Since I have all these vanilla beans sitting around (I bought half a kilo of them a couple of months ago) as well as raspberry liqueur that nobody really wants to drink, I came up with this variation of my fruit bread. It just came out of the oven, so I can't try it yet. I won't know what it tastes like until I get to Italy and share it with my family! Let's hope this experiment was a success. ;) It sure smells and looks like a success.

Raspberry-Vanilla Fruit Bread

about 3-4 cups mixed dried fruits--a small handful each dried cherries, apricots, figs and apples and half a handful each dried peaches and pears
about 3-4 Tbsp candied ginger
3 vanilla beans, halved, seeds scraped out
1 cup raspberry liqueur
grated zest of two small clementines
2 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
5/8 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup milk
2 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted (stir often in a dry pan over med-low until they smell/taste toasty)

Cut the larger fruits into smaller pieces. The pieces of fruit in the bread can be as large or as small as you like. Place all the fruits in a saucepan with the ginger, liqueur, vanilla seeds and pods and clementine zest. Bring this to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat, cover and let it steep for about 30 minutes. (You don't really have to put the vanilla pods in this mixture, as the flavors won't have much time to come out. It might be nice to use them for something else, such as making vanilla sugar).

Butter and flour a loaf pan. Preheat your oven to 180° C (350° F). Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl, then beat in the egg, then the milk.

Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the wet mix. Fold the mixture together, being careful not to overmix. Stir in the walnuts, the macerated fruit and its liquid. Spoon or pour the batter into the loaf pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until a knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Wrap the bread in plastic or foil once it's completely cooled. Wait until the next day before slicing it. In this bread's previous incarnations, we've enjoyed toasting it and spreading it with unsalted butter, cream cheese, or mascarpone.
saansaturday: (whip me)
( Monday, 21 November 2005 14:27)
Recipe as requested:

Both these recipes for sopapillas yield about 4 dozen!! But the recipes halve well, if you don't need that many.

2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 1/4 cups warm milk (the original recipe I used calls for scalded milk but I don't find this necessary)
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. shortening or lard, plus extra

In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the water and milk. Stir and let dissolve for about 10 minutes.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and cut in the shortening. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Stir until a dough forms.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes or until it becomes smooth and elastic. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest about 5-10 minutes.

Heat 2 inches of shortening in a deep heavy pan at medium-high heat. You can also use a deep-fryer.

Roll the dough to a 1/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into squares (about 4 inches square) and fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. If the sopapillas don't puff up, your shortening isn't hot enough. Drain the sopapillas on paper towels. Serve with spicy foods to cut the heat, stuff with meat or whatever, or serve as a dessert with honey (or anything you want, of course).

Baking Powder Sopapillas
I prefer yeast sopapillas but these are good too.

4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. shortening
1 1/2 cups warm water

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, cut in shortening, make a well, add water and work into a dough.

Knead the dough until smooth, about 5-10 minutes, cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it rest for about 20 minutes.

Roll and cut the sopapillas out and fry as in the previous recipe.
When I was searching for something to eat this morning, I saw lots of things to make a good sandwich with (smoked turkey breast, buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, gouda, goat cheese, prosciutto, etc.) and started craving one of my sandwich concoctions--I do make fabulous sandwiches. I was sad that I had no bread in the house, having eaten the last of a baguette late last night when I got hungry and, feeling very lazy, the last thing I wanted to do was to get dressed and go buy bread. So I thought about baking bread. I started thinking about various quick breads that might also make a good sandwich and got stuck on biscuits. Not only did it seem that a biscuit with mayo, tomato, turkey and gouda would probably be pretty damn tasty, I started craving just the biscuits themselves.

You all know how I love to cook and bake and if you've been reading for any length of time you know I have no trouble with quick breads, yeast breads, pie crusts or other pastry. Yet I have always been a drop-biscuit-from-Bisquick-mix kind of person. It's the ease of this method (and I do find the biscuits made this way tasty) that always wins over making my own from scratch. And even on the few occasions I've made biscuits from scratch, I've made drop biscuits, just so I wouldn't have to knead the dough and then clean up the mess from that. Lazy, I know. But today I was craving *real* biscuits, the kind that are round and tall and fluffy yet mouth-melty sexy. Oh gods.

I started searching for a recipe that had the ingredients listed by weight, because I've found that I always get better results when baking if I weigh. But alas, Americans are not into weighing, and even Alton Brown's recipe used volume measurements.

I searched my recipe database for biscuit recipes and came up with about ten of them. But which to use? I ended up flipping a coin to decide between what I decided were the two best candidates. The winner was from a book called Learning to Cook with Marion Cunningham. I have no idea who Marion Cunningham is, but damn does she have a good biscuit recipe!

