Bread

Rich’s Banana Nut Bread


So yesterday morning I slept in to around 7; I know is that really sleeping in; Not for most but for me it’s pretty good. I came down to the oven on, a large cookbook on the counter and too many dishes in the sink?  My husband was sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee and the dog watching the news. I asked him what he was making, the last thing that came to mind was that it would be banana bread.

Not that he doesn’t bake but it’s usually cookies and usually late at night when he wants something sweet to eat. I don’t recall him ever making banana bread before. And the funny part about this is the recipe he chose to make. Mine is pretty simple and comes together quick and I will admit a lot less mess. BUT his was really good so I thought I would share his here, to be honest it’s not really his he made it from the Baking Illustrated cookbook. Though true to him; he changed it a bit. He loves brown sugar and when he bakes he replaces white sugar with brown an awful lot.

I know I usually have pictures to share with you all but as I mentioned I was still sleeping when he made this. Though I would have loved to be sitting at the island watching him. Except it might not have happened if I was sitting around watching. I have a slight problem of keeping my mouth shut if I think there is an “easier” (some might call it micro managing but whatever) way to do something. I TRY to keep my mouth shut; it’s really hard! Anyway it was really good and I am proud of him for seeing 3 over ripe bananas on the counter and making it happen.

Rich's Banana Bread

dclarkabal
Delicious way to deal with 3 over ripe banana's sitting on the counter

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups AP-flour
  • cup walnuts chopped
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 banana's very ripe
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon good vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position, and pre-heat to 350°F.
    Grease a 9x5 loaf pan, dust with flour and tap out the excess.
  • spread the walnuts onto a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes. set aside to cool.
  • Whisk the dry ingredients; Flour, sugar, baking soda, salt plus the walnuts in a large bowl and set aside
  • Mash the bananas and add the yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter into your loaf pan.
  • Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. About 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or room temperature. Once cooled wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

 

XL Zucchini go-to’s – lemon zucchini tea cake and zucchini bread

 

I am curious how many people that took up gardening last year because of Covid are still gardening this year? I do know that my local gardening store was a little more prepared for it this year; unlike last year when they were out of just about everything. We have had some sort of a garden for well over 30 years now and it seems to continually keep growing; no pun intended. Though this was the first time in; so long I can’t remember when that I wasn’t able to get any garlic in the ground last year for this Spring’s harvest but we are dealing with it fine.

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This year we had more summer squash and zucchini so I didn’t make as many baked goods with the super large zucchini that sometimes just appear in the garden. There are a couple of recipes that are my go-to for those super large what the hell do I do with this monster. 

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The first thing I make is zucchini bread. This is a crowd pleaser and I love that I can make so many small loaves for the freezer. Personally for just the three of us we do not leave a full size loaf of anything. We are usually all set with eating the same thing over and over again by day 2; but feel obligated to eat the whole thing before it goes bad or dries out. 

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I am going to share a couple of recipes with you today so if you are gardening or lucky enough to come across some super large “what to do with me” zucchinis you can start with one of these or both. I think you will be very happy either way.

 

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Lemon Zucchini Tea Cake

dclarkabal
a little sweet, a little tart, a little dense a lot delicious

Equipment

  • 9 inch cake pan

Ingredients
  

cake

  • ¾ cup oil can you use applesauce or coconut oil
  • cup shredded zucchini drained
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 x-large eggs
  • cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice use the same lemon you zested
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • handful of fresh blueberries

cream cheese frosting

  • 1 8 ounce box cream cheese softened
  • ¼ cup butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
  • 1 16 ounce box confectioners sugar roughly 4 cups - I buy mine in a large bag

Instructions
 

cake

  • In a stand mixer or use your hand mixer; combine the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until light in color 1-2 minutes. Add the applesauce, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla beat until well combined another 1-2 minutes. Add the zucchini, beat till combined; another minute. Sift the flour, soda, powder and salt. Add this mixture to create the batter and beat till combined; do not over mix.
  • Grease or spray your pan and add the batter, place in the oven for about 40-45 minutes. Bake until your wooden toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool, loosen the edges and invert the cake onto a wire rack to completely cool. Once cool, spread cream cheese frosting and top with some blueberries

cream cheese frosting

  • In a stand mixer, cream together the room temperature cream cheese and butter. add the vanilla and confectioners sugar blend until smooth and creamy
  • spread the frosting all over the top of the cooled cake and cover with blueberries. Slice and enjoy!

