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Apple Onion Puff


Whenever I see a picture of food and it has puff pastry in it, I always want to eat it immediately.  Unfortunately, I had a bad experience with puff pastry when I accidentally set fire to my boyfriend’s oven.  It was a minor fire, but his housemates were not too pleased about the failed experiment and I haven’t used puff pastry since.  I decided to try to start forgiving puff pastry by using prepared sheets of it instead of making it myself. I wanted to make little appetizer bite for New Year’s Eve and puff pastry seemed like the simplest way to do that.  I just put a few things on top that I thought sounded good and baked them according to the directions.  It was very simple and, I’m proud to say, there were no fires.

I wanted these to be a more savory than sweet so they would be a nice little appetizer instead of dessert.  I used onion, cheddar cheese, and apple on top of a square of puff pastry.  These little bites would be great for a party as an appetizer.  They are flavorful and can be eaten easily as finger food.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

2 sheets of puff pastry (I got mine from Trader Joe’s)

1/2 red onion

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium apple

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp chili powder

Prep time: 20 minutes

Bake time: 15-20 minutes

Servings: 18 3″x3″ squares

Cooking Instructions:

If using frozen puff pastry, remove from the freezer to begin defrosting.  Cut the onion into thin slices.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic powder, and chili powder.  Saute the onions until they are soft and browning.  Remove from heat.  Slice the apple into thin slices.  Cut the puff pastry into 3″x3″ squares.  If using  Trader Joe’s puff pastry sheets, this would be 9 squares per sheet.  Gently press the tines of a fork around the inside of the squares leaving about a half inch margin.  Preheat the oven to whatever temperature specified by the puff pastry instructions (I baked mine at 400°F).  Place a small portion of the onion in the middle of each square topped with a slice of apple and followed by about a tablespoon of cheddar cheese.  Place the squares onto a lightly buttered cooking sheet using two if necessary. Bake for the time specified (mine said 15 minutes, but I baked them for about 20 minutes total).  Allow to cool and then enjoy!

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Mike’s Sunrise (Holly’s NYE Drink)


I made a delicious drink today.  I was going to post about it tomorrow, but I think everyone will be hung over and not want to hear about an alcoholic drink.  I think that’s how I’m going to feel at least.  Right now though, I feel good and I’m looking for a delicious New Year’s Eve Drink.

This drink is probably one of the prettiest drinks I’ve ever made.  Not just because it’s in a martini glass (which automatically makes everything prettier), but it’s also pink, layered, has a sugar rim, and has a cherry in it.  That’s just the perfect recipe for a pretty drink.  It’s also really simple to make.

When I was trying to think of a drink, I was trying to use up some Mike’s Hard that we had bought.  I had the idea to come up with a drink to make each flavor of Mike’s Hard more tolerable, but by the time I got around to actually doing that there were only 2 flavors out of the 4 left.  So I was left with just revamping the original flavor.  This is what I came up with.  I think that it’s very delicious and not too sweet at all.  My boyfriend liked it even and he’s a strong drink and dark beer kind of guy.

Happy New Year’s everyone!  Stay safe and have fun!

Recipe:

Printable Version

Ingredients/Equipment:

1 cherry

1 martini glass

sugar

1 skewer or bar straw

1/2 Mike’s Hard Lemonade

1 shot tequila

splash of grenadine

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Instructions

Wet the rim of a martini glass with water using your finger.  Place the rim in a bowl of sugar to fully coat it.  Skewer the cherry with the skewer or bar straw and place across the top of the martini glass.  Pour in the tequila.  Add the Mike’s Hard and fill until the liquid is about a 1/2″ or 1 cm away from the sugar on the rim.  Add the splash of grenadine.  Enjoy and don’t forget to for second helpings (unless it’s time to take a break and drink some water)!

