Pumpkin. And Bread.


Happy October, Betches! It’s pumpkin baking time!

You know I love to roast and purée a big squash for the freezer. This is not any cheaper than buying canned pumpkin, but it makes me happy. So, this year I tried a completely different variety and I think it is THE ONE. I have no idea what this is called – it’s the kind you get at the Mexican supermarket and poach like camotes in piloncillo syrup for the kids. But my Goddess, the color! I wish you could see this in real life – it is the most deep, gorgeous, vivid orange. Almost vermillion.
And once it’s baked? Even deeper with just a tinge of brick red. It’s fantastic – and made the bread this luscious pumpkin-y color. I’m so pleased with this I can’t contain myself. I cannot wait to try making a pumpkin pie. The only down side was the yield – this was a six pound pumpkin. I cooked half and got 4.5 cups of strained purée, but almost six in water. Lawdee lawd but that puppy was loaded with water. But I digress.

Pumpkin bread. For the past few years, every time I make it the color is so pale you can’t even tell there’s any pumpkin in it. Not this year – it’s totes gorgeous.

I found a new recipe to tweak, too. I was intrigued because it uses water and not milk. I used the strained pumpkin water since I had it. And added some whole wheat flour. But this was truly one of the best pumpkin breads I’ve ever made. Himself, the gals at the office, and the folks at Himself’s office all loved it. So, go make this right now. Use canned pumpkin – it will still be freaking delicious.

Ingredients
The Dry
2.5 c. sugar
2.5 c. AP flour
1 c. Whole Wheat flour
2 tsp. baking soda (yes, really)
1.5 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

The Wet
2 c. pumpkin purée (or, one 14.5oz can – which is about 2.25 c.)
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water

The Topping
Melted unsalted butter
Cinnamon sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8″ x 4″ loaf pans (or line two twelve-unit muffin tins).
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
In a second bowl, whisk together the wet. Then, with a large spoon or spatula fold the wet in to the dry. You want a barely homogenous batter, not activated gluten. Divide into the pans.
Bake for about 55-70 minutes in the preheated oven, until they pass the toothpick test.(I’d start testing the muffins a the half hour mark.)

Once they’ve cooled on the rack about ten minutes, brush them with the melted butter and generously sprinkle them with the cinnamon sugar. After about an hour – they should be blood warm – run the dull side of a butterknife along the edges of the pan and then give it a few whacks to make sure the loaf is loose enough to come out. You can let them cool in the pan overnight if you’re making this in the evening, or on the counter until they are wrappable cool. Don’t wrap before they are completely and totally cool, or the top will become a sticky mess.

I wish we could do dairy, because a schmear of plain cream cheese on these thick luscious slices would have been absolute heaven.

Ok – go make this right now. You’ll be sooo happy.

Apple Ginger Walnut Bread


We’re back, bitches. Where have I been? It’s a long story – I’ll post it after the goodies. In the mean time, it is Fall! Time for apple recipes. Himself loves candied ginger, and today I was thinking about making a chutney with apples and ginger, and then changed direction and decided on some breakfast cake. Because breakfast. And cake. And y’all already know how I feel about that.

Spicy Apple Nut Bread
Makes two 9×5 or four 8×4 loaves

Cream method:
In your mixer bowl, add:
4 c. AP flour
1 c. sugar
1 c. unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp. Baking powder
¼ tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp. cinnamon

Turn on low until mixture looks like fine crumbs.

Meanwhile, prepare the fruity nutty bits:
Peel and cube 3 medium tart apples (granny smith, pippin)
Toss with 1 Tbsp. sugar and about another ½ tsp. Cinnamon to keep them from browning.
Chop ½ c. candied ginger into pieces about the size of a chocolate chip
Chop ½ c. walnuts
Soak ½ c. raisins in 1 c. hot water and a couple drops of vanilla (or rum)

Grease and line with baking parchment your loaf pans. Preheat your oven to 350*.

Once the dry ingredients look like crumbs, turn off the mixer and add in:
1 c. buttermilk
4 eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla extract

Start low and go to high and let it go a couple minutes until the mixture is fluffy-looking and about a shade lighter in color. While that’s going, drain the raisins. Once it’s fluffy and lighter, add all the fruity nutty bits, and give it a couple whirs just to stir them in.

Divide between your pans and bake about 50-60 mins (larger loaf=longer time, obvs) until it passes the toothpick test.

