Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Daring Bakers Challenge #1, Continued

My apologies for the delay! I was in Bismarck after thanksgiving and had to use my in-laws internet connection.

I truly enjoyed this challenge because since I was a teenager, I enjoyed doing things the hard way- no shortcuts. I remember an especially bad decision to make puff pastry from scratch and another one attempting truffles with whole milk instead of cream... Bad, bad, bad.
I'd like to try this recipe again, mainly because I'd like to improve it. Right before I rolled up the dough, I sprinkled on basil and garlic powder. My crusts turned out quite tough and the inside was not dense at all. I also live 6500 feet above sea level, I'm not sure if that had something to do with it. I made 2 medium loaves and a few rolls on the side.

Tender Potato Bread

Makes 1 large tender-crumbed pan loaf and something more; one 10X15 inch crusty yet tender foccacia, 12 soft dinner rolls, or a small pan loaf

4 medium to large floury (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks variety of potatoes you might want to use would include Idaho, Russet & Yukon gold
4 cups water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
6 ½ cups to 8 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 cup whole wheat flour

Put the potatoes and 4 cups water in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and cook, half covered, until the potatoes are very tender.
Drain the potatoes, SAVE THE POTATO WATER, and mash the potatoes well. I have a food mill I will run my potatoes through to mash them.

Measure out 3 cups of the reserved potato water (add extra water if needed to make 3 cups). Place the water and mashed potatoes in the bowl you plan to mix the bread in – directions will be for by hand. Let cool to lukewarm – stir well before testing the temperature – it should feel barely warm to your hand. You should be able to submerge you hand in the mix and not be uncomfortable.

Mix & stir yeast into cooled water and mashed potatoes & water and let stand 5 minutes.
Then mix in 2 cups of all-purpose flour and mix. Allow to rest several minutes.
Add yeast to 2 cups all-purpose flour and whisk. Add yeast and flour to the cooled mashed potatoes & water and mix well. Allow to rest/sit 5 minutes.

Sprinkle on the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and the softened butter; mix well. Add the 1 cup whole wheat flour, stir briefly.
Add 2 cups of the unbleached all-purpose flour and stir until all the flour has been incorporated.
At this point you have used 4 cups of the possible 8 ½ cups suggested by the recipe.
Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, incorporating flour as needed to prevent sticking. The dough will be very sticky to begin with, but as it takes up more flour from the kneading surface, it will become easier to handle; use a dough scraper to keep your surface clean. The kneaded dough will still be very soft.
As a beginner, you may be tempted to add more flour than needed. Most/many bread recipes give a range of flour needed. This is going to be a soft dough. At this point, add flour to the counter slowly, say a ¼ cup at a time. Do not feel you must use all of the suggested flour. When the dough is soft and smooth and not too sticky, it’s probably ready.
Place the dough in a large clean bowl or your rising container of choice, cover with plastic wrap or lid, and let rise about 2 hours or until doubled in volume.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently several minutes. It will be moist and a little sticky.
It is at this point you are requested to Unleash the Daring Baker within. The following is as the recipe is written. You are now free to follow as written or push it to a new level.
Divide the dough into 2 unequal pieces in a proportion of one-third and two-thirds (one will be twice as large as the other). Place the smaller piece to one side and cover loosely.

To shape the large loaf:
Butter a 9X5 inch loaf/bread pan.
Flatten the larger piece of dough on the floured surface to an approximate 12 x 8 inch oval, then roll it up from a narrow end to form a loaf. Pinch the seam closed and gently place seam side down in the buttered pan. The dough should come about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 35 to 45 minutes, until puffy and almost doubled in volume.

To make a small loaf with the remainder:
Butter an 8 x 4 inch bread pan. Shape and proof the loaf the same way as the large loaf.

To make rolls:
Butter a 13 x 9 inch sheet cake pan or a shallow cake pan. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball under the palm of your floured hand and place on the baking sheet, leaving 1/2 inch between the balls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 35 minutes, until puffy and almost doubled.

