Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November 30th- Peanut Brittle Beer Bread

     The name sounds like a tongue twister, am I right?

     I'm a big fan of beer bread, and pretty damned good at making the normal stuff. but before I put a beer bread recipe up here I wanted to give it a twist. this is after all, a blog for only twisted recipes, weather they be only slightly twisted or in complete knots.

     A lot of people think about quick breads when beer bread comes to mind. and those are good but so easy to make that its almost insulting to do so and show it off.  You wont find many quick breads in the future of this blog, maybe one or two if I think of something really fun to do with them. otherwise absolutely none.
     Besides that, yeast breads are so much more practical and versatile than quick breads. so lets get down to business!

     The idea came to me today when I was trying to figure out how to make a better beer bread. what could I add? My normal beer bread already uses more than half wheat flour to enhance the taste of the beer (not my original idea, I admit. but I wouldn't have it any other way. )
     I needed a good idea of my own to put into this stuff. What -else- goes good with beer?
     Nuts. The famous beer-side snack of the bar scene.
     Good right? But I'm not done yet.
     I was at the local supermarket searching out ingredients, and then I saw them...a display case full of candy coated nuts. "Johnny Almond" to be exact.
     They had various flavors but in the end I chose peanut brittle coated almonds, and I had my twist!

Here's What You'll Need!

1/2 oz yeast
1 tbsp Sugar
1 12 oz beer (Sam Adams Boston Lager in my case)
2 1/2 cup wheat flour
1 3/4 cup bread flour
3 tbsp butter
2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/3rd cup water
1 cup crushed candy coated nuts of your choice (peanut brittle almonds in my case)
2 tbsp olive oil

     Now we're all set so lets get cooking!
     First thing is you need to wake your yeast. To do this, add it to your 3rd of a cup of warm water and let sit for 5 minutes.
     In a seperate bowl add in most of your flour (reserve about a cup of the combined flour just in case it sucks up more than you would have thought. you can add it slowly that way and not dry out your dough. ) Add the sugar, salt, melted butter, nuts, and one egg. put the other aside for later.
     next comes your yeast, and then right after, the good stuff. dump in your beer of choice and start mixing with a large wooden spoon.
     Keep on mixing and adding the rest of the flour until a nice dough starts to pull together. then take over with your hands and knead it for 5 to 10 minutes on a well floured surface. ( I had to add in another 8th cup of each flour here, but that's what I get for not sifting first. You may or may not need to.)
     Once the dough is formed, put 2 tbsp of oil into a large bowl, and form the dough into a ball and give it a roll to coat. Set a towel over the bowl with the dough in it and let sit for an hour.

     Once the hour is up, dump the dough onto the counter and press the air out of it with a quick even knead, folding it once or twice. Get your dough cutter and cut it into 8 equal pieces. (16 if you want. they come out pretty big at 8, almost like kaiser rolls)
     A lot of people use corn starch for the next step, not sure why. I haven't actually ever had the corn starch around to try, but instead of that I give the dough balls a light coating of oil before covering them again and letting sit for 30 minutes.
     The oven goes up to 400 now, and when the half hour is up give them a quick egg wash with your remaining egg white. toss them in and keep em' there for 25 to 30 minutes. When they come out you'll have some big beautiful beer bread buns.
Just like these!!

     These turned out great.If there is anything to watch out for, its the slightly bitter taste that sugar can give off if it gets to burnt. a few bites came out like that for me, though the experience wasn't completely unpleasant. It reminded me of taking a quick sip of black coffee...
     Come to think of it, one of these with a cup of coffee would make an ideal early morning snack.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving- Spring Honey Potato Salad

Its strange yet cool that my first post on this blog is thanksgiving day, but I cant think of a better starting date.
     My name is Mike and I love to cook. I'll write more about my in future posts, but for now I want to get right to my food. Here's whats up.

     I usually spend thanksgiving day at my grandmom's house. She cooks like crazy every holiday and puts out huge meals for the whole family.
     I went this year to, actually. So why did I put together a meal of magnitude once I got home?
     My girlfriend has Celiac, Which is an allergy to gluten, in things like bread and way more things than you would think. because of this, a good bit, but not all of my posts will probably be gluten free,
     As she has this allergy, she really cant come and eat with my family and me. And turkey being her favorite food, I had to do something.

     Meal : Pan-Seared Turkey, Grilled Onions, and Spring Honey Potato Salad

     First the Turkey
      My girlfriend is a turkey purist so I didnt do much in the way of unique flavors. Just a traditional turkey cooked on a hot skillet.

This is what you'll need!

3 Turkey Breads (About .90 lb total) 
Sesame oil to coat the pan
A few dashes of seseme seeds
a pinch of salt
a bit of parsley

     Toss the spices in right on top of the sizzling turkey, and cook on high until thoroughly done.
     After that, quickly slice up and onion into rings and throw it right into the delicious turkey juice. Cook until brown and soft. That takes care of the onion,
     One more dish to go.

     The Potato Salad!

     Despite the turkey usually being the highlight of thanksgiving, I kidn of thought of the potato salad as my main dish today. Probably because I'd never cooked potato salad at all before. Much less made something special out of it.
     This is what I call Spring Honey Potato Salad. And its probably the best I've ever had.
Here's what you'll need!

Honey Mayo-
     That's right. This recipe actually calls for you to make your own mayo. its a bit of a chore but it gives you al ot more options on any dish using it. This is the most important part so I'll start with it.

2 Egg yolks
5/6th cups of sunflour oil
Dash salt
Dash sugar
tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4th tsp cayenne pepper
1/4th tsp sesame seeds
1 to 2 tsp honey (It has a big impact. Add carefully.)

     Break out your egg yolks and put them in a mixing bowl with your sugar, salt and lemon juice. Put your mixer on slow (or your whisk hand on really really fast) and mix until smooth.
     Slowly drip in the oil as you continue to mix, making sure all the previous oil is absorbed before adding more.
     Once it's all been used up, check to make sure the consistancy is right. if it is watery add more oil and continue mixing untilyou have mayo consistancy. If its to solid, you mixed to much and may have to start over.
     Add the rest of the spices, mix briefly. Add the honey, mix once more.

Step 2 : The Actual Potatoes.

5 Skinned, Boiled, white potatoes (chopped bite sized but not microscopic )
1/3 white onion (Diced)
2 Boiled eggs
1/4 cup leek whites (Julienne)
2-3 dashes salt
2 cloves garlic (minced)
Honey Mayo to taste ( I used a bout a half of a cup, maybe a bit more.)

     Put the potatoes in the bowl, add everything else and mix well.
     If you dislike the acidic taste of raw onion you should lessen the mount of both onions and leeks accordingly. I actually put in a half onion and a half cup of leeks but some of my friends had trouble handling that much so I changed it on my blog.
     no appreciation for oniony bite *Sigh*
     (Potato salad keeps a week and a half, but I plan on finishing mine within 7 days to be safe )

     It was a good thanksgiving with two feasts instead of one.