Posts Tagged ‘bread’

Irish-ish Soda Bread

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

I adore the smell of baking bread, and I know that I am not alone. Dinner last Thursday was a chicken stew prepared in the crockpot, so when I came home and read on Seven Spoons about a bread that could be prepared in an hour, from start to finish, I was sold. I had to make a couple of quick substitutions, but I had most of the ingredients on hand.

The bread was very tasty–in fact, we ate most of it before dinner while we decided what to do about the disastrously inedible chicken stew (a story for another day). The bread was crusty, with a biscuit-like crumb. Warm from the oven and slathered with butter and homemade raspberry jam…I’d almost rather go hunt up the leftovers than sit here and tell you about it.


Irish-ish Soda Bread
Adapted from Seven Spoons
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (large flake, not instant)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup, 1/2 stick) cold, unsalted butter, diced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, salt, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Set aside.

Using a pastry cutter, two knives or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour cutting and work the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the buttermilk/egg mixture, mixing until you have a rough dough. Use your hands to turn and lightly knead the bread in the bowl, incorporating all the dry ingredients.

Working quickly, turn the dough onto a lightly-floured work surface and knead gently for about 30 seconds; the dough should be soft and elastic. Form the dough into a boule, about 8-inches across with a gentle dome and slightly-flattened top. Dust the surface of the bread with a sprinkling of flour, then use a sharp knife to slash a shallow cross from edge to edge of the loaf. Transfer bread to prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. If the crust gets too dark during baking, tent loosely with foil. Cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes, then enjoy.
Makes 1 loaf.

Note: Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, everyone!

Cheesy Garlic Bread

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Forewarning: This garlic bread is so yummy, we’ve had it three times since I came across the recipe about a week and a half ago.

I found this recipe on The Pioneer Woman‘s blog. The cheese topping is the perfect amount of gooey, but the bread stays crisp under all that cheese because it’s toasted first in a skillet. We never let a crumb of this bread go to waste–a few minutes in the toaster oven makes even the leftovers delicious!

Cheesy Garlic Bread
Adapted from PioneerWoman

  • 1 loaf of crusty bread (french or italian)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 3/4 cup Monterrey Jack cheese (grated)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 green onions, white parts removed, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves minced garlic

1. Preheat oven to 425. Mix cheeses and mayonnaise in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Cut the loaf of bread in half, and then half each piece again. Working with 1/4 of the loaf at a time, heat  a little less than a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and add 1 clove of minced garlic. Place one of the pieces of bread in the skillet and toast in the skillet. Watch the garlic, to be sure it doesn’t burn. Repeat with remaining olive oil, garlic, and bread.

3. Spread the prepared cheese mixture on each slice of bread, and bake in a 425 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and brown.

You won’t be disappointed!

“Baby” Chicken & 40 Cloves

Monday, March 9th, 2009

A Chicken & 40 Cloves is a classic dish, and it should be, because it’s delicious. Like so many other classic dishes, Alton Brown is our source for the ultimate Chicken & 40 Cloves, intially. We’ve had it several times before, but this time I tried it with a twist, using Cornish Game Hens in place of the normal chicken. It was definitely a success. The cornish game hens made the meal seem a little fancier than our average dinner around here, but if you prefer, you can make this dish with any skin-on, bone-in chicken. We’ve used a whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces before, and we’ve also used this method on a couple of split chicken breasts. In a pinch, we’ve even used boneless skinless chicken breasts (which isn’t quite as good, but is passable).

I served this chicken with parmesan risotto and lots of crusty bread to soak up the tasty garlic oil, spread with soft, sweet cloves of roasted garlic. The garlic bread might be the best part!


“Baby” Chicken & 40 Cloves (Cornish Game Hens)
Adapted from Alton Brown’s A Chicken & 40 Cloves

  • 3 cornish game hens, cleaned and patted dry
  • 1 cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 40 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled, but kept whole
  • salt & freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large, oven-safe skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat, just until the surface starts to shimmer.

Sprinkle salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning over the breast side of the cornish game hens and then place breast side down in the skillet. Heat for 4-5 minutes or until the skin begins to brown. Flip each hen over.

Add all 40 cloves of garlic to the pan, around the cornish hens, and pour the remaining cup of olive oil over the whole skillet. Bake for 1 hour, until chicken is cooked through and garlic is soft and  spreadable.