To make focaccia:
Flatten out the dough to a rectangle about 10 x 15 inches with your palms and fingertips. Tear off a piece of parchment paper or wax paper a little longer than the dough and dust it generously with flour. Transfer the focaccia to the paper. Brush the top of the dough generously with olive oil, sprinkle on a little coarse sea salt, as well as some rosemary leaves, if you wish and then finally dimple all over with your fingertips. Cover with plastic and let rise for 20 minutes.
Place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles, if you have them, if not use a baking/sheet (no edge – you want to be able to slide the shaped dough on the parchment paper onto the stone or baking sheet and an edge complicates things). Place the stone or cookie sheet on a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450°F/230°C. Bake the flat-bread before you bake the loaf; bake the rolls at the same time as the loaf.
Dust risen loaves and rolls with a little all-purpose flour or lightly brush the tops with a little melted butter or olive oil (the butter will give a golden/browned crust). Slash loaves crosswise two or three times with a razor blade or very sharp knife and immediately place on the stone, tiles or baking sheet in the oven. Place the rolls next to the loaf in the oven.

Bake rolls until golden, about 30 minutes.
Bake the small loaf for about 40 minutes.
Bake the large loaf for about 50 minutes.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ok, I've been meaning to do my Thanksgiving post since the beginning of November and here it is on Thanksgiving night and I only have time to do a dinky post. As most of you know, I have blessings coming out of my ears. I have wonderful parents, 2 great brothers and a lovely sister. I have sweet in-laws and a great relationship with them. We have a house and 2 vehicles and God has met our every need and most of the wants. I even have a Dyson. We have never missed a mortgage payment and we have no credit card debt. We are members of the most amazing church family. I have Christmas lights on my house. We even went to Hawaii this year. We have 3 beautiful, healthy children. I have a husband that I don't deserve. Jesus died for me and I am God's adopted child. It takes my breath away to list all I have to be thankful for. And I truly don't deserve any of it.

I'm not into Christian t-shirts, but I saw on the other day that was different. It said, "I'm the wretch in the song" referring to the hymn Amazing Grace. You don't hear that often in this day and age where popular culture tells you that you "deserve" everything. If you deserve anything you want, why be thankful? I'm here to tell you that I'm the wretch and I don't deserve anything I have. Especially the fact that my sins have been paid for. It's all grace. 100% Grace. And I'm very thankful.

(I must go to bed now~ I'm one of those crazies that is going shopping tomorrow morning at an obscene hour in 13 degree weather to save Christmas money.)

I'm thankful for this guy

and these knuckleheads.

Just when you think you can't take anymore, here I am with another recipe.

I've never been overly fond of cranberry sauce. But then again, I'd never made it myself before yesterday. Now, I'm wondering why anyone buys it from a can, because it is so good and so easy. I've also discovered that I really, really like it warm.

Mandie's Mind-Changing Cranberry Sauce

12oz fresh cranberries
1 C. sugar
1 orange

Using a peeler or a zester, zest your orange into long strips. Place the cranberries and the sugar in your saucepan and squeeze the juice from the orange over the cranberries. Add the zest. Stir often and boil until the cranberries pop, about 10- 15 minutes. That's it! So easy! Try it warm. Yum-o, Cait!

I've gotta go to bed. Ciao!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Baking Day

Brine your Turkey!

1C. Kosher salt 1Tbsp. Black Peppercorns
1/2 C. brown sugar 1/2 Tbsp allspice berries
1 gallon vegetable stock 1/2 Tbsp candied ginger
1 gallon ice water

Combine ingredients (except water) in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids and remove from heat then cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Refrigerate turkey in brine for 6 hours. (This year, we have an (almost) 18 pound tom and it will be spending the night in the brine in one of those XL Ziploc BigBags in the fridge in the garage.)

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Rinse brine off bird and pat dry. Roast in your pan for 30 minutes or until golden brown on the lowest rack in your oven.
Reduce heat to 350. Roast until bird reaches 161 degrees. (2- 2 .5 hours) Let the turkey rest before carving.

