Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bacon Jam

Makes 1 cup (can be doubled or tripled)
1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into 3/4-inch pieces 
1 small sweet onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large bunch of fresh chopped chives
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons spicy stone ground mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
pinch of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Keep all the bacon fat in the pan; do not discard.

Lower the heat to medium low. Stir in the onions, and cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the chives, maple syrup, vinegar, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in 1/2 cup of water and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally if necessary. Cook until the the jam has a glossy appearance and syrup-like consistency, about 30 minutes to an  hour, it should be thick and chunky, not a paste. Allow the mixture to cool for 20 to 30 minutes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

TWD: "Baking with Julia" - Amaretti Cookies

We made Amaretties this week as our group recipe  "Baking with Julia" - pages 320-321

WE love these little yummy cookies. We make these often for all the holidays using a wide variety of add ins, but I have to admit our favorite is to add chunks of cherry and dip them in White Chocolate.

The top picture is the plain and cherry chunk variety and the bottom picture is plain with Hersey kiss for  Thanksgiving and the cherry & white chocolate for Christmas

WE are having so much fun hanging out with the group and You can too... Everyone is welcome, check out other fans and fun recipes at  "Tuesday's with Dori".

Monday, November 17, 2014

Make-Over Monday - Garlic & Chive Hamburger Buns (using "Sponge" start)


  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110° to 115°) (instead of Milk or Cream)
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour



  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt and enough flour to form a soft dough. 
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let rise. Divide into 12 pieces; shape each into a ball. Place 3 in. apart on greased baking sheets.
  • Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
  • Yield: 12 to 18 buns 
Nutritional Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 195 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 18 mg cholesterol, 204 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Calzones - (using "biga start)

They say that in order for a calzone to be a "real" calzone, you can not put sauce on the inside.. 
For the Ferment (biga)
1 teaspoon of dry yeast
8 Tablespoons of lukewarm water
1-1/2 cups white bread flour

Dissolve the yeast in the water, add the flour and work it with a wooden spoon until you have thick batter. Cover it with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for 2 1/2 -3 hours, or until bubbly and risen.

1 recipe of active 60% hydrated biga (see recipe above)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup precooked mild Italian sausage
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1 egg, beaten

 To Make Filling: While dough is rising, combine the ricotta cheese, Cheddar cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms and basil leaves in a large bowl. Mix well, cover bowl and chill.

To Make Dough: 
In the your bowl of biga,  Add the oil, sugar and salt; mix in 1 cup of the flour until smooth. Gradually stir in the rest of the flour, until dough is smooth and workable. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, or until it is elastic. Lay dough in a bowl containing 1 teaspoon olive oil, then flip the dough, cover and let rise for 40 minutes, or until almost doubled.
When dough is ready, Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and punch dough down and separate it into 6-8 equal parts. Roll parts out into thin circles on a lightly floured surface. Fill each circle with 2-3 tablspoons of the cheese/meat filling and fold over, securing edges by folding in and pressing with a fork. Brush the top of each calzone with egg and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Friday, November 14, 2014

"FFWD" - Pan-Seared Duck Breasts with Kumquats.

        Our "French Friday's with Dorie" Group challenge this week was pan-seared duck breasts with kumquats. Never could find any kumquats here at the beach, so we used mandarin oranges. This dish was sooooo yummy and will be making it again very soon.
       We really liked the taste a fruity smoothness of the orange sauce. I think the next time we make it we may use a blend of mulling spices instead of the coriander, no particular reason only to see the difference in flavors. 
      This particular recipe can be found in Dories Greespan's cookbook, “Around My French Table” or here at Epicurious where it has been published. You can also check us out on the FrenchFridays web-page

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls - (using poolish)

2 tablespoons dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup scalded milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup soft butter
1 teaspoon salt 
1 egg
7 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup fresh ground  whole wheat flour

1 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons ground cinnamon 
1 cup raisins, walnuts, or pecans, optional

4 tablespoons butter2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon Almond extract
4 tablespoons half & half


