Vacherin Mont d'Or

This cheese has been called the ‘Holy Grail’ of cheeses. For some, it’s the best time of the year. For us, it’s a rare, true treat!! In France, Vacherin Mont d’Or is always unpasteurized. The Truffle Cheese Shop has received the thermalized version- slightly more gentle form of pasteurization- from Switzerland. Vacherin comes from the high alps and is only sold between September 10th and May 10th. The Truffle Cheese Shop will only stock them while supplies last!

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This beauty is hand wrapped in Spruce bark and meant to age and be consumed in it’s box. Rub the rind with garlic, or put a few cloves into the cheese rind itself. Then pour a bit of white wine on top. Cover with foil and bake in a medium oven until super creamy. Use this as your fondue bowl! Dip crusty bread, apples, pickles or veggies.

Chorizo Bellota Hash

This recipe is not just for breakfast. Often, we will eat a good Chorizo scramble any time of the day or week. This is a warming hearty breakfast hash that touches all the bases. Creamy, starchy and brothy without being soupy. This is a filling dish for 2-3 people but you can stretch it by serving with some muffins or breakfast pastries.

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Things you will need:

Tools: • Cast iron skillet • Slotted spoon • Measuring cup • Cutting board and knife Food: • 2 medium potatoes • 1 large carrot • 3-4 leaves of purple kale • 1 cup of chicken stock • 1 tbsp of butter • 1 medium leek • 1 inch of chorizo bellota • Quarter of a pound of Leonora or similar cheese

What to do: Peel and cube potato. Heat skillet, once hot, coat with the butter then add the cubed potatoes. Stir potatoes to coat in butter then add chicken stock. Bring to a boil then bring down to a simmer. Peel and dice carrot, add to skillet. Wash and cut off the green top of the leek. Halve leek then slice into half moon pieces. Add leeks to skillet. Cube chorizo add to skillet. Cook until liquid reduces by half and potatoes are soft. While the mixture is reducing, destem and shred the kale, it should look like confetti. Add kale to skillet, mix well then break apart the Leonora across the top of the mixture in the skillet. Let sit for a minute then mix. Let sit to give the cheese an opportunity melt a little then stir to well incorporate the cheese. Serve hot with fried eggs.

Risotto with Pancetta and Greens

  • ·         ¼ pound pancetta, diced
  • ·         1 yellow onion diced fine
  • ·         1 ½ cups Arborio rice-Acquerello Rice is preferred.
  • ·         ½ cup white wine
  • ·         1 pound various fresh greens like; Chard, Kale, Arugula, Salad Greens, Fennel tops, herbs, Turnip or Beet Greens
  • ·         4oz Butter
  • ·         6oz (or more to taste) Parmigiano-Reggiano grated

Cook the stock/brodo in advance, strain and have simmering while you cook the risotto. You may also use water. If you want to be a bit fancier, put in the rind from your Parmigiano Reggiano! Blanch the greens in a large pot of salted boiling water until tender. Drain, squeeze dry and rough chop them. Slowly render out the pancetta in a little piece of the butter. Add the diced onion and cook until it becomes translucent. Add the rice, increase the heat and cook a couple minutes longer. Add the wine and cook until it’s evaporated.  Constantly stirring, add the hot brodo until the rice is almost tender. Add the greens and finish with the rest of the butter and the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Add more brodo or cook longer to get the consistency of a thick soup.  Risotto is traditionally served before the main course in a shallow bowl.

Polenta

This recipe is amazing. It WORKS!! I know some of you have made polenta and remember it taking forever to cook! I know I've been burned by those blasted little hot bits of corn as it bubbles and pops in the pot. NO MORE!! Rob discovered that the best way to make polenta is in the microwave. I know....that seems like cheating. But, it works! It's cleaner, quicker and creamier than the stove top method and we don't care who knows it!

This recipe is from the NY Times and we have used it since the day it was printed.  

