2.27.2011

Rosemary Onion Bread - Recipe


This morning I decided to empty my camera card. It was getting a little out of control. There were photos from over a year ago; photos of spring ephemerals, the prairie burn at Taltree, of fall color and lots for recipes that I never got around to posting. I found a whole series on making rosemary onion bread. How had I forgotten about this? How have I never posted about this bread before? Oh, I did way back when I started this blog. Now that I have more experience baking, writing recipes and taking my own food photos; it's time for a sequel.

How to Make Rosemary Onion Bread Take Two:

Rosemary onion bread is a soft bread with a slight sweetness from the green onion and an earthy pungent flavor from fresh rosemary. I'm pretty sure I could eat a whole loaf by myself with just a little bit of butter. Although between you and me it doesn't even need the butter. This loaf is a little too tender to hold up as sandwich bread, instead serve it with a bowl of soup or as a side at Easter dinner.

1 cup warm water
2.5 teaspoons yeast
1.5 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
3-4 green onion (scallions)
3.5 cups flour
  1. Pour the cup of warm water into a large bowl. The water should be about 115 degrees F, about the temperature of a nice bath. Add the brown sugar or honey and stir to dissolve. Then sprinkle the yeast on top. Cover the bowl with a towel and allow the yeast to bloom for about five minutes.


     
  2. Meanwhile, mince the green onions and rosemary. I put the salt, rosemary and onion in a mortar and use the kitchen shears to chop right into the bowl. It's a handy way to save on dishes because the next step is to bruise the rosemary and scallions. Give them a good grind in the mortar with the pestle. Crushing the leaves allows all the savory oils to come out. This is the same technique used to make authentic pesto.



    I found my mortar for ten dollars at an Asian food market. They don’t have to be super expensive. If you don’t have one, you can put the herbs into a baggie and mash them with a rolling pin or flat bottomed drinking glass for the same effect.
     
  3. This is the secret to really flavorful herb bread! To further increase the potency mix the herbs and butter together. This will infuse the savory flavors into the butter. Scrape the herbs out of the mortar and into a microwave safe dish. Add the butter and microwave for 15-30 seconds or until the butter just liquefies. Stir until everything together.
     

  4. Check on your yeast to make sure it has bloomed. The water should now be covered in a thin layer of frothy foam. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the salt and one cup of flour. Once the herb infused butter is cool enough to touch add it to the yeast mixture.
     
  5. Continue stirring in the flour a half cup at a time until the dough is really hard to mix. Then use your clean hands to knead the dough. I like to knead right in the bowl or you can turn it out on to the counter.
     
  6. Knead for about five minutes until the dough is elastic and still a little sticky.
     
  7. Pour a little oil into a large clean bowl, place the ball of dough into the bowl and turn it to grease all sides. Then cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place until double. Depending on how warm your place is this could take thirty minutes to an hour.
     
  8. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Generously grease the bread pan. I use a standard loaf pan, but you could use a 9" round or even a cookie sheet if you want a more free-form loaf.

    Punch the dough down and turn it out on to a clean work surface. Roll out the dough into a 10 inch by 20 inch rectangle. It doesn't have to be exact. Roll the dough up lengthwise so you have a 10 inch log of dough. Then tuck the open ends under and lay the dough seam-side down in your greased pan.
     
  9. Allow the dough to raise for second time until double. This rise will go quicker; fifteen minutes to a half hour is all it should take.
     
  10. Bake your loaf for 30-45 minutes or until the top starts to brown. When you turn your loaf out the sides and bottom should be a rich golden color, if they aren't put your loaf back in the oven for another five minutes or so. It's very disappointing to cut into a loaf only to find the middle is still doughy.
     
  11. Once you've achieved the lovely golden brown, turn the finished loaf out on to a cooling rack. This keeps moisture from condensing in the pan and making the crust soggy. Allow the rosemary onion bread to cool at least five minutes before you slice into it. Try not to eat the whole loaf in one sitting!
This post was submitted to yeastspotting.

2.22.2011

Food with Conviction - TED Talks Fish Farming

Pretty picture of a forest May apple, just a reminder that spring is coming because I didn't have a picture of a fish.
Are you familiar with TED Talks? TED stands for Technology Entertainment and Design. They are a not-for-profit devoted to getting innovative ideas out to the masses. Their tag line is: ideas worth spreading.  They have several conferences a year and do a fabulous job of making the talks into nice digestible video clips. 

Last weekend TEDxManhattan took place and it was all about food and our environment.  Several of the speakers resonated with me.  This one in particular.  It's a story told with humor and love of a fish farm that is sustainable.  And I mean sustainable in the way that word was meant to be used but rarely is.  This twenty minute  narrative is worth your time. 
 

Chef Dan Barber tells the story of a fish farm in Spain that has found a way to produce humane food and enrich the environment at the same time. Check out his full bio here.

This post was featured on Simple Lives Thursday.

2.20.2011

Mushroom and Broccoli with Sun-dried Tomato Pasta - Vegetarian Recipe


This is a healthy, vegetarian meal that doesn’t skimp on flavor. I’m not talking about your average pasta and sauce recipe. What we’ve got is strong flavors sautéed and reduced with some veggies and then mixed with whole wheat pasta and a sprinkle of intensely flavored Asiago cheese.

You’ll never guess the key ingredient; it’s anchovies.  If you're not into fish, keep reading, I have a plant based substitution. Now, I realize most Americans are terrified at the idea of these little fishes, however, pretty much all of Asia and Europe know how to enhance flavors with fish. The best pork loin I’ve ever had, had anchovies fillets in the three pepper sauce. It doesn’t take much anchovy to bring depth of flavor to a any savory dish. I recommend anchovy paste (you'll find it next to capers and olivesor with Italian Foods ) or fish oil (look in the Asian food section) then you won’t have to figure out how to store part of a leftover tin.

