Entries Tagged as 'Bread'

Hosting A Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Posted on: November 21, 2013

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(Although I wish this was my own feast that I was muchin’ down on, it is not. As a change of pace on VV, I’ve borrowed most of the photos in this post so please click on the images to check out more beautiful photos from the original authors)

 

I’m a total planner. Anytime my boyfriend mentions he’d like to go on a trip somewhere, I’ll have a full day by day itinerary wrote up and emailed to him by the following evening. He usually has forgot he even mentioned anything by the time he receives the email but I know he has to smirk a little in that moment he opens it to find days (usually by the hour) planned out with restaurants, museums, sights, road stops, forests, and campsites. At least, I know I smirk a little when I re-read those emails. I don’t realize I’m doing it but I’m being exactly like my father in those moments. He would take us all (my brother, my three cousins who lived with us, and my step-mother) on a two week vacation every August when I was growing up. For the months leading up to it, he would pull out the atlas after dinner and compare tourist books (this was before the internet was a real big thing) to what was along the route. I remember how playful he always was in those planning moments and he’d tease me with comments like ‘should we go gambling in Vegas or take that 7 mile hike all uphill to see the rock that resembles a monkey head?’ (as if either of those things were appealing to a 10 year old).

Most of these trips I plan are just ideas – tucked away in email folders – never to actually be carried out. Sometimes I wonder if I have more fun planning adventures then actually taking them. There is just something comforting about these plans being there – comforting in the sense that if we did ever decide to sneak away to the Smoky Mountains or Lake Powell or Montreal at the last second, we wouldn’t miss a thing because I’ve got an itinerary for that!

Anyhow, I bring this story up because I planned out Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is sort of like a trip – you spend months planning and prepping only to have it carried out in one big meal. The funny thing is I’m not even hosting Thanksgiving this year. We always have Thanksgiving at my parent’s house up north and all I do is pick out a few recipes to make the day of and demand a Tofurky. However, even though I’m not hosting Thanksgiving, I still made a Thanksgiving menu. You know, just in case I ever feel like throwing a Thanksgiving dinner on a non-Thanksgiving holiday or something? Okay, that sounded crazy. I just mean that I did it because I enjoy planning. Planning can be a hobby, right?

So, to get to the point, if you are looking to host a Vegetarian Thanksgiving this year or just still need a few ideas on some sides, here is how I envision the perfect Vegetarian Thanksgiving:

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Caramelized Cranberry & Brie Pull-Apart Bread

Posted on: November 12, 2013

cranberry&brie

 

Are you guys ready to talk about Thanksgiving? Excellent because it’s been on my mind a whole bunch lately and I am wearing my excitement on my sleeve. Holidays weren’t something I truly appreciated until I moved away and spent months upon months away from my family (it also helps that, in the more recent years, I’ve become obsessed with food as well). These days, it seems like I get more and more excited about the holidays sooner and sooner. Hell, I was ready to start talking about stuffing at the end of September!

 

caramelizedcranberries

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Grilled Maple Bourbon Glazed Panzanella Salad

Posted on: August 7, 2013

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My idea for this was to make a savory bread salad without it turning into bread pudding or baked french toast (which was sightly harder than you might think). But adding tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil (peppers would be good too!) – it creates that sweet and savory sensation which is irresistible in this salad!

This time of year is all about cooking with fresh-from-the-garden produce. It’s that time where salads shine and raw is more. This makes me appreciate the method more than ever. No 30 steps involved in getting to that end casserole or sautéing followed by roasted following by rolling followed by baking. With fresh summer recipes, it’s about slightly cooking (if at all) to achieve a hint of flavor that accents the fresh flavors of your colorful produce.

I think this is the reason I love grilling so much. It’s simple and feels very natural to grill veggies over an open fire to bring out their flavors. Or to slightly caramelize fruit until it melts in your mouth. This salad is bursting with raw flavors while meshing perfectly with the smoky nuance of the bread and fruit.

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And yes, I burnt some of the bread (see picture above – maybe it was because I was grilling in high heel sandals?!). That is one of my favorite parts about cooking… even after years in the kitchen (or in this case…the back yard), I’m still making mistakes and learning. I’ve been camping most weekends for the last month so my delusions about knowing my way around the grill were at a record high. Wyatt usually takes charge of the grill and you can most certainly tell by the state of that piece on the way left.

Also, moving on from talking about this salad, I wanted to let you know that I know that I’ve been a little absent on here lately. It’s not my fault… well sort of my fault. Summer has brought house guests staying for days on end (and more coming!), random cross country adventures, and desires for new hobbies. But I do have to admit, even after having loads of fun with these out-of-the-ordinary adventures, I still always want to come back to cooking. Flying 10 hours across the country is really just an opportunity (in my mind) to gather new recipe inspiration from road side diners and produce stands by the ocean. Taking up sanding is just an excuse for me to build more shelving units for blog props. You get the picture…I miss being around here and am glad to be back. : ]

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Grilled Maple Bourbon Glazed Panzanella

Serves 2
  • 1 loaf of day old bread (I used a baguette), sliced in half
  • 1 large cucumber or 3 small cucumbers, sliced into bite size strips
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes
  • Combination of Stone fruit (I used 2 peaches and 2 plums), halved
  • Handful of basil, torn
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

For the glaze:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • dash of Salt / Pepper

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In a small saucepan, whisk together the glaze ingredient and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Let simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, remove from heat, and set aside to thicken (about five minutes).

Start the grill. Brush the bread and fruit with honey bourbon glaze. Stick on the grill (watching closely!) and brown on each side. Time will completely depend on how hot your coals are but mine took about a minute on each side for bread and 3 minutes for the fruit.

Dice the bread and fruit into bite size pieces and toss with cucumber, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, 2 Tablespoons leftover glaze, salt, and pepper. Serve warm.

 

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CHIMICHURRI Ramps Bread with Lemon Thyme Butter

Posted on: April 25, 2013

 

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I came across ramps for the first time at the farmer’s market two weeks ago. The nice man who sold them to me explained that they are a type of mild wild garlic and grow in the early spring. The first recipe I tried was a Lemon Risotto from The Kitchn and I was instantly hooked. I went back the next week and picked up another bundle.

