Sunday, January 24, 2010


Makes one 2 ¼ pound loaf

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon butter
2 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
1 ¾ cups water at 100º F

1 Tablespoon oil for greasing bowl

Extra flour for kneading and finishing
Mix: Put the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.  With the beater blade,  mix to incorporate.  Change to the dough hook and knead for 5 to 10 minutes or until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl.

First rise: Pour oil into a clean bowl, put the dough into it and then rotate it around the bowl, making sure that the oil gets all over the dough and the sides of the  bowl.  Cover with a tea towel and put into a warm place to let double in size. This will mean 2 hours at 80º or 3 hours at 70º.

Second rise: Punch the dough down and let rise for a further 2 hours at room temperature.

Shape loaf and final rise: On the counter, deflate the largest bubbles from the dough turn its edges under to make a loaf   Let sit for 10 minutes to dry. Coat the crevices of a banneton with flour. Sprinkle flour onto the loaf, put rounded side down in the banneton, cover with a cloth and let proof for an hour.

Bake: Preheat your oven with the cast iron skillet for at least half an hour at 450º. When the oven is hot, place a piece of parchment paper over the dough and turn the banneton over onto the hot skillet. Bake for 15 minutes at 450º, then lower the temperature to 400º and bake for a further 40 minutes.

Cool on a rack for half an hour before slicing.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday night fries

These fries go well with burgers (beef, salmon, tuna) or by themselves with ketchup or malt vinegar.

4 russet potatoes, sliced into finger-sized portions
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place sliced potatoes in a bowl filled with very hot tap water.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Drain and dry very well with paper towels or a tea towel.  Add olive oil, rosemary, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to the potatoes and toss, being careful not to break them.  Sprinkle the remaining sea salt on a baking sheet and place the potatoes on top.  Cover with tinfoil and bake for 5 minutes.  Remove tinfoil after 5 minutes and let potatoes cook for 15 minutes.  Turn potatoes and rotate pan and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until browned to your liking.

Tuna Burgers (to go with those fries)

I had planned on making salmon burgers to go with my homemade french fries for Saturday evening supper but the pantry wasn't giving out any canned salmon this evening so I went with tuna.  The recipe is as follows:

1 can of solid white tuna, lightly drained and flaked with a fork
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons mayo
1/3rd cup of breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon of capers
Dash of salt
Dash of seafood seasoning
1 small leek, minced
1/4 red pepper, minced
1 stalk celery, minced.
Olive oil

In a saute pan, heated with a tablespoon of olive oil, sweat the vegetables until softened.  Leave aside until  cool.  Beat egg for a minute and add the drained tuna.  Flake tuna in the egg. and add breadcrumbs, mayo, capers, cooled vegetables and seasonings. Blend together but don't overmix.  Form into two or four patties and place in the fridge for about 10 minutes.  Heat another tablespoon or two of oil in the pan.  Place the tuna patties in and fry  the smaller patties for 2-4 minutes on each side.  Larger ones will take 4-6 minutes until golden brown.  Remove to a paper towel and plate up with fries.  Enjoy with tartar sauce.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cream Scones. In a creamer.

Williams Sonoma has a wonderful recipe for cream scones.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
2 1⁄2 tsp. baking powder
1⁄4 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 eggs
2⁄3 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 cup dried currants (I used raisins)

1 heaping Tbs. raw or coarse sugar
Butter and lemon curd (see note) or jam for serving


Preheat an oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream. Add all but 2 Tbs. of the egg mixture to the flour mixture all at once and stir until a sticky dough forms. Quickly stir in the currants just until evenly distributed.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Knead gently until the dough holds together, about 6 times. The dough should be soft; do not overknead, or the scones will be tough. Divide into 2 equal portions and pat each portion into a round 1 inch thick and 6 inches in diameter. Cut each round into 4 equal wedges.
Arrange the wedges, 2 inches apart, on the prepared sheet. Brush the wedges with the reserved egg mixture and sprinkle with the raw sugar.
Bake until the scones are crusty and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately with butter and lemon curd.
Makes 8 scones.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Bread, by Beth Hensperger (Simon & Schuster, 2002).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winter Dinner: Pork with Maple Glaze

This is my sister Peg's recipe.  We all loved it.

2 lb. pork loin
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tsps allspice
4 TBL chile powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix all spices together well and roll entire pork loin in spices
In large skillet melt butter or olive oil (or both) and brown pork on all sides-about 5-6 minutes
Remove and put in shallow roasting pan, cook 15-20 minutes or until temp reaches 150 degrees
Whisk together 5 TBL maple syrup, 5 tBLS apple cider vinegar and 2 tsp Dijon mustard to blend. Set aside.
Deglaze your frying pan with 2 TBL apple cider vinegar, or apple juice or rum, scraping up bits.
Add your wet ingredients and reduce them. Right before serving add 1 TBL butter to sauce, stir.
Slice your pork and drizzle sauce on top.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Rainbow Pasta

We keep a prism on our windowsill which gave me the idea to make rainbow pasta.  Here's a picture of three strands of rainbow pasta born from the real rainbow.  The strands are a combination of egg, spinach and tomato pasta.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Eggnog Banana Bread with Rum Glaze

2 very ripe bananas
2 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup eggnog
1/4 cup oil
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup light rum
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.  In a measuring cup, smash bananas and add oil, eggnog and eggs.  Mix well.  Add to dry ingredients and stir together until just incorporated.  Pour into a 9 inch buttered loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes.