Monday, May 21, 2012

Wheat Bread

Now that I am back I have been baking and cooking up a storm and my house just smells wonderful everyday.  My husband comes home and looks forward to the "next" great meal.  

The more I look at the way Americans eat the more I want to make things in my own kitchen over buying them; IE processed foods.  It only takes a bit of time and a bit of fore thought and you can know what you are eating.

Over the past few weeks I have been looking more & more at what my husband & I eat.  We shop mostly in the outer ring of the market (and if we do buy something in the aisles it is organic).  We have planted our first garden and cannot wait to reap the "fruits of our labor" in a few months.  But mostly I have been looking to making more things home-made and less store bought.

One thing we eat a lot of ... or a loaf of a week is bread.  So I thought to myself why not make bread and if I make enough of it, I can freeze it.  I love toast.  Yes it is a strange thing to love but it is one of my favorite things to eat, and since I eat toast everyday with breakfast, bread is a perfect thing to make home made in place of processes bread. There are so many recipes for bread on the web you can get very over-whelmed by them.  The one I used came from All Recipes and was very easy to make. 

This is what I did

Wheat Bread 
3 cups of warm water
2 packages of dry active yeast
1/3 cup of honey
5 cups of bread flour
3 tablespoons of melted butter
1/3 cup of honey
1 tablespoon of salt
3 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons melted butter

In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and 1/3 cup honey. Add 5 cups white bread flour, and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.

Mix in 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/3 cup honey, and salt. Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour. Flour a flat surface and knead with whole wheat flour until not real sticky - just pulling away from the counter, but still sticky to touch. This may take an additional 2 to 4 cups of whole wheat flour. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled. 

Punch down, and divide into 3 loaves. Place in greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans, and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch. 

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes; do not over bake. Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine when done to prevent crust from getting hard. Cool completely and serve. 

Now that I have started to make my own bread I cannot go to the store and buy bread, it just is not the same.Yes it takes a bit of time and a bit of work but in the end it is so worth it to make your own bread.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lemon Bars

I'm back!!!

I had to take a break from Blogging for a while.  But I am back now!!! It took much thought and many folks asking where I have been and why have I not added anything new, today is the day I come back to blogging and talking about food.  And who doesn't love talking about food.

A few weeks ago I ended up with the biggest bag of lemons in my kitchen and they were slowly starting to go bad.  I wanted to use them for something yummy but could only think of lemon meringue pie, which is one of my favorite desserts, but this was not the answer.  I searched though many magazines and on-line sites then I found it ... Lemon Bars.  They are rich, tart, and so yummy.

Lemon is that flavor that can be so luscious, since it can be sweet to tart and all in the middle.  I found a recipe in Food Network Magazine, that had no picture but all these ingredients listed and it sounded easy and yummy, knew this was the one. 

This is what I did ...

Lemon Bars 
for the CRUST
Vegetable oil for greasing
1 1/2 sticks of cold unsalted butter, diced
2 cups of all purpose flour
1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1/4 cup of confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt

for the FILLING
4 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
2 cups of granulated sugar
1/3 cup of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 cup of fresh squeezed and strained lemon juice (6-8 lemons)

To make the crust: preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 foil lined pan with the oil, leaving 2 inch overhang on all four sides.  Combine butter, flour, both sugars, and salt in food processor or stand mixer, until dough comes together.  Press it evenly into the bottom of the pan, make sure there are no cracks.  Bake crust till golden brown, approx 25 minutes. 

While the crust is in the oven, now its tame to make the filling.  Whisk all the eggs, sugar, and four until smooth.  Whisk in the lemon zest and juice. 

Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees (and if you forget don't worry, they will still come just as good).  Pour the filling over the crust and return to oven for 30-35 minutes.

Let the bars cool in the pan, then move to the refrigerator to completely cool, and become firm (approx 2 hours.  Using the foil lift out of the pan and cut into squares or bars.  Dust with confectioners sugar before serving. 

One of the greatest things about the recipe is the fact that the Microplane can be used.  This is my new favorite kitchen tool.  I never thought I would love it so much but I do and everyone should get one.  the zest it makes is so fine and delicate, it keeps the filling smooth & creamy.  A must have for anyone. 

So if you love lemon as much as I do you should try this dessert.