Monthly Archives: November 2013

Thankfulness

As Thanksgiving approaches, we all reflect on what we have. I wanted to spend this week reflecting on all the things that I’m grateful for; my family, food; cooking it and enjoying it, and the future, still not clear but always bright. This is a food blog and there will be recipes, but first things first…

271453_4650818580930_585824410_oThis has been a life changing year for me, and it has had an impact on my family. I’m grateful for all the support they’ve given me as I’ve worked on creating my DIGITAL CAMERAnext chapter.  I have four men in my life. One bought a house, one moved out (for I think the last time), one makes me proud as I watch him grow into a fine young man and the fourth shows me everyday why I made the right decision to marry him.               Thanks guysDIGITAL CAMERA

Food has always been an important part of my life. Learning to cook from my parents, cooking for my own family, and cooking for friends. There’s so much love there, my mind boggles and I’m filled with gratitude.

Nothing warms the heart like soup (Liquid Love). I make soup at least once a week. This week it was White Bean and Kale Soup. Cannellini Beans and Tuscan Kale in a rich chicken stock. Quick, easy, and delicious.

White Bean and Kale Soup
Print Recipe
This is a soothing soup that could be the new Italian Penicillin. You can add more pasta if you like lots of noodles in your soup, You can add more kale, if you want more greens, or Spice it up with red pepper flakes ...it's all up to you.
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
White Bean and Kale Soup
Print Recipe
This is a soothing soup that could be the new Italian Penicillin. You can add more pasta if you like lots of noodles in your soup, You can add more kale, if you want more greens, or Spice it up with red pepper flakes ...it's all up to you.
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and let it get hot. Add the bacon and cook stirring often until it is just crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set this aside for later.
  2. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and cook until the onions begin to soften and the garlic is fragrant, stirring frequently. This should take 5 minutes or so. Add the kale and thyme and cook until the kale is wilted, another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken stock, cover and bring to a boil. Remove the cover, add the cannellini beans and reduce the heat to simmer. Continue to simmer (about 20 minutes). Meanwhile cook the the pasta.
  4. In a seperate pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the linguini. Stir occassionally as it returns to a boil. Cook the pasta until it is al dente, about 6 - 7 minutes. Drain the pasta, rinse it in cold water to stop the cooking and set it aside.
  5. Remove the thyme sprig (it should just be a stem) and the garlic cloves from the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. To serve, divide the linguini into 4 bowls Ladel the soup on top of the pasta. Garnish each serving with the reserved bacon and the shaved cheese. Sprinkle with a few red pepper flakes if you'd like. Enjoy
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This Thanksgiving marks the first time there will be just two of us at the table. It will feel a little strange, but it has also been a chance to re-think the Feast. There is no whole bird this year. I’ve opted for a boneless turkey breast that I’m going to stuff and roll. 140The stuffing (correct term as it’ in the bird more or less) is Sausage and Artichoke.

Artichokes always appear in my stuffing, an homage to our years in California. This year the Sour Dough is being replaced by  Herbed  Focaccia that I made earlier this week. I had it on hand, and not to sound like a snob, but I haven’t found a good sour dough here. It is complimented by lots of onions and garlic, hot Italian sausage, some roasted red peppers for color and a bit of sautéed Baby Kale for a small dose of healthy.

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As with all my recipes this one is open to suggestions. Change the bread, though I believe hearty or artisan breads work best. I use a relatively small amount of bread, but that’s just me. Add more bread and increase the chicken stock or add eggs and cream to get enough moisture. I find this dressing flavorful enough, but salt, pepper, herbs and even a little lemon zest can be added to make it your own.

