Honey Oatmeal Bread

Honey Oatmeal Bread

honey bread 2 to use

HONEY OATMEAL BREAD
Makes 1 9×5-inch loaf

INGREDIENTS

3 cups (381 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cups oats (I have used instant and old fashioned, both work great)
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup (250 ml) milk (almond or soy milk for vegan/dairy free)
1/4 cup (62 ml) lukewarm water
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter or margarine
1/4 cup honey (agave for vegan)

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons honey (or agave), warmed
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons oats

bread 3

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the flour, oats, yeast, and salt.

In a small bowl, or two cup measuring cup, warm the milk so that it’s hot enough to melt the butter, but not boiling. Add the butter, stirring until melted, then stir in the water and honey.

Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, mixing with a dough hook until it just comes together to form a dough. Knead in the mixer, with the dough hook attachment, for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic (if you’re making this recipe by hand, the dough will be very sticky at first; flour your hands and work surface generously and be patient). If the dough is still very wet and sticky after 5 minutes of kneading, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is barely tacky. If the dough is too dry, add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to soften it up.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise until doubled, about 1/2 to 1 hour.

Once doubled, place the dough on a clean, dry work surface. If the dough is too sticky, lightly flour the surface before continuing. With your fingers, flatten the dough into a 9 by 12-inch rectangle. Tightly roll the dough, tucking the ends as needed, into a loaf. Place the shaped dough into a 9×5-inch loaf pan, cover with a clean dry towl, and allow to rise until doubled, about 1/2 to 1  hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place an empty loaf pan on the bottom rack of the oven and bring 2 cups of water to a boil.

When the loaf is doubled again, brush the top with the warmed honey and sprinkle with the oats.

Place the bread in the oven and pour the boiling water into the empty loaf pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the bread is deep golden brown and the internal temperature is about 190 degrees.

Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving.

Guest Post: Food Snob

Today, we are lucky people, because right here is a recipe/guest post from a Chef, I think really highly of. She brings desserts to my Harvest Parties as well as family gatherings, and it is always the most sought after, talked about item. Once in a while she will post pictures of her decadent, lovely desserts on Facebook and I will swoon to myself, thinking: I wish I could do that. I’m looking forward not only to seeing what unfolds in her culinary career but to the gems she will offer this blog when she has free time.

Food snob is, “a person who cooks in a restaurant and doesn’t make that much money. But turns their nose up at any convenience foods. Likes to make up some fancy sauce to serve over ahi, and likes to name drop famous chefs’ names. Critical of other people’s food choices, thinks he can deem your social class by the temperature of your steak.” – Urban dictionary

Yup, this describes me quite well. I am a Pastry Chef at an upscale steak house in Manchester, New Hampshire. Even though I have lunch at Wendy’s twice a month with my Grandmother, I will “deem your social class by the temperature of your steak.” I’m sorry, but if you request ice cream to go with your already fattening crème brulee, I will question your social class status. Either trust the Chef who put effort into the menu development or request the addition of berries to perfectly balance the crème brulee.

My first memory of becoming a food snob was shortly after culinary school. I had a craving for Hostess Ring Dings. My first bite was disappointing. The chocolate coating was waxy and didn’t even taste like chocolate. The cake was very dry and the filling was limited. Not a perfect balance of cake to cream ratio. While attending culinary school, we were exposed to the creation of chocolate and the many couverture brands. So many different varieties and subtitle flavors, like coffee and berries.  Oh and the wonderful snap sound tempered chocolate makes! How is this not exciting when compared to dry cake?

As a Pastry Chef food snob, we all have our favorite crème brulee recipes. Here’s a vanilla bean crème brulee recipe.

