Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Step-by-Step Recipe for No Knead Bread

Earlier this week, my husband asked me if I had ever heard of "no knead bread".  I had not, so I went online and rummaged through recipes for this type of bread.  I found the recipes all very similar in ingredients and directions.  The method is so simple and straightforward (no kneading required), I decided to give this homemade bread a try.  Boy, am I ever glad I did! It was SO EASY to prepare and the bread turned out absolutely perfect!  It's light and fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Several friends asked me for the recipe, so I am sharing it on here with you today!  Enjoy!

Ingredients

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 2/3 cups lukewarm water 




Directions

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, dry yeast, and water.  Stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. 

The dough will look ragged and messy, just like this.  


Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let the dough sit, untouched, for 15-20 hours.



After 15 hours, the dough will look like this - sticky and bubbly.

  



Sprinkle flour on your counter top and empty out the dough (using a wet spatula) onto the floured surface.  With floured hands,shape the dough into a ball, and with seam side down, 


Place the dough ball in a a large bowl lined with a clean tea towel.  



Fold over the tea towel to cover the dough.  Let the dough sit for another 2 hours.



After 1 hour and a half, place an empty, covered dutch oven in a cold oven.


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  Let the pot sit in there for 30 minutes.



Once dough has sat for two hours, uncover it.  



Remove pot from the oven.  Empty the dough from the tea towel into the preheated pot.  
Wiggle the pot to even out the dough. Cover with lid and bake in the 450F oven for 30 minutes.

Now remove the lid and bake for 15 minutes longer.  The crust should be a golden brown and crisp.  Remove pot from the oven.  



Carefully remove the bread from the pot onto a cooling rack.  

Cool for several minutes (if you can stand the wait!).


Slice the bread and serve warm...



...slathered with oodles of yummy butter!  


And that's it!  Isn't it wonderful?  So simple to make, and so good!

Have any of you baked this type of bread before?  Do you bake bread at home?   If you plan to give this recipe a try, please let me know what you think.   I always love reading your comments!  



Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Canadian American Thanksgiving!

This past Thursday, we celebrated an American Thanksgiving at our house!  I started this tradition a couple of years ago because I had yet to cook a Thanksgiving meal for my family. Every year, my mother roasts the turkey and hosts our Canadian Thanksgiving at her house. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October. It's tradition and we wouldn't have it any other way!  She has been cooking our Thanksgiving meal ever since I can remember.  She prepares the turkey, stuffing and potatoes in a typical Portuguese fashion and boy, oh boy, is it ever delicious! 

Sooo, a couple of years ago, I decided to have a go at roasting my very own turkey.  I also made  traditional fixings like sweet potatoes, sage stuffing, and homemade cranberry sauce.  Well, it was such a hit, we now look forward to sharing the holiday with our American neighbors every year.  

Do you know what this means?  It means we get to celebrate Thanksgiving twice!  Two Thanksgivings?!  Yes, please!  


Here are a few highlights (and a couple of recipes) from our Thanksgiving dinner...



Thanksgiving Table


I set the table while listening to the Macy's Day Parade on T.V.  I was too busy with preparations to watch it all, so I recorded it to watch the following day!  



I absolutely love these brass alphabet napkin rings I bought from Indigo bookstore!  We each had our own initial!  The striped napkins I bought (brand new in their package) at a garage sale over the summer, as well as the crystal wine glasses!  :)



Sage Stuffing


Drying the loaf bread in the oven...




Sauteeing onions and celery in butter...





Sage stuffing is ready for the oven!




Homemade Cranberry Sauce


Ingredients

3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water


Directions

Wash cranberries.  Mix sugar and water in a saucepan over medium high heat. Boil for 5 minutes (stirring once in a while). Add cranberries and simmer for another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  As the cranberry sauce cools, it will thicken.  Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to serve.



Marshmallow-stuffed Sweet Potato Balls


These sweet potato balls were inspired by a recipe from the mother of a dear friend of mine, Nancy Sussan.  I made them for the first time two years ago following her recipe exactly and used an entire large marshmallow in the center. This time, I cut the large marshmallows in half and in turn, it rendered smaller sweet potato balls.  These are very easy to make and they're so delicious! 

Ingredients

4 large sweet potatoes
6 large marshmallows (cut in half) 
cinnamon
2-3 cupscorn flake crumbs 

Directions

Roast sweet potatoes on a foil-lined cookie sheet in a 400 degree F oven for approximately 50 minutes to 1 hour (or until tender).  Allow them to cool.  

Peel and mash the sweet potatoes.  You can add butter, brown sugar, etc and season them to your liking.  I find that sweet potatoes are sweet enough on their own, so I simply add cinnamon.  

Next, take half a marshmallow and form a ball around it with the mashed sweet potatoes.  Roll the balls in the corn flake crumbs. 

Place the sweet potato balls in an oven-safe pan or dish and bake for approximately 20 minutes in a 350 degree F oven.  Careful not to over-bake them, or the marshmallows will pop!

Tips:

Wash your hands after you roll each ball.  They will get sticky!

It's more affordable to buy Corn Flakes cereal and crush the flakes yourself, than to buy the pre-crushed flakes. 


