30.1.10

Saturday Blog Showcase - Anitpasti Plate #2

I want to use some things in the fridge.  Homemade prosciutto from La Table de Nana, grilled halloumi cheese, ginger pickled beets, olives and crostini from homemade baguettes.  I also added some marinated artichoke hearts and roasted sweet orange bell peppers.

I pan fried the halloumi in olive oil until browned and then sprinkled with dried thyme.  Delish.

This is also my Saturday Blog Showcase entry with La Table de Nana's prosciutto.  The Showcase is being hosted by All That Splatters this week.


As Nana says:

It's a fun easy and quick project..You buy a small pork loin.. smaller in diameter is better..and encrust it in salt mixed w/ Herbes De Provence..

I used Sel de Guérande..the same salt I make my flavored salt with and my balsamic salt..

Roll the loin tightly in a clean crisp dishcloth and put in your refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.. then open.. and enjoy~
Si Bon!

29.1.10

Chicken Fried Steak

This is the Little Bighorn River in Montana.  It looks rather lazy in this picture but it was quite wide and had a good current.  It was so beautiful with all the hoar frost.

 According to The Dictionary of American Food and Drink by John Mariani, the term "chicken-fried steak" first appeared in print in the year 1952. It has long been a favorite dish in the South, Midwest, and Southwest United States.

I am now in Malta, Montana.  I am hitting all the hot spots!  Tonight's dinner was at The Great Northern Steakhouse or GN Steakhouse, for short.  This was undoubtedly named after the Great Northern Railway which was opened in 1890 in this area.  I am only a couple of hours from the border now.

I had my first Chicken Fried Steak tonight.  Stupid me, I didn't read the menu and thought it would be chicken!  Needless to say my first bite was a bit of a surprise.  But it was good.  Nicely prepared and served with milk gravy and a choice of potato. 

Chicken-fried or country-fried steak is usually made with round steak, tenderized then dipped in an egg and milk mixture, then dredged in seasoned flour or bread crumbs. The coated steak is then fried in hot fat until the coating is crispy and browned, much like fried chicken. A milk gravy is often made to be served with the steak, along with mashed potatoes.    

It was a very lonely drive, just like New Mexico, but with snow!  This vulture was feasting on a roadkill deer.  His buddies flew away but he stayed near his dinner.

28.1.10

Happy 101 blog award


Thanks For The Happiness Award To Whom I'll Pass On To . . .

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There's someone that I'd like to introduce to you! Her name is Roz and she is the author of La Bella Vita,  a wonderful blog,  . She extended the Happy 101 blog award to me and I'm very grateful for her kindness. This is a special one, because I love making people, even if it is just one person, happy when they read my blog. Now Roz gave me a few award rules, that I'm also passing along:
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1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. List who gave the award to you and use a link to her blog (or hyperlink).
3. List 10 things that make you happy.
4. Pass the award on to other bloggers and visit their blog to let them know!

Ten Things That Make Me Happy

1.    Trying new recipes and remaking good ones that I have made before.
2.    Making friends happy with some good food on the table.
3.    Making new friends and spending time with old friends.
4.    A good bottle of wine.
5.    Being busy at something interesting to do.
6.    A clean house.
7.    Fresh air.
8.    My puddy tat, Miss Sugar.
9.    Cooking until midnight.
10.  Paris, Delhi, Mumbai, Halifax, Victoria, Vancouver, Knoxville, Saigon, London, New York, Puerto Vallarta, Ronda, Lisbon, Madrid, Morocco, Guatemala City, Las Vegas, Sante Fe, Catalina Island, Reading, Charlottetown, Annapolis Royal, Singapore, Hanoi, Baden Baden......................


I have so many new friends since I began blogging in August.  I want to share with everyone eventually and this time I am passing this smile on to these blogging friends.....

Lisa is Cooking
Thibeault's Kitchen
Andrea - The Kitchen Witch
Melle Armelle
The Other Side of Fifty
Moogie and Pap
More Than Burnt Toast

27.1.10

Hotel Gourmet


After another long day of driving from Colorado Springs, CO I am exhausted and so is Miss Sugar.  She needs a bath (but don't tell her).   I had lunch in Chugwater, Wyoming.  It is such a little place.  This little place has built a business around their chili.  Chugwater Chili is a going concern.  Sadly, I did not try it.  I am not a chili fan at the best of times.  Perhaps it was overdone in my childhood.  But this little lodge was a going concern.  Definitely worth a stop.

