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Tag Archives: French Bread

Craving Fulfilled

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For the past several weeks I had been craving lasagna. Like really craving it. Now I personally remain unaware of how to create a tiny lasagna for 2 people, so please enlighten me if you know the answer to that mystery. However, Brent’s parents came up Sunday and I finally had what I felt were enough people eating to justify the making of lasagna.

Now I like tomato sauce just as much as the next person, but I figured if I was going to go to all the trouble of making a lasagna from scratch and fulfilling this insane craving, it should be something absolutely amazing and not just your average lasagna. So, I went with my favorite, a white lasagna with spinach and mushrooms. My recipe was based on this one.


I used more mushrooms (which still wasn’t enough!), more spinach, slightly less cheese, and I am very picky about sauces and dressings and things of that nature, so I made the whole bechamel sauce, but only used about half of it layering the actual lasagna. The other half I reserved and served in a little bowl at the table so each person could ladle some over his or her lasagna. So good. So good, in fact, that I did not get a picture the first time I ate it because I dove right in. The picture you see below is actually leftovers that I ate for lunch at my desk today.

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Like I said: so good! And I’m really excited I still have one more piece for lunch again tomorrow!

With the lasagna we had unphotogenic salad with garlic vinaigrette, AND homemade garlic bread!! You can see a little piece of the garlic bread in the photo above, next to the mound of lasagna. I just made my basic french bread, sliced it in half, drizzled with olive oil and italian herbs and baked for ~8 minutes. When it came out of the oven, I rubbed a cut clove of garlic on it. Of course, because I’m me and I love dipping bread into things, I ate this dipped in a little of the white sauce. Here’s a pretty uninteresting photo of the french bread before it become garlicky. Crusty and delicious.

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Restorative Weekend & Fun Food Finds

Well, contrary to what it may appear based on the lack of blogging, I have been baking, cooking and otherwise living my normal day to day life. This past weekend I went back home to Chicago to see some friends and family and get a change of scenery. Before I went I made some Almond Shortbread and french bread, and some bagels (although those are certainly old news by now).

The shortbread was composed of:

  • 1 cup Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup almonds sprinkled on top and pressed in

It was delicious and buttery. I think next time I would use more almond extract and maybe some ground almonds in the dough in place of the flour for ultimate almondy flavor. I think these will definitely be reincarnated sometime during my holiday baking.

I also made some french bread, using my recipe, but making 2 smaller loaves for each of my friends. Unfortunately pretty stale by the time they got to my friends. Oh well… they still make good croutons!

I got to go grocery shopping while I was there too! I know there are grocery stores here, but not Whole Foods and Trader Joes! I got nice, cheap wine (Charles Shaw!), some peanut butter Larabars, granola planks and Middle Eastern Couscous! I want to use the couscous for something for dinner tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes.

Meanwhile, as I was off discovering new fun foods, Brent existed on groceries he picked out for himself:

and a lot of bagels I made for him.

See you later for a couscous update!

Hibernation

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It’s been a while since I have posted. I’ve made a few things, but for the most part I’ve been living in Olympics-induced hibernation. A girl’s still got to eat though. Out of necessity, I’ve Tivo-ed some of the Olympics and gone into the kitchen.

I love breakfast food. Well, I love things like french toast and pancakes and waffles. I also love sleep. A lot. These two things are normally mutually exclusive, but one of my favorite things to do on the weekend, (and I know this makes it seem as though my weekends are boring, and I can assure you that they are) is to make big batches of waffles. What is so great about this is that these waffles are way more fabulous after being frozen and then toasted in the morning. It makes them crispier, which I love. My favorite are blueberry whole wheat waffles!

My waffles are sloppy and misshapen. I supposed you could make them neater and put less blueberries in them, but honestly, who cares what they look like when you’re eating waffles? Check out that blueberry goodness.

BLUEBERRY WHOLE WHEAT WAFFLES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups soymilk
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2.25 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1.5 cups frozen blueberries

PREPARATION:

  • Whisk together the soymilk, oil, sugar, and vanilla extract.
  • Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and gently mix until combined,
  • Fold in blueberries.
  • Pour in 1/4 cups onto waffle maker and cook until desired degree of doneness.
  • I then cool all the waffles and wrap them in individual portions in the freezer and toast as needed.

I definitely recommend making these ahead of time and then taking out of the freezer and toasting. It’s nice to have a home-made breakfast during the week.

I also made some more french bread, but this time it was a half whole wheat loaf to eat with some soup this week. This is the same recipe I have posted but subbing 2 cups of whole wheat bread flour. This is a huge fat loaf, because we’re also going to use it for some sandwiches later this weekend.

This bread made an excellent dipper for simple lentil soup. There is a local restaurant here that makes very delicious lentil soup, but mine never tastes as good. I have no idea what’s in it. Some herbs and some greens I think. So, I’ve been trying different variations of lentil soup to try to reproduce it. This one was very good, though maybe less than photogenic.

