Sunday, January 20, 2008

Baked Eggs

outside, inside
Originally uploaded by Ricestein
Baked eggs are my new favorite thing. Picture it: a lightly buttered ramekin. A few ingredients that complement eggs (here - feta and spinach, but we've also laid down just a bit of diced pancetta with ribbons of basil) and the egg cracked on top. Off into a 350-degree oven for about half an hour and voila! They're like tiny quiches, without all the fat. And easier to make for a brunch (or for house guests) than, say, individual omelettes, yet so much nicer than a box of doughnuts.


What's better than homemade eggplant parmesan?

Eggplant parmesan with a clementine clafoutis for dessert. Eaten with good friends, of course.


Pasta alla Puttanesca

Originally uploaded by Ricestein
Lee and I have discovered pasta puttanesca at home. Here's the recipe: saute some garlic in a bit of olive oil until soft. Stir in minced anchovies (I just used one) and a pinch of red chili flakes. Add canned tomatoes along with some chopped olives (we used kalamatas) and capers. We ate ours over linguine.


Tepary beans

Tepary beans are Arizonan heirloom beans with a nutty, meaty flavor.

We soaked a bag of teparies acquired from Native Seeds/SEARCH and used half for a vegetable tepary soup (just added carrots, green beans, broccoli and other veggies on-hand, plus a bit of chili powder and cumin) and made fresh baked beans with the other half.

The beans have great flavor, kind of lentil-cum-pinto. They added immense flavor to the soup and an earthiness to the baked beans. In both cases, the beans held together well after the long cooking time.


Mini Madelines

We recently made a batch of mini madelines using Dorie Greenspan's basic madeline recipe (from her most recent cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours). The batter is mixed and then must rest overnight. The next day, gently scoop just half a teaspoon or so of batter into each tiny mold. The results were light, cakey and lemony. We'll definitely make these again (although I think I'd like a larger madeline mold--we have only one mini-mold and getting through the batter took several batches!



Our friend Tonya recently gave us the wonderful Rose Bakery cookbook, Breakfast Lunch Tea. Filled with recipes for brunchy treats, we kicked things off with their classic scone recipe. As we put the put the recipe together, I continually asked Lee: how is this different from a baking powder biscuit? It's essentially the same, albeit lightly sweetened (we did not mix any fruit or nuts into this first batch). The upside? We ate them with both breakfast and dinner.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Pull-apart dinner rolls

I made these dinner rolls from The Bread Bible, which was a Christmas gift from my mother. They were laborious--a sponge starter, three rises, shaping, hand-dipping into butter, and, at long last, a quick spin in the oven. But they were worth it. A fine crust on top, tender and flavorful inside. And they made the whole house smell fantastic.

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Somebody get this woman a bread box!

Sometimes it's difficult to get out of one's head and, as a writer, I spend an inordinate amount of time playing around with all the muck, good or bad, that hangs out therein. Normally, that's not a problem--it's what I signed up for, after all. But I've been working through a rough couple of weeks, personally speaking. I lost two people who were very important to me. One was 92, the other 30. So I've been trying to keep my hands busy with something other than typing, which, for me, means baking.

Today I baked some spelt honey bread, taken from December's Food & Wine. Here's the recipe, in a nutshell:

Honey Spelt Bread

adapted from a recipe by Lionel Vatinet in Food & Wine

4 1/2 cups whole-wheat spelt flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups of cool (70-degree) water
2 tablespoons honey

Basically, it's just a matter of kneading (just a minute or two in a stand mixer), rising, punching, folding and laying into a loaf pan, rising, dusting with flour, and baking at 450 for 35 minutes. Lee and I each ate a slice fresh from the oven with butter and jam.

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