Sunday, September 02, 2012

Kalamata Olive, Sun-dried tomato, and Feta Bread

A friend of mine, who is a great baker, sent me this recipe that she adapted from a clipping that she cut out of the Chicago Tribune in 1994. She's getting ready to move and discovered it when cleaning out her files. She had kept it for 15 years but never tried it (just how many of us have recipes lying around for decades that we've never tried?) The recipe from the clipping was from The Bread Book by Betsy Oppenneer.
I just made half of the recipe but I was really sorry that I didn't make the full batch because this is such a delicious bread with a lot of interesting flavors, a nice soft crust, and a powerful aroma that was even present upon opening the loaf up the next morning. It made my whole kitchen smell like a bakery.
400 g water
14 g instant yeast
625 g bread flour (I used KA--you might need a little more flour depending on how wet your olives and tomatoes are)
42 g dried milk powder
18 g sugar
7 g salt
1 egg, beaten
180 g pitted Kalamata olives, cut in half or thirds (I used a drained 6.5 oz. jar of TJs)
8 oz. julienned sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained (can use reconstituted dry pack if you prefer; I used an 8.5 oz. of TJs julienned sun-dried tomatoes)
25 g chopped fresh parsley (fresh basil would also be delicious)
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
Egg wash
Combine water, yeast, flour, dry milk, sugar, egg, and salt in mixer bowl. Mix with paddle just to combine. Add in tomatoes, olives and parsley at the end being careful not to break them up too much.
Let dough rest 15 minutes in covered mixer bowl. Turn out onto lightly floured counter and knead a few turn to form a ball. Place in oiled covered container and let rest another 15 minutes. Do a stretch and fold. Return dough to bowl. Wait another 15 minutes and do a 2nd stretch and fold.
Return to covered bowl and let rise until double (about an 1 1/2 hours--I can't remember exactly how long this took).
Divide dough into two equally sized balls and roll each out into a cylinder about 12" long and 1/4" thick. Sprinkle each rectangle with half the feta, and then cut the rectangle in half length-wise.
Roll up each strip of dough tightly to form a long cylinder, and then roll each cylinder back and forth until each is 24" long. Braid two cylinders together and then coil them to form a round loaf.
Place each loaf on parchment, spray lightly with pan-spray, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let proof until almost double, about one hour.
Place oven stone on rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375º F.
Just before baking, brush loaves with egg wash. Bake directly on stone for about 35 minutes until center reaches 190º F.
Makes two round loaves (can also be baked in loaf pans).

It also makes great toast. I had it for breakfast and lunch!

Homemade Pot Sticker Dough

I tried those pot stickers featured on Wild Yeast blog. I was amazed how incredible easy they were to make and roll out. This was my first time and I noticed they were a little chewy where they were sealed. I think this was because I didn't roll them out quite thin enough, but the chewiness could have also come from my choice of flour (see below). I sprinkled them with a little cornstarch to prevent sticking. I will never used purchased won ton wrappers for pot stickers again!

2 cups (250 g) AP flour (I used KA AP but next time I will use a softer flour, e.g., Guisto's Baker's Choice)
1/2 cup (113 g) warmish water
Put flour in food processor. Pour in water and run until combined. Form dough into a ball and divide into 4 sections. Roll each section out into a log and cut into about 10 pieces. Flatten each disk into a round and roll out with a pin until you have a round that is about 3 1/2 to 4 inches. Cover unused dough logs to prevent drying out.
I used Hugh Carpenter's Santa Barbara Pot Stickers recipe for the filling. I doubled the sauce recipe per batch and ended up with extra filling mixture. I'm going to make some more today and freeze them.

Vodka Pie Crust

From Cook's IllustratedFOR ONE 9-INCH SINGLE-CRUST PIE

Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor—do not substitute. This dough will be moister and more supple than most standard pie doughs and will require more flour to roll out (up to 1/4 cup).

  1. Ingredients:

    1 ¼ cup unbleached flour (6 ¼ oz.)
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon sugar
    6 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch slices
    ¼ cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
    2 Tablespoons vodka, cold


    1. Process 3/4 cups flour, salt, and sugar together in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
  2. 2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
  3. 3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to ¼ cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave overhanging dough in place; refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. 4. Trim overhang to ½ inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Flute dough or press the tines of a fork against dough to flatten it against rim of pie plate. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.
  1. 5. Remove pie pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil, and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes additional minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp.

