Friday, August 19, 2011

Eggplant Experiment

So I bought an eggplant at the local farmers market because they were so beautiful and so plentiful.
Brennan said eggplant parm was one of his faves so I checked out some recipes and made two single servings with just one eggplant.
I love that the Brits call it an aubergine. And I believe Aubergine is the name of one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants.

So simply enough I egged and breaded the eggplant and baked at 425 7 minutes on each side. Then layered the eggplant like this:
Eggplant slice, sauce, Mozzarella cheese, chiffonade of basil, eggplant, sauce, cheese, basil, eggplant, sauce, cheese, sprinkle of bread crumbs. Then I baked this at 375 for about 15 minutes until cheese was bubbly and brown. YUM!

I also made these with zucchini

Just the same procedure as the eggplant. Bread the slices and baked then a dollop of sauce some cheese and some basil. Made for a great snack for Brennan when he walked in the door hungry while I finished up everything else.

Make sure you season everything really well with salt pepper oregano and garlic!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Saffron + Greek Yogurt + Garlic = Bread

Saffron Garlic Loaf

20 ounces Water, warm
.5 tsp saffron threads steeping for 15 minutes in part of the water
4 TB Olive oil
3 scant tsp yeast
1 egg yolk (save white for egg wash)
2 TB sugar
3 TB greek yogurt
5-6 cups AP flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder

Use about 4 oz of the water heat until 150 degrees add saffron threads and let steep. Mix water, sugar, yeast, egg, oil, yogurt then add steeped saffron liquid. Add flours, salt and garlic. Blend together until dough comes together. Turn out onto counter and knead dough until smooth and firm. This dough is really sticky, so flour your hands when kneading and use a well floured counter space. Shape into a nice sphere and place in olive oiled bowl cover in plastic and let rise until doubled, about 60 minutes. Divide dough in half and shape into loaves. Place in sprayed or floured loaf pans. And let proof until doubled, about 1 inch over lip of loaf pan, 60-90 minutes. Preheat oven to 400. Brush with reserved egg white wash. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool, and enjoy!

This recipe yielded two loaves and three sandwich rolls. I like to scale a few rolls from the dough because one, I can taste it when it comes out of the oven and two, so Brennan and I can have hamburger buns...

This bread has such a superb flavor, the crust is firm and chewy and the crumb is soft and uniform. You can also see the threads within the crumb giving it little yellow swirls.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Southwest Art Village in the heart of OKC

Since we have been here Saturdays tend to focus on finding an apartment but now that we have one and a move in date Saturdays can be used for exploring. First we went to the Farmers Market and found some edible gems. Peaches, Grapes, Squash, yes GRAPES! they are of the Mars variety and grown organically right here in Oklahoma.

We also bought cucumbers, sweet onions and Brennan bought a some bison meat.
I also discovered this fantastic Market called Forward Foods carrying organic and local edibles, ranging from produce, baking items, bulk foods, coffee, tea, cheese and a deli. It's really fun to meander through and kill some time.

But anyway, back to Saturday in the Paseo - which is the art district in Oklahoma City. We started at Picasso Cafe, which was by far my favorite place we ate and drank at all day. I started with a Pimm's Cup...with an enormous cucumber garnish, this was indeed a perfect summer afternoon cocktail.

Brennan enjoyed some brews from Left Hand...
The menu at Picasso is phenomenal - lots of veg options. Including this amazing Arugala salad with toasted pinenuts, roasted beets and a piece of fried goat cheese, drizzled with honey this salad blew my mind.

Brennan enjoyed a cup of lobster bisque and figs stuffed with bleu cheese and wrapped in proscuitto.
It was even nice enough to sit outside and enjoy the southwest architecture of the Paseo.
We ventured into some trinket shops and some art galleries and a so called cowgirl shop called Bonedust. It was interesting for sure. I can't wait to go back after the sun goes down to see what the Paseo night life is like.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

More Rosemary Buns

So today was a stormy day lots of thunder and lightning. Of course I wanna kick on the oven and make some sandwich rolls.
Making bread includes lots of waiting and time for snuggling on the couch with Matisse - my dachshund.

I have recently discovered adding instant potatoes to bread dough giving the finished crumb a wonderful light texture.