Still missing a printer, I wrote only the bare essentials of the recipe down (her version is greatly detailed).

1/3 cup shortening, plus extra
2 cups AP flour, plus extra
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk

Oven 225 C (450 F).

Stir dry ingredients together with a fork.

Add shortening and cut in.

Add milk and stir. Don't overmix.

Lightly knead about 10 times on a floured surface.

Cut out biscuits and place with a little space between them on a greased baking pan.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

A recipe like that would probably confound someone like V but is was probably more info than I needed. :P I could have done it with just the ingredient list and the oven temperature. ;) When I patted the dough out to a 1/2 inch thickness, ready to cut out the biscuits, I suddenly realized that I had nothing to cut them with, so I ended up using a Guinness pint glass.

They came out of the oven after a bit more than 15 minutes, beautifully browned and fluffed up. I took a few photos before spreading two of them with butter and devouring them. The biscuits were everything I wanted--a bit crispy on the outside and the fluffy insides did that sexy melting thing in my mouth. Is it possible to have oral sex with food? I think I just had oral sex with biscuits!

The recipe made eight biscuits and I only ate two, so I'm thinking forget the sandwich idea, go buy some sausage and make some sausage gravy and have biscuits and gravy for dinner. Ye Gods! I love knowing how to cook. :)

two photos )
I made this to take to Thanksgiving in Italy last year. Last night I altered the recipe a bit. This version of the bread had more fruit and more ginger than last time; I'm not exactly sure how much more. It's also a bit sweeter. With all the fruit as well as walnuts, this bread is hearty and a slice or two makes a nice breakfast. I had the first slice this morning (it tastes best if you let it sit overnight before slicing it) toasted and smothered in mascarpone, which melted some from the heat of the bread and made a gooey, creamy, fruity mess. :)

Sherried Fruit Bread (variation)

about 3-4 cups mixed dried fruits--I used a mixture of mangoes, apricots, prunes, apples, peaches, pears, cranberries, currants and raisins
about 4 or 5 Tbsp candied ginger
a little more than 2/3 cup good sherry
grated zest of one orange
2 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temp.
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
a little more than 3/4 cup milk
2 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 heaping tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
a little fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup walnuts, or a bit more, lightly toasted (stir often in a dry pan over med-low until they smell/taste toasty)

Cut the larger fruits into smaller pieces. The pieces of fruit in the bread can be as large or as small as you like. Place all the fruits in a saucepan with the ginger, sherry and orange zest. Bring this to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat, cover and let it steep for about 30 minutes.

Butter and flour a loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl, then add the egg, then the milk.

Combine the flour, baking powder, spices and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the wet mix. Fold the mixture together, being careful not to overmix. Stir in the walnuts, the macerated fruit and its liquid. Spoon or pour the batter into the loaf pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until a knife inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Wrap the bread in plastic or foil once it's completely cooled. It tastes better if you let it sit for a day before slicing. It is especially good toasted and spread with butter or cream cheese.

four photos behind the cut )
Edit: I'd like to include some notes about the making of this bread. I am a bit amused at my own nonchalant attitude about making up a yeast bread recipe for the first time. But that's just my attitude toward cooking in general. I like to make up my own recipes, not follow others--so I figure I understand the basics of yeast bread now, so why not make up a recipe for tomato bread, based on the recipe that I'm using for Italian bread (a recipe which is modified from a cookbook recipe)?

I figured I could use smashed roasted tomatoes rather than water and that it would be a good idea to add more salt than usual, as well as some sugar, to help highlight the flavor of the tomatoes. When it comes to flour, well, I used all the flour in my house. Thank goodness, I had just enough. That's the real reason why I used some whole wheat flour--I didn't have enough white. I didn't really realize how much liquid all those tomatoes would yield--I ended up with about twice as much bread as I usually do.

Deliciously sweet, tart, sensual tomatoes, filled with the energies of summer...I bought them at Viktualienmarkt. I loved how their different-colored skins and bits of pulp confettied the bread. :) When we ate the bread and roasted tomatoes (yes that's what we had for dinner!) last night V kept saying "fuck yum." And the whole roasted tomatoes were so divine with some of their balsamicy/olive oily/tomatoey juices spooned over the top and eaten whole--a sensual mouth experience on the level of raw oysters and sushi in the realm of pure sensual pleasure.

This bread was my entry for this week's Vegan Cook-Off. So we'll see how that turns out...

an assortment of vine-ripened tomatoes--I used four orange plum tomatoes, four small red tomatoes and four small yellow tomatoes
13 small tomatoes, still on the vine
1 handful fresh basil leaves
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
peperoncino oil (peperoncino steeped in extra virgin olive oil) or crushed red pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1-2 heads garlic
aged balsamic vinegar

roasted tomato liquid (see below)
2 Tbsp unrefined sugar
4 Tbsp dry yeast
extra virgin olive oil
4 tsp salt, or to taste
1-2 cups whole-wheat flour
about 6 cups unbleached white flour

This makes four small loaves of bread.