Fresh Cherry Pie

I spray my working surface with pan-spray and then sprinkled it with flour. This proofs to be an excellent surface for rolling out pie dough. (I got this tip from Debbie Wink, who, I think, read about it in Shirley Corrihers' BakeWise.)

I also used their Vodka Pie Crust recipe.


The amount of sugar and tapioca you use is relative, depending on the fruit’s quality and your taste. If you prefer a less sweet pie or if the fruit is especially sweet, use the lower sugar amount. If you like your pie juices fairly thick, or if the fruit is really juicy, then opt for the higher amount of tapioca. If you are using frozen fruit, measure it frozen, but let it thaw before filling the pie. If not, you run the risk of partially cooked fruit and undissolved tapioca. If using sour cherries instead of sweet, increase sugar to 1 cup and tapioca to 4 tablespoons.


  • Pie Dough  
  • 2 1/4cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1teaspoon table salt
  • 2tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 11tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 7tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 1/3cup water, chilled with ice, increasing up to 3/8 cup, if needed
  • Cherry Filling  
  • 6cups sweet cherries (pitted), or 6 cups pitted frozen cherries
  • 3/4cup granulated sugar
  • 1small lemon, zested to yield 1 teaspoon zest and juiced to yield 2 teaspoons juice
  • 1/8teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8teaspoon almond extract
  • 1tablespoon brandy
  • 3–4tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 2tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


  1. 1. Mix flour, salt, and sugar in food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture, tossing to coat butter with a little flour. Cut butter into flour with five 1-second pulses. Add shortening and continue to cut it in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal with butter bits no larger than small peas, about four more 1-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl.
  2. 2. Sprinkle all but 1 tablespoon of the ice water over mixture. With blade of rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix. Press down on dough with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon of remaining ice water if dough does not come together. Divide dough into two balls, one slightly larger than the other. Flatten each into 4-inch-wide disk. Dust lightly with flour, wrap separately in plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  3. 3. Remove dough from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature to soften slightly, about 10 minutes. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss fruit with sugar, lemon juice and zest, spices, almond extract, brandy, and tapioca; let stand for 15 minutes.
  4. 4. Roll larger dough disk on lightly floured surface into 12-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer and fit dough into 9-inch Pyrex pie pan, leaving dough that overhangs the lip in place. Turn fruit mixture, including juices, into pie shell. Scatter butter pieces over fruit. Refrigerate until ready to top with remaining dough.
  5. 5. Roll smaller disk on lightly floured surface into 10-inch circle. Lay over fruit. Trim top and bottom dough edges to 1/2-inch beyond pan lip. Tuck this rim of dough underneath itself so that folded edge is flush with pan lip. Flute dough in your own fashion, or press with fork tines to seal. Cut four slits at right angles on dough top to allow steam to escape. If pie dough is very soft, place in freezer for 10 minutes before baking.
  6. 6. Place pie on baking sheet; bake until top crust is golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juices bubble and crust is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer.
  7. 7. Transfer pie to wire rack; let cool to almost room temperature so juices have time to thicken, from 1 to 2 hours.

