Tuesday, January 22, 2008

No-Knead Bread!

For years I've wanted a Kitchen Aid mixer with the idea that I'd finally start making bread, pastas, and many of the baked goodies that are hard or impossible to mix with your average hand mixer. Ironically after finally buying myself a mixer and researching bread recipes online the first recipe that I wanted to try was an recipe that Mark Bittman made popular over a year ago with a New York Times article, a recipe that you don't need any sort of mixer what so ever to make. Apparently everyone and their dog has tried it with much success so this weekend it was my turn, and now I'll add to the many bloggers who have posted pictures and the recipe for the No-Knead Bread.

First off I've got to say that this is an easy recipe, worth making and very delicious, but it's also a recipe that takes up to 15-16 hours to make. So, if you want to have it ready for dinner at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday evening you'll want to start it by at least 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. on Friday.

No-Knead Bread (Yields one 1 1/2 lb loaf)

3 cups all-purpose or bread flower, more for dusting
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle with a little more flour and fold it over once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on town and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes.

5. Remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a wire rack.

It is a delicious bread -- perfect for soups or buttered up for any meal.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Barbecue Shrimp

I went to Hong Kong Market yesterday looking for black cod and ended up with a pound of head-on jumbo shrimp. Yep, I'm an impulse food shopper.

After a good half hour of looking for recipes online (especially trying to find a recipe where would not have to go out and buy a lot of other ingredients) I came across this Barbecue Shrimp recipe from Nolacusine.com.

I'm not sure why it's called Barbecue Shrimp since you do not use barbecue sauce or a grill to cook it but the recipe is still a keeper and quick and relatively easy.

New Orleans Style Barbecue Shrimp Recipe

2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter
2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Fresh Thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp Fresh Oregano, chopped
1 tsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1/2 Cup Abita Amber beer, or another good quality beer (Allen went to Fiesta and bought some Abita instead of using the Miller Lite in the fridge...considering it only takes 1/4 cup for 1lb of shrimp I think he had ulterior motives.)
1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Crystal Hot Sauce
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp Black Pepper, freshly cracked
3 Tbsp Italian Parsley, minced
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
Cayenne pepper to taste
2 lbs Head on/shell on shrimp

Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F.

Melt 2 Tbsp of the butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until slightly browned. Add the fresh herbs and cook for 2 minutes. Deglaze with the beer, reduce by half. Add the lemon juice, Worcestershire, hot sauce, black pepper, kosher salt, cayenne pepper and the shrimp, tossing to coat well. Transfer the shrimp and sauce to a baking dish where the shrimp can bake in the sauce in a single layer. Place into the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. Do not over cook the shrimp!

Serve in a large bowl with the chopped parley, your favorite beer, and lots of fresh French Bread for dipping in the sauce.

I cut off the heads before serving so we didn't have to deal with antennae and eyeballs at the table. Allen struggled with getting the shell off (and struggled with his dislike of having stuff on his fingers) and eating was more labor intensive than cooking -- so I'm glad I only got 1lb of shrimp (6-7 large shrimp each).

I also made Vigo red beans and rice because we had one link of Ted's venison sausage to use up and because Allen loves the stuff. (I froze the leftovers so he'll have something to eat while I'm out of town next weekend.) Along side the bread and butter it was a filling meal and a nice New Orleans style treat.