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“Tandoori” Naan

Okay, so I don’t have a Tandoor oven in my house, nor am I hiding one anywhere else on my property. I am just a big fan of naan and hummus, and I thought I would search for a recipe that gave me that same flavor without the same price tag (I calculate these will cost about .30 cents for a batch of four, which is a savings of $1.70 versus even the cheapest store bought varieties!!!).  Unashamedly I saved the Trader Joe’s “Tandoori Naan” freezer safe bag, and yes I will be storing the home made version in it.  This post should really be called “bread maker” naan, because that’s what it is.  I’m VERY into fast and easy recipes, so if you don’t have a bread maker….. I don’t know what to tell you. That’s Kelsey’s department and maybe she can come up with some great alternative for you. Note: If you have a 15 month old with an egg allergy, it isn’t advisable to let them sample this bread or to eat a whole piece. And that’s coming from personal experience. Oh well, here’s the recipe. While you’re testing it out I’m going to grab the Benadryl.

Ingredients:

Directions:
  1. Add ingredients to the bread pan according to the manufacturer’s directions. (Typically they want you to add the wet ingredients first, dry on top, finishing with the yeast)
  2. Set Cycle: dough; Loaf size: 2 lb.
  3. After about 5 minutes, check the dough; add a tablespoon of water at a time if too dry, or a tablespoon of flour at a time if too wet.
  4. Preheat oven to 450F, put 2 baking sheets in to heat for 10 minutes (this will help the naan to puff up and brown).
  5. When dough cycle is done, turn dough onto a floured surface and punch down; Divide into 8 pieces.
  6. Working one at a time, with the other pieces covered, roll dough out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch.
  7. Bake for about 4 minutes, until puffed up.
  8. These freeze very well.

Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-naan-bread-machine-41503#ixzz1lhvM9G2B

Bars it is

Bars are as good as it gets these days. And probably will be as good as it gets for a few more months. It could be worse, of course. What if I left it all entirely? So, bars it is. Bars are as far as my brain can go.

I should have done lemon bars. Ha. That’s quite a way of beginning an entry. I made a coconutty-type of bar, but while they baked I thought of how terribly refreshing lemon bars would be and the winter seems like the time to be dehydrated and not know it. When else do you eat iceberg lettuce? Why does it taste so good in the winter? You’re dehydrated.

No, I shouldn’t write these blog posts late at night.

I’ll keep this brief.

So, when you are in the throes of everyday life, think of the humble goodness of the bar. Today, we’re featuring Jim Fobel’s Coconut Bars from the cookbook Jim Fobel’s Old-Fashioned Baking Book.  Dress up the recipe by drizzling the bars with chocolate ganache. There’s a good idea for you.

Coconut Bars

Bottom Layer

1 stick of butter, softened

1 cup all-purpose flour                                  1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

Top Layer

2 large eggs                                                           1 cup slivered almonds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup lightly packed sweetened shredded coconut

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder                                     1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 325 F and butter an 8-inch square pan.

2. In a medium bowl, combine butter, flour, and brown sugar and mix well with a spoon. Turn the dough over into the pan and spread it out evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

3. Meanwhile, beat together the eggs, vanilla, and brown sugar for 1 to 2 minutes. With a spoon, stir in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, almonds and coconut.

4. Spread coconut mixture over the bottom layer once it has baked. Return the pan to the oven for about 30 minutes more.

5. Cool on a wire rack before cutting into bars.

Jessica’s Rustic Apple Pie

Posted on

Rustic apple pie.

What makes something “rustic?” Is it unfinished looking? Usually. That’s the case with this apple pie. There are no crimped edges, no perfectly pressed crust. There’s not even a stitch of butter in the crust, which is normally a no-no for me [Jessica]. This pie takes about 15 minutes to throw together, and that’s what’s so beautiful about it. Maddy Lu has an eye for the “rustic” in dessert. It might not be pretty, but I bet it’s one of the best things you’ve ever eaten! Here is my recipe for rustic apple pie. I highly recommend it… and your husband will thank you when he walks in from work and smells the cinnamon. Maybe a back rub is in order?