Ciabatta


I recently tried to make focaccia bread.  It was delicious so I decided to try to make other sandwich breads too, like ciabatta.  I looked at the recipe for ciabatta and saw that you needed something called a “biga” that you had to prepare a day in advanced.  “Nope, not for me.  Too advanced,” my brain said.  Then Adventurous Holly (who made her appearance after sampling the skittles vodka) impulsively decided to start the biga.  I’m now going to take this moment and thank Adventurous Holly.  This ciabatta was delicious and not as difficult as I thought it would be.  So, thanks, Adventurous Holly.  The lesson I learned is one you can too:  Making ciabatta is like making any other bread, but you start it much earlier than normal.

There are many breads that require starters like the biga for ciabatta.  Sourdough is probably the most well known.  In my searchings about biga, I found that a biga is used to make the bread chewier and add some flavor as well.

Making a biga is really simple.  It only sounds intimidating because it’s a weird word and requires planning.  It’s easy to plan though.  If you have a day off, start the biga the night before.  The biga takes 5 minutes to set up at the most so it isn’t a big deal.  I promise it’s fine.  The bread is so delicious, it’s worth the little bit of extra effort

This bread had the perfect light fluffy interior and a perfect crunchy outside.  I had never had homemade ciabatta and it’s infinitely better than store bought. I think the main difference is the crust.  This crust has a great texture and has that crunching sound you want to hear when you bite into ciabatta.  Perfection in bread.

Recipe: (original here, but I found this to be confusing and I hope I can clarify things here)

Ingredients:

Printable Version

Biga:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup water

1/4 tsp yeast

Dough:

1/4 cup water (plus extra if dough is dry)

2 tbsp olive oil

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp nonfat dry milk

1 tsp yeast

Active time: 25 minutes

Inactive time: 20 hours

Servings: 12 servings

Cooking Instructions:

Start the biga about 12-15 hours before you want to begin making the bread.  In a bread machine or an electric mixer combine the ingredients for the biga.  Mix until fully combined (about 5 minutes).  If using a bread machine, set to dough and then stop once combined.  Allow to rest for 12-15 hours.  It will rise a bit and then start to sink.  This is when you want to use the biga.  The biga will big liquidy and bubbly.

To start the dough, combine the biga and the other dough ingredients into the bread machine pan or the electric mixer bowl.  If using a bread machine, set to dough cycle and start.  If using an electric mixer, use a dough hook and a low setting to mix for 5-8 minutes and then let rise for 1 hour.  The dough should be sticky and tacky.  It should not be liquid, but it should be close.  Add water or flour as necessary.  Whenever you handle the dough, wet your hands with water or oil to prevent it from sticking to you.  Half way through the rising time turn the dough over in the pan or bowl.  This will be tricky because it’s so sticky, but just do your best.

Cover a cutting board in plastic wrap and cover the plastic wrap with oil.  Cover two cookie sheets with oil (I only had one and all my bread baked into each other.  Bad call, use two).  Remove the bread from the bread machine or mixing bowl after the rising cycle is complete or it has risen for 1 hour and place on the cutting board.  Divide the dough into 6 equal parts for large sandwich rounds or 12 for smaller sandwich rounds.  Place half on one cookie sheet and the other half on the other cookie sheet.  Shape the dough by pushing and pulling the edges of the dough until it is shaped how you want.  It won’t be perfect, so don’t try.

Cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.  Uncover and (with wet fingers) poke holes gently into the dough.  This will give it a more rustic look.  Recover with freshly oiled plastic wrap and let rise for another hour.  Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from the baking sheet and turn off the oven.  Place the bread back in the oven and crack the oven open while it cools.  Allowing the bread to bake this way will create a crunchier crust (maybe take one out to munch on while the rest crisp up).  Remove from oven and enjoy.  And don’t forget to go for second helpings!

Cauliflower with Tahini


This sounds weird, I know.  I first saw this combination on a menu at Pita Jungle.  This place is awesome.  All the food is delicious and healthy.  If you have one in your area, you should check them out.  So when I first went there, I thought I’d try something new, “Caramelized Cauliflower with Tahini.”  It was amazing.  I’d go there just to get some of this.

Then I tried it at home.  The first time, I accidentally fried the tahini.  Whoops.  Don’t do that.  The second time I realized how easy it was to make on my own.  I still get it all the time at Pita Jungle because it’s still slightly better there, but I make it for myself a lot too.