I have now reached Sheridan, Wyoming.  It is such a nice town.  I have been told that it is artsy and a retirement mecca.  I can see why!  The main street is lined with turn of the century buildings, in good repair I might add and with businesses in them.  There is also a new part of town with those amenities.  I might spend a bit of time tomorrow downtown.

Tonight I am too lazy to eat out.  I am digging through my travelling food and I have a microwave.  So I am having my home made pita chips with the grated parmesan cheese in my sack and melted it like nachos.  Not bad!


This is a picture from the short-cut road I took in New Mexico.  I drove for an hour and only saw 4 or 5 cars and even fewer homes.  It was desolate!

I had lunch in Roy, New Mexico.  That was a dive if I have ever seen one.  But tell me if this is normal Mexican food.  I had a combination plate that had two enchiladas (?), pinto beans and a lettuce salad all swimming in a green chili sauce with cheese.  I couldn't even see what I was eating because there was so much sauce.  I do know that there were nice chunks of beef in the green chile.  I also had a basket with a beef taco and a flour tortilla and salsa in it.

The Daring Bakers January 2010 Challenge

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca.

I just made a triple batch of Nanaimo Bars in December for my new friends in Tennessee.  I gave away my leftover icing sugar and coconut because I am trying not to make any more 'fat food' for awhile!  So this challenge is a challenge for me!  I have decided that I would love to make the graham crackers from scratch.  I have always wanted to try them.  They will be good for S'Mores as well.  But that is all I will do this month.  Crackers only and no more Nanaimo Bars.  This is not the gluten free version.

Look at the amount of vanilla in this recipe!  So that tells me you better use a very good quality.  It is a dominant flavour.  And the cinnamon sprinkle is really important, so use a really fresh and good quality cinnamon.  I used sorghum rather than honey, because that is what I had on hand.  Sorghum is a type of mild molasses more common in the southern USA and it was just fine.   Chilling them well before baking is really important.  It prevents them from spreading during baking.  I also cool down the pan before baking the next batch.  (Or just use a second pan.)  Be really careful not to overcook.    And OH MY GOSH, they are so-o-o good!  You could just have them with coffee.

Graham Crackers

2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup mild-flavored honey, such as clover
5 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse or mix on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.  (Oops!  I forgot to add the 2T flour.  I used unbleached all purpose.)

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times or mix on low until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.

To prepare the topping: In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon, and set aside.

Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary. Trim the edges of the rectangle to 4 inches wide. Working with the shorter side of the rectangle parallel to the work surface, cut the strip every 4 1/2 inches to make 4 crackers. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place the crackers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the topping. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.   ( I made mine 2" x 3" for single wafers)

Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350F.

Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more flour and roll out the dough to get a few more crackers.

Mark a vertical line down the middle of each cracker, being careful not to cut through the dough. Using a toothpick or skewer, prick the dough to form two dotted rows about 1/2 inch for each side of the dividing line.   (I marked them before chilling.  Just seemed to be a more logical sequence.)

Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.

Yield: 10 large crackers  ( I made 42 - 2" x 3" crackers.)

From Nancy Silverton's Pastries from the La Brea Bakery (Villard, 2000)

25.1.10

Miss Sugar in Oklahoma


Life on the road!  What happened to those fancy dishes?  Oh well, it still tastes good.

24.1.10

Memphis BBQ


The year was 1922, a time widely accepted as the beginning of Memphis' love affair for pit-smoked barbecue. For this was the year Leonard Heuberger opened his little stand of 5 stools, selling his creation, a barbecue sandwich, for just five cents. He couldn't keep up with demand and that modest beginning soon became the largest drive-in restaurant of its time. People came from near and far to pig-out on pit-cooked ribs and pork shoulders that Leonard's popularized. The "King" was a regular. Elvis would bring his friends for after-hours parties that lasted 'til sunrise. 


I did have a chance to have a quick bite and learned about Leonard's from Chowhound.  I was exhausted from the drive and wasn't all that hungry, unfortunately. But I did order their combination dinner with dry BBQ ribs and the BBQ pork shoulder with coleslaw and baked beans for $11.


