7 Design Tips For a Chef-Worthy Kitchen

This a great article from Dwell Magazine.

If you have serious culinary chops and take pride in preparing meals that wow your family and friends, keep these tips in mind when designing or renovating your kitchen.

If boiling eggs is not your forte, and you’d much rather eat out than experiment with new recipes, then a basic kitchen may be all you need. But if you’re serious about cooking and love nothing more than spending hours trying out new dishes that’ll impress guests at your next dinner party, then here are some elements to incorporate for a professional-grade kitchen.

1. The Magic Triangle

When planning the layout for your kitchen, refer to the “kitchen work triangle” with the cooking area, sink, and refrigerator at its three points. Though modern kitchens have evolved, and it is sometimes geometrically impossible to abide by this configuration (for example, in a single wall kitchen), the triangle is a good concept to keep in mind when designing to maximize functionality and ease of movement.

What they did not talk about is the new triangle, where the refrigerator is off to the side and a little out of the way.  There needs to be space across from it or beside it to put food when cooking, but it does not absolutely need to be part of the triangle anymore.  I love the cooktop part of my triangle, as I am working there, more than in the refrigerator. (unless I am really hungry)

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2. Two Sinks

Install two sinks so that you can clean fruits and vegetables in one while washing or stacking used pots and pans in the other. Ensure that the sink is deep and the faucets are high, so you don’t have to worry about water splashing onto the countertop as you strain your pasta or wash your dishes.

I have a little different take on this.  My utility room is adjacent to my kitchen, so I added a large stainless sink in there if I need a place for pots and pans.  If I am entertaining, I do not want my guests to see dirty pans in my kitchen, so this works great! 

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3. Plenty of Durable Work Counters

As a home chef, you’ll be engaged in many food preparation tasks, so think about how to maximize counter space. Surface counters made of quartz, laminates, and solid surfaces are good choices for their durability, and antibacterial and anti-staining properties. Such surfaces are ideal for areas where you’ll do the most peeling, chopping, and blending.

Quartz is the new popular countertop and it is great, but if you select a plain one, be prepared to constantly be cleaning it, as it shows every spot.  I love a good granite that hides a little.  

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4. Built-In Appliances

Integrated appliances are your best bet for freeing up space, hiding unsightly electrical cords, and getting a clean, streamlined look. Wherever possible, choose built-in ovens, dishwashers, coffee machines, microwaves, and pullout fridges. This will help free up more counter space and make your kitchen look much more inviting.

I love making my dishwasher and refrigerator look like cabinets.  Now there are drawer refrigerators and freezers.  I hide my microwave and toaster oven in my pantry.  Clean is the new look!  

5. Good Lighting

A bright kitchen is not only healthier for your eyes, it makes preparing food safer and will probably put you in a cheerier mood. Locate your kitchen close to windows or incorporate skylights to increase the amount of natural light it receives. When choosing light fixtures, consider ambient lights, task lights, and accent lights. Use down lights to prevent glare and shadows, strip lighting under cabinets, and wide-rimmed pendant lights above the bar or island counter.

In my last home I had windows under the cabinets that looked out to the garden.  It had a wonderful effect.  We added another window when we remodeled last summer to take full advantage of our water view. 

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6. Ample and Intelligent Storage

Easy and intuitive access to a large pantry, spice racks, pots and pans, utensils, dinnerware, and cutlery can make all the difference when you’re preparing a feast for a large group. Consider storage systems which hold all your kitchen basics neatly and beautifully like a secret armoire.

I personally think that although this is “cool”, there are a lot better use of space, than hanging your utensils and knives.  One knife block on the counter is quite practical. 

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7. Wine Storage Facilities

Good food isn’t complete without great wine, so consider including wine storage facilities.  We love ours and use it every day.  

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7 Design Tips For a Chef-Worthy Kitchen

Luxury Kitchens Sell the Home: Design Trends

 January 21, 2018 by 

Recently some 60,000+ people gathered in Orlando, FL at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) hosted by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. It’s where companies that supply the kitchen and bath trade showcase their wares to interior designers, retailers and dealers, architects, builders, and remodelers. KBIS is part of Design and Construction Week with the NAHB International Builders’ Show.

Kitchens take center stage at KBIS and have been a focus of my research over the past year as well. I participated in a series of AuthLux day-long workshops on luxury kitchen and bath design sponsored by ROHL, the kitchen and bath luxury fixtures company, and part of the Fortune Brands family of companies.

An excerpted hour-long version of that full-day event was presented at this year’s KBIS, but I thought to share more insights from an AuthLux Summit panel discussion about designing the luxury kitchen of tomorrow today, hosted by Dallas-based interior designer Denise MaGaha.

The kitchen unlocks the value of a home

The kitchen is now the showpiece of the modern home. “The ultimate design statement of the home starts in the kitchen,” said MaGaha as she introduced the discussion focused on the three essential design elements for the modern kitchen – Cabinetry, Appliances and Water Appliances. “With the trend toward open-floor plans, the kitchen sets the stage for all the other design decisions in the home.”

The kitchen’s importance to the home owner is second to none. In today’s open-floor home designs, the kitchen takes center stage as the place where the family’s lifestyle starts. Kitchens are the most important selling point in home buyers’ decision, according to Realtor.com, and homes listed with “luxury kitchens” sell faster and command a higher selling price than similar-sized homes in the same ZIP code.