This recipe only requires 4 ingredients.  One of which is tahini.  Tahini is sesame seed paste.  It’s quite tasty and is a key ingredient in hummus.  You can find it at Trader Joe’s next to the hummus in the refrigerated section.  You won’t use all of the tahini you buy in this recipe so you could use some to make hummus.  This recipe is delicious as a snack and will make you love cauliflower.

Recipe:

Printable Version

Ingredients:

1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets

2 tbsp tahini sauce (found at Trader Joe’s)

1 tbsp pine nuts

2 tbsp olive oil

Prep time: 15 minutes

Serving size: 1 snack sized portion

Cooking Instructions:

Add the olive oil to a medium sized skillet.  Heat to medium heat.  Once hot (water sizzles when you drip a little on the pan), add the cauliflower.  Saute until soft.  To speed this up, you could cover the pan and stir occasionally. Add the pine nuts and cook for 1 minute longer.  Remove from heat and pour into a serving bowl.  Add the tahini sauce and mix together.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy and don’t forget to go for second helpings!

Skittles Vodka Party Favors


Isn’t that just what you always want to see when you come to a blog?  Rainbow alcohol.  Absolutely (pun intended)!

With New Year’s Eve coming up, everyone is looking for ideas for their party.  One party I had in college was a “Taste the Rainbow” party.  We infused vodka with each flavor of skittles and had everyone dress up in skittles colors.  Everyone looked funny in their rainbow outfits and had a great time.  The skittles vodka was a hit too.  When I was thinking of things that would make party favors I thought of mini bottles of alcohol.  That seemed boring so then my boyfriend thought of mini bottles of skittles vodka!  Brilliant!

Skittles vodka tastes fruity and delicious, but it’s very strong so be careful.  You can mix this alcohol with fruity juices, sprite, or even ginger ale.  It also tastes good just by itself.  Have fun with this, but remember to be responsible too.  Happy New Year’s everyone!

UPDATE THAT WILL ROCK YOUR WORLD:  Mix the orange skittles vodka with cranberry juice.   It’s magical.  And when you’re done with that, mix the yellow skittles vodka with lime margarita mix.  Delicious.  Ok, continue with the normal post.

Also, I always wondered what the bottles of Absolut say on them.  They have a novel written write on the label.  In case you were curious too, the bottles read, “This superb vodka was distilled from grain grown in the rich fields of southern Sweden. It has been produced at the famous old distilleries near Ahus in accordance with more than 400 years of Swedish tradition.  Vodka has been sold under the name Absolut since 1879.”  History of Absolut on the label.  There you go.

Recipe:

Printable Version

Ingredients and Equipment:

1 lb bag of skittles

30 mini bottles of vodka

Coffee Filters

5 empty containers with lids (water bottles, tupperware, I used cups with plastic wrap on top)

Funnel (or crazy good pouring skills)

Prep time: 45 minutes

Inactive time:  1 day

Cooking Instructions:

Separate all the skittles by color. Pour 6 of the mini bottles of vodka into one of the empty containers.  Save the mini bottles  Add 120-150 red skittles.  Repeat this with all the colors.  You should have 5 containers with skittles of different colors in vodka at the end.  Stir each container.  Cover each container and set aside for at least 24 hours or until the skittles are dissolved.  Shaking or stirring occasionally helps.

Once dissolved, get out about 4 coffee filters and pour a portion of one color through the filters into an empty cup.  Once the flow rate slows down, squeeze the liquid through like how your supposed to squeeze a toothpaste bottle (back to tip).  If there is still white gelatin floating, filter again. Continue this until there is minimal gelatin floating in the vodka.  If your friends are like mine, they won’t care about a little bit left.  I found that the white gelatin stands out most in the green and purple so I filter these twice.  Repeat this until you have filtered all of one color.  Use the funnel or your pouring skills to pour the vodka back into the mini bottles.  Repeat this for each color.  Depending on how many filters you used and how many times you filtered, you may not end up with as many mini bottles full as you started.  You can fill the mini bottles that are only part full using more vodka if you want or just have extra mini bottles for other uses.  You should end up with about 5 or 6 bottles of each color.  Use as party favors for New Year’s or any other adult party.  Enjoy!

