Archive | January, 2013

Melt In Your Mouth Homemade Bread

20 Jan

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I feel like it’s been awhile since I last posted something. But to be honest, I haven’t been baking much over the past week. Sometimes life gets in the way of making that perfect cake, or wanting to make that perfect dish, when really all you feel like doing after work is going home and relaxing.

I have been taking a cake decorating class, so I have been busy making cakes to practice. I swear, once I get it right I will post pictures. I have perfected the chocolate, I know that much. Stay tuned cause next week I will have the recipe for that. It’s so moist that one piece is just not enough. However, my decorating skills are not all there yet but with lots of practice, I know I will get there. I’ll post pictures of my final cake next Sunday, hopefully it turns out the way I want it to.

This weekend, I decided to try a new bread recipe, sweet honey dinner rolls. This recipe is by far the best bread recipe I have tried. I was never a fan of making bread by hand. The dough never came out right, or my hands got tired of kneading the bread, but now that I have the dough hook for my kitchen aid mixer, it has become the quickest thing to make, and tastes so much better than store bought bread. But then again, isn’t everything?

Here is the recipe for this melt in your mouth bread. Trust me, if you have the time and have never made these before. I highly recommend trying it out, you will not be disappointed.

Yield: makes 3 dozen rolls

Ingredients (taken from I Wash You Dry Blog)

2 3/4 cups warm water (run hot water out of your tap)
1/4 cup honey
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup Butter Flavor Crisco ( I used regular Crisco)
1 1/2 tsp yeast
7 cups flour + more if needed
butter for brushing on top of rolls
Instructions

In the bowl of your stand mixer (fitted with your dough hook) add warm water, honey, salt and yeast. Stir it gently and let it sit for 5 minutes till the yeast activates and gets foamy.
Add the Crisco and one cup of flour at a time and mix until dough starts to form. Keep adding flour until the dough starts to pick up dough off the sides of the bowl and is not sticky when touched with your finger. Let your machine knead the dough for 15 minutes total.
Once it’s done kneading cover the bowl with a clean cloth towel and place in a warm spot (by a window or on top of the oven works) and let the dough rise for 1 hour.
After an hour punch down the dough and divide the dough into large golf ball size balls. Arrange about an inch apart on a baking sheet or casserole dish. Cover again with towel and leave in a warm place to rise for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Once the rolls have risen for the second time, place them in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove them from oven and immediately brush butter on the tops of the rolls.

Enjoy.

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Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread – Not Your Everyday Kind of Bread

4 Jan

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I’m on day 2 of work after being off for 12 days.  I am unsure about you but boy is it ever hard to get motivated. I find myself thinking about ways to never work again. The only solution I can come up with is winning the lotto max or 6/49 and living the life of leisure, however, who knows if that will ever happen so back to work I go and try to find my motivation. Thankfully, my job doesn’t require me to stay late or be in the office very early, so really I should not be complaining.

Last night I had dinner with my friend, for old-time sake we went to one of our back in the day favorite lounge. Back then it was the perfect spot to sit back enjoy a nice martini or glass of wine, and watch all the cougar try to pick up the young lawyers walking through the doors. After being closed for renovations for quite some time they had just opened up, so we decided to check out our favorite spot and see if it still had that magic touch. The atmosphere was the same, same people still hanging out there 7 years later; except, the decor was much better than before and the service seems a bit better as well. The food, on the other hand, was mediocre now. There was nothing great about it! It didn’t leave me with much of an impression to go back on. Being the foodie that I am, I think giving out sausages with cheese dip on a fancy platter really doesn’t call  for a $19.00 price range. I can just wait till stampede and get that for $5.00. But they did have something on their platter that inspired me to go home and cook. Again another sign of the food not being so magnificent, is going home to eat after you just spent a lot of money on what they call “food”.  All in all the company was great, and it’s always great to catch up with friends no matter where you are.