FOR THE MICROWAVE POLENTA

  • ¾ cup polenta
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

PREPARATION

Combine the polenta, salt and water in a 2 1/2- to 3-quart microwave-safe bowl, and stir together. Cover the bowl with a plate, and place in the microwave. Microwave on high for eight minutes. Remove from the microwave carefully, wearing oven mitts, as the bowl will be quite hot. Carefully remove the plate from the top, and allow the steam to escape. Stir in the butter, and mix well with a fork. Cover the bowl again with the plate and return to the microwave. Microwave on high for three minutes. Again, remove from the microwave carefully, wearing oven mitts. Carefully remove the plate from the top, and allow the steam to escape. Stir the polenta, and return to the microwave for three more minutes. Carefully remove from the microwave. Stir and serve, or pour into a lightly buttered bread pan and allow to cool, then slice and grill or sear in a lightly oiled pan.

Tips

  • Variation:Polenta With Parmesan When you remove the polenta from the oven, stir in 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan. Serve at once. I like to grind a little black pepper over the top.
  • Advance preparation: If you are serving polenta hot with a topping, it’s best to serve it when it comes out of the oven, allowing it to sit for five minutes at most. Martha Rose Shulman can be reached at martha-rose-shulman.com.

Stonefruit Cake

While, technically, this is from Jamie Oliver's blog for Upsidedown Polish Plum Cake, I have, as usual, made some changes that worked for me with the fruit I have in the kitchen. The sour cherries are over abundant this year and it takes every ounce of self control to pick from every tree we drive past. They're just so delicious. That said, the plums and apricots from Colorado's Western Slope have been sweet and juicy so far. We can hardly wait for peaches!! This is easier than an upsidedown cake and much less messy.

Ingredients

  • 8-10 stonefruits like Plums, Apricot or 2# Sour or Sweet Cherries, stones removed
  • One cup sugar if using Sour Cherries. 1/2 cup sugar for plums or other stone fruit
  • 4 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • One cup mild, light olive oil (we like Partana)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons plain, natural yogurt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Grease and line a rectangular baking tray (8x11) with parchment paper.

Chop the fresh fruit into halves or quarters and remove and discard the stones. Set to one side.

Put the beaten eggs and sugar into a bowl and whisk well, using an electric whisk if you have one until the mixture starts to thicken. Gradually pour in the oil and vanilla extract and keep whisking until the mixture is pale and creamy. Add in the vanilla, lemon zest and yogurt. Mix together well.

Sift in the flour and baking powder and gently fold or mix with a metal spoon until all the flour is incorporated.

Pour the batter carefully into the tray and gently press the fruit into the top.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.

Leave to cool before serving in slices. You can serve this cake with more yoghurt and fruit on the side, or with a spoonful of fresh cream. It will keep will in a tin for up to four days.

Pain d'Epices with Epoisses

When sitting in a French cafe for lunch in Beaune and they place a plate full of green lettuces with a spiced cupcake full of cheese in front of you......that's something you'll never forget. Here is Julia Child's recipe for Pain d'Epices. Hers calls for using a loaf pan, but we love them as muffins. Because they are very low in fat, they will hold up for up to a week on the counter in a container. And remember what Julia always said, "Try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all, have fun."

  • 1¼ cups honey
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 3½ cups whole wheat pastry flour (or unbleached all-purpose flour)
  • ¾ cup almonds, ground fine
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ¼ cup dark rum
  • ½ tsp each: ground cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp grated fresh orange or lemon peel
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Generously butter bottom and sides of a muffin tin. No not use pan spray. Don't be afraid of the butter! Set aside. (you may use a loaf pan or springform cake pan)
  3. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the honey, sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Then beat in the baking soda and salt. Add half the flour and beat about a minute.
  4. Gradually add the remaining flour and continue to beat 2 minutes more on medium speed. The batter should be stiff and sticky.
  5. Reduce the speed on the mixer to slow and add the remaining ingredients. Mix until everything is well incorporated. Scrape the batter into the pan; smooth the top with a damp or spatula.
  6. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes. At this point, put in 1/2 ounce pieces of Epoisses into the middle of each muffin. Continue baking for 30 more minutes.
  7. The cake is done when it begins to pull away from the side of the pan and a toothpick inserted in center emerges clean.
  8. Cool the cake on a wire rack for 15 minutes. If using a springform, release the pan sides; otherwise unmold the cake and place on a rack, top-side up. Cool for about 2 hours or until completely cool, then wrap well in plastic.

Julia recommends waiting at least a day or more before serving. For the best flavor and texture, age the cake for 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 1 month in the freezer.