VANILLA BEAN CREME BRULEE

INGREDIENTS

1 quart heavy cream
1 cup half and half
1 each vanilla bean, split
¾ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown Sugar
3 eggs
6 ounces egg yolks (about 9)

METHOD OF PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Boil heavy cream, half and half, vanilla bean, and sugar
Combine eggs, yolks, and brown sugar
Once the cream mixture has boiled, turn off the burner
Temper the hot cream with the egg mixture
Do this by warming the egg mixture up with a bit of hot cream and whisk the batter thoroughly
Then slowly whisk the egg batter into the hot cream mixture
Strain the custard batter, to remove the vanilla pod and any curdled eggs
Pour custard into a single or several shallow ramekins or pans (you can always save extra custard in the fridge for another time)
Place the dish(s) in a larger pan, like a sheet pan or casserole dish, to hold a water bath
Place the pan in the oven and fill it a quarter of the way with water
Cover the top of the pan with another pan to provide even cooking
Bake for a half hour and check on the custard
At this point tap the pan to see how much longer the custard needs before finishing
If it’s still liquid form, rotate pan and bake another 15 minutes
If the edges are baked, but the center jiggles like Jell-O, rotate and bake another 5 minutes
Custard is done when the center does not jiggle, the whole custard is thick and moves as one
Allow the custard to get cold and dust the top with a single layer of granulated sugar (or Sugar in the Raw for first timers)
Use a blow torch to “brulee” or burn or caramelize the sugar
You can also try the broiler on your oven if you do not have a blow torch

Serve with fruit and enjoy!

Want to add flare? Add fresh berries or herbs into the crème brulee batter before baking.

Triple Berry Muffins & A Genuine Ass Kicking

Well kids, it’s not often that Ms. Jenny Morrison gets schooled in the running department and I have certainly never been at the back of the pack. However, this past Saturday, I met up with the running group in Yarmouth, even though it was pouring rain with a little bit of a knot in my stomach. I had a feeling based on what I saw via Facebook that most of the folks I ran with initially, would not be there. Which meant, there would only be the really fierce runners (who I completely look up to) there for me to run with. Now normally, this may not be an issue but in Yarmouth, I don’t know my way around. At. All. So I knew I either had to keep up, or I would be lost. With no cell phone on me. With no form of identification. I mean, hell, I may never make it back home! They were super nice, said they were going for just an easy 5-6, they said they would prefer to get a donut, but then they started running and I quickly learned that their version of easy was my version of working really really hard. Now, my Garmin would not coorperate so I have no idea the actual pace or distance. What I do know is that I was huffing and puffing like someone was chasing after me with a machete and I was running for my life. I know that a couple of them tried to talk to me and I was pretty much drooling as I responded. I also know that as I saw them stop at the light, it was like angels were singing all around me. I mean, I think I saw God. Thankfully, one of them took pity and ran the easy way home with me, allowing the option of slowing down a bit. Because honestly, I think I was going to stroke out at any moment. After I reached the finish, I couldn’t have been happier, not because it was over (well, a little) but because I kept going. Running along side people that push me is rare, I’m usually the one doing the pushing, and I will say, this felt mighty good. Running with people who feel so much passion for the sport can only make me better, even if in the midst of it all, I feel as though I’m dying. It also puts things in perspective. I know a lot of runners that talk a lot of shit and they are no prize when it comes to speed. Every cocky runner needs a reality check, just to remind them, there is always someone better just up ahead. We must use that to grow stronger, faster and keep moving even when times are hard.

Anyways, by the time Sunday morning rolled around, I was ready to relax a little. I whipped up these muffins bright and early so when Josh awoke it was to this lovely aroma with fresh coffee to join the scent. Life is short you know, sometimes I forget, eating a muffin on a Sunday is perfectly acceptable…and wonderful.

INGREDIENTS

MUFFIN

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk

STREULSEL

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS

berry muffins 6

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line your muffin tin with liners or grease liberally.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder and salt. Add the mixed berries and toss to coat well. Set aside. (I used frozen berries by the way, some berries are just better that way)

3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Then, slowly add the milk. Mix until blended.

4. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, being careful not to crush the berries. Mix until just combined then fill prepared muffin tins with batter.