This time around I wanted to create my own recipe. When researching ideas, I came across chimichurri and knew I had to try it. Chimichurri is an Argentina sauce that is usually lathered all over meat. If you’ve ever read ‘The Butcher and The Vegetarian’ than you probably can recall the wonderful ways she described chimichurri. She spoke of it making her dizzy from the fresh flavors and needing more. That was enough for me to know I wanted to try it.

But…my adventures with chimichurri didn’t stop there. After lathering it on anything in sight, I wanted to also cook with it. Traditionally it’s rubbed on meat…which isn’t an option for me so I decided to do something completely different – through it in the loaf of bread I had planned to make anyways! And dayuuum…. not only was it beautiful with streaks of green running through it but the bread was soft and so flavorful that you could eat the whole thing plain. Or make some simple lemon thyme butter to dab on top.

 

 

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Chimichurri Ramps Bread with Lemon Thyme Butter

Chimichurri:

  • 1 bunch of ramps (about 10 stalks)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 red pepper flakes
  • dash of pepper

 

For the bread:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan

 

For the butter:

  • 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
  • Zest from half of an organic lemon

 

To make the chimichurri: Rinse the ramps and cut off the roots and any rough tips.  Slice into big chunks. Place all ingredients in a food processor (or blender) until a smooth paste forms. Lather all over slices of baguette or roasted veggies or proceed and make delicious bread out of it…

 

ramps2

 

To make the bread: Combine the warm water and yeast in the large mixing bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes or until it becomes frothy. Next, add in the flour, salt, and olive oil and mix until combined. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead by hand for ten minutes (you can also do this in a stand mixer with a bread attachment – sadly, my mixer gave out on me last month so I’m going old school). Transfer kneaded dough to an oiled bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for an hour.

Next, turn the dough out onto floured surface and roll into a rectangle (about 18 by 12 inches). Top with the chimichurri. Roll the long side of the dough towards you and pinch the ends closed (the same way you roll cinnamon into cinnamon rolls). Slice down the middle lengthwise, twist both pieces, and use the two parts to bread the bread by twirling around each other. Transfer to a greased baking sheet and let rise for another 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 and bake for roughly 25 minutes or until golden on top.

 

rampsbread

 

To make the thyme lemon butter: Mash the lemon zest, softened butter, and thyme together. Serve soft or wrap in parchment paper and stick in the fridge until firm.

 

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Kale, Tomato, & Garlic Breadsticks

Posted on: March 19, 2013

Kale, Tomato, and Garlic Breadsticks

These breadsticks are a product of a frustrating juicer clean up experience. And by frustrating I mean the twenty minutes I spent scrubbing it’s inside parts trying to get green stains out. And then the other twenty minutes I spent scrubbing the kitchen counter to remove the orange carrot stains. And then finally the last ten minutes which consisted of scorching my hands with hot water trying to get all the last bits of color off of my own hands. Through this process I kept thinking to myself ‘Never again will I wait until my lunch break to clean up my morning juice’ which then was followed by thoughts of ‘these stains are crazy. Does it stain the inside of my stomach like this?’ and then ‘I bet this is how they make that fun colored pasta’ and finally ‘wait..I bet I could make fun colored doughs!’

And there you have it. The next day I set out of make dye juices out of carrots, kale, and beets. I didn’t end up following through the the beet one though…I know it would have made the most beautiful color dough but I couldn’t do it. I can not stand the smell of beets (let alone the taste) and knew the sticks would go straight to the trash if I even attempted to try it. And then my hands would smell like beets. And my beet stained hands would be reminders of the horrible earthy smell [sorry, beet lovers. I can not relate to you on this one]. I also ended up wanting a deeper red than the carrot juice gave so I ended up using tomato paste which worked wonders. And lastly, I played around with all sorts of toppings – poppy seed, garlic, parmesan, sesame seeds, and fresh herbs. The results were an array of fun colored breadsticks all with individual flavor profiles. No two sticks the same…which made it challenging to not want to sample them all.

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All in all – my favorites were the kale poppy seed, tomato paremsan, and garlic thyme ones. These would make pretty party appetizers or go along perfectly with pizza. In fact, the basic dough recipe is my favorite pizza dough so you could totally just double that part and use half the dough for pizza. Just saying – I’ll take any excuse to eat pizza.

Make these thicker if you like your breadsticks doughy and soft. I personally was going for a cracker feel so I made them thin and let them sit out for a few hours.

 

Kale Tomato Garlic Breadsticks

 

Garlic, Tomato, & Kale Breadsticks

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 3+ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • a bunch of kale
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • assortment of toppings (sesame seeds, poppy seeds, parmesan, garlic, herbs, spices, etc)

Whisk together the yeast, 1 Tablespoon flour, and 1/4 cup warm water and let stand for ten minutes or until the yeast has become a thick foam.

Stir together 1 1/2 cups of flour and salt. Add yeast mixture and the rest of the water (3/4 cup) and stir until smooth. Add another half a cup of flour and mix. If the dough is sticking to your hands then it’s too moist so add a bit more flour and if it’s too dry then add a bit more water (try to keep on the stickier side since you’ll be adding a bit more flour as you knead).

Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let dough rise for an hour or until it’s doubled.

While it’s raising, press washed kale through a juicer to create a few tablespoons of juice.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts and keep the two parts you aren’t working with covered in the bowl (this will help the dough from drying out).

On a floured surface, fold in the minced garlic to the first part of the dough. Knead the dough until garlic is speckled throughout. Roll the dough into a 9×13 rectagle and use a cookie cutter to cut 5 long strips. Pick up a strip, twist it, and transfer to a greased cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the strips.

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On a very floured surface (this is important because we are going to be adding more liquid to the dough which will make the dough sticky and will most likely need to be adding more flour), place another 1/3 of the dough and pour 1 tablespoon of kale juice over it. Start folding the dough into itself and add more kale juice (1 tablespoon at a time) until the dough is at your desired color consistency. Make sure to add more flour if the dough starts to get too sticky.

Roll out the dough into a 13×9 rectangle and cut into 5 strips with a cookie cutter. Twist each strip by hand and transfer to your greased baking sheet.

Lastly, knead 1 tablespoon at a time of the tomato paste into the rest of the dough. Knead until the color is evenly distributed (adding more paste if you want a darker color) and roll out into a 13×9 strip. Cut into 5 pieces, twist each piece by hand, and transfer to a greased baking sheet (you may need to start a second sheet at this point).

