Sunday, November 18, 2012

Whole Wheat Bread

I make this once a week... it makes two loaves and is adapted from my dear friend and best bread maker I know, Jenny B.

1/4 C warm water
1 T yeast

2 1/2 C hot water
1/3 C canola oil
1/3 C honey
1/2 T salt

1 1/2 C white flour
5+ C wheat flour

Put warm water in bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top, then swirl the water in the bowl to combime the yeast and water (this is my own method, people ask me specifically how i make this, so there you go). Give it 10+ minutes to get foamy on the top. Meanwhile, combine hot water, oil, honey, and salt and let it dissolve while yeast is proofing. Pour the hot water mixture into the yeast mixture and turn on hook to stir together. Add one cup of flour at a time until dough is all combined and sticking to the hook (like a cacoon, as Char would say). Knead for 2 minutes. Put in a greased bowl I( just spray with cooking spray) and cover with a light towl. Let rise for about an hour or until doubled... then split dough in half and place in a greased bread pan... let rise for a half hour and then cook at 350 for 35 minutes!

Root Veggie Saute

See if this makes to it the Thanksgiving feast!

2 T olive oil
3 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 in cubes
2 C beets, (4 C if you LOVE them, like me) cut any way you like :)
1/2 C diced yellow onion
2 tsp minced garlic
4 1/2 C chopped fresh kale
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t black pepper
2 T craisins
4 T chopped pecans/walnuts
4 T crumbled goat cheese (I LOVE goat cheese)

In a large skillet, heat oil over med-high heat. Add squash, beets, onion, garlic, and cook until squash is lightly browned and slightly tender, about 7 minutes. Add kale, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and cook until kale is wilted and squash is tender, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat. Add craisins and nuts, toss to combine, and sprinkle with heavenly goat cheese. YUM!

Israeli Couscous with Chickpeas, Brussels Sprouts, & Asparagus

So this has been an easy, go to meal for us lately... and it's meatless, which we try to do a few times a week!

3 C Brussels sprouts
2 T olive oil
2T balsamic vinegar
1 medium bunch asparagus
1 15 oz can chick peas, rinsed and drained
2 C uncooked Israeli couscous
2.5 tbsp lemon juice
2 T minced garlic
1/2 C grated parmesam cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Cut brussels sprouts in half, toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook for 20-22 min, tossing at the half way point.
Meanwhile, cook couscous according to package directions and chop up asparagus and stem.
Once brussel sprouts, couscous, and asparagus are done, combine them all in a large bowl along with chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, parm cheese and salt and pepper. Stir everything together and eat up!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Smoky Bacon Scalloped Potatoes

Wow, it's been a while! In my defense, we HAVE moved to the other side of the world, so I haven't just been sitting around doing nothing :) But my friend Chaoyi reminded me that at one point I DID post recipes on this blog, so I'm trying to do a little better! And what better excuse do I need than the fact that Thanksgiving is coming up?!?

A couple years ago, I wrote a post and listed (with links) our basic Thanksgiving menu. I thought I'd post the link again in case you are looking for some ideas this year:

The big difference this year is that Jeremy is smoking our Thanksgiving turkey! For graduation from residency, he got a Big Green Egg and I've been fighting for his attention on the weekends ever since ;) Just kidding... kind of. Last weekend he "practiced" for Thanksgiving with a 12-pound bird, and this is what we had for dinner:

It really was amazing. It only took 90 minutes to cook, and it tasted UN.BE.LIEVABLE. Usually I can go without the turkey on Thanksgiving--I look forward to the side dishes more... But no longer! And now I feel like this crown jewel needs something new to go along with it! Something less "traditional" on the menu than what we're used to... And something with a smoky flavor to complement the turkey. So I looked at for some fresh ideas. Of course they didn't disappoint.

And so I give you... Smoky Bacon Scalloped Potatoes! It's a variation on a recipe from the Neelys at Food Network; click HERE for the link to the original recipe. But I modified it quite a bit, so I'll just write it out with my changes below. You're welcome in advance :)

Smoky Bacon Scalloped Potatoes
3 TB butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 C half-and-half
2-3 tsp smoked paprika (I used Penzey's Hungarian Smoked)
8 large russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
8 slices cooked bacon, chopped
2 C smoked Gouda cheese, grated
1/2 C Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 dish with 1 TB butter; melt the remaining 2 TB in a large saucepan (trust me, you want it to be big--you'll be putting all the potato slices in it). Once the butter foams, add the shallots and garlic and sauté till softened, 3-4 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 2 minutes (but watch it, you don't want it to burn). Season with salt and pepper; then add the half-and-half, smoked paprika, and potatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes; again, watch this--I know from experience what an unbelievable pain it is to scrub the burnt stuff off the bottom of the pan...

Pour half of the potato mixture into the buttered casserole dish. Shake the pan to arrange the potatoes in an even layer. Sprinkle half of each of the cheeses and half the bacon on top of the bottom potato layer. Add the remaining potatoes, even the layer out again, and sprinkle on the rest of the cheeses and bacon. Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes or until bubbly. Remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes, until the cheese is golden and browned. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.