Sunday, February 22, 2009


This year at Thanksgiving, I took over the bread making. First of all, I'm not a bread maker. I usually only like recipes that take less than 30 minutes, and I usually don't like to have to measure things perfectly; however, it's Dave's family's tradition to have Challah bread at Thanksgiving, and I love a challenge. As you can see by the picture (or at least I hope you think so too!), the bread came out SO impressive with minimal work. That's my kind of recipe.

2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon salt
8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional)

  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.

  2. Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into thirds and roll into long snake about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid from middle. Either leave as braid or form into a round braided loaf by bringing ends together, curving braid into a circle, pinch ends together. Grease two baking trays and place finished braid or round on each. Cover with towel and let rise about one hour.

  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

  4. Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each braid. Sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.

  5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 40 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Homemade Apple Pie

Dave has been asking for months for me to make him an apple pie, and for various reasons I just never did it. Today, I decided I'd make him that pie since we're having company. I mean, come on. What's more impressive to company than a homemade pie?

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie (Recipe included below)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Dash of cinnamon
8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced (I used 5 large apples)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer for 5 minutes.

  2. Place the bottom crust in your pie plate. Toss apples with sugar and butter liquid and place in pie plate, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work of crust or one full crust. Brush crust with egg wash or melted butter.

  3. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.

Pie Crust

1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold water

  1. Mix shortening, flour, and salt together with a fork or a pastry blender until very crumbly. Add as much water as needed to hold together, and mix lightly with a fork. To double this recipe, use 1 cup shortening, 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup cold water.

  2. Kneed only to combine, one crust at a time, on a floured pastry cloth, to about an inch larger than pie plate. Fold carefully in half. Lift to pie plate, and unfold. Fit into pan. For a single-crust pie, trim with a small knife to about 1/2 inch beyond rim. Fold up, and pinch so edge of pie is raised from rim. For a two-crust pie, trim bottom crust to edge of rim, fill, and top with crust about 1/2 inch larger than rim. Tuck top crust under bottom along rim. Seal with floured fork.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sloppy Joes, Sloppy, Sloppy Joes

Holy Crap She Updated!

I have been craving sloppy joes (shut up) forever and four days now. Even though Dave emailed to say he'd be home late tonight, I decided I was making sloppy joes for myself anyway.

I always used to think sloppy joes came from a can, but did you know you can MAKE them yourself, and please do. These were really delicious. I had two. I think I might just go get more joes without the bread...

1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
3/4 cup ketchup
3 teaspoons brown sugar
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

  1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, and green pepper; drain off liquids.

  2. Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar; mix thoroughly. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.