Apple and Celery Salad with Fresh Chevre and Hazelnuts

This is adapted from one of our favorite cheese-centric cookbooks: The Cheesemonger's Kitchen by Chester Hastings. We like the texture and tanginess of the fresh goat cheese better. And, of course, we are in LOVE for real with the Hazelnuts from Piedmont.

  • 1 medium bunch celery
  • 1/2 lemon, plus 1/4 cup freshly squeszed lemon juice
  • 2 large, crisp apples, we love the honeycrisp
  • 4 tsp local honey
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 4 oz fresh, Haystack Mountain Chevre, crumbled
  • 3/4 cup Piedmontese Hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Wash the celery well. Pull away the outer stalks to get to the pale, green interior stalks - save the outer stalks for soups or stocks. Separate the interior stalks, leaves intact, and slice on an angle about 1/8 inch thick. 

Fill a medium mixing bowl with cold water. Squeeze the half lemon into the water to acidulate it. This will prevent the apples from oxidizing. 

Peel, quarter and core the apples. Cut each quarter into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place the apple slices directly into the lemon water as you cut them.

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice and shallot. Dry the apple slices on a clean kitchen towel. 

Place the celery and apple in a mixing bowl. Add the hazelnuts and the honey/olive oil dressing. Season with pepper and taste for salt. After you put it in your serving bowl, top with the crumbled goat cheese.

 

 

Mozzarella Without Tomatoes

This early into Spring, it might sound nice to have a juicy Caprese Salad. While it is one of our favorites in Summer, sometimes in the Spring the tomatoes just aren't sweet enough. here's 5 ways to enjoy your mozzarella without tomatoes:

1. Spring Pea Puree. Take the freshest peas you can and pulse them in a food processor with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and a few red pepper flakes. Spread on the plate before placing your Mozzarella on top. 

2. Grilled Peppers. After slicing your peppers into large strips, rub generously with olive oil. Place on a hot grill until just charred. Salt and pepper on the plate with the mozzarella.

3. Balsamic Strawberries. We love you, Alice Waters! This classic flavor combination is one of our favorites. Take clean, fresh strawberries and top with a good balsamic vinegar and a bit of sugar. Allow to macerate for up to 30 minutes. Place on top of your fresh mozzarella.

4. Make a classic guacamole and serve with your fresh mozzarella on grilled toast.

5. Fresh Herb Pesto - collect all the greens you can from your Spring garden: tarragon, chives, dandelion, mint, etc and pulse in a food processor with olive oil and nuts like almonds or walnuts. Serve generously with your mozzarella and toast points. 

Ricotta Crostata

The Easter and Passover holidays are the markers for Spring. Seeing fresh, local Ricotta is also another marker! We have a tasty recipe that will surely impress your brunch guests this weekend. 

Taken from The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook (our newest obsession) and modified to include fresh Ricotta from Moon Hill Dairy in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We know this will be a keeper!

For the Filling:

  •  2 cups local Ricotta
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 Tablespoons candied orange peel, cut into small pieces

For the Crust/Pastry:

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour plus 2 Tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon grated citrus zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

Whisk the ricotta, sugar, egg, rum and vanilla together in a medium bowl until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and orange peel. Set aside.

For the pastry: Combine the flours, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the butter, sugar, egg, egg yolk, zest and vanilla on low for 5-7 minutes, scraping often.

Add the dry ingredients and gradually bring the mixer to medium speed for 1 minute.

Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and pat into a 1/2 inch thick disk. Cover tightly and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and as long as 8 hours. When ready to roll out the dough, allow it to sit unwrapped for a few minutes at room temperature, until slightly pliable.

When dough is ready, dust a work surface with flour and roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Gently press the dough into the bottom and sides of a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.

Spread the ricotta filling into the crust. Take extra trimming from the dough and place in strips on top of the topping in a criss-cross pattern.

Bake the crostata for 35 minutes or until the top has puffed up and browned up nicely. Cool the crostata in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from the outer ring and continue to cool on the rack. Best served slightly warm while the chocolate is gooey. 

 

Goat Cheese and Rhubarb Cookies

This fantastic recipe comes from The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook by Jim Lahey. 

I don't know about you, but my rhubarb is already peeping through!

  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 oz fresh chevre, room temperature
  • 1 stick/8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Grated or chopped zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 stalk rhubarb, sliced 1/4 inch thick (yielding about 50 pieces of fruit)

Heat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the goat cheese, butter and sugar on medium speed until the sugar is nearly dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon zest and beat on low until creamy, about 2 minutes.

