Fraudulent Sourdough Bread

January 26th, 2015

Sourdough Bread 2

I am always inspired by fellow bloggers.  I sometimes wonder why we even bother with cookbooks when we have such talented people who blog about food on a regular basis.  Monique from La Table de Nana is one of those bloggers.  Among several recipes in one of her recent post, I was attracted to this round of crusty bread full of seeds.  She adapted the recipe from another blogger, Lady and the Pups.  The premise behind the sourdough bread is that you don’t need a sourdough starter.  The sour taste comes from the yogurt that is a part of the mixture.  It is so easy, especially if you kneed it in a stand mixer.  The only difficulty is time.  Time to let it ferment for 6 to 18 hours.  But you might as well just go about your business while the dough does its thing.  There is very little hands on work.

Staub Cookware

 

One of the reasons that I wanted to try this bread is because it is supposed to be baked in a heavy covered casserole.  I have been waiting to share this news with you.  I was fortunate to win a set of Staub Cookware from one of my favorite sites, the folks at Food52.  Food52 was founded by former New York Times food editor Amanda Hesser and food writer Merrill Stubbs.  The site offers home cooks everything from recipes to food related articles.  It has an active community of over 300,000 members.  They offer recipe contests in which I have participated.  So far 2 of my recipes have been selected as “Community Picks”.

With the publication of Mimi Thorisson’s cookbook My Kitchen in France, they held a contest offering a set of the beautiful French cookware from Staub.  All that was necessary to win was to leave a comment on their website each day of one week.  They gave away 4 sets.  I won one of them.  I was expecting, perhaps, some small individual cocottes, . . . maybe a small oval baker.  Much to my amazement, right before Christmas three large boxes were delivered.  I received a 5 quart round cocotte with lid, a 9.5 inch oval baker, and a 12 inch skillet (not shown here).  I told David I needed nothing more for Christmas.  Staub is amazing cookware, much like Le Creuset.  The matte black pieces are all featured in Mimi’s cookbook.  By the way, I also won one of her cookbooks.  Since I had already purchased mine, I gave this one to my talented daughter-in-law for Christmas.

Sourdough Bread 1

The bread baked in the casserole couldn’t have been better.  I’m sure any heavy duty casserole would do, but there is something satisfying about cooking in beautiful vessels.  I highly recommend this bread.  I love the cracked appearance of the loaf.  It is hard on the outside and soft inside, just as a good sourdough loaf should be.  You can make it without the sunflower and flax seeds as the original recipe suggests.  Monique even suggested that I try it that way first, but I loved this version.  Thank you for a great recipe Monique.

FRAUDULENT SOURDOUGH BREAD

  • 3 cups (405 grams) bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp (8 grams) salt
  • 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast (if fermenting for 18 hours), or 3/4 tsp instant dry yeast (if fermenting for 6 hours)
  • 1 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (385 grams) plain unsweetened yogurt containing active cultures
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, optional
  • 1/3 cup flax seeds, optional

Instructions

  1. In a stand-mixer with dough-hook, or in a large bowl by hands, mix bread flour, instant dry yeast, salt and plain yogurt, plus seeds if using, on medium-low speed for 2 min until a dough forms. If the dough is too dry and has difficulty coming together, add 1 tbsp more plain yogurt. If you’d like, continue to knead the dough on medium-low speed, or with your hands, for a few more minutes until springy. The dough should be very sticky, but able to retain shapes.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let ferment at room-temperature for 18 hours (NO MORE than 20 hours or the yogurt may spoil and become bitter!), or 6 hours depending on your schedule (note that the amount of yeast varies). The dough should almost doubled when finished.
  3. After fermentation, dust the counter with flour then transfer the dough on top. Use just enough flour to prevent the dough from sticking, fold the dough gently (without crushing all the air bubbles inside) over itself like folding a letter. Turn 90 degrees and fold again. Then shape the dough into a ball-shape. Transfer to a piece of floured parchment paper, then cover a large bowl on top and let proof again for 1 ~ 2 hours. The dough is ready when it almost double in size again, and should not spring back when you press it with a finger.
  4. 45 minutes before the dough’s ready, preheat the oven on 450F/225C with a large dutch oven, or a heavy-bottom pot (both should come with lid) inside. To bake the bread, lift the parchment paper to transfer the dough into the preheated pot, cover the lid and bake for 30 min. Then remove the lid, and bake until the crust is golden browned.
  5. Let cool on a rack for 20 min.