Norm's Semi-flat Onion Rolls

My interpretation of Norm's formula and method:
The onion mixture:
Rehydrate 1/3 cup dried, minced onions in about 1 1/2 cups of boiling water. When the onions have absorbed all the water that they can, drain them (I pressed them with a spoon when they were in the strainer to make sure I got most of the water out), and add a little salt (I added 1/2 teaspoon kosher), 1 tablespoon of canola oil (I forgot to add the oil so I just dapped a little on the top of each roll before baking them), and 2 teaspoons of poppy seeds to the mixture. Refrigerate until ready to use. Norms says that you have to used dried onions to get the authentic taste of these rolls.
The roll dough:
21 g sugar
7 g malt syrup (I used 14 g by accident because I was pouring from the bottle and it got away from me)
7 g salt
21 g egg, beaten
21 g vegetable oil
454 g bread flour
227 g water
7 g instant yeast
Place all ingredients in the bowl of your mixer and mix with the paddle until everything is incorporated, about 1 minute. Let dough rest 5 minutes to hydrate. Change paddle to dough hook and knead on speed 2 for 10 minutes until dough is quite smooth. Norm cautions that this is a very stiff dough and that you should keep an eye on your mixer so that you don't overheat it. I think this dough might knead very well in a food processor; of course it would probably only require a couple of minutes of kneading.
Place dough in a bowl, cover and let rise until double, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Gently deflate dough and cut into 2 to 4 ounce pieces (I used 3 ounce pieces for my rolls), form pieces into balls, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, dump the onion mixture onto a lipped cookie sheet and spread it out.
When the 10 minutes are up, pick up the relaxed dough balls, turn them over onto the onion mixture, and press them flat with the palm of your hand. You want to balls to be flattened to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
Place the rolls onion side up on a baking sheet, and preheat your oven to 450º.
Cover the onion rolls lightly with plastic wrap and let fully proof, about 1 hour. Just before they are ready to go into the oven, press down in the center of each roll with your thumb to make an indentation.
Bake for about 20 minutes on the middle oven rack until nicely brown and crisp, spritzing them with water once a minute during the first 5 minutes of baking and rotating the pan 180º after the first 10 minutes. Watch them closely near the end of the 20 minutes because they can burn fast--I caught mine just in time. (Next time I make these I might try 425º for 25 minutes.)

Makes 9 three-ounce rolls

Texas Sheet Cake

From Cook's Country Best Potluck Suppers
Serves 24
Toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  • 2cups flour
  • 2cups sugar
  • 1/2teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 2large eggs plus 2 yolks
  • 2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4cup sour cream
  • 8ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4cup water
  • 1/2cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Droste)
Chocolate Icing
  • 8tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2cup heavy cream
  • 1/2cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Droste)
  • 1tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 3cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 18- by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Whisk eggs and yolks, vanilla, and sour cream in another bowl until smooth.
  • 2. Heat chocolate, butter, oil, water, and cocoa in large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk chocolate mixture into flour mixture until incorporated. Whisk egg mixture into batter, then pour into prepared baking pan. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to wire rack.
  • 3. For the icing: About 5 minutes before cake is done, heat butter, cream, cocoa, and corn syrup in large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Off heat, whisk in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Spread warm icing evenly over hot cake and sprinkle with pecans. Let cake cool to room temperature on wire rack, about 1 hour, then refrigerate until icing is set, about 1 hour longer. (Cake can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.) Cut into 3-inch squares. Serve.


    • The key to perfectly moist Texas sheet cake is to let the warm icing soak into the hot cake. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the warm icing over the cake and use a spatula to spread the icing to the edges of the cake. This creates the signature fudgy layer between the icing and the cake.

Kid's Favorite Shepherd's Pie

From Cook's Country Best Lost Suppers


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 celery ribs, chopped fine
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 1/2 pounds 85-percent lean ground beef
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 3/4 cups low-sodium beef broth
2 cups fresh corn, sliced off the cob (you can substitute frozen, thawed corn)

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced 3/4-inch thick
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sour cream (I like Daisy brand because it doesn't have any additives)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and heat oven to 375 F.

Filling: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add celery, onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add beef, increase heat to medium-high and cook, breaking up any large clumps with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink and beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in flour and tomato paste and cook until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the broth, scraping up any browned bits.

Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently until the mixture is thick, but still saucy, 15 to 20 minutes. Off the heat, stir in corn and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour filling into a broiler-safe 2-quart casserole dish.

Topping: While the filling cooks, bring the potatoes and 2 quarts of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan and cook until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to the saucepan. Stir over low heat until thoroughly dried, 1 to 2 minutes.

Mash the potatoes until smooth, then gently fold in the cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper until the potatoes are thick and creamy.

Spread potatoes in an even layer over the filling, making sure to spread them to the very edge of the dish. This will help prevent the filling from bubbling out of the pan. Just in case, place the casserole dish on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until the filling is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil the potato topping until it is golden brown on top, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4 to 6.