When the loaves are mostly cool, remove from the pan to finish cooling on a rack. You can brush with melted butter and sprinkle of cinnamon sugar at this stage, if you’re feelin’ it. Or a simple water/powdered sugar glaze. Just something to hold in the moisture. Once it’s cool, prepare the drizzle.

The Drizzle:
In a microwave-safe bowl (or 4 cup pyrex!), put:
2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbps. water
Microwave until it is bubbling. (Mine took about 30 seconds). Stir in:
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar.
Stir. It should be the consistency of crepe batter. Put it in a pastry tube to drizzle over the cooled bread.

That drizzle is one of my favorites – it’s the salty, almost caramel taste that I just love.

Ok – enjoy! And thanks for coming back after my unplanned three-month hiaitus. Our Cindy dog fell ill back in June, and passed in July. She was our good girl for thirteen years and I was devastated. Right now writing this two months after she passed and I’ve got tears blurring the screen. Then something went wrong with the air conditioner and water got underneath the oak floor and we’ve been dealing with contractors and insurance and…..sigh. It’s sucked my will to create. I did not have enough joy for me, so I couldn’t find any to share. But ya know, that damn sun just keeps coming up every morning. Take care, y’all. And if you have puppers, give them a big hug because our time together is finite.

Rosemary & Thyme Crackers


After making the onion fig jam, it really seemed a shame to eat it with store bought crackers. I looked at my last recipe, but decided to see if the Google had anything new. Found a good one to test from A Sweet Pea Chef; here’s the adaptation.

Of course, I decided to add the fresh thyme after I’d already taken the knoll shots – so let’s just pretend he’s there, maybe hiding under the rosemary trimmed from my plot by the back door.


(Look! It’s a map of Australia – which makes my brain immediately go to Amanda Palmer If you don’t know who she is, this is NSFW.)

This was super easy – mix in the Cuisinart, rest, roll, bake. She has the brilliant idea to rest the dough, since that gluten gets all excited in the mixing stage. The wait will make an easier roll and a non-tough cracker. Just sayin’, don’t rush it.

The first batch I made, I did the 50AP/50WW ratio she suggests, but it was too much whole wheat for our tastes. And it desperately needed salt, even with the sprinkle on top. So this version has a a higher ratio of AP flour, and we think it’s great.

Hope you enjoy.

Rosemary Thyme Crackers

1.5 c. ap flour
0.5 c. ww flour
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
1 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp olive oil (organic, extra virgin if you want to get picky)
2/3 c. water
flake salt or fleur de sel for sprinkling

Mix the dry in the food processor. Add the oil, mix til evenly distributed. Add the water, mix until a stiff dough forms.

Rest it for 30 mins. (To get the gluten to relax so that: a. you can roll it out, and b. you don’t make little rocks.) Preheat the oven to 450*.

Get out two sheets of parchment the size of your cookie sheets. Split the dough evenly, and roll each superthin, like 1/8″, directly on the sheets of parchment you will bake on. Do not flour, the olive oil will keep it from sticking.
Use a pizza or ravioli cutter to make strips about 1.2″ wide.
Take a fork, and pierce the dough all over. This will prevent big bubbles from forming.
Lastly, sprinkle with a nice flake salt/fleur de sel and gently press it in to the dough so it will stick.
Bake about 15 minutes, until they are golden and dry, crispy, and cracker like.
Break the strips in to crackery pieces and enjoy.

Socca Version 2.0

Ok, so this all started because I checked out the America’s Test Kitchen Mediterranean cookbook. (BTW stop what you’re doing and just go order that right now. I’ll wait. You’re welcome.) Of the gazillion-odd recipes I want to try, it made me want to give socca another go.
I found different-sounding recipes from my first attempt – ones that involved pre-heating a cast iron pan or griddle in a 500* oven, and resting the batter for hours before cooking. First I tried one that called for a 2:1 ratio of water to chick pea flour, and a griddle.

Yeah – that did not go so well. By the third attempt, I was able to get a reasonable crepe out of the pan and munch it with a lovely arugula dressed with meyer lemon juice and olive oil.

The next day, I went back to my second-favorite food boyfriend Bittman and gave that version a shot – it had a 1:1 ratio. I let the batter sit for 12 hours, and used the skillet this time instead of the griddle. Also, I used a shit ton of olive oil in the pan because I had bad sticking problems – but was under the impression my cast iron was reasonably seasoned. Anywho, it turned out.

It was really quite yummy when doused with fresh black pepper. I still don’t know if I’ll make this again – I am hunting something for a good flatbread or pizza base….and the hunt continues.

