I'm a marmot, people! BTW, aren't I just cute as the dickens?
Nor does this word rhyme with the Dallas Cowboys football sensation from the early 80's.
Check out me and my bad self! I'm Tony Dorsett.
Hopefully the next few ideas will keep you from dinner drudgery. It has been a very good food week at our house. I realize that the new recipes I'm trying and posting aren't necessarily simple, but now and then it is fun to really channel your inner domestic goddess and create something fantastic. Yesterday was just such a day: it was amazing how much I was able to accomplish during a self-imposed no screen day. I'm not off to such an auspicious start today.
Rosemary-Lemon Artisan Bread
This recipe basically came from a Williams-Sonoma catalogue, but I added my own twist to speed it up a bit. The original proof time is 12-18 hours. Not happening. I didn't really make this as part of a meal, but it will go so well with my tomato soup at lunch time
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp rosemary (I used dry)
2 tsp chopped lemon zest
1 3/4 cups very warm water
Combine well all dry ingredients except cornmeal. Add water and stir until the dough is shaggy and stick. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest about six hours (if you do the full 12 hour proof here, reduce yeast to 1/4 tsp; it will be more of a sourdough type bread then). Place on lightly floured surface and turn a few times, allow some of the air to settle out and then loosely shape it into a ball on a cookie sheet or in a dutch oven and dust it with cornmeal. (I shaped mine in a snake because I wanted to bake it in a bundt pan.) Cover. Raise two more hours. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes, or 25 minutes if you use the bundt. Outside will be dark golden brown, inside will be soft and spongy.
This bread was great because it mixed together in about five minutes and doesn't have to be kneaded. You just need to give it time.
Plantboy's Yukon Gold Potato Wedges: Eureka!
8 Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 TBSP butter
2 TBSP olive oil
3 TBSP sprinkle Parmesan
2 TBSP chopped fresh herbs (your choice--basil, cilantro, parsley or oregano are probably your best bets.)
Plantboy washed (not peeled) the potatoes and cut them into steak fry sized wedges. If you haven't used YG's before, they have fantastic texture and lovely color. They are also slightly sweeter than a regular russet. He boiled them for three minutes and then shook them in a bag with the melted butter and olive oil, salt and pepper, cheese and half the herbs. Once shaken so everything is coated, transfer them to a med-high frying pan. Don't stir them too often, it will make them fall apart and keep them from browning nicely. When they are close to being quite crispy and brown on at least two sides, throw in the rest of the herbs and cook for just another minute or two. Not fancy, no, but oh. So. Good. This will serve four if you are all very polite and well-mannered. Otherwise, you might finish the pan on your own and then lick your fingers and the bottom of the dish too.
Plantboy made Greek food for Mother's Day and I had a container full of leftover tanziki sauce I wanted to use up. Usually I make way to much of this yogurty goodness and end up throwing a bunch a way. This week is officially "sandwich week" at House Jedi and so I decided to try something new. (Incidentally, this totally defeats the purpose sandwich week, which is to simplify and save money. Oh well.) This recipe is general. I just winged it. So just make how much ever you want for how many people you are feeding. How is that?
Our version of gyros had Plantboy drooling so hard that I don't think he could have been any happier even if it had been THIS woman serving up the Grecian goodness.
Does anybody else think I have an unnaturally large head? What do you mean nobody looks at my head? And while you are at it, PLEASE find me a doctor, for the love. Apparently bleeding out is the new sexy. Wait, tomato sauce? Are you sure? Oh, yummy.
Olives (we like the really low-brow canned kind. If you want to get all fancy and go for the super bitter or salty olive bar variety, be my guest.)
Tanziki Sauce (see below)
Fresh Mozzarella Marinade (see below)
Mix first four ingredients together with salt and pepper to taste and marinate chicken. I used chicken breasts and sliced them first (they were partially frozen.) Lemon juice is a fantastic addition to marinade because its acids help to tenderize the meat. Let it sit for at least two hours.
Cook marinated chicken however you want--bake, grill, fry pan. I fried my pieces because they were already small. Ideally I think grilling would be best, but not having a grill makes this difficult (not to mention it sends Plantboy into spasms of desire when he smells the heady aroma of mesquite rising from our neighbors' back yards.) When cooked, if you didn't do it before, thinly slice the meat.
Roast the red pepper. You do this by cutting a large red pepper in thirds and low broiling it a few inches away from the heating element until you start to see blisters form on the skin. Remove from oven and let them sit until they cool slightly. Peel the chewy skin away from the sweet, soft red goodness.
On the table of sammy fixin's, set warm pita bread, chopped olives, sliced cucumber and red onion, tanziki sauce, meat and mozzarella. If you don't have the patience or interest to do the mozzarella, you can skip it and do feta instead. I also think spinach would be fantastic in them, but I didn't have any. Layer the ingredients you like in any order on your pita bread, fold and enjoy. Bring a napkin.
1 cup plain yogurt
Juice of one lemon and 1/4 tsp zest if you like
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cucumber finely diced
Combine all ingredients--delicious on pita bread or with chicken.
2 TBSP fresh basil, chopped finely
2 tsp Balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP olive oil
Thinly slice mozzarella and layer on a plate. Sprinkle with basil and then drizzle with vinegar and oil. Cover with plastic and let it sit for at least an hour before serving. It is, incidentally, really yummy melted onto a piece of the lemon rosemary bread for breakfast.
Pumpkin Spice Cake With Ganache
This was my birthday cake this year because Plantboy's time was rather limited and I was not going to make a cake for myself. This cake is decadent and easy; there are very few ingredients (though they aren't cheap ingredients) and you don't have to wait for it to cool in order to frost it. I made two of these for the spaghetti auction and between the two they pulled in about 70 dollars. Are they worth $35 apiece? No way. But it is safe to say that whomever took these home and least got a fantastic dessert for their devotion to the Scouting program. My kids like it because when it is finished it looks like a huge chocolate donut.
1 spice cake mix
1 small can packed pumpkin (or half a large can)
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups semi or bittersweet chocolate chips
Mix first three ingredients until well blended. Batter will be VERY thick. Spread into a greased bundt pan and cook according to package directions for bundt pans, following the lowest cook time. Turn out cake onto large platter.
Heat heavy cream over low-medium heat, stirring continuously, until it is steaming a lot but not boiling (I'm sure there is either a term or a temperature for that, but what do you think I am? Paula Dean?) Turn off heat and immediately stir in chips. Stir and stir until it is all blended (you don't think it will work at first) and there are no lumps. Drizzle all but about 1/4 cup over warm cake. This cake is fantastic warm, but also very nice the next day for breakfast. Wait, did I just say that out loud?
It isn't my beloved red velvet cake that is my usual birthday special, but I am so grateful I didn't have to make it myself. Thanks Plantboy! And thanks to everyone who wished me a happy day a la Facebook. I haven't felt so loved in a long time.
Oh, if you are wondering, that extra 1/4 cup of ganache is for the strawberries you all having lurking in your fridge this time of year.