trying a new 5 minute artisan bread recipe

Last week I was going to make some calzones since it’s been over six months since I made pizza (a calzone is technically a folded pizza) so I figured it was about time.  I was in a hurry and didn’t want to mix up some dough so all I had in the fridge was one small can of Piggly Wiggly biscuits that had been in there a while and needed using up.  And since I said Piggly Wiggly for the first time in my blog I’ve got to post this silly video since it actually has a reference to PW in it.  If you don’t like Avengers you’ll probably want to skip it.  LOL.

So I pressed the biscuit dough thin and used a beef, mushroom, and onion filling for it – it also contained cheese and sour cream.  I still had extra filling so I had to use some low carb tortillas for the rest of it.  It all turned out well but I got to thinking it would be nice if I had dough mixed up in the fridge for such occasions and I wouldn’t have to use store bought refrigerated dough which has extra preservatives in it and doesn’t taste as good.  So enter the following book for no-knead or refrigerated dough…

If you search youtube or the web you can find plenty of recipes for no-knead or refrigerated dough or you can buy the book which is generally pretty cheap.  The book has a lot of variations for preparing the dough such as herb bread, butter rolls and such.  I don’t get any money if you buy the book from the link so I’m just including it for reference.

So here is a summary of the steps:

You first have to mix the dough and preferably leave in the fridge overnight.  The ingredients for the dough I used is – you can double this recipe if you’d like:

1.5 cups lukewarm water (not too hot)
3.25 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons yeast
3 teaspoons salt
2 or 3 teaspoons of cornmeal

  1.  Mix water, yeast, and salt together then add flour together.
  2.  Mix just enough to moisten flour without dry spots.  Doesn’t take long and no need to knead the dough.
  3.  Put a lid or plastic wrap on the container where it’s loose but don’t seal it completely.
  4.  Let it rise for 2 hours then put it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.  Keep in mind that you never want to punch down or flatten this dough if you’re going to make round airy loaves.
  5. When you take it out of the fridge it’ll look wet and take the form of the container like the photo below.img_0069

6.  When the dough is chilled and you take it out, use a serrated knife to cut off as much as you need.  Maybe an orange size amount or a grapefruit size amount.  Note, that the dough is easier to work with if it’s chilled.  Dust the wet ball of dough with some flour on top and then stretch the surface below the ball, turning the ball 1/4 turn each time.  The goal here is to only stretch the outer layer of the dough and not compress or work the other 95% of the dough.  You should wind up with a dough ball like the one on the right.  It doesn’t have to look perfect and this stretching process takes less than 60 seconds normally.  You don’t want to overwork the dough or it’ll be very dense after cooking.

img_0072

7. When both surfaces have been pulled and tucked under the ball it’ll look something like below.  Not that if you’re going to use a dough paddle like I have here, you’ll want to use it from the beginning to prepare the dough and let it rise as opposed to the wax paper I used here.  Sprinkle a little bit of corn meal on the dough paddle before shaping.

img_0076

8.  Cover them with a roomy bowl like so and let them rest for 45 to 90 minutes.  During this time they will rise some.

img_0075

9. During the last 15 to 20 minutes of rising you can go ahead and preheat the oven and stone (if you’re using a stone) as opposed to a pan.  I have a cheap baking stone that I bought years ago. Also place an additional empty metal pan (not glass as it’ll shatter) in the oven.  You’ll add hot tap water to this after adding the dough to the stone so that it’ll add steam to the cooking process.

img_0084

10. After the dough rise step is done, drop some flour on top of the dough and score/slice the top of the dough with a serrated knife.  Patterns such as 3 slits, a plus sign, or tic tac toe pattern can be used – I used the first two here.  The flour should help keep the dough from sticking to the knife.  After cooking and the bread has cooled you can shake off excess flour before eating if you’d like.

img_0078-1

11. The paddle and the corn meal under the dough makes it easy to slide the dough from the paddle directly to the baking stone.  After you transfer the dough to the baking stone or pans if that’s what you used don’t forget to add hot tap water to the empty metal pan so that it can add some steam to the cooking process.  The loaves I made here are smaller so I only baked them for 20 to 25 minutes.

12. The finished bread is below.  The outer shell was nice and crisp and the inside was airy and fluffy without being too dense.  It was excellent sliced and brushed with a little bit of butter.  Of course there is a million ways to enjoy this crusty bread such as with sandwiches, soup, or salad.

img_0079

img_0083

 

My somewhat inchoate diet and my new fitbit badge.

My somewhat inchoate diet and my new fitbit badge.

I have type 2 diabetes and though I’ve been able to hold my current weight without gaining, my blood sugar has been slowly creeping upwards so I’ve been ramping up my diet strategy yet again.  I’m probably on version 42 of my diet (and a long ways to go) and I feel like by the time I get to version 100 there will be nothing left I can actually eat except maybe an avocado and celery both of which i want to like but currently find yucky.

Here are a couple of tricks I’ve learned recently to help eat healthier.  In the past, I’ve used these square containers like in the images below for two turkey sandwiches – one for lunch and one for supper.  I can’t consume two sandwiches in one meal and control my blood sugar or weight.  Even though I get pretty hungry throughout the day by just eating one sandwich I’ve learned that I have to get used to being hungry.