But this would be an awesome addition to an antipasto or mezze. Give it a whirl!
Socca – based on Bittman’s NYT recipe.
In the morning, whisk together until smooth:
1 c. chickpea flour
1 c. water
Add in:
1/8 c. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
Cover and let sit for the day (8 hours+)
Half an hour before you want your socca, preheat your oven to 500* and put a 10” cast iron skillet in there to get hot.
You last ingredients are:
1/8 c. olive oil
thinly sliced sweet onion
sliced olives if you’d like
When the oven is at temperature, remove the pan. Pour in about another 1/8 c. olive oil, swirl it and then drop in the onion. They will sizzle. Pour over the batter and stick it back in the oven for about 12-15 minutes.
When it is done, the top will be dry and crackly and feel firm to the touch. Loosen the bottom of the socca and slide it on to a cutting board. Liberally grind on some black pepper, and maybe a drizzle of olive oil. Take the board to the table and munch.

Breakfast Pizza

Oh, food trends. You hipster fuck bastards. It’s as though my world has been enveloped in Breakfast Pizza. It’s in my Instagram feed, my Pinterest feed, peeps at the office are bringing it in from QT. Oy. Fine. FINE. We’ll give this mofo a try.

Twenty googled recipes later, I found a good poolish pizza dough recipe and prepped that before I went to bed.

Then, this morning when I got up, I finished the dough and waited the requisite hour by making coffee, slicing some veg, and catching up on social media.

This was easy, and cooked relatively fast (well, in a 500* oven, anything would, right?). Himself liked it, although after his first bite the first words out of his mouth were, “don’t make this often.” This translates to way-too-yummy-bread-is-not-good-for-him, btw.

I topped mine with what was on hand – some olive oil, parmesan, onions, tomatoes and artichoke hearts plus the eggs, of course. Then a drizzle of pesto on the plate. I was confounded by the variety of cook times for the eggs in my googling. They varied from 8 minutes to 15. That’s a bit much. So I started at 8 and went up from there. I made one thick crust and one thin. I preferred the thick crust, and Himself preferred the thin. Dat ist normal in our house.

Observational notes – final cook time in a 500* convection oven was 12 minutes. The eggs were cold from the fridge. The ones on the thin crust were perfectly medium, the ones on the thick crust were just past sunny side up for the whites, and medium for the yolks. (What the hell, thermodynamics? I need to research THAT.) I would totally make this again – it was a fun treat. I bet it would be delicious on the grill for an al fresco brekkie, actually. Maybe next time – it would be perfect in the summer, when the mornings are still cool and you don’t want a 500* oven on in the house. (And if you’ve never baked pizza on the grill, google that shit immediately.)
Alright – you ready?

The Crust
The night before, stir together in your Kitchenaid mixer bowl:
3.5 oz flour
3.5 oz water
¼ tsp. yeast
Cover with some wax paper or a tea towel and go to bed.

In the morning, add to the bowl:
9 oz flour
4 oz warm water
1 tsp. yeast
1 ¼ tsp. salt
Mix with the dough hook about five or so minutes. It will be sticky, but still pull away from the edges of the bowl.
Divide the dough in to four balls, rub them with some olive oil, cover them with some wax paper and leave in warm place for an hour. After half an hour, heat up your oven and choose your toppings.

The Toppings
4 Campari tomatoes in ¼” slices
8 quarter artichoke hearts
10 zucchini ribbons (run a veg peeler down the length of a washed zucchini)
Two to three 1/8″ slices sweet onion, separated in to rings
4 tsp. virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Italian herbs
¼ c. parmesan cheese
4 large eggs
Plus, get out your baking sheet and sprinkle it with enough corn meal to coat the bottom, about a ¼ cup. This is the non-stick surface for your ‘za.
When the hour was up for the dough, I put two balls in the fridge to make pizzas for dinner. For the other two, I rolled them out – thick crust 7” circle (or, in my case, amorphous blob shape), thin 10”.
Place the crust on the cornmeal surface. Drizzle with half the olive oil, the Italian herbs and half the parmesan. Arrange the veg – the only rule is to make sure they form a egg-proof perimeter around the edges. Crack on your eggs, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and drizzle with the remaining olive oil and carefully slide in to the oven. Halfway through (about 6 minutes), rotate your tray(s).
It’s done when the egg is how you like it. For medium, it was 12 minutes in our oven with eggs cold from the fridge.