Tomato Gorgonzola Soup


Until recently, I didn’t really like soup.  Something about drinking food with chunks in it seemed really weird to me.  That was until I went to this small soup shop in Tacoma, Washington called Infinite Soups.  I had a tomato gorgonzola soup, and it was amazing.  Since then, I have tried other soups and they’ve been good, but they’ve never compared to the tomato gorgonzola I first had at Infinite Soups.  If you ever get the chance to go there, I highly recommend it.  They even have vegan and vegetarian selections and all the soups are made fresh daily.

I’m always worried to try to make my favorite of anything because I’m worried it won’t turn out well.  There’s nothing worse than expecting something awesome and getting something awful.  Luckily, that was not the case this time.

When I realized my boyfriend and I had guests coming over for dinner, I decided soup was an easy option and I should try to make my favorite soup.  I took the risk that it might turn out bad, any it actually turned out really well!  It was creamy and cheesy and tomato-ey.  All of the flavors came out smoothly and none were overpowering.  This is a delicious one-pot meal that makes food that will last for days.  It was a hit with everyone else as well.  This would be a great meal for a potluck as a vegetarian option.

While I was looking around for a decent recipe for a tomato soup, I found out that baking soda will prevent milk from curdling.  I think it must be something about it being basic since it’s sodium bicarbonate, but I don’t know why.  I didn’t search for very long, but I couldn’t find any answer for why this happens.  Does anyone know?  I’ll give you a recipe for tomato gorgonzola soup if you can tell me…oh wait….

Recipe:

Printable version

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 white onion, chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp baking soda (to prevent curdling)

8 oz low fat cream cheese

8 oz gorgonzola cheese

1 cup half and half

3-14.5 oz cans of fire roasted tomatoes, salt free

2 cups low sodium tomato juice

1/2 tsp basil

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp oregano

salt and pepper, to taste

Prep time: 30 minutes

Servings: 8 servings, about 1-1/2 cups each

Cooking Instructions:

In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is tender, about 4 minutes.  Add the baking soda, the gorgonzola cheese, the cream cheese, and the half and half.  Break apart the cream cheese and stir until the cheeses have melted. Increase the heat to medium-high and let the soup heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the canned tomatoes, tomato juice, and spices.  Stir to combine.  Heat for a few minutes until the tomatoes are slightly tender.  Then blend the soup using an immersion blender or by pouring the soup into a regular blender and blending in parts and return to heat.  Stirring frequently, heat to a simmer and let simmer for at least 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.  Garnish with extra oregano or basil.  Enjoy and don’t forget to go for second helpings!

My First Time Making Sushi


Have you ever wanted to make sushi, but didn’t because it seemed too intimidating?  That was me for a while.  As it turns out, it’s not scary.  Since I’ve been cooking more, I feel like I’ve been getting better at it and I’m more confident.  Last week when my boyfriend requested I make sushi, I didn’t shy away from the idea like I normally do.  Instead, I looked up everything I could possibly want to know on the internet and tried it out. If it didn’t work, no big loss.  If it did work, I’d get delicious sushi.

Sushi is really fun to make.  I want you to be able to have fun making sushi too so I’ve compiled all the resources I used and divided them up by step in the sushi making process.  Good luck.  I would love to help anyone having trouble and I can try to answer questions.  I’m no pro, but I have done it myself so I can try to help.

What You’ll Need:

Sushi rice

Bamboo mat

Rice Vinegar

Very sharp knife

Nori or seaweed wrap

Sugar

Salt

Vegetables (whatever you want.  I used carrots, cucumber, and avocado)

Fish (optional)

Other stuffing ingredients (cream cheese, sauces, spicy mayonnaise, etc.)

*All ingredients can be found at local Asian markets and are becoming increasingly common in regular chain supermarkets.

