Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Savory Pepper Bread

I made this bread in a hotel kitchenette while traveling on a recent project. It turned out so great that I wanted to be sure to include it here! It's so simple! I didn't even have a bread pan... I used a cookie sheet and just mounded it into a big mound of dough and let it rise and popped it in the oven like that. It was wonderful!

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups stone-ground wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 1-2 cups of warm (not hot, not cold) water
  • 1 stick of butter

Directions:

Warm the yeast in the water and let it sit for a few minutes and melt the butter in a saucepan.

Mix all other ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the water/yeast mixture and work together into a fine dough. Add the melted butter and continue to combine into dough.

Let the dough rise several times and re-fold the dough over several hours. While the dough is rising keep it in a warm but not hot room. Keep the dough covered with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.

Before the last rise, place the dough in its final baking pan and form it into shape. Let it rise well until it doubles in size and then bake it at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Enjoy this bread with basil-flavored olive oil for dipping.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Quick Chicken Pasta Salad

I've been travelling lately and made this one in the kitchen of the hotel I'm staying at. I've been eating it for lunch the last several days, it's delicious!

Ingredients:
  • Bowtie pasta
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 1 chopped yellow pepper
  • 3 cooked chicken breasts (see recipe below)
  • green olives, to taste
  • olive oil and vinegar, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Cook the pasta in boiling water and drain. While the pasta is cooking, chop up the peppers and place them in a large mixing bowl, and then toss with the salt and pepper. When the pasta is done, drain the pasta and toss it in the bowl while it is still hot to slightly cook the peppers but still give them the "crunch" that they naturally have. Thinly slice the chicken and add. Crush and add the green olives, olive oil, and vinegar. Toss and serve when cool.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Chicken Breast

Okay, so many times a recipe calls for a cooked chicken breast. I like to do "brick chicken" on a grill, but sometimes that just isn't possible. So here is something that you can use every week of your life when you cook chicken...

Ingredients:
  • A chicken breast
  • cooking oil or butter
Directions:
I usually like to add flavors and spices when cooking chicken, and you can certainly do that. For this example I'm keeping it simple. Simply add the butter or oil to the skillet and drop the chicken breast in... but that's not all...

Next, take a soup pan and make sure the bottom of it is clean. Fill it with water and then set it on top of the chicken breast in the pan. Let the chicken cook for 3-5 minutes and then take the sauce pan off, flip the chicken breast, and put the pan back on top of the chicken. Let it cook for another 3-5 minutes until done.

Adding the extra weight is crucial. This will flatten the chicken breast, help it to cook more evenly and quickly, and as a result it will remain moist, pleasant to the eye, and easy to cut on the plate.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Homemade Mayo

You'll never buy from a store again, this is the best! I put some on my "Grilled Burgers Done Right" along with the homemade hamburger buns, and it was literally the best hamburger I have ever had!

Ingredients:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 tsp ground/powdered mustard
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • about 2 cups of sunflower seed oil, more or less

Directions:

Combine everything but the oil in a mixer bowl and mix it up. Mix on a high speed for about 10 minutes--the consistency should be almost a cream. Keep the mixer running and slowly add the oil. Begin by just adding a few drops and let it work itself in. Slowly add the oil over about 5 minutes worth of mixing, by adding a small amount and then letting it work itself in. It's done when it looks like mayo!

Season to taste: use 1 part flavored oil to 3 parts regular oil, or add some chopped herbs. You name it!

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