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Welcome to my Blog 'In The Kitchen With Don'! Thank you for your visit and come back soon!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Refrigerator Bread Dough

How would you like to have freshly baked dough in half the time it usually takes to make bread?   You can do it and it is some of the best bread you have ever eaten.   Make up this dough and after an initial 3-5 hour rising, the dough stores in the fridge for up to a week.   Any time you want to bake a loaf, pull it out, for the loaf, let rise and then bake.   Please note, that this dough will make a dense, chewy loaf, more like a European type loaf, than the very light and tender breads we are used to.  However, it will also have a much better flavor and keeps fresh a  bit longer, too.   The dough may look too loose and wet, but it is supposed to be that way. 

In a large bowl put 7 cups of flour, 2 tsps of salt and 1 tbsp of yeast.   Add 3-4 cups of warm water and mix with a spoon until you have a loose dough.    You need only mix until all of the flour is moistened, no kneading.     Loosely cover and allow to rise until about doubled, 3-5  hours.   The dough may fall, but that is ok.   Cover the bowl of dough and store in the fridge for up to 7 days.  

When ready to bake, remove the bowl of dough from the fridge.   Sprinkle the top of the dough heavily with flour.   Also take a plate and cover it with flour as well.   Take the amount of dough out of the bowl, I use a large spoon to scoop it our and take a lump of dough a little bigger than a large grapefruit.    Roll it on the place of flour, then using your hands, stretch it around and around, forming a tight ball that is covered with flour all the way around.   I line a bowl with a piece of parchment paper and then place the ball of dough in it for rising.   If you are wanting to bake rolls, for small balls of dough about the size of a baseball and place on a baking sheet that is lined with a sheet of parchment paper.    Place either the loaf or the rolls in a warm place, cover with a dry towel to rise for about an hour.   about 20 minutes before it is ready to go in the oven, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  And, if making the loaf,  place an empty metal pan on the bottom or lowest rack of the oven and a heavy metal cookie sheet or pizza stone on the middle rack.   

When you are ready to back the rolls, place about 3 cups of ice cubed in the heated pan and slide the cookie sheet with the rolls onto the middle rack.   Quickly close oven door and set the oven timer to 30 minutes.    At 30  minutes check to see if the rolls are well browned, if not, leave them there another 10-15 minutes until as brown as you wish.    When browned, remove from oven and place on rack to cool completely.   Do not try to eat until they are completely cold.  

If baking a loaf, when dough is ready to go into the oven, remove the heated cookie sheet and slide the parchment paper with the dough ball gently onto the baking sheet or onto the pizza stone.  Return to oven and add the ice cubes (like for the rolls) to the heated pan.   Quickly close the oven door and allow to bake 45-60 minutes.   The loaf will probably crack and will also sound hollow when tapped.   If the loaf  is not as brown as you wish, allow to continue baking until it is as brown as you wish.   When done, remove from oven and cool on a rack until completely cold before slicing.   This is very important. 

Another option for baking a loaf and one I prefer to the above method.   When you turn on the oven to preheat, place a large cast iron dutch oven or enameled iron dutch over with lid into the oven and reheat.    When ready to bake the  bread, remove the dutch oven from the oven and remove the lid.   Gently slide the parchment paper containing the ball of risen dough into the Dutch oven, cover with lid and return to the oven.   Bake for 45 minutes covered, then remove the lid and allow to continue baking until nicely browned, another 15-20 minutes.   The loaf will split and crack, that is ok.     When done, remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack like above.  Once again, do not cut the loaf until it is completely cooled.  

When you have used most of the dough in the bowl, reserve about 1 1/2 cups of the dough, then mix it together with flour, salt and water like in the original recipe.   This will  be the leavening for the next batch of dough.  Eventually, it will start to taste a lot like a sourdough and get even better as time passes.   If you wish to do a whole grain bread, just substitute your favorite whole grain flour for about 1/3 of the white flour, although with whole wheat flour you can use up to about 3/4 whole wheat to white.  