It’s no wonder then that interior designers find the greatest demand for their services in remodeling kitchens. Some 80% of home remodeling projects take place in the kitchen, according to the National Association of Home Builder’s Remodeling Market Index survey.

Here are some highlights from the panel discussion:

Upscale cabinets must be as beautiful on the inside as on the outside

Cabinets are the grounding element in the luxury kitchen, as all the other elements are mounted on them or placed within them. What’s more, they set the design style for the kitchen. “Today we see transitional and modern style with strong architectural references increasingly popular,” explained Jason Artus of Rutt HandCrafted Cabinetry, based in Lancaster County, PA.

“That’s also why we find European style frameless-constructed cabinets growing in demand,” Artus said. Frameless cabinets allow for additional storage with wider drawers and pullouts because they do not have a face frame attached to the front of the cabinet box and no center stile coming down in the middle of two cabinet doors. Frameless cabinets give a sleek, simple aesthetic that provide easier access to the items inside.

Another trend Artus sees in luxury cabinet choices is more drawers, instead of hinged door cabinets. “Additional drawers in the kitchen results in more accessible storage and organization, which is a top priority for clients to be sure that each and every kitchen item has its place.” And once those drawers or cabinets are opened, lights need to turn on automatically to guide the way.

And for the luxury home owner, the outside is just as important as the inside when it comes to cabinets. “It is expected that today’s upscale cabinetry look as beautiful on the interior as it does on the exterior,” Artus said, as he points to growing interest within the design community in white oak on cabinet interiors for “those looking for a lighter option to pair with darker exterior finishes.”

Luxury kitchens mean chef-quality appliances

While cabinetry provides the modern kitchen’s form, the appliances provide its function. And today that function is going more high-tech as smart technology is added into the mix. Selecting appliance brands that serve their function in style and are ahead of the curve in innovation is key.

Juanita Galliford, of Thermador, part of BSH Home Appliances Corporation, shared that her company has been at the forefront of kitchen innovation since its founding in 1916. It invented the wall oven and cooktop combination and was the first to introduce stainless steel. And in 1948 it brought the first professional-quality and performance ranges to the home owner, followed by the first self-cleaning oven in the 60s. When it comes to kitchen appliance innovation, she said, “Thermador has led while other brands have followed.”

On the cutting edge of cooking technology today is the steam/convection oven, Galliford explained. “The steam oven is one of the healthiest ways to cook a meal. Traditional ovens pull moisture out of the food as it cooks, while in a steam oven food is cooked in its own juices, enhancing flavor and retaining nutrients,” she said and told how it is also super-fast, allowing a 14 lb. turkey to cook in only 90 minutes.

And in the modern luxury kitchen, the refrigerator has taken on a new role as the “culinary preservation center,” noted Galliford. “Refrigerators are no longer just about preservation. Today’s homeowner wants personalization allowing them to customize the line up of cold storage combinations that give them exactly the cold storage solutions they desire.” So a modular concept in cold storage is required allowing the homeowner to pick fresh food store, freezer and wine storage combinations right for their needs.

From sink and faucet to water appliance

And perhaps the most overlooked, yet most critical function in the kitchen is the faucet and sink, which ROHL has redefined as the water appliance. “The most used appliance in the kitchen is actually the faucet/sink combination,” said Greg Rohl. “A family of four uses their water appliance 20-30 times a day. We encourage designers to think about reallocating budgets towards this most heavily used ‘appliance’ allowing clients to spend more for better quality and more attractive solutions.”

To discover the water appliance faucets, fixtures and fittings that meet 21st century needs in quality, style and function, ROHL canvases the world to find products that meet the luxury homeowners’ needs, like the innovative Pull-Out Kitchen Faucet, which founder Ken Rohl discovered in Europe in 1983 and which became the flagship product for the ROHL brand.

Through close collaborations with its worldwide partners, ROHL finds it critical to maintain authenticity in time-honored material and craft while adapting to modern needs. “We work closely with on-staff engineers and industrial designers to incorporate low-lead material requirements, meet California water-use and flow restrictions and IAPMO and EPA WaterSense criteria without compromise,” Rohl noted.

Designing the luxury kitchen of tomorrow today

Designing the kitchen of tomorrow today requires bringing many separate components provided by a variety of suppliers with unique expertise together into a cohesive kitchen package that combines beauty and function, efficiency and style. “Traditional kitchen configurations with upper and lower cabinets are being replaced by full-on kitchen islands – grounded by larger sinks, faucets and accompanying accessories,” Rohl explained. “Today, and in the future, the multi-function sink/faucet combination will continue to be the mainstay of the kitchen, flanked by the cooking and cold storage appliances, and installed with beautiful, architectural cabinetry that defines the kitchen’s style.”

The kitchen’s place of presence in the home is without doubt. Yet its form and function continues to evolve with technology, product and design innovations. Perhaps Christopher Peacock, a high-end cabinetry designer in Norwalk, CT expressed the evolution of the modern kitchen best: “It’s almost not worth calling it a kitchen anymore—it’s a living room that you can cook in.”

Luxury Kitchens Sell the Home: Design Trends

How about Turkey Wellington for Christmas??

