Thursday, April 30, 2009

English Muffin Toasting Bread

If you read my blog regularly, you're already painfully aware that I've recently become crazy over bread baking. And by crazy, I don't just mean I'm a few slices shy of a full loaf, I mean I'm certifiably obsessed. I can smell a bag of flour a mile away and I immediately gravitate toward the baking section of whatever store I'm in, hoping to score a new type of flour that I don't already possess.

Don't believe me? Check out how ridiculously full of flour my freezer and cupboards are.
King Arthur and I are now on a first name basis. "Hey Art," I say when I ring him up. "Send me a couple hundred pounds of your best organic whole wheat."

Of course I'd never let Art know that I occasionally cheat on him with others. Bread baking junkies like me can't always afford the high dollar flour fix.

This type of all-or-none behavior is not new to me. My family hates to hear that I've found a new hobby, because they know that I don't know the meaning of the word "moderation," and that whatever this newest hobby is, they'll have to eat, breath and sleep it with me as well.

It's the challenge, of course, that fixates me. I get that. Baking bread is an art form and it truly does take time to master the craft. I'm the type that jumps into a challenge with both feet. And then once I master it, I typically get bored and move on. Bear with me until I get bored, OK?

This particular recipe interested me for several reasons. It's very easy and quick to make, taking less than an hour and a half from start to finish. Also, the reviews touted its great toasting characteristics as well as how wonderfully it worked as a panini bread. (ummm... yeah, I know... yet another obsession of mine.)

This recipe actually came from the King Arthur flour website, and if you check it out there, you'll find all the step-by-step photos that are very helpful for beginners (like myself.) And if you go to King Arthur's Baker's Banter, you'll find many more invaluable tips and tricks to help you be successful with this recipe.

English Muffin Toasting Bread

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan

Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl.

Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F

Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.

Beat at high speed for 1 minute. The dough will be very soft.

Lightly grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal.

Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.

Cover the pan, and let the dough rise till it's just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. When you look at the rim of the pan from eye level, you should see the dough, but it shouldn't be more than, say, 1/4" over the rim. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you heated the liquid to the correct temperature and your kitchen isn't very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 20 to 22 minutes, till it's golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.

Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.

NOTES: The next time I make this I will replace some of the all purpose flour with white whole wheat flour.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lazy Lasagna (You're just going to have to trust me)


What is the number one thing we hate about making lasagna? (you won't need long to think of your answer.)

We hate boiling and fussing with the noodles! They stick to each other, they tear, and they freaking burn our fingers!

I finally broke down and tried the "no boil" method for my lasagna to take to Tennessee last week. I'll admit this was a gutsy move, in that if it didn't work out, I'd be responsible for taking the whole gang out to dinner on Friday night (my designated meal night.) It totally worked out, and I will NEVER boil lasagna noodles again!

I actually doubled this recipe and made two pans. Those throw-away aluminum/plastic covered lasagna pans they sell at the store work great for this recipe.

Lasagna... NO BOIL!

8 lasagna noodles
1/2 lb. very lean ground beef
1/2 lb. lean Italian turkey sausage
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced (I used a red one)
8 oz white button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
dash of crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
6-8 cups of your favorite jarred pasta sauce (this ended up being 1 1/2 jars for me)
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp fresh italian parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
2-3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Soak lasagna noodles in a tray of hot tap water for 15 minutes.

Place ground beef, sausage, onion, and bell pepper in large skillet. Season with salt and pepper and brown until meat is cooked through and veggies are opaque. Drain. Add in mushrooms, garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until mushrooms lose liquid, 3-5 minutes. Stir in pasta sauce, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Mix together ricotta, egg, garlic powder, parsley and then season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray baking dish with cooking spray. (Use one that is approximately the same length as the lasagna noodles.)

Drain lasagna noodles from soaking water.

Spread approximately two cups of the meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Layer 4 lasagna noodles on top of sauce. Spread with half of ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella. Cover with another 2 cups of sauce. Layer on remaining noodles, followed by remaining ricotta and mozzarella. Spread remaining sauce over top. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over all.

Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 25 minutes.

Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Back Home From Tennessee

We're back from vacation and no worse for the wear. Well, maybe just a little bit worse. Kellen's girlfriend Amber was sick with bronchitis over the weekend and by the time we left for home yesterday morning, three of us had sore throats and the sniffles. When I first woke up yesterday morning, I initially thought that this was the cause of my heavy head:
But as the day went on, I realized that I was coming down with a spring cold. It made for a VERY long seven hour drive home, let me tell you. I've almost forgiven Amber and her germs because she made this chocolate cake with peanut butter icing for the weekend.

