Monday, June 2, 2014

Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Look at that.

Isn't that a thing of beauty? I love to bake yeast breads. However since my children have grown up and I have a loved one that avoids gluten, I rarely indulge my desire to create with yeast in my kitchen. So, when one of my favorite bloggers announced that she was hosting a Baking Bootcamp, I found my reason to indulge. Even better:  one lucky person will win a one year supply of King Arthur Flour and a Baking Essentials box valued at $250!!  Official rules and details can be found here.Count me in! (Hey, I figure I can make my co-workers happy.)

A few years ago, I spent a short and exhilarating time as part of the Daring Bakers. The group is still going strong, having expanded to become the Daring Kitchen. I loved the challenges. But I found that I could not keep up with the deadlines while raising two very strong-willed teen sons and holding down a job in higher education. The timing was not right and I had to resign from the blogroll.

I was stoked to find out that Joy the Baker was also part of that inspiring and supportive online group of everyday people that loved the challenges to create awe-inspiring baked goods in their home kitchens. Thanks to Daring Bakers, I added Eclairs to my repertoire.

This gorgeous bread is the first in a series of four challenges, each using a different King Arthur Flour. Now...on to this lovely bread.

If you have never used yeast before, this is a very friendly recipe. It is almost too easy. And the smell that you create in your kitchen is payment enough for the attempt. (I bet you will be successful. If you can twist one strand over another, you can do this!) Joy has even provided step-by-step instructions and photos with the recipe on her fabulous blog.

Imagine your family and friends' expressions when you place this piece of heaven on earth in front of them. 

So, head on over to her blog and join in the fun!

I wish you luck! But not too much! That flour is mine!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Triple Mushroom Ragout

Do you ever experience cravings? I mean CRAVINGS: I- GOTTA-HAVE-IT-NOW CRAVINGS?

Such was the case for me a few weeks ago. I wanted  needed mushrooms, and lots of them. First, I tried Mushroom Ravioli at a well-known Italian restaurant chain. That was not good enough. Close, but no cigar.

Next, a few days later I had them sauteed into a breakfast skillet at a well-known American diner for breakfast. Still, not good enough. I hardly tasted them, they were overshadowed by the spicy chorizo in the dish.

I knew it was time to cook up my own cure. (Physician, heal thyself?)


I decided that I needed the most "mushroom-y flavor" on my plate in a hurry. I chose to make a sumptuous Triple Mushroom Ragout. I served it with pan seared smoked pork chops, sauteed garlic spinach and atop cheesy, creamy grits. (Those were their own little piece of heaven)

If you are a mushroom lover, connoisseur and crave them regularly, I have the recipe to fix what ails you. It is so flavorful and meaty that you could enjoy this dish instead of meat and not feel the least bit deprived.

The recipe is below. Prepare for your mind to be blown.

 (I couldn't wait for the photograph.)

Triple Mushroom Ragout

1 Pint Fresh Baby Portabello Mushrooms, wiped with a damp cloth
1 Pint Fresh Oyster Mushrooms, wiped with a damp cloth
1 Pint Fresh Shiitake Mushroom, wiped with a damp cloth (stems removed)
3-4 Sprigs of fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup onion, finely minced
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Real Butter
1/2 Cup heavy cream
1/8 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt, to taste


Using your chef knife, chop all mushrooms to uniform size. (medium chop).

In a heavy bottomed skillet, melt the butter and allow to foam before adding the thyme sprigs. Next, add all of the mushrooms, stirring to coat. Don't worry if it looks as if there isn't enough butter. There is.

Over medium heat, continue to saute the mushrooms stirring occasionally. We are looking for golden edges on the mushrooms. Add the minced garlic and onions and stir again. Continue cooking until the mushrooms have released their juices and have begun to caramelize. Do not allow onions and garlic to burn.

Lower heat and add freshly ground black pepper (yes, freshly ground!) and the heavy cream. Stir, allowing the mixture to thicken and for the cream to become a nutty brown color.

Remove from heat, check for salt. (Salt as needed)


(Try not to eat the whole skillet  before dinner is served)