Turkey Wellington

SERVES 10
 From Jamie’s Oliver’s “Christmas with Bells On”837_1_1439210788

Ingredients

  • 1.6 kg turkey breast , skin off, preferably higher welfare
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme , leaves picked
  • 1 x 340 g jar cranberry jam
  • 25 g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 6 rashers quality smoked streaky bacon , thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 600 g mixed mushrooms , chopped
  • 1 turkey leg
  • 1 carrot , roughly chopped
  • 1 leek , trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 onion , peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour , plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 knob unsalted butter
  • 2 x 500 g packets all butter puff pastry , chilled
  • 1 large free-range egg , beaten

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Place the turkey breast upside-down on a board. Gently slice into the natural join of the breast muscle to open it out and make a sort of pocket. Season well and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle over half the thyme leaves, then spread over an even layer of cranberry jam, pushing it into all the nooks and crannies. Fold it back into shape to seal the mixture inside – swiss roll-stylie – and push a few cocktail sticks into the seam to keep it together. Transfer the turkey to a roasting tray, season the outside with the remaining thyme leaves, a good pinch of salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Rub it all over, cover in tin foil and roast in the hot oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until just cooked through – using a thermometer, you want it to be 72°C at the thickest point.
  2. Meanwhile, soak the porcini in a dish of just-boiled water. After 5 minutes, stir with a fork so any bits of grit sink to the bottom. Add the bacon to a large frying pan with a splash of oil on a medium heat and fry for 5 to 10 minutes, or until beautifully golden and super crispy. Strip in the leaves from 2 rosemary sprigs for the last 30 seconds or so. Remove everything from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the bacon fat behind. Add the fresh mushrooms to the pan with a pinch of salt and pepper. Drain and chop the porcini, saving the water, then stir into the pan. Add a splash of the water, avoiding the grit, then cook for around 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pan starts to sizzle again and the mushrooms are golden, soft and sticky with caramelly edges.
  3. To make the gravy, cut the thigh off the turkey leg and slash into it slightly. Throw the leg and thigh into a pot along with the carrot, leek and onion. Stir in the flour, add a good pinch of salt and pepper and 2 litres of boiling water. Add a heaped tablespoon of cranberry jam, the balsamic vinegar and remaining rosemary sprig. Bring back to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for around 2 hours, or until thick. Strain it through a sieve and reheat before serving.
  4. When the mushroom pan is dry, add a knob of butter and toss to coat. Tip the mushrooms into the food processor and whiz until you get a good mixture of smooth and chunky. Leave to cool. Once the turkey breast and stuffing have cooled, you can get on with assembling the wellington.
  5. Dust a clean surface with flour, then roll out each packet of puff pastry to the size of a shoe box (one will be the base, one the lid – roll the lid ever so slightly bigger). Line a large roasting tray with greaseproof paper, dust with flour, then add the smaller piece of pastry. Spread half of the mushroom stuffing onto the middle of the base to cover an area the same size as your turkey breast. Remove the cocktail sticks, then place the turkey breast on top and spread the remaining stuffing over the top packing it all in and smoothing it out so that the whole breast is covered. Sprinkle with the crispy bacon and rosemary, then brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg. Lay the second sheet of pastry over the top, gently mold it round the shape of the breast, pushing all the air out and seal together. Trim the edges to around 4cm, then pull, twist, tuck and pinch in the pastry (like in the picture).
  6. Brush the whole thing with beaten egg then all the hard work’s done. Leave it uncovered in the fridge overnight until you’re ready to cook. On Christmas day, cook at 180°/350°F/gas 4 for 50 to 60 minutes, or until risen, puffy and beautifully golden and the turkey is piping hot throughout. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for around 10 minutes before carving. Serve carved into 2.5cm with the gravy and all the usual. Christmas in a mouthful.
How about Turkey Wellington for Christmas??

SUNDAY NIGHT OR WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS

It’s Sunday night and weekend passed way too quickly.  The backyard had a lot of plants to cut back for winter and chickens are very funny, but very messy.  Time to clean up their mess before the rains come.

The Korean Beef Short Ribs became, as I told my husband, the meat eater: “Meat over Rice” and that was all he ate, as that was all i cooked.  I took some Butternut Squash soup out of the freezer and cut up the rolled pork loin with broccoli rabe adding it to the soup.  Put a little fresh Regianno Parmesano and you have a pretty tasty dinner and not wasted food.

The chickens got the left over Pea Salad and they were happy too.  It is a nice relaxing evening here at “Kingsley Manor”. Off to binge watch Poldark.

Beside dinner, I baked another Paul Hollywood’s Pain de Savoie for my husband’s office pot luck, designed an invitation for my granddaughter’s birthday party, wrote an article for a local magazine and caught up on my online class.  Grandma was pretty busy today.

SUNDAY NIGHT OR WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS

Panko

For years we all ground our own breadcrumbs and I often still do for some dishes, but when I discover Panko I switched in most cases, as it is lighter and more crunchy.

In the late ’90s, chefs started talking about the glories of a Japanese breadcrumb called Panko. This light and airy bread version of breadcrumbs was only available in Asian markets and some higher-end luxury gourmet grocery stores. They were pale and large compared to traditional American crumbs, and they fried and toasted up in a more crunchy manner. People took notice and home cooks begin experimenting with this new-to-them style of crumb. By the early 2000’s Panko was readily available in the US.

If they are just breadcrumbs, why are they so different looking and why do they cook up so uniquely? And can I make my own the way I do with regular breadcrumbs?

