Happiness Is Warm Bread

Happiness Is Warm Bread

Happiness is warm bread . . . fresh from the oven. Focaccia made with fresh rosemary, straight from the garden is out of this world!Rosemary from the garden

Pure and simple ingredients:

  • yeast
  • flour
  • olive oil
  • fresh rosemary
  • a teaspoon of sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • water

Focaccia Baking Tips:

  • When baking a yeast bread, the most important rule to remember is the liquid does not exceed 110ºF, because it will kill the yeast!
  • Mix in a Kitchen Aid mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  • All-purpose flour is suitable for focaccia.
  • Pat the dough out on jelly roll pan a silicone baking mat, cover with a clean dish towel, rise for about 1 hour and bake.
  • Serve with best quality Balsamic Vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

Happiness is warm bread. If you have been dreaming of baking homemade yeast bread . . . this is the recipe for you!

Focaccia

A delicious bread - great for beginner bakers or experienced bakers. It's so easy to make that we enjoy focaccia with daily family meals!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups water (110ºF.)
  • 2 1/4 t. fresh yeast
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • 3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 T. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 T. coarse salt

Serve with plenty of Balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil!

Instructions

  1. Proof the yeast! In a 2-cup Pyrex® liquid measuring cup, stir the yeast with into the water and sugar; set aside for 5 to 10 minutes; until the mixture bubbles.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the flour, salt, olive oil, rosemary, and yeast mixture. Mix everything until it is thoroughly mixed. Leave it in a warm, draft-free place for one hour.

  3. Preheat oven to 440ºF

  4. Place the dough on a silicone baking mat, placed on a jelly roll pan. Flatten the dough out into an oval shape about 1" thick. Press your fingers into it to leave little holes everywhere. Drizzle with olive oil, chopped rosemary and salt and cover with a clean dish towel; set aside for 20 minutes.

  5. Bake in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown.

  6. Serve with balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil.

  7. Enjoy!

Enjoy Life Eat Chocolate

Enjoy Life Eat Chocolate

Enjoy life eat chocolate! Chocolate Meringue Pie made with a creamy, chocolate filling and mile-high meringue will be enjoyed by friends and family!

Tips for easy pie baking:

  • It’s easier to fit baking into a busy schedule by baking the pie crust the day before you make and serve the pie.
  • Homemade or store-bought pie crust is good.
  • Before you begin, read through the recipe a couple of times.
  • Before you begin baking, measure all of the ingredients.
  • Before you begin baking, gather all of the kitchen equipment.

Tips for mile-high meringue:

  • Separate egg yolks and whites when they are cold.
  • Egg whites should be room temperature for the greatest volume.
  • Beat the egg whites until frothy, add the cream of tartar and salt; continue beating until soft peaks form; begin adding the sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time until the egg whites are stiff and glossy.
  • Spread the meringue to the edges of the pie crust, on all sides of the pie, otherwise it will shrink!
  • Six egg whites is the secret to mile-high meringue!

Enjoy life eat chocolate!

Chocolate Meringue Pie

Here's a pie with a creamy, chocolate filling topped with mile-high meringue. Whip it up for your friends and family. The presentation is beautiful. And they will enjoy every last bite!

Ingredients

  • 1 baked pie crust
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2.5 cups 2% or whole milk
  • 3 squares unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 T. unsalted butter
  • 1 t. vanilla extract

Meringue: 6 room temperature egg whites, 1/2 t. cream of tartar, 1/4 t. salt and 3/4 cup sugar *See tips for mile-high meringue in the "Enjoy Life Eat Chocolate" post!

Instructions

  1. Prepare pie crust; cool. This may done the day before.

  2. Preheat oven to 400ºF.

  3. In a 2-quart saucepan set over low heat stir together the sugar, flour, and salt; stir in the milk.

  4. Cook mixture stirring constantly. Add the chocolate; raise the heat to medium continue cooking until mixture boils and thickens (about 10 minutes).

  5. In a small bowl, briefly whisk the egg yolks; add a small amount of the chocolate mixture, whisk together and return to the mixture to the saucepan.

  6. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until very thick. At this point, do not boil!

  7. Remove from heat, stir in butter and vanilla.

  8. Pour into baked pie crust. Top with meringue. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes in preheated oven until lightly browned. Watch carefully!

  9. *Meringue pies are best served on the day they are made.

Genuine Food For The Soul

Genuine Food For The Soul

Genuine food for the soul is homemade chicken noodle soup. There’s just something about a pan of slowly simmering soup on the stove . . . lets everyone know that dinner is in the works. And before long we gather around the kitchen table for nourishment and share the highlights of our day. Simple times!

Some of my favorite soups:

  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Wild Rice Soup
  • Minestrone
  • Shrimp Gumbo
  • Gazpacho
  • Creole Corn Chowder
  • Chile Bean Soup
  • Lentil Soup
  • Tortilla Soup – Thanks, Dean Fearing!
  • Texas Black Bean Soup

Quick Chicken Stock made with the high quality ingredients will produce a better quality chicken noodle soup. Drop by Stocks & Bondy, located in the Dallas Farmers Market, and purchase all sorts of homemade stocks and broths.

My favorite egg noodles are available at Kuby’s.

Today, I am making Chicken Noodle Soup. It’s genuine food for the soul!Chicken Noodle Soup

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Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup is delicious all throughout the year. It is best made with homemade chicken stock but if you are in a pinch, drop by Stocks & Bondy at the Dallas Farmer's Market and pick up their homemade stock!

Ingredients

  • 1 - 2 pounds chicken breast
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups egg noodles
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken in a large pot. Cover with water, add the onion and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat, continue to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the chicken, cool, cut the meat into bite-size pieces, and set aside.