Preheat your oven to 150 C (300 F). Prick each of the tomatoes which have been washed and removed from the vine with a knife. Toss them into an oven-safe pan or roasting tray . Toss in the basil, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle some peperoncino oil and olive oil over the top. Stir with your hands to mix everything up.

Gently wash the tomatoes which are still on the vine, being careful not to break them off the vine. Place them in another roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Chop off the top of the heads of garlic, place on foil, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and wrap tightly in the foil.

Place the tomatoes and the garlic in the oven together. Roast for one hour. Drizzle the tomatoes on the vine with aged balsamic vinegar and return to the oven for another half hour.

Mash the roast (off the vine) tomatoes, mashing in the cloves of roast garlic as well. Pour the tomato mush (there should be a bit more than 2 cups tomato mush; you can add water if you don't have enough) into a bowl, stir in 2 Tbsp sugar, and let cool to lukewarm.

Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the tomatoes and let stand a few minutes to dissolve. Add a few lugs of olive oil and 4 tsp salt. Stir in the whole wheat flour. Begin adding the white flour, a cup at a time, until you've added about five cups. Continue adding flour bit by bit just until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it becomes smooth, about 15 minutes. Put the dough in a large oiled bowl, turning once to coat with oil. Cover and let rise until doubled.

When the tomatoes on the vine come out of the oven, gently remove them with their juices to a deep plate or bowl to cool.

Punch the dough down and shape into four loaves. Let the loaves rise again on a baking sheet which has been lightly oiled and sprinkled with cornmeal. Heat your oven to 190 C (375 F). After about 30 minutes, put the loaves in the oven. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until a loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Serve slices of the bread with the vine-ripened tomatoes and their pan-juices. Place a tomato on each slice of bread, smash and spread. You can also tear pieces of the bread to dip in the juices. Yum! :)

three photos )
saansaturday: (skirt)
( Saturday, 6 August 2005 22:51)
I made focaccia again today, continuing with my tradition of never using the same recipe twice. This time the focaccia had the mouthfeel of a chewy baguette...not exactly right...but it was good anyway. I used the deliciously-erotic Kalamata olives V obtained from Greece for me. :)

recipe and photos )
saansaturday: (Default)
( Thursday, 14 April 2005 11:32)
I made up the shape on the spot--it's a spiral of two long strands of dough, which are also twisted around each other. I followed the recipe I've been using for Italian Bread (I finally decided that 2 tsp. salt was the right amount) but added 1 Tbsp. honey. The texture was much softer this time. V said he liked it better than regular Italian Bread. many photos of my bread )
saansaturday: (Default)
( Wednesday, 2 March 2005 12:49)
I got fabulous help from [ profile] misia yesterday and discovered that my sponge was indeed still good--it just needed a little waking up. After the difficulties with the sponge the rest of the process was simple, pretty much the same process as with any yeast bread. I've got a sage plant in my window that grows like a weed; I used most of its leaves in the bread yesterday and it already has grown at least half of them back today.

This focaccia is much closer to what I want than the previous one but still not quite there. The texture was right, the flavor magnificent, but I thought it wasn't oily enough. Also the bottom of the bread was too soft--I'm not sure why it ended up soft this time when it was crispy last time. Last night I topped large slices with thinly sliced zucchini and mushrooms and fresh buffalo mozzarella and put them under the broiler for a sort of focaccia white pizza. Yum!

not a great photo )
saansaturday: (Default)
( Monday, 14 February 2005 12:36)
cabbageFriday: take-out sushi

Pulled Pork with Cherry Chipotle Chutney on Poppy Buns recipe )
Coleslaw (Good Eats recipe) cavolo bello )

Banana Insanity Pancakes (buttermilk pancakes made with walnut oil instead of veggie oil, with loads of toasted walnuts and bananas, spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, served with maple syrup &/or butter &/or cardamom whipped cream)

Fantastic Roasted Chicken with Celeriac and Potatoes (Jamie Oliver's recipe)--the flavor "bits" as I called them--prosciutto, lemon peel, garlic and fresh thyme in butter under the breast skin--brought this chicken to the food for the gods level. :)
Homemade Whole Wheat Cloverleaf Rolls photo )

The real stars were the chicken and the sandwiches, both of which I neglected to photograph because I was too involved in devouring them. :)
for the love of foodMmmm, 'twas a tasty weekend.

