Friday, May 20, 2011

Food For Friday: Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

I had read about this book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, all over blogland.  We love artisan bread, so I loved the idea of making a batch of dough that would last up to 2 weeks in my fridge and could be used to make baguettes, ciabatta, or even pizza.  I borrowed the book from the library, purchased an oven thermometer and bin for the dough, and got busy experimenting.  I haven't made many of the recipes in the book, but I've had a lot of success with The Master Recipe dough.
We've used the fresh baguettes as a side for pasta and to make meatball sandwiches,
Meatball Sandwich
and the pizza dough is delicious!
BBQ Pizza
I would recommend getting the book if you want to try out a lot of the recipes, but I thought I would share The Master Recipe with you, so you can see just how easy it is.  (This recipe makes 4 one lb. loaves or pizza crusts, but it can easily be doubled or halved.)

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (I use Fleichman's bread machine yeast in the glass jar with a yellow label)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all purpose white flour (scoop the cup to fill, then gently use the back of a knife to "sweep" off the excess; do not pack the flour!)

Warm the water slightly until it feels just a little warmer than body temperature.  I usually microwave mine. 
If you have a stand mixer, attach your dough hook and put the water into the mixing bowl.  You can also mix the dough by hand right in the plastic container.  (You need a 5 quart resealable, lidded, but not airtight plastic food container.)  I like to use my mixer because it can get hard stirring in all the flour.
Add the yeast and salt into the warm water.  Mix in, but don't worry if it doesn't all dissolve.  Put your bowl onto your mixer if you are using a mixer.
Mix in the flour.  Kneading is unnecessary.  Add all of the flour at once and mix with a wooden spoon in your plastic container, or mix with a stand mixer on medium using the dough hook.  The dough is finished when it is uniformly moist without dry patches.  The dough will be wet and loose enough that it forms to the shape of its container.  If you used a mixer, dump the dough into your plastic container.
Cover with the lid (again, make sure it's not airtight!) and allow the dough to rise on the counter at room temperature for at least 2 hours, up to 5 hours.  Put the dough in the refrigerator to store.  The dough will be easier to work with if you refrigerate it overnight before use, which makes it much less sticky.

This master dough can be used for a variety of recipes, including baguettes, ciabatta bread & pizza dough. 

Meatball Sandwiches
For the meatball sandwiches, I prepared fresh baguettes, then cut them in half.  I spread roasted garlic spaghetti sauce on one half, and laid slices of fresh mozzarella on the other half.  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until the sauce is hot and the cheese is melted.  Place homemade meatballs along the bottom half of the baguette.   If you have some fresh basil on hand, chop it into thin ribbons and lay some on top of your meatballs.  Put the top piece of baguette on top to make your sandwich.

BBQ Chicken Pizza
We've used the pizza dough to make several different varieties of pizza, but one of our favorites (that is pictured above) is BBQ Chicken Pizza.  Spread the prepared crust (before baking) with BBQ sauce.  I like to use Sweet Baby Ray's.  Top with chopped or shredded cooked chicken breast.  Add slices of fresh mozzarella cheese & thinly sliced red onion.  Bake as directed in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  When you remove the pizza from the oven, sprinkle chopped cilantro over the top before serving.

You can find a lot of recipes on their website, in addition to the recipes in the book.  They have come out with another book, Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, that features a lot of whole grain recipes.  I recently purchased the ingredients for some of those recipes and look forward to trying them out as well!  Happy Bread Baking!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Gender Reveal Party! It's a....

This past Thursday, we hosted a little party with some of our close friends to find out if Lilo is a boy or a girl!  It was a lot of fun and we are so glad we found out in a fun way with friends & family, rather than at the ultrasound appointment.  We had to hold onto the secret for 2 1/2 days between our ultrasound and the party, but it was worth it!

Holding the card I made for the ultrasound tech to write Lilo's gender in, before we went into our ultrasound appointment:
After the appointment, we took the card to Babies R Us.  We picked out two outfits, a boy and a girl choice, and took them both to customer service.  They opened the card out of sight and wrapped up the right outfit for us to open at our gender reveal party!
I love planning parties, so it was a lot of fun for me to create a festive atmosphere for our party.  Everything went with our blue & pink, boy or girl theme.
I thought bite size babycakes were appropriate for the occasion!
We incorporated the Chinese characters for "boy" and "girl" into our table decor.
The package holding our big surprise!
Our families skyped in from Ohio & Texas to join in the celebration and share our big news with us!
All of our friends wore pink or blue to vote for their guess of whether Lilo was a boy or a girl.
After waiting for 2 days, we were dying to know and so excited to rip into that package!
This photo is blurry because we were moving, but the looks of surprise are classic...
It's a....
We are going to have a son!
For some reason, after thinking it was a boy our whole pregnancy, after our ultrasound, Tru really thought it was going to be a girl.  He was shocked and thrilled that it was a boy!  I love this photo of him showing off his son's outfit to our families over skype:
We announced our news to friends and family through e-mail and Facebook with this photo.  Bring on the blue!
After months of waiting, it is still a little bit surreal that we know we are having a boy!  We are so excited to meet our son!