Sunday, February 27, 2011

Vienna Bread

Vienna Bread is a type of French-ish bread that is similar to French bread minus the really crust, well, crust. It's awesome for dipping into pretty much anything and I've been making French toast with it. This recipe calls for a sponge rather than a starter. I have grown to love the sponge. Makes bread making so much easier!

1 cup warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm milk
2 cups unbleached flour (all purpose)

1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 1/2 cups unbleached flour (all purpose)

In a large sized bowl, combing the ingredients for the sponge together. Using an electric mixture (I use a hand mixture), beat on high for about one minute. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for one hour.

Then add the salt and butter to the sponge. Add the flour about a half a cup at a time and knead after each addition. After all the flour is added, knead for an additional few minutes. Grease the bowl lightly. Then place the dough back in the bowl, cover, and allow to rise for about 1 1/2 hour (until doubled in bulk).

Remove the dough and knead for about 2 minutes. Shape dough (I like braids) and place on a greased baking sheet. Cover loosely and allow to rise another hour.

Preheat the oven for 400 degrees. To get that "golden" look, take one egg yolk and combine with a tablespoon of milk. Brush the bread. Bake the bread for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees. Continue to bake for another 25 minutes until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped with a spoon.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cooking Class

I finally splurged on a cooking class. It was actually during a time when I didn't have work. I had been waiting months to be able to save up the money AND work my schedule around it. Plus, I had to get over the tinge of guilt I felt about spending that money when it could be going to bills and other places. (I could really use new socks.) But, a couple of weeks ago, I did it. I hit "submit" on the little button that charged my debit card. I was going to a intro to fondant class. It was two hours long, and about 45 minutes away. Oh, and all the forecasts were predicting a "wintery mix". I hate that phrase by the way. Wintery mix. Aka Evilness coming down from the sky. (On a side note, I am extremely homesick for AZ right now.) So, I dragged myself into my car, abandoning my sweet parking spot (a commodity in the Washington DC area) and made my way out to the suburbs.

I had a great time! (Even though the evilness was coming down on my way home.) I made two lovely little roses and managed to make my cake nice and even. Ignore the slight crack down the middle (the result of the evilness and me slipping on the way to my car). Now I just have to save up more splurging money and schedule time to take more classes. Up next: knife skills.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mushroom Tart

I have actually been quite productive today. Got lots of grading done, wrote an exam, went grocery shopping, and even got a bunch of cooking done. Thankfully. I've been getting really tired of take-out, especially since the choices for vegetarian take-out is pretty limited. I am completely loving this recipe. Mushrooms...garlic...yummy.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package white button mushrooms, sliced
1 package baby portabella mushrooms, sliced (keep several tops whole)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup fat free sour cream
3/4 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup shredding mozzarella cheese (I used vegan mozz cheese)
Pie crust

In a pie pan, add the pie crust and bake for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil into a medium saucepan, cook mushrooms, shallots, garlic, thyme, and nutmeg. Cover and cook until mushrooms release their juices. Then cook another 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the rice, sour cream, eggs, and mozzarella cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the mushroom mixture to the rice mixture. Add to the pie pan. For the whole tops of mushrooms, arrange to the top for decoration.

Lower the oven temperature to 350 and bake for about 30 minutes.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lemon-Poppy Seeded Bread

Here is another addition to the bake sale. Lemon-poppy seeded bread

3 tablespoons fresh poppy seeds
1/2 cup milk
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Grated zest of 2 lemons
1/4 teaspoons salt

Lemon Syrup (optional)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

In a small bowl, combine the poppy seeds and milk. Let stand 1 hour to marry the flavors.

Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Grease a 9”x5” loaf pan (I used a bunch of little bundt pans). In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt in a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the poppy seed-milk mixture to the creamed mixture. Beat until smooth.

Pour the batter into a loaf pan. Place the pan on a rack in the center of the oven and bake 55-65 minutes (if using mini-bundt pans, they take about 20 minutes or so), or until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Place the loaf, in the pan, on a cooling rack.

To make the lemon syrup, combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat just until the sugar dissolves. Pierce the hot loaf about 10 times top to bottom, with a skewer. Immediately pour the hot lemon syrup over the loaf.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Garden Herb Bread

2 cups and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon and 1 ½ teaspoons white sugar
1 package instant yeast
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
¼ cup and 2 tablespoons milk
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons butter
½ egg
1 ½ teaspoons butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine 1 ½ cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, salt, and herbs.

Heat milk, water, and 2 tablespoons butter until very warm (120-130 degrees F); stir in dry ingredients. Stir in egg and enough remaining flour to make soft dough.

Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes. Cover; let rest on floured surface for 20 minutes.

Knead lightly for a minute. Shape dough in whatever shape you want. Then place on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place until it doubles in size (about 30 minutes).

Bake at 375 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until done (tap with spoon, if it sounds hollow, it’s done). Melt remaining butter and brush over loaf. Sprinkle with additional herbs if desired.

Remove from heat and let cool on wire rack.

Bake Sale

I have been on a baking frenzy the last couple of days for a bake sale to benefit domestic abuse awareness. Here are some pictures!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sweetheart Cake

I'm in charge of making many, many cakes coming up in the next week or so. Both my church and my work are having charity bake sales. So, lots and lots of cakes. I had to make one and take a picture so they can have it when it is auctioned off. Here it is!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Scalloped Potatoes and Mushrooms

Ever have those weeks where everything collides and happens all at once? Yeah, that'd be my most recent couple of weeks. I'm desperately trying to get on top of things and get back in the yoga studio (and move away from the edge of insanity). For last night's dinner (sorry no picture...too hungry and gobbled away), I wanted to do something a little different. I had a bunch of mushrooms that normally I'd make into mushroom ravioli or into a white wine sauce. Considering how long it has been since my last posting here, I needed to go with something different. Scalloped potatoes with mushrooms was the product. This version uses fat free milk instead of whipping cream like most scalloped potato recipes (save myself a little since I've been a stranger at the studio).

2 bakers potatoes, sliced thinly
5 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup fat free milk
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove minced
2 tablespoons onion, minced
1/4 cup flour

Combine the milk, thyme, pepper, garlic, onion, and flour in a small pot over low to medium heat. Constantly whisk together until the sauce thickens. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a glass baking dish, put two layers of potatoes on the bottom. Then with the mushrooms, tossed in flour, shake off excess, form another layer. Then cover with the rest of the potatoes.

Pour the milk mixture over top and bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes (until the top is slightly golden and bubbling).