 

Printable Recipe

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

January 19th, 2015

Sweet Potato Soup 1

It has been quite a week.  Even with a simple kitchen remodel, daily tasks can revert to chaos.  We were able to use our kitchen during the facelift, but because of a leak under the sink, washing dishes was a problem.  I ended up washing dishes in the sink in the garage.  We have eaten simple soups, grilled steaks with baked potatoes and homemade pizza.  This sweet potato soup was one of my favorites.  Not only was it easy, but it was delicious.  When you are in the middle of a project, cooking sweet potatoes in the microwave is a blessing.  Add them to some chicken broth, seasonings, and a quick whir in the immersion blender and dinner is ready.  The bacon, shaved parmesan and parsley is just an added bonus if you have the time.

Florida Kitchen New

Here is a sneak peek of the kitchen remodel.  I will show you more later because not everything is finished.  The contractors were one door short on  the order.  The cabinet to the right of the stove is missing a door.  We also need the contractors to come back to re-adjust shelf heights in one cabinet.  Other than that, we are very pleased with the results.  The cabinets are a shaker style with a subtle bead board panel inset in each door.  To break things up, I requested glass doors in the cabinet over the dishwasher.  I store all of my glassware and cream colored dishes there.   Because we still have soffits over the cabinets, I decided to get creative on top.  I bought inexpensive corrugated metal letters spelling out “Dinner” to add an industrial element to the design.  I already had a “Bon Appetit” sign and black and cream plates on the other wall above the stove.  More later.

Sweet Potato Soup 2

This creamy sweet potato soup came together so quickly, that I thought to myself,” I need to have these ingredients on hand at all times for a quick and easy meal”.  David is not always a fan of sweet potatoes, but this soup convinced him otherwise.  It is thick and hearty.  The crisp bacon and Parmesan shavings complement the whole bowl to perfection.

On another note, hold all of your family and friends close.  We have just lost a dear friend from our college years to cancer.  John will be missed.  My, where have the years gone and why do we have to start dealing with the lose of friends?  I am not ready.

I am linking this to Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm.

CREAMY SWEET POTATO SOUP ( Cooking Light )

2 pounds sweet potatoes, halved lengthwise (about 2 large)
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon salt ( I added more )
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1 ounce fresh Parmesan cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves

Place potatoes, cut sides down, in an 11 x 7-inch microwave safe baking dish.  Add 1/4 cup water; cover with plastic wrap.  Microwave at HIGH 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Cool slightly; discard potato skins.

Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add oil; swirl to coat.  Add onion; saute 1 minute or until translucent.  Stir in cumin and red pepper.  Add stock to pan; bring to a boil.  Add sweet potatoes and gently mix in breaking them up slightly.  I used an immersion blender to puree the mixture.  If you do not have an immersion blender,  mix half of the mixture at a time in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Return to pan to reheat.

Divide soup evenly among 4 to 6 bowls; sprinkle cooked bacon and Parmesan cheese evenly over top.  Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Printable Recipe

 

Lemon Chiffon Gingersnap Pie

January 13th, 2015

Lemon Chiffon Pie 1

One of the things to love about Winter is that it is citrus season.  Oranges, lemons, tangerines and blood oranges brighten the produce aisles of the supermarkets.  I usually have an orange for breakfast.  But for a bit more decadent way to enjoy citrus try this smooth chiffon pie with a bite from the gingersnap crust.  It brightens even the most gloomy of days.

We are beginning a kitchen project this week.  We have been slowly updating what we found when we bought the house in Florida.  We updated the appliances a few years ago and added new countertops.  The previous countertops were the same faux wood as our cabinets.  Not pretty.  We chose Corian.  We have granite in Lake Lure, but Corian seemed the right choice for Florida.  Our current project is to reface all of our kitchen cabinets, replacing the doors and adding a few pull out shelves.  Here is how the kitchen looks now.

