Cooking Classes


Last Lunch in Tennessee

I will be leaving soon and want to do something special to mark this time I have spent in Tennessee and this time I have spent so far with my new blogging friends.  Today I will share the menu I have chosen for my last real cooked lunch before I begin my journey back to Canada.

It has been a monumental task to choose menus for these last meals.  So many little time!  I was totally intrigued by Shrimp Saganaki from more than burnt toast.  I think it would be fun for lunch.

Alas, I got all the way through the recipe and was about to put it under the broiler to grill, and the broiler doesn't work in this oven!  How frustrating.  So now I am waiting for the oven to heat to 400F so I can just bake it.  I used shredded halloumi cheese and it was great.  It is a grilling cheese, but as you can see it did melt nicely when shredded.

I wanted a light salad as accompaniment.  I took my inspiration for a salad from  Spinach Salad at la bella vita.  And what is lunch without bread.  I made a version of  Pain l'Ancienne from Crisis Brownies.  I actually used my sourdough starter, added flour, kneaded and worked it into a baguette. It turned out very nicely - good crust and soft inside.

Shrimp Saganaki
(for one meal sized portion)

6 large whole shrimp
1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 small red onion, sliced

1/4 green bell pepper, sliced

1/4 yellow bell pepper, sliced

some diced hot banana pepper
(depending how spicy you like your dish)

1 medium ripe tomato, diced

1/2 cup button mushrooms, sliced

half cup Greek feta, coarsely crumbled

1 tsp. dried Greek oregano

splash of Ouzo
Grated Mozzarella (or other white cheese)
salt to taste

  1.  In a saucepan, add your olive oil over medium-high heat and add your mushrooms and saute for 2-3 minutes or until they have browned. Now add your onions, peppers and tomatoes and simmer for another 5-7 minutes or until you end up with a nice thick sauce.
  2. Take off the heat and add your crumbled feta, oregano and Ouzo and stir in. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt (if any required) and additional heat (if desired).
  3. Pour the mixture into an oven-safe baking vessel (like the saganaki) and arrange the shrimp on top. Grate some Mozzarella on top and place under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the shrimp have turned pink and the cheese becomes a golden brown.
  4. Serve with crusty bread, Greek ouzo and with good company.

Pain à l'Ancienne, Recipe © Peter Reinhart, Bread Baker's Apprentice

Days to Make: 2
Day 1: 10 to 15 minutes mixing
Day 2: 2 to 3 hours fermentation, shaping, and panning; 15 to 30 minutes baking
Makes 6 small baguettes, 6 to 8 pizzas, or one 17 by 12-inch focaccia
6 cups (27 ounces) unbleached bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons (.56 ounce) salt
1 3/4 teaspoons (.19 ounce) instant yeast
2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons to 3 cups (19 to 24 ounces) water ice cold (40°F)
Semolina or cornmeal for dusting
1. Combine the flour, salt, yeast and 19 ounces of water in the bowl of the electric mixer with the paddle attachment and mix for 2 minutes on low speed. Switch to the dough hook and mix for 5 to 6 minutes on medium speed. The dough should be sticky on the bottom of the bowl, but it should release from the sides of the bowl. If not, sprinkle in a small amount of flour until this occurs (or dribble in water if the dough seems too stiff and clears the bottom as well as the sides of the bowl). Lightly oil a large bowl and immediately transfer the dough with a spatula or bowl scraper dipped in water into the bowl. Mist the top of the dough with spray oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
2. Immediately place the bowl in the refrigerator and retard overnight.
3. The next day, check the dough to see if it has risen in the refrigerator. It will probably be partially risen but not doubled in size (the amount of rise will depend on how cold the refrigerator is and how often the door was opened). Leave the bowl of dough out at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours (or longer if necessary) to allow the dough to wake up, lose its chill, and continue fermenting.
4. When the dough has doubled from its original prerefrigerated size, liberally sprinkle the counter with bread flour (about 1/2 cup). Gently transfer the dough to the floured counter with a plastic dough scraper that has been dipped in cold water, dipping your hands as well to keep the dough from sticking to you. Try to degas the dough as little as possible as you transfer it. If the dough is very wet, sprinkle more flour over the top as well as under it. Dry your hands thoroughly and then dip them in flour. Roll the dough gently in the sprinkled flour to coat it thoroughly, simultaneously stretching it into an oblong about 8 inches long and 6 inches wide. If it is too sticky to handle, continue sprinkling flour over it. Dip a metal pastry scraper into cool water to keep it from sticking to the dough, and cut the dough in half widthwise with the pastry scraper by pressing it down through the dough until it severs it, then dipping it again in the water and repeating this action until you have cut down the full length of the dough. (Do not use this blade as a saw; use it as a pincer, pinching the dough cleanly with each cut.) Let the dough relax for 5 minutes.

5. Prepare the oven for hearth baking as shown on pages 91-94, making sure to have an empty steam pan in place. Preheat the oven to 500°F (550°F if your oven goes this high). Cover the back of two 17-by-12-inch sheet pans with baking parchment and dust with semolina flour or cornmeal. Proceed with shaping as shown below.