Artichoke and Italian Sausage Dressing/Stuffing
Print Recipe
A versatile and flavorful stuffing. Perfect with turkey or chicken. Ingredients can easily be changed to your taste. Bake it in a casserole to create a crisp top and almost creamy interior. it could even be a one dish meal...if your a stuffing fan like me.
Servings
8
Servings
8
Artichoke and Italian Sausage Dressing/Stuffing
Print Recipe
A versatile and flavorful stuffing. Perfect with turkey or chicken. Ingredients can easily be changed to your taste. Bake it in a casserole to create a crisp top and almost creamy interior. it could even be a one dish meal...if your a stuffing fan like me.
Servings
8
Servings
8
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Crumble the sausage into the pan and cook until the sausage is no longer pink. Remove the sausage from the pan and drain on paper towels. Leave the drippings in the pan.
  2. Add the onion to the pan and cook over medium - low heat until the onions are turning golden (About 10 minutes). Add the garlic and artichokes, raise the temperature to medium and saute until everything is golden. (about 5 minutes). If things are getting too dry, add a little chicken stock.
  3. Add the kale and saute until it is wilted (3 - 4 minutes). Add the red pepper toss to combine and continue to cook for 5 minutes longer adding chicken stock to keep things moving. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. In a large bowl combine the bread cubes, cooled vegetables, and the cheese. add the 2 cups of chicken stock and toss to combine everything The mixture will be quite wet.. Cover and refrigerate overnight. This will allow the bread to absorb the stock and the flavors to meld.
  5. Use this as a stuffing for a turkey breast, a casserole side dish or just a guilty pleasure.
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155 That leaves the Future. Five months of not working has felt odd. It’s the first time in forty years I haven’t gone off to work everyday. I have however, learned that I love cooking and writing about it. It is a job without a name (other than Mama D’s Kitchen of Love). I’m reflecting on the direction I want to go with food. Catering? Food Writing or Cookbooks? Fry cook on Venus? Thanks to a wonderful husband who has given me the gift of following my passion, I can take my time figuring it out. I love you, Jeff.

As you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner this year be thankful for the people you’re sharing it with, the food on your plate, and what tomorrow holds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visions of Sugar Plums…

I woke up from a dream at 3:00 AM yesterday. Christmas arrived and there was nary a tin of cookies or a sweet treat in the house. For Mama D this is a nightmare. I have baked my way into the Holidays for forty something years. Now with “more free time” I can bake to my heart’s content and shower friends and family with cookies and breads of love. That idea surfaced back in September when Christmas was  just a glimmer at the back of the calendar. Now Christmas is barely a month away and those empty tins could be a reality. Not on my watch!

Yesterday I began my Christmas Baking. I began with Quick Breads. I always start with breads because as their name implies they are quick to prepare and recipes can usually be doubled. The breads can be frozen for a month or so and are ready whenever I need a little gift of sweetness. The new twist is that I’m making these breads with ingredients I already have in the house. I’m committed to working with what my pantry holds and this was a perfect opportunity. It did make the task of looking for just the right recipe a little more challenging. Every recipe that sounded delicious called for an ingredient that I didn’t have, but my pantry and a little love resulted in some creative substitutions. Talk about making a recipe your own.

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The first recipe; Kraft Kitchen’s Sour Cream Banana Bread called for Walnuts. I didn’t have walnuts, but I did have almonds. The swap worked. To make the almonds feel like they belonged, I added a little Almond Extract. A note on the bananas; they were in the freezer. This makes them a little slimy and very ugly, but they work well in baking and the sweetness is intensified.043

Next there was Apple Bread. I found a recipe that used Crystalized Ginger and sounded terrific. Sadly, my pantry had no Crystalized Ginger. It did however, have dried cranberries. I brought them back to life in a little Spiced Apple Cider and added them to the batter. It was a simple substitution and the result was yummy adding tartness and texture.

