Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Slow Cooker Honey Wheat Bread

     I do love my slow cookers. I use them for so many different things. However, there was one thing I never thought to try: bread. It seemed to me that there would be no possible way to bake bread in a slow cooker without it ending up super damp and mushy. Not surprisingly, I was totally wrong. I've managed to find a couple recipes that turn out some surprisingly good bread. I love it because it means I can bake on a hot day without having to turn on the oven! This particular bread has a touch of sweetness and is a great breakfast bread. It actually manages to have a good crust and a super nice crumb. Best of all, I was able to make it without using their method of putting a second container into the cooker! Fair warning, I needed considerably more flour than the recipe called for. As always, notes and changes are in blue. 

Slow-Cooker Honey Wheat Bread
(via Slow Cooker Magic in Minutes)
Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour (I needed considerably more than this)
  • 2 cups warm milk
  • 3/4-1 cup all-purpose flour (I needed considerably more than this)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. Spray a 1-quart casserole, or other high sided baking pan with nonstick cooking spray (totally didn't to that. I just lined a 1.5 quart slow-cooker with parchment paper and sprayed it with non-stick spray)
  2. Combine 1-1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, milk, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, honey, oil, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Beat at low speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. 
  3. Add remaining flour. If mixer has difficulty mixing dough, mix in remaining flour. (Holy crap did I have difficulty. The amount of flour called for in the recipe will deliver a sticky mess. I needed close to another cup and a half of flour. I just did a 50/50 mix of flours to make up this difference. Just don't freak out when the original recipe doesn't yield a nice, smooth dough.)
    Mix until dough is smooth and elastic (using my KitchenAid and dough hook, this took about 6-7 minutes in total)
  4. Transfer to prepared dish. Place dish in slow-cooker. (As I mentioned in step 1, I was not going to do that. I just shaped the dough into a ball and put it into the parchment lined slow-cooker). Cover and cook on HIGH 3 hours or until edges are browned.
    (If you are doing it my way, here are a few tips. After 3 hours, take out the loaf, flip it over, lay a paper towel over it, put the cover back on and let it go another 45 minutes to hour. This will get rid of any moisture on the top and give the top a bit of a crust without having to throw it under the broiler at the end.
  5. Turn out on a wire rack to cool. 
Good times!


Monday, July 31, 2017

Steamed Pollock in Black Bean Sauce

     So here we are with my SECOND post of 2017! I have tried to make up the difference with my YouTube channel, but sometimes people just want printed recipes. This makes no sense to me as I am a beautiful, beautiful man and am worthy of consideration by all the people of Earth. Anyways, here we are. I've been super busy with The Spud and all sorts of home improvements (bathroom remodel, replacement of our back patio door, fence installation, yard and garden work, reorganizing rooms to maximize space). I have let the blog slip and I apologize.
     This particular recipe makes use of a bamboo steamer basket. If you don't have one, a steamer rack or some other form of rigged up steam system should work fine. I had some pollock I needed to use up and went to my trusty copy of The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook and tinkered with a recipe. The end result surprised myself and The Wife. This made a really delicious sauce and a wonderful meal. The fish turned out nice and flaky. We served it up with some steamed sesame buns I got from the local world market. You could also use steamed pork buns and they would be great. This was super easy to put together. You could pretty much use any sauce you'd like with the fish, but I recommend giving this one a try for something a little different. As always, notes are in blue.

Steamed Pollock in Black Bean Sauce
Ingredients

  • 1 pound pollock (or other whitefish) 3-4 fillets
  • 1 tablespoon garlic black bean paste (available in the Asian section of most supermarkets)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 inch ginger, finely grated
  • 2 scallions, chopped
Directions
  1. Dry the fish with a paper towel
  2. Lightly rub the fish with a bit of salt and pepper
  3. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients that are not the fish
  4. Line a steamer basket with parchment paper, making sure it goes up the sides to prevent spillage
  5. Lay the fish in the steamer basket and pour over the mixture from the bowl
  6. Steam for about 30 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork
  7. Serve fish and top with sauce 
Good Times!


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Spaghetti with Oil and Bacon Jam

First off, let me say I'm sorry. It's been almost four months since my last post. I know I've managed a YouTube video, some FaceBook content and a couple live streams, but nothing of real value. Granted, you could still make that claim when I posted a lot. Regardless, as I've mentioned before, it seems that parenting takes up quite a bit of time. However, I have had the occasional moment of inspiration. A couple of friends of ours regularly come by for dinner and games. They are the epitome of gracious guests. We have never asked it of them, but they always arrive with some assortment of food related gifts for us. Recently it was a jar of Trader Joe's Uncured Bacon Jam. It is exactly what it sounds like. It is a sweet bacon spread. We've had it on toast and it was pretty good. Desperate to use up some leftover spaghetti, it became a key ingredient in a new and amazing recipe. Mind you, if you don't have access to this jam, I'm not sure what you're going to do. I have no idea how to replicate it. Best of luck. As always, notes are in blue.

Spaghetti with Oil and Bacon Jam
(Recipe makes 2 servings, or one if you're a fat bastard like me)
Ingredients

  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (use as many virgins as you'd like)
  • 3 tablespoons bacon jam
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried, minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (add a little more if you'd like a bit more kick)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions
  1. Cook pasta until aldente. Set aside to drain.
  2. In a large pan, on medium-high head, melt butter and add olive oil. 
  3. Add the onion and stir for a minute or two.
  4. Add the bacon jam. Stir until jam breaks down into the butter/oil mix.
  5. Add the garlic powder and pepper flakes.
  6. Add the pasta back to the pan. Toss until the pasta is totally coated with the sauce.
  7. Add the cheese and toss again.
  8. (If you feel the dish could use some color, feel free to toss in some chopped parsley)
Good times!