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Brussels Sprouts with Country Ham

I love Brussels sprouts and always looking for new ways to cook them.  Usually I will just roast them with salt and pepper, but sometimes I like to do something a. bit different.   This is one I tried and it turned out to be one that I liked, a lot!   If you can't find or don't care for country ham, you can used regular ham or even some cubed bacon and you fry until crispy.

Brussels Sprouts and Country Ham

1/4 cup bacon fat
4 ounces country ham, finely diced
1 shallot, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 apples, peeled, cored and cut into cubes
1 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and sprouts shaved 1/4-thick crosswise on a mandoline
1/2 cup apple cider or juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the bacon fat in  a large skillet over medium heat. Add the country ham and cook, stirring frequently, until the ham just starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the shallot, apples and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring, until wilted and almost shiny, 4 to 6 minutes. 
Add the apple cider and vinegar, bring to a simmer, and cook until the liquid has reduced to about 1/4 cup, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the butter, season to taste with salt and black pepper, and remove from the heat. Continue to stir until the butter has completely melted and formed a creamy sauce. Serve.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Frijole Rancheros or Rancher's Beans

1 pound of dried beans, pinto or black
1/2 pound bacon, cooked crisp and set aside
about 1/4 cup rendered bacon fat, with the crunchies in the bottom of the pan if possible
1 medium sized onion, peeled and partially quartered so the onion holds together
1 whole green chile pepper, whole
3-4 large cloves of garlic, peeled
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1-3 green chiles, seeded and chopped
3-4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
3-4 ripe tomatoes peeled and chopped or a small can of diced tomatoes

Cover beans in cold water and then bring to a boil, boil about 15 minutes, then remove from heat, cover and allow to sit an. hour.    After the hour, add the whole onion, whole chile and who garlic cloves and bring the beans to a boil again, then reduce heat so the beans just barely simmer.   Simmer until very tender, another 45 minutes to an hour, until they are very tender.   When tender remove from the heat and set aside.   Take the whole vegetables from the pot and mash or chop finely, then add back to the beans.  

Next, take the reserved bacon fat and heat in another pan.   Add the chopped onions and green chiles, saute until they are are starting to brown, then add the garlic.   Fry just a few minutes and then add tomatoes.   Simmer this until the mixture is almost dry, stirring often.    When mixture is cooked, add it and the bacon into the beans, bring them back to a simmer and simmer for about 10 minutes or so. 

Is good with any kind of Mexican food or by itself.     If you have leftover roast pork, you can add that to the beans as well.   Makes a good meal by itself.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Frosted Chewy Molasses Bars

1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup molasses (I use and prefer sorghum)
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1-2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoon molasses
water as needed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then butter and flour a 9x13 inch cake pan. Cream the butter, sugar and molasses together, then beat in the water and egg. It will look curdled. Then beat in the remaining dry ingredients until just barely blended. Scrape into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or a toothpick comes out clean. Remove pan from the oven and cool on a rack. Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat together the butter and molasses until smooth, then stir in the powdered sugar until you have a smooth, easily spread frosting, adding small amounts of water as needed. Spread it over the slightly cooled, but still warm cake. When completely cooled, cut into small squares with a very sharp knife.
Feel free to vary the spices, according your personal taste. And if you are a fan of raisins and/or nuts, they would be good added with the dry ingredients. I would use about a cup to a cup and a half total of which ever or a combination of the two.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Pork Chop and Potato Bake

6 boneless pork chops
1 pkg frozen O'Brien potatoes(or use about 4 cups of finely cubed potatoes mixed with a finely chopped onion and diced red and green sweet peppers)
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 cup  milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1  can of french fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.    Grease a 9x13 inch pan.    Brown the chops on both sides in a little oil and set aside.   Reserve half of the cheese and half of the onions, set aside.   Mix the remaining ingredients together, including the half cup cheese and half can of onion rings.   Spread it in the bottom of the pan and then top with the chops.   Bake for one hour.   At that time, sprinkle the reserved cheese and onions on top, then bake an additional 5 minutes or so, until the cheese is browned.  

Very hearty and very good.   If you wish to avoid the canned soup, make a cream sauce with lots of chopped celery that you brown in the butter used to make the cream sauce.