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Brush 1 tablespoon olive oil over the top of the sticks and top with desired toppings. Cook for 20 minutes or until golden at the top.

Serve warm or let sit overnight for a cracker-like texture.
Song Pairing:

Sweet Potato Biscuits with Peppered Sage Gravy

Posted on: January 24, 2013

Sweet Potato Biscuits and Sage Gravy

Biscuits and Gravy are a pretty re-occurring theme here on VV (see here. And here. And here). It’s not my fault… It’s my boyfriend’s favorite food to ever exist. And it’s pretty much the only way I can get him to help me in the kitchen. He LOVES making the gravy (probably because it means that I won’t get the chance to change it up). However, that gives me authority over the biscuits and an opportunity to experiment on that end.

Each time I choose a different biscuit recipe, I make a goal…last time I was determined to make sky high biscuits that rise for days. This time? I was feeling biscuits that were big (always an essential for biscuits) and moist. Flaky can sometimes lead to dry and I was determined to have none of that. I had recently read that cooking with potatoes help to keep bread moist… and needed to find out for myself. The verdict? OOOOH YEAHHH! Sky high, flaky, and moist?! Absolute heaven!

Oh, and as for the gravy…my boyfriend knows what he likes and refuses to do anything else besides this sage recipe. I’ve posted it on the blog several times (here and here) but he still claims its a hassle to find so I’m going to post it again. It is pretty delicious…and it’s ridiculously easy. Even your kitchen-illiterate boyfriend will be able to handle it.

PS: If you aren’t into sage then you could try out this mushroom or chickpea gravy!

 

Sweet Potato and Peppered Sage Gravy

 

Sweet Potato Biscuits and Peppered Sage Gravy

For the Sweet Potato Biscuits:

  • 1 small sweet potato, cut into small chunks (the smaller they are the faster they will cook)
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I made my own)

 

For the Peppered Sage Gravy:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups almond milk (or regular)
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the sweet potatoes and cook until you can pierce a fork into them (the amount of time will completely depend on how small you diced the potato…mine took about 15 minutes). Drain and use a fork to mash. Measure out 1/2 cup and reserve the rest for another use.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Use your hands or a pastry knife to cut the butter into the dough until a coarse meal has formed. Fold in the mashed sweet potatoes and buttermilk (the dough will be very sticky – that is okay).

Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead for about five minutes. Continue to add a little more flour if the dough is sticking. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out the biscuits. Transfer to a greased cast iron skillet or pan (make sure the biscuits are close together so they will rise). Bake for 15 minutes or until the biscuits are browned on top. Serve warm.

 

Sweet Potato and Sage Gravy

 

To make the gravy:  Whisk the flour, nutritional yeast, and milk together in a large skillet. Whisk until a smooth consistency and then add in all the spices. Place the skillet over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Next, add in the butter and reduce to medium low. Whisk often until the gravy has reached your desired thickness. Remove from heat and season to taste.

 

Sweet Potato and Peppered Sage Gravy

 
Track of the day:

Homemade Pumpernickel Loaf

Posted on: January 3, 2013

As I mentioned yesterday in my post on Pear, Brie, and Spicy Brown Mustard Grilled Cheese, this is the first time I have ever tackled making homemade pumpernickel bread. I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor complexity that went into this bread. Whoever first invented this must have either seriously known what they were doing or was trying to clean out their kitchen cabinet in the form of throwing everything into a loaf of bread. I like to think it may be my second theory.

This bread is not for the impatient. It has 2 rising cycles so I recommend whipping this up on the weekend when you are planning to be hanging around the house anyways. Or even if you weren’t planning on hanging out around the house all day maybe this can be your excuse? Don’t want to go visit that weird uncle you’ve been putting off seeing in St. Louis? Tell him you’ve got some bread to make that just can’t wait another weekend. He will…probably not understand but at least you’ll get some amazing bread out of it and your home will smell like a fresh bakery!

 

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Pear, Brie, & Spicy Brown Mustard Grilled Cheese on Pumpernickel

Posted on: January 2, 2013

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One of my 2013 goals was to eat less processed food so I started my new journey today with some homemade bread. And not just any homemade bread – pumpernickel bread! Have you ever made pumpernickel bread before? I always knew that the flavor was complex but I was blown away by the flavor profile of this bread. We are talking coffee, chocolate, cornmeal, and molasses all going into this wonderfully delicious loaf. I’ll be posting the recipe for the bread tomorrow so make sure to check back if you are interested in making your own!

As for today? How about a seriously dangerous grilled cheese recipe? Like peanut butter and jelly, pumpernickel bread and spicy mustard were made for each other. There is something about the tangy mustard that lightens up the complexity of pumpernickel perfectly. Then throw in some sweet pear and melty brie? Irresistible! I thought keeping brie around the house was hard enough…now with this sandwich option it is going to be straight up impossible.

This recipe is like the winter version to my fall Apple, Brie, Arugula and Fig Grilled Cheese but with a bit more tang and less sweet. It still hits the spots with the salty/sweet pulling at your tastebuds and leaves you wondering why you would ever make a grilled cheese without brie again.

 

Pear Brie Grilled Cheese

 

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Cheddar Corn Biscuits

Posted on: December 5, 2012

How has your week been going? Mine has been fine but I know it’s been a little quite around here. I’ve done a bit of traveling this week and have more to go which is a nice change of pace but can also be exhausting. It’s the type of exhausting that makes me want to just curl up on the couch with my leftover chili and watch Veronica Mars (corniest 90s show ever but we are addicted) all night. Sorry VV, you take up too much energy for me right now.

But I promised and I usually like to be a girl of my word. So here I am! And as I promised, here is the buttery and addictive biscuit recipe that complaints that healthy Black Bean & Wheatberry Chili recipe perfectly. If you missed the chili recipe, it’s featured on The Kitchn today so hop on over and check it out!

We even used leftover biscuits to make biscuits and gravy with Wyatt’s favorite Sage Gravy! Mmmmm. And I have a feeling that breakfast sandwiches are in our very VERY near future. Breakfast for dinner? Well hello evening plans!

 

 

Cheddar Corn Biscuits

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup frozen corn (or fresh!)
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cubed
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I made my own out of the milk I had on hand)

Grease a baking sheet (it may take 2 sheets depending on how thick you make the biscuits). In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, black pepper, baking powder, and baking soda. Next, add in the butter and use your hands to incorporate the butter into the dough until it resembles a coarse meal.