Apple Cranberry Bread
Print Recipe
This loaf is moist and delicious. If you use mini loaf pans you'll get six or so.
Servings
1 Loaf
Servings
1 Loaf
Apple Cranberry Bread
Print Recipe
This loaf is moist and delicious. If you use mini loaf pans you'll get six or so.
Servings
1 Loaf
Servings
1 Loaf
Ingredients
Servings: Loaf
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray one 9X5 or six Mini Loaf Pans with cooking spray. Mix the flour, cinnamon, baking powder & soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Put the sugar, oil, sour cream, and eggs in a medium bowl. Mix at high speed of mixer for 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just moistened.. Stir in apples. Drain the cranberries and add them to the batter stirring them in gently.
  4. Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake approximately 60 minutes for large pan or approximately 30 minutes for minis. A toothpick should come out clean but moist. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.
  5. Store in plastic zip lock bags in refrierator for up to 5 days. The loaves can be frozen in freezer bags for up to one month.
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I had lemons and pecans and thought it would be fun to work the “on hand” ingredients recipe thing in the other direction. So the Google search began for Lemon Pecan Bread. It didn’t take very long. and there were quite a few choices. DIGITAL CAMERA I found the perfect recipe at a website called 8 Broads in the KitchenThis bread calls for lemon zest and juice from 2 whole lemons. It has the tang of lemon that I love with a subtle sweetness that is echoed in the pecans.DIGITAL CAMERA

Pumpkin Bread is a holiday staple. Once again almost every recipe called for walnuts. I have nothing against walnuts, I just don’t have any in the house. I did have Pepitas, shelled, roasted and salted pumpkin seeds. How weird is that? Having pepitas and not walnuts, that is. It seemed like a fair swap, so here’s the recipe.

Pumpkin Bread with Roasted Pepitas
Print Recipe
Spiced like Pumpkin Pie and laced with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds this bread will become a fall favorite.
Servings
2 Loaves
Servings
2 Loaves
Pumpkin Bread with Roasted Pepitas
Print Recipe
Spiced like Pumpkin Pie and laced with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds this bread will become a fall favorite.
Servings
2 Loaves
Servings
2 Loaves
Ingredients
Servings: Loaves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray and lightly flour two 9X5 or eight mini loaf pans. Whisk flour, cinnamon, spice blend, baking soda & powder and salt together in a medium bowl, and set aside.
  2. in a large bowl beat together the sugar and oil. Mix in the eggs and pumpkin. Add the dry ingredients and stir just to combine. Mix in the Pepitas (I left them whole, but you could coarsley chop them).
  3. Divide the batter evenly into whatever loaf pans you are using. Bake approximately 1 hour for large pans; approximately 30 minutes for minis. The loaves are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Use a thin sharp knife to go around the edges of the pans. turn the loaves out and cool completely on the racks
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My holiday baking is officially under way and the freezer is brimming with mini loaves.  Now if I could just get a jump-start on my Christmas shopping  …

I’ve made a list of cookies and checked it twice.                                                                        I’m baking for Christmas and that’s really nice…Sorry

       Love, Mama D

Homemade Ricotta

Ricotta, that creamy cheese in lasagna and ravioli is a staple in many kitchens Italian or otherwise. You can buy it in any grocery store, but it is so easy to make that it seems silly to do so. The biggest reason to make homemade ricotta is that it just tastes better.

Ricotta may be the easiest cheese to make. It takes 3 or 4 easily available ingredients. A large DIGITAL CAMERAnon-reactive pan. cheese cloth, and a strainer are the only tools you need. Time wise you’ll DIGITAL CAMERAhave cheese in a little over half an hour. Small investment for such a delicious indulgence.

I used to buy ricotta. It worked well in recipes and it tasted pretty good. Then one day I tasted homemade. The difference was night and day. Homemade was light and creamy. The taste was sweet with tart cheesy undertones. It made the pre-packaged grocery store ricotta taste heavy and bland.

Once I tasted the difference I set out to find a recipe for ricotta. For the simple ingredients needed there were lots of variations. Some used just milk, others used lots of milk and a little cream, I tried them all and the one I like the best comes from Ina Garten, the Barefoot ContessaThis recipe uses milk and cream in a 2:1 ratio. The resulting cheese is creamy and sweet with a light almost fluffy texture.