This included: brown lentils, vegetable broth, carrots, onion, celery, frozen spinach, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and  a bit of red pepper flakes.

Blog Tag, French Toast and Pad Thai

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I have been tagged by Heather from Hangry Pants . Quite the honor, and I will try to fulfill most of the requirements. Unfortunately, I won’t really be tagging anyone back, because I must sadly admit that I have very few blog friends. You now all know my secret shame. Anyway, here we go:

Here are the Tag Rules:

1. Link back to the person that tagged you;

2. Post the rules of tagging on your blog;

3. Blog about 6 unspectacular quirks about yourself;

4. Tag 6 fellow bloggers by linking them; and

5. Leave a comment on the blogs you tag so they know they are “it.”

And here are my unspectacular quirks:

1. I got married young. Like, freakishly young. Age 20 to be exact.

2. Well 2 is related to 1. I do most things young. High school done at 16. College done at 20. Unfortunately, most people don’t know what they want to do when they’re 16, or even 20. I was no exception.

3. When I was younger I always thought LA was exciting and glamorous and I wanted to live there. Then I did. Turns out I belong in the Midwest. It’s a hard thing to realize about yourself.

4. I like color. No, seriously, I actually said this to my husband when I first met him. He couldn’t run away because he was in the backseat of my car. Now we have a house and our kitchen and family room are orange and yellow. My mom thinks it’s “interesting.”

5. My dog Lucy is named after Lucille Ball, because I Love Lucy was my favorite show when I was little. My dog Larry got his name because it goes well with Lucy.

6. When I was younger I wanted to be an artist and one of my fondest memories of childhood is from the 6th grade when my father to me to see the traveling Claude Monet exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Here’s some Food…

My French Bread made excellent french toast this morning!

And while I was taking a Math final, Brent made dinner! He wanted me to post this picture he took of his mise en place:

Which turned into some delciious Shrimp Pad Thai!

Good Night, and again, sorry I wimped out on the blog tag. I’m super lame, but you can take solice in knowing that I’m aware of that.

Birthday!!

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It’s been a great day. It started off wonderful, because Brent, who is nicer than he lets on, made me blueberry pancakes for breakfast! LOVED them.

Then, unfortunately, Sarah and I made our way to work (the world’s most boring job ever, according to her, who has never had a job). The co-workers were great and we had a mini-office party, and then onto lunch ( I did do things other than eat today, they just aren’t note-worthy).  We went to the mexican restaurant across from our office, where you get free lunch on your birthday! Here is Sarah and I, trying to control our laughter.

Moving on to dinner, which was definitely my favorite part. While I was making the components, Brent opened the wine Tess and Greg gave us, and I sipped on that. I really liked it, though Brent’s response was of course, “tastes like a red.”

THE FONDUE!! I have been looking forward to this ever since I decided to have it as my birthday dinner, which actually hasn’t been that long, only like 2 days, but anyway…  I made home-made french bread to use as a dipper. I love playing with dough. The bread in my fun, new baguette pan thingy from Williams-Sonoma, ready to go into the oven:

And then cooling on the rack.

FRENCH BREAD RECIPE:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 3/4 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ~4 cups bread flour

PREPARATION:

  • Dissolve yeast and sugar in water until foamy (about 10 minutes).
  • Add salt, oil and 2 cups bread flour and thoroughly mix.
  • Add the rest of flour, the last 1/2 cup as needed.
  • Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
  • Let rise in a greased bowl until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Deflate and shape into a long baguette (or 2 smaller ones).
  • Slash 4-5 times with a sharp knife and let rise until doubled.
  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Using a brush, paint bread with water until covered.
  • Place an oven safe pan with hot water onto the bottom of the oven.
  • Bake bread in oven for ~40 minutes (for 1 loaf).

This was really good bread. I cubed it up to use as dippers for the fondue.

We also used roasted red potatoes and steamed broccoli, although really anything covered in a wine and cheese sauce is just fine with me.

Here are some lovely action shots. Brent, completely unimpressed with the idea of fondue:

And Sarah, unable to master the balancing act of skewering her broccoli:

FONDUE RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 garlic clove, cut in half
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup shredded Emmentaler cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

PREPARATION:

  • Rub the inside of of the fondue pot, or a smallish saucepan with the cut side of the garlic clove.
  • Heat wine until simmering.
  • Toss cornstarch with the cheeses.
  • Slowly add the cheese, handful by handful, into the simmering wine.
  • Stir constantly until cheese has melted into a creamy sauce. it should only take like 5 minutes.
  • Keep low heat under pot while dipping for best results.
  • Dip away!

That’s all folks. Now I have to wait another year for my birthday to come again. What a shame…