While not a perfect baguette, they tasted good. I still need to work on shaping and not falling asleep during the second proofing. So, I am not sure I can cross off baguettes yet as I work my way through Ciril Hitz's "Baking Artisan Bread".
The brioche turned out remarkably well considering all the problems I had making the dough. Just as I was starting to mix the dough, my mixer blew out and I was forced into mixing and kneading by hand. After I had the dough mixed and ready for the freezer, I realized I had forgotten to add the sugar. Maybe, I should have dumped the dough and start over but I kneaded the sugar in and reshaped the dough. AND, the grandma's old brioche pans ended up not usable.
Despite all the problems, the end product was very good and I will be trying again to perfect the brioche.
This week, I have a new mixer being delivered which I am looking forward to.
When you have a tiny kitchen like mine, there is no room for appliances like a panini press. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have one if I had the space and the money but it is easy to get the same results with a couple of bricks and heavy duty aluminum foil. The cuban is one of my favorite sandwiches and easy to make at home.
Ingredients: Loaf of Cuban bread butter mustard mild flavored ham roast pork (in today's cuban, I used pulled pork shoulder that we smoked) dill pickle slices baby swiss cheese
Cut bread in half lengthwise. Butter top and inside of bread. Spread mustard on top slice. Layer with pickles, pork,ham and then cheese.
Grill on hot pan with foil covered bricks to press sandwich.
Now that it is too hot to garden, my summer plans are to bake my way through Ciril Hitz "Baking Artisan Bread". My goal when purchasing this book was to perfect my baguette. The flavor and texture of the dough that I use is good, could be better (ten fold better than my local French bakery) but my shaping needs considerable improvement.
My family loves my baguettes but I am striving for consistent perfection with not only a good taste and crumb but a perfectly shaped bread.
I bake two baguettes a day and it is near impossible to have enough left over to make crostini. With fig season coming up, I may have to double up on my baking.
Below is my favorite baguette video, I am too embarrassed to tell you how many times I have watched it.
I have a couple of bread challenges that I have to tackle. Many of my baking issues can't be changed, such as having the smallest kitchen in the U.S. My entire kitchen is 8 foot by 8 foot which includes a standard sized refrigerator, standard stove and a dishwasher, so I can tell you that I have a tight working area. In addition, my countertop is unusally high which makes mixing, kneading and shaping dough difficult, not to mention a small work surface.
With the heat of the oven, I am not able to use a baking stone because of the time it takes to heat the stone. Living in a tropical area, having a hot kitchen is the summer is hard on the utility bill. I am thinking of getting a second gas oven and putting it in my garage until we can build a summer kitchen. Mulling over the pros and cons of this idea.
The above issues are easy, my biggest challenge in baking was when I was living in the gypsy wagon and had only a small electric convenction toaster oven to bake with. With a bit of practice, I was able to make a good boule using a dutch oven artisan bread technique. and I even experimented and came up with a lovely chocolate cherry version which made the best grilled cream cheese sandwiches. Sorry, no recipe for the chocolate cherry as I just added to the basic boule recipe.
Back to the "Baking Artisan Bread" book, I have read it cover to cover, devoring every word. This is going to be a summer of bread baking and I thought I would start with perfecting and tweaking my baguette and work my way through the book chapter by chapter. I have decided instead to start on chapter/formula nine: Brioche. The pans have been pulled out of storage and I am ready to bake tomorrow.
I love good bread and I am planning a bread vacation where we take the gypsy wagon on the road wandering and sampling bakeries along the way. My dream is to attend one of these workshops. Guess you could say I am Ciril Hitz biggest fan.
Homeade pork and beans, so yummy and easy. I used this recipe as a starting point and didn't change it much. In place of the meat that was called for in the recipe, I used a few smoked ribs that were left over from Saturday's meal.
Homemade pork and beans is a perfect way to extend meat or to use a small amount of meat leftovers. The other change was that I added an additional 1/2 teaspoon of salt, omitted the cilantro and Tabasco sauce. The next time, I will add one more jalapeno pepper, as I couldn't taste the one that I used. I think one more will be perfect without making it hot.
I didn't have rice made in time for the beans but this recipe makes enough that I can have beans and rice tomorrow. This is a perfect make ahead or freezer meal as it is better the second day or when reheated.
