Thursday, October 27, 2011

Artisan Bread

I developed my interest in baking bread while living in a house that was so cold I baked bread to get warm.  Our house was so cold that bread would not rise on the counter so I had to turn the oven on low and then turn it off with the bread inside in order for the bread to rise.  

I got a book for Christmas called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  It took a little while to work out a system that I liked, and I had to practice a while before the bread was really good, but now it warms both my home and my tummy.  

This is the easiest way I have ever seen to make bread.  There is no kneading, and it only takes a few minutes to get ready.  The only down side is that you really have to start this bread at least 10 hours before you want to eat it.  On the good side, you CAN make it two whole weeks before you want to eat it, so, if you like bread frequently you can make a week worth of dough and have fresh bread with relatively little planning.

This bread is soft but dense with a moist crumb, a hard crust, and a very wonderful taste.  

Happy baking and happy eating.

Recipe and method are adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.

Artisan Bread
Prep Time: 30 min     Makes: 4 small loaves

  • 3 cups hot tap Water
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons dry active Yeast
  • 6 1/2 cups Flour
  • Cornmeal, for pan

Add salt and yeast to water and stir to combine.

Place flour in the bowl of a food processor*, with food processor running add water and yeast mixture.  Mix until combined, about 30 seconds.

Place dough in a large bowl or container (5 quarts or larger) and leave to rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until dough had doubled in size.

Place dough in refrigerator over night and for up to 2 weeks.

Take out 1/4 of the dough and place on floured surface, or in a bowl of flour.  Lightly coat dough in flour.

Form loaf by pulling the dough down and tucking the "corners" underneath.

With a lightly floured knife cut a few slashes into the dough.

Place loaf on a cornmeal coated cookie sheet, and allow to rise for 40 minutes.  (preheat oven about 20 minutes into rising time)

Bake at 450 for 30 minutes.

* If you don't have a food processor this can be done in a stand mixer with the flat beater attachment or by hand but is quite labor intensive.  I would not recommend a hand mixer as the dough will be much to thick for most hand mixers.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011


Chili - is anything else this healthy so fulfilling and delicious?  Beans are high in protein and fiber, and together with tomatoes, onions, and lean ground beef, they make for a nutritious meal.  The trick is that the meal has all the right components to fill you up - and keep you full for a long time: fiber, protein, and a little bit of fat.  

Nutrition aside, this meal is also really inexpensive.  I often make it with dry beans which has the added advantage of letting you try a few of many different beans.  Where I like to buy my groceries you can buy about 10 different varieties in bulk, I like to get a little bit of 3 or 4 different kinds, just to make the chili look more diverse.  If you use dry beans, the whole recipe can be made for about $4.  That's right $4 to feed 6 adults.

Now, I know most people don't look at a blog and think to themselves "mmm, that recipe looks so cheap and healthy; I bet my family would love it" but, I get excited, so, sorry if I went in too deep.  You can be sure that even if this chili was expensive and terrible for you, I would still make it, it is just that good.  My husband adds about 1 Tablespoon of red pepper flakes to this recipe to make it hot enough for himself.  I hope you and your family enjoy and be sure to come back next week for my bread which makes a great side for this dish.

Total Time: 1 hour     Serves: 6

  • 1-2 Tablespoons Vegatable Oil
  • 1/2 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can Diced Tomato
  • 1 can Beef Broth
  • 2 cans Chili Beans
  • 4 cans Kidney Beans, drained
  • 2 teaspoons Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • Pinch of Cayenne
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pepper

To hot pot add oil and beef, cook until beef is browned.

Add onion, and cook until translucent and soft, about 3 minutes.

Add beef broth, tomatoes, beans, oregano, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 20 minutes.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte

This bonus post is in celebration of a visit from our local newspaper, which wrote a piece about our show. To see the article, click here.

When it gets cold outside I love to indulge in hot drinks. Whether it is a nice hot cup of tea, or a Pumpkin Spice Steamed Milk, something about a hot drink on a cold day just makes everything better than it was before. The syrup from this recipe can be used with coffee or steamed milk.

The syrup recipe can be easily multiplied and kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.  To use refrigerated syrup simply shake and add hot drink straight from the fridge. I hope this recipe warms your fall and protects your wallet.

Pumpkin Spice Latte
Total Time: 30 min     Serves: about 5

Pumpkin Spice Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole Clove
  • 1/4 inch slice of fresh Ginger, peeled
  • 2 Tablespoons canned Pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup Sugar


  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) Strong Coffee (1.5 times the package directions) or Espresso
  • 3/4 cup Milk (6 oz)
  • Whipped Cream and Ground Cinnamon (optional)

For Syrup:

Place nutmeg in a coffee filter in tie into a pouch with butcher's twine or other food safe string.

In a small sauce pot with lid combine: water, nutmeg pouch, cinnamon stick, clove and ginger.

Bring to a boil.

Stir in pumpkin, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove spices from pot.

Stir in sugar, keeping over low heat until sugar has completely dissolved.

For Latte:

Heat milk in microwave for about 1 minute or until hot.

Froth milk if desired.

Add coffee.

Stir in 1-2 Tablespoons of syrup and top with whipped cream and ground cinnamon if desired.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Apple Cranberry Flaugnarde

I usually make this dish for dessert, it is sort of a cross between a fruity pancake and a custard.  My husband loves it.  A Flaugnarde is also a great dish for a weekend breakfast or brunch.  I have made Flaugnarde for my husband for each of his promotions for the last several years as a nice way to celebrate.

This recipe serves 8-10 making it perfect for a dinner party, holiday get-together, or for a family to enjoy for dessert one night and breakfast the next morning.  I hope you enjoy.

Apple Cranberry Flaugnarde
Prep Time: 30 min     Serves: 8 to 10 for dessert

  • 1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 2 cups boiling Water
  • 1 Apple, peeled, cored and sliced in 1/4 inch slices
  • 3/4 cup Milk
  • 3/4 cup Cream
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup Flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Butter to grease dish

Butter and flour tart dish or large pie plate and set aside.

Cover cranberries with boiling water and let sit for 10 min.

Arrange apple slices in tart dish.

In blender combine: milk, cream, vanilla, flour, sugar and salt.

Blend until smooth, about 1 minute.

Carefully pour batter on top of apples.

Strain cranberries and sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 400 for 25 minutes.

After baking let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tortellini Soup

I started making Tortellini Soup in college, and now it is one of the first soups I make every fall and one of the last I make every spring.  This is one of the easiest meals I can make, it goes together really quickly, and the whole family loves it.  This soup makes a meal when served with warm bread, or a fancy soup course for a meal of chicken or steak.  Tortellini Soup reheats well, and it is great for picnics and outdoor meals because it retains its heat for a long time. 

Tortellini Soup
Total Time: 30 min     Serves: 4 main course 8 appetizer

  • 1 package (20 oz) Tortellini pasta 
  • 4 cans (10 3/4 oz) Condensed Tomato Soup
  • 2 cans (14 oz) Chicken Broth
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups Italian cheese, grated (one pre-packaged bag)
  • 3 cups Milk (or two soup cans full)

Put medium pot of water on to boil.

In large pot stir together tomato soup, chicken stock and seasonings.  Bring to a boil.

When water in medium sized pot is boiling add tortellini and cook until all the tortellini's float.

Add cheese to soup, stirring to combine.

Reduce heat to low, add milk and cooked tortellini to soup, and stir to combine.

Check for seasoning and serve with grated cheese on top.

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