Sunday, September 30, 2012

Trying to stick with it. With cheese.

So when I started this blog I had high hopes.  No, I never thought I would become a "professional" blogger or anything, I just thought, "Well, I do stuff with my kiddo (only one at the time) every day, I will definitely be posting a few times a week...!"  Ummm...  yeah, that clearly isn't how it goes...!  I do crafts and cook and bake, and take pictures with the intention of blogging...  but then it doesn't happen.  Oops.
So here I am, the last day of September, and I am finally getting around to posting this month's contribution to Twelve Loaves...  (#TwelveLoaves)
This month's theme was cheese. Yum.  I love cheese, and I love bread, so where could this be bad? :)
I decided to make cheesy bread sticks.  I don't even remember what we had for dinner that night that these were the accompaniment to...  Bad blogger...!
I used Mark Bittman's bread stick recipe, subbing in some whole wheat flour.  There was o cheese in the recipe, though, so I had to decide when to add the cheese.  That happened when I rolled them out.
Rolled out dough, sprinkled with cheese:
Folded over, rolled again, more cheese add:
Rolled again, time to cut:
(Yes, it probably would have been quicker and easier with a pizza roller than with a knife, but my pizza wheel kinda died on me...  oops..!)
Sticks cut, more cheese sprinkled on top:
Baked up:
And here was what I had hoped for:
Layers of cheesy goodness.

Many thanks to Cake Duchess, Creative Culinary and Life's a Feast for giving me the chance to combine two of my favorite things into one fun baking experiment!  And definitely check out Lora's post here to see what other fun cheesy breads were created this month!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Daring to do it: Empanad Gallega

Patri of the blog, Asi Son Los Cosas, was our September 2012 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she decided to tempt us with one of her family’s favorite recipes for Empanadas! We were given two dough recipes to choose from and encouraged to fill our Empanadas as creatively as we wished!

I have wanted to try empanads for a long time.  But I am an American.  So I only know empanadas as those small, individual hand-pie like treats.  Well, it turns out that those are not Spanish empanadas.  They would be called empanadillas...  Empanada are, essentially, bread dough surrounding almost any filling you can think of!  Patri gave us some great recipes to work from, but also gave us the freedom to play with our food.
I made two empanada this month.  The first was a dessert empanada using the wheat dough recipe Patri gave us.  The dough came together beautifully and easily, and rolled out nicely:
The filling was a combination of lots of things I thought might taste good together.  Almonds, walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and, of course, chocolate chips all chopped together: 
I did add some margarine in there, too, since I was a little concerned that the filling wouldn't be cohesive enough to stay together:
After the top was put on and decorated with dough, Little Girl went to town decorating the empanada with colored sugar:
While the recipe called for using an egg-wash, I skipped this step.  Even so, the empanada had a beautiful brown color when it was baked:
 As for the filling?  Well, it was plenty cohesive!
And it tasted great.  The one change I would make would be to omit the raisins next time.  They simply didn't add anything to the flavor or texture like I thought they would.
I also made a savory sourdough empanada.  I had overfed Eve, my starter, and wanted to put her to good use.  This is the recipe I used.
The dough was a lot wetter and stickier than the traditional one which Patri had given us.  It was a bit harder to roll out, even with extra flour...
I made chik'n cheese steak (fake chik'n strips, onions, peppers and garlic sauteed together, adding in a bunch of  shredded cheese) as the filling:
 Little Girl wanted to decorate the top with the extra dough:
I did make a non-dairy version for Baby Girl, as she has a milk allergy:
 This was definitely a winner!
These empanada are so versatile and so much fun!  Thank you so much, Patri, for both teaching us about empanada, and for encouraging so much creativity!  I know this is a recipe I will use, and play with, a lot in the future!
If you are looking for some more ideas, check out what my fellow Daring Bakers did with their empanada!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Surprise! English Muffins

It's time for another Surprise!
I love homemade English muffins.  Like, I won't buy them the store.  So sourdough English muffins?  Yum!
The overnight levain, nicely risen and bubbly:
Dough rolled out, using my fancy "biscuit cutter" (drinking glass)"

 Resting in a bed of corn meal:
 Baking on the electric frying pan.  Look at it rise!
 Nooks and crannies!
Eggs, cheese, tomato and fake sausage on sourdough English muffins.  Breakfast-for-dinner of champions!
This is definitely a keeper recipe.  Not nearly as hard as I thought it would be, and so delicious!  Still think sourdough is hard to work with?  Think again!  Join the fun, and join in on the Surprise!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Daring to do it: Paella

Our Daring Cooks’ September 2012 hostess was Inma of la Galletika. Inma brought us a taste of Spain and challenged us to make our very own delicious Paella!

This one is going to be a "picture walk" through the paella experience.  I never really thought about making paella myself - I know it to be a seafood dish, and therefore didn't do much research into it.  Well, paella can definitely be a great veggie dish.  One which I hope to make again.  And maybe make it a bit more the way it is "supposed" to be!  (Inma gave us some great recipes to work from to make authentic paella for ourselves.)

The veggies:  I used a lot.  Let's see...  There is eggplant, carrots, parsnips, onion, purple cauliflower, green pepper, green beans, and butternut squash and tomatoes fresh from my father-in-law's garden.  There is also tofu in there, since I wanted the protein.  What's missing.  Garlic.  Yeah.  I don't run out of garlic.  I use it in almost everything.  But I was out.  Oops...
The pan:  Nowhere near big enough.
The rice.  Paella is a rice based dish.  Somehow, I only had a half cup of rice.  Not even close.  So I used quinoa as well.  (Side note - tonight, a week after making this, I found more rice in my freezer.  Another oops!)
Veggies sauteed, starting to add the broth to the pan.  Wow, that is full:
Ummm...  There is how much more liquid to add?!
Quick switch, I added the veggies and rice/quinoa to the broth pot.  Then for the element that gives paella it's signature look - saffron:
Now to let it simmer.  And hope that the liquid will be absorbed or evaporated.
Still simmering:
 Still simmering...
Dinner time...  I hope it is thick enough!
Instead of fish/shellfish/chorizo, I used sauteed tofu and fake chik'n strips as the added protein topper:
 All assembled and ready to eat:
Despite my ridiculous number of "oopses," this actually turned out really well.  That being said, I would like to try this again, maybe with some better proportions for my pan (or a bigger pan), garlic, rice, a better ratio of rice:liquid...  :)
I would like to thank Inma for teaching me about paella and showing me that it is something I can make at home.  Check here to see the wonderful dishes created by my fellow Daring Cooks!