Friday, March 16, 2012

Challah

This freshly baked jewish egg bread is the best! It's got the element of sweetness which makes it great for french toast. I plan to use it for my bananas foster french toast this weekend! It's been a while since I've made it and it just seems like a great idea for sunday breakfast!


Challah
Recipe from William-Sonoma {Essentials of Baking}

5 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water {105-115 degrees}
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter, softened
egg wash
1 tablespoon poppy seeds or sesame seeds {optional}

  • In the bowl of a mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar, 3 eggs, 4 1/2 cups of the flour, the salt and butter. Place the bowl on the mixer, attach the dough hook and knead on low speed, working in the remaining flour as necessary to keep the dough from being too sticky, until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5-7 minutes. Do not be tempted to add too much flour. The dough should stay soft and will become less sticky with kneading. Remove the dough from the bowl.
  • Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in bulk, about 2 hours.
  • Line a sheet pan or rimless baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down the dough. Using a plastic pastry scraper, scrape the dough out onto a clean work surface. To make a 4-strand braid, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces with a sharp knife or a bench scraper. Using your palms, and starting in the center and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope as long as the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces.
  • Line up the 4 strands in front of you horizontally. Cross the strand farthest from you across the other 3 strands so that it is nearest you. Cross the strand that is now next to it across the other 2 strands away from you. Position the outside strands so that they are away from the center ones, and position the center 2 strands perfectly horizontal. Bring the strand nearest you down between the 2 horizontal strands. Bring the strand farthest from you up and across to the opposite side. Again, bring the strand farthest from you down between the 2 straight strands. Bring the strand nearest you up and across to the opposite side. Starting from the strand nearest you, repeat the braiding until you reach the ends of the ropes. Pinch them together at the top and at the bottom, and tuck the strands under at the ends.
  • Place the braided loaf on the prepared pan, cover with a dry kitchen towel, and let rise again in a warm, draft-free spot until the loaf doubles in size and is spongy to the touch, 45-60 minutes.
  • Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  • Brush the braid gently with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the seeds. Bake the braid until it is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. 


Ashley

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta

I mainly made this dish because I wanted to make some delicious fresh pasta! Although it was good, I think that the amount of lemon juice in the sauce overpowered everything else. I would definitely add less next time I made it... if I do again. I'm always finding new pasta recipes that I want to try.

I would also like to state that the pasta dough recipe I use is the best! If making fresh pasta is something you've thought about doing but think is difficult, it's really not. There is a major taste and texture difference between fresh and dried. Fresh pasta is tender and flavorful.


Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Pasta
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

2 chicken breasts
lemon juice
honey
dijon mustard
salt

  • Marinate the chicken with the above ingredients for up to 24 hours. 
  • Once ready, grill {I used my George Foreman grill} the chickens until thoroughly cooked.


chicken breasts, grilled and sliced {recipe above}
1 lb fresh pasta, cooked {reserve 1-2 cups of the water}
1/4 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons white wine
1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup half and half
1 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons basil, chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

  • Cook pasta, reserving 1 cup of hot pasta water when you drain. Set pasta aside in a colander.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and saute the garlic. Add the wine and lemon juice; whisk together. Pour in the cream and half-and-half. Add in the cheese and whisk until melted. 
  • Mix in the 2 tablespoons and the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the pasta to the sauce and check the consistency, adding some of the hot pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed.
 




Ashley

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pi Day! {no recipe}

So I've been super excited for this day to come since last Pi Day. It came and went last year and I didn't even have the chance to make any. Thankfully, I was a bit more organized this year and decided to make pies to give to Timmy to take to his work buddies so they could enjoy them {I kept half of each here of course}. I was given many ideas for different flavors but I decided that I wanted to make an apple and key lime pie. I haven't made an apple since my practical in my first semester bakeshop class. I honestly loved making the apple, it's one of my favorite pies now! I added golden raisins that were soaked in a mixture of vodka and rum... mmm. I also added a "pi" symbol as the vent in the pie, see... I'm a  nerd too! And the key lime is one that I've been wanting to explore. In Florida the key lime is very popular since there were key lime trees in areas that we used to vacation, like Sanibel and Captiva Island. Also, my grandparents and mom would always make them and I just miss the flavor. I jazzed it up by decorating it with some creme chantilly, candied lime slices and toasted coconut!



Ashley

Monday, March 12, 2012

Salmon Burgers with Caper-Dill Tartar Sauce and Red Onion Ceviche

Happy Monday... first day of spring break! This recipe looked super interesting to me, mainly because of the combination of flavors. The red onion ceviche was great, tart and sweet and the burger itself was full of flavor.


Originally, this recipe just called to chop the ingredients and then make the patties. I however decided that I was going to put the mixture into my grinder attachment and it worked great.


Salmon Burgers with Caper-Dill Tartar Sauce and Red Onion Ceviche 
Recipe adapted from I Breath... I'm Hungry...

1 lb salmon, deboned and skinned
2 slices bread
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 scallions, sliced
1 egg


  • Dice the salmon and bread into 1/4 inch pieces. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the egg and mix. Put the mixture into a grinder attachment {coarse grind}. Add the egg to the mixture and combine thoroughly. Make a small patty to test and adjust the seasonings {taste it with the condiments as well}. Once adjusted, make the patties.
  • In a pan over medium heat, add 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Cook each burger, about 5 minutes on each side. When your burgers are done, set them on a paper towel to absorb the extra oil.

Red Onion Ceviche:

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
juice of one lemon

  • In a bowl, combine the red onion and lemon juice.

Caper-Dill Tartar Sauce:

1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1/2 teaspoon caper juice
1/4 teaspoon pickle relish
1 tablespoon dill weed {fresh}, chopped
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream

  • In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

Condiments:

hamburger buns, toasted
3-6 slices of bacon, cooked
arugula
red onion ceviche {recipe above}
caper-dill tarter sauce {recipe above}

  • Place a handful of arugula on the bun and top with the 1-2 pieces of bacon. Layer on the burger, red onions and tartar sauce and finish with the top of the bun.


Enjoy!


Ashley

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Salmon, Asparagus and Orzo Salad with Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette

Another great use for salmon and a simple meal. As I've stated before, I've been super busy with class lately. But thankfully, next week is our Spring Break! I'm so excited because I've been needing a break badly. I still plan to do tons of homework and hopefully get to invest more time in cooking some new yummy meals. I am planning to make a pie or two for Pi-Day next Wednesday, that should be fun!


Salmon, Asparagus and Orzo Salad with Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

3-4 cups water
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 cup orzo, uncooked
2-3 salmon fillets, deboned and skinned
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
cooking spray
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
lemon-dill vinaigrette {recipe below}

  • Preheat broiler.
  • Bring 3-4 cups of water to a boil and add the asparagus; cook 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove asparagus from water with tongs or a slotted spoon, reserving water in pan. Plunge asparagus into ice water; drain and set aside.
  • Return reserved water to a boil. Add orzo, and cook for about 8-9 minutes.
  • While the orzo cooks, sprinkle the fillets evenly with salt and pepper. Place fish on a foil-lined broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Break the salmon into large chunks. Combine salmon, orzo, asparagus, onion and lemon-dill vinaigrette in a large bowl; toss gently to coat.


Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette

1/3 cup feta
1 tablespoon dill
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.


Ashley