Tag Archives: bread

Applesauce Bread for your soul

28 Mar

Great with your morning coffee!

During the winter event known as Snowzilla, Snowpocalypse or my personal favorite Kaiser Snowze,  my neighbors did a bang-up job of digging a gimpy girl out ( five times to be exact).  I am eternally grateful for their efforts, so I decided to make them all a little treat. This bread is simple to make and can be frozen for 3 months if double-wrapped carefully.

Makes four 8 x 4 inch loaves

2 1/3 c. applesauce

6 eggs

1 1/3 c. vegetable oil

3 c. water

4 2/3 c. all-purpose flour

1 Tbl. baking soda

2 tsp. salt

1 ¼ tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. fresh chopped ginger

1 ½ c. brown sugar

1 ½ c. white sugar

1 c. raisins, soaked and drained

1 ½ c. grated apple

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour four 8 x 4 inch aluminum baking pans.  Mix the flour,  dry spices,  baking powder and salt together in a mixing bowl and set aside. In a larger bowl;  mix together eggs, water, apples and sugar. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together until blended, taking care not to over mix. Fold in raisins and pour into loaf pans. Top each loaf with the chopped walnuts and bake in center of oven. After an hour, check each loaf for to see if cooked thoroughly by inserting a toothpick in the center of each loaf. Bread is done when toothpick comes out clean.

Bon Appetit!

Restaurant Week tips

21 Jan

Baltimore is currently celebrating its version of Restaurant Week from January 22, 2010 to February 7, 2010. Many restaurants are offering specials on menu items or prix-fixe offerings at reduced prices. If you have the time and money, this is the perfect time to try a new place out. Here are a few tips to remember when going out.

1). Make a reservation and arrive early– Most of these places are busy and making a reservation and arriving at least 15 minutes prior will ensure a pleasant dining experience.

2). Try something new– Now is not the time to order chicken. If scallops are available and you’ve never had them, try them. Don’t forget that glass of wine; ask the server for suggestions and he may find you a gem.

3). Try lunch as an alternative to dinner-Lunch is a great time to try something new. Portions are usually smaller and are great for the health conscious.

4). Be kind to your server– These people work hard, often with no benefits or other compensation. Tip them accordingly ( 15% good service, 18% great service, 20% for exceptional service). Remember that the discounted meal you enjoy during Restaurant Week would normally cost at least twice that amount other times.

5). If you like a place, go back– Restaurants are a business, and use this time to promote their businesses. If you enjoy a place, show them by giving them your return business.  Your dollars pay the salaries of cooks, dishwasher, porters and many vendors who supply everything from forks to the olives in your martini. This helps our economy and save jobs.

6). Say Thank You– You have no idea what this  simple gesture does for your server, especially if they are busy.

Many participating restaurants are offering a three-course lunch from $20.10 and three-course dinners from $35.10 ( excluding tax and gratuity).

Mangia Mangia!!

Gino’s is coming back! ( Sort of)

19 Jan

Gino's Hamburger, fries and drink If you lived in the Northeast corridor of the U.S.  in the late 50s  to the mid-80s, you are familiar with the picture on the left. Founded in Baltimore, Md;  this chain of restaurants was the formidable rival of McDonald’s.  The Sirloiner was their version of the Quarter-Pounder. Likewise, the Gino Giant was an alternative to the Big Mac. As a kid, Gino’s was synonymous wit KFC. In some regions the two chains merged, like how KFC merged with Taco Bell. We spent a lot of time between Gino’s and Mickey D’s, but Gino’s won out in my family.

Ahh, memories

So, imagine my glee when I discovered the link to many childhood memories is restarting. I was absolutely in heaven. Then, someone dropped the KIBOSH on me.

The new franchise will start in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and  not in Maryland. This is a travesty, and I implore anyone within eyeshot with this company to consider franchises in Maryland.

Please, because my soul needs a Gino Giant!

Bread, can we still be friends?