Rosemary Olive Oil Buns

10 ounces Water
2 TB Olive oil
1.5 tsp yeast
1 egg yolk (save white for egg wash)
1 TB sugar
2.5 cups AP flour
.5 cup whole wheat flour
.5 cup instant potato flakes
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried rosemary

Place first 5 ingredients in a bowl, let yeast dissolve. Add flours, potato flakes, salt and rosemary. Blend together until dough comes together. Turn out onto counter and knead dough until smooth and firm.

Shape into a nice sphere and place in olive oiled bowl cover in plastic and let rise for 60 minutes. Divide dough into six equal pieces (for large sandwich buns) and shape into roll, place on parchment and floured pan.

For sandwich rolls I always try to flatten the roll shape with my hand before proofing. Preheat oven to 375. Proof rolls until doubled, about 45 minutes. Brush with reserved egg white wash, sprinkle with coarse salt if desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Let cool, and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Parisian Lunch in the Midwest

Today Brennan and I decided to go to lunch at La Baguette Bistro, slowly we are discovering little gems of Oklahoma City as we eat our way through the town.

This one I was interested in because I thought about applying here when we first moved here because they have a bakery attached to the restaurant and make pastries, desserts and breads in house; therefore you can purchase them in their little shop.

The menu was intriguing and now that we know it's tasty we can go back and try more.
When you sit down in the red dining room with gold framed paintings and photos you get a since of a European cafe and the oversized booths and the u shaped seating gives a sense of privacy and romanticism.
I settled on the roasted vegetarian sandwich with pommes frites and the bistro salad
The sandwich was served on a herbed bun made in house, the shoe string fries were crispy and fresh and the house vinaigrette was awesome and available for purchase in the grocery.
Brennan got the Panini Capogna with pommes frites and a cup of french onion soup.

His sandwich was roasted chicken on sourdough and his soup was buttery rich and perfectly seasoned.

All in all - it's safe to say we will be back.

Monday, May 9, 2011

oatmeal cream pie

For Brennan's Birthday I asked what he wanted to make for his birthday dessert and he said oatmeal cream pies - like the ones I ate by the box full from my grandmother's pantry...
So I search the internet for recipes and oddly enough they were all blog posts dated really close to Brennan's birthday...
So I made these time consuming sandwich cookies. And they were absolutely delicious.
Next time though I will definitely make them smaller because they are really sweet.

I don't wanna repost the recipe because it is exactly like this blog

But I did cute the recipe in half...
I think the next adventure will be homemade samoas..

Monday, April 18, 2011

BBQ Pulled Fruit Sandwich

Yeah that's right I called it a pulled fruit sandwich. I was really craving a pulled pork sandwich and being here in North Carolina it's hard not to run to the closest janky looking BBQ shack and eating some slow roasted pig. Seeing that I've been trying to avoid meals that involve eating animals. I decided to try this:

Jackfruit: the largest of all tree born fruit, prickly on the outside and sweet meat like flesh on the inside; has numerous nutritional values including antioxidants and has been known to help aid in digestion and fight stomach ulcers. WOW!
So I drained two cans and chopped it up. It has a very stringy texture so you can pull it apart as well. I sauteed the fruit with some onions, garlic, salt and pepper until soft and then poured 1/4 cup of some sweet and sassy BBQ sauce from the local grocery and let it simmer forever - like 2 hours in a cast iron skillet. I probably added some smoked paprika and some chipotle powder to the mix too. We like it a little spicy!
This was perfect! Spooned onto a homemade sourdough roll with some coleslaw and a little potato salad on the side - potato salad recipe from my sister (it's the very best) was the best possible result for my pulled pork craving.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lavender Honey

At my new place of work we featured a Lavender Honey Cupcake with a fantastic lavender honey frosting. It inspired me to make a spread for Bagels, English muffins or toast that was essentially a springtime explosion in my mouth.

8 oz cream cheese
1 stick of unsalted butter
3 Tbsp HONEY
2 Tbsp dried Lavender flowers

Bring butter and cream cheese to room temperature. Blend in mixer until light and fluffy with paddle attachment. Add honey and lavender and blend until combined.
Keep in refrigerator in container for up to 2 weeks!

I loaded up my cinnamon raisin English muffin with this for some heavenly bites! YUM!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sweet Potato Cheddar - Nothing else is better!