Instead of putting the turkey meat on bread, I put it in a salad and fill the sandwich container with salad.  Ingredients I typically use in the salad are lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, sweet onion and green onion, green pepper, two jalapeno slices (finely chopped), broccoli, cauliflower (both of which i cut up fairly small so it’s not big chunks), green or black olives, dill pickle slices, banana pepper rings, and a little bit of shredded cheese.  I put a small amount of salad dressing in a small container and keep it in the cooler with a salad.  I generally put black pepper on it when i prepare it but don’t salt it ahead of time or it’ll turn the lettuce to mush because salt leaches the moisture out of veggies in a short amount of time.   The green olives, banana peppers, and sliced dills from a jar typically have a lot of salt so I find that I don’t have to add more salt with those and those don’t turn the salad to mush.

I also like to experiment with other dry seasonings such as McCormick’s salad supreme or even Cajun spices such as Tony Cachere’s or Zatarain’s sometimes to keep from getting so bored with salads.  If the lettuce is pretty fresh I have been able to get away with preparing the salad in the container the night before but I usually prepare it the morning if I’m going to have it for lunch.  Since it can be a bit time consuming I try to have all the ingredients washed and chopped in containers in the fridge so I just have to combine them in the morning.

There are a lot of other ways to make a salad including using sliced or chopped boiled eggs or other sandwich meats.  Or if you’re worried about processed sandwich meats, I like boiling split chicken breast with seasonings and pulling the meat from the bone and putting it in a container in the fridge.  It can then be used as a topping on a salad, in chicken salad, chicken pasta, chicken chilli, chicken pizza, or home made chicken soup just to name a few.  Boiled chicken if done right can be very tasty and healthier than fried (but if you have fried chicken leftovers you can pull the meat from the bone on it and use it in same recipes i mentioned above).  I’ll post the seasonings and some other tricks I use for boiled chicken in another post.

Cashews in moderation from what I’ve read have a beneficial affect on blood sugar so I’ve been taking those in my lunch.  They can be eat as a snack or put in the salad.  I’ve also been eating a lot of oranges lately so I’m not sure if that’s why I haven’t caught the cold or flu bugs that everyone else keeps getting but I’m sure the vitamin C helps.  The halo brand oranges are easy to peel and they’re pretty tiny so just right for peeling at my office cube without making a mess.

IMG_0921

Salad, cashews, and an orange. Yummi.

IMG_0926

I put pickle slices and green olives in there which takes the place of salt.

IMG_0923

Instead of putting the turkey meat on bread I put it in a salad.

IMG_0902

This is what I’m not supposed to eat. 🙂  This was the first time I bought fresh seafood from Publix and brought it home and cooked.  The shrimp and catfish were on sale half off.  I make the shrimp scampi by drizzling it with olive oil and putting a small amount of butter in it.  Then I add garlic salt and some pepper and then bake or broil it for about 6 minutes.  The corn nuggets are just bad all the way around when it comes to health.  LOL.  This is at least 4 servings maybe more.   

IMG_0382

Yay. This is since January of 2017.  I’m still too heavy to run much so most of this is brisk walk.

I’ve experimented with a lot of containers for salads to take them to work and eat at lunch but the square plastic container above seems to work pretty good so far.  I’ve also thought about glass mason jars.  With the mason jars you put salad dressing on the bottom and then when you’re ready to eat it just pour it into a bowl.  You can find the book below on Amazon and other places.

Image result for 150 best meals in a mason jar book

Well good luck if you are trying to eat healthier and/or lose weight.  It’s a constant struggle for me but I’ve lost around 40lbs with many more to go but I’m getting there slowly but surely.  🙂

 

straight out of the uh and into the frying pan – YAOR for teh internets

Wow – what a coincidence.  I had planned on writing a post about my chickens and an omelet I made with their eggs this morning and the word of the day is egg.  I also figured I’d take a moment to mention some of my kitchen hacks and recipe variations for omelets which I’m sure is not all that original.  I mean there are only so many ways to crack an egg huh.  So here goes for this episode of Yet Another Omelet Recipe for teh internets.

First for some pictures:

 

I used the 3 eggs on the cutting board to make the omelet – those are small to medium eggs (unlike that one giant egg in the corner of the egg carton photo).  This size omelet is really two servings so I cut it in half and only had half of for breakfast.  It actually keeps ok in the fridge so I had the other half for dinner with some grits.  As you may infer from multicolored eggs, my chickens are also multicolored.  I have some Rhode Island Reds, California Whites, and some Australorps which are black.  I’ll post some pictures of them another day – maybe when the word of the day is chicken.  🙂

Eggs used to be considered unhealthy but due to the healthy fats organic eggs have, I think expert opinion is shifting as long one doesn’t overdo it.  An omelet with salsa is fairly low carb for diabetics such as myself but they do have fat and calories.  I’ve been able to lose weight and keep my blood sugar down if I usually just eat one egg for breakfast.

