I love making bread. On any given rainy Sunday, you will most likely find me in the kitchen kneading up something delicious. Whether it’s beer bread or pumpernickel or cinnamon rolls will all depend on my mood. There is something I find soothing about watching the dough slowly rise. Or kneading the batter with your bare hands. Or feeling like you are conducting a science experiment in your kitchen. Or starting with a huge pile of flour and ending with a crusty ball of deliciousness. Whatever it is, it soothes me and I find myself turning to bread making in moments where I crave relaxation the most.
This is also the reason I often times make the same cinnamon rolls or beer bread. When relaxing, I don’t want to have read through a 3 page recipe four times over. I want to be able to get lost in stirring and pound of my frustration through kneading. I had come across a brioche recipe in a Food Network cookbook a few months back and it was 5 pages long. FIVE. The ingredients list was extensive and there were several randevues with the mixer (sorry but I prefer the old fashion way. This both makes me lazy because I don’t want to clean the mixer and a BA because I knead the dough by hand). It left a bad taste in my mouth and made me write off sweet brioche as too much work.
That was until Pinterest told me last week that I could make brioche in a slow cooker. In a slow cooker, really? How hard could a slow cooker recipe be?! So that triggered lots of brioche research (AKA google searching) and I came across Artisan Bread in Five. It’s a wonderful resource for any breadmaker and lays out some of the best instructions on how to make delicious bread I’ve ever come across. I’ve only gawked at their blog but am very excited to try out some of their cookbooks as well. I can only imagine!
I suggest making the dough the night before so you can just let it rise for an hour in the muffins pan the next day and bake them right up. That will cut down on 2+ hours of rising time.
Berry Brioche Buns
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 tablespoon yeast
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted
- 4 cups of all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup Mixed berries
- 1/4 sugar
Mix the yeast and warm water in a bowl. Let sit for five minutes or until it starts to foam. Add in the salt, eggs, honey, and butter. Add 4 cups of flour and mix with a spoon until incorporated. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for two hours.
After it has risen, chill the dough so that it is easier to work with. I let mine chill overnight but feel free to just let chill for an hour or so.
Grease a 12 muffin pan and divide the dough evenly between the tins. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for one hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press a few berries into each muffin (make sure to really get them in there so they don’t pop out) and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 minutes or until the brioche is brown on top.
Remove from oven and let cool. Sprinkle with cocoa powder or powdered sugar.
The fascination with my Tangine has really morphed my cooking this past month. I didn’t even use the tagine for this recipe but was drawn to it since the recipe is so similar to the other Tunisian dishes I’ve been playing around with. Who knew 2013 would be the year of preserved lemons, harissa paste, and spicy stews? Well, the first few months of 2013 at least. Can’t predict past that.
I am sooo in love the contrast that is created when you mix spicy harissa paste with sweet honey and lather it all over vegetables / beans. Oh my goodness! Do you know what I’m talking about? Well, you should. And here is a perfect starter recipe for it. Harissa paste is super easy to make (check out the recipe here) or you should be able to find it at any international market store. As for preserved lemons? It took me a long time to come around to them and I would recommend slicing them VERY thin until you get use to their intense flavor. But with that said, they really do add a depth of flavor that could not be achieved by this simple stew without them.
Lablabi / Chickpea Stew
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas (about 2 cans drained)
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 preserved lemon, sliced thinly
- 1 roasted bell pepper, sliced
- 3 teaspoons capers, rinsed
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- dash of salt
- Day old Bread
Simmer the chickpeas in the vegetable broth until heated through. Whisk together the olive oil, honey, garlic, cumin salt, and harissa paste in a small bowl. Fold in the capers, lemon, and red pepper to the dressing.
Tear the bread into large chunks and divide between two bowls. Spoon the chickpeas and broth over the bread and top with dressing / lemon mixture. Serve right away so the bread doesn’t get soggy.
