Archive for July, 2012

It’s easy!  It takes a couple of hours, but most of that time is spent waiting for the bread to rise.  So, you can pop-in a movie or get involved in a post, during most of the “work”.

Here’s the recipe (sort of) I use for bread, and you can pretty much change it into any other kind of bread, other than white- or French-bread. I’ve done it so many times, I really don’t use a recipe, and I am giving this to you as it usually goes.

In a non-metal bowl with about 1/4 cup of warm water (or half water and half milk), sprinkle 2 tablespoons quick-rise yeast.  I like to also add about a half a teaspoon of sugar (or honey or barley-sweetener). Cover it for about five minutes, til the yeast is soft. Add a cup of flour (either unbleached or half white and half whole wheat flour) and a half teaspoon of salt.  I do not generally use only whole-wheat flour, because the bread will be too dense.

 Mix this well, and start the process of adding a scant 1/3 cup of flour, at a time, kneading it in with your hands.  

I knead my dough in the bowl so it’s not a mess everywhere.  But, you can turn onto a board or table and keep kneading, and adding flour, until you have a round of dough that’s no longer sticky (by the way, take off your rings, because they hold bacteria and, just;  eeww. who wants that?).  Use enough olive oil to coat the bowl (which should have cleaned itself when you kneaded the dough), place the dough back into the bowl, and turn so it’s well coated.

Cover with a light (LIGHT) dish-towel.  The flour-sack towels are best.

Let rise until tripled in bulk.  The books say, doubled, but I like my bread light and airy.   

Divide your bread into two small loaves, or if you’re looking to make sandwiches later, make it into one loaf.  Place on baking sheet (or, if you’e lucky enough to have a pizza stone, like me, use that!) which you’ve covered with corn-meal.  Cover the loaves and allow them to now double in size.

Preheat the oven, now;  375 degrees.

When the oven is hot, the bread should be risen enough to go in.

Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes.

If you do this on a pizza-stone, you do not have to add a pie-tin of water to ensure a crispy crust.  But, if you do use a metal baking sheet, place a dish (oven proof dish, like a pie pan) filled with water, onto the bottom of the oven, to create a steam-bath.

When the crust is a perfect golden-brown, remove and set to cool.  If you’re like me, you usually skip the cooling step and go right to the butter!  

Now, once you have this recipe down, you can enhance it or use it for different things.  

If you want a homemade pizza, use this dough and shape into a thin pizza crust.  Do not use a rolling pin, though;  just pull the dough, from center of the round, to the edges-  and it gets easier each time you do it,. You can add things, like garlic and butter, before baking, for a delicious bread.  Or, make thin bread-sticks.  

Or, as my mom used to do, melt some fat (Mom used to save cooking-grease- -and keep your left-over grease in the fridge!) heat it, and strain through cheesecloth, for dough-boys..  When Mom was done using this grease, more than once, she would then break out the lye and make soap.  We kids were not allowed in the house when soap was made, because it’s s dangerous thing!  So always bear that in mind.

If i can get my mom’s recipe for lye-soap, again, I will post it.  I do remember giving it to my high-school chemistry teacher and he thought it was great!  I believe I got extra-credit for that one. too.

Bill and Florence, 03 July, 2012

My mom and dad on their 70th wedding-anniversary.
Sadly, one of my siblings forced the parents into “assisted living”, which is more like a nursing-home or rest-home, than a place to LIVE.
So the rest of the family has been working, for months, to get the parents sprung.

Mom is 91 and Dad is 90, and they are surely with-it enough to be very upset over their current situation. Attorneys have been hired and one sibling has fought (with some of us) to get herself appointed as guardian. It is a good thing, yet it’s taking too long to get the parents out of Montana and closer to their kids (none of us live in Montana). I am hoping Mom and Dad are safe and on the East-coast, within the month.

If you are considering moving your own parents into a home, like this, do them a favor. Spend time there, yourself. See what living there would be like (the better places should have a guest room or two). if you don’t like it, do not place your own parents there.

Anyway; Happy 70th Anniversary, Florence and Bill.

More Cooking with Leftovers

Eggs with Hats.
When you have too much homemade bread, and not enough people in the house to eat it, try making eggs with hats (these eggs look like they have crowns!)
Slice the bread at an angle, to get a wider piece (and not as thick). Cut the center(s) out, butter the bread, and place in a frying pan. My son gave me a great chef’s pan, last week, and I am putting it to great use!
Once the bread begins to toast and the butter is bubbling, crack an egg into the center (or eggs into centers; I think you always need 2 of these). Don’t forget the centers- butter them, too, and place in pan, off to the side of the bread/ eggs/ and pan-toast them. Allow the whites to cook, but not the yolks. When the eggs look stable, turn over, and shut the burner off.
Let it sit for a minute or two, and turn over onto your plate. Use the toasted center-pieces of bread as topping on the egg-center. That’s the “hat” you see in the photo.
Funny, when I ask my kids what they had to eat, much of the time they say, “eggs with hats”. And, I took this recipe from my mom, too.
It’s delicious!

ImageOne of my favorite things to do is cooking.  And, I like to test myself by using leftovers and bits and pieces of what’s in the fridge, to make something spectacular.  This may not seem spectacular, to you, but it was delicious!

Chicken Soup with Avocado.

I had a couple of leftover chicken breasts;  actually what was left was mainly the bones from two breasts I’d had for dinners, earlier in the week.  There was still a bit of meat on these bones.  And, because I had planned on making pizza, but forgot I was out of tomatoes (any kind of tomato), I thought I’d go with chicken soup.  That does not mean the dough went to waste, either.

Here’s how I make soup from leftover chicken and a few other things, on hand:

Remove as much breast-meat from the bones, and set aside.  Put the bones in a shallow pan and cover with water;  add a half an onion, a few crushed and minced cloves of garlic, and whatever spices and herbs you prefer.  I don’t add salt because I am not big on salt, but I added quite a few different kinds of pepper-  Pink pepper, black pepper, white pepper, and some lemon-pepper (the kind you sprinkle on chicken before it goes in the oven).  I also added sage, oregano, and rosemary, as well as basil.  Cover the pan and let it steep (cook on low to mid-low) for about 2 hours.  Remove the bones, let them cool, and continue to cook-down the broth.  At this point, I realized the bunnies had some baby-carrots in the fridge, so I stole a handful, cut them into small (1/4 inch) pieces, and let them cook til semi-soft.  I then added the chicken, cubed. Don’t add the cooked chicken too soon or it will become hard and stringy!

In the meanwhile, the bread had risen and baked.  Remember, I was going to make pizza, and I use an old French-bread recipe, from my mom,, so decided to make into a couple of little loaves of bread.  At the last minute, I added that half an avocado, left from the omelets the night before.  Wow, was it good!

I guess this is similar to what some would call, stone-soup, or refrigerator soup.  It is just a nice chicken soup, with plenty of yummy veggies, and a bit of homemade bread.  If I am going to eat bread, and I don’t do it often, it has to be homemade.  Some people add cilantro to this style of soup, but cilantro tastes like Ivory Soap, to me (yes, as a child, my older sister used to wash-out my mouth with Ivory Soap for saying things like, “Shut Up”, so I know what it tastes like!).  If you do add the cilantro, you may want to leave out the carrots.  The bunnies will thank you.. well, they won’t thank you, but they will  be happier that the carrots were left for them!

Enjoy!