I'll completely forgive her when she gives me the recipe.

We packed all the comforts of home, including Guitar Hero for those who simply couldn't be away from it for a weekend.
And we took a time out to watch The Office on Thursday night.
Here's the gang before they went horseback riding.
Drinking games abounded. I had no idea Jenga could be turned into a drinking game! And yes, of course we had to play beer pong. No photos of that fiasco. It got ugly, suffice it to say.
Most of the younger crowd went white water rafting on Sunday afternoon. I stayed behind to watch the wasps build their nests on the deck out back. It was actually rather relaxing to sit in the rocking chair and soak in nature.
All in all, it was a wonderful weekend, filled with abundant laughter and craziness. I so enjoy spending time with my family.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Weekend Get-Away

When hubby and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary last November, the kids presented us with a basket filled with gifts (think clues) that led us to discover that they'd rented a cabin for a weekend get away in Tennessee.
That weekend starts tomorrow! And lasts through Monday.

The kids are all going to be there too, which really makes this whole trip special. I really enjoy when we can all get together.

The weather is supposed to be lovely, with temperatures in the 80's, and this hot tub will get a workout, no doubt.

As will the rocking chairs on the deck overlooking the beautiful mountain scenery.

See y'all next week! I'll take lots of pictures.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Whole Grain Sourdough Blueberry Muffins


OK, so I was a liar a few weeks back when I swore I was throwing away my sourdough starter. As tempted as I was to do just that, a small part of me clung to the fact that I'd created this living entity and I'd even bonded with him by naming him Bart (Bart Starr-ter. If you don't get it, don't worry... I'm old) So anyway, I decided to give Bart a few more weeks to develop himself to his full sourdough potential. This morning he was all smelly (good smelly) and I could really see the gluten strands running through him and I swear I felt his need to be made into a blueberry muffin. So that's what I did.

The original recipe by Richard Packham can be found here. I modified it by eliminating the nuts and making it whole grain and a little bit sweeter.

Whole Grain Sourdough Blueberry Muffins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12 count muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.

In large bowl combine:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup dry milk powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (If frozen, do NOT thaw)
1/4 tsp cinnamon

In another bowl combine:

1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup fresh sourdough starter

Whisk together dry ingredients and blueberries. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring only enough to moisten and thoroughly combine. Spoon evenly into muffin tins. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let cool for a couple of minutes before removing to cooling rack to finishing cooling.

*NOTE* The next time I make these, I will add a teaspoon of vanilla and cut back on the flour by about a quarter of a cup.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pot Roast and Barley Stew

With temperatures in the 70's today I suppose I should have leaned toward a lighter menu, maybe a salad or grilled sandwich, but I knew I had the most wonderful leftover pot roast sitting in its rich gravy-like juices in the fridge. And I almost took the quick route, I really did. Beef and noodles takes about twenty minutes from start to finish and I could have called it quits.... and maybe stepped out into the back yard to pull some weeds. In the end, I realized I also had some parsnips and carrots that needed to get used, so I opted to make this beef and barley stew instead. (Yeah, like I really wanted to pull weeds anyway.)

The method to this particular beef stew recipe really does involve leftover pot roast and its juices. I also have other beef stew recipes that involve using fresh cubed stew beef, but those require an entirely different cooking technique. This pot roast was made in the crock pot. I covered it with an envelope of "Lipton Savory Herb with Garlic" soup mix then dumped in a can of Campbell's Beef Consomme. Slapped the lid on and cooked on low for 8 hours. When I shredded the leftovers I dumped the juices from the crock pot over the meat and refrigerated. This morning I skimmed the fat off the top and this is what I was left with. YUM!

Pot Roast and Barley Stew

Leftover shredded pot roast with pan juices. I'm guessing I had about a pound of meat, maybe a little more.
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed (not the quick-cooking kind)
5 cups beef broth, divided
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
2 TBSP olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 TBSP tomato paste
2 TBSP flour
1/3 cup dry red wine (I used a pinot noir)
1 TBSP worchestershire sauce
2-3 carrots, small dice
2 parsnips, diced (you could also use potatoes)
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
handful of parsley, chopped

In small pot, combine rinsed barley, 2 1/2 cups beef broth, pinch of salt, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until barley is tender, approximately 45 minutes. Remove bay leaf and set aside.