Bon apétit. Serve as is, or with a drizzle of pesto. Ha! Although I forgot to take a pic with the pesto, so it’s imagine what it would look like time. Sigh. Anywho, make some and enjoy.

Pecan Brown Sugar Scones

This is the second attempt at these babies. I’ve been trying to capture Himself’s favorite dessert, pecan pie. Although these are not quite there, they are quite tasty. Hopefully a future post is coming that can be called the pecan pie version. Not today, though. If I make one more batch of these this weekend, I am afraid Himself will have my head.

This version is just sweet enough, with a nice crunch from the nuts, and a little hint of salt in the special icing.

These are a little more fussy than my usual, but don’t be scared off. It’s not hard, there’s just a couple extra bits. But hey! That’s what makes these so special. And pretty enough to get rid of the leftovers to the neighbors!
Shall we?

Pecan Brown Sugar Scones.
yield: 16 mini or 8 large

Scones:
2 c. AP flour
1/2 c. dark brown sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling
¼ c. toasted chopped pecans
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ c. ice cold butter
¾ c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg separated, with the whites lightly whisked until foamy.
8-16 pretty pecan halves.

Icing:
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbps. water
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar.

Preheat the oven to 375*.

For the Dry, in a medium-sized bowl mix together:
2 c. AP flour
¼ c. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
Mix, then cut in with a pastry cutter:
½ c. ice cold butter
Set aside, and a small bowl mix the wet:
¾ c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg yolk.

Mix the wet in to the dry genty until it is shaggy-looking. Turn on to your board/counter, and gently flold and knead until the tough barely holds tegether. With your board knife, cut the dough in to four equal parts, and gently shape and flatten each in to a disc about 6” across and ½” high. On two of the discs, sprinkle:
¼ c. dark brown sugar
¼ toasted chopped pecans.
With your board knife, gently lift one of the plain discs and set it on top of the nuts/sugared disc. (Do the same for the other) Gently press down, they will kind of stick together. Smooth the outside edge so there’s no brown sugar poking out. (Otherwise, the top half will just slide off the bottom half during baking.) Use your board knife to slice each disc in to 8 wedges. (I do halves, quarters, then eighths). Place about ½” apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss the pecan halves in the foamy egg whites. Brush the backs and tops of the wedges with the beaten egg white, and place a pecan half on each. (Why not the sides? I don’t know the chemistry of it, but essentially it’ll seal the sides so there’s no where for the scone to rise and expand in the oven.) Sprinkle the moist tops with a little more brown sugar. Bake about 15 – 18 minutes until deep golden. Remove from the oven. and place the scones on a cooling rack. When they are just barely still warm, drizzle with the salted brown sugar icing. (And ermehgerd, this icing! I wanted to just eat it with a spoon. This would be amazeballs on a coffee cake. Soooo yummy.)
The Icing:
In a microwave-safe bowl (or 4 cup pyrex!), put:
2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbps. water
Microwave until it is bubbling. (Mine took about 30 seconds). Stir in:
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar.
Stir. It should be the consistency of a thick icing. Put it in a pastry tube to drizzle over the almost-cool scones. Serve and eat!


Remember to take some to the neighbors!

For the 16-scone version, the nutritional info per scone calculated using the verywell.com site is:
Calories 256
Fat 18.8g
Sodium 132mg
Carbs 19.6g (fiber 2.3g, sugars 5.7g)
Protein 4.3

Green Chili Corn Cakes

Creen Chili Corn Cakes

These are so tender, savory, spicy and sweet, with just a little tooth from the corn kernals. I highly recommend making these immediately for dinner or breakfast. We spread ours with butter and a little drizzle of agave syrup. Total yum. Himself considers them very tasty.

I made these a couple weeks back after I saw a Food52 Instagram post for these masa cakes with cheese and cilantro crema. They looked so very tasty; well, except for the cheese and crema parts in our lactose-impaired household. Modified a bit for our tastes, boy are these amazing. The recipe is brilliant with the addition of some corn starch to the flour – it makes these so very tender.

As always, this recipe needs Hatch green chili. Do not use the mushy tasteless canned things. If you don’t have Hatch, mince up fine a fat jalapeno without the ribs and seeds, but use about 30% less of that than the green chili. And, if you are lucky enough to be able to eat cheese, a sprinkle of cotija on this would be amazeballs.
I keep wanting to see how these would be as a bun for an eggie sammich on a weekday morning, but there are never any left by Monday morning….life’s tough, I know.

