Sunday, November 4, 2012

Easy Homemade French Bread

My friend who is the queen of recipes gave me this one.  It makes two large loaves that are a little bit bigger, and 100% yummier, than those you could buy in the grocery store bakery department.  They turned out golden brown, crispy outside and super soft and excellent texture on the inside, even two days later.  Plus this is a very simple to make recipe.  We ate one half of a loaf for dinner as garlic bread, cubed up the other half and used it in bread pudding, and I've sliced the other and put it in the freezer to use in a french toast dish I'm signed up to make for a teacher's luncheon at my boys' school.  You could easily mix up the dough, bake one loaf and freeze the remaining dough (before the 30 minute rise) for later use as bread, breadsticks, pizza dough, cinnamon roll dough, hoagie rolls, etc.  Just take the dough out of the freezer, allow to come to room temperature and proceed at the 30 rise mark (approx. 3-5 hours total time).

1/2 c. warm water
2 1/4 tsp. (one 7g pkg.) dry yeast
2 c. very hot water
1/3 c. oil
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
6 c. flour

1.  Combine the warm water and the yeast.  Set aside.
2.  In a large bowl, combine the hot water, oil, sugar, salt and half of the flour.  Stir with a wooden spoon (I used my electric mixer instead).
3.  Add yeast mixture and stir.
4.  Add the remaining flour and stir.  Leave spoon in the dough.  Let rest for 10 minutes.  Stir and let rest again.  Repeat the rest and stir process three more times (for a total of 5 times). 
5.  Divide dough in half.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Press out to a rectangle.  Roll up (like making cinnamon rolls) and place on a greased baking sheet (one 11X17" baking sheet works just fine) repeat with the other half. 
6.  Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.  With a sharp knife, make 3 diagonal slashes across each loaf.  Brush with egg white. 
7.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from the baking sheet to a cooling rack.


You could place an oven safe dish of water on the lower rack of the oven while these are baking to give the crust some extra texture, it's not necessary, but dosen't hurt anything.

Fast Breadsticks

Taisey is my source for great recipes.  She sent me this recipe over a year ago and I just got around to trying it two nights ago.  They are delicious. My usual go-to for breadsticks is my Soft Italian Breadsticks recipe but in a pinch these worked perfectly.  These are delightfully crispy on the outside and soft in the center.  The 'easy' part is that they only rise once for 30 minutes.  Yummy breadsticks in about an hour?  Yes, please!

1 1/2 c. warm water
1 Tbsp. yeast
3 1/2 c. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

3 Tbsp. butter, melted

1.  Mix all the ingredients except the melted butter, in a large bowl (or electric mixer).  Knead for 3 minutes.  Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. 
2.  Heat oven to 375*.  Spread melted butter onto an 11X17 baking sheet. 
3.  Roll out the dough about 1/4 to 1/2 thick and cut into strips with a pizza cutter.  Twist slightly, if desired and place breadsticks about 1/2 apart on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle with garlic salt, choice of herbs (either.rosemary, basil, and/or thyme, crushed finely) and grated Parmesan cheese.  Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes (I did this on a cooler day by preheating my oven to 200, turning it off and placing the baking sheet in the oven for 20 minutes, then pulled it out to finish rising then preheated my oven to 375*).
4.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Yield: 20-25 breadsticks

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Chicken and Rice Bowl with Teriyaki Sauce

Don't let the long list of ingredients scare you off, it is quite simple to prepare and is very yummy.


2 c. brown rice
3 c. water
1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk (about 1 1/2 c.)
1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 can black beans rinsed and drained

Teriyaki Sauce*:
2/3 c. soy sauce
2/3 c. water
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sesame oil
4 cloves garlic
1 to 2 Tbsp. ginger, minced
2 tsp. garlic chili sauce
2 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp. water

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 carrots, peeled and grated
3 celery stalks, sliced
1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise then cut into 1/4" slices
1 1/2 c. broccoli florets

4 chicken breasts, grilled with salt and pepper to taste, then cubed

For Rice:
Bring water, coconut milk and sugar to a boil, add rice.  Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.  Stir in the beans; recover and continue to cook for an additional 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the teriyaki sauce.

For Sauce:
In  medium saucepan mix all the ingredients except for the cornstarch/water slurry.  Bring to a boil then add the cornstarch/water.  Continue to boil until thickened.  Remove from heat.

For Veggies:
In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add veggies and saute just until crisp-tender.

To serve: layer rice, veggies and chicken in a bowl.  Drizzle with teriyaki sauce.

*You could use a store bought teriyaki sauce and add an additional 1 tsp. soy sauce, the chili sauce, 1 tsp. ginger and thicken with cornstarch/water slurry.