In soup/stew pot, heat olive oil. Add onion, celery and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper and saute for 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute or two. Stir in tomato paste, then sprinkle all with the flour. Cook and stir for several minutes so flour loses raw taste. Stir in wine, worchestershire sauce and the rest of the beef broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and stir to thicken. Add in carrots and parsnips, season again with salt and pepper, and continue cooking until veggies are tender, approximately 15 minutes. Remember to stir occasionally to prevent sticking and burning. Stir in corn and peas and cook for another minute or two. Add in pot roast with juices and reserved cooked barley. Add thyme and parsley and season again with salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chicken Cordon Lou


After being on hiatus for nearly a year, Rescue Me finally had its 5th season premiere last week. This is clearly one of television's rawest and gutsiest programs and I love the fact that the writers have thrown political correctness out the window. Drama and dark humor pair well in this series about post-911 firemen and the host of ghosts and dysfunctions that affect them. Aside from Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary,) my favorite character is Lieutenant (Lou) Kenny Shea (John Scurti.) The crass and witty banter between Tommy and Lou is delightfully quick and oozes sarcasm and the aforementioned political incorrectness. Funny. Stuff. I've actually spent the past week renting and rewatching the first four seasons, and that is why this particular blog post came to be.

Lou is known around the firehouse for his cooking skills and this recipe for Chicken Cordon Lou is how I would imagine him to whip up this dish for Tommy, Franco, Mikey and Sean. While the method is a far cry from the traditional chicken cordon blue technique, the result was a very tasty dish with all the basic ingredients plus a few more. Tossed together and thrown in a casserole dish, this makes for a relatively quick and easy weekday dinner.

Chicken Cordon Lou.... (Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole)

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4" cubes
1/2 pound ham, chopped into bite size pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
1/2 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/4-1/2 cup fat free half and half
2 ounces reduced fat swiss cheese, shredded
3 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
1-2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
handful of chopped parsley
1 cup brown rice, cooked according to package directions
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 Tbsp butter, melted

Season chicken breast cubes with salt and pepper. Heat one tablespoon oil in skillet and brown/cook chicken cubes, approximately 5 minutes. Add in ham pieces and lightly brown. Remove from pan and set aside. Heat other tablespoon oil and butter in skillet. Add onion and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper and saute until onion is translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute or two. Sprinkle veggies with flour and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes so flour loses raw taste. Stir in broth and bouillon, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened. Remove from heat and add half and half and cheeses. Stir until smooth. Add in thyme and parsley. Combine sauce with chicken, ham and rice. Pour into greased casserole dish. Combine panko with melted butter and spread evenly over casserole. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Curried White Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

Loaded with veggies and beans, this soup is a delicious and low-fat way to incorporate nutrients and fiber into your meal plan. It's also a great way to clean out your vegetable bin!

Adjust the amount of curry powder according to your own individual taste.

Curried White Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

2 TBSP olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. minced ginger
salt and pepper
1 TBSP curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
6 cups chicken stock
3 oz. fresh baby spinach (1/2 a bag) chopped
3 cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed

In large soup pot heat olive oil and saute onion, carrot, celery, and red pepper until softened, approximately 5-7 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, curry powder and cumin and saute another minute or two. Add chicken stock and sweet potato and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, 30-35 minutes. Add spinach and simmer an additional 5 minutes. In food processor, puree one can of beans with a few tablespoons of broth or water and stir into soup. Add the other two cans of beans to soup and heat thoroughly.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Favorite Gizmos, Gadgets, and Food Products

I've decided to start a blog post that highlights my favorite gadgets, gizmos, and food products. Every home cook has her/his favorites, and I know that I've come to find and use many of my favorites by reading other home cooks' blog posts. So in the interest of "paying it forward," here are my favorites. These are not in order of preference, but rather in order of when/how I've most recently thought of and/or used them. Check back often, as I may have decided to give one billion dollars to the first person who leaves a comment.

