Livin' in the Kitchen

Archive for the ‘Bread’ Category

Chicago Gourmet Food Festival and Sweet Potato Bread

In Bread, Culinary Experiences on September 26, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Life was nuts at the Chicago Gourmet Food Festival. Gale did a demo on the millenium stage with Tim Allen…. and I got to help!

Every time I looked up I saw Michelle, Sue, and Marco from Elawa farms- where we work- in the stands smiling down at us. To me the best accomplishment is being able to do what I love with people I love… and who doesn’t like to eat well along the way?

(above photo credit: the really nice guy backstage that I kept handing my camera to.)

More good news is that we ate so well that I wore my stretchy and all-glorious yoga pants the next day.

This dish was my favorite of the day. The Chicago Gourmet Food Festival really made me kick myself for not knowing more about savory food. Now not only do I not know what restaurant this came from (I forgot to take a picture of the sign) but I don’t even have a basis of an idea how to create this bite-sized deliciousness.

Last but not least is the cannoli. I say the cannoli because it is the best I have ever tasted. It is the only cannoli that has left me wanting more. Some may argue that it’s because of its size. Honestly, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but if this were a big cannoli I’m fairly certain I could polish off 2 1/2 before regret started kicking in. The best cannoli ever from: Lezza Spumoni & Desserts Inc. in Chicago.

Among all the extravagant food and all the extravagant people there is some level of simplicity that every person identifies with. Which is why I think sharing Sweet Potato Bread today is perfect. It’s simple but it can be spiced up. You can have it for breakfast with a thin coating of butter or you could have a slice with carmalized pecans, creme fresh and a sprinkle of cinnamon over the top. Wa-la! Here’s what I did:

In a large bowl mix the sugar, oil, sweet potatoes, egg, and vanilla.

Whisk together the dry ingredients, then add to the wet and stir until just combined.

Pour into (both greased and floured) one large pan and one mini-loaf pan. Bake for 75 minutes.

Wa-la! And choose what you want to do with it. Breakfasts that aren’t cereal are scare in my house while we have a surplus of desserts, so this was our on-the-go breakfast for school the next morning. Next time I make it, I think I’ll set aside half the large loaf to make a dessert, though! So delicious!

Sweet Potato Bread
Slightly adapted from Recipezaar’s Karen
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups sweet potatoes, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 325F
Mix the wet ingredients together in a large bowl by hand. In a separate bowl, whisk the dry together. Slowly stir the dry (by hand) into the wet until just combined.
Bake for 60-75 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Flavor will develop over night, so if you can hold out, wait.


Bread and Butter Pudding with Vanilla Sauce

In Bread, Bread Pudding, French, Meringues on August 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm

After going to The French Pastry School, one of the things that I learned was that it would be good to keep a portfolio of the food I’m making. Next to it I’ll be labeling what it was and when I made it. For my portfolio I chose 4 different categories of foods I want to concentrate on: French, Modern American, Mexican, and Italian. Naturally, I began with the French desserts.

Bread and Butter Pudding with Vanilla Sauce
Recipe from “Lenôtre’s Desserts and Pastries”
7 ounces fresh sandwich bread, uncut
Butter for bread
2 cups, (generous, 1/2 1) milk
1 vanilla bean (I used vanilla bean paste)
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup, generous (125 grams) granulated sugar

Remove the crust from bread and slice very thin (set crust aside)
Lightly butter the slices, cut them in half, corner-to-corner so that they are now 2 triangles.
Brown the buttered side of the bread under the broiler for 3 minutes, cover oval baking pan with bread, toasted side up in overlapping pieces.
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Boil milk with vanilla bean. Beat the eggs and the egg yolks with the sugar for a few minutes, until mix whitens. Slowly pour hot milk (not boiling) into egg mix while stirring.
Pour the combined mixtures over the bread while pressing down bread that floats with a spoon.
Place the Bread Pudding into a larger dish. Pour boiling water in the larger dish until it reaches half way up the sides of the smaller dish.
Bake 30 minutes, continue to press down bread when it rises to the surface in oven. When baked, allow to cool then place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Make Vanilla Sauce (can be served without).

