Monday, August 27, 2007

Southern fried green tomatoes

3-4 firm, green tomatoes
½ cup milk
½ cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup cornmeal
olive oil

Slice the tomatoes into half inch rounds and salt.

Heat 1-2 Tbsps olive oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet.

Set up four bowls: one for milk, one for flour, one for egg and one for cornmeal. Dip each round in this order, allowing each addition to coat it well.

Cook the rounds until golden brown, flipping occasionally. Add more olive oil if needed.

Serve plain, with goat cheese (or feta) or on a salad.

Open-faced veggie sandwiches

1 medium carrot, cut into thin rounds
1 large zucchini, cut into thin rounds
1-2 sliced red bell peppers
1 sliced purple onion
2 crushed garlic cloves
¼ c Italian dressing
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
Goat cheese (or feta)
Basil pesto
French bread, sliced in half

Spread pesto on both sides of bread and toast in the oven.

Heat a non-stick skillet to med-high and cook carrot slices in Italian dressing for 3-4 minutes. Add remaining veggies and sauté until tender crisp. Sprinkle on vinegar or lemon juice.

Scoop veggies onto pesto toast and top with goat cheese or feta.

Midnight-craving cake

I can't take credit for the recipe. Here it is. But I can take credit for making a smaller version one night when we were both in the mood for birthday cake!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Just peachy French toast

1/2 loaf day-old French baguette bread, sliced into 3/4 inch thick rounds
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
dash nutmeg
dash cinnamon

2 large fresh peaches, sliced
2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Mix eggs, milk and cinnamon. Dip bread rounds in egg mixture, soaking for about a minute on each side.

Place rounds in hot non-stick skillet (med-high heat). Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until browned.

Serve warm, topped with powdered sugar and peaches.

Accidental iced coffee

1. Stumble out of bed and head for coffee maker.

2. Pour a mug of coffee.

3. Add milk and sugar. Stir.

4. Take a sip.

5. Gag and cough a bit, then dump it out into the sink when you realize it's yesterday's leftovers and not a fresh pot.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Morning sunrise bread

Why call it Morning sunrise bread?
Well, I started making it in the morning. I let it rise out in the sun. And it's bread!

Makes two 9 x 5-inch loaves...or 1 large and 2 small ones

This bread recipe first appeared in the first JOY of COOKING edition in 1931. They said, "It is an even-grained all-purpose bread that stales slowly and cuts well for sandwiches." We said, "It's awesome!" Of course, I made a few adjustments, so this is my revised recipe.

Combine in a small saucepan and heat until warm (105° to 115°F):

1 cup milk
1 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon salt

Combine in a large bowl and let stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes:

1/4 cup warm (105° to 115°F) water
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

Have ready:
4 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour (I used a multigrain mix)

Add the lukewarm milk mixture to the dissolved yeast. Stir in 3 cups of the flour and beat 1 minute, then stir or work in 3 more cups flour. Toss the dough onto a floured board and knead until it is smooth, elastic, and full of bubbles, gradually adding more flour until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn the dough over once, and cover with a cloth. Let rise in a warm place (75° to 85°F) until doubled in bulk, at least 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and, if time permits, allow it to rise until doubled once more, then punch it down again. Divide the dough in half, shape into 2 loaves, and place in greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Brush with oil, then cover with a clean cloth and let rise again until almost doubled in bulk.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Bake the bread 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake about 30 minutes longer. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Remove the loaves at once from the pans. Rub butter on the crusts, then cool completely on a rack.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Middle Eastern pita bread

Major advantage of this recipe: bread in under an hour. The yeast is used for flavor, not as a rising agent.

1 1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
3 tsp yeast
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 3/4 cups flour
3 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a baking sheet or pizza stone in the oven.

Heat water to about 110 degrees (hot, but not so hot that you can't keep your finger in it) in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, then yeast. Let sit about 10 minutes or until foamy. Whisk in olive oil. Add flour one cup at a time. When it forms a ball, pulling away from bowl, turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead well until smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes. Cover gently with plastic wrap and let rest 10 minutes.

Knead in salt. Cut into 12 pieces and shape into balls. Cover again and let sit another 20 minutes.
Cut a piece of aluminum foil about 8x8 inches. Spray lightly with olive oil.

Roll out one piece to the thickness of a slice of processed cheese. Gently lift up the dough and place it on the foil. Put it in the hot oven on the baking sheet or stone. Let cook about 5-8 minutes or until puffed and brown. Once browned pull it out and immediately put it in a sealed ziplock bag. This will soften the bread as it cools to make it chewy rather than tough.

Repeat 11 times.

Fresh cucumber salad

1 English cucumber, chilled
1-2 purple onions
1 round fresh goat cheese (chevre)
Balsamic vinegar

Wash the cucumber well. Peel strips off, making stripes of green and white. Slice the cucumber thinly and place in a bowl. Peel and slice onions, adding to cucumber. Pour about 1-2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar, or to taste. Toss to coat. Sprinkle on goat cheese and serve.

Savory crêpes

1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp oil

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to mix. Add the salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let the batter sit one hour, then whisk again before cooking.

Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup or less for each crêpe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.

Cook the crêpe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, flip and cook the other side. Serve hot, with filling. As a general rule, savory crêpes are filled, then rolled.

Filling ideas: ham, grated cheeses, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, steamed spinach, goat cheese, etc...

This recipe makes about 8 crêpes. Recipe for dessert crêpes here.