Archive for the ‘Breads’ Category

Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Another rainy, windy, and chilly day called for some homemade bread. I tried a different recipe today. I just wanted a simple recipe that yielded one loaf because I didn’t have any of the extras that I typically put in my recipe. I tried this King Arthur Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread recipe.

Fresh out of the mixer and ready to rise.

Fresh out of the mixer and ready to rise.

031316 WW bread (2)

Shaped, proofed, and ready to bake.

Almost there!

Almost there!

Smells so good.

Smells so good.

I hope you had a great weekend. I’ve got quite the busy week ahead at work, it is time to get some sleep!

Seafood Stew

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Seafood Stew

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 to 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes
1 to 1 1/2 pounds fresh wild-caught seafood (I like cod or snapper, prawns, scallops)
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 or more large fresh thyme sprigs
1 large bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon (or more, to taste) red chili flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
Salt to taste
Chopped fresh thyme for garnish

Assemble and prepare all ingredients. Clean, trim, and chop the fennel into about 1/2-inch cubes. Rinse tomatoes and roughly chop into about 1-inch cubes. Rinse and pat dry fish and seafood, cut fillets into about 1-inch cubes.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy bottomed non-reactive pan. Saute the fennel over medium-high heat until it begins to caramelize a bit. Add fennel seeds and tomatoes, cover and simmer on low until the tomatoes soften and the sauce is heated through. This will take about 30 minutes or so. At this stage, I often puree the tomato and fennel mixture to make a more smooth sauce, but you can leave it as is or puree just a bit for a more rustic stew (as shown below).

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy bottomed non-reactive pan. Add the seafood and saute until it’s about half-way cooked through. Add the wine and cook about 5 to 10 minutes to cook down the wine a bit. Add the tomato-fennel sauce to the pan along with the fresh thyme, bay leaf, and chili flakes. Stir gently to combine.

Cover and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Season to taste with salt. If your sauce is too thin for your liking, add the tomato paste and stir gently to combine.

Remember to remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs before serving.

Serve with a good hearty brown rice, or on top of some freshly made homemade croutons. Garnish with a bit of feta cheese, if desired.

To serve, I like to place some homemade croutons (still warm from the oven is best!), sprinkle a little feta over the warm croutons, then ladle some stew over top. If I’m feeling decadent, I’ll add a little more feta and chopped fresh thyme on top as a garnish.

This makes about 4 servings.

I've been promising this recipe for a while, haven't I?

I’ve been promising this recipe for a while, haven’t I? This stew is light and healthy, but also hearty and satisfying. A bit of heat from the chili flakes lends a warm comfort. Apologies for the lousy picture, I assure you this tastes better than it looks in this photo.

Homemade Croutons

Day old bread – a good artisan bread is best
Good quality olive oil

Cut the bread into bite-sized cubes and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss well to combine.

Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven until they’re golden brown. You’ll want to give the pan a few shakes now and then, and turn the cubes with a spatula so they’ll cook evenly.

Remove from the oven and place the baking sheet on a cooling rack. Sprinkle the croutons with a little salt – be careful to not over salt.


Apple Oatmeal Muffins

Monday, November 16th, 2015

This recipe is based on this Apple Oatmeal Quickbread recipe. I made just a few changes.

Apple Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup non-fat Greek Yogurt, plain
1 cup whole oats
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large apple (about 2 cups diced apple – peeled or not, your choice)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a standard size muffin tin. You can line with muffin cups, or simply coat with some non-stick spray.

Mix together oats and yogurt. Set aside and allow to sit for 5 or more minutes.

Whisk together eggs, oil, turbinado sugar. Set aside.

Whisk together flours, soda, spices, and salt.

Dice apple and add to yogurt/oat mix.  Stir in the egg mixture and combine well.  Add dry ingredients and stir until well incorporated, but be careful to not overmix. This batter will be stiff.

Portion equally into prepared muffin tins and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.