This post has been a long time coming. I promised myself I would make homemade cheese back on my [cringe] summer to do list. And then again [eeeep!] in the fall…and then I stuck it on my winter one. And guess what?! I FINALLY DID IT! And although making my own cheese was both enjoyable and delicious, it kind of made me hate myself more. It was so ridiculously easy to make…probably easier than 80% of the recipes on here…that it really really bugs me to know it took 6 months to get around to making it.
Before you start, make sure you have a candy thermometer and cheese cloth. It’s very important to keep the milk at a stable temperature so it doesn’t burn or not stay warmed up long enough. But other than that, you only need 2 (yes, 2!!) ingredients. Doesn’t it kind of make you mad to think you’ve spent all that money on mascarpone in the past?
Anyhow, this recipe is oh so easy! Just make sure you give yourself enough time for the cheese to strain overnight. I’ve been mixing my mascarpone into almost everything! I stuck it in some homemade ravioli, pasta, and even with my morning cup of granola and fruit! So creamy and delicious!
- 2 cups heavy cream (NOT ultra-pasteurized)
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
In a small saucepan, slowly bring the heavy cream to a small simmer (the temperature should climax at 180 degrees and the goal is to try to keep it around there). Let simmer at 180 degrees for about 3 minutes and add in the lemon juice. Simmer for another 3 minutes and then remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature (best to just step away for a half an hour).
Fill a small strainer with several (I used 3) layers of cheesecloth and put a small bowl under the strainer. Pour the cooled mascarpone mixture into the strainer and stick in the fridge overnight (mine only strained a few tablespoons of whey but the mascarpone came out thick and creamy in the morning).
Add to your pasta, granola, or elaborate desserts! Store in an airtight container in your fridge for up to a week.
Song inspiration (classy but still a bit scandalous):
Did you have a wonderful New Year?! Did you get to kiss that special someone at midnight and maybe drink a little too much bubbly? Yeah, me too. Ah well. How about we start off the new year right with this super healthy and delicious lentil soup?
I usually make dinner for Wyatt pretty much every night and this has been going on for well over a year now. However, I just recently found out his favorite soup is lentil soup. That means all this time I’ve been making these elaborate and time consuming (and delicious… see Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Goat Cheese Croutons and Rosemary Soup with Rustic Bread) when I could have just made this simple lentil stew. Go figure!
This soup is not only easy but it’s packed full of vegetables and protein. Not bad, eh? And this recipe made enough for us to enjoy for two meals plus some for me to freeze for later! It’s dairy free so it freezes super well and will go perfect with a big salad or crusty bread or grilled cheese.
Okay, so after having an epic cooking marathon this past weekend for Christmas, I’ve been feeling a bit less motivated in the kitchen and have been making my boyfriend survive off of leftovers. Finally, I regained the desire to cook up something fresh last night and decided to whip out this pad thai for dinner because we had everything on hand and it was about as simple as recipes come.
Although this recipe was simple, it was (to my honest surprise) super delicious. Sometimes I find “half-assed” pasta recipes to be bland and not as flavorful as their scent but this stuff was really as good as take out. It took us maybe 20 minutes to whip up (at the most) so I am excited to add this one to my weeknight rotation when I’m short on time and need something comforting.
Plus, it’s vegan (thank goodness. Cheese in pad thai…yuck)!
Vegan Pad Thai
- 8 ounces of Lo Mein noodles
- 4 cups of broccoli
- 4 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons lime juice
- 4 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 green onions, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
- Peanuts, chopped (for garnish)
In a large pot, boil the lo mein noodles according to the package directions. In the last five minutes, add the broccoli. Drain and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, soy sauce, and brown sugar. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Next, add the noodles/broccoli and soy sauce mixture. Toss until the noodles are well coated with the sauce. Remove from heat and stir in the green onions.
Garnish with cilantro and peanuts.
Enjoy with your kitty while watching an episode of Twin Peaks and wishing you had every article of clothing that Audrey Horn fashions.