Zucchini Bread

great recipe to make different size loaves and freeze.
Course bread
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 package vanilla pudding
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups AP-flour
  • 2 cups zucchini grated and drained

Instructions
 

  • preheat oven to 350'F grease baking dish
  • in a mixing bowl add the eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and mix well
  • in another small bowl add the vanilla pudding, baking soda and powder, plus the flour and stir or whisk to combine.
  • add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix till combined.
  • Add the shredded zucchini and stir till everything is mixed together.
  • fill baking dishes 3/4 full and bake for 45-55 minutes. adjust timing for which ever size dishes you are using
Keyword baking, zucchini, zucchini bread

 

blueberry zucchini lemon bread

Sitting on the porch just finished having a couple of buttermilk biscuits for breakfast with my husband and daughter. When I first came outside the sun was hitting one lonely little sunflower which I don’t usually see or maybe it’s more like notice. It is slowly following the sun around and by the afternoon will have done a 180′ turn which is pretty cool if you think about it.
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The porch has become THE place this summer. We have been spending a lot of time out here either alone and with friends and family. I wonder when the pergola; affectionately called the Parthenon (it’s huge, white columns in all) my husband has been building all summer will take over as THE place to be once it’s done.
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I have made this bread a couple of times and tweaked it a bit to not only have a lemon glaze on top but to add some lemon to the dough. I mean blueberry and lemon are fantastic together. I am not entirely sure what zucchini is bringing to the party except maybe some extra moisture but I am happy to have somewhere for all of our garden zucchini to go.  This year since I am working from home and can’t really share with my co-workers I have a little table I have been placing at the end of our driveway and filling it with whatever we cannot use up or give way to family and friends. I think the people who pass by are happy since the harvest is gone a short time later.
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Blueberry Zucchini Lemon Bread

quick and tasty bread, this make 2 large loaves or several small ones
Course bread

Ingredients
  

  • 3 extra large eggs large are fine
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon good vanilla extract
  • 21/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini squeeze excess liquid out
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 1 small lemon zested add a little or a lot - your choice

Lemon Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 small lemon juiced use the lemon you zested
  • 1 tablespoon milk optional

Instructions
 

quick bread

  • Pre-heat oven to 350'F. lightly greased 2 large loaf pans or several mini pans. whatever you have on hand. You might want to cut parchment paper to fit your pans to lift out the bread intact. I did not and will next time. the bread is a wet dough and doesn't like to come out of the pans nicely.
  • in a large mixing bowl add the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar. beat on low till combined. Fold in the zucchini. add the flour, salt, baking powder and soda beat till combined. gently fold in the blueberries. Pour into the prepared loaf pans.
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. adjust timing for the size loaf pans you are using; smaller pans less time. Cool for 20 minutes, remove from loaf pans carefully to a wire rack to cool completely.

Lemon Glaze

  • whisk together the lemon juice, powdered sugar if you are opting not to add milk then I would drizzle this on top of the warm bread.
  • If you decide to add milk to the glaze then I would wait for the bread to cool completely before your drizzle.
Keyword blueberry zucchini lemon bread

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Cinnamon Rolls for Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day!

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You really should make these this morning – my mouth is watering

I will be going out to breakfast this morning without my children. My husband and I are away for the weekend for a wedding in Rhode Island. For those of you that are home and plan on making breakfast for your mother, wife, grandmother or just for yourself. These are worth making today, or any day really.  They are so easy to put together and crazy fast that you can make them in under an hour – seriously!

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Do I have your attention yet?

I’ve made them a few times and it still surprises me how good they are and how quickly I can make them and with so few ingredients that I always have on hand; I bet you do too. Make a frittata or strata or just scrambled eggs and a fruit plate and you will have a very tasty very satisfying breakfast or brunch fit for a Queen!

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The dough comes together very easily!