To make the streusel, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and oats in a small bowl. Cut in the butter with your fingers until only small lumps remain. Sprinkle streusel over each muffin.

Bake muffins for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.

Chocolate Cupcakes for a Very Special Lady

I can’t even began to explain how very much I dislike cupcakes. I think it comes from my time working furiously at my online bake shop: Eat Your Plate. I churned out so many of these midnight chocolate cupcakes, that the mere sight of them makes me want to have a seizure. I can’t deny it, they are remarkably decadent and delicious. They certainly don’t taste and feel like your average cupcake….and they are not meant to. I use really rich, really fresh products which make all the difference in the end result. And beyond, hating the taste of a cupcake, there is an even deeper disdain for the creation of them. However, every once in a while I feel that little flicker. Someone will inspire me and I’ll feel inclined to whip up a batch. Or, in this case, I like someone so much that just the idea of their face while consuming these, drives me to make them. This batch was made for a very special birthday girl whom I feel really blessed to have in my life. We had a bit of a bumpy start. Pretty much my fault. She raised all sorts of red flags in my book: she’s sensible, she’s quiet, she makes perfect sense all the time. But then it dawned on me that the world can only handle so much Jenny and that people like Casey really balance things out. She’s the heat to my balsamic reduction, takes the bitter edge off just enough to keep things enjoyable.

The past year has been really great for our friendship because I finally shut my mouth and gave her the opportunity to talk. The majority of my friends have been almost as over the top as I am and to be honest, I don’t think that’s always a good thing. Casey is really mellow, she listens extremely well, has dozens of truly amazing qualities and capabilities and has the ability to surprise and delight often. And, beyond all that, she has a huge heart, which is always a plus. It’s a rarity that I give the Casey’s of the world a chance and frankly, I don’t know why. There is no reason to be suspicious of a perfectly normal personality. Perhaps I am just concerned it will really show people my slightly neurotic strange side. 😉

The point of all this rambling: yesterday I thought about her and I wanted to make these cupcakes for her birthday, just to say, hey, you were on my mind. I spent the afternoon cooking in a frenzy and couldn’t have been happier when I brought over the dozen for her to eat and share. People like Casey bring the baker out of me and I kind of dig that. So here’s to you Casey, you are indeed a pretty special lady.

MIDNIGHT CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH VANILLA FROSTING

CUPCAKES

1/2 cup raw cocoa powder
1.5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken into pieces
1 cup boiling water
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp, cut into pieces
1/4 half & half or heavy cream (your preference)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line your cupcake tins. In a small heatproof bowl, combine your cocoa powder and unsweetened chocolate. Pour the boiling water on top and whisk until smooth. Allow to cool for at least one hour. (You can place in the freezer to speed things up a bit)

2. Using a mixer with the paddle attachment combine the following: flour, brown sugar, sea salt and baking soda. Add your butter a few pieces at a time, mixing on medium speed just until it begins to resemble a dough. Beat an additional minute, just to make sure the butter is well incorporated, scraping down the sides if needed.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks and half & half, until well mixed. Turn your mixture up to medium high and add the mixture slowly. Whip the mixture into a frenzy for about a minute. It will start to look light and fluffy.

4. Slowly add your chocolate mixture and mix again, on medium high-speed for about a minute, until light and fluffy once more. Scoop into your cupcake tins and bake until a toothpick comes out clean. They will still feel soft to the touch but the toothpick won’t do you wrong.

5. Allow to cool before frosting.

VANILLA FROSTING

2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
4 sticks (yes, 4!) unsalted butter, room temp, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt

1. While your cake is cooling, combine the flour and the milk in a saucepan, whisking constantly, over medium heat. Once the mixture begins to thicken and is noticeably different in texture, whisk only thirty additional seconds and then remove from heat. Set aside to cool COMPLETELY. I usually place it right in my mixing bowl to speed up the process, sometimes sticking it in the fridge if really in a time crunch.

2. Fit your mixture with the paddle attachment and on low-speed add the sugar to the cooled milk and flour mixture. Mix until combined. Continuing on low-speed, add the butter, a few cubes at a time until it is all incorporated, then mix in the vanilla and salt.

3. Turn the mixer up to medium high-speed and allow to go for 8-10 minutes. The mixture will look curdled and strange but don’t worry, it just needs time to come together. Be patient, let it mix and eventually you will get smooth, light, delicious frosting. Use immediately or store at room temp covered for up to 8 hours.

4. You can pipe these or just use a knife. Whichever method you prefer is fine, they still will taste wonderful.

Enjoy my friends! And of course, Happy Birthday to Ms. Casey.

Soon to be Mrs. Casey. 😉

Fresh Fish Tacos

I have never been a fan of fish but they say that in marriage, sacrifices have to be made, so every once in a while I have to cook something that my husband really adores: like fish tacos. I have never been a fan of fish. I don’t like the texture, I think it smells weird, it feels squishy in my mouth and it makes me think of eating a jellyfish, which is also a fish, so maybe that’s not entirely weird. Actually, I don’t think a jellyfish is scientifically a fish, but that’s a whole other thing. Anyways, Josh loves fish, he’s a traditional Maine boy and he loves everything from the sea. Could I forever deprive him of that? No, probably not. So I figured of all the fish recipes, this would be the one I would most likely enjoy. Mostly because I can throw fifty million things on top so that I can’t actually taste the fish. The first time I made these I was really pleasantly surprised. All these ingredients work together to give you a really nice, textural experience in your mouth. There is soft, there is crunch, there is bright acidic flavor, it’s really fantastic.

Now, you may look below and say: um, Jenny, there are fifty million ingredients here, this looks very complicated. It’s not. Continue scrolling to the directions where you will see, it really is very simple. It’s mostly chopping, well, it’s really all chopping. A majority of the ingredients you probably even have on hand.

I promise for a healthy and easy dinner, this one is a winner. Your husband, boyfriend, random hook-up or stranger, will really love you for it.

Serves my family of four (2 adults & 2 crazy children)

INGREDIENTS

For the marinade:
1 1/2 lbs. of fresh haddock
Juice of 4 limes
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper

For the pickled cabbage:
1 1/2 cups of red cabbage, cut into small slivers
2-3 cups red wine vinegar (enough to cover your cabbage)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Toppings & Accompaniments:
1 package of corn tortillas (8-10)
2-3 radishes, cut into small slivers
1 large carrot, cut into small slivers
Pico (2 large tomatoes, cut into squares, 1 dash of fresh cilantro, minced, juice of 1 lime, dash of minced red onion, salt & pepper to taste)

DIRECTIONS

1. Start by marinating your fish. Toss the fish along with all the ingredients into a bowl, rub the fish down with the spices and allow to sit while you do all the chopping.

2. Pickle your cabbage, I don’t like mine to sit too long, about 30 minutes or so. Toss your finely chopped cabbage in a bowl with all the ingredients, mix up and allow to sit. Drain excess vinegar when ready to serve.

3. Chop all your toppings, prepare your pico. The pico is what really makes this recipe shine, it is simple and bright. A traditional pico has more ingredients but for the sake of keeping things easy, I left some of those out. Cut all the ingredients for the pico, give a toss with a spoon and allow to sit while the flavors meld.

4. Heat up your grill. Once the grill is hot, throw your fish on. Problems with that? Spray a piece of tinfoil with nonstick spray and lay the fish on there so it’s easier to flip on the grill. I even placed my tortillas on the grill for a moment to give them a little kick. You will know your fish is done when it goes from more of a clear to a pearl white. Remove from grill.

5. Place all your ingredients on the table and start building your perfect fish taco. I like to throw a couple small pieces on a corn tortilla along with a dash of radishes, carrots, pickled cabbage and the pico. The crunch is really amazing with the soft texture of the fish. Enjoy!