The restaurant had focaccia bread as part of their platter. It was a bit dry but still tasty. I figured it can’t be that hard to make bread. When I got home, I looked up a few recipes to make bread. Now before I continue, I must say, I have tried in the past to make bread, and it never comes out right, always hard, dry or the dough didn’t rise properly. Thankfully I married someone who is a rock star when it comes to making bread. There are very few men I know out there that make bread, but I got lucky found one that can (this made my mother happy I think). So after looking up a few recipes, I found one on Pinterest (surprise, surprise)…but it wasn’t focaccia bread, it was Parmesan cheese, pull apart bread. I thought for sure this might be a little much for me as I am not the best at making bread. But to my surprise it came out fantastic. Just goes to show, never doubt yourself on what you can do. Just because it turns out bad a few times, doesn’t mean you destined to never do that again, just means you need to keep at it. I now think my hubby may have some competition in the kitchen when it comes to making bread.

You can pretty much find this recipe anywhere on the internet, or make your own version of this bread. I think next time I make it I might add black olives and oregano to it. This is the easiest and most enjoyable bread you will make. Not only that, but isn’t fresh bread always better, plus it just melts in our mouth. There is nothing like the smell and taste of fresh bread right out of the oven. Serve hot and enjoy!!

Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread (source, Gourmet Italian Foods) 

(Yields 1 loaf)

For the bread:

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups barely warm water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups all purpose (or bread) flour

For the mixture:

1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yeast and water, I also add in a little sugar to the yeast mixture, just a sprinkle. Let sit for 5 – 6  minutes until yeast is foamy.

Mix in the olive oil, salt, and flour. If you have a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes, or until elastic. If you are doing this by hand, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until dough is elastic, 7-10 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until dough is doubled in size.
Punch down the dough. Tear off small pieces of dough (roughly the size of the bowl of a medium spoon), coat in the butter mixture, and place in the bottom of a bundt pan ( I used a loaf pan instead). Repeat this process until you have one layer of dough balls. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese. Continue layering the dough balls and cheese until you have enough layers. Cover the pan with a clean towel and allow to sit until dough has doubled in size, 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Cook bread for 25-30 min or until golden on the top.

Welcoming 2013 with a little splendid Italian pastry

1 Jan

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Welcome 2013!!!
I hope everyone’s holidays were wonderful. That you were surrounded by friends and family, enjoyed delicious holiday meals and treats till your hearts desired (or until you just couldn’t eat anymore). I know that’s what I did these past few days. Here’s to a new year, where hopefully this years resolution will happen or at the very least, last longer than a month. May you start 2013 feeling healthy and ready to take on what life tosses your way. Even if it’s a dessert here or there.

I know I haven’t written for a few weeks, but the holidays were a bit busy. I was too busy, skiing, sipping on coffee and baileys by the fire and enjoying time well spent with family in the mountains. Sounds rough, I know..but it was a blissful break from life and the everyday chaos that consumes my life.

2012 was a great year!! It was a year filled with wonderful memories, lots of love and laughter, and most of all it was the year of trying new things. Was taught how to ski, started this blog and for some strange reason I started knitting. Not sure how I got into knitting, but I find it is great way to relax. With the help of my mother in-law, knitting is coming along nicely. I wish I could say the same about skiing, but I’m sure it will get better with practice, that’s if I don’t break anything. I also signed up for professional decorating classes. I know I can make a good cake, but my decorating skills, or lack thereof, is driving me nuts. So what better way to learn, then to take a course.

Since today is the first day of 2013, I decided to do some baking. It’s the best way to start the new year, doing something you really enjoy.

Whenever I head home for the holidays, I always look forward to my moms cannolis. She pretty much nails it when it comes to making them. She makes her with ricotta, and I just savour them every time I go home. This year I decided that since I wasn’t going to be home to enjoy them, I was going to make them. They are by far the quickest and and most scrumptious dessert I have made. I also made them with homemade ricotta cheese, as like everything else, nothing tastes better than homemade cheese. The shells however, I did not make myself as I haven’t yet mastered that. I’m hoping if my mother ever makes her way out to Calgary she can show me the right way to do them. I picked up my shells from the Italian store and they are just as good and tasty.

To make these delightful little treats, I just mixed ricotta cheese and sugar till the the ricotta becomes nice and smooth. Because I am a chocoholic, I added chocolate chips to give it that little taste of chocolate. Once everything was mixed I then added them into the shells with a spoon, or you can use a pastry bag to fill the shells. Sprinkle some icing sugar on them and there you go!!! So simple, yet so good.

Cheers to 2013, here’s to a year of trying new recipes, mastering the ones you know, and sharing your treats with those around. Cause everyone loves a good cook.

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