Making Sushi Rice:

http://makemysushi.com/index.php/Sushi-Preparations/sushi-rice.html

To pick oout the sushi rice, I went to my local Asian marketplace and asked someone where to find the sushi rice.  They pointed out a bag that was clearly marked “sushi rice,” but also told me that sushi rice is just a grain of rice and there is nothing else special about it. Feel rather silly for not seeing the sushi rice, I bought it.

This is the brand I bought.  I can’t vouch for this amazon seller I linked to, but the rice worked well.  It was only about $5 in store.

After that, instead of cooking the rice in a pot, I cooked the rice in my rice cooker.  I have an old, but really high quality, rice cooker and it cooked the rice very nicely.  If you do not have a rice cooker, I would follow the instructions from the link above.  I cooked 1 cup of dry rice and got about 3 cups of cooked rice.  Once the rice was cooked, I removed it from the heat and put it in a bowl.  I then heated 1/3 cup of rice vinegar on the stove and added 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tsp salt.  I heated the combination until the sugar and salt had completely dissolved.  The above link recommends 1/2 cup rice vinegar for 3 cups of cooked rice, but I found that to be a little too vinegar-y so I reduced it to 1/3 cup for 3 cups of cooked rice.  Pour the vinegar mixture over the cooked rice and mix well.  Allow to the rice to cool and the vinegar to soak in.

The Vegetables:

http://makemysushi.com/index.php/Sushi-Preparations/carrot-cutting.html

http://makemysushi.com/index.php/Sushi-Preparations/cucumber-cutting.html

This is what I struggled with the most.  I did not end up with pretty even little sticks of vegetables like I wanted.  Turns out, it didn’t really matter.  I followed the above instructions as best I could, but it didn’t end up having a big bearing on the taste or the outcome of the sushi.  I think that practice makes better so I will eventually get better, but I didn’t find it to be very important.  The best advice I can give is find very even vegetables.  If you find ones that are perfect cylinders, then that would be ideal.

Fish:

I did not buy raw fish or cut fish for this sushi.  I found canned crab and used that for the sushi.  Maybe I’ll get adventerous and try to use raw fish, but I was focusing more on the roll first.

Preparing the Sushi:

http://www.youtube.com/foodwishes?feature=etp-gd-SUR-13#p/search/1/dC9gJsXAXGU

http://makemysushi.com/index.php/How-to-make-sushi/classic-roll.html

The first step is to wrap the sushi mat (usually bamboo with one side flat and one side round) with plastic wrap to prevent sticking.  Prepare a small bowl with water and add a little rice vinegar.  This is to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands.  Also have a hand towel ready.  You want to handle the rice only with wet hands and you want to handle the nori or seaweed wrapper only with dry hands. Place the nori on the mat with the shiny side facing down and rough side facing up.  Wet your hands and grab a handful of rice about 3″ in diameter.  Spread the rice over the nori leaving about an inch of  room at both the top and bottom of the nori (where you will start rolling and where you will stop rolling).  Add the vegetables, fish, and whatever else you want (spicy mayo, cream cheese, etc) to the starting end of the roll on the rice.

Rolling the Sushi:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swGJ2dIu9XE (at 1:37)

Use the video above.  It was very helpful after 1:37.  The beginning part is just her spreading rice out and is very boring.  Start by using the mat to roll the nori over the stuffing (veggies and fish).  Use your fingers to keep the stuffing from spreading out.  Squeeze the mat tightly after this first roll.  Roll the sushi again squeezing tightly after each complete roll until you reach the end.

Cutting the Sushi:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swGJ2dIu9XE (at 2:13)

All I can say is use a sharp knife.  What I did was first sort of wiggle the knife in a sawing motion to get through the top layer of nori.  Then I cut straight through and I sawed again at the end.  The helped keep the nori on the sushi and prevented it from exploding everywhere.  I cut my sushi into 6 pieces, but you can decide where you want to cut it.

As I said at the beginning, good luck and I’d love to try to help anyone having trouble.  I had a really fun time making sushi and I want you all to have fun too.  Enjoy and don’t forget to go for second helpings!

