A couple words of recently accrued wisdom regarding the bread recipe from the last post.

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So.  Apparently when the authors of 'Artisan Bread in Five Minutes' caution you against putting the lid on your dough bucket tightly they mean it.  I kind of ignored that because I'm having a current battle royale against the fruit flies that are threatening my sanity.  Those nasty little buggies fly around all my food at all stages of preparation and I figured if I packed that lid on tight it would keep the creepies out.  It would appear now that it was a less than well thought out idea.   I would take a picture of what happened, but the only concrete result was temporary ringing in the ears and mild hearing loss when the lid EXPLODED off the top of the bucket.  When I say it exploded, I mean it.  Kind of like this...   BANG went the lid.  Rattle went my eyeballs.  Crash went the glass.  And the dough?  It just stayed put.   My kids came flying into the kitchen from outdoors yelling, "MOM!  WHAT was THAT?"   The percussive power of that bang was enough to knock over a glass sitting near it.  This glass, mercifully, did not break.  I am hoping that means there will be no more glass breakage around here for a while.  It was really funny, because no one was hurt and nothing was broken, but it was clear that it actually could've done damage to someone or something if the circumstances had been different.  So PLEASE do not put the lid tightly on your dough buckets, people!   ...Now, aside from the sheer excitement of things literally exploding in my … {Read on...}

Homemade English Muffins

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In last Monday's column for the Record-Eagle, I ran a recipe for Speed of Light English Muffins.  Due to the constraints of space, I was unable to go on and on and on about what I do with those English muffins.  Mercifully for my family, the unusal 'beneficiaries' of conversations about my culinary obsessions, I have this blog as an outlet.      English muffins have been one of my favorite bread forms since I can remember.  I like them pure- split with a little butter-, toasted, as a sandwich base, loaded with marmalade or jam, holding a poached egg and some hollandaise sauce, and just about anything else you can think of to do with it.  I've tried making English muffins many times over the years.  They were all decent, but they lacked that je ne sais quois that the perfect English muffin has;  the chewiness, the crust, the holes and 'nooks and crannies' to trap the melting butter and running warm jam.      A couple weeks ago, while gnoshing on bread from yet another successful experiment with the 'Artisan Bread in Five Minutes' dough, my husband tossed out an idea.      "Hey!  You should make English muffins with this dough.  I bet it'd be perfect," quoth he.  I have said before that my hubby is an Evil Genius, but it bears repeating.  His mind works unlike others and he has had brilliant ideas before, but this one was BRILLIANT!  (So brilliant that it requires all-caps and italics.)     I pulled out the muffin rings and the griddle and went to town … {Read on...}

Golden Cornbread Rounds

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I'd like us all to observe a moment of silence for the baking ignitor in my oven.  (Silence from me, but not the children.) Yes, that means my oven isn't working.  We've had the most glorious stretch of fall-like summer weather in my memory and I can't bake a loaf of bread in the oven.  But I'm not bitter. Well, alright, maybe I am a little bitter.  But I'm also creative and stubborn.  I wanted fresh bread, dang it, and I was going to make it happen.  My husband, the Evil Genius, recently added a toaster oven and a large electric griddle to our kitchen.  I've not yet 'connected' with the toaster oven.  I have some sort of bias against it.  Maybe some day I'll grow to love it.  But the griddle?  Where has it been all my life?  I can cook enough pancakes for everyone, a full pound of bacon, make French toast for a crowd, or make sausage and eggs for the whole family at the same time!  I decided, after a suggestion from the Evil Genius, that I could make English Muffins on the griddle.  (**This will be the subject of tomorrow's post!  Please come back for the skinny.) The English muffins were so good, so great, that I thought I just might give griddle cornbread- NOT griddle johnnycakes- a whirl. **I now interrupt my already rambling programme with a couple brief observations on cornbread.  It should be moist, and not at all sweet.  It should only be fit for stuffing after one day.  If there is any left after one day.  And most importantly?  My Grandma's cornbread is the … {Read on...}

Enough with the breaking glass already!

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You may remember my recurring glass breakage problem this summer.  It strikes again.  Sunday, after making a beautiful batch of cheese from fresh raw goat milk (obtained as a gift from a friend who keeps goats) I was walking back to the countertop with my bowl of cheese in my slippery hands.  To condense the story, I tripped, the bowl fell and shattered into millions of microscopic pieces all around my feet.  My feet that were clad in hole-dotted Crocs.  I had to stay put while one son yelled out the window to his Dad who was on a two-story, fully-extended ladder.  Hubby arrived to save the day, the glass cleanup took over an hour and I spent about another 30 minutes throughout the day removing bits of glass from my feet.  'Cause who knew broken glass might make it's way in through holes in your shoes?   Stylish, no?  Rainbow bright tie-dye socks and black orthopaedic Crocs?  I am on the cutting edge I tell you.       At least I wasn't wearing these!when the bowl shattered into a billion smithereens.  And those feet belong to my devastatingly cute almost 16 year old competitive gymnast sister.  Let's just say you should be thankful she's in the flip flops and I'm in the hiking sock/Croc ensemble. ...And we come to today.  More glass, more shattering, more sweeping and gingerly gathering shards- some big and some tiny- to carefully remove from the area where it can harm feet.  I had an epiphany that I thought I … {Read on...}

Ice Box Nutella and Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Sandwiches

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The secret  is this:  Almost everything is improved by the presence of Nutella.  You know the stuff, right?     I was first introduced to the creamy, hazelnutty, chocolately heaven-in-a-bottle way back in the day when I was an exchange student in La Belle France.  There was a bakery where you could actually bring your bread and have them spread it with Nutella for the equivalent of about fifty cents.  I loved France.   My kids, for better or for worse, are growing up with the omnipresent monster-sized jar of Nutella in the house.  Thankfully, our local(ish) warehouse store carries cranium sized jars of my favorite fix-it-all ingredient.    I think Nutella really can fix it all.  Got a cake or bowl of ice cream that needs pizzazz?  Warm a little Nutella up and drizzle over the top.  Oh my yes!  Out of butter, jam or marmalade for your toast?  Do I even need to say it?  Are you going somewhere last minute or having an impromptu play group at your house or having last minute company?    Try this quick frozen dessert that I make around here.  It's not fancy.  It's not polished.  But all that taken into account, I have never had someone refuse one of these.  I've also never had someone fail to nicely ask for seconds and/or eyeball the one their kid was eating and ask several times whether they really wanted to finish it.  Please try these.  I think you might even thank me.     Okie dokie.  The recipe below is for the Nutella Peanut Butter Graham … {Read on...}