Breadcrumbs while simple to make just are not the same and sadly you cannot make panko at home because the bread isn’t baked, but cooked on a metal plate with electrical currents.

It is believed that it was the Portuguese who introduced frying to the Japanese as there is no record of oil, or “abura,” prior to the Portuguese landing in Japan. So when you eat a shrimp tempura, thank a Portuguese for this wonderful entrée.

What is fascinating to me is the story of the creation of the breading for tonkatsu, panko, which became a household word, however, was undocumented.

The invention of panko happened during World War II. While the Japanese were at war with the Russians, they wanted to eat bread out in the battlefields. Unable to bake the bread, the Japanese used their tanks’ batteries to quickly “bake” their bread. They discovered that the bread was extremely light and airy, with very small air pockets.

This method of using electric current to bake bread with no brown crusts is how panko is made today at Upper Crust Enterprises.

Masashi Kawaguchi started Mrs. Friday panko-crusted shrimp fish sold to restaurants and in the frozen section, food service, cash and carry outlets. He brought the panko from Japan, but the best flour comes from the United States, Canada, and Australia. Mr. Kawaguchi thought this did not make good business sense to ship the flour from America to Japan, then back to the United States as panko, so sent his son Gary to Japan to learn how to make panko.

Mr. Kawaguchi opened two plants 35 years ago and the present location in Little Tokyo is now run by Gary Kawaguchi. One of the cleanest, most monitored factories we have seen, it is an impressive operation. We had to remove all jewelry, wear a hairnet, (Jim had a beard net) clean and wash our hands twice before we began our tour around the panko factory.

The bread dough is carefully mixed, kneaded, and risen twice, just as you would if baking bread at home. The bread goes through a specially made “oven” for 1 1/2 hours where each huge loaf of bread is electrocuted. When the bread comes out, the loaves are whitish slabs of “bread” that looks and jiggles like tofu. Tom tore off a piece of bread for us to taste.

The bread was soft and billowy and tastes like bread should.

These loaves are air-dried on large racks overnight. The next day, a special food processor cuts these loaves into long crumbs. Unlike their competitors, Upper Crust has healthy looking panko flakes, not tiny crumbs.

By weight, their panko gives 26 percent better yield per pound because of the larger, slivery crumbs with an airy texture.

Asked whether gluten-free panko would be a future product and he said the gluten in wheat flour was necessary to get the texture and airy panko crumbs. Tom suggested using crushed rice crispies, corn flakes or dehydrated potato flakes for coating when cooking for someone with gluten intolerance.

 

Today, producers make the crustless loaves, let them rest for a day or so, then put them through a sort of mill or grinder with screens to make the bread shards. They then bake the shards at high heat to remove any remaining moisture, giving them that signature texture.

The Japanese first learned to make bread from the Europeans, and panko is derived from pan from the Portuguese and -ko, a Japanese suffix indicating “flour“, “crumb”, or “powder” (as in komeko, “rice powder”, sobako, “buckwheat flour”, and komugiko, “wheat flour”).
Panko

Pain de Savoie

Pain de Savoie

Another successful Paul Hollywood bread recipe that is lovely to look at and even better to eat.  This one was devoured at my wine group. We were doing a Riesling night and the heavy texture with cheese and bacon was a perfect paring.  (or at least I thought so)

Pain de Savoie (makes 1 loaf)

400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

100g rye flour

10g salt

8g fast-action dried yeast

20ml olive oil, plus extra for oiling

330ml cool water

150g lardons, fried and cooled

200g Comté cheese, cut into 1cm cubes

Step 1: Mix the flours in a large bowl and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the olive oil and 250ml of the water and mix with the fingers of one hand. Add as much of the rest of the water as you need to form a soft dough; rye flour takes a lot of water so you should need most or all of it. Tip the dough onto an oiled work surface and knead well for 5–10 minutes or more, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add the cooled lardons, working them well into the dough. Form the dough into a ball and put in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film or a tea towel and leave to rise until at least doubled or trebled in size – at least 2 hours.

Step 2: Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 3 equal pieces. Knock back by pushing down on the dough with the heels of your hands, then your knuckles and fingertips, and folding the dough in on itself several times. Form each piece into a ball.

Step 3: Oil a 20cm springform cake tin. Roll out a ball of dough to a 1.5–2cm thick circle, to fit the tin and lay it in the bottom. Scatter over half of the cheese. Roll out a similar disc of dough and lay on top. Add the rest of the cheese. Roll out the final ball of dough and place on top. Dust with flour. Put the tin inside a roomy plastic bag and leave to prove for about 1 hour, or until well puffed up. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 220°C. Bake the loaf in the oven for 30 minutes.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I am cooking my way through this book and have not yet had a failure, so really do recommend buying this book.  He shows you all the steps in wonderful photos, then shows you suggestions of what it tastes great with.  I have not been disappointed.  And I always leave the cookbook in my kitchen.  Not bad to look at either….

Happy Baking!

 

 

Pain de Savoie

Back to Baking & Soups Galore

Soups and Fall seem simultaneous. It is cold outside with a few snow flurries and I am looking out of the kitchen kneading bread and stirring soup.  This just makes my heart sing.  I some days wish I had a group of friends I could just call and say “Soup’s On”, please come on over.

I started making a lot of soup when I had a restaurant on Bainbridge Island in the 90’s.  Every day I would make a new soup, so there was always something different to try. I honestly wish there was a local restaurant that would do the same.  Most local restaurants have the same menu (and soup) day after day, month after month, and unfortunately year after year.