Item Number One:

NO BONES ABOUT IT... MY FAVORITE STOCK/BOUILLON SUBSTITUTE

I'm not a purist when it comes to beef or chicken broth/stock. I make my own when there are bones available to do so, but when I'm boneless, I have no qualms about using broth from a can/box. However, when I need to add concentrated flavor to a dish without adding much liquid, I've found this first item on my "must have" list to be superior to bouillon cubes. So anytime you see "bouillon" listed in my recipes, I'm using this product, Savory Choice. I order it a couple of times a year from Amazon. It's available in beef, chicken and vegetarian varieties. I love it... in a totally broth-erly kind of way.
Item Number Two:

AMORE' DOUBLE CONCENTRATED TOMATO PASTE

I love this product first and foremost for its excellent, non-tinny tomato flavor, but I'm as equally fond of it for its non-waste factor. Just squeeze out the amount you want, slap on the cap, and store it in your fridge. No more throwing out half cans of tomato paste! This is available at Amazon, but I've also found it at my local Meijer store in the Italian foods section.



Item Number Three:

MY WUSTHOF 7" SANTOKU KNIFE

A few years back, when my teenaged son was way too gifted and intelligent to work in the fast food industry, he worked a brief stint as a Cutco knife representative. By brief, I mean one week. And let's just get it out in the open already, I was his only sale.

My Cutco knives have been a great addition to my kitchen tools, but they've been just "OK" in my books. I'll label them adequate, especially since I had no previous experience with quality knives. I cut and chopped, but I wasn't enjoying the experience..... if that makes any sense (don't worry if it doesn't.)

Two years ago, my other son purchased a gift certificate from Williams Sonoma for me for Mother's Day. You can almost imagine my excitement and dedication-to-purchase as I spent nearly a half a day in the store. I'd done my research prior to visiting the store, and I was fairly certain that I wanted to spend this gift certificate on a quality knife. Online reviews pointed me toward purchasing a Wusthof 7" Santoku. OMG... I finally GET why gearhead guys get so excited about the engines in their cars and trucks, and how fishing guys can spend a boatload on one tiny little lure! Quality tools make all the difference in the world!

I love my Wusthof Santoku. Without making it sound weird, I just need you to know how much more I enjoy cutting and chopping. In fact, it's really the part of cooking I most look forward to. It's cathartic, somehow, like the repetitive, tiny sewing stitches must be to a quilter.

If you only have one quality knife, let it be a Wusthof. Item Number Four:

KITCHEN AID MIXER

This is the end-all, beat-all of mixers. If you can pony up the bucks initially to afford this beauty, chances are you'll never have to buy another mixer. It is sleek, and strong, and (just ask Sandra Lee,) you can purchase it in like a bazillion different colors to coordinate with your daily tablescapes. But I digress, and speak only out of jealousy, obviously. If Sandra has a warehouse pantry in which she can store a bazillion Kitchen Aids, why should that bother me?

Ok, now that you've got me started, I'm going to have to go balls to the walls. Why... WHy....WHY..WHYYY.. does she have color coordinated Kitchen Aid mixers on every episode, yet she pulls out her hand-held wussy mixer whenever she actually needs to use a mixer? Is she purposely trying to piss me off? (my therapissed thinks so)

Anyway. After having probably three or four lesser models throughout my homemaking years, I finally purchased a Kitchen Aid. I've yet to be disappointed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Buttercream Icing (and the cookies it rode in on)


Today was sugar cookie decorating day. I rarely bake and decorate on the same day as it becomes too much of an ordeal and my kitchen can only handle so much mess at one time. Check out the chaos from today's frosting fest. (Kitchens are like purses. We'll fill them with clutter no matter how large they are!)

For the smooth glaze layer I used King Arthur's glazing sugar. It dries quickly to a glossy sheen upon which I'm able to easily pipe the details with my favorite buttercream icing recipe.


This particular buttercream recipe includes meringue powder to help the soft frosting crust over just a bit and make the cookies more stacking and storage friendly


Buttercream Icing

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp clear vanilla
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximate 1 lb)
3 Tbsp meringue powder
2 Tbsp milk

Sift together confectioners' sugar and meringue powder.

Cream butter and shortening with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape down beater and sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been beaten in icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep icing covered while decorating as it dries out quickly.



Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Roasted Vegetable, Northern Bean and Sausage Stew

I know, I know.. it's Spring, and I should be well past my need to make soups and stews, but it was cold and windy here this morning and I was in the mood for beans, specifically beans with a hearty/meaty/gravy base. I think I may have been channeling my inner Aunt Bea. Andy and Opie would have et this all up.
Roasted Vegetable, Northern Bean and Sausage Stew

1 lb dried northern beans, rinsed, soaked and cooked per package instruction. I added 1 Tbsp fennel seed and 2 bay leaves during the boiling process. Drain, remove bay leaves and set beans aside. You'll use about half of this amount of beans. Bag and freeze remainder for another meal. (You could use two cans of drained/rinsed northern beans, but the fennel and bay leaves really do add an additional, noticeable layer of flavor.)