Spicy Tuna Melt


I found a stray kitty this weekend.  I was sitting on my porch (in Arizona this is acceptable in December) and he came up to me and started petting himself on my legs.  I pet him back and noticed he was horribly skinny.  I got some food and he purred and…well…. I live with three kitties now.  His name is Ripley and he’s adorable.  I took him to the vet and they say he’s about 8 months old.

Having an extra kitten around means we go through cat food a lot faster (especially since I’m trying to get the new kitty to gain weight).  We ran out of wet cat food so I used a half of a can of tuna instead.  I don’t like to waste food, so I tried to figure out something to make with the left over half of tuna.  Since I’m not a huge fan of tuna, I made a tuna melt for my boyfriend and he said it was really good.  He likes things a little spicy so I tried to make add a little spice to it.  He said that it was good, but not that spicy so I have the recipe with changes to make it a real spicy tuna melt.

This sandwich is flavorful and makes a nice lunch.  At  less than 400 calories with lots of protein and a few veggies, this sandwich is also healthy for you.  Enjoy!

Recipe

Printable Version

Ingredients:

2 slices pumpernickel bread

1 tbsp olive oil or butter

1/2 can of tuna

1/2 tbsp chipotle mayo

1/2 tsp spicy brown mustard

dash of chili powder or hot sauce*

1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

3 slices of roma tomatoes

2 slices pepperjack cheese

*I have not tried this, but I think that it would add a nice kick to this sandwich

Active time: 15 minutes

Inactive time: 0 minutes

Servings:  Makes 1 sandwich

Cooking instructions:

Combine the tuna, mayo, mustard, vinegar, and whatever spice(s) you want in a bowl and mix.  Lightly oil or butter one side of each slice of bread.  Place one piece in the a small frying pan. Put the cheese on the bread.  Top with the tomato slices, then the cheese, and finally the tuna mixture.  Turn the heat on medium and wait.  Flip once the cheese begins to get nice and gooey and the bread begins to darken.  The sandwich is done with the other side of the bread is also beginning to darken.  Slice in half and serve.  Don’t forget to go for second helpings!

English Muffins!


More bread!  Also, two posts in a week!  Also also, english muffins are very photogenic.

I got the idea to make english muffins from my favorite bread book that I posted about yesterday.  The recipe in the book called for fresh yeast and different kinds of flour that I didn’t have so I went online looking for a different recipe.  I found one on a flour company’s website and decide to use it to make these muffins. They were so much fun to make and were very delicious as well.  I had one (or two…or three….) yesterday and another for breakfast this morning.  They toasted well and were perfect with jam and peanut butter.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup lukewarm milk (nonfat)

1/2 large egg, lightly beaten (more on this below)

1 tbsp butter

2 cups of all purpose flour (plus extra for

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp instant yeast

yellow cornmeal, not in dough only for sprinkling

Active time: 30 minutes

Inactive time: 2 hours

Servings:  Makes about 15-3″ english muffins

Cooking instructions:

Place all the ingredients (except the cornmeal)  in the bread machine following the instructions specific to your machine.  As I’ve said before, mine says to put in the wet ingredients followed by the dry ingredients, but machines vary.  If your machine is like mine you can just put the ingredients in the order I’ve listed the above.  I had some issues getting just 1/2 of the beaten egg so I ended up adding a little extra egg.  My dough ended up being very sticky so I added about 1/2 cup of flour.  I’m not sure if this is just because I failed at using 1/2 and egg or if this is a common problem. Set the machine to dough and let it run its course.

Once the cycle is complete, remove the dough on a surface sprinkled with cornmeal.  Roll the dough out until it is about 1/2″ thick.  Imperfection is fine, but the different thicknesses will cook slightly different so just be aware.  Cut the dough using a 3″ circle.  I don’t have cookie cutters (no idea why) so I ended up using a brandy sniffer.  It worked pretty well.  Reroll the remaining dough and cut again.  Cover the muffins with a damp paper towel and allow to rise for about 20 more minutes.

