to eat: Old-fashioned Brown Bread

September 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

In my fantasies of happiness, there are a few images that are ever-present: I live in the woods or on a farm or a combination of those two things. Just imagine the most beautiful house amongst the most beautiful landscape and you’ll know where I am. My hunky husband is likely building me something wood-like and useful or out hunting for our dinner or just generally being rugged. And I am taking a break from my (very productive) studio time to make old fashioned brown bread in our fabulously decorated, open-concept kitchen. We have chickens. And a garden. And vote NDP.

It may seem farfetched, but I can dream, can’t I? Anyways, while I wait for my Gosling-shaped-bison-catching-manz to come along, I’ll make bread, because I am a strong self-actualizing woman. Oh, did that sentence contradict itself? Let’s just focus on the recipe. I love this bread so much. It’s a little bit sweet and really hardy and is the perfect side to a festive fall soup:

Pour 3 1/3 cups of boiling water over one cup of oats (I’ve used instant and OFR and I couldn’t tell the difference). Add 1/2 a cup of cubed butter and 1/3 cup of molasses. Stir and let sit until room temperature (or until you get tired of waiting).

Add into a separate bowl: 3 1/2 cups of AP flour, 5 teaspoons of active dry yeast and 2 teaspoons of salt. Stir together. Slowly mix-in wet mixture, adding in more flour (up to two cups) until dough starts to form (basically until it stops sticking to your fingers). Knead out dough on a hard surface (so, like, not on your couch) for up to 8 minutes or until it feels elastic and forms into a nice ball. Grease ball with olive oil, cover with a cloth and let sit for one hour. When dough has risen, punch dough down and divide into two equal globs. Knead smaller portions for a few minutes and place into their baking tins. Cover and continue to let sit for half an hour. You can preheat your oven now (375 degrees F). Bake loaves for 30-45 minutes. Let cool (for a second) and consume with all the butter.

I forgot to take a picture of the finished product but it looks like brown bread. The best part of this recipe is that it makes two loaves, so you can give one to a friend. Believe me, they’ll be really impressed with you.

to eat: NY times chocolate chip cookie recipe

August 1, 2012 § 2 Comments

I’m not convinced a newspaper came up with this recipe. maybe they did. Do newspapers have cooks who come up with recipes for the masses? Regardless I’ve been referring to this recipe for years now and it is. da bomb.

no doubt.

It’s that sweet and salty chocolate chip cookie that you find in swanky coffee shops errwhere–the one “that everyone’s been talking about” and is basically the best.

I’m going to copy paste the recipe into this post and then add my comments in after.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Jacques Torres 

Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons

(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour

1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)

Sea salt.

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

Note: Disks are sold at Jacques Torres Chocolate; Valrhona fèves, oval-shaped chocolate pieces, are at Whole Foods.

Notes: I have never used the disks purely out of laziness. Where does one find such extravagancies?? I’ve also never used the two different types of flour because, well, that’s just a lot of different flours to have in one house. One day when I am grown I will indulge in a more varied selection of baking supplies, but for now good old All Purpose does me just fine. Sometimes I refrigerate the dough and sometimes I don’t and I think it does make a difference: cold dough= chewier. Also because I am just me, I freeze the dough in small batches so that I always have just a couple very fresh cookies to eat rather than a million stale ones. Oh yes, and the coarse salt part confuses me: How is it supposed to be sifted along with the flour when it’s all coarse-like? All this to say they come out very good all the same. Someone should make these by-the-book and tell us about it. And then bring me one.

Find this recipe and others over here

to eat: Best ever cupcake recipe

July 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Oh my. I just had the most magical cottage weekend: swimming, croquet, waterfront bike rides, dance parties, amazing food–just all the best things. I’ve been anti-photo recently, which actually just means that I don’t have a camera, so I have no visuals to show just how wondrous this weekend was.

Instead I have a recipe for you. And a story. The neighbour’s kids (whose whole family I want to kidnap… ok yeah, kidnap) decided that my friend’s dog Ellie was their new favourite dog (since their previous favourite had recently died) and that, unbeknownst to them, my friend and her family would be hosting a birthday party for Ellie (it was not Ellie’s birthday). So the kids invited all the neighbourhood dogs and their owners to this surprise party and even made loot-bags for all the dogs which included a homemade necklace, a cheesestring and a couple pieces of kibble. It was hilarious and adorable. Anyways their mum brought over these coconut cupcakes to the party that, I swear, were the best thing I’ve ever tasted (maybe not even hyperbole). Seriously, I don’t understand how anything could taste so good: so good I made sure to get the recipe before their family returned home the next morning. It’s a Barefoot Contessa recipe, whom I’ve heard is popular but have never used before. Her site isn’t easy to navigate  especially if you’re looking for a specific recipe, but this one was worth the search.

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