Thursday, March 8, 2018

We Made Bread!

I think I need an entire post for this bread that my youngest son and I made this morning! Let me first say that I think breadmaking is absolute magic! When you look at the ingredients you start with and then see what you end up with, it's breathtaking! And this simple masterpiece has been sustaining humans for thousands of years... I have Jim Lahey's book, My Bread, and I love it (and he has another book out now called The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook that I definitely need to check out!) Anyways, my son has recently been asking a lot of questions about where different food comes from (we're related) and I remembered this fantastic recipe. It's stupidly easy and incredibly satisfying - you just need a bit of time. So start it this afternoon or this evening and you can have fresh baked bread for lunch tomorrow. Do it!
P.S. The original recipe calls for bread flour which I did not have on hand and which I'm sure makes this even more delicious!

No-Knead Bread (adapted from Jim Lahey) 
Makes 1 loaf
3 cups flour, plus additional for dusting
1 1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. yeast
1 1/3 cups cool water
1. In a medium bowl, stir flour, salt, and yeast together. Add the water and mix with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise 12-18 hours.
2. Dust a cutting board with flour and use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough onto the board in one piece. Tuck the edges of the dough under to make a round. Generously flour a tea towel or large cloth napkin (not terry cloth - too bumpy) and gently place the dough round in the center, seam side down. Dust the surface of the dough with flour and loosely cover with the ends of the towel. Let the dough rise for another 1-2 hours until almost doubled in size and a 1/4 inch deep finger poke holds its shape.
4. Place a large oven proof pot with a lid in the oven. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Using potholders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Quickly and gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove bread from pot and let cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour.

Bring Back the Veggies!

Spring is right around the corner! And while I was content to spend the winter filling my belly with comfort food, it's time to show the veggies (and fruit) some love!

My stir frying kick continues... And since I don't have a wok, I love using my huge cast iron pan for this!

Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry (adapted from Cooking Light)
Serves 4
3 t. canola oil, divided
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large shallot, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
6 oz. haricot verts (or green beans), fresh or frozen
4 oz. fresh sugar snap peas
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. fish sauce
2 1/2 t. low sodium soy sauce
2 t. honey
1 t. water
1/2 t. corn starch
1/4 cup peanuts
Hot cooked rice for serving
Sriracha for serving (optional)
Heat 2 t. oil in large cast iron skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and cooked through, about 9-12 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and add remaining 1 t. oil to pan along with shallot, pepper, haricot verts, peas, and garlic. Cook 5-7 minutes until crisp tender. In a small bowl, combine fish sauce, soy sauce, honey, water, and cornstarch. Add to skillet with chicken and any accumulated juices and stir to coat everything with sauce. Cook 2 more minutes until sauce thickens. Top with peanuts and serve over hot cooked rice with Sriracha (if using).

Here's another yummy stir fry with rice noodles!

Serves 4
3 T. canola oil. divided
8 oz. flank steak, partially frozen and thinly sliced against the grain
2 large eggs, beaten
10 oz. frozen broccoli florets
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 T. molasses
4 t. white vinegar
8 oz. wide rice noodles
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron skillet. Sear steak about 1 minute per side and transfer to a plate. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and scramble eggs for 20 seconds. Add frozen broccoli and garlic. Combine soy sauce, molasses and vinegar and add to skillet along with steak and any accumulated juices. Toss to coat. Cook 4 minutes, stirring every minute. Add rice noodles to pot of boiling water and cook according to package instructions. Stir drained,cooked noodles into skillet.

This is full of deliciousness - and it's easy to serve deconstructed so even your pickiest eaters can find a combination they like!

Serves 4
4 strips bacon
1 small onion, sliced
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into a 1/2 inch dice
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
Salt & pepper
12 oz. orecchiette
Parmesan cheese for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook bacon until crisp (on an electric griddle) and reserve drippings. Let bacon cool on a paper towel lined plate and then crumble it. On a sheet pan, toss onion, sweet potato, and cauliflower with half of bacon drippings. Sprinkle vegetables with 3/4 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper. Bake vegetables for 35 minutes, stirring halfway through. Cook pasta in salted water according to package instructions. Drain pasta and toss with remaining bacon drippings. Top pasta with Parmesan, roasted vegetables and bacon.

And finally, here's a light, bright dessert from one of my favorites - Ellie Krieger!

Makes 16
7 full sheets low fat graham crackers
2 T unsalted butter, melted
1 T brown sugar
1/4 t. salt
Cooking spray
1 packet unflavored powdered gelatin
3 T. boiling water
8 oz. Neufchatel (1/3 less fat cream cheese), softened at room temperature
14 oz. can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup pasteurized egg product (egg beaters)
1 t. lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
1. Crush graham crackers in a food processor. Add melted butter, sugar, and salt and process to combine. Spray an 8" square pan with cooking spray. Pour in crumbs and press into bottom of pan.
2. Stir gelatin into 3 T. boiling water until dissolved. Let cool 2-3 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, beat Neufchatel, sweetened condensed milk, and egg product for 2 minutes. Add lemon zest and juice and beat until incorporated. Add gelatin mixture and beat until incorporated.
4. Pour filling onto graham cracker crumbs. Refrigerate at least 8 hours. Cut into 16 squares.