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Add as much or as little cinnamon as you like

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after baking

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before baking / after rising

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Cinnamon Rolls

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers
Easy, fast, light and fluffy Cinnamon Roll with great flavor
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 9

Ingredients
  

  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast = 1 packet
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

for the Filling

  • 1/2 stick butter softened room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

for the Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

Instructions
 

  • pre-heat your oven to 200’ and just before you place the rolls in the oven; turn it off.
  • in a large bowl add the flour, sugar, salt and yeast; mix well
  • In a microwave safe bowl heat the milk, water and butter till the butter melts 30-40 seconds.
  • Once melted stir into the flour mixture and the egg and knead until the the dough is no longer sticky roughly 3-4 minutes.
  • Place dough in a lightly greased bowl to rest for 5 or 6 minutes.
  • Mix together the cinnamon and brown sugar for the filing
  • Roll out the dough after it is done resting; into a 15″x 9″ rectangle.
  • Spread the softened butter on top and then sprinkle the sugar cinnamon mixture over the butter.
  • Roll the dough on the 15” side tightly and cut into 9 large even pieces.
  • Place them in a 9″x 9″ slightly greased pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the; turned off oven for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes remove the plastic wrap and turn the oven up to 375’F. Bake for 15-20 minutes until they are lightly browned.
  • Make the glaze while the rolls are in the oven. Mix the powdered sugar, vanilla and use enough milk to make the glaze light enough for you to drizzle over the hot rolls when they come out of the oven.

Notes

Adapted from from the recipe critic

Buttermilk Biscuits

I have been writing this blog for several years now and while I enjoy writing and sharing with you all. You would think I would have a better game plan; I don’t I have been on vacation this past week and it didn’t occur to me to write this weeks blog or even make something worthy of sharing until 7:40 last night ugh! I literally had all week and I want to say we had cereal at least 2 nights and I think my husband made banana pancakes one night. It could have been a perfect week to try out some new recipes write up a few blogs so I didn’t add to the pressure of the holiday season. Nope not me let’s get up early and make something so I could take pictures and write it down for you. You’re welcome 🙂
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I have been wanting to make cookie dough for the freezer so I figured I would make some sort of cookie for you, then the fridge ingredients dictated that I needed to use up some of the buttermilk and we needed to eat something for breakfast; who doesn’t love biscuits; seriously I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t at least like biscuits.
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I have made this recipe several times and they never had really come out as advertised. I will go on record that it was all my fault. I used her recipe and made them my usual way which apparently was wrong; well not wrong I was just not going to get the same results as they showed in their pictures. So I decided to make them step by step according to the recipe which I will share with you, and you can decide if you want fluffy or flat biscuits, they taste the same to me. but the fluffy ones are beautiful to look at.

Buttermilk Biscuits
Spray a sheet pan lightly with nonstick spray or use a silpat mat like I did.
Preheat oven to 450°F.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
4 tablespoons (½ stick) cold unsalted butter
¾ cups cold cultured buttermilk

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add the shortening and use your fingertips to pinch it completely into the flour mixture.

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Using a box grater, grate the cold butter into the flour. Toss until all of the pieces are coated. We have some butter we keep in the freezer so mine was frozen.
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Lightly coat your work surface with nonstick cooking spray, then flour. (The spray keeps the flour in place.) Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture. Gently mix the dough with a rubber spatula until there are no dry bits of flour left. The dough should be slightly sticky. I really did this step to the letter and I think the dough is a little more than slightly sticky.
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Transfer dough to the prepared work surface. Lightly coat your hands with flour and gently press the dough with the heels of your hands to form it into a smooth flat rectangle, 1/2-inch thick. Sprinkle the dough with flour, then fold it into thirds (like a letter). Press the dough out again, sprinkle with a little flour, and fold it into thirds again. This time folding in the open ends first. Repeat one more time. Dough should no longer be sticky. again this is the first time doing this step and it worked and I get it!
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With a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out dough rounds. Flip the rounds over so that the smooth sides that were against the work surface face up and place on the prepared pan, 1-inch apart. Stack the scraps and press and cut again. Refrigerate until cold, about 15 minutes. I put mine in the fridge just long enough to clean up my mess.
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Bake until the tops are golden brown and crisp, about 16 minutes. I set the timer for 10 and only added 3 more minutes. You know your own oven so adjust the time. Let cool 5 minutes before serving hot. This step was killing my husband; he is pretty dramatic when it comes to food. He is always starving – not really!!!

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the ones in the back are the fluffy ones

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You can see the difference in size – so your choice follow the directions as written or have flat biscuits – both are delicious!

Recipe by Carla Hall

 

Healthier Banana Zucchini Bread

We have had some wacky weather here in NH – well all over the country but I can only speak to here in my minuscule part of it; pretty much all summer. Hot and humid and either a pop up shower or a thunderstorm. It has been hard trying to time when to harvest not only my garlic but everything out there.  I feel bad for my husband and his crew that generally work outside, how to plan a days worth of work when half of it or at least a portion of it you’re going to get soaked. When I got home from work on Friday I quickly harvested the rest of my garlic before the thunderstorms started up since the soil needs to be dry to harvest.
IMG_2988The problem with not doing a drive by of at least the squashes; they seem to grow overnight and go from cute to shit how did I not see that one! So this morning (Saturday) I had 3 way to overripe bananas, too many ginormous zucchini’s so I grated one up and made a couple of loaves of banana zucchini bread.
IMG_3006.JPGMy daughter thought I was making banana bread and zucchini bread – I’ll refrain from what she actually said but it was kind of like “wow running with scissors Mom” I actually found a healthy low fat recipe that I tweaked a bit to what I had on hand. I have mentioned before that just because someone dubs it healthy doesn’t mean its healthy for your diet. But if having to eat healthy means I can’t have any baked goods I don’t want to play. Which is probably why – oh never mind!
IMG_2994.JPGHealthier Banana Zucchini Bread – makes 2 loaves
Preheat oven to 350’ – get out 2 9×5 loaf pans and spray with non-stick

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ ground nutmeg
4 eggs – thinking of using egg beaters next time
1 cup sugar
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
3 overripe bananas
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups shredded and drained zucchini

Whisk the first 8 ingredients to the nutmeg in a small bowl.

In a stand mixer or not mix the eggs, sugar, yogurt, bananas and vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix till combined, add the zucchini and mix again till combined.

Additions if you choose – nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate chips etc. you do you!

Split batter between pans and cook for about 45-55 minutes or until cooked through, test by inserting a toothpick and it comes out clean.

The bread(s) came out very moist and I can taste all the spices and the banana’s; the oats add a little texture – plus it smells awesome!  it’s a keeper!

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My daughter tried it before I took pictures – oops!


Macros 1 piece
174 calories  9 g protein  4 g fat  29 g carbs

Berry Scones – ugly but delish

Happy New Years Eve!!!
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If there were ever a cooking competition that was for tastes great but looks terrible my scones would win hands down. Albeit I have only made them twice or maybe three times but they NEVER look like the scones I buy; well anywhere else. But mine do taste simply divine; just to clear the air I am not the only one judging them. My biggest critic is my husband, almost to a fault. He simply has a comment for everything that is put in front of him. Thankfully I have sat across from him for or 30+ years so I at least know he is not only critiquing my food.
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I will have to keep practicing, but I had to actually put away the last three so we stopped eating them, that can’t be good for us; eating 5 scones within a matter of a couple of hours. Did I mention there were only three of us in the house at the time.
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I have been trying to list the macros; Protein, Fat, Carbs and Calories; on my recipes but I fear trying to figure out what the macros would be on the scones would stop me from trying to finally make a pretty scone worth photographing. Which as you can tell hasn’t stopped me from taking and sharing pictures of my “ugly” but very tasty version.
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Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoon sugar
zest of 2 citrus fruits – lime, lemon, orange whatever you have on hand
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/4″ cubes
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh juice from the fruit you zested – I used lemon
1 cup fresh berries – I used 3 kinds, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoon heavy cream or milk
1/2 teaspoon zest of the fruit you used
A little juice from the same fruit
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Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, lime zest and salt. Cut in the butter, using your hands, or a pastry blender. Mix just until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Mix 1 cup of heavy cream with lime juice and pour over the ingredients. Stir with a spatula until dough begins to form. Careful not to over mix. Gently fold in raspberries, they will smash a bit and turn the dough a little pink but it does not affect the flavor.

Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead by hand just until it forms a ball. Form scones by patting the dough into a 3/4-inch thick circle. Cut into 8 even triangles.

Place scones on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until scones are light brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Make the lime glaze in a small bowl while the scones are cooling. Whisk together powdered sugar, heavy cream or milk, zest and juice. Whisk until you reach desired consistency. Drizzle glaze over the scones.

Ham & Cheese pull apart bread

Merry Christmas Eve!!!

I made these for our holiday party last week and since they were delish and easy to make I am making them again for a party that we are going to this weekend. Tis the season for parties!
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While they are yummy this time around I need to pay more attention to how much filling I put in each dough ball. You would think that I would have done that the first time around especially since you use a 3 inch cookie cutter for EACH piece. Probably sounds totally logical to you but I had some different sizes happening and a little cheese leakage on my first go round.
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Since I tend to keep it real here with my writings, I also want to mention that you shouldn’t stack them like I did without flouring between the layers, I had to start over as I couldn’t pull them apart, what a rookie move I know better than that. Maybe I was distracted last week? Yeah I’m going to go with that!
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Ham & Cheese pull apart wreath
16 ounce bag of store-bought pizza dough – at room temperature
1 cup black forest ham – minced
1 cup gruyere – shredded
4 ounce cream cheese – softened
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 tablespoon unsalted butter – melted
Flaky sea salt
Fresh parsley – finely chopped for garnish
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Dijon Honey dipping sauce
1 cup dijon mustard
2 tablespoon honey
¼ sour cream
Preheat oven to 375F. Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray. Allow pizza dough to come to room temperature.
On a lightly floured surface, stretch the dough into a 10×15 inch rectangle. Using a 3 inch cookie cutter, cut out 23 rounds of dough and set aside.  Make sure to lightly flour between layers.

In a medium bowl, stir together the ham, cheese, cream cheese and nutmeg. Scoop about 1 ½ tablespoons of the mixture on the middle of each pizza dough round. Enclose the filling by wrapping up the sides and rolling the dough into a sealed ball.
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Arrange the dough balls into a wreath using 15 of them as the outer ring, all touching and then use the remaining 8 as an inner wreath all touching each other as well as the outer ring.

Brush with a couple of tablespoons of melted butter and place in the oven for about 20 minutes.
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Remove once golden brown, brush with more of the melted butter and sprinkle with a little of the flaky salt to taste. Sprinkle with parsley to your desired effect.

Dipping sauce
Stir mustard, honey and sour cream and place in a bowl that will fit in the center of your wreath

Note: use whatever filing you want to make them your own creation

Macros = 2 balls without dipping sauce
256 Calories – 15g Fat – 20g Carbs – 10g Protein

Recipe: Clinton Kelly viewed on the Chew

Basic Focaccia Bread

I am sure this will not come as a surprise but I LOVE food! I know I know thank you captain obvious! Well my daughter and I; well mostly me as I needed some moral support; have decided to take a much closer look at our food intake since someone might be having a pretty big birthday later this year. So it took less than a week to find out that too many carbs, not enough protein and too large of portion sizes are not really great recipe for your figure. Yeah I know another captain obvious moment here. When you see it in black and white kinda hard to deny.
IMG_5194So what do I do when we have a friend coming for dinner, my husband asked me to make the Pasta Sausage pesto dish I blogged about last week. Yeah that makes it 3 times I’ve made it in the last 2 weeks. And I decided I really wanted to make focaccia – really Donna too many carbs and makes a jelly roll pan full what is wrong with you! Maybe I am rebellious in nature? Maybe it’s the red hair thing? I really have no idea but I wasn’t sorry I made it. I was already thinking of how I would make it next time. Adding rosemary and or thyme some garlic even some caramelized onions does that not sound absolutely delicious.
IMG_5176If you have ever made focaccia and found the recipe online, you probably already have this recipe because why mess with any other when you have the master of dough making Anne Burrell’s at your fingertips. She is a master of all kinds of dough making plus so much more. I am going to share her recipe here because it’s really yummy and though it sounds like it takes a long time. The hands on part isn’t so you can do other things while the dough is rising. Next up is what to do with leftover focaccia bread as it really is a use it or lose it kind of bread.  Croutons? Breadcrumbs? Cheesy Garlic Bread? the possibilities… 
IMG_51911 ¾ cup warm water
1 package or 2 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
5 cups all purpose flour plus some for kneading
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
Some coarse salt for sprinkling on top
1 cup extra virgin olive oil – ½ cup in the dough, ½ cup for pan

