Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pain Ordinaire (Basic White Bread) in a Bread Machine

Despite the name this recipe is neither a "pain" nor is it "ordinary." At this point in my foodie journey I make homemade bread a few times a year. I would probably make it more often if I couldn't get Udi's organic whole wheat artisan bread from my local grocery store. All of our house guests love this bread, and I think they are a little disappointed when they find out they won't be able to buy this bread in their home town. When I do make homemade bread I make Boule, Stromboli, or this "Pain Ordinaire." When the weather is warm outside it's great to bring out the bread machine. You can have homemade bread without heating up the house. Wahoo! My bread machine can make a 1, 1/1/2, or 2 lb. loaf. This recipe is for a 1 1/2 lb loaf. This gave me 6 thick slices plus 2 crusty ends. That's just enough to satisfy a bread craving and then it's back to the low carb lifestyle.




Pain Ordinaire
15 oz of flour  - about 3 1/4 cups (I used Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbromated White Flour)
9 oz of water - about 1 cup and 1 tablespoon of water
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of rapid rise yeast

1. Place the ingredients in your bread machine in the order recommended in your instruction manuel. My machine calls for liquids first. Place 9 oz of water in the loaf pan. I highly recommend investing in digital scale. My scale measures in both ounces and grams. However, my favorite feature is called "on zero." That means I can place a bowl onto the scale, press "on zero," and measure the amount needed without worrying about the weight of the bowl itself. 9 oz of water is slightly more than 1 cup.



2. Add the salt to the water.



3. Measure 15 oz of flour and add to the loaf pan.




4. Top of the flour mixture with the yeast.



5. Set the bread machine on the appropriate settings. I used the basic setting for a  1.5 lb loaf  and a medium color crust.


6. After 2 hours and 50 minutes (that's how long it took for the magic to happen) remove the bread from the reservoir. I had to shake the bread from the reservoir pretty vigorously to remove the bread. Place the bread on a wire wire to cool of 30 minutes.


7. Lay the bread horizontally, slice the heel, and split the end piece with your favorite someone. My husband and I enjoy that first end piece with butter or dipped in olive oil.





Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cinnamon Ice Cream

Now here is a flavor ice cream that you don't see in the store, "Cinnamon Ice Cream." Well, I never have seen it. My husband and Father-in-Law like -- no love -- ice cream, and during my Father-in-Law's recent stay I made ice cream not once but twice. I don't think they would have minded if I made "Vanilla Bean Ice Cream" twice, but I wanted to make something different. Pork roast was the main protein for dinner that night, and I kept thinking about a dessert with cinnamon. Of course, I could have gone with "Quick Apple Crisp," but after all we are in the hotter months now.  I wanted something "cinnamony" and something "summery." That is how I decided to make "Cinnamon Ice Cream."



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Cinnamon Ice Cream
1 1/2 cups of whole milk
1 1/8 cups of sugar
2 cups of half and half
1 cup of whipping cream
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (using a quality extract will make a difference)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
rolled wafers, optional garnish

1. Blend whole milk and sugar together. I used my KitchenAid but you can use a bowl and electric blender or you can whip by hand. Mix on low until sugar is melted into the milk.




2. Add the vanilla extract to the milk and sugar.



3. Add the cinnamon to the milk and sugar.




4. Add 2 cups of half and half and 1 cup of whipping cream to the milk and sugar mixture.



5. Add the ice cream base to the ice cream maker.



6. Follow your ice cream maker's instructions. We spin the Cuisinart for 30 minutes before transferring it to a separate container to harden in the freezer. This is what it looked like after 30 minutes.



7. Use a spatula and scrape the ice cream into a freezer safe container. Keep in the freezer unit 5 minutes before you need to serve it for dessert.


Note: I personally like making the ice cream the day before I need to serve it.


Link Party Links: Call me PMc, Love in the KitchenTumbleweed ContessaWatch Out Martha!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

"I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream." I don't know how or where this chant started, but I can resonate with it even though I'm not a huge dessert person. I like them once in a while. I'm one of those people who would rather have an order of Five Guys french fries than a piece of cake for dessert. However, there are a handful of desserts that I love to eat once in a while. Ice cream is one of them. Did I mention my husband loves ice cream? I'm sure he would love a soft serve ice cream machine in our kitchen, but I don't like to exercise (not a good combination). We do have a lovely electric Cuisinart 1 1/2 quart ice cream machine which we bring out periodically. We often serve this "Vanilla Bean Ice Cream" when we have dinner guests, or we will make it for a special occasion (Birthdays, Anniversaries, etc.) This recipe is tried and true. It deserves its own blog post.


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Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
1 1/2 cups of whole milk
1 1/8 cups of sugar
2 cups half and half
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (using a quality extract will make a difference)
1 vanilla bean (this is optional - if you do not use it - you'll have a great basic vanilla ice cream)
rolled wafers, garnish (optional)
-You'll need a 1 1/2 quart ice cream machine for this recipe

1. Blend whole milk and sugar together. I used my KitchenAid but you can use a bowl and electric blender or whip by hand.  Mix on low until sugar is melted into the milk.