Florida Kitchen 1

The new cabinets will be off white, creamier than what you see here.  The style is Shaker with a beadboard insert.  The installers will be here Thursday and Friday and should be able to finish the job in just those two days.

Florida Kitchen 5

 

The cabinet over the dishwasher will have glass doors.  I am anxious to see the results.  I will give you an update when it is all put back together again.  In the meantime, I will be making a pot of soup before the work begins.  I was told that we could still use the kitchen and it made sense to have soup in the fridge to reheat for dinner each night.

Lemon Chiffon Pie 2

I will also have this tart lemony pie with a hint of orange zest to dig into.  I plan to add this to my list of Florida desserts.  I usually make key lime pie for guests, but this lemon chiffon pie is a good alternative.  By the way, the background for my pie is a Downton Abbey wrapping paper available at World Market.  I was immediately attracted to it before I even knew its provenance. This year’s episodes of Downton Abbey are riveting.  What will happen to Mr. Bates?  Will Lady Mary find happiness?

LEMON CHIFFON GINGERSNAP PIE (Williams Sonoma)

1 1/4 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar divided
1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a bowl, stir together the crumbs, butter, and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar until the crumbs are evenly moistened.  Pat the crumb mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom and all the way up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan or dish.  Bake until the crust is firm, 5-7 minutes.

Pour 1/4 cup cold water into a saucepan and sprinkle with the gelatin.  Let stand until the gelatin softens and swells, 5-10 minutes.  Stir in the 3/4 cup granulated sugar, salt, lemon juice, orange zest, and egg yolks; the mixture will be lumpy.  Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the gelatin melts and the mixture thickens, 6-8 minutes.  Do not allow the mixture to boil.  Set the saucepan in an ice bath until the mixture is cool to the touch.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the cream and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until thick, soft peaks form.  Spoon the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until smooth.  Pour into the prepared crust, smoothing the top.

Refrigerate the pie until chilled and firm, 3-4 hours.  Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

Printable Recipe

Ham, Spinach, and Pasta Gratin

January 8th, 2015

Ham, Spinach and Pasta Gratin 2

If you have leftover ham from the holidays, this is a perfect way to use it.  This lovely layered dish gives “casserole” a good name.  Pasta, Gruyere cheese, minced ham and chopped spinach are bound together in an eggy custard and topped with rye bread crumbs.  I made this on a cold dreary afternoon at the lake.  Photographing it was a real problem, so what you see was snapped the next day in the slanting light on our porch.  The good news is that this dish can be reheated and still tastes as good as the first time.

Ham Spinach and Pasta Gratin 1V

A cold front is headed to Lake Lure and we are looking forward to lighting a fire in the kitchen fireplace and cooking something in the coals.  David has a fascination with hearth cookery.  We have an adjustable fireplace grill that just fits into our fire box and a cast iron spider pot with legs.  The pot sits in the coals and is perfect for cooking stews and roasts.Lake Lure Fireplace

David has accomplished a lot this week.  Because the lake level has been lowered, he was able to shore up the sea wall and reinforce the boat house supports.

I had a wonderful lunch with my dear blogging friend Penny of The Comforts of Home.  We met in Hendersonville, ate brick oven pizza, and shopped on Main Street. It was chilly but sunny. The frigid temperatures remind me of winters in Michigan where I grew up.  As nostalgic as it is, I have to say that I am looking forward to returning to Florida soon.

Ham Spinach and Pasta Gratin 3 close

We enjoyed this casserole which I adapted from a recipe in Gourmet Magazine from 1993.  Every time I return to the lake, I peruse my collection of magazines dating back to 1968.  I wonder if any of them are now collector’s items?  The one thing I know for sure is that any recipe from Gourmet is a winner.