Let's Eat!!!









My world is sitting right here at this table!  I have so much to be thankful for!



And of course, we saved room for dessert...


Pumpkin Pie!


I made mini pumpkin pies - one for each of us!  We were absolutely stuffed!  

I hope my American girlfriends (you know who you are) had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!  I'm so thankful that I could share this special day with you!  Now it's time to prepare for Christmas!  Can you believe it's almost December?  Where did November go?










Saturday, November 22, 2014

Christmas Cards Have Arrived!

Hello friends!

I am excited to share with you the release of my first ever Christmas greeting card - Snowberries!  The image on the front is a photograph that was taken by me.  Some of you may even recognize it!  The cards have been professionally printed on high quality, heavy, glossy card stock and bear my personalized digital signature on the front.  They arrived from the printer just yesterday!  


Front 

4.5 x 7 inches (includes plain white envelope)



Inside



These Christmas cards are now available for sale in my Etsy shop for only $2.25 CAD each! Click on the link here...LaVieEnRosinda   If you are interested in purchasing any, please be sure to order soon, as Christmas is fast approaching!

If you are unfamiliar with Etsy, and would still like to make a purchase, please contact me directly. 

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome and appreciated.  Have a wonderful weekend!   

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Farewell Fall, Hello Winter!

Hello friends!  Happy November!  I've missed you!   It's bitterly cold here today.  The wind gusts are fierce; blowing snow around and causing it to look and feel more like winter than autumn! 

Indeed, fall is a fleeting season.  Its duration brief and short-lived.  The calendar claims fall will be here for at least another month, but one peek outside my window will tell you that the season is far behind us now.  

Our first substantial snowfall arrived this past Friday.  Outside, everything was covered in white - the cars, streets, rooftops, lawns and trees.  



Farewell October!



Goodbye pretty pumpkins...




Cheerio, glorious foliage...







So long, late blooming roses!




Welcome November....



Hello, bare branches and trees...



Hi-ya, Mr. Snowman...



Greetings snow-covered crabapples! 



 The seasons change just as they always have and always will.  Fall has turned to winter.  It's snowing fast and heavy outside.  We are expecting 20 cm of snow overnight!  The fire in our wood burning stove is keeping us warm on this stormy "winter" eve.  It just might be a snow day tomorrow!   I hope that no matter you are, you are smiling and you are warm and cozy!

Goodnight! 





"November comes and November goes, 
with the last red berries and the first white snows.

With night coming early, and dawn coming late, 
and ice in the bucket and frost by the gate.

The fires burn and the kettles sing, 
and earth sinks to rest until next spring."

- Clyde Watson -


Monday, October 6, 2014

My Recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

October has arrived and autumn is upon us! You know what that means, right?   It's soup season! The cooler temperatures have me craving homemade soup, so a few days ago I made my favorite - butternut squash soup!  This time, however, I did something different.  I roasted the squash in the oven beforehand, instead of cubing it and boiling it into the soup like I've done in the past.  Roasting the squash really brings out the flavor.  I will definitely be preparing it this way from now on.

I love roasted butternut squash and thus, was unable to stop myself from sneaking a few bites before scooping the flesh into the soup!  I took inspiration from a multitude of recipes and adapted this one to my liking.  The soup turned out delicious; my husband hasn't stopped talking about it since!   I was asked to share the recipe, so here it is:

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup 



Makes 6-8 hearty servings . You can half the recipe to make less, of course!


Ingredients

2 medium butternut squash 
1/4 cup butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
up to 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper (more or less depending how spicy you like it)
salt to taste 
1 pkg. cream cheese (8 oz)

Directions

  • Half squash lengthwise; remove seeds and stringy pulp.  Roast cut-side down on a foil-wrapped baking pan at 400F for approx. 45 minutes, or until fully cooked and soft.  Allow to cool. Scoop the flesh out and reserve. The two squash should render six cups of flesh, more or less.
  • In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic.  Sautee until onion is translucent. 
  • Add chicken broth, reserved butternut squash, black pepper and cayenne pepper to the onion mixture. 
  • Take care with the cayenne pepper!  I added 1/4 tsp because we like our soup a little spicy.  If you don't care for spicy, then just a pinch will do! 
  •  Raise heat and bring to a boil.  Taste the soup for salt and adjust to your liking.  You may need to add a teaspoon or two of salt, depending on how much salt your chicken broth contains.  Continue to simmer soup for approximately 15 minutes.
  • Remove pot from heat.  Break up the cream cheese and add to the soup. The cream cheese is what gives this soup its delicious, creamy texture.  DO NOT BOIL THE CREAM CHEESE! 
  • Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth and creamy, making sure to blend in all the cheese and butternut squash.  If you don't own an immersion blender, you can place the soup in a food processor (in batches) and pulse until smooth and creamy and return to the pot. 

If you want to make the soup look pretty, like I did,  add some sour cream to a plastic squeeze bottle and dilute it with a bit of milk.  Shake and decorate any way you like!  

If you do try this recipe at home, I would love to know how it turns out!  Your comments are always appreciated. 

 Happy Monday, friends!  Wishing you all a happy, cozy week ahead!