American Sandwich Bread

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I’ve recently fallen in love with making my own bread.  This is partially because the long list of ingredients in store bought bread disturbs me.  What are all of those things?  And the loaves with simply flour, salt, milk and honey are ridiculously expensive.  I also started noticing my neighbor and friend, Michelle, who was always making delicious breads for our bible study.  She also introduced me a few months ago to my first loaf making experience. Thus started my interest in figuring out whether bread making was something I wanted to take on …. after reviewing my cooking bible (ie, new best recipes), I read about using the kitchen aid standing mixer for kneading the dough.  What a great idea!  In fact, NBR suggests using the kitchen aid over hand kneading, because of the temptation for adding too much extra flour when hand kneading the dough.  So today, I took a big plunge – pulled out the dough hook for my kitchen aid, and got to baking some bread!  I was surprised to find that it didn’t take all day long as I has expected (only 2 hours) and the amount of effort was minimal at best.  And, the outcome was really tasty!  I will definitely be making more bread like this!  Plus it makes your house smell yummy.

American Sandwich Bread

New Best Recipes

3 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the work surface
2 tsp salt
1 cup warm whole milk (about 110 degrees)
1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 tbsp melted butter, unsalted
3 tbsp honey
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast

1.  Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat oven to 200 degrees.  Once the oven temperature reaches 200, maintain the heat for 10 minutes and then turn the oven off.

2.  Mix 3  1/2 cups of flour and the salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Mix the milk, water, butter, honey, and yeast in a 4 cup liquid measuring cup.  Turn the machine to low and slowly add the liquid.  When the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and satiny, stopping the machine two or three time to scrape dough from the hook, if necessary, about 10 minutes.  (after 5 minutes of kneading, if the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add the remaining flour, 1 tbsp at a time and up to 1/4 cup total, until the dough is no longer sticky).  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead to form a smooth, round ball, about 15 seconds.

3.  Place the dough in a very lightly oiled large bowl; rubbing the dough around the bowl to coat lightly.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the warmed oven until the dough doubles in size, 40-50 minutes.

4.  Gently press the dough into an 8 inch square that measures 1 inch thick.  Starting with the side farthest away from you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks to itself.  Turn the dough seam side up and pinch it closed.  Place the dough seam side down in a greased 9 by 5 inch loaf pan and press it gently so it touches all four sides of the pan.  Cover with plastic wrap; set aside in a warm spot until the dough almost doubles in size, 20-30 minutes.

5.  Keep one oven rack at lowest position and place the other at the middle position, then heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place an empty baking pan on the bottom rack.  Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Pour the boiling water into the empty pan on the bottom rack and set the loaf on the middle rack.  Bake until an instant read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim into the center of the loaf reads 195 degrees, 40-50 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pan, transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature.  Slice and serve.

Rich Chocolate Truffle Pie

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***If you are on a diet, then you need to look away from this recipe
and picture right now. I’m serious. You probably just gained 5
pounds by glancing at it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you***

One of my favorite parts of having a baby is trying out all the fab
food people bring us for meals in the weeks that follow. This pie
recipe came from my friend Jen, who did warn me that it is full of
fat, but quite delicious and rich! Needless to say, I couldn’t wait
to try it out on my own. And it’s also super easy … next time I’m
going to buy an already made cookie pie crust instead of bothering
with my own crust, cutting the prep time on this down to just about
nothing. I chose to melt the chocolate and cream on the stove instead
of the microwave, and it worked out perfectly. In case you don’t feel
like there is enough cream in the recipe, you can top it like I did
with even MORE whipped cream and chocolate shavings. YUM! Now I
have to go run a few miles after blogging about this one … I no
longer can fit into my jeans.