Heat a griddle to a low-medium heat.  Sprinkle cornmeal on the griddle. Place the muffins on the griddle cornmeal side down.   Each side should take about 3 minutes to brown.  If your muffins are browning too fast or too slowly, adjust the heat as necessary.  Once both sides are browned, remove the muffin and allow to cool (if you can!) on a wire rack.

To get the “nooks and crannies” that are in classic english muffins, just cut the edge of the muffin with a serrated knife and tear the muffin open with your fingers.  Spread on whatever topping you want or eat plain. And don’t forget to go for second helpings!

Onion Cheese Bread


Last post I hinted that I would be making pasta for my next recipe.  If you read the title, you may realize that this isn’t pasta.  That is because I epic failed at making it.  Pasta and I aren’t talking for a while.  Especially the stupid butternut squash ravioli kind….  The problems first started when I ran out of all purpose flour in the middle and tried to add some whole wheat flour to substitute.  This trick, which normally works well in bread recipes, did not work at all.  The pasta was weird and chewy and looked very frightening.  No good.  I’ll try again, but I moved on and made some bread instead.

This bread was pretty good and made a huge loaf.  I’ll definitely be making it again soon.  I’m experimenting with my camera and different lighting techniques so I don’t have many pictures that turned out well, above is one I really liked.

I got this recipe from a book that I literally have not been able to find anywhere.  I got it on clearance at Borders for my boyfriend a couple of years ago as a present and I have been looking for one for myself ever since then.  He eventually just gave it back to me, but there was a sad time when I didn’t have the book or it’s delicious recipes.  I think that it’s this one but there’s another book by the same name.  It’s very confusing.  Either way, I have the recipe with my modifications below.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

4 to 4-1/2 cups flour

2-1/4 tsp yeast

1 tsp mustard powder

2 cups grated Cheddar cheese

2/3 cups lukewarm milk

2/3 cups lukewarm water

1 tbsp butter, melted

Active time: 30 minutes

Inactive time: 2.5 hours (in the down time I made my own light box)

Servings:  Makes 1 humongous loaf

Cooking instructions:

Saute the onions in the olive oil until they begin to brown.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  In a bread machine pan,* combine the onions with the rest of the ingredients, except for the butter and 1/2 cup of cheese, following the instructions from your machine.  Mine have always said to put in the wet ingredients the the dry ingredients, but I guess that’s not always the case.  Set to dough. The dough should not be sticky so you should add more flour until you can touch the dough without it sticking to you.  Add about 1/8 of a cup at a time and allow it to fully mix in before adding more.  I added about another 1/2 a cup.

*If you don’t have a bread machine you can use a stand mixer or your hands.  Just combine the wet ingredients together.  Then combine the dry ingredients.  Mix them together and knead for about 10 minutes adding flour until the dough is no longer sticky.  Allow the dough to rise for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen, knock it back.  Divide the dough into roughly 20 equal parts.  I did this by first dividing it in half, then quarters, then attempting to divide those into five somewhat equal parts.  It’s ok if it’s not perfect because it’ll make the bread look more interesting.  Spray a 10×5″ bread tin with cooking spray or oil.  Shape the 20 parts into balls (again, it’s ok if it’s not perfect).  Place half of the balls into the bottom of the tray.  Brush the tops of the balls with half the butter.  Put the remaining balls on top.  Top those balls with the remaining butter.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm spot for about 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top until it has reached your desired cheesiness level (Side note:  cheesiness is a real word.  I totally thought I made it up).  Bake for 40 minutes.  If the loaf is still not done as determined by a knife or toothpick, cover the top with tin foil to prevent browning and bake for however much longer in 5 minute increments.  I had to bake mine for 55 minutes total.

Remove from the oven and let cool.  You can slice the bread or pull off the balls you rolled up.  I went the tear off route like pull apart bread.  It was super yummy.   I dipped mine in leftover carrot soup and it was so delicious. This would be a fun bread to bring to a party and share with many people because you can tear off bits and enjoy it with many people.

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