Prep Day

I love prep day! Just like the day before company comes, I can spend the day happily cooking away because all the culinary deadlines are tomorrow. Today we'll be making the cranberry sauce, pie filling, dinner roll dough, and my beloved turkey brine (more about that later), and a few more surprises.

In other news, I ventured into Bed Bath and Beyond today which really was almost too much for me to withstand. They had all the brushed stainless and anodized aluminum (my weakness) by the customer service counter and the other places I had to check out in the store. I only had to pick up one thing (non-turkey related) and though the siren songs were loud, I managed to resist this and this and this (*swoon*). My eyes were still glossed over as I walked back to the car, but my wallet was still intact. If I had a drug, Bed, Bath and Beyond would be it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

a sad week

One of my dear friends suffered a heart attack that fatally damaged her heart last Friday afternoon. On Sunday afternoon, she entered into glory and went to be with Jesus. She has a husband and 7 children, the youngest is 2 weeks old. There really aren’t any words to speak right now. My heart is so heavy ~ I’ve been searching for words, but I find myself stuttering. She was such a dear woman and I had so much to learn from her. I considered her one of the “busy moms” ~ like me. I feel like she had so much more work to do, like raise her children and see them grow physically and in sanctification. To see them get married. To see her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. To grow old with her husband. But God knows better than I do.

Things like this make you stop and think about why you’re living. In the light of death and eternity, it’s been much easier to identify sin in our lives~ selfishness, materialism, unkindness. Life is too short to argue with the people you love. This has made me so thankful every morning for the opportunity to kiss my husband and hug my children. To begin a new day. To teach my kids about the important things, and most importantly to teach them to repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation. If you trust in anyone or anything else, you are trusting in yourself.

Please pray for the Searcy family, especially the children. The support of our church poured into the Searcy family proves to me to what extent my own family would be taken care of if anything should happen to me. Many, many meals have been brought to them, and the nursing moms of the church have been pumping milk for the sweet new baby (again, 2 weeks old) because formula makes her sick. People have opened their homes. Families in the church have stepped up like never before. We pray that his will be a witness of God's goodness through hardship to many many people. Only, I wish this was some sort of "loving the brethren" fire drill. I wish she hadn't really passed. It all happened so quickly. I weep not for my friend, but for her children and her husband, her parents ~those that were there in the hospital to say goodbye to their mother, wife, daughter. And still we know that God will supply their needs and comfort them with that mysterious "peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension" Philippians 4:7.

Isaiah 61:1-3
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted"..."to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified".

Monday, November 12, 2007

I really like this one...

New Perspective

""I was the lion." And as Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice continued. "I was the lion who chased you and forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile, so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you. "
"Then it was you who wounded Aravis?"
"It was I."
"But what for?"
"Child," said the Voice, "I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own."
"Who are you?" asked Shasta.
"Myself," said the voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook, and again, "Myself", loud and clear and gay: and the third time "Myself", whispered so softly so that you could barely hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all around you as if the leaves rustled with it.
Shasta was no longer afraid that the Voice belonged to something that would eat him, nor that it was the voice of a ghost. But a new and different sort of trembling came over him. Yet he felt glad, too."

~The Horse and His Boy

Friday, November 09, 2007

Last Chance

I'll make it short, but tonight is the last night to order from my Pampered Chef show. List "Mandie Giedd" as the hostess, and get 20% Simple Additions serving pieces! Here's the link!

the Martha in Me

Yes, I had the table set yesterday...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Kitchen Skating

Our girl loves to wear tights so she can "skate" in the kitchen.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

From my Sweetie

Tim brought home a beautiful surprise the other day for me...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hot Fudge

Best, Easiest Hot Fudge Sauce Ever

I think this might be the best hot fudge we've made yet. Goes great with ice cream or fruit (or a spoon!)

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In heavy saucepan, over medium heat, melt chips and butter with sweetened condensed milk and water. Cook and stir constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla. Serve warm over ice cream or as fruit dipping sauce. Refrigerate leftovers.

I would post a picture, but it doesn't last long enough around here to get one taken...
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