Shaping Pain À l’Ancienne Baguettes:
Take one of the dough pieces and repeat the cutting action, but this time cut off 3 equal-sized lengths. Then do the same with the remaining half. This should give you 6 lengths.
Flour your hands and carefully lift 1 of the dough strips and transfer it to an inverted parchment-lined pan, gently pulling it to the length of the pan or to the length of your baking stone. If it springs back, let it rest for 5 minutes and then gently pull it out again. Place 3 strips on the pan, and then prepare another pan and repeat with the remaining strips.
6. Score the dough strips as for baguettes (page 90) slashing the tops with 3 diagonal cuts(or see Commentary regarding scissors). Because the dough is sticky, you may have to dip the razor blade, or serrated knife or scissors in water between each cut. You may also omit the cuts if the dough isn't cooperating.

7. Take 1 pan to the preheated oven and carefully slide the dough, parchment and all, onto the baking stone (depending on the direction of the stone, you may choose to slide the dough and parchment off the side of the sheet pan instead of off the end); or bake directly on the sheet pan. Make sure the pieces aren't touching (you can reach in and straighten the parchment or the dough strips if need be). Pour 1 cup of hot water into the steam pan and close the door. After 30 seconds, spray the oven walls with water and close the door. Repeat twice more at 30-second intervals. After the final spray, reduce the oven setting to 475°F and continue baking. Meanwhile, dust the other pan of strips with flour, mist with spray oil, and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. If you don't plan to bake these strips within 1 hour, refrigerate the pan and bake later or the next day. If you’d like to bake them as rustic, ciabatta-style breads, leave them at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours and then bake. As the loaves proof, they will resemble and perform like ciabatta.
8. The bread should begin to turn golden brown within 8 or 9 minutes. If the loaves are baking unevenly at this point, rotate them 180 degrees. Continue baking 10 to 15 minutes more, or until the bread is a rich golden brown and the internal temperature registers at least 205°F.

9. Transfer the hot breads to a cooling rack. They should feel very light, almost airy, and will cool in about 20 minutes. While these are cooling, you can bake the remaining loaves, remembering to remove the parchment from the oven and turn the oven up to 500°F or higher before baking the second round.

This dough also makes a great oil-free pizza dough or focaccia. Refer to the variations that follow and then the formulas for Pizza Napoletana (page 207) and Focaccia (page 159).
This dough is very sticky, like ciabatta dough, so it is best made in an electric mixer or a food processor (page 55). However, if mixing by hand, use the method described on page 56.
One of the testers of this recipe, Jill Myers, suggested using sharp scissors to score the bread instead of a knife or razor. This is a great idea, as the wet dough is difficult to slit in the normal manner. If you are using this method, try to get a long angle with the shears and make a long cut rather than just short snips.

Pain À l’Ancienne Pizza: Heavily flour the counter and gently transfer the fully fermented dough from the bowl to the counter with a plastic scraper that has been dipped in cold water, dipping your hands as well to keep the dough from sticking to you. Divide the dough by continually dipping the pastry scraper into water and cutting the dough into 6 to 8 equal pieces. Gently round the pieces into balls, being careful not to punch down and expel any more gas than necessary. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment and spray lightly with oil. Place the floured dough balls on the parchment. Mist them with spray oil and place the pan into a food-grade plastic bag or loosely cover with plastic wrap, and return the pan to the refrigerator, unless you plan to make the pizzas immediately. These pizza doughs will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. (You may also put them into the freezer in individual zipper bags, and keep them for up to three months.) Remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator 2 hours before shaping and baking your pizza as you always do.
Pain À l’Ancienne Foccacia: Line a 17 by-12-inch sheet pan with baking parchment. With floured hands, take the fully fermented dough from the bowl and proceed with shaping instructions on page 162. Ferment at room temperature for about 2 to 3 hours, or until the dough rises and fills the pan, rising to about 1 inch thick. Proceed with the baking instructions for focaccia.


  1. It's a lot of fun and a lot of cooking before you leave! Lovely tributes!

  2. Une recette goûteuse qui me plait beaucoup.
    A bientôt.

  3. I've seen recipes for Pain L'Ancien before, but never tried it because of the time involved. Yours certainly does look pretty! And I wish shrimp weren't so horribly expensive here, because I love it!

  4. That is my most favorite type of bread. So worth the extra work.

  5. Your baguettes look really good. I will give this recipe a try and let you know. I love french bread.
    Good luck with everything darling and take care.
    Gros bisous

  6. Thanks all for comments on the bread. I was pleasantly surprised. I don't have one of those thingies to slice down the top of a baguette so just used my exacto knife!

    And yes, Nana, you don't know the half of it! I am so glad I did this cooking a few days ago. As of Monday I have no running water in the house! There has been more winter than they are used to in Tennessee. Trying to do the Daring Cooks challenge before I go, too.


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