So how do you cook an omelet?  Here are the steps I use and some tricks I’ve learned:

  1. Before I turn the stove on, I prepare part of the veggies.  They are the ones in the small cup on the back of the cutting board in the photos.  One thing that I’ve found is I don’t use green or red peppers fast enough to leave them in the fridge but if you go ahead wash, de-seed and slice them right after you buy them, you can put them in a zip-lock bag or if you want a smaller carbon footprint and less waste then use a re-usable freezer container.  They wont be as crunchy and fresh out of the freezer but they are tasty in stir-fry and aren’t too soggy – just don’t cook them too long.
  2. So I take only as much out of the freezer as I need of the sliced red or green pepper and chop it frozen – it’s easier to do than you’d think.  I normally keep vidalia or sweet onion chopped up in the fridge – I use it more often than red or green pepper and it keeps pretty well in the fridge.  So I add the chopped onion to the pepper at about a 3 to 1 ratio since i like onion and it’s more mild than pepper.
  3. This is optional but to that small plastic cup of onion and pepper I take about 3 jalapeno slices out of a small jar i keep in the fridge.  I chop the 3 small rings of jalapeno up into small bits and add it the cup of onions and peppers.  It doesn’t seem to add too much heat for me.
  4. Another thing i keep in the fridge is green onions.  If I’m making one omelet, I’ll take one green onion stalk out and wash it and chop it up.  If it has that hairy root stem on the very end just cut that small piece off and throw it away but I’m sure you already knew to do that.  I add the chopped up green onion to the cup with the sweet onions, peppers and jalapenos.
  5. Now the veggies are sitting pretty in the plastic cup and raring to go, but I sit them aside for now.
  6. I use a separate small pan for cooking the filling and i add a teaspoon or two of olive oil and heat the pan on medium.  Once the oil heats up I add a teaspoon or two of minced garlic – I get the kind that is in the small jar you put in the fridge and is already minced. This flavors the oil with garlic but it’s not real strong.  If you don’t like garlic you can leave it out.
  7. If i have uncooked sausage I usually chop it up and add it to the frying pan at this point.  I don’t normally use the same cutting board for meat that I use for veggies.  I use the wooden cutting board in the picture mostly for veggies.  You can use precooked breakfast meat, or you can chop up sandwich meat such as ham or turkey.  If you have left over grilled pork chop you can also chop it up and add it.  Occasionally, I buy a slice of ready to serve ham steak and keep in the freezer and it can also be used in this step.  Oh and the precooked real bacon bits in the bag in the photo are also a convenient choice.
  8. While that is cooking I wash the fresh mushrooms and slice them and set them aside.  If the meat is mostly done (no longer pink), I go ahead and add the mushrooms and stir occasionally.  If you’re not using raw meat and you’ve chopped up already cooked meat or sandwich meat you can add the mushrooms immediately.
  9.   Once the mushrooms have cooked a little bit but aren’t cooked all the way, I add the cup of fresh veggies.  These will only need to cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on medium until the sweet onions look a little shiny.  Once that is ready go ahead and remove it from the hot eye but you can leave it in the pan until you’re ready for it.
  10. if you notice the picture with the bacon bits bag, there is a large pancake spatula in it.  One challenge some people have with omelets is flipping the half cooked egg so that large spatula makes it easier to do without the egg falling apart.  I add about two teaspoons of olive oil to a medium sized fryer (it’s bigger than the one i cook the filling in) or you can use butter or spray oil.  Just crack the eggs into a bowl and beat with a fork or wire whisk and add a dash of salt and pepper if desired.  You’ll want to cook the egg pretty slow on medium heat so it doesn’t brown too much.  If the egg cooks too fast just pick up the frying pan and shake it a little to move the egg around and turn the heat down some.  This part will take some practice but just cook it until there is just a thin layer of liquid on top.  Then use the large spatula to flip it over.  Now this only needs to cook for about one to two minutes usually.  I go ahead and add the filling from the other frying pan to the top of the cooking egg mixture in a line in the middle of the egg.  Then I add a pinch of shredded mozzarella cheese and about 3 pinches of shredded cheddar cheese – you could use american cheese also.  By now the other half of the egg will probably be done enough you can fold the omelet – i use a smaller spatula for this.  You probably won’t have to flip the folded omelet at this point as it’ll likely be cooked soon.  You can hold the skillet up and slide the omelet into the serving plate and eat by itself or with some salsa.
  11.  One thing to note is the bag of precooked bacon bits which i get from Sam’s club comes in handy for a lot of dishes.  I use it in egg scramble dishes, grits, and i use it when cooking a variety of veggies such as green beans, lima beans, turnips, collards, and black eyed peas, etc.  It works in canned, frozen, or dried beans etc.

Well good luck.  Cooking for yourself isn’t as bad as you may think if you’re not already doing it.  And you can better control what goes into your food – how much fat, salt, etc.  If you trying to eat healthier and don’t want to add meat just remove it from the recipe.  I use the veggie part of this recipe for several dishes including some Chinese dishes and some homemade soups.    The great thing about doing your own cooking is you are in control.