The original recipe uses White Wine Vinegar, I’ve substituted Lemon Juice and the taste is light and refreshing perfect for cheesecake and other sweet recipes. Champagne Vinegar imparts elegant yet fruity flavors perfect for spreads and as a garnish for pastas and soups. The current batch that I used in these recipes was made with Sherry Vinegar. This imparted a toasty oak flavor that was quite unique. It tasted like fall .DIGITAL CAMERA

 

The following recipe lets the ricotta shine and makes a versatile appetizer.

Homemade Ricotta with Fresh Herbs
Print Recipe
This creamy spread is wonderful on crostini and works well in savory recipes like Canneloni. This basic recipe has endless variations. Make it your own...
Prep Time
30 minutes
Prep Time
30 minutes
Homemade Ricotta with Fresh Herbs
Print Recipe
This creamy spread is wonderful on crostini and works well in savory recipes like Canneloni. This basic recipe has endless variations. Make it your own...
Prep Time
30 minutes
Prep Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Approximately 2 Cups
Instructions
  1. Place ricotta in medium size bowl and add the ingredients of your choice. Stir gently to blend everything together.
  2. Store in a covered container in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. The longer it gets happy, the better it tastes.
  3. Serve with Bruchetta as part of a Crostini Bar Use in your favorite filled pasta recipe. Just eat it with a spoon. Any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
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While I love this ricotta as it is, I wanted to use it in a recipe but one that would showcase the lovely ricotta not hide it under a rich tomato blanket or smother it in a silky layer of cheese. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

And so I embarked on cannelloni. Currently being a stay at home cook, I opted to make the pasta from scratch. Being super old school, I made the flour nest and kneaded the dough by hand. (My favorite pasta recipe is Ann Burell’s.) Then using my trusty Atlas Pasta Machine, I made the pasta strips.DIGITAL CAMERA

The filling begins with Pancetta, Onion and Garlic sautéed in Olive Oil. Baby Spinach joins the party in the pan. The party then moves to a mixing bowl where it gets friendly with Ricotta, Eggs, and Parmigiano – Reggiano.

The cannelloni is assembled and is covered with a Besciamella. Just a light sprinkling of Parmigiano and a bake in the oven, a quick stint in the broiler and it’s ready to eat.

You can use your favorite pasta recipe. You will only be using about half of the dough, so either cut your recipe in half or save the rest for something else. The recipe that follows is for the filing. This would be good in any filled pasta recipe.

A Lovely Filling for Canneloni
Print Recipe
This filling features homemade ricotta. It can be used for any filled pasta, but it's delicious in canneloni.
Servings Prep Time
8 Canneloni 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 Canneloni 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
A Lovely Filling for Canneloni
Print Recipe
This filling features homemade ricotta. It can be used for any filled pasta, but it's delicious in canneloni.
Servings Prep Time
8 Canneloni 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 Canneloni 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Canneloni
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in large pan. Add Pancetta and saute until it is slightly brown. Add the onions and garlic and continue to cook stirring occasionally until the onion begins to turn translucent and the garlic is fragrent.
  2. Add Spinach to pan and toss and cook until the spinach is just wilted. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
  3. Mix Egg, Ricotta, and Parmigiano in a medium bowl. Add the cooled Spinach mixture and stir to combine. Set aside
  4. Use this filling to stuff your favorite" stuffable" pasta. Canneloni, Manicotti, Ravioli or Lasagna all would love to have this filling between their sheets.
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Mama D & The Bean…A Love Story

Once upon a time there was a little girl growing up in Melrose Park. Her mother was a very good cook and the little girl liked everything her mother made. Everything that is, except Pasta Fagioli. The little girl dreaded Fridays when Pasta Fagioli was on the menu. What was it about this bean and pasta soup? It was probably the celery, but the little girl was sure it was the beans. So beans became the food she wouldn’t eat. She wouldn’t eat celery either, but that’s another story.

