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Bons Vivants
enjoying superb food and drink
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4th-Feb-2009 10:10 am - Hamburger buns
Found this recipe on cooks.com, made a few notes to make it easier to understand.  I'm going to post this to recipezaar in a few minutes.  It's a great recipe, not too complicated or labor-intensive (the rise times are what kills!), and provides a great result. 


2 pkgs. fast rise yeast
1/4 c. lukewarm water
2 c. hot water
4 tbsp. non-fat dry milk
1 tsp. salt
3 c. white flour (I had to add an additional cup to get a "doughy" consistency)
1/4 c. oil
1/4 c. honey
2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast and lukewarm water in a cup. Pour the hot water over the whole wheat flour and stir; add dry milk, oil, honey, and salt; stir well. Let cool and then add the yeast mixture; beat with electric beater or place in processor for 3 minutes. Knead in the remaining white flour to make a soft dough. Let rise until light and double in bulk. Punch down and let rise again. Place on floured table and roll out about 1/2 inch thick. Cut with floured doughnut cutter without the "hole" or a small can the size of a bun. Let rise again and bake at 375 degrees F. 25 minutes. When done, brush the tops with oil or butter.  Cut in half, serve warm. 

*Let rise for 30-45 minutes each time.  Keep in mind the buns will rise a bit while cooking.
This one seems super complicated, but actual prep only took about 1.5 hours last night, plus 30 minutes assembling it in the morning.  See photo below!

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28th-Oct-2008 11:04 pm - Ridiculously light, fluffy bread
***crossposted from Facebook***

The recipe I have used since I was 13 has been touch and go with whole grains. I have experimented with various grains, but as soon as I pulled away from using white flour, it would get dense and heavy. It took a fine balance to make good bread/buns with that.

This August, Chad and I finally cashed in our wedding gift from Diedrich & Helen Toews (I know, 2 years later!), and went and spent a night at their beautiful B&B- Garden of Arden, which is just outside of Gladstone. Mrs. Toews gave me her incredible bread recipe, and it is ridiculous, no fail. (she also gave me her Butterhorns recipe, as well as the delectable, jam filled tea biscuits, but that is for another day. And no, to those that would tackle me for one of said biscuits, I have none on hand right now. Sarah and Keira, make them yourself! :P)

Anyhow, back to the bread- I kid you not. It rises like something possessed- I joke that it has NO self control! I ground a bunch of hard grain today, and supplemented the rest (maybe about 4-5 cups or so) of store bought whole wheat flour. Next time I'm using ONLY self ground wheat!!! This stuff rises like crazy, and is SO insanely light. I have never, ever experienced this before, especially with home ground whole wheat flour. (the heaviest stuff) My mom gave us her flour mill (and Chad fixed it), so I'm having alot of fun with that. We had Spelt bread for Thanksgiving, and I made whole wheat buns today. It is SO easy to make this stuff- I made it in an evening.

It is also very, very tasty bread. Store bought simply cannot compare!! I plan to experiment with different mixtures of grains, as well as whole grains. (flax, millet, sunflower seeds, etc. Yumm!) It's really the tastiest, healthiest bread around.

I know that making bread has been cracked up to be such a huge, impossible feat. It's really not- it's actually ridiculously easy, and so worth the effort.

So, in case anyone is interested in giving it a try, here is the recipe. I send Mrs. Toews a million thanks for the recipe- it's most definitely a keeper, and my recipe card is already well stained. :)

Helen Toews' Bread

4 cups Flour
1/2 tbsp Salt
1/3 cup Sugar
2 tbsp instant Yeast

Make a well, and add:

2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
4 cups very warm water
More flour

Knead to make a good, elasticy dough, and set in a covered bowl to rise. Punch down 3 times, every 15 minutes. On the 4th time, punch down and form into loaves or buns. (or anything else) **you can almost WATCH this stuff rise- it goes SO quickly!)

Bake at 350 until well browned and done.

21st-Oct-2008 09:32 pm - Soup
free to dance
Time to revive this little group!

It's cold season, which means, we all need some great soup recipes!

Having been sick for the last week, we've been consuming a lot of soup. In between eating Lipton Noodle soup that is mostly MSG, but oh-so-good, I made a couple of fantastic soups this week. Part of my motivation was to use up some of the organic produce I got this week in our CSA-like buying club.

The first soup I made was a knock-off of Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana, and my husband loved it. Very true to Olive Garden's, I found it a bit too spicy, and will use mild sausage next time. The other soup was a potato leek soup. I had some leeks to use up, and though a very basic and simple recipe, we loved the flavors of this soup.

