How old would you be, if you had no idea how old you really were?

Monday, February 19, 2007

No-Knead Bread - What To Bake It In

Hooray for No Knead Bread. We’re hooked here and this bread has become our staple. We haven’t bought a loaf of bread since Christmas. Sarah and I have both had a hand in it and have baked over 30 loaves of bread, most of them one at a time. Here’s what we’ve learned.
  • It’s hard to make a mistake.
  • Rising times are very flexible. We’ve let it rise as little as 10 hours, and as long as 30 hours (when we forgot it).
  • Because the dough was so sticky we had problems when we tried to wrap it in a towel. Couldn’t get it unstuck so we began just dumping the dough out of the bowl onto a floured board and covering it with plastic wrap. Worked fine.
  • We’ve only thrown one loaf away and that was the one that stuck to a pot that was the innards of an old crock-pot. Just couldn’t get it out without busting it all up. The problem was that the pot was scored on the bottom and hard to get completely clean.
  • The baking container doesn't need to be as big as we thought. We found an old bowl in a thrift shop that works great. (On the left in the picture) The inside diameter at the top is 9 inches and it is about 6 inches deep. Lid came from the thrift shop too. Just the other day found a second pot at the thrift shop. It’s the one on the right, a bit smaller but works fine. Bowls were five dollars apiece. Makes sense to me to cook a very basic, inexpensive bread in a very basic, inexpensive pot.
Happy bread baking. So simple, yet better than you can buy almost anywhere.

Here is a link to our original No-Knead Bread Post

Thursday, February 15, 2007

How To Be A Great Cook

Want to be a great cook? You need three magic ingredients:
  1. Olive Oil
  2. Garlic
  3. Onions
That's it! You're on your way.

Heat up that skillet. (Make it non-stick skillet and save your some grief) Pour in a little olive oil, add some chopped or smashed garlic (several cloves not the whole bulb, unless of course there are vampires hovering) and throw in a fistful of chopped onion. Sauté just long enough to fill the house with that wonderful bouquet of garlic and olive oil and you’re on your way to a great quick entrée and a great reputation as a cook.

Now add chicken breast, cubed, strips, or whole pieces. Brown both sides then lower the heat and cook gently for a few minutes. Get the skillet off the heat just a soon as chicken is barely cooked through while it is still tender and juicy. Season with pepper a tiny bit of salt if you can afford it. Serve with a dash of a good barbecue sauce.

Or when that great bouquet fills the kitchen, add sliced and diced vegetables, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, whatever, you can find in the fridge. Put the stuff that takes longer, like carrots, in first or add them as very small pieces or slivers that will cook quickly. Quit cooking while there is still a bit of crunch in some of the veggies. Serve your sautéed veggies over rice, brown of course, unless like me you sometimes still yearn for that plain and quick white stuff. For a real treat dribble a bit of Thai Peanut Sauce on top.

Make a spaghetti sauce starting with the three magic ingredients. Add tomatoes, mushrooms, something to spice things up (red pepper flakes or chili oil or jalapeños or green chilies) and you’ve done it again.

So their you have it, culinary magic. Use your imagination. Experiment. Have a good time. Let me know how it turns out.