Panzanella

Panzanella
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Rations of Hope Bread

Rations of Hope Bread
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Naan (Na’an)

Naan
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Pancakes

Pancakes

When I was a child, my mom made mountains of pancakes for me and my best friend Jennifer. To this day, I love a stack swimming in syrup.

In 2008, the passion was rekindled when Mark and I enjoyed unbelievably fluffy, tender pancakes in Breckenridge, Colorado. After the first few bites I knew I had to rework my recipe.

This is the new, improved version. In addition to syrup, I recommend copious amounts of butter. What better way to start the day?

  • PANCAKES
  • Makes: 11-12
  • Difficulty: Easy
WHAT YOU NEED WHAT TO DO WHY
1 teaspoon butter (optional) Preheat an empty 10-inch seasoned cast iron griddle over medium-low heat until water droplets flicked from fingertips dance across the base (5-7 minutes). Buttering the pan is not necessary, but a teaspoon may be rubbed over the cooking space to eliminate all possibility of sticking. Preheating the griddle discourages sticking. Butter is better than oil at discouraging sticking.
1/4 cup granulated sugar or
firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
In a 2-quart tempered glass measuring/batter bowl, heat together on medium microwave power just until butter is almost melted; whisk to combine. Results here are almost identical when using either type of sugar.
1 cup whole milk Whisk into sugar mixture to cool it down.  
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
Whisk into sugar mixture until uniform in color. Adding after the milk avoids curdling the eggs.
6 1/4 ounces (1 1/4 cups)
bleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons double acting baking powder, sifted
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
 In a 1-quart bowl, weigh the flour; whisk all together. Add to wet ingredients in thirds, whisking each time until there is no dry flour. Continue whisking until batter is almost smooth (the consistency should be that of thick cake batter). For the test pancake, pour 1/4 cup batter in the center of the pan (a rounded 2-inch ice cream scoop dispenses easily and uniformly). Alternatively, use as little as one tablespoon of batter for the test pancake. Weighing flour yields consistent results. Bleached flour has low gluten; cornstarch also promotes tenderness. Sifting leavening agents eliminates distasteful clumps. Adding dry ingredients in thirds nets less mixing time, reducing gluten development.
  By the time the edges are firm and the top has lost glossinessand is covered in bubbles, the bottom should be golden brown. If the timing is off, increase or decrease the heat as appropriate. Gently flip the pancake; brown second side.

For remaining batches, 3 pancakes should fit in the pan. Allow space to spread out up to 5 inches. 

 
  Serve hot with desired toppings. If holding for any length of time, transfer to a plate and cover with an inverted oversized bowl. Covering reduces heat loss and dehydration.

TO FREEZE: Freeze in bags marked with date/contents. Never refrigerate; it stales bread. Reheat in a microwave or in a toaster oven.
GREAT WITH: Butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, diced apples, sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, pecans or walnuts… Pancake Syrup, Blackberry Topping, Chocolate Sauce, Peanut Butter Sauce or Nutella Sauce.

Southern Spoonbread

Southern Spoonbread

This southern spoonbread is to die for.

When we moved to Charlotte, we discovered that our church organized dinner groups, and so we signed up right away to meet new people. It is a beautiful way to make new friends while sharing favorite foods. Continue reading “Southern Spoonbread”

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

In the fall of 2015, Mark and I toured Ireland with a group of friends and enjoyed a baking lesson for Traditional Irish Soda Bread at Donegal Manor. Sian Breslin was our delightful instructor.

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Kaak (Ka’ak)

Kaak Ka'ak

Kaak (Ka’ak) is so much fun to make. Our friend Cynthia Aziz shared this Lebanese “street food” recipe, which she received from her great aunt. It has a delicate undertone from the subtle addition of spices, including mahlab (mah-lab), which is ground cherry pits. Mahlab is available in Mediterranean markets.

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TURKEY DRESSING

Turkey Dressing

My mom used to make this every Thanksgiving for my dad. As a child, I peeled the crusts from store-bought bread, buttered each slice, sprinkled seasonings over top, and then helped tear up the pieces. When Dane and Jessi were little I had them do the same.

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FLOUR TORTILLAS

Flour Tortillas
My college roommate, Joni, used to bring big stacks of homemade tortillas to our dorm after visiting her parents. We loved to sit around pulling off strips, nibbling away until they were all gone. Continue reading “FLOUR TORTILLAS”

BREAD FROM HEAVEN

Bread From Heaven

We love this bread. It is delicious fresh from the oven, or toasted and slathered with preserves or butter. Thick slices make flavorful French toast and incredible sandwiches. For quick croutons, slices can be cubed, sprinkled with herbs and sautéed in a little olive oil.

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