Monday, November 29, 2010

Easy Artisan Bread

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough

3 C lukewarm water (about 100 degrees)


(You can easily double or half the recipe. For Thanksgiving I made a full batch and got about 20 rolls from it).

1. In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into water. Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches (I always do this by hand, but you can use an electric mixer). Dough will be quite loose and wet. Cover, but not with an airtight lid. Let dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

2. Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife (To make the rolls I cut off a smaller piece of dough). Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put dough on pizza peel or cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal; let rest 40 minutes. Refrigerate any unused dough.

3. Place broiler pan on bottom of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.

4. Dust dough with flour, slash top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide onto stone. Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan (rather than use the broiler pan, I just throw a cup of water against the side of the oven, making sure not to hit the dough—it's easier and you don't get burned) and shut oven quickly to trap steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes for a loaf (or about 20 minutes for the smaller rolls). Cool completely.

Yield: 4 loaves.

This recipe comes from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and is an amazing cookbook! They've got all sorts of variations on this recipe and everything I've made from the book is absolutely delicious! I definitely whole-heartedly recommend it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

It always seems around this time of year I get really tired of what we have for dinner.  So I have been trying a lot of new things and this one is definitely a keeper.  I got the recipe here but modified it slightly.

  • Meatballs 
  • 1 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 eggs
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • Sauce
  • 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained with juice reserved
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

I didn't think there was enough sauce so I doubled it (Using chicken broth instead of pineapple juice) but that was too much so maybe 1 1/2 times would be perfect 


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a large, shallow baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs and onion. Sprinkle with ginger, seasoning salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and sugar and mix in. Shape into one inch balls.
  3. Place meatballs in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes; set aside. I turned them halfway so they didn't get burned on the bottom.
  4. To make the sauce, mix enough water with the reserved pineapple juice to make 1 cup. In a large pot over medium heat, combine the juice mixture, 1/3 cup water, vinegar, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Stir in cornstarch, ginger and seasoning salt, until smooth. Cover and cook until thickened.
  5. Stir pineapple chunks, carrot, green pepper and meatballs into the sauce. Gently stir to coat the meatballs with the sauce. Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked. I found that after 20 minutes the green peppers were still pretty hard so I would maybe cook it a little longer.  Also we used celery instead of carrots.  

Eggplant Parmesan

I used a recipe from here but modified it quite a bit for our family.  The recipe called for 3 eggplants, I used 1 and it made about half a 9x13 pan so 1 1/2 to 2 is probably plenty.
eggplant peeled
Italian bread crumbs
Spaghetti Sauce (I used the recipe from Brandon and Ali's chicken Parm)
16 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried basil

1. First you prepare your eggplant. Peel it and slice it.  Then "sweet" it to take out the bitterness.  You sprinkle it with salt and let sit for 30 minutes.  Then rinse well and dry.
2. Next dip the eggplant in beaten egg and cover with bread crumbs.  Place in single layer on greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes on each side at 350 degrees.
3. In a 9x13 dish spread bottom with spaghetti Sauce.  Place a layer of eggplant in the sauce and sprinkle with cheeses.  Repeat with remaining eggplant ending with cheeses on top. Sprinkle with basil.
4. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until golden brown.