HAM, SPINACH, AND PASTA GRATIN

1/2 pound fusilli or other dried pasta
2 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (about 1/2 pound)
1 pound cooked ham, chopped fine (preferably in a food processor, about 3 cups)
1 onion, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, cooked, drained, and squeezed dry
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
5 large eggs
3 cups milk
1 1/4 cups fresh rye bread crumbs

In a pot of salted boiling water boil the pasta until it is al dente, drain it well, and spread it in a greased 2-quart flameproof shallow baking dish.  Sprinkle the pasta with 1/2 cups of the Gruyere, top the Gruyere with the ham, spreading it evenly, and sprinkle the ham with 1 cup of the remaining Gruyere.  In a heavy skillet cook the onion and the garlic in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, add the spinach, the nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste, and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the excess liquid is evaporated.  Top the ham layer with the spinach mixture.

In a bowl whisk together the eggs, the milk, and salt and pepper to taste, pour the custard slowly over the spinach mixture, and bake the gratin, covered with foil, in the middle of a preheated 400 degree oven for 50 minutes, or until the custard is set.  Discard the foil, in a small bowl toss together the remaining 1 cup Gruyere and the bread crumbs, and sprinkle the topping evenly over the custard.  Broil the grain under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the bread crumbs are golden brown.  Serves 6 to 8.

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A Look Back at 2014

January 4th, 2015

We had a busy holiday season with family and friends.  We traveled to North Carolina to spend time with family in Cary and Jacksonville and then back to Lake Lure to attend to some Winter tasks.  We spent the New Year in Myrtle Beach with old friends, ate well, celebrated joyously and returned to Lake Lure a little heavier and totally worn out.  It is cold and dreary here with constant rain and fog and my cooking has been minimal.  So before we return to Florida this week, I thought that I would reflect back on some of the dishes that were favorites in 2014.  I will begin with January 2014.

Pork Tenderloin with Grapes 3

I had just discovered Mimi Thorisson’s lovely blog Manger.  One of the first dishes I made from her blog was this Pork Tenderloin with Grapes.  We loved it and my eyes were opened to the possibility of actually cooking grapes.  It was also a pretty dish that tasted heavenly.

Tortilla Soup 1

February found us in Cary celebrating our Grandson’s third birthday.  My DIL Kristen made this warming Tortilla Soup on a snowy day.  I could use a bowl of it right now.

Polynesian Meatballs 2V

We enjoyed these Polynesian Meatballs as the weather was improving.

Asparagus Tart 1With Spring in the air and fresh asparagus in the market we indulged in this easy Asparagus Tart. 

Triple Cinnamon Scones V

 

King Arthur Flour has a wonderful blog called Flourish.  This recipe for Triple Cinnamon Scones sounded so good that I purchased their cinnamon chips and cinnamon filling mix to make them.  I have been making them ever since.  They are the best scones I have ever had.

Blueberry Galette 1

In June I made this wonderful Blueberry Galette.  The rosemary in the crust was an unusual addition and went so well with the blueberries.  I will be making this often.  The crust also has whole wheat flour in it which I love.

Raspberry Tiramisu 2

Summer is berry season and I couldn’t resist this lovely Raspberry and Blueberry Tiramisu.  Perfect for the 4th of July.

Spicy Glazed Salmon 1

In August our grill was kept busy.  This Spicy Glazed Salmon was an easy fix with only three ingredients.

Couscous with arugla 2

September at the lake is usually still warm.  Cool salads are always welcomed.  This Israeli Couscous and Arugula Salad from Ina Garten is delicious.

Acorn Squash 4

October is apple season in Western North Carolina.  This Maple Glazed Acorn Squash with Sausage, Apple and Sage is a perfect Fall dish.

Leek Bread Pudding 1

In November, this Leek and Artichoke Bread Pudding was on my Thanksgiving table.  The recipe came from Ina Garten’s new book Make it Ahead.

Ham Loaf 2V

 

Finally, in honor of family tradition, in December I made my Mother’s delicious Ham Loaf.  It brought back memories of Christmases past.  2014 was a very good year.  I am looking forward to the year ahead and wish all of you a Happy New Year.

 

 

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.