A little behind in my posting, but not in my cooking, so today I will add the recipes of the last week or so starting with yesterday.  IMG_6679

As a child on the weekends we often had Campbell’s tomato soup and a burnt grilled cheese sandwich (on Wonder bread). As an adult, the idea is appealing, but not the ingredients, so several years ago I started making my own tomato soup.  I don’t always use the same recipe (and now really don’t use one at all), but the ingredients must be fresh and wonderful for it to be tasty.  I love how it looks in the pot after it has been pureed.  Doesn’t that just look inviting!

This is what I did yesterday and scroll down for the Paul Hollywood Savory Brioche Couronne (bread with ham & cheese)

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Ingredients

10 Roma tomatoes

1 onion

A couple cups of home-made Chicken stock

1 tbsp of EVOO

3 – 5 garlic sliced thin ( I like garlic, so always throw in a little extra)

Hand-full of fresh oregano from my herb garden

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 cup or so of chopped basil

1 stick of butter ( oh yeah, that adds to the flavor)

1 cup or so of half & half or whipped cream

Fresh reggiano parmigiano for the top

Sour cream for the top  and I added chives for color (but just a little)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine quartered tomatoes, onions, whole garlic cloves, oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon sugar in large roasting pan. Roast, stirring once or twice, until tomatoes are brown in spots, about 11/2 hours. Let cool 5 minutes. Working in two batches, process roasted tomato mixture in food processor until smooth. (Pureed mixture can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.)

2. Put the mixture back in the pot, add the chicken stock, basil, oregano, butter and cream and simmer a few minutes.  Taste it and add salt & pepper to your taste.

3. Put in a pretty bowl and top with sour cream and a little shredded parmesan.

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Ingredients

 

 

Back to Baking & Soups Galore

Almost No-knead Bread with Creamy Mushroom Soup

No Knead Bread

Found this very easy, but not so fast bread from America’s Test Kitchen and have made it a couple of times.  I find if I start it by about 8:00 AM it is good enough for dinner.  Always a hit when warm with a little good sweet butter.  I served it with a Creamy Mushroom Soup from another one of their cookbooks.  If you scroll down, you can see their rendition and mine of the soup.  I think it needs a little punch, as it was pretty, but a little bland.

Almost No-Knead Bread

A no-fuss recipe that is revolutionizing home baking trades flavor and reliability for ease. Could we improve the bread’s bland taste and make it rise high every time?

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

To avoid lengthy and tiresome kneading, we let our bread dough sit for 8 to 18 hours, during which a process called autolysis develops gluten—the protein that gives baked breads their bubbly, chewy crumb structure. After that, just 15 seconds of kneading does the trick. To give our bread more flavor than standard no-knead recipes, we add vinegar for acidic tang and lager beer for extra yeastiness. We bake the bread in a preheated covered pot to create steam, producing a springy interior, and then finish baking it uncovered for a beautifully browned crust.

INSTRUCTIONS

Makes 1 large round loaf
3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons water, room temperature
6 tablespoons mild-flavored lager
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
Vegetable oil spray

Use a mild-flavored lager, such as Budweiser (mild nonalcoholic lager also works). In step 3, start the 30-minute timer as soon as you put the bread in the cold oven. Do not wait until the oven has preheated to start your timer or the bread will burn. The bread is best eaten the day it is baked, but it can be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a cool, dry place for up to two days.

 

1. Whisk flour, salt, and yeast together in large bowl. Add water, lager, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 18 hours.

2. Lay 18 by 12-inch sheet of parchment paper on counter and spray with oil spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam side down, to center of parchment and spray surface of dough with oil spray. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover loosely with plastic and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.

3. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Remove plastic from pot. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. Cover pot and place in oven. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Bake bread for 30 minutes.

4. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and let cool completely, about 2 hours.

TEN STEPS TO EASY RUSTIC BREAD

1. HAND-MIX INGREDIENTS: Combine flour, yeast, and salt; then stir in water, beer, and vinegar and fold it all together. No mixer required.

WHY? This bread will form gluten as it sits, so there’s no need for a lot of mixing at the start.

2. LET REST: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for at least 8 hours or up to 18 hours.

WHY? Much like kneading, letting the dough sit develops gluten through a process called autolysis.

3. PREPARE PARCHMENT: Spray an 18 by 12-inch sheet of parchment paper lightly with vegetable oil spray.

WHY? You’ll use the parchment to move the dough from the counter to the Dutch oven for its second rise, and to remove the bread from the pot after baking.

4. KNEAD DOUGH: Transfer the dough to a floured counter and knead it just 10 to 15 times.

WHY? During the long rest, the proteins in the dough break down, making it easier to manipulate, and with less than a minute of kneading, the gluten has been sufficiently developed.

5. SHAPE AND LET RISE: Form the dough into a ball, place it on the parchment, and transfer it to a Dutch oven. Then cover it and let it rise for 2 hours.

WHY? Once shaped, the dough undergoes its final rise, during which the yeast produces carbon dioxide to make the dough puff.

6. SLASH DOUGH: Use a sharp knife or razor to cut one 6-inch- long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along the top of the dough.

WHY? Slashing the dough allows steam to escape so the loaf bakes evenly, preventing splits and cracks.