Preheat Oven to 375…

Ingredients:

FILLING

  • 8 Medium Sized Apples, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • A generous sprinkling of cinnamon
  • 3 TBS Flour

CRUST

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. To begin, slice and core your apples. This is the time when an apple peeler/corer comes in handy.
  2. Melt a stick of butter on medium heat, once melted, add the flour.
  3. Add the white/brown sugars and the cinnamon.
  4. Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes. That’s it.
  5. Get that crust prepared- using a pastry cutter or a big fork, cut the flour/salt into the shortening.  Mix in the water with your hands until the dough comes together.
  6. Roll out the dough on a floured surface- you want a big huge pancake.
  7. Lift the dough onto your baking sheet, and dump the apples into the center.
  8. Pull up the edges so they come in about halfway towards the center.
  9. Bake on center rack at 375 or until you can see the apples are bubbling and the crust is browned.

In a Sequined Christmas Blouse

We took down our trees today. I know it’s a bit late, but we were waiting for snow. The snow came down early this morning…

and the trees followed.

While we tried to not be nostalgic, I couldn’t help but think of the season when the most delightful part of each day will be choosing from the manor’s menu–boiled ham sandwich or beef goulash.

The holidays will arrive and my children will draw from a hat to see who will feed me and the unlucky grand-kids will cry, “Do we have to?!”

I will sit in the manor lobby in my sequined Christmas blouse and wait. I imagine I’ll wait for at least forty-five minutes before I see an angry-looking relative.

All year long I’ve been looking forward to a festive dinner and I’m given an hour or so to choke down my rations while no one even attempts to talk to me. I don’t even get a peek at the Christmas tree.

I’m back in my room again before I know it and it’s time to choose breakfast–honey bun or runny eggs. Neither. Thanks.

To lighten the mood, I went with something terribly easy for someone in such a mental state–chocolate chip bars. And chocolate can be so comforting.

The recipe comes from Jim Fobel’s Old-Fashioned Baking Book. These chocolate chip bars are just right.

Jim Fobel’s Chocolate Chip Bars

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour                                            1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon baking soda                                                 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt                                                1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened                     6 ounces of chocolate chips

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour an 11 3/4-by-7 1/2-inch pan.

2. Stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

3. Beat together the butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla.

4. Combine the wet with the dry and fold in the chips and nuts ( I omitted the nuts).

5. Spoon the mix in to the pan and spread it out evenly.

6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (I baked for 18).

7. Place the hot pan on a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature.

8. Cut the bars and eat them.

Happy Winter. Enjoy the soft centers and the chewy edges.

Stress

I’ve noticed a trend. When I become stressed I often do one of two things: I cut my hair or I bake.

Maybe three things. I’ve been eating a lot of frozen gingerbread lately.

There’s not much more chopping that can be done to my hair (I did my last “trim” using a fingernail clipper), so I turned the oven to 375.

The spring semester is beginning next week, so I made raisin bread, a large pan of sandwich bread, and some whole-grain apple walnut bread thinking that I would freeze it so we wouldn’t starve before commencement in May. But we ate all of that before I could take any pictures and…I don’t know. I didn’t feel like making a post about it. Maybe I don’t have a good attitude. Maybe it’s all of that gingerbread getting back at me or maybe I need more vitamin D. Maybe I need to get more sleep.

I’ve decided to share a cookie experiment with you. I’m calling it an experiment because I like the results, but I wonder if something else could be done to it. Dip it in chocolate? Make it a thumbprint cookie and add a caramel center?

Well, I’ll tell you what I did. I think it makes a nice cookie. My taster said that it tastes old fashioned and modern. He said that he doesn’t really have a grid for it.

