Tag Archives: warm

Freshly baked beauty…

With a stormy day forecasted today and a very sick other half, I felt the need to stay put…
After playing chauffeur to the doctor, once home I decided to make a loaf of bread, from my favorite ‘bread man’ Paul Hollywood, that I haven’t made in quite some time. This loaf is absolutely gorgeous when baked, but just so simple to prepare…
A combination of bread flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and water was kneaded in my mixer until pulled together and completely incorporated. Once smoothed and slightly elastic, the dough was set to rise in a lightly oiled bowl. The first rise took roughly three hours… After that rise, the dough was ‘knocked back’ and formed into a cylindrical shape. The dough was placed on a sheet tray and covered for a second rise. For this rise, I allowed the dough to nap for another three hours to develop an even stronger flavor.
Upon completion of its second rise, a spritz of water, dusting of flour and four deep slashes prepared this beautiful ‘bloomer’ for its bake. The scent of fresh bread baking wafted throughout the house and made the urge for a warm slice inevitable! As soon as baking finished off, a crusty golden and luxurious loaf emerged, and so did a slice to make certain it was as delightful as I expected…
Tonight this enticing bloomer will get a nice toast and slather of Nutella for some naughty goodness!

at a low simmer…
















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like bees to honey…

After seeking high and low for lavender honey [everywhere I went was sold out], I decided the next best thing [and probably better alternative] was to make my own…
A quick trip to the health food store yielded some gorgeous dried lavender pods, in addition to some golden local honey.
Once home, I wrapped up about four tablespoons of the lavender pods in cheesecloth and placed the packet into two cups of honey that I set over a double boiler. Stirring frequently for about an hour, the outcome yielded an infused amber honey of pure lusciousness. After the honey cooled, it was time to jar up again.
The first recipe this scented wonder will be a part of is a lavender honey and almond bread. I cannot wait to sit back and enjoy a slice of this bread with a warm cup of tea…

at a low simmer…






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Looney for leftovers!

After a long day, I enjoyed a healthy, heaping scoop of some leftover rhubarb grunt! Warmed up in the microwave and served with some vanilla bean custard on top, this was the perfect ending to the evening! I see preparing other fruity ‘grunts’ will be a staple in this household…

at a low simmer…

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farro[SO] yummy!

Since the weather took a turn from warm and summer-like, to a slight bit cooler it seemed fitting to make a hearty, warming meal for dinner…
After raiding my fridge and pantry, it was easy! A nutty farro dish with an Asian flavor base to it! Shredded carrots, diced onions, some minced garlic and ginger, chopped porcini mushrooms and sautéed shrimp all came together with a hint of sesame oil, a few tablespoons of soy sauce and a dash of hoisin…
The dish literally takes no time to prepare, but the incredible depth of flavor would make you think otherwise!

at a low simmer…












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spring warmup!

So after realizing we are in for a pretty warm couple of days [especially tomorrow], I decided that grilling was the perfect way to truly welcome in Spring!
A trip to the local butcher this morning, yielded some beautiful, thickly cut steaks. I can almost smell the fragrant, smokey goodness that the grill offers once the meat hits those searing hot grates! My mouth is already watering in anticipation… dinner can’t come soon enough!!

at a low simmer…

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hands off my buns!

For a nod to the upcoming Easter holiday, I decided to whip up a batch of hot cross buns… these spicy orbs of golden delight take a bit of time to prepare, but the outcome is entirely worth the effort!
The standards for creating these little heartbreakers are flour, sugar, salt, some mixed spices [pumpkin pie spice works as well], yeast, butter, an egg, whole milk, water, raisins, currants, as well as lemon and orange zest!
Everything for the dough is combined in the mixer, minus the fruits and zests… After a good ten-twelve minutes of kneading in the mixer, the fruits and zests are added in until incorporated. Once combined, a layer of plastic wrap covers the dough and it’s off for a nap in a warm spot until the dough rises in volume…
The dough, once risen, is separated and rolled into mounds, then set aside to rise again. As soon as they have risen the second time, a cross is piped along the tops of each bun and it’s off to get baking!
As soon as the buns are golden, a quick brushing of a syrupy glaze is gently slathered over each to finish off these treasures!
Warm out of the oven with a spread of butter or preserves [or hell both] is the best way to enjoy… guaranteed these don’t make it until Sunday!

