Tags: baking, savory, snacks
Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Savory Wheat Crackers were a nice little snack to munch on with a chilled glass of wine this past (very fine) weekend. I’ve made crackers before…here, for instance. Also, in the restaurants I’ve worked in, pastry always had to make the crackers to go with the cheese plates. Rolling cracker dough out with a pasta machine (or a sheeter like we had at my first job) is my pro tip from those days. It gets them super thin, although you have to use a fair amount of flour to not shred the dough in the roller. I took these to the second thinnest setting in my machine and then topped my crisps with nigella seeds, ground coriander and fleur de sel. This whole wheat cracker dough is super basic….no leavening necessary. It comes together with a whiz in the food processor, although my dough was a little sticky, so I added some supplemental AP flour to make it behave. The recipe makes a lot of dough…even the half recipe I made yielded tray after tray of crackers! They have to be rolled, cut and baked in batches. It was like a Nabisco factory in my kitchen on Sunday. Actually, I forgot to cut two of the trays before I put them in the oven– I just broke those into big shards after they were cool. Real Nabisco would so fire me. You need a ripping hot oven for these and will likely have to tack on a few minutes to the stated baking time. My crackers took 6-7 minutes to bake through, rather than the three minutes in the recipe. One minute too many, though, and the crackers will be charcoal (and yes, I did torch a tray myself)! I made a little spread out of famer’s cheese and flowering chives to snack on with these crackers. I have lots more to eat up, so I’ll have to think up some other ideas. For the cracker recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: appetizers, savory, snacks
I’ve been trying to lay off the sweets a bit lately. No more dessert every night, I’ll mostly keep that to weekends. This is because I can tell my trainer would like it if I dropped a few pounds. The things I do for this guy….I even got up early to run a 5K on Sunday! He’s right of course, and he has made me strong, so at least that running was a piece of cake (unlike the cake I’m not eating).
I do miss baking stuff more than once a week, though, so it’s nice to have a little savory project to put together. To tell the truth, these Scallop and Pesto Purses, courtesy of Gale Gand, were more of a quick assembly task than a real baking project. Take a nice, fat sea scallop and a schmear of pesto, bundle it up in a phyllo dough wrapper and pop it in the oven. These purses are intended to be elegant appetizers, but I will probably never have a dinner party sophisticated enough to serve them (pigs in a blanket, anyone?). After I snapped this photo, I put a few of them together on each plate with a bit of salad, and we had them as dinner…with the rosé, obvi. They were really tasty and the scallops cooked nicely inside (which I was worried about since I couldn’t really tell what was going on in there). The juices from the scallop did make the bottom of the purses soft, but we were knife and forking it, so it wasn’t a big deal.
I pounded together a little bit of parsley pesto for these in my new mortar and pestle. It was my first time making pesto this way– normally I use the food processor– and it was so good, I made more a few nights later for pasta.
Tags: baking, bread
A toasted bialy with salty butter is my idea of a very fine breakfast. I’m sure a number of my fellow Americans have never heard of a bialy– I hadn’t before I moved to New York City. Then after about six years of living here, someone *finally* brought a sack of them in from Kossar’s at the first restaurant I worked for, and I was hooked. I now know that I can find bialys at almost every bagel shop in the city, but they’re usually pulled out of a plastic bag, and I get the feeling that they aren’t made fresh in-house. To get my fix, I stock up at Kossar’s anytime I have errands to run on the Lower East Side. I was pumped to be making Lauren Groveman’s Onion Bialys for TWD this week! BTW, I feel like every other week we’re making another recipe from Lauren Groveman…
I’d call bialys cousins of the bagel, although they are not boiled, they are flatter than bagels (despite the fact that mine came out looking like balloons), and instead of holes they have awesome caramelized onion-filled centers…so on second thought, even though they have a similar dough, they are really not really like bagels at all. Speaking of the dough, it was soft and lovely (I didn’t need all the flour called for) and easy to work with. Of course my bialys took off in the oven, but I’m sure it was my fault. I did prick the heck out of the centers, but next time I’ll hand stretch them a little more, too. I don’t really care– they tasted great and had perfect texture. Fresh from the oven, they are even better than Kossar’s!
Tags: baking, bread
I’m just back from a week-long course at Penn State studying the science and federal regulation of large-scale ice cream manufacture…”from cow to cone,” as the main professor said. OMG–so fun, but also really hard (especially since I hadn’t studied chemistry or physics since high school and didn’t know squat going in about the mechanics of freezers or homogenizers). Now that I geeked-out on ice cream for a week, it only makes sense that I’m back here with Joe Ortiz’s Country Bread (huh?).
This made one monster loaf! The dough polished off what was left of both my yeast and my bread flour. I was expecting the crumb to have larger air holes, but now that I think about it, given the whole wheat and rye flour in the dough, it makes sense that it had a denser structure. I made a good breakfast with it this morning, and it’ll be a great soup-dunker, too.
Tags: baking, bread
I really thought about skipping Lauren Groveman’s Pumpernickel Loaves. I was annoyed at the thought of having to make prune butter first. I didn’t have any caraways seeds. And then there was some crazy stuff about S-hooks and slings. I sucked it up and went to the store, made the prune butter (using the lekvar recipe that’s in the book) and thought about a way to form the bread that didn’t involve a sling.
I made half a recipe for one big loaf. Since I had a smaller batch, I mixed it in my KitchenAid. I found that I didn’t need quite the full amount of flour to get a nice dough. This pumpernickel gets its color (and a lot of flavor) from dark things like chocolate, espresso powder, molasses and, of course, that prune butter. Who knew that stuff was in there? After giving the dough two rests in a bowl, I shaped it and put it in a 9.5″x4.5″ loaf pan for its final rise (I sprayed and dusted the pan with cornmeal first).