Alrighty then, let’s make these mofos:

Green Chili Corn Cakes
Time: 30 m
Yield: about a dozen 3” cakes
Heat your griddle to medium.

Dry – in a big bowl, stir together:
1 c. corn flour (masa harina like MaSeca, NOT corn meal)
3 Tbsp. corn starch
½ c. AP flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Wet – in a second bowl, whisk:
2 eggs
1 ½ c. buttermilk
2 Tbsp. oil (mild like Canola or light olive)
4 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 c. grated onion.
½ c. thawed frozen corn kernals
½ c. chopped Hatch green chili

Mix the dry with the wet until combined. You don’t have to be super gentle like with wheat flour, the masa doesn’t have gluten to toughen things up. (Don’t go nuts – there is a little AP in there.) Cook the way you do pancakes. Then happily consume them.

Bon apétit!

The VeryWell.com recipe nutrition calculator says each cake has:
cal: 135
fat: 3.9g
sodium: 366mg
carb: 21.9g (fiber: 1.3g, sugar: 6.2g)
protein: 3.7
and! 75% of your Vitamin C for the day (who knew? must be the chilis?)

Cranberry Walnut Spice Scones

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Oh, it’s been a while my lovelies. I don’t think I’ve made scones in a year.
Mainly it’s Himself’s sugar restrictions, that plus reining myself in. But Fall is coming. Pumpkin spice lattes are saturating the atmosphere. Made some pumpkin bread last week for our respective offices, but then my contrary nature just refused to make a pumpkin scone.
cranwalcollage

But, honestly, what is it about pumpkin pie, or pumpkin bread, or lattes – that orange bit itself is pretty tasteless. But the spice? Oh, yes. The spice. That’s where the magic is.
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These scones are light and just barely sweet. Perfect for slathering in butter and honey or orange marmelade. Makes 16 minis or 8 standard.
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Ingredients
1 ¾ c. AP flour
¼ c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ c. cold butter, cubed
¾ c. buttermilk
1 egg, separated –white lightly whisked.
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Sparkle sugar (or granulated sugar)

Preheat oven to 425*.
1. Line a standard size cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix the dry. Cube the cold butter and drop it in the dry mix. Cut it in until it is after pea-sized but not yet coarse crumb.
3. Stir in the nuts and cranberries.
4. Whisk together the egg yolk, vanilla and buttermilk.
5. Flour your counter, barely stir the liquid in to the dry, then put it on your floured counter to barely, gently work the dough to a cohesive ball. With plenty of flour on your hands, gently, gently flatten the ball in to a disc about 8″ across and 1″ high. (or, divide the ball in two and flatten both those in to discs about 1″ high). Heavily flouring your board knife or a large chef’s knife, cut the circle in to 8 triangles. (Or you can make two 6” discs for 16 minis.)
**A Karen lazy step here is, I actually put my parchment on the counter and use it to help form the dough, then cut the scones directly on it, and slide it on to the cookie sheet.
6. Brush the tops and backs (not the sides) with the egg white, sprinkle with sparkle sugar.
7. Bake 425* 15-18 mins until golden brown.
8. Cool slightly, slather in butter and munch.
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Focaccia (Using a Poolish)

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I used to just love that Tyler Florence focaccia recipe – it was easy and fast. But the last time I made it, I realized it was just…..white bread. Focaccia is chewy, and pillowy, and crisp from the olive oil, with big air holes.

I started to wonder if that poolish thing that works for baquettes would work for focaccia, and the interwebs said yes!!
focaccia1How the poolish looks the next morning.

Our Google overlords took me back to the absolute number one bread blog in the world (and one I thought had been taken down), Artisan Bread Baking. This recipe is a mix of that, and what I remember from a Cook’s Illustrated recipe from long ago.

I wanted to give some to the neighbors, and remembered the CI one used cake pans – so there we go.
focacciacollage

This turned out fairly well. Light. Beautiful olive oil crust. The only thing I’d do differently next time is split the dough between four pans – in three, it was just a smidge too thick for our tastes.
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I hope you try this – this is a very kid-friendly recipe. You get to smoosh the dough out in the pan using your hands, place toppings on it, and poke it with your fingers before baking. Tactile play that is deliciously edible! Good times!!
focacciaside

Make this next weekend. For reals – you’re home on a Saturday morning anyway, right? Give it a try.