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

For Poolish ~ In a small bowl, dissolve 1 tablespoon yeast, sugar and salt in warm water and add 2 cups all-purpose flour, mix well and set aside for a least 4 hours (overnight is best). 
Next morning, in a large bowl mix milk, the other tablespoon of yeast, melted butter, and egg. Mix until will combined, add poolish and stir. Now add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Mix in remaining all purpose flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly whole wheat floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. You may need to keep dusting your dough until it is know longer sticky. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

When doubled in size, punch dough down and divide in half. Roll half out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread 1/2 cup melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle half the mix over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
 Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake on 350* for about 30 -40 minutes or until nicely browned.
While the Cinnamon rolls are cooling, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add half & half 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

TWD: BCM#1 - "Palets de Dames", Lille Style

Yesterday our "Tuesday's with Dorie" Group started enjoying the recipes from Dorie Greenspan's new cookbook Baking Chez Moi. I held off one more day hoping that my copy would be here, but no.... I am so excited... I couldn't wait any longer. So today, we give you "Palets de Dames", Lille Style. This recipe is posted on the book’s Amazon page as a sample recipe. These yummy little cookies are very easy to make and really hit the spot if you are craving something tiny and sweet.

We enjoyed our with sprinkles and chocolate shavings. Even though these little gems were easy to make they were not a big hit at my house, so not sure if I will make them again unless for a wedding or possibly a baby shower.

If you are interested in joining our new cookbook group or just looking for the recipe or more information, check us out at

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Homemade Cheez-its & Cheddar Puffs

We decided it was a "Toss Together Tuesday" kind of day and we decided to make Homemade Cheez-its and Cheddar Puffs. They are so easy to make and very tasty. I was surprised at how close they taste to regular store bought crackers.


10 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons heavy cream 
1 tablespoon water                                                  1 egg white
Any assorted eatable seeds and or spices., like sunflower, sesame seed, poppy or pumkin seeds...


1. in a clean and very dry food processor mix the cheese, butter, flour and salt pulsing on low speed until combined and course in texture. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream and mix as the dough forms a ball. If needed, add the additional tablespoon of water a little at a time until the dough forms. Divide the dough into two small balls, wrap with plastic wrap, you can refrigerate and keep dough for up to three days. 
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two Large baking sheets with parchment paper.  Next roll each  dough ball into a very thin 10x12-inch rectangle (the dough should be no more than ⅛-inch high). In bowl, beat egg white and water until foamy, brush on top of dough. Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut the rectangles into 1-inch squares, then transfer them to the baking sheets. Sprinkle with assorted seeds and or spices.
3. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until puffed and browning at the edges. Immediately move the crackers to wire racks to cool completely, then store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Make-Over Monday - Mini Quiches (Gluten Free)

Here's a yummy flavor packed quiche that is crust-less and gluten free. Great for both appetizers or tasty treats on a brunch buffets.


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 or 2 fresh parsley stems finely chopped
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 diced ham
  • 1/4 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced sweet onion
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced smoked cheese of choice 
  • Preparation 

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (190°C). Lightly spray two 12-cup muffin pans with cooking spray 

    2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper.
    3.  Add a few small pieces of  each of the diced ingredients and a generous portion of cheese to each of the oiled muffin cups. Pour the egg mixture over the diced items and cheese in each cup, filling as many as you can to 3/4 full.

    4. Bake until the tops are puffed and just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool for about 5 minutes, then turn the quiches out of the pans, arrange on a platter or individual plates, and serve.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

PANE ALL'OLIO - (using "biga" start)

Here is my first loaf of PANE ALL'OLIO using a fresh biga at 60% hydration.

For the Ferment (biga)
1 teaspoon of dry yeast
8 Tablespoons of lukewarm water
1-1/2 cups white bread flour

Dissolve the yeast in the water, add the flour and work it with a wooden spoon until you have thick batter. Cover it with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for 2 1/2 -3 hours, or until bubbly and risen.

For the Dough
The risen ferment, at room temperature (make sure to take it out of the fridge 1 hour before kneading if you
rested it overnight)
6 tablespoons of warm water
4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
2-1/2 cups white bread flour plus 3 or 4 tablespoons more if the enough is too sticky.
2 teaspoons of salt

1.  In a large bowl, dissolve the water, sugar and salt together.
2. Add the oil, the risen ferment and the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
3. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and knead well for 5 minutes. If the dough feels to sticky , add a little flour. Bare in mid that this is supposed to be a soft dough, but should not be sticky and come away easily from your fingers.

