Thursday, January 30, 2014

Oh So Satisfying Lemon Yogurt Bread

The problem in my household is that I want to bake all of the time. The rate at which we fly through butter, sugar, and flour often alarms me. Didn't I buy a pack of butter last week? Does that mean we somehow managed to consume four sticks of butter between now and then? This becomes even more true when it's cold because I get bored easily and need something to do.
Right now it is very cold. This morning I enjoyed a lovely 3 degree run through the snow. Delightful? Not so much. That makes turning on the oven and warming up the house with the scent of fresh baked treats so very appealing. So sometimes  I comprise, kind of, and make slightly healthier baked goods. Do they still contain flour and sugar? Usually. But less. This lemon yogurt bread is one of those recipes. It is a great love of mine. Yogurt and olive oil serve to make it moist. If you ask me, there is nothing better than the combo of lemon and olive oil. The slight tang of the yogurt takes it all one step further. So turn on your oven because it's cold and we all could use a little home baked warmth.

Lemon Yogurt Bread
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Makes one loaf

1 cup all-purpose white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsps baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbs lemon zest
2 tbs lemon juice
1 cup 2% greek yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Coat loaf pan with nonstick oil spray and dust with flour, tapping out excess.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Add sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice to a large bowl. Using your fingers rub the zest and juice into the sugar until evenly moist. Add yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk to blend. Fold in dry ingredients until just incorporated.

Pour the batter into the pan  and bake for 50 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool for 15 minutes and then remove from loaf pan.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Reuben with Red Onion Marmalade

My husband, Blake, walked in the other night to me in my warrior cooking outfit, which consists of ski goggles, pajamas, and a darn cute vintage apron. He took one look at me and said, "this is the photo that should go on your blog." So here is what Tuesday night looks like at our house. It may not be pretty but it's practical. I swear by ski goggles if I have to cut a lot of onions. When I forget the apron, I find myself  (and the dog) covered head to toe in a nice flour dusting. I'm at peace with myself and this outfit.

So what came out of the kitchen this night? Only the best condiments ever to grace a reuben. Who doesn't love a reuben? In our house sandwiches are king and we are constantly trying to take them to the next level of greatness. I like a sandwich with a healthy amount of spreads, cheeses, meats, and condiments. What made this rueben oh so special was the addition of the onion marmalade and homemade thousand island dressing.
 I made them the night before to allow them to meld and to make dinner the next night easy to put together. The red onion marmalade is amazing. Put it on your sandwich, put it on pork, and above all put it on this reuben. You will never go back.

Reuben with red onion marmalade 
Ingredients (makes 4 sandwiches)

Thousand Island dressing recipe to follow
Red onion marmalade recipe to follow
Rye sandwich bread
Roughly 2 cups sauerkraut depending on your preference
1/2 lb pastrami or corned beef
 Swiss cheese
2 tbs butter

First prepare your red onion marmalade and Thousand Island dressing. I prepared both the day before and both the marmalade and dressing tasted best if given an hour to meld. Recipes below.
To assemble the sandwich: slather one side of the rye bread with the dressing. Spread marmalade in a thick layer over the top, followed by the pastrami, sauerkraut, and sliced swiss cheese. Melt 1/2 tbs of the butter in a grill or fry pan. Once hot, place the sandwich in the pan and press something heavy over the top (I used a cast iron pan. Grill each side for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Flip to the other side, repeat, and enjoy one of the best reubens you will ever have.

Thousand Island dressing recipe
Adapted from Kitchen treaty

1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tbs sweet pickle relish
1 shallot minced
2 tbs capers
1 clove of garlic minced
2 tsps white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
3-4 dashes Cholula (optional)

Whisk all ingredients together.

Red onion marmalade recipe
Very slightly adapted from Sunset Magazine
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
2 red onions thinly sliced
1 garlic clove minced
1/3  cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup dry fruity red wine (I used a Bordeaux, zinfandel would work great as well)

In a frying pan over medium-high heat, heat oil and butter until butter has melted. Add onion, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper and stir. Reduce heat to medium and stir occasionally, until onions have softened, about 15 minutes. Add vinegar and wine and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about ten minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Everything from Scratch (at least once): Apple Pie Bagel

About two years ago in an attempt to eliminate the excess waste and ingredients in store bought processed foods, I decided I would start making my own bread. In this house bread is a staple, we believe in carbohydrates in all their glory and the energy they give. When I ran my first marathon, I needed a breakfast that worked and what I found worked best was a piece of whole wheat toast or muffin and a spoon full of nut butter. This regiment powers me through everything plus I really enjoy it. This breakfast became even better when I started baking bread because nothing is more satisfying and delicious then fresh bread. 

With bread I had an epiphany, I can make everything from scratch, and if I do I can tailor my food to my cravings and use ingredients I love and trust. So in the past few years I have made loaves of bread, cheese, pickles, tortillas, pasta, brewed beer, and most recently made bagels. Apple pie bagels to be exact, which I stumbled upon from a favorite blogger of mine, Bakeaholic Mama. I modified it slightly to include mostly whole wheat. These are chewy, apple packed, morning delights. 