Next, fold in the cheese, onions, and corn. Finally, add the buttermilk and mix until just combined (don’t over mix or the dough will become tough).

Transfer dough to a slightly floured surface and roll out to about an inch thick (more or less depending on how you like your biscuits) and use a cookie cutter or glass to circle cut outs. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.

Stick the cookie sheet (with the prepared dough) into the fridge and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Let the biscuits chill while it is preheating because the cold butter will help to make the biscuits flakier.

Bake for about 25 minutes (mine took 30 but my oven ALWAYS takes longer than what a recipe recommends so check often).

Serve warm with soup or gravy or by themselves with a little butter!

 

 

Parker House Dinner Rolls

Posted on: November 19, 2012

Morning, Morning! Are you ready for this week? It’s Monday but it feels like it’s Wednesday since most of us (US folks) have Thursday and Friday off. So really…it’s already hump day! Yay!

Anyhow, Wyatt and I hosted a wonderful “Friendsgiving” potluck over the weekend. I was amazed and overwhelmed by all the delicious food that everyone brought! We are already having turkey (well…Wyatt is. I’m holding off for my Tofurkey on Thursday) leftovers and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet! I will admit, having a Thanksgiving celebration a week early did kind of throw me off…I woke up Sunday ready to put on my favorite Elvis Christmas vinyl and wanting to put the Christmas tree up.

We made lots and lots and lots of food for the potluck. First up – Parker House Rolls. I’ve heard a lot about these things little bundles of dough – from instagram pictures of people cradling them (kind of weird) to the Joy The Baker podcast last week…seems like these are a MUST for the Thanksgiving table. After much research (thanks, Wikipedia), I discovered that they were first invented in Boston at the Parker House Hotel and traditionally are served folded in half. I went simple with mine (no folding, thanks) and they were melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Soft, salty, and begging to be lathered in gravy.

 

 

Parker House Rolls

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed (to about 100 degrees)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter + 4 more tablespoons (all of it should be melted)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

 

In a large mixer with a dough hook, combine the warmed milk and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes so that the yeast can activate and foam. Next, add in the flour, butter, salt, and sugar. Turn mixture on low until everything is combined and then increase speed to medium high. Let mix for about ten minutes or until the dough is very soft.

Transfer dough to a greased bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place for one hour (or if making the dough ahead of time – let rise for an hour and then put in the fridge overnight. The next morning, bring dough back to room temperature before continuing with the recipe).

Next, grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan and move the dough onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for a minute or until all the extra air is released. Divide the dough into 24 balls and place in the prepared baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise for another hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and Brush rolls with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Cook for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top. Brush with remaining butter and a little bit of salt.

Serve warm with gravy or butter or jam or all three!

 

VV’s Thanksgiving Suggestions

Posted on: November 15, 2012

Okay. So I’m not gonna lie. I am starting to get REALLY excited about Thanksgiving. Not only does it mean a  5 day weekend (!!!) but also implies copious amounts of amazing food. My mother emailed me the final menu for the big day this morning and now all I can think about is mushroom gravy, purple mashed potatoes, and Cappuccino chocolate cheesecake. I helped curate the menu (with recipes from some of my favorite blogs like Love & Lemons, SpoonForkBacon, and JoyTheBaker) and cannot wait to spend an entire day cooking in the kitchen.

Anyhow, while my spirits are high on Tofurkey, I thought I’d share a few VV recipes that would be perfect for your big Thanksgiving day!

 

     

1. Oatmeal Molasses Rolls – Soft, gooey, and irresistible when fresh out of the oven

2. Glazed Honey Mustard Brusses Sprouts - tangy and crunchy will help bring variety to your meal

3. Cranberry Pecan Goat Cheese Pops – perfect little appetizer when entertaining guests! Super mobile, bite size, and delicious!

4. Roasted Carrots with Hazelnut & Rosemary - cooking with wine always makes things fancier, right? And these colorful carrots will for sure stick out on your holiday table!

 

 

Also, if you feel like adventuring outside of VV, I highly recommend checking out some of these thanksgiving recipes:

Collard Greens & Blue Cheese Salad (The Healthy Foodie)

Honeycrisp Bourbon Cider (SpoonForkBacon)

Parsnip Gratin with Gruyere (Feasting at Home)

Autumn Brittle (Adventures in Cooking)

Bailey’s Salted Caramel Chocolate Pie (She Wears Many Hats)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosemary & Vegetable Soup with Rustic Bread

Posted on: November 13, 2012

Well, I think I’ve finally accepted that winter is here and we won’t be experiencing any more 70 degree days. Ah, this a very bittersweet realization. On one hand, it means endless cups of chai tea, lazy mornings under the covers with favorite novels, all day bake-a-thons, and soup soup soup. On the other hand, this means six more months before lake adventures, cross country road trips, and waterfall picnics.

And with this new acceptance comes a soup recipe! I’ve already made a few soups this season (see: curried butternut squash soup) but the weather had me craving a hardly soup packed full of starchy potatoes and earthy flavorings. This soup did the trick! Along with some simple (and delicious) rustic bread, this soup filled us up and will be making leftover appearances for the next two days!

As for the rustic bread…so simple and soft with a crisp outer crust. I’ve discovered (after trying it for the first time with my Muesli Bread) is the trick to REALLY delicious bread baking is to have a pot of steaming water under the bread while it’s cooking. This helps keep the bread soft and full of moisture. Oh so delicious! Perfect side to this soup. And let’s be honest, the only reason we even make soup is for an excuse to make homemade bread to go with it. Right? Or is that just me?

So what I am are trying to say is you should embrace that the cold and darkness is forcing you to stay inside and spend a few hours in your kitchen…perhaps whipping up this comforting and hardy dish?