4. Stretch the dough into a rectangle,  Roll into a ball, place in a large , oiled container. Cover with a damp tea-towel and leave it to prove at room temperature for 1 hour. take the dough out of the container, knock it back, stretch it into a rectangle and then shape back into a ball. Place the dough back into the oiled container and leave to prove for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
5. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 or 3 ball of dough, depending on the size of loaves you are after.
6.  Leave the dough to proof for 30-45 minutes on an oven tray or what ever container you are going to bake it in lined with parchment paper. Bring your oven to 375 F.
7. Just before baking, score the breads to your liking and bake until it reaches your desired doneness.

Friday, November 7, 2014

"FFWD" - Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Parsley Coulis

I love traveling during the week because that means that I am back home for "French Friday's with Dorie". This week we are kicking our November month off with Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Parsley Coulis. This soup is very hearty and thick. It is great as the whole meal with some yummy homemade bread or sweet potato biscuits. If you are interested in the recipe, you can find it in Dorie Greenspan's cookbook "Around My French Table" on page 76 or come join our cooking blog and cook with us all at

Also if you would like more information about these yummy little tubers visit our Wordless Wednesday Challenge post entitled Jerusalem Artichokes

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Highlights of the Coronado Room in Tusayan, AZ

         This upscale fine dinning restaurant is located in the Best Western Spire Hotel in Tusayan, AZ. We were looking for a place to get some yummy prime rib for dinner and this seemed to be the only place in town.

The atmosphere was very nice and matched the quality of our stay at the hotel. But we found it to be a little expensive for the quality of food that we received. Complementary breads at the beginning were very tasty, but was not served with enough butter to go around. We ordered a Salad, which by the way was not included in the price of our meal, and yet it was a very tasty mix of fresh sliced veggies arranged on a bed of spring mix and arugula. Our Prime rib was cooked way beyond to our desired doneness, served with a sloppy presented baked potato and burnt fresh snapped green beans. Not sure that we will pay the prices for a return trip.... :)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Biga -vs- Poolish

       Not to long after I joined the Artisan Bread Baking Group on Facebook, I realized that I was way behind in my bread making knowledge. I have recently come to the conclusion that we could spent a month of Saturday's discussing all the different ways you can get bread to rise. I have learned that bakers take hydration and fermentation very seriously. So, today, for our Super Saturday Cooking School session we thought we would try and give some cause and effect reasoning to a few of these methods used in bread making...

To start off with we need to explain that Preferment is any bread making technique that combines a moderate percentage of flour with a tiny amount of leavening and a small amount water and lets it develop for a period of time, anywhere from an 1 hour to a week or two, unlike a sourdough start that can be kept active for years. Biga and poolish are both types of this preferment and they can both be made from another type of flour than the one you are using for the actual bread. For example, you can use spelt, rye or whole wheat flour to add different flavours to our bread.

Biga ---- (Italian) is generally lower hydration at about 60 to 70 percent hydration, which make it a firmer start. The main function of a Biga is to enhance the strength of the dough, but also has a positive influence of coaxing the flavor out of the starches of a well maintained start and is often used in those breads that need a light, open texture with holes.  Many of these breads include the popular Italian breads, such as ciabatta or pane all'olio. Biga also helps to preserve the bread by making it less perishable.

Poolish ---- (Polish/Austrian) is generally 100 percent hydration which creates a very soupy start. Usually a poolish is fermented at room temperature and the amount of yeast used depends on the time you want to ferment the poolish, meaning less yeast needs more time. You get a richer flavour due to increased acidicity and you gain a longer shelf life.

Sponge ---- (English) is like a poolish but contains all of the water and is quite thin and runny

Pate Fermentee ---- (French) is also considered a firmer start, but greatly differs from the Biga. It is usually purpose-made and includes salt. It is kneaded a bit then put in the fridge overnight or for a few days.