Praline Nut Cookies

1 1/2 cups of pecans

1/4 cup walnuts or almonds

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar, plus more for sprinkling

8 tablespoons of butter, softened

1 egg

2 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375. Take a couple of cookie sheets and line them with parchment. Throw the nuts in a food processor and pulse until you get nut crumbs, but not nut powder. Combine the nuts, sugar, butter, and egg in a mixer and beat for a minute. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour to the mixture. When the mixture is fully combined, use a small ice cream scoop to spoon out the dough and roll into small spheres. Place the spheres on the sheets and lightly press them down. Sprinkle the dough lightly with brown sugar. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes.

What do you think?

Caramel and Crumbs

Soft bites and chewy edging. Perfection. Butter meets caramel meets powdery crumb topping. The flavor expanded and spread over every taste bud and then I was hit, mentally, by a shot of satisfaction and I smiled.

I meant to save some of these edges for Josh. I’m not sure what happened.

Rewind, rewind, rewind.

She’s gotten too smart for me. No more holding my breath while putting her down for a nap, to exhale upon my feet hitting the cold kitchen floor. After she graduated from naps, I used to try to bake while she painted or set up her princess figurines, but she couldn’t go at it for very long before needing me to squirt more paint or change Tiana’s dress.

(I did let her refill her palate once. Notice I said once.)

I would level off a measuring cup or separate an egg, run to Sophie, change the dress, run back and before I could find my place in the recipe, I would be summoned once again.

No good.

I gave it up. But I found that I couldn’t give up on baking. So we work together. Note the shower caps. She likes us to wear “hats.” Oh and don’t note the dishes. I did get to those. Eventually.

I wear the orange apron and she wears the green one. I weigh and measure the ingredients and she throws them in. We may lose a touch of flour this way, but mother and daughter are not losing their minds. If the recipe is complicated, she runs off after a few steps and I finish up on my own. We’re both happy with this set-up. I get to bake and she gets to make. Yes, I said make. “Can I make with you?” Sophie asks. And she’s right. It’s never just baking or cooking, It’s a lot more.

Today we made Caramel Crumb Bars from Nick Malgieri’s The Modern Baker. This book is just right. I love what it features—pies, tarts, cakes, cookies, bars, pastry, and even savory tarts, pies, and breads. The photography is complimentary and I have faith that each recipe will give me a delightful product.

I chose this recipe because 1) I have the ingredients and 2) I was able to make it with a three year old. (Don’t attempt puff pastry with a toddler as your sous chef.)

We were happy with the results. And the recipe was fairly simple. And I like the idea of cookie bars. They’re rustic and pleasing and almost always appropriate. And a baker can be somewhat experimental with bars. Experimenting with different nuts and fillings and crumbs and toppings can be exhilarating. Trust me.

Caramel Crumb Bars

Dough

2 sticks of butter    1/2 cup sugar    1/4 teaspoon salt    1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling

4 tablespoons unsalted butter    1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1/4 cup dark brown sugar    1 (14-ounce) can sweetened, condensed milk

Directions

1. Butter and line a 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan with buttered parchment paper.

2. Preheat the oven to 350.

3. Beat the butter with the sugar and salt at medium speed for 3 minutes.

4. Beat in 2 1/4 cup flour at the lowest speed. Scrape down the bowl a few times in the process.

5. Take 1/4 of the dough and press it into the pan. Chill the pan.

6. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour into the rest of the dough and make crumbs by rubbing the dough with the flour between your fingers.

7. Make the filling by simmering the butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, and condensed milk in a medium saucepan. Stir often and cook for about 10 minutes. Pour mixture into a stainless-steel bowl and allow it to cool for 5 minutes.

8. Remove the pan from the refrigerator and pour the filling on top, spreading it evenly with a small spatula. Sprinkle the crumbs over the top.

9. Bake for about 30 minutes.

10. Place the pan on a rack and allow it to cool for 15 minutes. Cut it into bars before it cools completely.

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 37 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.