 

 

Rosemary & Vegetable Soup with Rustic Bread

For the bread:

  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon of active yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup lukewarm water

 

For the soup:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 potatoes, cubed
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 4 springs of rosemary
  • 2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes (14 ounces)
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped (with stems removed)
  • Salt/Pepper

 

Start with the bread: In a small bowl, combine the yeast and water and let sit for five minutes (this will give it some time to start foaming and activating). In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the water/yeast mixture. Mix until combined (the batter will be VERY sticky – don’t worry! It’s suppose to be like this). Place in an oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place for an hour. [Start on the soup while this is rising]

Once it has doubled in size, knead the dough a few times and move to an oiled baking sheet. Let rise on this sheet for a half an hour. Sprinkle with flour and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a cast iron skillet or pan on the bottom rack of the oven and let it heat during the preheating process. Once the oven is ready, place the dough (on the baking sheet) on the top shelf of the oven and pour a cup of warm water in the skillet below (it will steam and this is exactly what we want to happen). Let cook for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

To make the soup: Heat the olive in a large stockpot over medium. Add in the onions and cook for about five minutes (or until translucent). Next, add in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add cubed potatoes and celery and then season with salt / pepper. Next, combine in the tomatoes, rosemary (throw them in whole and then take out the twigs at the end), white wine, water, and vegetable stock. Bring the mixture to a bowl, cover, and lower to a simmer. Let simmer for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Once ready to serve, chop the kale and add at the last moment (this keeps the kale a little crispy) and season again with salt/pepper.

Serve warm with fresh bread!

 

 

 

 

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Espresso Scones

Posted on: November 12, 2012

Morning, Morning! Let’s start out by having me fill you in on a few things, shall we? If you are an avid read of VV then you may have noticed the inconsistency of VVs’ regular columns as of lately (Moody Mondays, Searchable Saturdays, etc). This is because this whole redesign has triggered us stepping back and re-evaluating our style around here. As I was updating the Recipes/Archives page (man, I’m only about 1/5 done with putting in our back catalog of recipes! HTML is a TEDIOUS process…), I noticed that a lot of the pictures were all over the place and VV does not necessarily have a specific ‘style’ or ‘branding’ technique (does branding sound too official? Yeah, I think so too. Maybe this is all just an excuse for me to start another pinterest board…). So, as I spend more time on the redesign of VV, I am also going to try to develop more of a signature style/aesthetic. This may mean eliminating some regular columns or adding some or doing the exact same thing we have always done around VV [who knows at this point? I certainly don't]. Anyhow, just wanted to fill you guys in on all the shifting happening around here.

Oh! One last thing, tomorrow is the last day to sign up for the Country Crock Giveaway so don’t forget to hop on over and leave a comment. I mean, let’s be real, who DOESN’T want free kitchen bake ware?!

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Saturday I woke up to the sun shining through the blinds, a warm breeze, and the birds (!!!) chirping. This morning, I woke up to pitch black and snow. What. Is. Going. On?! I’m not complaining about being able to hang out at the lake in November but my body is in shock. All that sun-induced serotonin needs a replacement ASAP or else I might find the winter blues coming early this year. Answer to it be being cloudy? Chocolate. Answer to it being coldy and cold? Dark Chocolate with raspberry chunks. Answer to it being cloudy, cold, and snowy? Dark Chocolate Raspberry Espresso Scones lathered in butter. Check.

These little scones are the answer to any weather-induced-bummer-mood. They are warm, speckled with caffeine, and bursting with chunks of chocolate/raspberry. I feel like I don’t even need to say anything else. But if I really must, they are so flaky and buttery that they even melt in your mouth when fresh from the oven.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Espresso Scones

 

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar (+ more for sprinkling on top)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground espresso
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 3 ounces of dark chocolate with raspberry chunks (or any flavor you like), chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup Almond milk (any milk will do)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used my homemade kind)

Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and espresso. Cut the butter into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse meal (I just use my hands to do this and work the butter between my finger tips until everything is combined). Next, fold in the chocolate.

In a small bowl (or just use the measuring cup you poured the milk into), whisk together the milk, egg, and vanilla.

Make a well in the center of the dried ingredients and pour wet ingredients in. Fold dry into wet until everything is combined (don’t over mix!).

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about an inch thick (make it thinner if you like them crispier and thicker if you like them big and fluffy – just keep it consistent with whatever you do!) and use a biscuit cutter to cut circular shapes. Place on the prepared parchment paper and repeat with the rest of your dough. Sprinkle the top with coarse sugar.

Cook for about 20 minutes or until the top has browned.

Serve warm with butter or jam or by themselves while watching the snow fall.

Moody Monday // Bannock Bread

Posted on: November 5, 2012

So I started my day a bit bummed out. In addition to it being Monday (yuck), I also received some news that my designer working on the new blog layout had some family things come up and she will not be able to follow through on my redesign! It’s a total shame and sort of got me down (I had been looking forward to this redesign since September!). However, after much consideration, I have come to the conclusion I was meant to do this one myself. I started this blog as a creative outlet and for me to hand off one of the biggest parts of the creative process for a blog (designing it!) seems a bit silly. Yes, it’s going to take many hours of drinking ginger-lemon tea and watching youtube videos to figure out how to transfer all my information into a self-hosting site and to learn what the html code is…for well, pretty much everything…. but it will be a rewarding learning experience. I had been feeling in a bit of a blog rut lately and this will be good to step back from my daily posting routine and a chance to get creative on a different level.

 

 

Anyhow, enough about that – how was your weekend? I picked up the What Katie Ate and Homemade Winter (I made those delicious Gingerbread muffins from her last book!) for some weekend inspiration. This recipe for bannock is out of the Homemade Winter book and it was oh so delicious with some butter and strawberry jam. Think a hybrid of a savory scone and crumbly pancake. Got it? Now you want to make some? Okay, cool. Here is the recipe:

 

 

Bannock Bread

adapted from Homemade Winter
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, cold and sliced
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I made my own)

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Next, cut in the butter and slowly add the buttermilk until the mixture is just combined (don’t overmix!).

Heat a skillet over high heat and melt a tablespoon of butter and then turn down to medium-high heat. Form the sticky dough into a large ball and place on the skillet (flatten it a bit but not so much that it’s touching the edges). Let cook on that side for about 5 minutes (turn down the temperature a little bit if it’s cooking too fast – I almost burned mine the first time around) and then flip to cook on the other side for another 5 minutes.

Remove from pan and let cool slightly. Serve with butter and jam or cream cheese or syrup or whatever you can find that looks tasty in your fridge!

October Highlights

Posted on: October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween! I usually do my monthly wrap ups on the first but VV is participating in a virtual potluck tomorrow (more on that…well…tomorrow) so let’s talk October today. Cool? Cool.