Rich Chocolate Truffle Pie:
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Rich-Chocolate-Truffle-Pie/Detail.aspx

Ingredients

* 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
* 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
* 1/4 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 1 (9 inch) prepared chocolate cookie crumb crust (or a fully
cooked pie crust)

Directions

1. In microwave dish combine chocolate chips and 1/2 of the cream.
Cook on high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until
smooth. Cool to room temperature. Stir in sugar & vanilla. Set aside.
2. In small bowl, beat the rest of the cream until soft peaks form.
Beat in chocolate mixture on high speed 1/3 at a time. mix well and
spoon into crust.
3. Refrigerate at least 8 hours before serving.

Chicken Pot Pie

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Does anything sound more mouth watering on a chilly fall day then
this?!? I have searched many a cookbook for the best chicken pot pie
recipe. Despite my many efforts, the results usually end up not worth
the effort – either soggy topping, or too labor intensive … or bland
and tasteless. But finally, a recipe to win me over! This pot pie
was fantastic – tasty, delicious, and not TOO much trouble (although
it does require some time to put together). The bread topping is so
yummy, I could snack on the leftover bits for days. You absolutely
must try this one. Even Henry, my picky eater ate 3 helpings! And
doesn’t it look pretty cooked in the free baking dish I snagged
recently from One King’s Lane? (www.onekingslane.com)

Chicken Pot Pie
Cook’s Illustrated, Sept & Oct. 2010

Filling:

1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts and or thighs
3 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 med onion, chopped fine, about 1 cup
3 med carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices, about 1 cup
2 small celery ribs, chopped fine, about 1/2 cup
salt and pepper
10 oz of cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and caps wiped clean and slice thin
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp tomato paste
4 tbsp butter

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup flour
2 tsp juice from 1 lemon

3 tbsp fresh parsley

3/4 cup frozen baby peas

Crumble Topping:

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
6 tbsp butter, cut into 1/2 inch chunks and chilled
1 oz parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy cream

Directions:

1. For the Chicken: Bring chicken and broth to a simmer in covered
dutch oven over medium heat. Cook until chicken is just done, 8 to 12
minutes. Transfer cooked chicken to large bowl. Pour broth through
fine mesh strainer into liquid measuring cup and reserve. Do not wash
Dutch oven. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to upper middle position and
heat oven to 450 degrees.

2. For the Topping: Combine flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, anc
cayenne pepper in large bowl. Sprinkle butter over flour. Using
fingers, rub butter into flour mixture until it resembles cornmeal.
Stir in parmesan. Add cream and stir until ust combined. Crumble
mixture into irrgularly shaped pieces ranging from 1/2 to 3/4 inch
each onto parchment rimmed baking sheet. Bake until fragrant and
starting to brown, 10-13 minutes. Set aside.

3. For the Filling: Heat 1 tbsp oil in now empty dutch oven over med
heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrots, celery and 1/4 tsp salt,
1/4 tsp pepper, cover and cook stirring occasionally until just
tender, 5 to 7 minutes. While vegetables are cooking, shred chicken
into small bite sized pieces (using 2 forks to shred). Transfer
cooked vegetables to bowl with chicken, set aside.

4. Heat remainging tablespoon of oil in emtpy dutch oven over med
heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms; cover and cook, stirring
occasionally, until mushrooms have released their juices, about 5
minutes. Remove cover and stir in soy sauce and tomato paste.
Increase heat to med high and cook stirring frequently until liquid
has evaporated, mushrooms are well browned, and dark fond begins to
form on surface of the pan, about 5 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to
bowl with chicken and vegetables, set aside.

5. Heat butter in empty dutch oven, over med heat. When foaming
subsides, stire in flour and cook 1 minute. Slowly whisk in reserved
chicken broth and milk. Bring to simmer, scraping pan bottom with
wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, then continue to simmer until
sauce fully thickens, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and
pepper. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and 2 tbsp parsley.

6. Stir chicken vegetable mixture and peas into sauce. Pour mixture
into 13 by 9 inch baking dish or casserole dish of similar size.
Scatter crumble topping evenly over filling. Bake on rimmed baking
sheet until filling is bubbling and topping is well browned, 12 to 15
minutes. Sprinkle with parsely and serve!