Monthly Archives: January 2016

French Baguette

I have a new kitchen.  I have a new oven that is very nice. But….the new oven vents directly into the kitchen. So need less to say it doesn’t allow any steam to accumulate for baking baguettes, baguettes have to have steam to get their beautiful crisp crust.  This unfortunately isn’t possible with my new oven.  Enter Emile Henry’s new baguette baker it’s awesome!

Emile Henry manufactures some of the most beautiful bakeware from France.  They have three new pieces a cloche, a loaf baker and a baguette baker.  If you have a chance please try these out!


 

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French Baguettes

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Baguette

Makes 3 baguettes, adapted from Emile Henry

3 cups bread flour
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Combine water (110 degrees), yeast, flour, and salt.  Cover and allow to rise for 45-60 minutes.

Knead well and divide dough into thirds, create the baguettes by rolling into lengths.  Grease and flour the mold and place the dough into the molds.  Cover with the lid and allow to raise a second time, 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Brush baguettes with water, and cut slashes across the tops.  Bake for 25 minutes covered, remove lid and bake an additional 25 minutes until golden brown.

Minestrone Soup

Soup is just one of those dishes that speaks volumes to cold weather! It says back off cold, you don’t stand a chance if I’m around.  Minestrone is full of wonderful vegetables and spices that not only taste fantastic, it’s really good for you too!  So pull that big pot out of the cupboard and prepare to curl up with a big bowl of, “warm up.”


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Warm up!

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Minestrone and Baguette

Minestrone Soup

1 onion, diced

1 Tablespoon olive oil

3 carrots, diced

3 sticks of celery, diced

1 Bay leaf

1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cups sun dried tomatoes

6 cups chicken stock

4 teaspoons garlic powder

3 teaspoons dried oregano

2 cans dice tomatoes

2 oz parmesan

1 can pinto beans

1 can kidney beans

2 zucchini, diced

1 1/2 cups cooked pasta

Sauté onions in olive oil and then add carrots, celery and sun dried tomatoes.  Continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes.  Incorporate stock and remaining ingredients, retain zucchini and pasta to be added the last 20 minutes.  Slow simmer the soup for 3 hours. Top with grated parmesan and place in a beautiful bowl and life is good. The flavors will develop over time.  Eaten the day after it is made, this soup is a wonderful warming meal.


January 28, 2016

 

The merits of using the good stuff! Tupelo Honey

When I say, “the good stuff,” I mean quality ingredients.  The fresher, less processed, stuff.  If its possible I buy the organic no GMO ingredients at the grocery if it isn’t I usually do without.  One of the ingredients I love is honey.  Whether its being stirred into tea or spread onto toast a good honey that hadn’t been messed with is a beautiful thing.

Tupelo Honey is special! Tupelo Honey is the gold standard by which all other honey varieties are measured. For two weeks every spring, White (Ogeche) Tupelo Trees in the Southeastern swamps bloom with fine sunburst-shaped flowers that glisten with nectar. Tupelo honey’s high fructose content resists crystallization for years. Some diabetics use Tupelo as a sweetener because of its high fructose (levulose) content.

Since Tupelo trees grow in swampy areas and because some beekeepers want the hives close to the trees, it is not uncommon for the beehives to be place on platforms to avoid flooding along side of the swamp. Some beekeepers still use boats to access their hives and some go so far as to also put their hives on barges.

With Tupelo’s light floral aroma and excellent balance it pairs beautifully with blue cheeses and fruit.  So eat it up its one of the few things that tastes great and is also good for you! Come here Honey!

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Tupelo Honey

 

Cornbread

Being a child of the “Baby Boom,” everything my mother made or didn’t make came from some type of box, and cornbread was no exception. I was raised thinking that there was no other way to make it.  But once I moved away from home and started learning about different foods and styles of cooking there was no slowing down or looking back.

I found that I liked a sweeter more cake-like cornbread and that the little blue box just didn’t do it for me.  I came up with this recipe after a great deal of experimenting and have used it for the last 20 years.  I hope you enjoy it!


 

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Cornbread and Honey

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Cornbread

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

Preheat oven to 400° and grease one 8 in. Square baking pan.

Whisk together milk, vegetable oil, and egg, in a medium size bowl.

Sift together dry ingredients and pour into wet ingredients. Combine well but do not over mix. Poor mixture into prepared baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Serve this with a little Tupelo Honey and you have pure ambrosia. This is so easy and so much better than the boxed stuff!

Bolognese Sauce

A good Bolognese recipe is something you should always have, “in your back pocket. “. With the weekend coming up and cold weather and snow in the forecast here, pasta is just what the weather is calling for. This recipe does take a little time hence, it’s one of those things you might want to do over the weekend. But, with it cooking for 3 to 4 hours on the stovetop, or in the slow cooker, it makes the whole house smell great.

This recipe is also one of those biggies. That means it makes quite a bit, this recipe will serve between 10 and 12 people. So you can have people over for supper this weekend or you can put the other half into the freezer, it freezes great! Take your pick.


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Start with the good stuff

Bolognese and a little wine make a wonderful meal!

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Cemetery Wine one of my favorites and it has a wonderful label.

Bolognese Sauce
1 1/2 pounds 80/20 ground beef
1 pound dice pork
3 tablespoons butter infused olive oil
1 cup carrots diced
1 cup celery diced
1 cup onions diced
Salt
Pepper
Nutmeg
2 cups milk
2 cups white wine
1200 grams diced Baby Roma Tomatoes
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes

In a large cast iron Dutch oven heat olive oil over medium heat, add onions and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Next sauté carrots and celery. Next brown ground beef and pork until all meat is no longer pink.

Season with salt pepper and several grinds of fresh nutmeg.
Pour in milk and allow to evaporate over a low simmer. Once this has evaporated pour in the white wine and allow it also to evaporate over a low simmer.
At this stage you have two options, you can either transfer the mixture to a slow cooker and add the tomatoes, (high temp for 3-4 hours). Or you can continue in the Dutch oven, add your tomatoes and proceed to slow cook the sauce for the next 3 hours on the lowest slimmer possible.

This sauce gets better with age so if you want to make it a couple of days ahead and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve it thats okay too.  I serve it with a good grating of parmesan and a sprinkle of red pepper flake, a grind of additional nutmeg is a good idea too.

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Stay warm this weekend!