7. COVER UP: Place the cover on the pot.

WHY? The covered pot produces a steamy environment that gives the loaf an open crumb structure.

8. START IT COLD: Place the covered pot in a cold oven. Heat the oven to 425 degrees and bake the bread for 30 minutes.

WHY? Starting the bread in a cold oven ensures against burning the bottom, and the bread rises just as much as in a preheated oven.

9. REMOVE COVER: Uncover the pot and continue to bake the bread until it is deep brown and its center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes more.

WHY? After the steamy environment has created the ideal interior texture, uncovering the pot allows the crust to brown and crisp.

10. LET COOL AND SERVE: Remove the bread from the pot and place it on a rack to cool for about 2 hours before slicing.

WHY? There’s still a lot of moisture trapped inside the hot bread. As the bread sits, the steam escapes giving the cooled loaf just the right texture.

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Published March 2001

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

For a substantial mushroom soup recipe with distinctive, deep mushroom flavor and rich texture, neither too thick or thin, we cooked readily available button mushrooms long and slow, with butter and shallots and then pureed them in a blender, finishing the soup with a splash of Madeira, cream, and lemon juice. A garnish of sautéed wild mushrooms added a hit of earthiness and flavor to our mushroom soup recipe.

This is a photo of their soup.
Mushroom Soup 1
Here are two photos of the soup I made from the recipe.  I added a little Mexican Crema to the top of mine and noticed my color is a little darker, which I think looks richer.
Mushroom Soup

INGREDIENTS

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6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 large shallots, minced (about 3/4 cup)
2 small cloves garlic, minced (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, freshly grated
2 pounds white button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 ½ cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups hot water
½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed well
cup dry sherry or Madeira
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice from 1 lemon
Salt and ground black pepper

Sauteed Wild Mushroom Garnish (optional)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms or chanterelle, oyster, or cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and discarded, mushrooms wiped clean and sliced thin

INSTRUCTIONS

MAKES 8 CUPS, SERVING 6 TO 8

To make sure that the soup has a fine, velvety texture, puree it hot off the stove, but do not fill the blender jar more than halfway, as the hot liquid may cause the lid to pop off the jar.

1. Melt butter in large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-low heat; when foaming subsides, add shallots and saute, stirring frequently, until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and nutmeg; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute longer. Increase heat to medium; add sliced mushrooms and stir to coat with butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms release liquid, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and mushrooms have released all liquid, about 20 minutes. Add chicken stock, water, and porcini mushrooms; cover and bring to simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer until mushrooms are fully tender, about 20 minutes longer.

2. Pour soup into a large bowl. Rinse and dry Dutch oven. Puree soup in batches in blender until smooth, filling blender jar only halfway for each batch. Return soup to Dutch oven; stir in Madeira and cream and bring to simmer over low heat. Add lemon juice, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with sauteed mushroom garnish, if desired. (Can be cooled to room temperature and refrigerated up to 4 days.) If making ahead, add cream at serving time.

3. For the Sauteed Wild Mushroom Garnish (optional):

Heat butter in medium skillet over low heat; when foam subsides, add mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms release their liquid, about 10 minutes for shiitakes and chanterelles, about 5 minutes for oysters, and about 9 minutes for cremini. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid released by mushrooms has evaporated and mushrooms are browned, about 2 minutes for shiitakes, about 3 minutes for chanterelles, and about 2 minutes for oysters and cremini. Sprinkle a portion of mushrooms over individual bowls of soup and serve.

Almost No-knead Bread with Creamy Mushroom Soup

Pizza Pizza Pizza

Everyone loves pizza, but what is interesting to me is that everyone seems to like it a bit different.  My husband and I loved the pizza we ate in Florence, Italy.  It was simple, with not a lot of ingredients, thin crust and totally delicious.

italian-pizza-margherita-fresh-tomatoes-mozzarella-basil-marjoram-43460353

I found this photo online and it is an example of that perfect pizza we found in Italy. I eat gluten free 99% of the time, but that one night in Italy I ate three pieces of my husband’s pizza.  I had ordered a salad, but I guarantee his pizza looked a lot better than my salad.  I savored every bite and unsavored it about three in the morning when I woke up quite ill.  But I still loved that pizza and going forward eat in a lot more moderation.

I have been trying to made a good pizza crust for a while.  I have used Paul Hollywood’s recipe and America’s Test Kitchen.  I sort of combined the two to some success.  I am realizing there is a real art to making great pizza.

IMG_6418

With this pizza I used a pizza stone with a pizza dish on top.  I heated the oven to 550 degrees (blew out the fan) and added the pizza.

Lesson here:  Maybe a little lower temperature is okay, roll out the dough thinner and add the basil after the pizza is done.  I used a fresh mozzarella, but not the best I could find, so next time I will find a buratta  mozzarella, as it is softer and much more flavorful.  I always make my own sauce, but find it is better if I use fresh tomatoes rather than low sodium canned.  I have a wonderful herb garden on my back porch, so always use a variety of fresh herbs.

IMG_6429 (1)

The next pizza next pizza I attempted I used my new cast iron pizza pan described by America’s Test Kitchen as being the best.  For this I decided to use up the rest of some sausage from the night before.  I had to wait for a turn in the oven, and the pizza dough kept rising.