The little girl made some exceptions as little girls were apt to do. She loved Lupini, brined beans that you bit open and DIGITAL CAMERAsqueezed  into your mouth. She also liked Ceci, Garbanzos roasted until crunchy and salted liberally. These were really “snack beans” that she had when “The Feast” was going on. The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was a week-long religious celebration that happened every mid-July (120 years this past July). The Novena, Procession and Outdoor Mass were the stars, but for the little girl the carnival and the wonderful street foods were the highlights. Since she lived just a block away from the festivities she would walk down every night ride the rides, play the Mouse Game, and come home with a paper bag of Ceci or Lupini and occasionally Red pistachios ( she was almost an adult before she learned they weren’t red everywhere).

Well, the little girl grew up. She still didn’t like celery, but she started to like beans. First there was Chili; the creamy/chewy texture the beans added were pleasant. Then came Split Pea Soup; the earthy taste of the peas combined with the smokiness of the ham were also satisfying. And she even came to love Pasta Fagioli. This isn’t about Pasta Fagioli, but it is about Legumes.

Now the little girl is more than all grown up and she eats beans at least once a week. Usually it’s in soup or a side dish, occasionally it’s in chili and quite often it’s as an appetizer. She’s learned how good beans are for her. They’re  low in fat,  high in fiber, and they are also cheap. What’s not to love about that?  Beans are versatile, and are available everywhere.

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While beans are the go to protein for many vegetarians, I like mine with meat; usually a pork product. I’ve recently made two Legume driven soups with Italian Sausage as the co-star. I DIGITAL CAMERAmade the Sausage and Lentil Soup that I found on Proud Italian Cook’s Blog site. It was a simple blend of Lentils, Fennel (I REALLY don’t like celery), and Tomatoes that were combined with Sausage and the requisite Onions, Carrots, and Garlic. Lentils are the quickest cooking legume, so this soup was ready in less than an hour. The lentils became almost creamy and the spiciness of the sausage was a great counterpoint.

I also made a White Bean and Sausage Soup. This used canned Cannellini Beans and sliced sausage. Using canned beans has it on the table in about half an hour. It was almost thick enough call it a stew and was so satisfying that it is now part of Mama D’s soup arsenal.

Sausage and Cannellini Soup
Print Recipe
Quick Easy and Delicious. This hearty soup only needs some crusty bread.
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Sausage and Cannellini Soup
Print Recipe
Quick Easy and Delicious. This hearty soup only needs some crusty bread.
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil until hot. Add the sausage and cook 5 minutes or so, until browned on all sides.
  2. Add carrots and peppers to the sausage and cook stirring often for 2 - 3 minutes Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more until ii is fragrent. Be careful to not let the garlic burn.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients into the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer approximately 15 minutes. The soup should thicken slightly and the sausage should be cooked through completely.
  4. Serve with a generous sprinkling of Peccorino Romano cheese.
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DIGITAL CAMERAI added Red and Pinto Beans to  Pulled Pork and created a wonderful Pulled Pork Chili. The liquid was chili based, and was fired up with chipotle and jalapeno. The richness of the pulled pork and the heat of the chili were mellowed by the beans.

We’ve all had Humus; Garbanzo Beans and Tahini blended with lemon. garlic and herbs that is wonderful with pita chips or crudites.  I’ve come up with another bean dip that uses Cannellini Beans blended with lemon juice, garlic, rosemary and parsley. If you use lemon infused olive oil you’ll have a deeper and richer lemon flavor.

Tuscan Bean Dip
Print Recipe
Quick easy and oh so yummy.
Servings
6
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings
6
Cook Time
15 minutes
Tuscan Bean Dip
Print Recipe
Quick easy and oh so yummy.
Servings
6
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings
6
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Combine oil and smashed garlic cloves in a small pan.. Heat for 2 minutes or so over low heat until garlic just becomes fragrent. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. Put all of the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until mixture is coarsley chopped. Scrape down bowl and process until fairly smooth or the texture you want.
  3. Serve with crudites, chips or crostini
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What’s the moral of this story? Everyone grows up eventually and so does their taste in foods. Trying new foods and ways to prepare them continues the growing up process. The adventure never ends and therein lies the happily ever after.