7 Jun

Dear Bread,

How have you been? I’m hoping you  are well.  I know I’ve been distant lately, and after reading this letter, I hope you understand why.  I hope it won’t upset you, I’ve realized over our break these past two week s that I can no longer see you.

Our relationship over the 15 months or so have frankly been rough for me; you were there, so you already know what I’m talking about.  I’ve tried you whole-grain and no-grain, french and Italian-style, tandoori and tortilla, and even pitas and it’s all come down to the same sad conclusion: I cannot digest you, and you know it.

Is this some post-Atkins craze excuse? No, and you know this. You know I defended you against all these low-carb freaks that insisted I use lettuce instead of you to make wraps, while all the while those fake protests against eating french fries dissipated into the ether as plate after Atkins-friendly plate came back void of all french fries I placed next to those sandwiches.  I just smirked to myself and knew that like all diet crazes, that this too shall pass.

Had I known that my enjoyment of you would turn into a Faustian nightmare, I would’ve made the transition earlier.

Am I allergic to gluten? No, I don’t have Celiac disease. What is or has happened to us is simple. I eat too much of you; and, let’s just say I , oh fuck it: Bread, I can’t poop after eating you!

There, I’ve said it.

I just can’t go to the bathroom after eating you in any form. And frankly, I’d rather poop than have a sandwich. I just want to know if we can still be friends. Well, can we?

I want to know if I can still touch you ( through the plastic wrapper, of course). Do I have permission smell the  heady aroma of a properly baked loaf of rye as it comes out the oven. Can I  vicariously enjoy the sweet, earthy scent of cinnamon when you appear as raisin bread. Or, when you show up as one of those artisinal types, can I still marvel at the visual richness of your crumb or smile when I see you as a chewy, crater filled ciabatta?

Will you let me love you from afar? I hope so, because this is the only way we can continue.  I hope you understand. Can we still be friends? Let me know.


Culinary Chick

Adventures in Baking 3: My Sister’s bread photos

1 Apr

As you well know, I am making bread now because it has become too expensive for me to buy the multi-grained, healthy kind. I have to pinch pennies where I can, so I’ve set limits for  myself when purchasing groceries. I try to only buy fresh ingredients, only when it is profitable to do so.  As far as the bread is concerned, I’ve always wanted to experiment, so here ya go.

I think I have the Honey-oatmeal bread nailed:

oatmeal-breadI scraped together some change ( read couch cushions), and ordered tinned-steel loaf pans from Kaiserware.com.  They were a steal, and the best investment I’ve made in awhile. The oven spring for this recipe was magnificent! My sis wanted white bread, and I knew how to make oatmeal bread, but not white bread. I went to allrecipes.com for this recipe, and halved it. This is the result:

Amish White bread

Amish White bread

This recipe said this loaf was dense in texture, and it was. It didn’t have much oven spring, but my persnikety sister loved it. It has the texture of Pepperidge Farm bread, and was relatively easy to make (although I cut way back on the required sugar).  My brother-in-law loved his bread, and I think they appreciated the effort.

My goal this year is to continue to experiment with breadmaking, and to acquire additional knowlege about it. Besides, it’s relaxing!

I’m baking bread today

27 Mar

I often write checks my ass can’t cash later. That’s what happens when you talk before thinking.

I’m going to visit my sister and my husband-in-law tomorrow, so I promised them bread. Now, I’m too tired to make it. But I will, ’cause I loves my sis and her lovely husband. Ill take pictures today and post them tomorrow.

Persnickety Alert:   She will only eat white bread (never mind that raisin bread is sort of brown. Only white bread). You know, that’s like liking American cheese, but only eating the yellow kind.

I love you LadyBass, you finicky girl. But tomorrow, your ass is getting Oatmeal bread!

CC ( with all the love my heart can carry)

4800-Calorie cheeseburger on ballpark menu

25 Mar

Get a look at this baby:


Yes, Yes, Yes!