After the fact I watched a video on how to use this new cast iron pan.  I did not want to take it out of the oven, so attempted to put the toppings on while it was still in the oven. This is where I say: “failure”.  The crust was messy, too think and had a rather odd shape.  Next time, take the pan out of the oven and add toppings.

IMG_6414

The bottom of the crust on this pizza was perfectly cooked, but it sat out a little too long, so it grew in the heat of the kitchen.  I also discovered that I really don’t like sausage on my pizza, or mushrooms.  Lesson learned: Get it together faster, keep it simpler and take the dang pan out of the oven to add toppings. BTW we threw this one out.  One taste was enough to know neither of us liked it much. Crust was great, but toppings were too much. Great way to ruin a yummy crust.

IMG_6417

This one was our favorite, even though cooked on just the pizza stone and not the cast iron.  I do admit, I kind of messed the only one cooked on the pizza cast iron.

Conclusion of this experiment: Make the dough as it tells you in either recipe, divide it in thirds like it tells you and unless you are cooking for several, freeze two of the pizza dough balls for later.  Every recipe I have tried makes way too much pizza dough for two people.

My recipe for the red sauce is as follows:

  1.  Chop a bunch of tomatoes and I leave the skins on
  2. Chop up some very fresh garlic
  3. Add a little good quality EVOO
  4. Grab herbs or buy them and add them to the pot
    1. I like oregano, thyme & rosemary
  5. Cook for a while
  6. Add a teaspoon of sugar
  7. Puree till finely blended and add however much salt & pepper you like

Paul Hollywood’s Pizza Dough recipe:

Ingredients

  • 250g/9oz strong white flour, plus extra for flouring (in the US use bread flour)
  • 5g/¼oz salt
  • 30ml/1fl oz olive oil
  • 5g/¼oz fast-action yeast
  • 180ml/6fl oz water
  • semolina, for dusting (optional)

    Ingredients

    For the pizza dough

    Method

    1. For the pizza dough, mix the flour, salt, olive oil, yeast and water together in a bowl.

    2. Turn the dough out onto an oiled work surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cut off a small piece of the dough and stretch part of it as thinly as you can. If you can see the shadow of your fingers through the dough – the light should shine through the dough like a window pane – without the dough tearing, it is ready to prove.

    3. Shape the dough into a ball and tip into a bowl.

    4. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise for an hour.

    5. Divide the mix into three balls. Roll out on a floured surface into circles. Place each circle on a flat baking tray or a plastic chopping board dusted with semolina (so the pizza can be easily transferred to the oven later).

    6. Place a pizza stone or an upturned baking tray into the oven and heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7 (in a non-fan oven).

     

    America’s Test Kitchen Recipe

    1 ¾ cups water divided, 1/2 cup warm, remaining at tap temperature
    2 ¼ teaspoons dry active yeast (1 envelope)
    2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing dough
    4 cups bread flour
    1 ½ teaspoons table salt
    vegetable oil (or cooking spray) for oiling bowl
    semolina for dusting peel
    2 LARGE, 4 MEDIUM OR 8 INDIVIDUAL PIZZAS

    This dough can be used for any size pizza with thick or thin crust; simply adjust the cooking time to fit the pizza. Make sure you heat the oven to 500 degrees for thirty minutes before you start cooking. Your tiles or stone need at least that long to heat up; if they’re not properly heated, your pizza crust will be thin, blond, and limp. Once the dough for the crust has been topped, use a quick jerking action to slide it off the peel and onto the hot tiles or stone; make sure that the pizza lands far enough back so that its front edge does not hang off. For a cornmeal-flavored dough, substitute three-quarters cup of cornmeal for three-quarters cup of the bread flour. Editor’s Note: This recipe was updated in 1997, when we found that adding more water resulted in a tastier pizza. This recipe contains a total of 1 3/4 cups water, while the original that appeared in the magazine in 1995 contains 1 1/2 cups.

    1. Measure 1/4 cup of warm water into 2-cup measuring cup. Sprinkle in yeast; let stand until yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup warm water plus remaining 1 1/4 cups tap water and olive oil. Meanwhile, pulse flour and salt in workbowl of large food processor fitted with steel blade to combine. Add liquid ingredients (holding back a tablespoon or so) to flour and pulse together. If dough does not readily form into ball, stop machine, add remaining liquid, and continue to pulse until ball forms. Process until dough is smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds longer.

    2. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface; knead by hand with a few strokes to form smooth, round ball. Put dough into medium-large, oiled bowl, and cover with damp cloth. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

    3. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and use chef’s knife or dough scraper to halve, quarter, or cut dough into eighths, depending on number and size of pizzas desired. Form each piece into ball and cover with damp cloth. Working with one piece of dough at a time, shape as shown in illustrations below. Transfer to pizza peel that has been lightly coated with semolina, brush dough very lightly with olive oil before topping and cooking.

    4. Use the following guide to determine cooking time for pizza crust with topping but without cheese. All pizzas need to be cooked an additional two or three minutes after adding cheese, or until cheese is completely melted.

    THIN CRUST

    14-inch pizzas (Master Recipe makes 2) – 7 to 8 minutes

    12-inch pizzas (Master Recipe makes 4) – 5 minutes

    8-inch pizzas (Master Recipe makes 8)- 3 minutes.

    MEDIUM-THICK CRUST

    12-inch pizzas (Master Recipe makes 2) – 9 to 10 minutes

    8-inch pizzas (Master Recipe makes 4) – 5 minutes

    6-inch pizzas (Master Recipe makes 8) – 4 minutes.