Allow to cool briefly in muffin tins, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Enjoy warm!

Wholesome and comforting, warm and spicy.

Wholesome and comforting, warm and spicy.

The hearty whole grains and spicy warmth will fuel you for a chilly morning ride.



Rainy Day Breakfast

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

I don’t often eat eggs for breakfast, but when I do, they have to be perfect.

Fried Egg, Avocado, Homemade Focaccia

And this was perfect.

Happy Monday!

Sweet, Gentle Rain …

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

… makes for refreshing cycling!

Welcoming the much, much needed rain!

The rain is almost here!

I made it home just in time to enjoy the sweet, gentle rain from inside. Although, when properly attired, I do enjoy cycling in a gentle rain. It’s refreshing!

This weather has me wanting to make a spicy seafood stew and some homemade bread. Mmm … doesn’t that sound good? I’ve got the base for the stew started and some focaccia dough rising.

The stew is a simplified version of this cioppino recipe.

Enjoy your Sunday! I hope you have the chance to ride and/or relax today.

Best Pizza Yet

Monday, October 26th, 2015

I rode just shy of 100 miles this weekend: 64 miles on Saturday and 30 something today. The original plan for today was to do another 60 or more miles, but my cycling partner had one flat and 3 blowouts. So that cut today’s ride a bit short, but made it a more intense ride.

Stopping to fix a flat ...

Yesterday I made pizza dough and today pizza. Everything was entirely from scratch: the crust, spicy turkey sausage, and the tomato fennel sauce.

Homemade From Scratch!

Blogging from the phone is fun, but it is also kind of a pain. So hard to see on this tiny screen!

New Year Tradition – Lentil Soup

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Legend has it that lentils will bring good health and prosperity in the New Year. How convenient that we just happened to have a bone-in ham for Christmas! I’ve got my batch of lentil soup on the stove right now and it will be ready later today.

I sort of followed the recipe on the bag of lentils, but mostly improvised. I didn’t quite have enough stock, so I used some dry white wine for part of the liquid. I don’t like canned tomatoes, so I used fresh heirloom cherry tomatoes. All of the measurements below are approximate. Normally I would add an onion or shallots, but I didn’t have any on hand (shocking!), so they’re omitted from this recipe.

Lentil Soup - a family tradition for good luck, health, and prosperity for the New Year!

Lentil Soup

2 pounds lentils
1 tablespoon oil (I like avocado or olive oil)
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup diced lean ham (optional)
1 ham bone*
1-2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
2-3 cups dry white wine
8-10 cups chicken stock (low sodium)

Prepare the lentils – spread the dry lentils out over a kitchen towel and check to make sure there are no pebbles or sand in them. Next, place the lentils in a colander and rinse with cool water. Set aside.

In a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. If you’re using onion or shallots, saute them a bit first, then add the carrots and celery. Saute the carrots and celery to soften a bit. If you’re adding the additional diced ham, add it now and saute a bit with the vegetables. Add the wine and increase the heat to bring to a gentle boil.

Add the ham bone, sliced tomatoes, and lentils; give a good stir. Pour in 8 cups of stock, stir well. Cook on medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook on low heat until the lentils are tender. You’ll want to stir the soup every 30 minutes or so and if necessary, add the additional stock. After about 2 hours, the soup will be ready to eat, but I usually cook it longer (3-4 hours) because I like the lentils more well done.

* For the ham bone … if you’ve recently cooked a bone-in ham, you’ll want to save the bone for making soup like this. If you don’t have a leftover ham bone, then you can use 3-4 ham hocks. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that ham hocks will add more fat to this recipe. They’ve got great flavor, but they are loaded with fat. If you don’t have a ham bone and don’t want to use ham hocks, Trader Joe’s makes a Smoked Chicken Apple Chardonnay Sausage that would also be good in this soup. Just dice it, saute it in place of the ham, and there you go.