If you are among the many fans of the West Michigan Whitecaps, you too can enjoy this behemoth. Five burger patties, chili, salsa chips, cheese are all sandwiched in between a 1 lb. bun. The price: $20

AND if you pull a John Candy, all you will get for your solo eating efforts is a t-shirt ( Damn, not even the cost of the burger?)

Or, maybe an EKG and a chance to meet Jesus!

Adventures in Breadmaking 2: Success!!!

15 Mar
At last: Success!!!

At last: Success!!!

Oh. My. God!!!

It turned out sooo well this time!! I cut the recipe in half, used more yeast and added more liquid to make the dough softer. It is PERFECT for sandwiches this go around. I think I have a winner, folks. Also, I’ve managed to figure out how to use the camcorder I aquired last year to take these pictures. So without further delay, here is a photo of the Sous-Chef!

Sixty-five pounds of wiggling love!

Sixty-five pounds of wiggling love!

I am very lucky to have Lucky, the Sous-Chef! She didn’t have any bread with me, as I try to avoid giving her table scraps!

Have a good weekend!

Adventures in Breadmaking: My first loaf

5 Mar
Ain't it cute, ya'll!!

Ain't it cute, ya'll!!

Well, folks; this is my first attempt at baking bread. This is a loaf of  honey-oatmeal bread. It is supposed to be light and fluffy. Instead, it is dense and cake-like.  I asked the  person who baked this bread why it turned out this way, and she said it did the same thing to her.

The dough was so stiff, that it almost broke the hook on my Kitchen-Aid mixer.  But, boy does it taste good! Too dense for sandwiches, this is perfect for breakfast ( bread is slightly sweet), or erved with soup. I’m going to play with this recipe a few times with the help of a dear friend ( master baker).  As soon as I get the permission from the owner of the recipe, I’ll post it!


The price of bread

2 Mar
So long, dear friend!

So long, dear friend!

Okay, I’m totally over the price of bread.  I was appalled last week when the price of my favorite bread went up  from $3.49 to $3.69 a loaf. Miffed, I bought it anyway,  for I love my oatmeal bread.

Some of you eschew this haughty loaf, opting instead for the squishy, spongy, flavorless Styrofoam-like substance that dares calls itself bread on supermarket shelves today. Maybe you are the type of person who merely thinks of bread as something that holds the meat together.  Or were you one of the sheep-like hoards that viewed bread as something inherently evil and, gasp! full of carbohydrates as we witnessed in the 90s.
Sorry, I tend to soapbox it up a bit when subjects  like this come up.
Anyhoo, my point is this: my grocery bill is astronomical for me and the Sous-Chef, so I have to find ways to cut back. I don’t buy anything  pre-packaged because I believe that fresh is best. These things as you well know are usually full of preservatives, salt and sugar. I rarely buy seafood  because frankly, I am so picky that it just isn’t worth it to me to spend a ton of money on one or two servings of fish.  I’ve cut out all of the extras, like artisan cheeses and crackers and other gourmet snacks that liven up my day-to-day, so there is only one way to go: Buy cheap bread.
I can’t do it. But what I can do is to make my own. Therein lies my dilema.
I can burn it up with the rest of them. I can construct recipes in my head and know with an almost certainty how they will turn out.  A pinch of this, and a drop of that, and voila! Perfetion. Any chef can tell you that the art of cooking is freeform. No one needs a specific recipe, all you have to do is to make what you want.
Baking is a strict taskmaster, because baking is based on a chain of chemical reactions to achieve the desired result.
I am not a baker. But that will not stop me from trying to make my own bread. I’ve conducted some research and found a website that has lessons.  The Fresh Loaf is listed on my blogroll. I’ve found  tinned steel professional-style pans at a reasonable price, so I’ve purchased them from Amazon, and plan to start experimenting as soon as I get my pans. I hate to say goodbye to my bread, but if I am successful, I’ll never buy bread again. I’m also going to try and chronicle my progress here on my blog.
Wish me luck!