    So there you have it, probably too much information about making a simple pizza.  I find using the best ingredients and doing lots of practice runs (and I am definitely still working on mine) will give you the best results.

    I remember reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book telling you it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert at anything and am hoping that does not apply to making the perfect pizza.

    Happy eating.

Pizza Pizza Pizza

Another day of cooking

Fun and very easy dinner shared here.  It is interesting having my six year old granddaughter for the summer, as she has very specific likes and VERY specific dislikes.  No tomatoes, but loves tomato sauces.  So the other night I bought some Lamb Loin Chops and rubbed them with lots of herbs from my garden and olive oil.  We grilled them quickly on barbecue and that was a huge hit, just simple and delicious. Carrots are high on her lists of favorite veggies, so sautéed with butter and fresh dill from the garden and they were devoured.  Funny, but that is the one cooked vegetable I do NOT love.  She kept asking me why I didn’t eat the carrots.  America’s Test Kitchen bread, with very little kneading was totally tasty and another big hit with Claire and my husband.  But risotto with Reggiano Parmesano was not in her palate, so she would not even try it, even though she loves cheese and loves rice.  So you never know what will make it and what will not.  The salad with greens from my garden, tomatoes and avocados, was a “don’t bother to put on her plate”.  I don’t think I liked lettuce or tomatoes at that age either.

Since the most of the dinner was simple and as easy as described I will just post the recipe for the bread.

Almost No-Knead Bread

A no-fuss recipe that is revolutionizing home baking trades flavor and reliability for ease. Could we improve the bread’s bland taste and make it rise high every time?

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

To avoid lengthy and tiresome kneading, we let our bread dough sit for 8 to 18 hours, during which a process called autolysis develops gluten—the protein that gives baked breads their bubbly, chewy crumb structure. After that, just 15 seconds of kneading does the trick. To give our bread more flavor than standard no-knead recipes, we add vinegar for acidic tang and lager beer for extra yeastiness. We bake the bread in a preheated covered pot to create steam, producing a springy interior, and then finish baking it uncovered for a beautifully browned crust.

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

Makes 1 large round loaf

3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons water, room temperature
6 tablespoons mild-flavored lager
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
Vegetable oil spray

Use a mild-flavored lager, such as Budweiser (mild nonalcoholic lager also works). In step 3, start the 30-minute timer as soon as you put the bread in the cold oven. Do not wait until the oven has preheated to start your timer or the bread will burn. The bread is best eaten the day it is baked, but it can be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a cool, dry place for up to two days.

1. Whisk flour, salt, and yeast together in large bowl. Add water, lager, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 18 hours.

2. Lay 18 by 12-inch sheet of parchment paper on counter and spray with oil spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam side down, to center of parchment and spray surface of dough with oil spray. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover loosely with plastic and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.

3. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Remove plastic from pot. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. Cover pot and place in oven. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Bake bread for 30 minutes.

4. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and let cool completely, about 2 hours.

TEN STEPS TO EASY RUSTIC BREAD

1. HAND-MIX INGREDIENTS: Combine flour, yeast, and salt; then stir in water, beer, and vinegar and fold it all together. No mixer required.

WHY? This bread will form gluten as it sits, so there’s no need for a lot of mixing at the start.

2. LET REST: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for at least 8 hours or up to 18 hours.

WHY? Much like kneading, letting the dough sit develops gluten through a process called autolysis.

3. PREPARE PARCHMENT: Spray an 18 by 12-inch sheet of parchment paper lightly with vegetable oil spray.

WHY? You’ll use the parchment to move the dough from the counter to the Dutch oven for its second rise, and to remove the bread from the pot after baking.

4. KNEAD DOUGH: Transfer the dough to a floured counter and knead it just 10 to 15 times.

WHY? During the long rest, the proteins in the dough break down, making it easier to manipulate, and with less than a minute of kneading, the gluten has been sufficiently developed.

5. SHAPE AND LET RISE: Form the dough into a ball, place it on the parchment, and transfer it to a Dutch oven. Then cover it and let it rise for 2 hours.

WHY? Once shaped, the dough undergoes its final rise, during which the yeast produces carbon dioxide to make the dough puff.

6. SLASH DOUGH: Use a sharp knife or razor to cut one 6-inch- long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along the top of the dough.

WHY? Slashing the dough allows steam to escape so the loaf bakes evenly, preventing splits and cracks.

7. COVER UP: Place the cover on the pot.

WHY? The covered pot produces a steamy environment that gives the loaf an open crumb structure.

8. START IT COLD: Place the covered pot in a cold oven. Heat the oven to 425 degrees and bake the bread for 30 minutes.

WHY? Starting the bread in a cold oven ensures against burning the bottom, and the bread rises just as much as in a preheated oven.

9. REMOVE COVER: Uncover the pot and continue to bake the bread until it is deep brown and its center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes more.

WHY? After the steamy environment has created the ideal interior texture, uncovering the pot allows the crust to brown and crisp.

10. LET COOL AND SERVE: Remove the bread from the pot and place it on a rack to cool for about 2 hours before slicing.

WHY? There’s still a lot of moisture trapped inside the hot bread. As the bread sits, the steam escapes giving the cooled loaf just the right texture.

Another day of cooking