Apple Pie Bagels 
Modified Slightly from Bakeaholic Mama 
Makes 10-12 bagels 

3 tbs butter
2 cups apple cider
3 cups whole wheat flour 
1 cup white flour  
1/4 cup brown sugar  
1 tsp salt  
1 tbs pumpkin pie spice  
2 1/2 tsp instant dry  yeast 
1 cup peeled and diced apples (I love Pink Lady apples)  

 For the topping:
1 egg white 
1/4 cup room temperature butter
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Melt butter in microwave and set aside to cool to room temperature. Proof yeast by mixing until dissolved with a cup of the apple cider warmed in the microwave to 75-80 degrees (warm to the touch but not hot). After about 3-5 minutes the yeast apple cider mixture should be bubbly. 
In the bowl of your electric mixer add 1 cup of the wheat flour, butter, sugar, salt, yeast mixture, remaining cup of cider, pumpkin pie spice, and apples until combined. 
With mixer on medium add a 1/2 cup of the remaining wheat and white flour until dough comes together and is barely sticky. This may require adding more or less flour then mentioned in the recipe. Just add until the dough forms with the barely sticky consistency. You can also use all white or all wheat flour depending on your preference.  
Have the mixer knead the dough on high for 5-10 minutes until dough is springy to the touch.***
Place dough in a buttered bowl and allow to rise until doubled (1-1 1/2 hours). 
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Punch down dough after it has doubled and form into 10-11 equal sized balls. With you fingers poke a hole in the middle of each ball and stretch until they are your desired bagel size. Allow dough to rise for another 10 minutes while your bring a large pot of water to boil and prepare the topping. 
For the topping mix together butter, flour, sugar, and salt with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. 
Once the water boils, drop bagels in three at a time, and boil for 30 seconds on each side. Remove with a spatula. 
After all the bagels have been boiled, place on parchment covered baking sheets, brush with the egg white, and sprinkle over crumble mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. 

***Note: If you don't have an electric mixer, you can mix the dough ingredients with a spatula and knead by hand. Kneading by hand will take about twenty minutes. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Broncos are Going to the Super Bowl (and the best playoff Buffalo Chili Cheese Fries)!

My team is going to the Super Bowl! I love the Broncos. My husband finds it funny how attached I get to each and every player and how invested I am in their success. They are my boys and they are going to the Super Bowl. And these are the buffalo chili cheese fries we ate and loved, while we watched them pick apart the Patriots.
Since Christmas, we have been eating an impressive amount of baked goods and meals laden with butter and cheese. In our defense after Christmas we spent two weeks in New Zealand for our honeymoon. We celebrated our marriage in much the same way we celebrate everyday in life, seeking out and enjoying amazing food. We returned to playoffs and of course, playoff food, which means buffalo everything, delicious dips, and tortilla chips. Get out of the way hummus, you're a disgrace to football food. These buffalo chili cheese fries combine the genius of two bloggers, Joy the Baker's Baked Chili Cheese Fries and How Sweet it Is's crispy buffalo oven fries. Satisfyingly tangy, cheesy richness with a nice little spice. These fries say take me to the Super Bowl!

Baked Buffalo Chili Cheese Fries
Serves 6 as an appetizer

3 lbs russet potatoes
3 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1 cup wing sauce
2 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs grill seasoning or BBQ rub (if these don't include salt, add 1 tsp salt)
1/2 cup cheddar
1/2 cup blue cheese
4 green onions chopped
1/4 cup cilantro chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cut potatoes into wedges. Whisk cornstarch, chili powder, garlic powder, and red chili flakes. Set aside.
Warm buffalo sauce and butter over medium heat until butter has melted and set aside.
In a large bowl mix olive oil, Worcestershire, and grill seasoning with potatoes. Sprinkle cornstarch mixture over the top and make sure to mix thoroughly so that each fry is covered.
Spread potatoes evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes.
Once the fries are crispy, remove them from the oven, and turn the oven to broil on high. Pour buffalo sauce over the top of the fries and sprinkle on both cheeses. Return to the oven and keep an eye on the fries until the cheese is bubbly. About five minutes. Don't walk away from the oven while the fries are under the broiler. Take my word for it. I am notorious for letting the broiler burn a much anticipated meal. Finally, sprinkle the green onions and cilantro over the top.
Enjoy the sheer delight of putting something so delicious in your mouth.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cinnamon Gooey Bars: A Soul Warming Experience

Today I intended to write about quinoa. I promised to give butter and sugar a rest but then it got cold in Colorado. I'm talking about a week where the warmest day promised to reach 19 degrees. Where our black lab mutt, Izzy, walked out the door and tried to figure out how to simultaneously get all four feet off the frozen ground. Yes, I made quinoa this week and it was good but I also made cinnamon gooey bars and they're exceptional. How can one talk about quinoa with such a chewy soul warming delight on the table? I can't. There is no contest.

This recipe came from Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite cookbooks of all time. I have yet to make something in this cookbook that has not become apart of our regular dinner repertoire. In our kitchen where a meal is rarely made twice, it speaks volumes that her cauliflower pesto pasta and spiced turkey meatballs over a chickpea salad make an appearance on our table every few months.
Why did it take me so long to make Smitten Kitchen's cinnamon gooey bars? I have no excuse. My husband loves snicker doodles and these bars take that delicious cinnamon cookie to the next level.  So let's save quinoa for another day because today I demand warmth and love and these bars provide a little bit of both.

Cinnamon gooey bars
Adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen

Soft cookie base 
1 1/4 all-purpose flour
1 tsp cream of tarter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbs butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup milk

Gooey layer
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup milk
1 tbs vanilla extract
10 tbs butter (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 flour

Cinnamon sugar
2 tbs sugar
1 1/2 tbs cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" x 13" cake pan,.
Make the cookies base: whisk together flour, cream of tarter, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl with a electric mixer cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and milk and beat until combined. Stir flour mixture until combined. Dollop along the bottom of the cake pan and spread into an even layer across the bottom.

Make the gooey base: whisk honey, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg and beat until combined. Add flour and honey mixture alternatively 1/2 at a time, mixing each time until incorporated. Dollop on top of cookie base and spread to an even layer.

Mix cinnamon and sugar and spread over the top. Bake between 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top.