NY Times No-Knead Bread

November 23, 2010

It happened! For my birthday, my amazing boyfriend got me a¬†Le Creuset dutch oven in the gorgeous new “Ocean” color. It’s so pretty ūüôā

If you read this blog at all, you can probably guess my level of excitement here. After my failed attempt with a previous purchase, I’m happy to have this beautiful piece in my kitchen and couldn’t wait to put it to good use! One of the first things I made with it was this very simple No-Knead bread.

This is really the easiest thing. You can even have your nearest 5-year-old make this one.

Start by throwing all your ingredients into a bowl.

3 cups flour, 1/4 tsp. yeast, 1 1/4 tsp. salt.

Next, add in 1 5/8 cups water (5/8 cups = 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp.). Get your freakishly large hands in there and mix everything real good.

Here’s the hard part. Ready?……….. Let it sit. For a REALLY really long time.

Go to sleep.

Go to work.

Come home.

Do some exercise.

Walk the dog.

Watch a movie.

Give yourself a mani/pedi.

Do ALL your Christmas shopping.

Do whatever you gotta do until your dough looks like this (after approximately 12-18 hours). See the bubbles surfacing? Yup, that’s a nicely rested dough.

2 hours before baking time, take the dough out of the bowl. Lay it on a lightly floured surface and fold it over twice. 1, 2 times. Dos. Not tres.

Let it sit another 15 minutes and place the dough on a cotton (not terry cloth) towel generously sprinkled with cornmeal, flour or bran.

Sprinkle the cornmeal over the top of the dough and cover with the towel for about 2 hours.

A half¬† an hour before the dough is ready, set your oven to 450 with your beautiful dutch oven inside so it gets nice and hot. When the dough is ready, carefully take your pot out of the oven and gently pick up your dough and dump it in. Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly centered in the pot. It’ll work itself into place.

Cover with the lid and bake it for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, and bake another 15-30 minutes for a nice brown crust.

Then voila! You’ve got yourself some freshly baked bread.

It’s beautiful, its delicious and nothing! I mean, nothing! will make your home smell better.

Here’s the original step-by-step video if the recipe still looks a bit complicated. But trust me, its super simple:

Sweet Potato Leek Soup

November 19, 2010

I love sweet potatoes!! I get so excited when I can make something with them that isn’t¬†the usual thanksgiving casserole.¬†Not that I don’t¬†love that marshmallow topping. ¬†So when I finally saw them in the store, I may have gone a bit overboard by buying one too many pounds of the yummy stuff. I say that like it’s a bad thing.

This soup is so simple and surprisingly filling. It’s a twist on the classic French potato leek soup, minus all the butter or cream. Although, feel free to add that if you want a creamier texture. As much as I love butter though, I find when using a sweet potato vs. regular baking potatoes there’s really no need for it. It’s so good already!

Try this recipe during your busy weekend. I hear its supposed to rain ūüôā

*Please excuse the awful exposures. It’s what happens when you cook (and take photos) at night.

Start by melting one large tablespoon of butter in a pot.

Toss in 1 pound of peeled, diced sweet potatoes and saute for a few minutes.

Grab your convenient stash of frozen, pre-sliced leeks from Trader Joe’s and sacrifice them for the greater good.

Saute them together in the butter and add 2 cups of water, 1 tbsp salt and any other seasoning that tickles your fancy. In my case, it was paprika, some  freshly ground pepper and thyme.

Cover and cook for 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Puree with a handheld blender and serve. Easy peasy.

Sweet Potato Leek Soup

  • 1pd. Sweet potatoes (approx. 3-4 large potatoes) peeled and diced
  • 1pd. Sliced leeks (stems and all)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1tbs pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Sprig of thyme

Melt butter in pot. Add diced sweet potatoes and Leeks. Saute for a few minutes and add water. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes or until veggies are soft and can be squished (technical term) easily. Add in salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.

This post is way over-due, but I’ve just been itching to share it! A¬†few months¬†back (ok, so probably around summer…) ¬†I helped plan my dear friend Marlees’ circus themed baby shower. We had less than one week to pull it all off, but I’m happy to say everyone loved it; including the guest of honor.

Besides everything coming together beautifully, my favorite part about¬†it was making my very first Strawberry cake from scratch! A little birdie told me Marlee’s favorite cake was Strawberry, so I wanted to make it special and find a recipe that didn’t include any artificial flavors. I finally found this one and I have to admit, I added a bit more Strawberry puree into the batter for a brighter color. I wish I had a picture of the inside of the cake, but it was pretty much gone in 2 seconds flat.

To add the whimsical theme to the cake, I cut out tiny flags from construction paper and glued them onto string to tie across the diameter of the cake. It made a¬†fun and eye-catching¬†centerpiece for the¬†table and the pink strawberry cake was¬†perfect for welcoming Marlee’s baby girl #2 a.k.a Jillian.

Here’s a little more eye candy from the party. Seriously, how cute is that vintage lemonade pitcher?!

We made a fun little game by writing potential baby names on the bottom of each duckie and Marlee got to pick out her favorite.

Congratulations Zack and Marlee!