Love, Mama D

 

 

Bread Baked in a Pot…Imagine That

Cooking is all about creativity. I love coming up with a new recipe; putting ingredients together to create a one of a kind eating experience. Sometimes creativity comes from the inspiration that an existing recipe creates. Truth be told, most recipes that are created got some kind of inspiration from another recipe. It might be a recipe you saw in a magazine, cookbook or online. It could be a dish you had in a restaurant. Sometimes it might even be a mosh up of several recipes.

This bread recipe has somewhat of a history. I wish I had come up with it, but I didn’t. I found the recipe at the Food.com website. The recipe was by Joy the Baker. She adapted the recipe from The Pioneer Woman Blog site. I took the recipe and tweaked the herbs and garlic to make it my own. I also added directions for kneading by hand because that’s how I knead.  You may make this recipe and add or subtract something to make it your own, too. And so it goes…everyone can create their own recipe for Bread Baked in a Pot.

DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a fantastic bread recipe! The texture is almost creamy. Aroma-wise it immediately makes your mouth water, and once you taste it you are in food ecstasy. I baked it to go with a Lentil and Sausage Soup that I adapted from The Proud Italian Cook Blog. I substitued fennel for celery. And so it goes…

The baking technique intrigued me and I had to try it. Now that I know that it creates a moist and tender bread, I’ll try it with other bread recipes. The next time I make it, I may use different herbs or add cheese. The possibilities are endless and it may never be exactly the same two times in a row. That’s the nature of cooking. It’s a creative and ever changing expression of love.

Back to the bread. I ate this bread with the soup (and by itself, and toasted and with homemade Chive Butter, etc.). I used the last few pieces in a Strata. DIGITAL CAMERAThe bread soaked up the custard overnight and the flavors of the bread enhanced the other ingredients. What a marvelous breakfast! Peppers, onions, and sausage in a Smoked Gouda laced custard were perfect.DIGITAL CAMERAThat gave me even more ideas. How about this bread in Savory French Toast or a Stuffing for Turkey or Chicken? Imagine how wonderful it would be as the base for Grilled Cheese Sandwiches or Panini’s. See what I mean? Every recipe can be many things to many cooks.

So, in the spirit of creativity and sharing, here’s the recipe for Spicy Herb and Garlic Bread Baked in a Pot. Make it your own.

Love, Mama D

Spicy Garlic & Herb Bread Baked in a Pot
Print Recipe
Bread baked in a pot...Imagine that.
Servings Prep Time
1 Loaf 80 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 Loaf 80 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Spicy Garlic & Herb Bread Baked in a Pot
Print Recipe
Bread baked in a pot...Imagine that.
Servings Prep Time
1 Loaf 80 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 Loaf 80 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Loaf
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle yeast over warm water, add the pinch of sugar and stir gently. Allow the mixture to rest and foam for about 5 minutes.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add the herbs, pepper flakes and garlic. Set Aside.
  3. Put flour in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper,yeast mixture, and butter mixture. If you have a stand mixer: Fit it with the dough hook and stir at low speed 10 - 12 minutes until dough cleans the sides of the bowl. If you do not have a stand mixer: Mix ingredients in bowl until combined. Turn onto floured surface and knead by hand about 15 minutes. Whichever method you use the dough should be smooth, supple yet firm.
  4. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, turning to coat dough. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm place until doubled in bulk, Approximately 1 hour.
  5. When doubled in size, place on a floured surface and knead by hand about 2 minutes. Form into a "Boule" shape (flat bottom rounded ball). Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  6. In a large Dutch Oven or Heavy Soup Pot, add 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil to coat the bottom. Put the dough ball in the pan. Cut a fairly deep cross in the top using a sharp thin bladed knife. Drizzle with 2 -3 more Tablespoons of olive oil on top of dough. Sprinkle generously with Coarse Sea Salt and Red Pepper Flakes.
  7. Cover with a tight fitting lid and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 400 degrees, remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 - 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool until it can be easily removed for the pot. Bread can be served warm or cool and will keep up to 3 days if wrapped tightly. Provided it lasts that long!
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