Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Anything you can do to draw attention to your mouth is good."

Thus spake Cher.  I had a couple "clueless" moments making this bread, including making the tomatoes twice.

#36 Tomato and Basil Bread

My house smells like pizza and my bread tastes delicious!

"I feel like such a heifer. I had two bowls of Special K, 3 pieces of turkey bacon, a handful of popcorn, 5 peanut butter M&M's and like 3 pieces of licorice. "

This recipe included sunblushed tomatoes, which are not really a thing in the US.  They are kind of like sundried tomatoes.  Mr. Paul Hollywood included a recipe for the tomatoes with the full recipe.  He said to cut tomatoes into slices, sprinkle with olive oil and heat in the oven at 225º F overnight.  I cooked them for about 3 hours and they were burnt and ruined.

Fortunately for me, Gwyneth Paltrow has a roasted tomato recipe in her new cookbook where she only halves the tomatoes (horizontally) and sprinkles with olive oil.  And they only stay in the oven 3-5 hours (I also turned the heat down to about 200º).  It worked soooo much better.

"You see how picky I am about my shoes and they only go on my feet."

The next problem came, as can be expected, when it came time to mix the tomatoes and basil into the dough.  I can't ever get things to mix in well.  I did my best, though.  Next, I was to roll the dough into a long sausage shape and tie it in a knot.  Here's how that went:

She's a full-on Monet.

"It's like a painting, see?  From far away, it's OK, but up close, it's a big old mess."

Ok, it's kind of a mess from any distance but it tasted pretty scrumptious.

Today's video shows the fabulousness that is one of my favorite movies.

With all the wisdom I have gained from Amy Heckerling's masterpiece, I bid you adieu.

"It's like that book I read in the 9th grade that said "'tis a far far better thing doing stuff for other people.""

P.S.  This movie marks the beginning of my love for Paul Rudd.  He's lovely.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fried (not so fried) Green (not so green) Tomatoes (yes, tomatoes)

#35 Focaccia Pugliese with Tomatoes and Garlic

My sous chef Mario Batali.  He lets me know the food smells good.

So this is the bread I was trying make when the tornadoes came through our area last time, today there were only warnings so I took a gamble that we wouldn't lose power and tried again.

"The secret's in the sauce."

This bread includes olive oil that has been infused with garlic.  It is supposed to infuse overnight, but "no longer than that" and since I don't know how long overnight is I just did about 5 hours to be safe (since I was gambling in other areas).

Cooking lesson:

Here's my finished bread!

It was delicious!  The tomatoes didn't really have much of an impact, but the bread was great!

Since Fried Green Tomatoes is such a great movie I'm including another video.

"Towanda!  Righter of Wrongs, Queen Beyond Compare!"

Arrivederci, ya'll.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

#34 Tsoureki-Cypriot Easter Bread

This year Catholic/Protestant Easter and Greek Orthodox Easter are celebrated on the same day.

Tsoureki (according to the infallible Wikipedia) is a traditional Easter Bread in Greece.  This recipe was based on a Cypriot version, but there are many versions.  The dyed eggs are red to represent the Blood of Christ.

This was the first time I had ever zested an orange.  Here's a photo of rising dough, boiling eggs and zested orange...the dough smelled amazing!

I'm still not sure what to do with the orange since I don't eat oranges.

This was an easy and pretty quick bread to make.  It should have looked like this:

It is not easy to get eggs a super red color.

See?  Mine are hot pink...which is cool but not the way they are supposed to be.

The bread tasted yummy!

This video is a clip from one of my all-time favorite movies, starring one of my favorite actors/writers Nia Vardalos.  She's super-funny.  If you are on twitter you should follow her.  The Easter scene starts at about the 5:30 mark.

Here's an interesting piece on Greek Orthodox Easter celebrations by Rita Wilson:


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sweet Pear Mini-pie

This has been a crazy weekend.  I made these mini-pies yesterday afternoon while waiting on a focaccia to do it's thing.  Immediately after finishing the pies, a storm hit and the power went out.  So there is no focaccia, today. The power has now been on for about 2 hours.

I created this recipe myself.  I had a pear that was getting really soft so I decided to cook it instead of eating mushy pear fresh.

Here's the recipe for my super-sweet, Pear Mini-pies.

Need 1 muffin tin

For dough:
3/4 cup white bread flour
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 large egg (or 1 med. egg)
1 tbsp unsalted butter

For filling:
1 pear, diced (may use two, and fill pies more)
1 tsp sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon

For topping:
1/3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/8 cup brown sugar (not packed down)
1/8 cup slivered almonds

1. Begin cooking filling ingredients over medium-low heat.
2. Preheat oven to 400°
3. While cooking pear mixture, mix flour, superfine sugar, egg and butter into a dough.
4. Divide dough into 4 pieces.  Make each piece into a ball and carefully flatten and shape into a thin disk.  Place each piece of dough in 1 muffin cup.
5. Mix together brown sugar and butter with fingertips to create a crumble.
6. Fill Cups with cooked pear, top with almonds and brown sugar crumble.
7. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
8. Let cook in pan, serve warm.

Makes 4 mini-pies.

Have a good week bread-heads!  Hopefully, I'll have bread to post about this week.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Meet the Focaccias

Today I made my 3rd focaccia bread.

There was Basil and Olive, Potato Focaccia Pugliese, and now...

#33 Mushroom, Onion, and Basil Focaccia

This bread involved cooking and baking, which made my day.

I had to cook mushrooms and onions to mix into the dough.

My kitchen smelled like a japanese restaurant.

This recipe was largely dairy-free.  It called for the mushrooms and onions to be cooked in olive oil and a little butter, so I followed the instructions instead of deviating like last week.  It could easily be done with no butter at all.

The focaccia dough is one of my favorites to mix just because it is so soft and smells really delicious.

I love it...I coddle it...ok, really I just wanted to find a way to get to this movie clip...

Here's the pro's bread.

Here's my lovely bread.

Aren't you a little cutie patootie Focaccia!  I could sing you a song...

See what I did there?

Have a great night!

...And remember:  "If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down...Oops, looks like I forgot my own rule." - Bernie Focker