Zuppa Toscana (ala Olive Garden)

1 lb. spicy Italian sausage, crumbled
1/2 lb. smoked bacon, chopped
4 cups water
3 1/2 - 4 cups chicken broth
2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed clean, cubed
2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
1 med. onion, peeled, chopped
2 cups chopped kale OR Swiss chard
1 cup heavy whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown sausage, breaking into small pieces as you fry it; drain, set aside.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown bacon; drain, set aside.
Place water, broth, potatoes, garlic, and onion in a pot; simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender.
Add sausage and bacon to pot; simmer for 10 minutes.
Add kale and cream to pot; season with salt and pepper; heat through.

Creamy Potato Leek Soup

8 potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups chicken broth
1 pound bacon, cut into 1" pieces
3 leeks, sliced
1 cup heavy cream

In a large saucepan or stockpot, bring potatoes and chicken broth to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of grease and set aside. Saute the leeks in the frying pan with the reserved bacon grease 8 to 10 minutes. (I used a little butter in place of the bacon grease.) When the potatoes are tender, stir in the fried leeks, heavy cream and bacon. Stir to blend and remove from heat. Serve hot.

I made only 2 minor changes to this recipe. I used a little butter in place of the bacon grease, and after the potatoes were tender, I mashed part of them up to thicken the soup a bit.


Does anyone have any great recipes for acorn squash?
20th-Oct-2008 09:11 am - Autumn
The cool weather is here... the feel of glorious fall in the air warms my heart and makes me crave family and food. 

What are your favorite fall dishes or recipes?  

I didn't really dig the flavor of the parmesan cheese in these eggs -- next time I''ll use cheddar.  I didn't even notice the cauliflower -- it was delicious!

Deceptively Delicious Scrambled Eggs

  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 large egg whites
  • ¼ c sour cream
  • ½ c cauliflower puree
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • Pinch of salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 tsp olive oil

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, sour cream, cauliflower puree, parmesan, and salt.  Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray, then set the pan over medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, add the oil.  Add the egg mixture; reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently with a silicone spatula, until the eggs are scrambled – firm but nice and moist – 2 to 3 minutes.

6th-Oct-2008 10:02 am - Deceptively Delicious Pita Pizza

Deceptively Delicious Pita Pizza

  • 8 whole wheat pita pockets
  • ½ cup spinach puree
  • 2cups bottled tomato sauce
  • 2 cups thinly sliced part skim mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Spread the spinach puree on each pita so that the spinach comes to within about ½ inch of the edge.  Spread the sauce over the spinach; it should cover the spinach and come to within ¼ inch of the edge of the pita.  Now lay the cheese over the sauce, covering any place where the green comes through.

Place the pizzas on a foil lined baking sheet and bake until the cheese melts and begins to brown, 5 to 10 minutes.  Let the pizzas cool 5 minutes before serving so the cheese cools and doesn’t pull off (and the spinach stays completely invisible).

I modified the recipe a bit:

Spread 1 tsp olive oil then ¼ c. spinach puree on each pita, top with Italian seasoning.  Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Add desired toppings (minced garlic, thinly sliced Roma tomatoes, basil leaves, cracked black pepper, and lite salt).  Bake as directed, serve immediately.

See a picture...Collapse )
6th-Oct-2008 09:27 am - Deceptively Delicious French Toast

Deceptively Delicious French Toast

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp banana, pineapple, sweet potato, carrot or butternut squash puree, or canned pumpkin
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 tsp margarine or butter
  • Maple syrup, confectioners’ sugar, or fresh fruit, for serving
  • Flaxseed meal (optional)

In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs, puree, and cinnamon.  Add the bread slices and turn them in the mixture to soak for 30 seconds to 1 minute (any longer and the bread will get soggy). 

Coat a nonstick griddle or large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium high heat.  When the pan is hot, add the margarine.  When the margarine sizzles, add the soaked bread slices (sprinkle with flaxseed if you like) and cook until golden on the outside, 2 to 3 minutes per side.  Serve warm with syrup, confectioners’ sugar, or fruit.

3rd-Oct-2008 09:20 am - Deceptively Delicious Greek Dip
I'm finally using my Deceptively Delicious cookbook, but not to deceive children... I just want to sneak extra veggies into recipes to make them healthier.  I made this dip last night and it is soooo good!  Serve with reduced-fat Triscuits or fresh veggies.  

ETA: I found this to be a nice mix between hummus and artichoke dip -- exactly what I was craving.  I topped it off with black pepper and kalamata olives... delish. 

Deceptively Delicious Greek Dip
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder, or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
In a food processor, process the chickpeas until chopped.  Add the artichoke hearts, mayonnaise, Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, and seasonings, and blend until pureed.  Makes 4 servings.
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