Did everyone have a wonderful October? I don’t know what it is but my only association with Fall is Late September/October. I am really hoping that the crisp fall feeling doesn’t fade into winter just yet…oh November, you sound so…dark. Am I the only one feeling this way? Well, in an attempt to hold onto my favorite season as long as possible, I will be keeping the pumpkin recipes coming! At least until I have to pull out my winter jacket…
And now for some October Highlights!

 

 

1. Muesli Bread – by far my favorite recipe from the month of October. Not only was this bread melt-in-your-mouth delicious when fresh out of the oven but it was also loaded with healthy (and yummy!) pumpkin seeds, almonds, and dried cherries!

2. Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Goat Cheese Croutons – Goat cheese croutons might be the best winter food ever to exist. Bringing these into my world has opened up so many new ways to jazz up ordinary soup.

3. Spicy Jalapeno Corn Hummus – Hummus has been my go to snack for years now and my recent attempts to play with its flavors have been delightful. The extra kick that the jalapeno gives really brings new flavor to standard hummus

4. Homemade Caramel Corn – Your movie nights will never be the same again! The recipe makes a lot but it’s the perfect snack for a crowd or if you are craving some seriously delicious caramel treats in your life.

 

Lastly, don’t forget to check out my collaboration with Dishes Undressed on Bread Pudding and the October Giveaway that VV is hosting (ends Friday!).

 

And as for November? Well, I am hoping (have I said this before?) to have my new blog makeover up and running this month! And will probably send the next 3 weeks drooling over Thanksgiving recipes. Ah yes, it won’t be such a bad month after all!

Muesli Bread

Posted on: October 23, 2012

I know I push making homemade staples on you guys (see: DIY ketchup, Vegetable Broth, Pumpkin Granola, etc etc etc) but I only do it with the best intentions in mind. It’s healthier, you know exactly what is going into your body, and it often times taste better. I totally get that you aren’t going to always have time to make everything from scratch but you really should make some time now and then to make homemade bread. It may sound unnecessary when you can walk down the street and pick up a loaf for 4 dollars but let me tell you…nothing compares to homemade bread. There is something so satisfyingly addicting about fresh, steamy, buttered bread hot out of the oven. It’s more addicting than that chocolate you sneak after dinner… than that giant triple espresso latte your body tells you it needs in the morning…this stuff is probably more addicting [and healthier] than crack [although I have no real life experience to testify this - sorry!].

Anyhow, cooler weather means we can turn our oven on for more than 20 minutes without fainting..or worse yet, feeling guilty about having it on. It means we stay in doors more [unless you are a skier...then you are gearing up for your most busy season. Luckily, my brother go the skiing bug in my family so I can safely say I prefer the indoors during the cooler months] so we have more time to prep the dough, we have more excuses to heat the house by turning the oven up, and we have more reason to “carb-up” [probably not a word but I'm using it] so our bodies can use those calories to keep us warm. Okay, maybe I am over exaggerating a bit…it is still 60 degrees out there but when you are dealing with something as amazing as fresh bread, you NEED to extend the bread season as long as possible. So put your slippers on, turn that oven up, and start shivering so your body can crave those carbs!

Last “bread season” I tackled Garlic Naan, Breadmaker Jalapeno Cheese Bread, Pretzel Bread, Fall Focaccia, and Oatmeal Honey Buttermillk loaves (my personal favorite) – to name a few. This season, I am starting it off with this breakfast Muesli Bread! I am really gonna have to go big this season because this bread is already one of my favorites! Not only is it gorgeous to look at but it’s bursting with flavor from the nuts, seeds, and dried fruit! We ate this for breakfast with a thin layer of butter and strawberry preserves…oh. my. goodness. I wish breakfast could be this indulgent all the time!

Muesli Bread

adapted from Minimalist Baker
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 3 1/4 cups flour + more for dusting
  • 1/2 Tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 Tablespoon fast acting yeast
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries (or any dried fruit you’d prefer)
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped

In a small measuring cup, combine the warm water and yeast and set aside (this will give the yeast a few minutes to ‘activate’ and start foaming). Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Slowly add the water mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined (this will either take a sturdy spatula or maybe even your hands…the dough will be very sticky).

Once the dough has formed a ball, place in an oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Look sit for 1 hour in a warm spot and then transfer to the fridge for an hour.

Once the dough is ready, remove from the fridge and transfer to a floured counter top. Knead the dough a few times and then add in the almonds, pumpkin seeds, and cherries. Knead until everything is incorporated (try to keep the add-ins as much in the middle as possible because they tend to burn if they are sticking out on top).

Transfer dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Adjust your oven racks so there is one on the lowest spot and then one in the middle. Place a metal or cast iron (NOT GLASS) pan on the bottom shelf and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Let dough rise for about 20 minutes or until the oven has preheated. Stick the dough into the preheated oven and pour a cup of warm water into the metal pan (it’ll steam – don’t worry! It’s suppose to!) and cook for about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven once the top is browned and serve warm with butter // jam.

Spiced Bread Pudding // Collaboration with Dishes Undressed

Posted on: October 16, 2012

Happy Tuesday! I’m here today with another collaboration with Angie from Dishes Undressed and this one is our dessert edition! I had her try out my vegan cobbler cake [which sure does look delicious!] and she had me tackle this mouth-watering bread pudding.

Okay, so let’s talk pudding. The REAL kind of pudding…not the stuff you get at the store that is in powder form and you add milk [or something to that nature] to make it come alive [do people still do that? I remember my Dad making us pistachio pudding a lot like this when I was a kid]. I’m talking about the traditional puddings which are created from recipes filled with generations of memories. I never grew up on those puddings and have sort of been making up for lost time. Earlier this month, I whipped up my first ever persimmon pudding and have enjoyed several batches of the stuff since. And now, here I am, trying out bread pudding for the first time. Who knows what’s next! Maybe I’ll try to conquer rice pudding  [again, do people eat that stuff?]. Do you have a favorite pudding recipes? I think I might just have to go on a pudding kick to find mine!

So…my first experience with bread pudding. I was a bit unsure of what to expect but was smitten by the idea that the ingredients were so similar to my favorite breakfast food ever: french toast. I mean, anything that encourages eating french toast more than just before 10 AM is a keeper in  my book. Anyhow, so the result was similar to baked french toast but soften. It was moist, spongy, and full of spices. The warm jam with the perfect sidekick to bring out the sweetness of the pudding. I adapted mine slightly from Angie’s recipe to accommodate what I had on hand.