1 lb. new red potatoes, skins left on, diced into 1" pieces
2 carrots, diced into 1" pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced into 1" pieces
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
2 tsp thyme leaves, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, paper removed, leave whole

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Place all prepared veggies except garlic in a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs. Spread in single layer onto baking sheet. Place garlic cloves in a separate piece of foil, sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Wrap closed and add to the baking sheet with the other vegetables.

Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until vegetables are fork tender, stirring once after 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

12 oz. fully cooked chicken or turkey sausage links. (I used Applegate Farms fire roasted red pepper chicken and turkey sausage links) Slice links in half lengthwise, then dice into 1/2" pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, with leaves, diced
salt and pepper
2 heaping Tbsp all purpose flour
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 quart chicken broth
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 Tbsp worchestershire sauce

In soup pot, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add sausage and brown, 3-5 minutes. Remove sausage pieces to drain on paper towel. Add other Tbsp olive oil to pot and add onion and celery. Season with salt and pepper and saute until translucent, approximately 5-7 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and then sprinkle with flour. Stir constantly over medium heat to cook rawness out of flour. Whisk in chicken broth, bouillon cube and worchestershire sauce. Press roasted garlic through garlic press and add to the mix. Bring back to boiling, then reduce heat and continue cooking until thickened a bit. Simmer for 8-10 minutes over medium-low heat. Add roasted veggies, sausage and beans back into soup and heat through thoroughly.




Guinness Bread

You thought this was going to be a beer bread recipe, didn't you?

By Guinness bread I mean BIG bread. Extremely ginormous, world-record-breaking bread.

And of course it was an accident. I would never purposely make a loaf of bread that I'd have to buy a plus-size toaster for. This monstrosity was merely the result of a failed sourdough recipe. And on that note, please know that I've given up on ever making sourdough again. I admit defeat.

After lovingly caring for a sourdough starter for two weeks, I picked yesterday as the "big day" to make my very first loaf of sourdough bread. The bread recipe matters not here, as it will never be repeated. After mixing and kneading the ingredients yesterday morning, I left my lovely dough to rise while I went about my daily business. Ten hours later, it hadn't risen ONE INCH. Nothing, nada, zip.

What to do? Toss it? Well, before I could let myself throw it into the trash, I decided to toss it back into the mixing bowl and add some instant yeast. A few more minutes of Kitchen Aid kneading, and back into the bowl to see if it would rise.

It bubbled, and swelled, and rose past dimensions of any other dough I've worked with thus far. It took on a life of its own, and I found myself keeping the dog away from it, fearing that it would suck him up for fuel. I was roasting vegetables in the oven at the time the dough had reached its doubled size (thus prolonging the life of the yeast beast even further,) so by the time the loaf hit the oven, it was oozing over the sides of the bread pan.

Forty minutes later, I removed my freak show from the oven. While I waited for it to cool, I gassed up the chain saw because I knew I didn't have a big enough knife to slice through the larger-than-life loaf.
Guess what. It actually tasted great! Crusty, soft and chewy. Like I said, I won't be repeating this as there are many other yeast bread recipes out there that take less than 14 hours to make, but it did make for an interesting experiment, none-the-less.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pineapple Salsa Pizza

I'm ready for Lent to be over for several reasons, meatless Fridays being right up there on the list. It's not so much that I have to have meat every day, it's more that I run out of ideas for meals that don't include it. Our typical Lenten pizza is topped with oven roasted vegetables and cheese. Not too much exciting going on there. So when I came across a recipe that used salsa for the sauce, it gave me a reason to try Lent pizza one more time. The original recipe called for pineapple mango chiptle salsa, which I couldn't find at my local grocery store. So I settled for Paul Newman's pineapple salsa. Slightly sweet and with a hint of heat, this salsa became the sauce atop a whole wheat Boboli pizza crust. I then topped it with monterey jack and swiss cheeses, followed by thin slices of red and green bell pepper and some diced green onions. I baked it at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes.
When I make this the next time (outside of Lent,) I plan on adding some turkey bacon to the list of toppings. I'm also considering subbing blue cheese for the swiss cheese.