  2. Add the chicken stock, carrots, celery, and egg noodles to a large soup pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, cook for 10 minutes.

  3. Add the corn and chicken. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

  4. Season with salt and pepper. Serve!

Creating A Self-Sufficient Kitchen

Creating A Self-Sufficient Kitchen

Creating a self-sufficient kitchen begins with making stocks. They are the very foundation of delicious soups, sauces, and other dishes. With so many brands of store-bought stocks, it’s easy to rely on them. But remember . . . a good soup is produced with the best quality ingredients!

By now, you might be concerned that you don’t have enough time for such an endeavor. As we know . . . the traditional methods of making stocks can be time-consuming. However, if you happen to own a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot you are in luck. This is a great way to use them!Chicken Stock Ingredients

Creating a self-sufficient kitchen starts with the best, local ingredients:

  • chicken wings
  • carrots
  • celery
  • onion
  • bunch of parsley
  • a handful of peppercorns
  • thyme
  • bay leaf

Equipment:

Cool the stock, pour into containers, and label. It will keep for several days in the refrigerator or several months in the freezer.Chicken Stock

Quick Chicken Stock

Easy and delicious - your soups will take on a whole new depth of flavor!

Ingredients

  • 2 - 2 1/2 pounds chicken pieces, such as wings
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

Bouquet Garni: 1/2 bunch parsley, 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, fresh thyme, bay leaf,

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients to the pressure cooker.

  2. Cover with water - being careful not to fill past the "fill line."

  3. Bring to a boil; skim thoroughly.

  4. Set the pressure cooker lid in place.

  5. Bring up to pressure; steam for 20 minutes. Do not steam for over 20 minutes because the extra flavors will reduce the quality.

  6. Before removing the lid, allow the pressure to return to normal. See the manufacture's directions!

  7. Cool to room temperature.

  8. Pour the contents through a sieve set over a Pyrexº liquid measuring cup.

  9. Pour into containers, label, and freeze. Never freeze a stock that has not cooled completely! Stocks may be kept for several days in the refrigerator or several months in the freezer.

 

When Life Gives You Lemons

When Life Gives You Lemons

When life gives you lemons make lemon meringue pie. Made with pure and simple ingredients . . . it is deliciously soothing!Serving Lemon Meringue Pie

“Besides chocolate, the longest entry in many cookbook indexes is for lemons.” – Laurie Colwin

Tips for the lemon filling and crust:

  • Thin skinned lemons are the juiciest.
  • Blind bake the crust and cool before baking.
  • Avoid extra cleanup time. Add a baking sheet to the oven to catch the drips.
  • A homemade pie crust is best. However, if you are in a pinch a store-bought crust will be just fine!
  • Temper the egg yolks – this is an easy step. Whisk in a bit of the hot lemon juice/sugar mixture to the eggs, then return them to the pan. Continue cooking over medium-low heat until thickened. Do not boil add this point!
  • For extra lemon flavor, add lemon zest to the filling!

Tips for the meringue:

  • When separating the eggs, be sure that not one speck of the egg yolks gets into the egg whites.
  • Use a dry, clean, without a trace of fat bowl to beat the egg whites.
  • Make the meringue with room temperature egg whites(the volume is greater with room temperature egg whites).
  • To avoid weeping, spread the meringue over a piping hot lemon filling. The eggs will begin to cook immediately.
  • Spread the meringue all the way to the edges of the pie so that it doesn’t shrink.

When life gives you lemons . . . make lemon meringue pie. Here’s a recipe for happiness!Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Pies or cakes? Lemon or chocolate? If it's pies and lemons, then this is for you!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp. butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest

Meringue Topping: 5 egg whites(room temperature), 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar, 1/4 tsp. salt, 3/4 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.

  2. In a heavy saucepan stir to combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.

    Whisk in the water and lemon juice.

    Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches a boil.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Add about 1/2 cup of the hot lemon/sugar mixture to the eggs. Whisk together. Then return to the hot mixture in the pan. Continue cooking until the mixture is thick(do not boil).

  4. Remove from heat. Add the butter and lemon zest; whisk together. Cool to lukewarm.

  5. Pour into the blind baked pie crust. Immediately spread the meringue over filling. Be sure to spread to the pie crust edges.

  6. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, until golden brown.

    At this point, stand by the oven door and check the pie frequently! Barely open the oven door and check your pie. The meringue will look perfect one minute and can burn two minutes later.

  7. Cool in a draft free place for 2 - 3 hours before serving.

  8. Enjoy!

 

Growing Up In Louisiana

Growing Up In Louisiana

Growing up in Louisiana, I made cornbread for dinner just about every night. Now that I live in Dallas, Texas – the original cornbread recipe morphed into Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins!

With some pure and simple ingredients added . . . I’m making delicious, moist Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins with a little kick. The key ingredient, jalapenos are the official state pepper!

Here’s my favorite muffin tin!

Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

These Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins are moist and yummy! Because they are so delicious and easy to make, you don't need to save them for the weekends. They are best served with weekday dinners!

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Cornmeal
  • 1 Cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 1/4 Cups Buttermilk
  • 3/4 Cups Corn oil
  • 2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Cup Fresh corn kernels
  • 1 Cup Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1/4 Cup Jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

  2. Grease muffin tins with nonstick vegetable oil spray; set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

  4. In a small bowl, add the oil, buttermilk, eggs; whisk until blended.

  5. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir to combine.

  6. To the cornbread mixture, add the corn, cheese, and jalapenos; stir until all is combined.

  7. Fill each muffin tin approximately 3/4 full. Place in preheated oven and bake for 18 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

  8. Serve with plenty of butter!