2. Prepare the vanilla bean by cutting in half without slicing all the way through. Gently open the pod and scrape out the seeds. (If the vanilla bean is not malleable, place it in a pot with a little bit of milk and heat gently until the bean is soft. At that point the bean will be easier to cut.)



3. Add 2 cups of half and half  and 1 cup of whipping cream to the milk and sugar mixture.



4. Add the vanilla beans to the ice cream base.



5. Add the vanilla extract to the ice cream base.



6. Add the ice cream base to the ice cream maker.



7. Follow your ice cream maker's instructions. Our Cuisinart spins for 30 minutes before we transfer it to a separate container to harden in the freezer. This is what it looked like after 30 minutes.


8. Use a spatula and scrape the ice cream into a freezer safe container. Keep in the freezer until 5 minutes before you need to serve it for dessert. Note: I personally like making the ice cream the day before I need to serve it. The consistency is perfect the next day and I don't have to worry about dessert the day I'm serving it. 



Kitchen Tip: Since vanilla beans are so expensive I don't want to throw away the pod. Instead, I placed a pod in a mason jar with 1/2 cup of sugar.  I'll continue to save the pods and add sugar until I have a big jar of vanilla bean sugar.



Link Party Links:  Every Day Mom's MealsI Should Be Mopping the Floors, and Love Bakes Good Cakes, and Tumbleweed Contessa.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Shredded Chicken Tostadas on Home-Baked Flour Tortillas

Fresh, light, and filling are words my husband used to describe one of our new favorite dinners. These tostadas are a great use of the "Shredded Mexican Chicken" from my previous post. Using fresh salsa, cilantro, avocado, and lime will take an ordinary tostada to an extraordinary tostada. This tostada is simple to make but it's not simple in flavors. Also, the oven is only on about 15 minutes after it's pre-heated which is a consideration for warm weather months.



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Shredded Chicken Tostadas on Home-Baked Flour Tortillas
-to make 4 tostadas
4 small whole wheat tortillas (I used Mission Carb Balance - 80 calories each - 3g net carbs each)
olive oil
salt
1 1/2 cups of Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 can of refried beans (I used a 15 oz of Amy's Organic Refried Black Beans)
1 1/2 cups of "Shredded Mexican Chicken"
1 1/2 cups of shredded lettuce (1/4 to 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce depending on the size)
1 scallion, sliced thin
salsa
sour cream
avocado slices
black olive slices
fresh cilantro
lime slices

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the tortillas on a parchment lined sheet and brush both sides of the tortilla with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and bake in the oven for 5 minutes.



2. After five minutes flip to bake on the other side for an additional five minutes. While the tortillas are baking gather and prepare the rest of your ingredients. Slice 1/4 to 1/2 of a head of iceberg lettuce into thin strips, slice avocado, slice the scallion, mince cilantro, and open a can of sliced black olives. I've been experimenting with fresh homemade salsa (hopefully I will post that soon). You can make your own salsa, buy something fresh from the refrigerator section of your grocery store, or use your favorite jar salsa. Generally speaking fresh is best, so I recommend learning to make your own. Remove the tortillas from the oven after the tortillas are done baking 5 minutes on each side.



5. Divide 1/2 of the cheese between the baked tortillas.



5. Bake 3 to 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and the tortillas finish getting crisp.



6. Spread warm black beans over the melted cheese. I heated the black beans in the microwave.



7. Place one quarter of reheated chicken (or fresh from the crock pot) over the black beans.



8. Add more cheese. Yay.



9. Add the rest of your garnishes. In the picture below you will see the two in the front with everything. The two in back belong to my husband and they don't have the sour cream or olives.



10. Serve with lime slices and enjoy. I think you'll be satisfied!




Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mexican Shredded Chicken in a Crock Pot

Have you ever gone to the store and seen chicken on sale because the "sell by" date is in the next day or two? Or, maybe chicken is on sale "just because." A few days ago I saw boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale for 1/3 their normal price. I bought 5 pounds (two packages with three boneless, skinless breasts each). If you see chicken on sale at the grocery store, have a crock pot, and a little extra time that day then I would encourage you to buy, buy, buy! You can make "Mexican Shredded Chicken in a Crock Pot" and make tacos, taquitos, quesadillas, enchiladas, salads and my favorite tostadas for a crowd or freeze in smaller portions for easier week night meals.



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Mexican Shredded Chicken in a Crock Pot
5 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (you can also use thighs)
2 tablespoons of chili powder
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of oregano
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
3/4 teaspoons of cumin
3/4 teaspoons of black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
1 cup of water

1) Trim chicken of all excess fat and reserve in an air-tight freezer bag for "Homemade Chicken Stock in a Crock Pot." Arrange all the chicken breasts in the bottom of a 5 quart crock pot.



2) Sprinkle the chicken with all of the dry spices.



3) Add 1 cup of water.



4) Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Leave the house if you must, and then come home to a kitchen that smells amazing.



5) Dig in with two forks and start shredding until you have a crock pot filled with shredded chicken. The liquid (which seems like a lot at first) will get incorporated into the chicken.







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