 

PS- One last thing! I am a total instagram, bloglovin, and facebook addict [do you follow me on all these things??]. I am, however, totally clueless when it comes to Twitter but I’ve decided it’s time to make the plunge! That is right, VV is offically going to be on Twitter so please hop on over and…say Hi or whatever you do on Twitter. [Username: ShellyWester]

 

 

Spiced Bread Pudding

  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 8 thick slices of stale bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • fig jam, optional

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and arrange the bread pieces on a small pan.

Slice the vanilla bean in half and scrap out all the seeds. Discard the pod and place seeds in a small saucepan with the milk and bring to a boil. Once boiling, immediately remove from heat and let cool.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar. Once the milk mixture is completely cooled (we don’t want the eggs scrambling now!), slowly add it into the egg mixture and stir until combined.

Pour over the bread pieces and let sit for ten minutes. Pop it into the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until the top is browned and crusty. Remove from oven and let cool.

In a small saucepan, warm the jam until it becomes runny. Swirl into the bread pudding and enjoy right away! Perhaps along side a big mug of chia tea or with a blanket on your hammock.

 

 

 

Feta and Chives Beer Bread

Posted on: October 8, 2012

I’ve been feeling very inspired today. Do you ever have those days where you go to check your “inspiration feed” [mine is bloglovin' but any sort of RSS feed is what I am referring to] planning to look for ten minutes and then one blog leads to another which leads to an idea which leads to lots of online “reasarch”? Of course you do…I mean you are on a blog right now reading this and there is a good chance if you stumbled upon VV that you were also on some sort of blog journey at one point.

Anyhow, I stumbled upon ‘Going Home To Roost’s’ monthly membership (that is only 5 dollars, might I add) where you get weekly newsletters filled with tutorials, e-courses, designs, etc. This led to me (of course) signing up and reading her e-courses triggered thoughts of the classes that I’ve taken in the past (Blogging Your Way and A Beautiful Mess) so the afternoon turned into lots of reflecting on concepts and ideas that were brought up in those classes. Anyhow, I bring this up because you should hop on over to Going Home To Roost if you are looking for some inspiration and consider signing up for her monthly plan. A lot of bloggers say that paid subscription for extra content in the way of the future for bloggers. It’s sort of a cool concept (who doesn’t like exclusivity?) and at 5 bucks a month…I bet we could handle it!

 

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And now, let’s talk about food. This is probably one of the easiest recipes I have/will ever posted. I’ve actually made beer bread way more than any food blogger should EVER admit [ but it's totally not my fault!]  I could make the fanciest truffle pasta or elegant french soup with Gruyere croutons and Wyatt would reply “are we having beer bread with that?”. Seriously, anything that you can dip bread in…he requests beer bread as the side. I’ve made fresh baguette and seasonal Foccaccia but he always goes back to asking about the beer bread. And so here we are, it’s probably the trashiest American bread to ever exist but it’s SO easy (no rise time) and actually can be rather addicting.

Another thing that is great about beer bread is its super versatile. I added feta and chives because that is what I had on hand but in the past I’ve added sun-dried tomatoes, basil, oregano, sage, cheddar, etc etc. The options are pretty endless! All you have to do is think of a combine that goes well together and do it!

So whip this up next time you are planning to spend hours making a soup (so then you don’t ALSO have to worry about an elaborate bread to go with it) or need some spongy bread for warm gooey grilled cheese.

 

 

Beer Bread with Chives and Feta

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 12-ounce beer
  • 2 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives

Preheat oven to 375 and grease a small loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Add in the beer and stir until just combined. Fold in the feta and chives.

Cook for 50 minutes or until the top is crusty.

Serve warm with soups and sandwiches!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Pumpkin Cinnanom Rolls with Maple Glaze

Posted on: September 25, 2012

 

Ah, Tuesday. Sometimes I feel like Tuesday is worse than Monday because you’ve already got back into the swing of things but still have so much more time before it’s the weekend. But there is a cure for the Tuesday blues and that cure is Cinnamon Rolls! [How could you possible be down when you have a fresh, warm and gooey cinnamon roll in your belly?] What about cinnamon rolls with an extra kick of pumpkin in them? Oooooh yeah! I’m sold. I became hooked on what I called cinnamon roll “spin-offs” after I made those Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls. Oh goodness. Nothing like taking something already delicious and making it even better.

And so, it’s officially fall for me because I cooked with my first pumpkin of the season. Ah, I love it! How can you not get excited about a season that features pumpkin, cinnamon, apples, and cider?!? I just don’t understand.

These were amazing but I will, however, add more pumpkin next time around. You could definitely taste the pumpkin but it was subtle. Also, don’t forget to prep these SEVERAL hours before you want to indulge since they take two rounds of rising (I started them the night before and then let them rise all night which worked as a perfect way to cut out an extra hour and half in the AM.

Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Adapted from EatLiveRun
  • 2 Tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch + 3 Tablespoons water (mix together so that a gel forms)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

 

For the Filling:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon

 

For Maple Glaze:

  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Almond Milk

 

Heat the butter and almond milk over low in a small saucepan until the butter has melted and is incorporated. Remove from heat and wait for the mixture to cool slightly (should be able to touch the milk with your finger and not be uncomfortable) and add the yeast. Let sit for five minutes or until the yeast becomes foamy.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch/water mixture with the pumpkin. In the bowl of your stand mixer (with the dough attachment) combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Add in the pumpkin mixture and turn the mixer onto medium until everything is combined. Next, add in the yeast mixture and let the dough knead for about five minutes. The dough should end up elastic and firm.

Transfer dough to a greased mixing bowl and cover. Let rise for an hour (or overnight).

Go do some yoga. Turn the vinyl over. Dance with your puppy. Or take a nap. Or whatever you like to fill your time with.

Transfer dough to a flour surface and roll out to form a large rectangle shape. Mix the filling together in a bowl and sprinkle on top of the dough. Roll dough by taking the long ends and forming a long cylinder. Cut in the middle and then cut each of those pieces into thirds (you should end up with 6 rolls). Stick in a greased 8×8 cooking pan and cover. Let rise for another 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Bake rolls for about 30 minutes or until the tops are browned. Remove and let cool.

While cooling, prepare the glaze! Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl until it starts to gel. Pour over the rolls.

Enjoy warm and with tea or coffee.