The food was fantastic!  I was too shy to take my big camera into this little diner.  As it was everyone seemed to look at me.  I don't know if it was my unkempt look (remember, no running water at the house) or my Canadian accent.  You could tell that they were all regulars and most of them had the buffet.


You can order the ribs wet or dry.  But I understand that Memphisites like theirs dry.  I like them that way, too.  They were so tender that I ate them with a fork and knife - no fingers.  How does one describe the flavour of ribs - salty, very lightly smokey, perfectly seasoned. Also a bit crispy on the surface, some tomato flavour and not spicy or hot at all.  Not black but nice and browned.


The pulled pork serving was huge.  It was served with a generous portion of barbecue sauce on top.  The coleslaw had more vinegar than I have tasted before.  The cabbage and other veggies were shredded very finely.  I can't see very well things are that small (hones, it was a very fine shred) so not sure what was in there - probably onions, celery and red bell peppers?  It was good but a lot of vinegar.  It still was creamy.   And the baked beans had lots of the pork in them, too.  They were very rich and flavourful.

I wish I had the energy to have the buffet but it would be way too much food and I don't have good luck with buffets.


My servings were huge.  I have enough left for another meal.  This was in a bit of an out-of-the-way location but the GPS took me right there.  They had a security guard in the parking lot!  I think that is quite normal in Memphis.


The decor was fun.  They had a vintage delivery wagon with a beautiful paint job right in the middle of the room.  There was another wall with a great mural depicting a 1920's era soda shop with teenagers.  That is where they placed 5 stools and a diner bar like in the original Leonard's.  It was very clean and well organized and trained staff.

23.1.10

Tennessee-isms


Apple Stack Cake from my neighbour, Ersie.  This is a traditional Appalachian cake.  She made it just for me!

Apple Stack Cakes were an Appalachian wedding cake.  Wedding cakes were expensive so friends of the bride would each bring one layer.  The brides family would make the dried apple filling and they would put it together for the wedding.  The taller the cake, the more popular the girl.


Well, this is my last day!  I am anxious to get home to Canada but I will miss my new friends here in Tennessee.  I have some 'saved' blog items that will come on in the next few days, but unless I find a restaurant worth sharing or an interesting roadside site, you won't hear from me for awhile due to the drive home.

It has been a journey of learning a new culture.  Not only am in a different country, but I am in a very distinct culture within that country.  I look back and laugh at the misunderstandings I have had due to the accent and vocabulary. 

The latest experience with not understanding what was being said to me was the evening I went to an Italian restaurant here in Maryville.  The waitress asked if I would like garlic nuts.  By now I know I cannot trust anything I hear but, what the hay, sure I'll have some garlic nuts.  Finally, a second person asked if I would like garlic nuts.  Sure!  I'm sure you know the results - I was served garlic knots.  I think it was pizza dough made into knots and slathered in butter and garlic.

I have been introduced to 'shoepay corn' which of course, was shoepeg corn (of which I never heard of before), fried okra and collards.   I was at a B&B and there was a 'pahsef' in my bathroom for storage.  Did you guess it?  It was a pie safe - the olden cupboard for storing pies.

I am still not a sweet tea addict.  I really would like to know how to make it but they can't seem to pass it on to me.  The recipe is, well, in their bones.  How can they explain it to me?

Barbecue is not grilling.  Biscuits don't tower high.  Ham is served for Christmas.  The trinity is not always holy.  And gravy isn't always brown.

The Food Channel is dominated by Paula 'butter' Dean, Emeril 'essence' Legasse and The Neely's.

I have been introduced to Hummingbird Cake, stack cake, fried green tomatoes, a kazillion types of bacon and the best smoked hams in the world.

My pantry now includes sorghum, Chesapeake Bay seasoning, White Lily flour, vidalia onion relish, chow chow, pure cane sugar, white and yellow grits, Hatch chiles, Tony Cachere's cajun seasoning, Zatarains Shrimp and Crab boil, Stubbs BBQ Sauce, Slap Ya Momma Cajun seasoning, sourwood honey, and file (pronounced FELA).


I have been to church suppers, Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, fine dining restaurants, southern buffets and dives.

Bottom line?

I'll miss this place.


