Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chocolate Chunk Artisan Bread

It is 5:30 and I have no idea what we are having for dinner.  Maybe scrambled eggs or maybe we will just eat this loaf of bread (that's what I want to do), but my boys think it tastes "too bitter".  I think they are crazy and I think this bread is amazing (especially when it is torn off in big chunks and given a smear of cold butter that melts into the warm bread).  This is what I am having for dinner.

Chocolate Chunk Artisan Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water (I used a couple extra tablespoons to get a sticky, shaggy dough)
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used the 60% cacao chips, roughly chopped)
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast, salt, and chocolate.  Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir with a wooden spoon until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably 18, at room temperature.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.  Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.  Generously coat a flour sack towel with flour, put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour.  Fold towel over and let rise for about 2 hours.  When it is ready, dough will be more than doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees.  Put a 6 to 8 quart heavy covered pot in oven as it heats.  When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven.  Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but don't worry.  Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.  Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 10-15 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a cooling rack.

My Aunt Traci (check out her blog gave me the recipe for the Artisan Bread (minus the chocolate chunks) and it is a favorite in our house.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Perfect Fall Burger

The options for an I can't wait to eat you burger seem endless and delicious.  This is my favorite burger (at least it is right now).  Roasted garlic mayo, brown sugar bacon, gruyere cheese and arugula make this a perfect Fall burger. 

A Perfect Fall Burger


1 1/2 pounds ground chuck (80 percent lean)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices Gruyere cheese
4 hamburger buns, split; buttered and toasted
Roasted garlic mayonnaise (recipe follows)
Brown sugar bacon (recipe follows)
Baby arugula, very lightly dressed with olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt

Divide the meat into 4 equal portions (about 6 ounces each).  Form each portion loosely into a 3/4-inch-thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb.  Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.  Cook the burgers on the grill.  In the last minute of cooking top each burger with a slice of Gruyere cheese and close the grill to allow the cheese to melt.

Generously spread roasted garlic mayo on the bun bottoms.  Place burgers on the bun bottoms and top each one with a couple of slices of the brown sugar bacon followed by a handful of baby arugula.  Cover with bun tops and serve immediately. 

Roasted Garlic Mayo

1 whole head of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off the top of the garlic head, exposing the cloves; discard top.  Place garlic head on a piece of foil.  Pour olive oil on top of garlic and season with a sprinkle of kosher salt.  Wrap garlic in foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Let cool.

Take the garlic out of its shell and add to a food processor along with mayonnaise.  Pulse until smooth (I left mine a little chunky).  Transfer to a bowl and season with kosher salt.

Brown Sugar Bacon

8 slices thick-cut bacon (more if you want more than 2 piece of bacon per burger)
Brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with foil.  Place a large cooling rack on lined baking sheet.  Arrange bacon in a single layer on the cooling rack.  Sprinkle bacon evenly with brown sugar.  Bake until bacon is crisp and glazed, 15-20 minutes.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sweet Potato Hash with Poached Eggs and Avocado

Noah was the only one that wasn't crazy about this meal (not surprising). I added a bit too much cayenne to the spice mixture for the sweet potatoes and so our mouths were a bit fiery. Thank goodness for the egg and avocado too help cool things down. If you look close only one egg has Cotija cheese and it's because Todd is the only one in our family that likes (loves) it.

Sweet Potato Hash with Poached Eggs and Avocado
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into a small dice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
A pinch of cayenne
Kosher salt
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
Poached Eggs
Avocado, diced
Cotija cheese or Queso Fresco

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the sweet potatoes in the oil, 2 teaspoons cumin and 2 teaspoons chili powder and a good sprinkling of kosher salt. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 30-40 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of baking, add the black beans to the pan to heat through. Remove from oven and place sweet potato hash in a serving dish. Top hash with poached eggs, avocado and Cotija or Queso Fresco. Serve immediately.

*Cilantro would be a nice addition.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Toasted Coconut Ice Cream

This ice cream is oh so creamy and delcious. When I make it, I hide it from my kids because it's just too good to share (Preston snuck a bite after I took the picture and said, "This is goooood!" Too bad I'm not sharing:)). It is great on it's own, but is also quite perfect scooped on top of a brownie or a brown butter chocolate chip cookie.

Toasted Coconut Ice Cream

1 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
A big pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

On a baking sheet, evenly spread shredded coconut and bake in a 350 degree oven for 5-8 minutes until it is golden brown. Stir the coconut frequently to allow for even toasting.

Heat the milk, one cup of heavy cream, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan until it is just steaming. Add the coconut to the milk mixture, cover and remove from heat. Let steep for one hour (I didn't a little longer).

Reheat the milk mixture and then strain through a mesh strainer making sure to squeeze our all the liquid from the coconut solids. Throw out the coconut. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl and slowly pour the warmed milk mixture in while continuing to whisk.

Pour the contents back into the pan. Stir over medium heat with a spatula until the mixture thickens (coats a back of a spoon). Strain the custard through a mesh strainer and stir in the remaining cup of cream and the vanilla. Chill overnight. Freeze ice cream according to your ice cream machines instructions.

Recipe adapted slightly from Use Real Butter