Posts tagged ‘Bread’

April 25, 2011

OMGIDITGLIFO – Easter Extravaganza!

Wondering about all those letters? They stand for Oh My God I Did It Thank Goodness Lent Is Finally Over!

To me, Lent this year meant 46 days of eating clean, 100% of the time. No processed sugar, in fact, no sweet treats at all. The only exception was a teaspoon of honey here and there when a recipe called for it, and there is this once when I drizzled a half teaspoon over my buckwheat pancake, mostly for the looks… Hey, I had to make that sacrifice so that my picture would look good!!! How’s that for dedication?

So for 46 days, no sugar, no junk, not one french fry, not one potato chip, not even a pretzel, not one drop of alcohol, not one bite of meat (save for fish and seafood), even white flour was off limits. Need I tell you It was tough? It was a heck of a challenge, but I did it!  And I am very proud. Kudos to my kids for also succeeding with their Lent challenge. You kids are good! Hats off to you!

I do feel, however, like this year has been especially long and especially hard… especially when it comes to everything sweet. You see, I have a mega sweet tooth. Sugar would be my one addiction that still isn’t completely under control.

For Easter, my brothers and I went to my parents and had a lovely pot luck lunch. I love pot lucks. You get to eat so many different things in a very relaxed atmosphere. You can walk with your plate and sit anywhere you please. You can eat in small installments, too. The only thing is, I always overeat. At least, this time, I was good. Most of what I ate was healthy and good for me… most, I did say!

For the occasion, I had baked this absolutely decadent Stout and Chocolate Cheesecake. I had found the recipe on Kevin’s Closet Cooking a few weeks ago and I had been drooling and day dreaming about that cake ever since. I was looking sooooo forward to eating it, you can’t even imagine. I think the hardest part of my Lent observance came when I finally made the cake. You see, since I was making it for Easter, I had to prepare it in advance so Lent wasn’t over yet when I actually made it.

Have you ever tried making a cake without even so much as licking your fingers, especially when you have been craving sugar for weeks and you have to look at this melted chocolate, and smell it, and you can’t even taste it? Then you crack open this beer that you really really like, and you don’t even need half of it for your recipe, but you can’t even finish it… It was hell, I tell you! At least, I thought I would get to eat the cake that I’d been daydreaming about in less than 48 hours…

Unfortunately, the cake, while good, was not nearly as good as I expected. I chose to top it with Bailey’s Whipped Cream and, well, I think THAT was my favorite part. For some reason, I think my cake was a little overcooked… It wasn’t nearly as creamy as Kevin’s was. And I couldn’t taste the beer at all. Maybe it’s because I chose to use a different stout, a cocoa and vanilla stout called Aphrodisiaque, which is brewed by a local brewery. Maybe I ought to try the cake again using Guinness this time.

It did look pretty, however, didn’t it?

Another very yummy thing that I contributed to the pot luck is this lovely pine nut shaped cream cheese appetizer.  I got the inspiration here for the shape, but I didn’t care much for the cheese recipe. I’m not big on mayo, you see… and I wanted something orange / cranberry. This turned out soooo good, I think it’s worthy of getting its own post… but it’s basically low fat cream cheese, sour cream, the zest of 1 orange, some parsley and chopped pecans with a handful of dried cranberries. Oh, and a pinch of cayenne!

The rest of my food contributions are all déjà-vu…

My cold shrimp salad (I cheated and added a can of heart of artichokes…)

My Orange Cranberry Quinoa Salad

My No Knead Country Loaf  (well, ok… not quite mine… I admit!)

This, my brother made. It’s so easy and soooooo good. You simply take a very fresh salmon fillet, cut it into cubes, then pour some lemon juice over it, sprinkle with a little bit of fresh dill and let it marinate for a half hour or so. The lemon juice will take care of cooking the salmon but it remains super tender. Notice on one of the pictures below, this is the only plate that got completely cleaned!

This plate right there was 750g of salmon and the juice of about 2 lemons. Not much calculation required here, really…

Of course, there was also people at that party!!!

This adorable little fellow would be my nephew, Lyle. He is just the custest kid I have ever seen. Don’t you agree? I think he too, really liked the whipped cream on that cake…

This is my older brother, Sylvain, oh, and Lyle eating cake again… We had this huge chocolate fondue with tons of fruit. YUM!

My niece Rosalie in the foreground and my daughter Natasha (with the red sweater)

My mom, Maria and my sister-in law, Myriam (I guess you can figure out who’s who…) This picture reminds me of “The Last Scene”…  Notice the empty salmon plate… all that’s left are lemon slices!