I started with a Turkish feast on Friday night--Imam Bayildi and Kabak Mücveri. Imam Bayildi ("the Imam fainted") is an almost simple combination of eggplant, tomatoes and olive oil that somehow manages to be a nearly unearthly delight. The eggplants are peeled in a striped pattern and halved lengthwise. After frying the eggplant halves in olive oil, they are stuffed with a simple oily tomato and onion sauce. A bit of water is added to the pan and they are braised in the oven. The dish is allowed to come to room temperature before the carnal indulgences begin. :)

Kabak Mücveri are zucchini fritters. Grated zucchini is drained of its liquid, then mixed into a batter with feta, eggs, flour and seasonings. The little zucchini pillows are fried in olive oil, of course. The insides are soft and light, the outsides just slightly crispy. Gods, I could eat thousands of them. They're good dipped in yogurt or mayo that's been seasoned with garlic. (Recipes for the Turkish feast can be provided upon request).

We had duck soup on Saturday. I found some yummy-looking duck pieces (legs and thighs) at the market and already had duck broth sitting in my freezer just waiting for such an occasion. The soup was simple--after browning the duck pieces and pouring off the fat for another use, I moved the duck to the edges of the pan and let my mirepoix sweat until the veggies were tender. I added lots of water and the duck stock (I only had about 2 or 3 cups of stock) along with some whole fresh herbs and brought everything to a boil. I turned it down to simmer for about an hour, then removed the herbs and duck pieces. I took the duck meat off the bones, added it back to the soup, adjusted the seasoning, then added my homemade wide egg noodles (pappardelle). I served the soup with the last slices of my Italian Bread.

On Sunday I made Truffle and Cracked Pepper Focaccia, using this recipe. The flavor is so divine with the truffle oil. I just have this thing about truffles, they give me such pleasure. It made a huge loaf, I mean huge. I'm going to think of some sandwichy way to eat it for lunch today, maybe with marinated cherry tomatoes, maybe avocado?

cheesyThen for dinner I made Itty Bitty Penne and Cheese. V was asking for Mac and Cheese, so I bought a big block of Irish Cheddar at the market. But Sunday night when I started cooking dinner I found that I didn't have any macaroni. But I did have these great mini penne. After a lot of experimentation, I finally found my favorite recipe for this dish...and it's revealed right here! )

I only took pictures Sunday night. Here's the photos of the Truffle and Cracked Pepper Focaccia and Itty Bitty Penne and Cheese )
saansaturday: (Default)
( Tuesday, 1 February 2005 12:27)
Italian BreadA couple of weeks ago I made Italian Bread for the first time. We ate two loaves in two days! Since I enjoyed it so much, I decided yesterday evening to make a couple more loaves. While the loaves were rising, I marinated some quartered cherry tomatoes in my best olive oil along with fresh basil and thyme and a healthy pinch of salt. After devouring a couple of fresh-baked slices, I cut more bread, rubbed the slices with garlic and brushed them with oil, then placed them under the broiler for bruschetta.

Mmmmm, I just ate a couple of pieces covered in mozzarella.

I'm still working on perfecting the recipe. Here's the work in progress, along with a couple of pictures. )
saansaturday: (snow)
( Wednesday, 5 January 2005 12:38)
I made about 20 more tortillas last night. They are awesome. So easy--and fun--to make. And V agreed with me, as we dipped them in the leftover green chile stew, that they weren't just good tortillas, or even good homemade tortillas, but tortillas like a Mexican grandmother's. Oh yes, that good.

The recipe was requested at [ profile] food_porn so I decided to copy it here too. Though some of you on my friends list can get piles of delicious tortillas very cheap and will probably never need or want to make your own. ;)

This recipe makes about six tortillas; multiply to your heart's delight. It's based on a recipe from PNM's New Mexican cookbook (V used to work there). The recipes were submitted by employees--I only wish the recipes were attributed to their authors so I could give credit where it's due.

2 cups unbleached white flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
about 2 Tbsp shortening or lard
approx 3/4 cup warm water

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and cut in the shortening (I've found it's much easier to do this with your hands than with any tool). Make a well in the center and add the water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a dough. Knead until smooth (about 5 minutes), cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Form the dough into balls about the size of eggs. Flatten each dough ball into a circle with your hands, then roll it out so it's about 6-7 inches in diameter.

Heat a skillet or griddle (non-stick is probably best) to medium high. Cook the tortillas for about one minute on each side.

It's that simple! :)
I'm trying to decide what to do for dinner tonight--fresh pumpkin ravioli drizzled with butter, toasted walnuts and fried sage, or hot and sour pumpkin soup with lemongrass and chive cream? Or something else entirely? Ah, delicious decisions...

Bread recipes as requested:

Sherried Fruit Bread )

Cheese and Herb Festbier Bread )


saansaturday: (Default)
Saan Saturday


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags