Monday, March 3, 2014

Rosemary Parmesan Focaccia

When my daughter was in middle school I made focaccia for the first time, and she loved it. Sadly I don't think I've made it for her since then, and she is 38! I served this bread with our spaghetti dinner tonight, and I plan to make it for my daughter next time she visits.

I looked at tons of recipes before I decided on this one from Flavor the Moments. That it was billed as "one hour" and was baked in a cast iron skillet pulled my attention from the other recipes I had considered. I adapted Marcie's recipe just a bit by adding a first rise and by slightly changing a couple of ingredients, which are listed below.

Flavored with olive oil and rosemary, this loaf was fragrant and delicious, with a light texture and butter-crispy crust.

Rosemary Parmesan Focaccia
adapted from Flavor the Moment

3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon honey
2-1/2 teaspoons yeast
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided use
1-1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup while whole wheat flour
1-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided use
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, divided use
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons melted butter

Mix warm water and honey and place in mixing bowl; sprinkle yeast over water and mix on low until dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup unbleached flour, and 1 teaspoon salt; mix on low speed. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1-1/2 teaspoons rosemary and mix until combined. Gradually add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Gradually add more flour if dough is sticky.

Place dough into lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise 1 hour. Lightly oil 9 inch cast iron skillet.

Remove dough from bowl and place on lightly floured surface. Gently knead and press dough into shape of skillet. Place in skillet, cover, and allow to rise 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon rosemary. Brush olive oil mixture over dough. Dimple top of the dough using fingers. Bake 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter. Cool slightly on wire rack and serve.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Texas Pralines

My husband and I have loved pralines since the early 1970s when he first made them for me. Using a recipe called Praline Prize Winners from Farm Journal's Homemade Candy cookbook, he would sneak into the kitchen while I was curled up under a blanket during the cold Oklahoma winter, then bring me one fresh from the pan. Nothing said love to me quite like that warm sugary treat.

Through the years I have tried to emulate those early year pralines, but mine are never as good as his. He likes his pralines with that sugar gritty graininess , and I prefer mine lightly crunchy but smooth. I tried Homesick Texan's recipe in this post from my old blog and it was good but didn't quite hit the spot.

This past weekend I was craving creamy pralines so I pulled out the old Farm Journal cookbook. I decided to make Texas Pralines, which differ from that original recipe by the addition of corn syrup and a slightly different technique. I added Mexican vanilla and sprinkled with a little sea salt, and while I loved the flavor of these they were actually too creamy! They were perfect around the edges, but inside was a bit like frosting. I managed to put away several of them, but next time I will return to husband's original recipe. And let him make them!

Texas Pralines
adapted from Farm Journal's Homemade Candy

3 cups light brown sugar
1 cup half and half
3 tablespoons light or dark corn syrup
1/3 cup salted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla (I used Mexican vanilla)
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
Kosher or sea salt

Combine sugar, half-and-half, corn syrup, and butter in 3 quart heavy saucepan. Stir to combine; bring to boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium-low, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Cook to soft ball stage (238 degrees) and remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm (110 degrees) without stirring. Add vanilla and pecans and beat until mixture changes color and begins to thicken.

Quickly spoon heaping teaspoons onto waxed paper or parchment paper, making circles 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Makes about 24 pralines.

My husband held this pan while I took photos with my smartphone, and his finger is featured in this photo.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Snickerdoodles, Cakes, and A Creche Cloth

My husband is the Business Director of a church in The Woodlands, and he asked me if I would make a tablecloth for the nativity figures that grace the narthex during Advent. After measuring the table, I went to JoAnn Fabric and chose a creamy gold brocade with tiny crosses.

I mis-calculated the width of the fabric and had to put in some tucks to make it fit the table, but several commented they liked the added interest. I did purchase additional fabric and intend to make the cloth a true round tablecloth for next Advent season.

The engagement of my daughter and her fiance was celebrated at the home of my son and his wife in December. I made them a cake of entwined hearts with the logos of their respective universities. For Jenni's Oklahoma University cake I baked this 1-2-3-4 cake, and for Chris's Texas Tech cake I made Ina Garten's Beatty's Chocolate Cake. I'm really not bragging, but both cakes were delicious. The 1-2-3-4 cake was sturdy but tender and flavorful - everything you would want in a yellow cake. The chocolate cake was moist and chocolatey and addictive. Both were frosted with buttercream made with butter, a bit of cream cheese, powdered sugar, and cream.