Note: I know a cup of oil sounds crazy, but it’s delicious garlic oil that goes deliciously on bread, or can be drizzled over vegetables or mashed potatoes. And don’t waste that garlic. Get yourself a crusty loaf of french or italian bread, slice it, lightly toast it, then brush each slice with some of your garlic oil. Spread one or two cloves of the roasted garlic, then sprinkle with just a smidge of parmesan cheese. Roasted garlic has such a sweet, mellow flavor compared to the garlic you’re probably used to. You don’t know what you’re missing.

I actually smash the leftover garlic into a paste and save it for other dishes. I’ve added leftovers from this batch to pasta salad, mashed potatoes, and sun-dried tomato aioli. I wonder what I’ll do with the rest?

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

This biscuit recipe was one of the first things to catch my eye in the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook. In fact, it’s been mentioned and planned a few times around here, but for some reason, it kept getting pushed to the back burner. Finally, we tried it last week.

First of all, I loved how easy the recipe was. I threw everything together and baked them all for a weeknight dinner. The recipe was super simple, but the biscuits were beyond delicious. The texture was perfect–moist and flaky, with a great crumb, and the slightest crunch of cheese on top. I also used my new fancy Maldon  sea salts to finish the biscuits, which added an extra level of tasty crunch.

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook

  • 2 cups of flour, plus more for kneading the dough
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup cold buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 cold extra-large egg
  • 1 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar (I used Tillamook Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar), plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water or milk
  • 1 teaspoon Maldon Sea Salt, for finishing

1. Preaheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Place 2 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. WIth the mixer on low, add the butter and mix until the butter is the size of peas.

3. Combine the buttermilk and egg in a small glass measuring cup and beat lightly wth a fork. With the mixer still on low, quickly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix only until moistened. In a small bowl, mix the Cheddar with a small handful of flour and with the mixer still on low add the cheese to the dough. Mix only until roughly combined.

4. Dumb out onto a well-floured board and kneed lightly about six times. Roll the dough out to a rectangle 5×10 inches. With a sharp, floured knife, cut the dough lengthwise in half and then across in quarters, making 8 rough rectangles. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with the egg wash, sprinkle with sea salt and extra cheese, and bake for 20-25 minutes until tops are browned and the biscuits are cooked through. Serve hot or warm.

Note: I’m sure I’ll make these again. The Back to Basics cookbook has these in the breakfast section, and I understand that completely. They were very tasty as a bread alongside dinner, but they did bring to mind images of ultimate bacon, egg, & cheese biscuits or even some amazing biscuits and gravy. Maybe next time.

Garlic-Herb Dinner Rolls

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

For a couple of years now, my family has had a tradition of getting together for dinner on Saturday or Sunday afternoon every other weekend. It’s been really nice, since all of my grandparents come, and we don’t get to see them as often as we would like. Ever since the wedding though, we’ve somehow fallen out of the habit of getting together. David and I are still willing to go, so I don’t think it’s just because of our wedding. Whatever the reason, we haven’t been having our dinners every other week. Because it had been a while, David and I decided to have everyone over last weekend.

Of course, I cooked too much, and dinner ended up being a feast! Pot Roast and Garlic-Herb Rolls and Mashed Potatoes and Gravy and Meatloaf and Risotto and Garlicky Green Beans and Birthday Cake and Mint Chocolate Cake…I cooked all day long, but it was totally worth it. You’ll be seeing recipes for most of these things, starting with the Garlic-Herb Dinner Rolls.

In some ways, this isn’t much of a recipe. I threw these together at the last minute, but they turned out to be a big hit. And when I told my grandmothers the secret, they almost didn’t believe that was “all” I’d done. I swear, it’s true. The rolls came from a package. I just doctored them up a little.


Garlic Herb Dinner Rolls
Makes 2 dozen rolls

  1. Coat a pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place frozen dough in pan, and cover with plastic wrap coated with cooking spray to keep it from sticking to dough while rising.
  2. Let rolls rise for 3 to 4 hours, until double in size. Actual time depends on the temperature of your kitchen. Carefully remove the plastic wrap.
  3. Follow the directions on the package for cloverleaf rolls. (In short, break each risen roll into three pieces, roll each in your hand, and place three balls of dough in each cup of a greased muffin pan).
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake rolls 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
  5. While rolls are baking, combine melted butter, garlic, and Italian seasoning.
  6. Remove the rolls from pan at once and place on a wire rack to cool. Brush each roll with garlic butter mixture and let cool.

I didn’t happen to take pictures of these, so I guess you’ll have to wait until I make them again to see how they turned out. My grandma and Granny were fighting over the leftovers though, so it must’ve been good.