at a low simmer…




















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it’s a bit ‘chili’ in here…

So tonight I wanted something warm and hearty… something I don’t often venture into making… chili! This was not going to be a typical beef chili, but something with a slight edge to it.
I knew I had everything to whip up this stew-like concoction, so the mission began. I started by browning off hot and sweet bulk sausage. Once browned and gorgeous, into the pot went two spanish onions that I diced up. As soon as the onions became soft and a bit caramelized, in went a few cloves of garlic that I minced, along with some spicy green chilis! These all cooked together for a few minutes until the flavors started to marry.
After everyone was getting to know each other, in went cumin, ancho chili powder, cayenne pepper and salt [these are all to taste so go crazy or be gentle]… a quick stir to mix the spices and then one large can of crushed tomatoes and one large can of San Marzano tomatoes [these were puréed before I added them]. Another quick stir and as soon as the chili began to boil, then I dropped the heat to a simmer and put the lid on the pot. I let the chili cook for thirty-five minutes [twenty-five minutes into cooking I added a can of black beans…] Once cooking was finished, off the heat went in some chopped cilantro.
To plate up [or should I say bowl] this meal… some light and crisp tortillas, crème fraiche and extra sharp cheddar.
The flavors were intense… spicy, sweet, lemony and a touch acidic! This time two bowlfuls did just not satisfy…

at a low simmer…
















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looking forward…

It may be bitterly cold outside, but it is toasty warm inside. So with a hot cup of silky hot chocolate [all dolled up with a creamy dollop of whipped cream] in hand, I decided that in preparation for the new year and the idea of making many new and exciting recipes, I dug out some of my favorite old cookbooks and read up on some recipes that have not made it to my dinner table yet.
In addition, I thought of perhaps attempting a slight format change in regard to postings… rather than just talking about dinners and desserts, evenings out, etc., I am going to try and share candid shots of interesting elements that may appear when I visit specialty food markets, favorite kitchen supply stores, wine stores, farmers markets, as well as talking about seasonal fruits and veggies [and a recipe that goes along with each].
This will all be a gradual process, but the thought of trying to move in an exciting new direction makes me yearn to share even more with those who have all been there since the blog went live!
So with that I wish everyone a very Happy New Year and look forward to sharing with and hearing from everyone in 2013!

at a low simmer…

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Breakfast baking!

So when I woke up this am, I had a hankering for some warm, fresh muffins! What better to make a batch of than pumpkin muffins… After a surprise treat a few days ago of these same muffins from a dear friend who lives in my neighborhood, I just had to make a batch!
All it takes is flour, salt, pumpkin pie spice [be forewarned this stuff is NOT cheap], baking soda, sugar, eggs, olive oil [I got this little tip from my friend], orange juice and of course pumpkin!
All of the dry ingredients are sifted [minus the sugar] into a bowl, while the sugar and the wet ingredients are added to the standing mixer.
The wet ingredients were beaten until combined; then the dry was gently added in and mixed on low speed until just incorporated. Then a few go-arounds with the spatula to ensure we were good and nothing was unmixed!
Two lined muffin pans got ice cream scoopfuls of this heavenly scented batter, a quick smack on the counter and it was into the oven for a half hour. During the baking, the house filled up with an incredible scent of fall spiciness… the muffins were done once a toothpick came out clean!
Who could wait till they cooled down? Not us, we broke them open, while still warm and steaming…
Thank goodness this batch made twenty-four because we’re hooked!

at a low simmer…













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warm and gooey on the inside!!

While watching the news this morning, towards the end of the broadcast they happened to show a brief segment featuring one of my FAVORITE restaurants in NYC! The executive chef was on whipping up a stuffed French toast dish that looked sinful [and I’m all about sin]…
So I thought to myself I haven’t made stuffed French toast in quite a while and figured why not! So I made some minor tweaks to make it my own, as well as an adults only maple syrup…
I had a loaf of hearty bread that I picked up over the weekend and we all have the basics at home to make a super luxurious custard base to soak everything in.
I sliced up some thick pieces of the bread, made an incision and filled with peanut butter and raspberry jam. I placed the slices into a custard of heavy cream, cinnamon, good vanilla and eggs… I also added a little boozy stuff to the mix [there’s always booze at my party]!
Off to soak up and chill out in the fridge for a couple of hours [turning once] and it was time to butter a pan and toss these bad boys on to tan…
A dusting a powdered sugar and some homemade boozy maple syrup and we were in business! Buttery on the outside, warm and oozing on the inside with the perfect kick from the boozed up, hot maple syrup… You’re not finding this at your local diner!

at a low simmer…






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