Focaccia

The night before, make the poolish and some rosemary water:
9oz water
9oz AP flour
2 tsp yeast
Stir it up (it will be a thick sticky batter). Cover it with wax paper or saran and leave it on the counter overnight.
Boil 6 oz water. Put it in a heat-safe cup or bowl, drop in a 3″ sprig or rosemary or a tablespoon of dried, cover it with saran and leave it on the counter next to the poolish overnight.

The next morning, in your KitchenAide bowl or a big mixing bowl, add:
14 oz AP or bread flour
6 oz rosemary water
6 oz extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp dried Italian Herb mix
and the poolish.
Mix it up (with a dough hook or a wooden spoon) til it comes together, cover and let it rest 20 minutes.
Add the salt, knead it for six minutes. This dough is sticky. Cover and rest 30 minutes.
*Gently* fold the dough(Good Dave Johnson vid after the jump). Cover and rest 30 minutes.
Again, *gently* fold the dough. Cover and rest 30 minutes.
Finally, *gently* fold the dough. Cover and rest 20 minutes.

Line a sheet pan (or 3-4 8″ round cake pans) with parchment, generously grease the bottom and sides with olive oil. (For the smaller pans, cut the dough into thirds or fourths with your bench scraper.) Put the dough in the pan, and *gently* push it out to the edges of the pan using your fingers. Place your toppings (onion, olive, tomato – anything thick and moist – the light herby-type stuff comes later). Drizzle with olive oil. Loosely top with waxed paper and a tea towel and let it rise for at least an hour.

Heat the oven to 500*. If you have a baking stone, get that mofo in there. While it is pre-heating, poke the risen dough with your finger to make those focaccia indentations. Drizzle with more olive oil, and sprinkle with the herbs of your choice. (I like fresh rosemary.) Let this sit for 15 minutes, then pop in the hot oven. Reduce the temp to 450* and bake about 25 minutes or so until golden. Interior temp s/b at least 200*. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with some flaked kosher salt and coarse black pepper.

Cool, and eat. This makes amazing sammiches with some pesto. If you don’t eat it the same day, warm it a little in the oven to bring the crust back before serving.

Ciambella

Ciambella3
So, we were fast approaching the day when all are Irish. I made soda bread for the first time last year, and it was not anything like I’d expected. It was like a giant scone that you slice. So, since I have that other blog deal now, I did the Irish for that. But that made me think about ciambella – an Italian breakfast cake. Lemony, not too sweet. A little dry so you can schmear it with yummy jam or dip it in your cappucino. It’s like Italian soda bread, really.
Ciambella2Cmed
What do I love most about this? The rich buttery taste? The crunchy pearl sugar? The soft, lemony insides? I can never decide. But a hunk of this with some strawberry jam, and I am one happy, crumb-covered monster. This would be amazing with some whipped cream, too. I keep wanting to try it with orange. Or grapefruit. But hey – it’s citrus season. Maybe I’ll do that one next time.

This is an adaptation of a recipe from Mario Batali, and the freaking genius uses a food processer.
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I know I’ve been away. I took hiaitus through mid-February. When I tried to come back, I discovered the dark, seedy underbelly of having a blog. My site had been corrupted by some dickweed embedding some malicious code. Hacked through a vulnerability in my theme, and possibly through the recipe plug-in I’d been using. The Yum was flagged. I couldn’t even get in – we tried many different ways over a couple of weeks, but in the end the bastard had us beat. We had to pay our hosting site a fee (that we call a ransom) to remove it. I’m still pissed – feeling that violated, and unable to do anything was beyond maddening. Sooo….yeah. That’s where I’ve been. It’s still not right – look at this ugly theme, for now. But I want to be up and running again, and will tweak the pretties over a little time. In the meanwhile, please enjoy some ciambella.
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Brilliant!
Buon appetito!

2 c. AP flour
½ c. sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter
1 egg
¼ tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
¼ c. buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. pearl sugar & 1 tbsp. milk or water
Preheat oven to 375. Grease a shallow tube pan (like a baba au rhum pan), or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Put the dry ingredients in the food process, pulse to combine.
Add the butter cubes, pulse until it looks like polenta.
Mix everything but the pearl sugar, pour it in the food processor, and pulse until you have dough.
It will be very stiff – like cookie dough. Pull it out, and roll it into a log about 2” thick. You can circle it in to the tube pan, or you can make it look like a giant doughnut on the parchment. You could also shape it in to a loaf about 3” wide and 8” long.
Once it’s shaped, brush it with the milk or water and sprinkle it with the pearl sugar.
Bake about 30-35 mins until golden and a tester comes out clean.
Cool and eat!
SERVINGS – 10
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