You could also make this vegetarian by omitting the ham and using vegetable stock. Oooh, you could use Shiitake mushrooms to give a bit of meaty texture. Adding a bit of brown rice or barley would round out the protein in a vegetarian version, also.

Oh, the possibilities!

This soup tastes even better the next day, and it freezes well, so make a big pot today – just in time for the New Year. Enjoy!

Serving suggestion ... serve with homemade biscuits.

Here’s an idea … take your favorite biscuit recipe, add a handful of shredded Parmesan, Asiago, and/or Romano cheeses, and some chopped fresh herbs. Simple, easy additions are often the best!

Thyme Fennel Pizza Dough

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Thyme Fennel Pizza Dough

It’s an almost rainy Sunday and that’s got me in the mood to make some bread. Pizza has been requested, so …

To make this dough, use your favorite pizza dough recipe. Simply add about a teaspoon of fresh thyme and a teaspoon or two of fennel seeds towards the end of the kneading. You’ll want to crush the fennel seeds a bit in a mortar and pestle first. Remember that the seeds will soak up some water, so make your dough a little extra wet to compensate for that.

Here are a couple of my pizza dough recipes from previous posts:

These are some of my variations of Michael Chiarello’s  Piadine Dough, from from The Tra Vigne Cookbook.

Now it’s time to get out on the bike and grab a quick ride. I have waaay too much stuff I need to get done.

7 Days & Counting!

Monday, April 28th, 2014

The Napa Valley Tour de Cure is almost here! I was hoping for better weather this weekend so I could get in one last long ride before the big day, but it was breezy, breezy, breezy here in Davis. I got in a decent ride yesterday, 65.1 miles, but just 16.1 miles today. It never really rained today, but there were a few sprinkles on our ride so we cut it short.

Scenes from Saturday's ride

Scenes from Saturday's ride

Today was about resting up from a crazy busy couple of weeks. An easy ride was just right.

A day in the kitchen was productive and fun. I did a little baking to share. The cloudy weather had me in the mood to bake some bread and what could be better than some healthy, hearty homemade Multigrain Bread? Whole Wheat with Pumpernickel, Millet, & Oat …

Shaped, Proofed, Scored, and Ready to Bake

Just out of the oven ...

Cooled and sliced ...

I love this recipe. It’s based on the Tassajara Bread Book recipe. This was my first bread book and I highly recommend it for any level of baker. The level of detail in the instructions is terrific if you’re just learning how to make bread. For the more advanced baker, the variations provide loads of inspiration.

Dinner was a salad of greens, apple, goat cheese, toasted pecans, proscuitto, & honey mustard dressing (homemade, of course!), with grilled pork loin chops (marinated in a little olive oil, thyme, and rosemary), and roasted yams and potatoes. The pork was beautiful (some of the most perfect grill marks I have ever seen), but the photos did not turn out well.


Roasted Yams & Apples

There may have been a few cookies coming out of the oven yesterday, too, and they’ll all be going to good homes on today.

Dark Chocolate & Cherry

Lemon & White Chocolate

Well, it’s getting to be just light enough outside to grab a quick pre-work ride, so off I go.

Here’s wishing you a delicious day!


Lovely Full Moon Walk This Morning

Friday, January 17th, 2014

I was all packed up and ready to hit the gym this morning, but as soon as I walked outside, I knew I had to be outside and not cooped up inside at the gym!

Morning Full Moon

Morning Walk in Davis

I don't know. I just really like this picture ...

... and this one, too.

Today would have been an ideal day to ride. I wish I could have! I hope to get at least a little riding in this weekend, but life is a little crazy right now and I’ve got some family stuff I need to take care of. If nothing else, I’ll be dreaming of cycling. If you ride this weekend, could you please ride a few miles for me, too?

Time to get back to cooking dinner (Irish Cheddar Ravioli with pesto, with broccolini, crimini mushrooms, and artichoke hearts.

I’ve got a loaf of Banocha Oat Bread in the oven – I’ve been promising to bake something for work, so this is for tomorrow!