take 3 minutes or so.
Off the heat, whisk in the baking soda and watch the syrup turn into a whooshing cloud of aerated pale gold. Turn this immediately onto a piece of baking parchment or greased foil.
Leave until set and then bash at it, so that it splinters into many glinting pieces.

Temper's Take:
I know the recipe says whisk but nuts and whisk don't mix. This was my only issue, other then some minor teeth sticking and washing the darn pot. This recipe is a keeper. :)

BBD: Grandma Skinner's Bread for all Occasions

Ok so I know that Bread for all occasions is not what it is really called, but that is what my Grandmother called it and I don't know the real name (if anyone does please share.)

Every year for Xmas we would get one of these frozen and wrapped in tinfoil. It was Grandma's thing and she refused to share the recipe so we couldn't make it ourselves. I managed to wrangle it out of her with a solemn promise not to share and not to make it at Xmas. She died at age 90 so I am now free to make my own holiday treats.

Grandma Skinner's Bread for all Occasions
4 loafs, servings depend on how greedy you are.
1 pkg Yeast
1/2 cup Warm Water
3 Tblsp Sugar
3 Egg Yolks
3 Egg Whites, Well Beaten
1/2 cup milk
4 cups Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Shortening (Oleo)
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 1/2 cups Chopped Dates
1 cup Chopped Nuts

Soften the yeast in the water and 3 Tblsp sugar

Stir egg yolks together and add milk

Shift flour and salt together, then cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Mix yeast flour and egg yolks together to form a ball. Place in lightly greased bowl, turn over once to grease top. Cover and chill overnight

Divide dough into 4 parts - roll each part into a 13X7 inch rectangle

Stir cinnamon and sugar into the egg whites

Spread 1/4 of egg white mixture on each rectangle leaving 1/2 inch around the edge.

Sprinkle with Dates and Nuts.

Roll the rectangles up and place on baking sheet. Let rise until double.

Bake at 350 until light brown. Frost while still warm. Grandma always decorated hers with cherries and nuts. Me, I am simple, I like a little glaze and some hot chocolate.

R2R, Appetizers

Ok I was one of the hosts, and I was bad, I made one not two of the choices. I tried to make all three, that has to count for something right? Check out all three recipes on the Recipes to Rival Blog.

Lets start with my failures, Two pears sit in my fridge just waiting for toast and cheese, the grocery store and my procrastination did not come thru. Darn that bleu cheese! There is still hope though I have the pears after all.

I will admit I was looking forward to making the Oysters en Brochette. I wanted to, had the oysters all bought, all set to go and then I opened the package and smelled them. Couldn't touch them after that. When I was growing up I had exactly 1 oyster a yr, my father made me eat one in the oyster soup he made for Xmas, never could stand the things (loved the rest of the soup) I guess that has carried over. and I was really looking forward to them. :(

The Gruyère Cheese Gougères on the other hand were a raving success. If I had a stand mixer I would always have some of these. The Gruyère would be perfect with wine or fruit and I made a few with cheddar (Middle American here) and you know they were good too. I ate them fresh, ate them with soup, I ate them while I wrapped presents. The whole time I kept thinking these would be good stuffed with something, but they never seemed to last long enough for that to happen.