So much love in this bread. Extra sharp cheddar and sweet potatoes....yes please.

Sweet Potato Cheddar Loaf

.5 oz instant yeast
9 oz water, temperature controlled
Squeeze of honey
8 oz sweet potato, peeled and boiled
1 lb. 9 oz AP flour
.3 oz kosher salt
.25 oz fresh ground peppercorns
1.5 oz butter, melted
4 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Dissolve yeast in warm water with a squeeze of honey.
Smash sweet potato after cooking, add butter, salt, pepper, cheese, with flour in mixing bowl. Blend on low for 2 minutes.
Slowly add water, yeast mixture. Mix on low for 5-10 minutes.
Dough will be slightly tacky and soft. Add more flour if needed.
Allow dough to set in warm spot until doubled. About 2 hours. Punch down and let rise again for 45 minutes.
Shape. Let rise again. Score. Bake for 25 minutes at 350.
This recipe could make two large loaves. But I made one large loaf and some 3 oz dinner rolls!

Super flavorful. Beautiful color.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

quinoa tabbouleh

Quinoa was a common food to the Incas, who referred to it as the "mother grain" although quinoa is a seed, thinking of them as ancient makes them far more interesting. These super seeds are a complete protein because they contain the essential amino acids.

Typically bulgur wheat is the grain used in a tabbouleh salad but I decided to make it with quinoa and I also added feta, carrots and cucumber. YUM YUM!

1 cup of quinoa, cooked in 2 cups of salted water for 15 minutes, cooled to room temperature
juice and zest of one lemon
generous drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon of oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 bunch parsley, stemmed and minced
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 cucumber, sliced
2 oz feta, crumbled
1 medium carrot chopped

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate for a least 30 minutes to let flavors marinate. enjoy.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Buffalo hearts Bleu Cheese

Sure enough - every time I go to a restaurant with Brennan, if there is something on the menu with Buffalo, Hot or Salsa involved he has to order it. And by Buffalo I don't mean this guy

I mean the orange saucey meat that tends to accompany bleu cheese dressing on salads and appetizer samplers across the United States of America.
So I decided to make Brennan once again the luckiest guy on the planet and make him a Buffalo Chicken Salad for supper. Brennan informed that true buffalo sauce is made with Frank's Red Hot and butter. So I marinated some chicken breast - cut into cubes in some Frank's and sauteed it up in a skillet with some butter and salt and pepper.
For myself - as I do not partake in eating chicken I baked up some gardein seven grain crispy tenders and also applied Frank's Red Hot to them.
Then I assembled some veggies on a plate: baby lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, tomato and some sliced apple - mostly because apple taste so darn good with bleu cheese.

I also made some Bleu cheese dressing
2 oz crumbled bleu cheese, room temperature
4 TB sour cream
2 TB mayonnaise
1 tsp sugar
squeeze of lemon juice
splash of milk
salt pepper and garlic powder to taste

Mix together.



And for those of you who would rather not take part in Frank's Red Hot use your favorite hot sauce - but don't call it Buffalo...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

more pizza dough

I feel like this blog is full of pizza dough recipes but I have slowly been trying to get a crust that I really enjoy. This recipe makes a really small pizza - enough for one really hungry person or two not so hungry people.

3 oz warm water
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar or honey
1 teaspoon active yeast
let set for 5 minutes to get foamy
add one cup of all purpose flour
and 1/2 teaspoon salt
pull dough together with fingers and add 1 tablespoon olive oil or melted butter

work and knead dough until you feel its smooth and not tacky. I also will add herbs and spices too at this point - red chili flake, italian seasoning, garlic powder - get crazy.

form into ball place in oiled bowl cover with damp towel. let set for as long as you can handle, at least 2 hours up to 5. Punch down and reshape let set for 45 minutes.
Roll dough out into circle or whatever shape your pan is. Let dough set or proof in pan to let it make bubbles and get puffy. This is a new and important step that I've discovered is the one that creates the texture I've been looking for. Let it bake then for 8 minutes at 400 degrees.
Then top and bake until your cheese melts!

I made this one in a tart pan with a removable bottom and layered in creme fraiche seasoned with salt, pepper, nutmeg, italian seasoning, and broccoli, brie, caramelized onions (that were roasted in honey and wine) and a little diced jalapeno... it wasn't difficult to eat the whole thing.