Vanilla Sauce
1 cup (1/4 1) milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Place milk and vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot and let the vanilla bean infuse for 10 minutes.
Beat egg yolks and sugar on medium speed until the mixture whitens. While beating, add milk to yolks. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Heat slowly, stirring constantly. When liquid coats spatula, remove the saucepan immediately and place in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Remove the vanilla bean.
Cool mixture in bowl of cold water for 30 minutes. Whip sauce occasionally while cooling.
Once cooled, pour over your Bread and Butter Pudding and return to the refrigerator,

No Waste:

The recipe doesn’t call for it but since we were out of bread I decided to make my own. You can use any homemade sandwich bread recipe you want or you can use store-bought. Homemade takes time but it’s definitely a lot cheaper and tastier than store-bought bread. Here’s a recipe close to what I used.

Because I felt there would be a lot of waste, I found recipes that would use left-0vers from the Bread and Butter Pudding and Vanilla Sauce recipes. Check it out..
With my extra crust and the butt-pieces of my bread I made croutons! All I had to do was: cut the crust into cubes, throw in a bowl with salt, (I used Kosher, but use whatever you have), a little garlic, a little olive oil, 2 tablespoons butter, a some herbs (I used mostly basil. It doesn’t have to be fresh, feel free to use dry herbs.) Throw in the oven for 12-18 minutes at 400F. I swear, they’ll be the best croutons you’ve ever tasted.

Then came the Classic French Meringues which I made with the leftover egg whites. The recipe took next-t0-no-effort and it ended up looking gorgeous, here’s the recipe I used. I just split up the batter and added a little food coloring to each bowl.

Done! You have two desserts, croutons for a salad or soup and fresh bread. Instead of wasting a mountain of bread crust, egg whites and egg yolks we made a vanilla sauce, homemade meringues and croutons… all with things that would have went down the drain or into the garbage. It’s been a good day.

Cheese, Herb, and Garlic Pull-Apart Bread

In Bread on July 18, 2011 at 5:04 pm

 I don’t particularly like lists; especially when unappealing things are added to them. Which is why, when my mom told me I had to go water the  garden, I set out stubbornly into the blistering heat. It didn’t much help my glowing attitude when I turned the wrong knob, went out to the garden, and waited for three minutes until I decided that the water just wasn’t coming. Instead the water had been streaming from a different hose, pointing to our forgotten herb garden.

This bread is absolutely delicious and has so much flavor! The fresh herbs brought a lot to it, but the garlic is the star! You can play around with the filling. You’re in complete control of the flavor! Remember while you’re making it, it doesn’t make a whole lot. So I’d recommend doubling it! I made this last night and there’s only two pieces left.

Cheese, Herb, and Garlic Pull-Apart Bread
Slightly adapted from Petite Kitchenesse
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of warm water
1 packet of yeast (2¼ tsp.)
1/3 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, melted


1 bulb (Yes, I mean an entire bulb) of garlic
3/4 cup fresh herbs (basil, dill, rosemary, parsley, sage. Feel free to combine with dry herbs, too.)
1 cup cheese (I used 1/2 cup parmesan, 1/4 mozzarella, and 1/4 cheddar)
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted

Do ahead for filling: Preheat oven to 400F and cut the top off the garlic bulb. Roast for 40 minutes- 1 hour.
Bread instructions:  Combine warm water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Let sit until foamy, about 8 minutes.
Add butter and salt to yeast mixture, sift flour 1 cup at a time into yeast mixture, stirring after each incorporation.
Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth, about 8-10 minutes.
Place dough in an oiled bowl, set a damp towel on top, put bowl in a warm place and allow to rise for 1 hr or until doubled.
After an 1 hr, punch the dough, knead a few times on a well floured surface, and let rest for 5 minutes.

Filling Instructions
Cut leaves off of your fresh herbs into small pieces.
Melt butter in sauce pan and add your herbs.
Squeeze out the garlic cloves and add to the butter and herbs.
Grate your cheeses and set aside.
Roll out the dough that has just sat resting for 5 minutes. Roll into a large rectangle until the dough is about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
Spoon the butter mixture over the dough, reaching all corners. Sprinkle the cheeses over the top. Then cut with a sharp knife into small squares.

Have 2-3 mini loaf pans buttered and read
Start layering the squares on each other until the bread pan has been filled. *I used up all the space in my pans before I even let them rise. It worked, but it was harder to pull the bread apart. Give the bread room to grow!
If you’d like and have a little extra cheese, herbs, or garlic, sprinkle this over the top of the bread.
Put a damp towel on the bread and allow it to sit for another 40 minutes.
Preheat oven 350F and bake 15-18 minutes.