Snickerdoodles and Nestle Tollhouse Cookies

Yesterday we went to my son's house for a New Year's Day feast of sliders, homemade guacamole, caramelized red bell peppers and onions, and jalapeno slices that my son sautes in coconut oil until they are crispy. They purchased To-Go salsa, queso, and chips from Chili's. Everything was so, so good! I made cookies - chocolate chip and snickerdoodles. On a whim I followed the old tried and true standard Nestle's Tollhouse Cookies recipe on the back of the chocolate chips package, and after all the chocolate chip cookie recipes I've tried the last few years, my family declared these the best! I always cut back on the salt, because I use salted butter, and I use Mexican vanilla which imparts a delicate whisper of cinnamon. I really don't know why I ever tried any other recipe.

The snickerdoodles were a hit, and the recipe is adapted from the recipe on Joy of Baking website.

Makes 4-6 dozen

2-3/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup salted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sugar mixture:
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

In large bowl whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. Combine sugar and cinnamon, set aside.

In another bowl using electric or hand mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes; add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until mixture is fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture and mix on low until dough is smooth. Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to roll into balls, about one hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper. Shape dough into 1-inch round balls, roll in sugar mixture, and place on sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart. Use bottom of glass, gently flatten each cookie to about 1/2 inch thick.

Bake cookies 8 - 10 minutes, or until light golden brown around edges. Let cookies sit on pan for 5 minutes, then place on wire rack to cool.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holiday,
Happy Holiday,
While the Merry Bells Keep Ringing,
May Your Ev’ry Wish Come True

Monday, December 23, 2013

Cranberry Wild Rice Yeast Bread

Amidst all the Christmas baking, I decided to give this bread recipe a try. There are several variations of wild rice bread on the internet, and this is my adapted version. I elected to soften the dried cranberries in orange juice - a good decision! Wild rice was very expensive at my local grocery, so I found a wild rice mix of wild rice and brown rice. Now that I know how good this bread is, I will spring for the pricy Minnesota wild rice!

Sweetened only with a bit of molasses and tangy cranberries, this bread is moist and wonderful. I can't wait to try it with grilled cheese and as French toast. Instructions are for rolls or loaf.

Cranberry Wild Rice Bread
2-1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat or rye flour
2-1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1-1/4 cups water, room temperature
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup wild rice, cooked and cooled
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Orange juice
Extra unbleached flour, if needed

Soak cranberries in orange juice 30 minutes; drain, and set aside. Mix water, molasses, and olive oil. Set aside.

Whisk together flours, yeast, and salt. Switch to dough hook; add water mixture. Mix on low speed until dough forms; increase speed to medium and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 7-8 minutes. Turn speed back to low; add cranberries and wild rice; Add another 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup flour if dough seems excessively moist. Knead until evenly distributed throughout dough. Transfer dough to lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise about 1-1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper for rolls or spray 9x5 loaf pan with baking spray and line bottom with parchment paper. Lightly deflate dough and turn out onto generously floured surface. Handling dough lightly and using floured hands, either shape into 12 rolls and place on baking sheet, or shape into loaf and place in loaf pan. Cover rolls or loaf with oiled piece of plastic wrap. Let rolls rise until almost doubled. Let loaf rise until about an inch above pan.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 400 degrees for rolls, 375 degrees for loaf. Bake until golden brown as follows: rolls - 15-20 minutes; loaf - 30-40 minutes. After removing from oven brush tops of rolls or loaf with melted salted butter. Place rolls on wire rack to cool. Cool loaf in pan 10 minutes before removing to wire rack.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Favorite Blog

I've decided to revive my favorite blog. I seem to have a blog hoarding problem, since I've had 4 blogs since I first began blogging. I started with For Goodness Sake, which became my catering blog. Then I decided I needed an Oklahoma blog, so I created this one, which is still my favorite. My foray into crafting prompted me to launch Talking Stash. I posted very little on that one, but I still love the name and might choose to bring it back to life.

When we moved to Katy Texas I blogged new adventures as Katy Rose. Now that we have moved to Magnolia, I hesitate to start yet another blog, so I will return to my roots. Even though I love Texas, at heart I am still an Okie.

The moving process has not been fun. I'm not sure anyone on the planet would say "I sure enjoyed packing up a 3330 square foot house and moving everything into a 2400 sq ft house". In spite of it all, the job opportunity was welcome, the proximity to our son and DIL and grands (6 miles!) was a big draw, and we do love this part of south Texas with its gentle hills and pine trees. And who wouldn't love this view from my sewing room!

When we lived in Katy I had a loft for my crafts and a sewing room for my quilting. These hobbies will now share space with our one guest bedroom, which has gone through quite a transformation from this before we bought it.

To this when we first moved in.


To this - it's getting there!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Goodbye Oklahoma, Hello Texas!

Big changes here! From January to March 23 we accepted a job offer, sold our house in a week, house-hunted and found "the perfect house", and moved. Although I still have a love affair with Oklahoma, I will discontinue posting on Oklahoma Peach Fuzz and will be blogging from Texas via the katy rose. Feel free to pop over and see "The Happs"!