I actually was expecting it to look darker than it turned out to be…I’ve had store-bought pumps that were almost black. The flavor from the caraway seeds is lovely and the crust is great.
There’s an accompanying recipe for Reuben sandwiches in the book, and I made those for dinner the other night. Yesterday I just had a plain turkey and cheese for lunch. Both were totes yum, and my husband was extremely excited about having homemade pumpernickel. I have this problem with slicing whole sandwich loaves, though. I can never get a straight slice, so my sandwiches are always lopsided (I tried to disguise that in this picture)!
For the bread recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. It’s also here, and there’s even a video of Lauren and Julia making pumpernickel together. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, bread, savory
Lord knows I’m not above making a pita pizza from time to time, but usually it’s out of sheer convenience (and sometimes out of desperation). Before Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Eastern Mediterranean Pizzas, I certainly wouldn’t have gone through the trouble of making my own pita dough for one. Not that it was a hard dough to make or anything, but like any yeast bread, it does take time.
The topping for these pizzas is lamb (although I used ground turkey) sautéed with onions and garlic, tomatoes and pine nuts. Mine wound up a little on the dry side, probably because I used cherry tomatoes, which didn’t give off much juice. I tried to jazz up my finished pizza with some feta and chopped scallions, but if I make it again, I’ll make sure the topping has just a touch of sauciness to coat the meat.
The bread dough has a fair amount of whole wheat flour in it, which gives it a slightly nutty taste. The recipe calls for baking individual pizzas, but I made a double-sized one instead and baked it on my pizza stone.
Since I had to make pita dough before I could make the base of my pizza, I went ahead and made some actual pita breads with it as well. And then we had warm pita and hummus snack. I was quite pleased that my pitas puffed enough to get a pocket– my husband initially didn’t believe that I made these, as I always get my pitas at the great Damascus Bakery here in Brooklyn. The next morning, I took my last homemade pita, opened its pocket, and made a fried egg sandwich out of it. Tasty!
We’re going without hosts now for TWD, so for the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. There’s also a video of Jeffery and Naomi making the dough and pizzas with Julia. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, savory
Gale Gand’s Summer Vegetable Tart at first sounded so promising. My CSA is throwing all kinds of vegetables my way, and it can be a challenge (a fun challenge) to get them taken care of before the next week’s batch takes over my fridge. I was kind of surprised, then, to see that the “summer vegetables” in the recipe are just garlic, onions, red peppers and mushrooms. Those are more like “whenever vegetables,” so I took some creative license and added zucchini and summer squash to the mix.
The tart is simple enough– the shell is just layers of butter-brushed phyllo baked till golden. The veggies are sautéed separately and then loaded into the baked shell along with some cheese. That’s it, all done and ready to serve. It’s okay. It certainly isn’t bad, just a little dull, even though I tried to pep mine up with some hot pepper flakes and fresh parsley. The phyllo shell gets soggy in a hurry, and because the filling is never baked, it stays loose and messy. I prefer the Cheese and Tomato Galette we did last month, and I think a riff on that will be my next attempt at a summer veggie tart.
Tags: baking, savory
Flo Braker’s Cheese and Tomato Galette uses the same cornmeal and sour cream dough as the Crunchy Summer Fruit Galette we did last summer. The dough was still as sticky as I remembered, but I rolled and formed it directly on the parchment I used for baking, so I didn’t tear my hair out.
The recipe specifies the filling as tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and jack, but you can play around with the herbs and melting cheeses. You can see I used dill in lieu of basil, and while I did have mozz in here, I used a more flavorful washed rind cow cheese instead of Monterey jack. Also, I sprinkled a little s&p on the tomatoes because I like them seasoned. When I turned my galette in the oven, I noticed the tomatoes had given off some liquid. I just tipped it out with a spoon so it wouldn’t make my tart watery.
I split this with my husband– it’s little. With a salad and a glass of wine, it was a nice summery dinner. I have an extra round of dough in the freezer, so I’ll make this one again.
Tags: baking, bread
When work gets super busy, it’s nice to have a dinner you can essentially pull out of the freezer, like Nancy Silverton’s Savory Brioche Pockets stuffed with asparagus, potatoes and cheese (or whatever you fancy, really). The last time I made her base brioche dough, I assembled a bunch of these little gourmet hot pockets and froze them, unbaked. Waiting for me until I need them, like everything should, right? Asparagus is in full swing at the farmers’ markets here, and this makes a great light springtime dinner with a salad and glass of wine. I can also see these being a good vehicle for those random leftover veggie bits and pieces that are usually kicking around my fridge.
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Carie’s Loaves and Stitches. There’s also a video of Nancy and Julia making the pockets together. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, bread
I don’t make bread super-often. Only sometimes. I’m usually proud of myself just for having made the effort to stir together yeast and water. But when I opened the oven yesterday and pulled out Leslie Mackie’s Rustic Potato Loaf, I felt like a pretty legit bread baker. Look at that crust…it is awesome. I was in love with this bread before I even cut it open.
You can’t see any trace of them, but the bread has mashed boiled potatoes in it. I guess they help make the bread really soft inside and give it a slightly earthy flavor. I wasn’t sure if I should peel the potatoes or not…in the end I did peel them, but also tossed the peel scraps into the cooking pot just to infuse some extra flavor into the water (which is also used in the dough). The dough looked like a big blob of uncooked gnocchi but it was a quick riser, with two proofs of just 20-30 minutes. So, for a “rustic” bread, it was pretty quick from start to finish.
I’m making cream of celery soup tonight and toasting off a couple of slices of this bread, and I just can’t wait! For the bread recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Dawn’s Simply Sweet. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!