In a small bowl or the measuring cup combine the warm water, sugar and yeast. Let stand until the yeast bubbles this can take 5-15 minutes. If it doesn’t bloom/bubble start over.
IMG_5178Once ready add the flour, kosher salt, ½ cup olive oil into the yeast mixture. Using the dough hook mix on low until combined. Once the dough has come together and released from the sides. Continue to knead on medium speed for 5-6 minutes. If the dough is too sticky add a small amount of flour so you can handle it.
IMG_5179Transfer to a clean, lightly floured surface and knead a couple of times, if it is still too sticky sprinkle with a little flour.  Add a little olive oil to coat the bowl and add the dough back into the bowl to rise. Cover with plastic and put it in a warm place to allow it to double in size. This takes about an hour.
IMG_5180IMG_5181Coat your jelly roll pan with the other ½ cup of olive oil – if you are worried about it being too much, you can add less but you are making focaccia which is an oily crusty bread – just saying!
IMG_5183IMG_5185Add the dough to the pan and start pressing it so it fits into the pan. Flip the dough to make sure that the oil gets over all of it. Continue to work the dough in the shape of the pan. Using your fingers to make dents into the dough. I didn’t make actual dimple holes in the dough but I will the next time. Mine has dimples but they are not as defined as if I actually made the holes.
IMG_5190Place the tray in a warm place until it has doubled in size, which should take an hour. About 30-45 minutes in preheat your oven to 425’F.
IMG_5193Liberally sprinkle the top with some coarse salt and then lightly drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the loaf is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let it cool before cutting

Thank you Anne – you are a Rock Star

Orange and Currant Scones

My daughter mentioned the other day how our food staples have changed over the years. When she was little we had simpler; is that even a word? Meals such as chicken broccoli alfredo; burritos, Kielbasa and beans that were a big part of the meal rotation. Today we have a fish tacos, pulled pork with coleslaw, One-pot pastas and skillet chicken dishes. She credited it to having a larger kitchen; I am not so sure that is what it is.
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I think it had a lot to do with the food programs on TV. My DVR is filled with Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen, Barefoot Contessa,

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Grate the butter and place back in the fridge while you get everything else together

and The Chew episodes.  No they are not all mine; both of my kids watch cooking shows too. I think that the cast of The Chew have one of the best jobs on TV. I would LOVE to hang out with my friends and test and taste new recipes and cocktails. I think my friends and I could totally pull off a show like that; at least I think we are pretty funny and we have sure eaten some very good food over the years.
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I think by watching cooking shows, I get inspired to make what they are making. I will also admit that every time I see the Disney movie Ratatouille I make a pot of soup. The other day I was watching The Chew and Carla was making a Orange and Currant Scone. I have never had a currant, honestly didn’t even really know what it is. In case you also don’t know; it is a dried seedless grape. I am not a fan of raisins so I was a little hesitant to buy currants but I really wanted to try the scones.
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I HAVE to share with you two unsolicited quotes/praises from my husband and daughter.  My husband said after trying the scone “I would have never ordered a currant scone before; now I will” and my daughter said “Mom here is another thing you make better than any bakery” I am pretty sure there are no higher praises than those. I will be making them again soon, as I have more currants to use.
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ORANGE AND CURRANT SCONES

3 1/2 cups flour (plus additional for dusting)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 sticks butter (chilled, grated)
2/3 cup currants
2 eggs (plus 1 egg yolk, divided)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 orange (zested)
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and clove together. Set aside.

Add the butter, toss in the flour and work, using your hands, into the flour mixture. Add the currants.

In a large bowl add the eggs, heavy cream and orange zest. Gently mix the cream mixture into the flour mixture using a fork until just combined. Do not overmix.
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Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and form into a 1-inch thick round. Cut into wedges and transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving 1 to 2 inches between each scone.
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In a small bowl combine the egg yolk and milk. Brush over the scones and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
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