This is me with Miss Ruth.  She is 93 years old and still lives alone.  Her son drove down from Atlanta to tour us around Gatlinburg, Cades Cove and Bald River Falls.  Isn't she sweet!

22.1.10

My Last Petit Dejeuner


If you have been following, I am honoring my blogging friends by making their recipes for my last meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner -  in my housesit in Tennessee for the past six months.  I will be leaving in a couple of days.  My first stop is Memphis and hopefully I can post a restaurant review on some real good BBQ.


This is also my contribution to Saturday Blog Showcase hosted by Thibeault's Table this week.





Today is my breakfast!  Most important meal of the day!  I have three beautiful recipes that I have been dying to try.  First I will be having Cherry Rose Rolls from saveurs and gourmandises.  These are absolutely scrumptious.  I am so glad Nadjibella has shown me how to make these.


For a sense of having something healthy, I am enjoying Raw Apple Breakfast with variations from Crisis Brownies.  I have a can of pineapple rings and homemade yogurt and some nuts.  So, I guess you could say my inspiration was from Crisis Brownies but I completely changed her recipe!  I don't mean to serve everything in a wine glass, but other than huge blue soup bowls, I have nothing else in the kitchen!  It looks a lot like my kheer but honest, it's yogurt!






And to accompany I need a wonderful beverage. Memoria at Mangio de Sola has a divine hot chocolate called Non-White Hot Chocolate.  My whipped cream topping is a little lame but I am doing it by hand with a little whisk and a little bowl - the ultimate in clumsiness!

I will close my eyes and dream that I am in Paris by the Seine enjoying petit dejeuner.

 Cherry Rose Rolls

Source: The Sourdough Cookbook by Rita Davenport

Makes 24 to 30 rolls



3/4 C milk
1 envelope active dry yeast (1T)

1/2 C water

1 C sourdough starter

1/2 C butter or margarine, melted
1/2 C granulated sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

3 to 4 C all-purpose flour

1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling


1 C powdered sugar

1 t vanilla extract
1 T milk


  • In a small saucepan, heat 3/4 cup milk almost to a boil over medium heat. Do not boil. Set aside to cool 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle yeast over water, set aside to soften 5 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine sourdough starter, cooled milk, softened yeast mixture, butter or margarine, granulated sugar and salt. Stir in enough flour to make a soft dough.Turn on to a lightly floured surface. Clean and grease bowl; set aside.
  • Knead dough 5 to 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Add more flour if necessary. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease all sides. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator 2 hours or overnight.
  • Grease a large baking sheet; set aside. Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 24-30 equal pieces.
  • Gently roll each piece between your hands to a 12-inch rope. On prepared baking sheet, loosely coil each rope, tucking end of rope under coil.
  • Leave 2 inches between coiled ropes. Cover with a cloth and set in a warm place free from drafts. Let rise 1 to 2 hours or until doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 400F (205C). Press the center of each roll with your fingers until you touch baking sheet. Make indentations about 1 inch wide.
  • Spoon cherry pie filling into each indentation. Bake in preheated oven 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove from baking sheet, cool on a rack.
  • For decorating, In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk, Beat until smooth. Spoon into a pastry bag. Decorate rolls by pressing mixture through a tip with small opening.


SOUR DOUGH STARTER

1 pkg dry or cake yeast in 1/2 c. warm water
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. water
1 tbsp. sugar
Soften yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Stir in flour, warm water and sugar. Beat until smooth. Cover and let stand at room temperature until bubbly. This may take a day or two. During this time stir 2 or 3 times daily, then refrigerate. Renew every 5-10 days.

21.1.10

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 meals....so 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.
COMMENTARY:

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.

20.1.10

My Last Supper


My time in Tennessee is coming to a close and a new chapter begins.  This has been a wonderful five plus months and I have made so many wonderful friends that I will dearly miss.  I will miss the politeness in the language.  I will miss being called honey, sweetie or Miss Sarah by complete strangers who just want to be nice. 

This also takes me into a new chapter with my blogging.  To celebrate this milestone I have decided to enjoy meals from my blogging friends.  I started with the thought it would be a 'Last Supper'.  But  that left out too many people.  So I have decided to have a 'Last Breakfast', a 'Last Lunch' and a 'Last Supper'.