Diane asked, "Just curious ~ what is one (or more!) of your fave ways to use your mint jelly",
So let me count the ways: 1. on toast 2. as a glaze for chicken and pork chops 3. as a condiment for lamb 4. on a cold meat sandwich, especially post-Thanksgiving turkey 5. as a de-glazing sauce 6. on brie cheese baked in a puff pastry crust 7. peanut butter and jelly sandwich 8. on a grilled cheese sandwich 9. on vanilla ice cream 10. on steamed carrots 11. as a dip for won tons 12. as a dip for grilled sausage bites 13. on warm biscuits with breakfast 14. glaze for chicken wings 15. spread on cornbread 16. with cream cheese on a bagel 17. on pancakes 18. on a Dutch Baby (see earlier post) 19. in hot tea 20. put into the center of cupcakes 21. mixed with greek yogurt as a vegetable dip 22. on top of cheesecake 23. as a glaze for shrimp 24. between layers of a chocolate cake 25. and right off the spoon
Have you been following all the controversy with Pinterest? To pin or not to pin.
Just letting everyone know this is a pin friendly blog, so pin anything on my blog that you like.
And back to what's going on..
Already this year, I have a bumper crop of mint. I am so glad that I contained the two that I planted as it is a crazy invasive plant. Where I live it is a joke that if you have mint growing on your property the best way to get rid of it is to move.
So, with this much mint it is a good thing that I love to make jellies. For the Mint Jalapeno jelly that I made today, I used my chocolate mint. The aroma of this mint incredible and made into an excellent jelly.
Jalapeno Mint Jelly
2 cups fresh mint, finely chopped (reserve 1/3 cup) 1 1/2 cups water 3 1/2 cups sugar 3/4 cups apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 3 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped 1 envelope liquid fruit pectin
Combine 1 2/3 cup mint and water, bring to a boil. Cover and let mint steep for 30 minutes. Strain this liquid through a fine sieve and press mint to release as much liquid as possible. Set aside the liquid and discard the mint leaves.
Combine reserved mint, jalapeno peppers, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, and mint liquid into a large stainless steel pan. Bring to a boil and stir constantly for 15 minutes.
Add liquid pectin and continue to cook over high heat at a boil for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Pour into hot sterilized jars and place in hot bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars and allow to cool
Did you grow up loving a particular food but the family you married into somehow never acquired the taste for it?
That's how it is with me and the Dutch Baby. I love Dutch Babies but my family calls it revolting.
So, I needed to come up with a recipe for one and while I was at it, a healtier and lower calorie version.
A Dutch Baby is kind of cross between a pancake and popover that is slightly sweet. It is something I prefer to pancakes with (revolting) heavy syrup. My favorite topping for a Dutch Baby is freshly grated lemon rind and a sugar substitute like Splenda. Orange zest is also good and a Dutch Baby can also be topped with fruit. For this single version, I use an 8" cast iron skillet. A true Dutch Baby uses a considerable amount of butter but I cut the butter back to the bare minimum. The full butter version is better but I think this is a good compromise.
Now, this is what I call comfort food.
Dutch Baby for One
1/2 Tablespoon butter 1 egg (at room temperature) 1/3 cup milk (at room temperature) 1/3 cup flour dash of salt 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract sprinkle of cinnamon sprinkle of nutmeg
grated lemon rind sugar, sugar substitue or powdered sugar
Eggs and milk should be at room temperature or the Dutch Baby will not puff when baking. It deflates quickly after taking out of the oven and when topping with lemon and sugar.
Put the butter in the cast iron skillet. Place the skillet in a cold oven and set baking temperature to 450 degrees. While the skillet is heating and the butter melting, mix up the Dutch Baby batter.
Beat egg with a fork until frothy. Add milk, flour, salt, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix to combine but don't over beat the batter. This batter will be thin and runny.
When oven has reached 450, carefully remove skillet and swirl butter to coat the surface of the skillet. Butter will be a deep brown color but not burnt.
Pour batter into hot skillet and return to oven.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown.
Top with lemon zest and sugar. Cut in wedges, serve immediately and enjoy.
Top each half of a fig with a small piece of brie, push the cheese into the center of the fig, drizzle lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, top with a small sprig of rosemary and wrap in a piece of prosciutto. Put fig prosciutto wrap on top a piece of toasted french bread slice.
Place in 350 degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes.
These are good as an appetizer or as an entrée with side spinach salad.