Roasted Garlic and Herb Bread

Yesterday was pretty chilly around here, and I thought some nice fresh warm bread sounded like a good lazy Sunday snack. I found this recipe for Roasted Garlic and Herb bread and since it made two loaves I shared one with Patricia. I think this would be an excellent side with a pasta dish, though I’m having some tonight with a steak dinner.

2 whole garlic bulbs
2 tsp olive oil
1 (1/4 oz) pkg dry active yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 to 3 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (I really like the cheese, so I doubled this)
2 tbsp melted butter

Remove the outer skin from the garlic, but do not peel or separate the cloves. Cut tops off the bulbs and brush with oil. Wrap each bulb in foil. Bake at 425 for about 30 min until softened. Cool for 10 min then squeeze garlic into a small bowl with the herbs.

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, salt and 1 cup flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, knead for 6-8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat the top. Cover and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Punch dough down. Turn onto lightly floured surface, divide in half. Roll each portion into a rectangle about 8X10. Spread each with half the garlic herb mixture and half the cheese. Roll up starting with the long side, pinching the ends and seam to seal.

Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place loaves seam side down on pan, tucking ends under. With a knife make slashes across the tops of the loaves. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes- until golden brown. Remove from pans and allow to cool. Brush the tops of the loaves with the melted butter.

This was a fast and easy bread to make, I will definitely make it again. You could really use any combination of herbs here that you like, and I think I might try experimenting with the cheeses too.

– Jodi

Gourd Harvest

I grew decorative gourds in my little garden this year and I had so much fun I just had to share these photos. They did kind of take over the rest of the garden, but I enjoyed them so much I didn’t mind. Every couple days it seemed there was a new variety. I really like to decorate around the house with them in the fall, but there were so many I’ve been giving them away. I hope I’m this successful with them again next year!

– Jodi

Ciabatta Bread

Yesterday I decided to make chili for dinner, and for me there has to be fresh bread to go with chili. Earlier this year I bought The Bread Bible and got my kitchenaid mixer and intended to try my hand at all kinds of different breads. Then spring came and I kind of dropped it -Who wants to be inside when the weather gets nice? Now that it’s cooling off I want to get back into breads.
This was my first attempt at the Ciabatta in the book and I think it turned out very well. Nice crisp crust, soft inside with lots of big holes. It didn’t get as high as I expected, but I’m not sure that it was supposed to. Any experienced bread makers out there, please let me know what you think!

Starter (6 hour rise):
1/2 cup + 1/2 tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
1/16 tsp instant yeast
1/4 cup water at room temperature

In a small bowl combine all ingredients and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon for 3-5 minutes or until smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl. It will be slightly sticky to the touch. Cover the bowl tightly with oiled plastic wrap and set aside until tripled and filled with bubbles, about 6 hours at room temperature.

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
Starter (above)
Whisk together the flour and the yeast in the mixer bowl, then whisk in the salt. Add the water and the starter. Mix on low speed until just moistened. Raise the speed to medium-high for 3 minutes, dough should pull away from the bowl. If the dough hasn’t pulled away from the bowl, scrape down the sides. Lower the speed to medium (medium-high if you had to scrape) and continue beating for 2 minutes.
Using an oiled spatula, scrape the dough into a large lightly greased bowl. Push the dough down and lightly oil the top. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until tripled, about 1 1/4 to 2 hours.

Sift a generous amount of flour onto a counter. Scrape the dough onto the flour using an oiled spatula, and sift more flour on top. Handle the dough gently to maintain as much air as possible. Push sides of dough together slightly using the palms of your hands. Make large deep dimples in the dough about 1 inch apart using your fingertips, this will elongate the dough. Push the sides together a second time. Carefully lift up the dough and invert onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sift flour over the top and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm spot until 1 to 1 1/2 inches high, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 475 about one hour before baking. Have an oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking sheet on it, and a cast iron skillet or baking sheet on the floor of the oven before preheating.

Remove the plastic wrap and gently set the baking sheet on the hot baking sheet. Toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath and immediately close the door. Bake for 5 minutes, then lower the temp to 450 and continue baking for 20 minutes or until the bread is deep golden brown. Halfway through, turn the bread for even baking.

I was intimidated before I started, but it really wasn’t as hard as I thought. There are a lot of steps, but they aren’t difficult. I really enjoyed this bread, by itself and dipped in the chili.
– Jodi

Turkey Veggie Chili

Yesterday I was looking over my food supplies and trying to come up with a meal to make that wouldn’t require me to go shopping. This was part laziness and part budgeting. Every time I run to the store for “just a couple things” I end up with a cartful of stuff. I decided I had the makings of a good chili, and for me you don’t have chili without fresh baked bread.  That’s the way my mom always served it, and now that’s the way I like it. To go with my chili then, I made a loaf of Ciabatta bread which you can read about here. This chili was nice and thick and because of all the veggies and ground turkey it’s pretty healthy too. This recipe is not very spicy because I am not a fan of really spicy foods. I leave those to Patricia!

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground turkey
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp paprika
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (I used some I had canned)
1 can tomato sauce
1 can chicken broth
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced into rounds
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 can mushrooms, drained
Salt and Pepper to taste

Brown turkey with the onion and the garlic in a large pot over medium heat. Add spices, tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, beans, veggies and mushrooms; bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until meat and vegetables are tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
I garnished mine with a little white cheddar cheese and my bread of course!
– Jodi

Apple Crisp

Last night I wanted a fast simple dessert I had all the ingredients on hand for. Patricia suggested apple crisp, but every recipe I was finding had nuts. I’m not allergic or anything, I’m just not a big fan of nuts. Finally I found this really simple one:

4 Medium tart cooking apples, sliced
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup quick cooking or old fashioned oats
1/3 cup stick butter/margarine, softened
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 375, grease bottom and sides of square pan (8X8). Arrange apples in pan. Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle over apples. Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender.

This is best served warm, and would probably be very good with a nice vanilla ice cream. I really like caramel and apple dishes, so I drizzled caramel sauce on the serving plates and placed the apple crisp on top. This was a very fast and easy dessert, but it tasted so good!

– Jodi