I am choosing recipes from many of my new blogging friends.  I am doing this backwards because I thought the title of this blog was catchy.  So today honors my blogging friends with their input to my last real cooked dinner before I start my long journey back to Canada.

I have chosen Chicken a la Nantaise from lostpastremembered as my entree.   This was way easier to prepare than it looked from her beautiful presentation. 

This is a tough act to pair.  Her meal is so complete.  I want just a little pre-dinner bite.
You all have such hearty appetizers!  It was difficult to choose one.  But I did find a nice little bite from Tomatoes on the Vine - Prosciutto Wrapped Greens.  This also honors another blogger, La Table de Nana, because I will be using her recipe to prepare the prosciutto.

I used mache greens with a light lemon vinaigrette.  It was perfect - almost an amuse bouche.   Making the prosciutto was a no-brainer, just like Nana said.  I like it sliced very thinly so I will be buying a meat slicer.


Dessert posed a particular challenge.  I have no pie plates, muffin tins, springform pans, hand mixer, stand mixer, nada.  I only have a baking sheet.  So that leaves out all pies, tartes, ice creams, meringues and almost everything that comes to mind.  But no fear!  Winter Guest gave me a wonderful dessert called Postre de Musico.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed simple raisins with the Moscato.  I also included  marcona almonds, dried apricots and my candied Meyer lemon slices.


Chickens a la Nantaise

2 boneless chicken breasts (the original recipe called for pieces)
2 T butter
½ c mushroom broth (from rehydrating dried mushrooms)

½ c Madeira Wine (Charleston Sercial)
1 ½ c béchamel sauce
½ c cream
3 small artichoke hearts
2 thin slices ham
1 egg, beaten
1 c breadcrumbs
6 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp chopped herbs

Chop the artichoke hearts and ham into small dice. Season with salt and pepper and moisten with ½ c béchamel sauce. Make into tablespoon size croquettes and freeze for 20 minutes as they will be very sloppy.

Take them out and roll them into the egg, then the breadcrumbs and refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat oil to 350º to deep-fry the croquettes.

Fry the chicken breasts in 1T butter until gently browned and nearly done and remove. Deglaze the pan with the mushroom broth and Madeira and reduce while scraping off the brown bits in the pan. Add the béchamel sauce and the cream. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer the chicken gently until cooked through.

Sauté the shrimps in butter, add lemon and herbs. Keep warm and set aside.


Fry the croquettes in the oil until brown.

Place the croquettes and shrimp decoratively on the plate with the chicken. Spoon the sauce over all. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Serves 2, generously


To  make the prosciutto, purchase a small pork tenderloin.  Lay out a linen or cotton tea towel and envelope the tenderloin with sea salt and Herbes de Provence.  Wrap tightly and refrigerate for 4 or 5 days.  Voila!  It cures and makes a nice prosciutto.






I will be posting my lunch and petit dejeuner next.

19.1.10

Ultra Easy Pickled Beets



This is so easy it is embarrassing.  I oven roasted some beets, cooled them and peeled them.  I had pickled sweet ginger for sushi in the refrigerator.  I made a simple mixture of rice vinegar with a tablespoon of sugar and heated it until the sugar dissolved.  I placed the sliced, roasted beets in a container with a lid, added some whole and chopped pickled sweet ginger and then added the sweetened rice vinegar to cover.  After a couple of days in the marinade, the beets were ready.  They are delicious!  And the red coloured ginger could be used as a garnish on your sushi plate or in a salad.

I am also honoured to be recognized by one of my favourite blogs lostpastremembered.  You have to visit her especially if you have an historical interest in food.  I am learning so much.  Thank you!

And in the custom of receiving accolades, I am passing this on to some of my other favourites:
Memoria at Mangio de Sola
Mamatkamal at Moroccan Cuisine

They have such wonderful recipes, cooking and presentation ideas.  Please check them out.

17.1.10

Another Photo Op for Miss Sugar


Isn't she sweet?  But then I'm her Mom and I'm biased.  She loves to be fed her treats from the hand.  It is so heavenly that she closes her eyes and imagines she is in a cozy place.



She just always seems to have this grumpy look but she can't help it!

What lady would like to be seen like this!  Just checking my teeth!!!





Nap time with my little Yogi Bear buddy.