 

Panzanella

Posted on: September 19, 2012

Okay, so I feel a bit behind the times posting a {gasp} tomato-themed recipe while the rest of the blog sphere is bustling with pumpkin flavored baked goods and spiced ciders. I guess this probably tells a lot about my character. I spent all summer dragging my feet and then the crisp, fall-feeling air kicked in last week was a slap in the face. It was a reminder that there are still plenty of summer produce recipes I wanted to conquer. So…here we are…scrambling at the last minute trying to fit every last possible heirloom tomato, sliver of basil, and piece of zucchini bread into my diet before the first frost comes. And thus, I am asking you to stick with me…give me THIS week (and maybe weekend) to get summer out of my system and I promise I will start fresh next week with pumpkin infused everything. Cool? Cool.

Anyhow, the main reason I probably took so long to make these recipe was coming to terms with using my day old bread in a salad. Don’t get me wrong….I loooove salads but old bread is meant for french toast. Everyone knows that! And the struggle between making a salad and french toast…was well not really a struggle for most of the summer. Sorry arugula but cinnamon and butter win every time. Well…every time up until now. After making this last week, I wish I had been more open to sharing my stale bread all summer long…maybe stocking up on twice as much bread to distribute evenly between sweet and savory. We could have come to some compromise had I known this was going to be pretty much the best salad ever to exist.

This recipe reminds me of a salad form of bruschetta (probably for good reason…you smart smart Italian chefs!). This is a huge relief for me because I LOVE the flavors of bruschetta but am not allowed to make it myself. I can’t make it myself because my old roommate and very very good friend makes the best bruschetta ever to exist. And this is probably due to the fact that she lived in Italy for a short period (and Belgium and South Africa and Jordan…sheesh, putting my cultural experiences to shame). Sooo… it’s awesome having a friend who can make pretty much the best summer dish ever but it means that my attempts are just pointless. And thus, this is a great alternative to trying to get my bruschetta fix without having to actually compete with Ella’s bruschetta.

 

Panzanella

  • 1/2 loaf of old bread, sliced into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pepper, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into 1 inch cubes and soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon capers
  • 1/3 cup basil, roughly chopped

 

dressing:

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt/pepper, to taste

 

To make the dressing: whisk all the ingredient together in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium. Add the bread and toss until it is completely coated. Saute until browned and crispy on all sides. Add salt and toss to coat. Remove from heat.

In a large salad bowl, combine the pepper, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, capers, and toasted bread. Fold in the capers and salad dressing right before serving.

Munch down.

How easy was that?

 

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins // My 23rd Birthday

Posted on: September 4, 2012

And we are back with ANOTHER zucchini bread recipe (if you missed them, check out my Savory Feta Zucchini Muffins from last week here) but this time we are covering them in chocolate! Not so bad, eh?

It’s my 23rd (yikes! Weird!) birthday today so Wyatt and I took the day off to do whatever we please.  So far we have just laid around in bed, I did some yoga, and then I made some delicious chocolate muffins. We are going on a picnic this afternoon at Hoosier National Forest so I thought these muffins would be perfect to bring along. I mean, what could be a better way to spend my birthday then baking and exploring outside with my boyfriend and puppy? Not much, I’d say. Here are a few new pictures from our lazy weekend around the house (since it rained so we couldn’t go camping like the original plan):

 

Tuko’s new hang out spot // Bruschetta // Lazy afternoons with Wyatt // New birthday outfit from my Ma // …more bruschetta // Kitchen Cacti Garden // Lazy morning with Wyatt // Citrus Plant from Wyatt for my birthday

 

 

And now onto the recipe! Hope everyone has a fantastic Tuesday. I’m off to go bake more for our afternoon picnic!

 

 

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (I made my own with this recipe)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup agave or honey
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil (vegetable will work fine if that is what you have)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (semi-sweet is fine too)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 12-muffin pan. Wrap the grated zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and ring out any excess juice.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, honey/agave, buttermilk, oil, mashed banana, zucchini and vanilla.

Make a well in the center of the of the dry ingredients and and add the zucchini mixture. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones until combined.

Fill each muffin tin 3/4 full and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick can be stuck in the middle of the muffins and comes out clean.

Enjoy warm or save for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Roasted Tomato Focaccia

Posted on: September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day! It’s Monday morning and I am still at home instead of out camping. This tropical storm Issac has caused rain, rain, and more rain for the whole weekend here in the Midwest. We had everything packed and ready to go for camping and then woke up Saturday morning to a storm…followed by all day of rain….and the same thing again on Sunday. Perhaps it was not meant to be because the thought of having to spend the weekend cooped up in a tiny tent with a muddy dog is probably not ideal. Plus, it gave us time to be lazy around the house and spruce things up around here a bit (in the form of soooooo much plant shopping! Yay!) and finally framing all those posters we have hung around the house.

Anyhow, It’s been too long since I blogged about focaccia (since last fall, to be exact). It’s one of those breads that we eat within the first two hours of it being baked because it’s just that good. And eating a whole loaf of bad is just not that good for you. So I try to resist as much as possible only make it on special occasions. The special occasion this time was that I hadn’t made it in a while and had beautiful mini heirloom tomatoes…that’s good enough, right?

This bread is delicious by itself, used with sandwiches, dipped in oils, or served with soup.

Roasted Tomato Focaccia

  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For the topping:

  • 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion, sliced into long strips
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh thyme
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

In a large mixing bowl, combine the water and yeast. Let sit for five minutes or until it becomes foamy. Next, add in the sugar, salt, olive oil, and flour (add 1/2 cup of flour at a time). Use your hands (or a mixer with a dough attachment) to knead the dough for five minutes or until the dough has come together (add more flour if it’s sticky and add more olive if it’s too dry).

Grease a bowl, place the dough inside, and cover with a clean dish range. Let sit for an hour in a warm place or until it’s doubled in size.

Grease a sheet pan with olive oil (I used a 9×12 pan so that our bread is thick enough for sandwiches but use whatever works best for you) and roll the dough out onto a floured surface. Fit the dough into the pan and let rise for another 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While it is rising the second time, prepare the toppings. Heat a tablespoon of olive in a skillet over medium heat-low. Add in the onions and sauté until just starting to caramelize (about 10-15 minutes).

Make dimples in the dough with your fingers and top the bread with olive oil, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and thyme. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the bread has browned at the top and the cherries have roasted.

Serve warm with every meal!

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