If I haven't sold you on the anchovies, condsider using chopped black olives, about a quarter cup or two tablespoons capers.  Both have bold flavor to keep this dish from the land of bland. 

This recipe is based on Chicken and Broccoli with Sun-dried Tomatoes Pasta from Cooking Light by Cook’s Illustrated. I did do some tweeking. To make it vegetarian I replaced the chicken with mushrooms and the chicken broth with vegetable broth. I use button mushrooms, but if you can find porchini or shitaki I bet they would be even better.

Also, it called for olive oil packed sun-dried tomatoes rinsed and patted dry. Seems like a waste of good olive oil. I'd save the oil and add it back into the sauce when the four teaspoons of olive oil are called for. As it was, I dehydrated cherry tomatoes last summer and froze them. They worked beautifully in this recipe. I also had some basil I minced and froze in ice-cubes in October that I subbed for the fresh basil.  The flavor isn't quite as good as fresh, but it's still much more vibrant than the dried herb. 

This recipe is perfect for a week night meal. It comes together in about 30-40 minutes. For the two of us, we get two dinner servings and two lunch sized servings from this recipe. It makes quite tasty leftovers warm or cold.

Mushroom and Broccoli with Sun-dried Tomato Pasta

1 pound button mushrooms, sliced thick
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, rough chopped
12 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fish sauce or anchovy paste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 pound frozen or fresh broccoli cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound wheat rotini pasta
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
1 ounce Asiago or Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot for broccoli and pasta.
     
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add mushrooms and cook until they just start to darken, about 5 minutes.
     
  3. Add onion, sundried tomatoes, garlic, pepper flakes, fish sauce/paste and olive oil. Return skillet to medium-low heat, cover, and cook until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth and continue to cook, covered, until tomatoes have softened, about 2 minutes. Remove lid and simmer until mixture has thickened slightly, 3 to 5 minutes; cover and set aside off heat.
     
  4. Stir 1 tablespoon salt and broccoli into boiling water and cook until broccoli is bright green and tender but still crisp in center, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to a colander; set aside to cool. Return water to boil, stir in pasta, and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water, then drain pasta and return to pot. (I have a pasta pot that also came with steamer. I cooked the pasta and steamed the broccoli at the same time. It worked out well.)
     
  5. Gently stir mushrooms, broccoli, basil, Asiago, sauce, and remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil into pasta. Cover and let sit off heat until sauce and mushroom are hot, about 1 minute. Add reserved pasta cooking water as needed to loosen sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste, serve.
Yields: 6 lunch servings or 4 dinner servings

Nutrition:
Lunch serving (1/6 recipe): 217 calories, 6 grams fat, 8 grams fiber, 12 grams protein
Dinner serving (1/4 recipe): 325 calories, 9 grams fat, 12 grams fiber, 18 grams protein

2.16.2011

Mushroom Burgers - Vegetarian Recipe


I've long been looking for light, moist veggie burger; something that wasn't simply dense beans or all textured vegetable protein.  This is delicious and not what I expected to find at all.  While you could bill this as a burger, it's more of a cake; like a crab cake or salmon cake, but made with mushrooms.  

They make excellent sandwiches or served them over some fresh greens with a simple dressing made of mayo thinned with some lemon juice.   


Since discovering this recipe we've made mushroom burgers the last three weeks in a row.  It's that good.  

We've tried various combinations, but I can't really tell the difference between different mushrooms.  So I've been sticking with the button mushrooms because they are less expensive. 

Mushroom Burgers

3 cups chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
6 cloves minced garlic
2/3 cups oats 
1/3 cup grated parmesan
2/3-3/4 cups bread crumbs
1 egg
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Oil for sauting
  1. Saute the mushrooms, onion and garlic for five minutes or until soft. 
  2. Mix the sauted mixture with the oats, parmesan, egg and seasonings.  Add the breadcrumbs until you get a mixture that makes a clumpy texture. 
  3. Shape into patties and then brown in a skillet; about four minutes on each side or until golden brown
Yields: 6 patties
Nutrition: 265 calories, 3 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, 12 grams of protein

This post was featured on Simple Live Thursday.

2.13.2011

Strawberry Muffins for Your Valentine


This morning I decided we needed a special (read: pink) Valentine's Day breakfast.  You know what's delicious and pink?  Strawberries.
 

Remember way back in June, I froze some strawberries from the farmer's market?  We've been eating them on pancakes all winter.  I've still got a couple pints left, so I altered a recipe for blueberry muffins and came up with these sweet treats.  If you're thinking it might be a good idea to freeze your own strawberries this summer check out how easy it is: How to Preserve June Strawberries


You could use store bought frozen strawberries, just be careful to get ones that don't have sugar added or if there is sugar added reduce the sugar in the recipe. 

Strawberry Muffins

1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup powdered milk
1/4 cup cooking oil
3/4 cups strawberry fruit drained
3/4 cup strawberry juice from strawberries (add water to reach 3/4 cup if you don't have enough)

1/4 cup chopped pecan (for topping)

1.  Grease 12 muffin cups and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

2.  Mix the wet ingredients (except the fruit) together in a medium bowl.  Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and then form a well in the middle.

3.  Pour the wet ingredients all at once into the dry ingredients.  Using a fork or a whisk stir together just until all the ingredients are wet.  Stir in the strawberries.  This will be a pretty thick batter.

4.  Spoon the batter into the greased muffin tins.  Top with the pecans and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops start turning golden brown.

5.  Remove the muffins and let cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.  For a Valentine's touch add a heart shaped pat of butter. (Butter not factored in nutrition information)

Yields: 12 muffins

Nutrition: 150 cal, protein 3 g, fiber 1g, carb 20