King's Ranch Casserole

Adapted from 
King Ranch Casserole

Serves 6 to 8
If you can't find Ro-Tel tomatoes, substitute one 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes and one 4-ounce can chopped green chiles. Cojack is a creamy blend of Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses. We like its tangy flavor, but milder Jack cheese can be used in its place.
  • 1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees. Lay tortillas on two baking sheets, lightly coat both sides with cooking spray, and bake until slightly crisp and browned, about 12 minutes. Cool slightly, then break into bite-sized pieces. Using potholders, adjust top oven rack to middle position.
  • 2. Heat butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onions, chiles, and cumin until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until most of liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add cream and broth, bring to simmer, and cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in chicken and poach until just no longer pink, about 10 minutes (try to use small evenly-sized pieces and don't cook too long because they will continue to cook in the oven. Remove chicken to a plate, cool, and shed with a fork. Off heat, add cilantro and cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Add shredded chicken and season with salt and pepper.
  • 3. Scatter half of tortilla pieces in 13 by 9-inch baking dish set over rimmed baking sheet. Spoon half of filling evenly over tortillas. Scatter remaining tortillas over filling, then top with remaining filling.
  • 4. Bake until filling is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle Fritos evenly over top and bake until Fritos are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool casserole 10 minutes. Serve.
  • Make Ahead: The casserole can be assembled through step 3 and refrigerated for up to 1 day. When ready to serve, cover casserole with foil and bake until filling is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with Fritos, and proceed with rest of step 4 as directed.
    Carl Roettele opened a small canning plant in Elsa, Texas, in the early 1940s. By the 1950s, his blend of tomatoes, green chiles, and spices had become popular throughout the state and beyond. His spicy, tangy tomatoes are used in countless local recipes, including King Ranch casserole and a mixture of Velveeta and Ro-Tel tomatoes known locally as Ro-Tel dip (chile con queso, to the rest of the country).

Funeral Potatoes and Ham

Adapted from Cook's Country Best Lost Suppers

The link above gives information about this dish and an alternate way to make it.

4 lbs russet potatoes, scrubbed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lb white mushrooms, sliced thin
1 onion, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
11/2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
11/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 pound ham (leftover or from a ham steak), cut into 2-inch matchsticks
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups cornflakes crushed fine (measure after crushing)
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Set aside.
2. Bring the potatoes and 4 quarts of water to a simmer in a large pot (use 6 quart pot) and cook until just shy of tender (a paring knife should glide through the flesh with slight resistance), 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Drain the potatoes and set aside. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and then grate the flesh lengthwise on the large holes of a box grater. Note: the potatoes will be kind of glue-like. (Also, you might be able to do this in a food processor fitted with a large-hole grater.) Return the grated potatoes to the pot.
3. Melt 2 tablespoon of butter and combine with crushed cornflakes. Set aside.
4. While the potatoes cook, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the mushrooms and 3/4 teaspoon salt and cook until mushrooms have released their juices and are brown around the edges, 7-10 minutes (don't cook away all the liquid). Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
5. Whisk in the milk, thyme, and pepper, bring to simmer, and cook, stirring frequently until thickened slightly, about 1 minutes. Stir in the cheese and 6 tablespoons of butter and cook until melted, about 1 minute.
6. Off the heat, stir in the ham and sour cream. Pour the mixture over the potatoes and toss to combine. Sprinkle the cornflake topping evenly over the top of potato mixture.
7. Place the baking dish on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until potatoes are bubbling and the top is golden brown (mine didn't actually bubble), 25-35 minutes, but watch the topping so that it doesn't burn. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Upside-Down Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

Adapted from a recipe courtesy Robin Miller 2007


2 teaspoon canola oil
1 pound sausage, casing removed (I used half hot and half mild
1 cup onion, sliced thinly
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 cups quick tomato sauce (see blog for recipe)
1/2 cup black olives, sliced (I used Trader Joe's canned green olives)
16 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (I used Trader Joe's marinated rope mozzarella and thought 8 ounces was plenty)
 2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
    Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook for 3 minutes, or until browned and cooked through, breaking up the meat as it cooks with a wooden spoon. Add onion and mushrooms and cook 2 minutes, until soft. Add tomato sauce, olives and bring to a simmer, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer sauce to the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese.
    In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and oil until blended. Whisk in flour and salt until well blended. Pour mixture over sauce in pan. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

    Quick Tomato Sauce

    Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

    Makes about 3 cups


    2 large cloves garlic, minced
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes (I use Cento brand)
    Salt and pepper


    Heat garlic with oil in saucepan over medium heat. When garlic starts to sizzle, add tomatoes. Simmer, uncovered, until sauce is thick enough to mound on spoon, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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