Dutch Treat

A frequent customer to the shop where I work (and when I say “frequent,” imagine 3 or 4 times a day — she lives next door) is starting her own business as a personal chef. As she’s experimented with cooking and baking, we’ve often traded stories. She was quite excited to find that I bake and has now put me on her slate as her go-to person for breads and such should she have a need of them for a client. Woot!

Anyway, the other day, she brought in a loaf of bread which was quite good. When she told me it was a no effort at all bread, I scoffed. How could such a thing be possible? I soon found out as the next day she brought in the formula scribbled on an index card.

The result:
Dutch Treat

Late, late last night I put a few cups of flour, some salt, some yeast, and some water together and left it to sit in a bowl. Twelve hours later, I shaped it, let it rest for a couple hours, then plopped it in a pre-heated dutch oven (my gorgeous Le Creuset French oven to be exact), aaaaaand… baked.

No kneading, no fussing, and hardly any muss. WTF? We haven’t tasted it yet, but the crust sang for a good 15 minutes after I took it from the oven and the aroma is heavenly.


Return to Baking Bread

I am off on retreat for a while in locales wild and remote, and one of the things I want to do while I’m here is work on my bread baking skills. The tools available to me are minimal, and my forethought in packing was also minimal, but we do what we can with what we have. I’ve baked bread twice in the last week, with interesting results. Continue Reading »

Giftmas Crostata

We hosted a small Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year. One of my friend brought her very own home made cranberry sauce. And quite a lot of it too.

It’s a delicious, spicy, citrus-y cran relish really and my mind immediately went to what else I could do with a surfeit of the stuff.

Well, make a cranberry and pear crostata for Giftmas, of course.

Kate’s Crostata, now in permanent rotation on the baking menu.

Since this is the season of giving, all y’all might have some Giftmas money burning a hole in your pockets, might I ask you to consider making a donation to Scarleteen? They’re halfway to their goal in fundraising, and it really is a damned shame that the best sexuality education site on the whole of the interwebthingynet has to struggle to make ends meet, and is run nearly single-handedly (thank goodness for well-trained volunteers) by a woman who is the most passionately dedicated person I have ever met.

So please, hit that donate button and give a little to an invaluable resource.

Consider yourselves nagged.

Leftover Stuffing

Yesterday I got an email from Saveur magazine about things to do with Thanksgiving leftovers. I had a bunch of leftover stuffing, since The Baker doesn’t eat it, so the recipe for Leftover Stuffing Frittata caught my eye. What a great idea! Something bready topped with eggs and cheese, baked until puffy and melty! I decided to try it.

I am not a strict follower of recipes, especially when I don’t have all the ingredients in the house, so mine wasn’t exactly like the one in the recipe. I put sausage in my stuffing and didn’t feel like dealing with picking and chopping the leftover turkey I have (which I prefer in sandwiches anyway), so I left that out. I used a casserole dish instead of a nonstick skillet, and I only used one kind of cheese (cheddar).

I put the stuffing in the casserole dish and pressed it down, grated cheddar cheese over the top until it was covered, and poured over it four eggs I’d beaten with salt, pepper, and dry mustard.  And then I popped it in the oven at 350 F for about half an hour. When the cheese was all melted and the egg was puffing up over the stuffing, I took it out.

I was hoping the egg would cover the stuffing and cheese, but instead it went right through everything. Apparently this is supposed to happen, and it turned out that it moistened the stuffing more and held it all together, so it worked. It would have been better with a bit more egg though. The recipe calls for eight eggs, but I used a fairly small casserole dish and four eggs. You’re supposed to wait until it cools, but I was hungry and it looked good so I dug in. And it was tasty! It held together better once it was cool, and I have leftovers to eat for breakfast today.

The leftover stuffing usually gets tossed, once the turkey and potatoes run out and there’s nothing to eat it with. So I’m happy to find a way to use it up that’s so easy.

Saveur’s website has 25 ways to use up Thanksgiving leftovers, in case you’re looking for ways to use up something besides stuffing.

More Stale Bread

The day after Thanksgiving in the US is possibly a bit late to be reminding people that stale bread makes great stuffing, but I’m here to do it anyway. My responsibilities for Thanksgiving dinner here were gravy and stuffing. I didn’t buy boxes of stuffing mix this year, I just took all the old ends of loaves in the house over the last couple of weeks and cut them up. I was planning to bake them on low heat to dry them out, but then I remembered that I’d be adding liquid to soften the bread up again and decided to just freeze the cut-up bread instead.

I don’t use an actual recipe for stuffing, I just kind of throw it together. Many years ago I got served apricot sausage stuffing made with chopped-up dried apricots, and it was pretty good but I thought apples would be better than the apricots were. Ever since, I’ve been making apple sausage stuffing. Continue Reading »

Serious Chocolate

Bittersweet chocolate, chopped for espresso shortbread.

The melting point with this chocolate is so low… even my cold death-like touch melts it.

… make pie.

Someday, maybe my bathroom will be done. Until then, I’ll be enjoying apple season.