My younger brother, Patric, and his girlfriend, Myriam

My niece Elisabeth playing the guitar, her sister Rosalie and Lyle, the future heart breaker…

My dad! My favorite dad in the whole wide world! (with again, Lyle in the background… he’s just everywhere, that kid!)

And, well, me! Yep, this is all you’re getting! 😉

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April 19, 2011

No Knead Country Bread

Remember this guy?

This bread was so good, even though it was technically a fail, I had to give it another try. So a couple of weeks after my initial try, I went at it and gave it another shot.

While that time the dough actually did rise, the end result was pretty similar, although a little, dare I say, fluffier? Still, very far from what the original looked like, so I didn’t bother logging it, seeing it as fail number 2.

However, just like I thought I would, I find myself literally craving that bread. And I am talking crazy cravings. I have dreams about this bread. In all honesty, it was one of the best slices of bread I’ve eaten in my entire life. So heavy and dense, and moist, and crispy and chewy and just plain BURSTING with flavor.

Soooo, I decided that I would really HATE to lose that recipe, so I will log it here. And if, like me, you just love super dense bread, by all means, give it a try…

Oh, and erm… my apologies to Michael for kind of ruining his recipe…  😉

Ingredients for one loaf
Adapted from Michael Smith’s No Knead Bread

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup 5 grain flour
  • 4 tsp gluten flour
  • ¼ cup flax seeds
  • ¼ cup bulgur wheat
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 4 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water

Instructions

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together thoroughly then add the water and stir until a wet dough forms. Continue stirring until the dough incorporates all the loose flour in the bowl, about 60 seconds in total.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and rest in a warm place for 18 hours.
  3. Knock the dough down and form it into a baking pan. Rest the dough a second time.
  4. In 2 to 3 hours it will rise again and double in size once more.
  5. Brush top with egg whites and sprinkle with more grains if desired.
  6. Bake 40-45 minutes in an oven preheated to 400 degrees F.

April 2, 2011

All the colours of Autumn Stuffed Loaf

This would be one of my daughter’s favourite dishes. Oddly enough, she doesn’t care for bell peppers and this recipe calls for A LOT of bell peppers. In fact, I would say bell peppers make this dish. Along with the parsley, it would be the only ingredient that you cannot substitute for something else. I like to use at least 3 different colours: the classics red, orange and yellow. I find this does so much for the visual aspect of the dish.

Since she likes it so much, I decided to make one and bring it to my parents’ to eat there. This happens to be the ultimate portable dish. All you need is a piece of aluminium foil, so you don’t risk of leaving any of your favourite dishware behind. Plus, it’s so extremely easy to carry around. No danger of spilling, tilting over or being damaged in transportation here! Just put it in a bag and drop in on the passenger’s seat (if available) and you’re good to go.

I used to make this stuffed bread with Ementhal cheese instead of cottage. I have to admit that the Ementhal added a lot of depth to this dish, but it also added a lot of extra calories and fat while not being quite as generous as cottage in the protein department. Since there is no other source of protein in this dish, I figured cottage would be an excellent choice and it is. Next time, however, I might go half and half, because I truly miss the distinctive flavour of the Ementhal.

It is really important that you choose a loaf of bread that is very dense with a nice, crispy crust. Of course, go with whole wheat or whole grain! As for the olives, I use Kalamata, but any olive would do, as long as it has a lot of flavour. I don’t think I would go for the canned black olives here; they are a bit too bland. Moroccan would work beautifully, I think. Black or purple would be a better choice as they will also benefit the beautiful array of colours that this dish has to offer. It’s like Autumn in a bun!

Ingredients
(serves 4-6)

  • 1 loaf whole wheat/grain bread
  • ½ of each: red, orange and yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sliced kalamata olives
  • 500g 1% cottage cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cut the top off the loaf and hollow it, leaving as little of the crumb as you possibly can, without damaging the crust.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together (except bread, of course!)
  • Tear about half the bread crumb into bite size pieces and add that to the stuffing you just mixed. (Save the rest to make breadcrumbs)
  • Give the mixture a good stir and return to the hollowed out bread. You’ll want to press it in really well; while it does look like a lot of stuffing, you should be able to fit it all in.
  • Replace top of bread and wrap in aluminium foil. If possible, refrigerate until the next day. It will taste even better the next day, as the flavours will have had time to develop.
  • This dish can be eaten cold but it’s even better when slightly heated in a 375F degree oven, for about 20 minutes. This will crisp and warm up the exterior, while leaving the inside fresh and cold. It’s like eating a refreshing salad with warm piece of bread. If you choose to heat it up, leave it in the foil but open it up halfway.