Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Olive Foccacia

OK, so now I'm getting a little cocky.  But given my ability to bake with yeast and needing to bring something to nosh for a recent get together with friends, I decided to try this recipe from The Pioneer Woman:  Olive Foccacia.

I taste better than I look.

Here's the deal - I don't care if you're afraid to bake with yeast like I am, it is time to get over the fear and make this.  Now.

What's even better about this is that the recipe is basically pizza dough that's studded with olives.  So now you have a double-duty recipe that can be made into pizza crust or modified into a kick ass appetizer.

Thank you, Pioneer Woman.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Milk Bread

It took a couple of absolute fails and while I'm far from actually being excellent, I'm slowly getting over my fear of baking with yeast.

Oh yes, my friends - I am finally baking real bread.

The first recipe that I tried was one from King Arthur Flour.  It said it was foolproof and included potato flakes, but this fool could not master the recipe and I produced something that looked like one of the paver stones from my garden.  My husband gamely tried it and nearly broke a tooth.  We didn't eat the rest of that loaf.

Then I was trolling the interwebs and I found this recipe from Fork Spoon Knife.  It's called Milk Bread and it has flour, milk, sugar, salt, oil (I used olive) and yeast.  It's not the sexiest loaf of bread out there, but it has provided me with some training wheels.  It's really good fresh out of the oven with some salted butter and it provided a really decent base for Giada's Crack Cheese Garlic Bread.

But most importantly?  I'm finally baking bread!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Grandma's Coleslaw Dressing

Saturday marked an extra-special event in my life - my oldest nephew Kyle celebrated his graduation from high school.  I've known Kyle since he was a small boy (not to confuse anyone, but he's my sister-in-law's son from a previous relationship, so I met him when he was probably six or seven years old.) and while he usually confounds me with his hairstyles and baggy pants, I'm very proud of him.  (I'm still jealous from the super awesome red color he achieved four summers ago - my grandpa had passed on and Kyle had pink hair.  Since that wouldn't do for a funeral, he slapped a brown shade over that and it just looked gorgeous.  Bastard.)

These are three of my four nephews - Cody, Kyle & Jordan - this is while we were hiking in the Badlands last summer.
Because I rarely show up for family events and when I do, I'm usually empty handed, I asked his mom what I could bring to the graduation party.  She told me a salad, my mom told me to bring coleslaw and specifically to use my late grandma Sophie's recipe for the dressing.

This is my late grandma Sophie.  The adorable chunky monkey she is smooching is none other than yours truly.

Grandma Sophie's Coleslaw Dressing

1 pint mayonnaise (do not use low fat, do not use Miracle Whip, do not even think about cheating on this ingredient or I will thump ya.)
6 T. sugar
6 tsp. vinegar (I used apple cider ... I think that any kind can suffice)
1 c. heavy cream
dash of pepper (in my maddening, frou-frou way, I used freshly ground black peppercorns.  Because I'm contrary like that.)

My mom usually takes a clean jar (canning, leftover peanut butter container or even the jar that the mayo came out of) and measures in the ingredients.  Then she puts the cap back on it and shakes it like mad.  If you don't want to do this, you can dump all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk together.

I doubled this recipe and used it to dress three pounds of pre-shredded coleslaw mix. (It was a graduation party - I wasn't messing around.)  I had about a cup of leftovers.  And it was good.  Not Grandma Sophie good, but good enough to make my momma happy.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Homemade Blueberry Muffins

Over Memorial Day weekend, we had the "southern Mahannahs" up (that's how we refer to our brother and sister-in-law.)  For Saturday morning brunch, I cut up a bunch of fresh strawberries and mixed them with red seedless grapes and blueberries.  And because I had a ton of fresh blueberries on hand, I decided to mix up a batch of blueberry muffins.  This recipe is adapted from Land 'O Lakes.

Homemade Blueberry Muffins

1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Coarse sugar for sprinkling on top (used about 1 T.)

Heat oven to 375°F. Combine milk, 1/2 cup melted butter and egg in large bowl. Add all remaining muffin ingredients except  blueberries; stir just until flour is moistened. Gently stir in blueberries.

Spoon batter into greased or paper-lined muffin pan.  Sprinkle the top with coarse sugar (I use raw sugar from Crystal.) Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly; remove from pan. (**Note, because I wanted HUGE muffins, I used a Texas-style muffin pan.  I increased the cooking time to 27-30 minutes.)