Posts Tagged ‘bread’

Paper Chef: Scones with Honey, Ricotta, and Dill

I like participating in food blogging events when I can, because they challenge me to come up with variations or to try food combinations I probably would not have thought of on my own. Paper Chef provides a random collection of ingredients and you prepare a recipe using all of those ingredients, like Chopped on the Food Network. Unfortunately, I missed the deadline, but here’s the recipe anyway :-)

This one is an especially interesting mix: honey, ricotta, dill – and an egg.

A recipe came immediately to mind when I saw those ingredients, though. In 2008, I won a cookbook called “Covered in Honey” in a recipe contest at Joelen’s Culinary Adventures, and made Scones with Honey, Rosemary and Goat Cheese. So I thought, why not replace the rosemary with dill and the goat cheese with ricotta, and see what happens?

I was afraid the dill would be really strong, so I used a rather light hand with it – should have used more. The scones have a very light dill scent and flavor, but I think I could have doubled it and had a better result. The ricotta gives the scones a very creamy texture and the honey sweetens them just perfectly. This one is well worth repeating, with some extra dill – I doubled it in the recipe below.

Savory Scones with Honey, Ricotta and Dill

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup herbal honey
1 large egg
1/2 cup cream or whole milk
1 tbsp. dill, chopped
5 oz. ricotta cheese
Additional cream or milk for glazing

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl, lightly whisk the olive oil, honey, egg, cream or milk and 2 tsp. of the dill. Use a pastry cutter or fork to blend the ricotta cheese with the flour mixture until the mixture makes pea-size crumbs.

Make a well in the flour mixture and add the olive oil mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until a dough ball forms. Remove the dough ball to a lightly floured surface and knead lightly, just enough to form a workable ball.

Pull off about 1/8 cup-size pieces of dough, roll each in your hands to form a ball, and lightly flatten a bit. Place dough pieces on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a Silpat, about 1 inch apart. Brush tops with more cream or milk and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp. dill. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Honey, Ricotta and Dill Scones

Parmesan-Rosemary Focaccia in a Bread-Machine

grow_your_own_logo-2009-bldgWow, where did October go? Oh, yeah – work, work, work. Come home and guess what? Don’t really want to hang out at the computer. So the blog has suffered a bit. Ah, well, maybe it will get better during the holidays ;-)

Anyway, last night we went to a Halloween/Birthday party and I took a platter of sandwich bites made with homemade bread-machine focaccia. I let the bread machine make the dough, and then I spread the dough in a pan for the last rise and bake it in the oven.

A friend asked me for the recipe, so here it is. I’ll save the sandwich recipe for another post. This recipe is a hybrid of one from Cook’s Illustrated magazine and one in the cookbook that came with my bread machine. As it happens, I used fresh rosemary from the garden, so this qualifies as a long-overdue contribution to the food blogging event Grow Your Own, created and hosted by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes.

Bread-Machine Rosemary Focaccia

1 cup water at 80 degrees F
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 2 tbsp.
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 cups bread flour
1-1/2 tsp. active dry yeast, or 1 tsp. QuickRise yeast, or 1 tsp. Bread Machine Yeast
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped, or 1 tsp. dried rosemary, crumbled

Place the ingredients – except the Parmesan cheese, rosemary and 2 tbsp. olive oil – in the bread-machine pan in the order given. Turn to the dough setting and turn it on. Watch it for the first minute or two – you may need to use a spatula to make sure all the flour is incorporated into the dough ball. Then let the bread machine do its thing through the first rise time, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Generously oil a jelly roll pan – I use a Pampered Chef 9″x13″ stone baking pan. Remove the dough from the machine, wet your hands with water (to prevent sticking), and press the dough flat into the pan, pushing it into all the corners. If it resists, let it rest for 10 minutes and continue. Use your fingers or a pair of chopsticks to press dimples into the dough at even intervals – your yummy toppings will collect in these. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave in a warm, draft-free place while you heat the oven, at least 20 minutes. I put it in the microwave – no drafts in there.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Press dimples into dough again. Drizzle with 2 tbsp. olive oil, then the cheese and rosemary. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Cut into squares or wedges to serve immediately. To serve later, cool completely and reheat at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.

Cooled focaccia can also be frozen for up to one month. To reheat, thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F, then heat directly on oven racks for 10 minutes.

There are lots of variations on this basic recipe: You can add garlic powder and/or onion powder and/or herbs to the dry ingredients, or add caramelized onions to the topping. Focaccia is great for dipping in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or you can slice it lengthwise and use for panini.

Rosemary-Parmesan Focaccia
This is half the recipe.

Bread-Baking Day: Festive Breads

As I’ve said before, I’m not much of a baker, but I’ve been stretching into trying new things this year, so for a Christmas gift to my co-workers, I decided to make a holiday bread. I wanted to do something other than the seemingly ubiquitous apple or cranberry flavor, so I Googled around for a while, and eventually found a Ginger-Orange Quick Bread recipe on About.com – perfect :smile: The recipe makes three mini-loaves, so I bought enough ingredients for three recipes and spent a few hours on a recent Sunday filling the kitchen with yummy baking aromas. The bread is delicious.

I was afraid the amount of crystallized ginger required would make it too spicy, but the baking seems to mellow the flavor. You can still taste it really well, but it’s not overwhelming at all.

If you decide to make it, here’s a tip: The crystallized ginger at the grocery store cost almost $10 for 2 ounces, and I needed 18 ounces total for three recipes. No way I’m spending $90 on ingredients for co-worker holiday gifts – sorry guys ;-) But I checked at my local gourmet kitchen store, the Kitchen Koop, and they had crystallized ginger for $1.25 per ounce. Not sure why it’s such a deal there, but there you are. And here it is.

Ginger-Orange Quick Break

No-Knead Bread

I discovered the New York Times No-Knead Bread recipe a few months ago on SteamyKitchen.com and have made it a few times myself. Just doing my part here to get the word out :-) You, too, can make delicious artisan bread at home with just a few minutes of hands-on time.

Just plan ahead by about 22 hours. It needs to rise for 18 hours right after mixing, then roll it around a little, then let rise another 2 hours before baking. But with the price of bread rising so much lately, it’s nice to be able to throw together water, flour, yeast and salt and get this result the next day:

Loaf of No-Knead Bread

Sliced and buttered No-Knead Bread

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