Scrape the sides of the bowl. Fold in the dry ingredients until the dough just comes together.

Drop large balls of dough onto the cookie sheet 3-4 inches apart. Press 3-4 pieces of rhubarb into the top of each cookie. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the cookies just start to color on the top.

Yields 15-18 large cookies. 

 

Carrot Breadsticks

I just went to the library on Saturday and I'm obsessed with a few cookbooks we got. One is The Soup and Bread Cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas. I even bought some Rye flour so I can make the pretzels!

I'm not really a soup girl, much to Rob's dismay, so I'm more interested in the bread recipes. Although, I will give a few a shot. Today I made two batches of the Carrot Breadsticks. The first batch was inhaled by the boys while they were still hot, so I made the second just for me. I did make a few modifications, which, really, all cooks should. Instead of making "sticks", I made little biscuit rounds. Also, I added way more cheese, carrots and butter. What?!

  • 1 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano (I used a combo of Pecorino Romano and Parm, but just use whatever cheese you have around. This is a good recipe to get rid of your bits and pieces.)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (I used 3)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (I used caraway, mostly because I was out of cumin and caraway is a natural compliment to carrot.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded carrot (I used almost a cup)
  • 1-2 tablespoons water (I used almost 3)

Now that I look at the changes I made, there's a lot! But, both times I made them, they turned out great. That, to me, is a sign of a great recipe. Here's the instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or just lightly spray a baking sheet.

In a food processor, grate the cheese(s). Add the flour, butter, cumin/caraway, baking powder and salt. Process until the dough comes together into little bits/peas. Add the carrots and pulse until well combined into the dough.

Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough comes together into a ball. I let it go another 5-6 pulses, just to make it  more flaky.

Roll the dough into an 8" square about 1/2 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the dough into whatever shape you want. I made circles, but I also have a fluted edged cutter that was nice. You can also do sticks then gently twist them. 

Feel free to pack them into the baking sheet. They don't spread at all, but they do rise a bit. 

Bake until crisp, or the underside of each is lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool on the pan. (Or, feed them to your children while they're hot.)

Enjoy! These would be great with cheeses, soups or a bit of savory jam. Let me know how yours turn out!

-Karin

Stilton Soup

Thank you, Diane, for sharing this fantastic recipe with us. I will make it in your honor this Winter!

  • 2 oz butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, cleaned and slices
  • 1.5 oz flour
  • 3 Tbl dry, white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 oz Stilton Cheese, crumbled
  • 2 oz English Cheddar Cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and Fresh Pepper to taste
  • 4 Tbl heavy cream.

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add the vegetables and soften, but do not brown. Stir in the flour and cook over low heat for at least 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in wine and stock. Return to moderate heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. 

Push through sieve or puree in a blender. Return to heat and add the milk and both cheeses, stirring constantly. Season to taste. Puree again if a smoother soup is desired.

Reheat without boiling. Add cream when ready to serve. Homemade croutons or crostini are highly recommended to serve.

Serves 4.

Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake

Thank you, Joy the Baker, for this fantastic recipe. I made no changes to it because it's perfect! Also from the same cookbook/blogger, the No-Cookie Cookie Ice Cream is incredible. She recommends using a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, greased and floured (I used cornmeal). You may also use a 9x9 cake pan.

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (lemon or basil)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg (not necessary if using flavored oil)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

in a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, olive oil, eggs, brown sugar and (optional) nutmeg. Add the olive oil mixture to the flour mixture and gently stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet or pan. Lightly press whatever toppings you've chosen into the top of the batter. 

Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.

The cake will keep, well wrapped and at room temperature, for up to 3 days.

Truffled Turkey

According to Martha Stewart, the way to season your turkey under the skin is: "Loosen skin: Working from the neck end, slide fingers under skin until you reach the end of the breast, being careful not to tear the skin" . Thanks, Martha. We'll get right on that!

Shave some of your fresh truffles and lay them out on some butter. Once the skin of your bird is loosened, use a long skewer or the end of a wooden spoon to push in your shaved truffle slices. Use that now flavored butter to rub on the skin of the bird for extra flavor. 

The truffle flavor will permeate the entire turkey! Bon appetite!

 

 

Baked Squash

We love baking squash!! It's easy, it's quick and always impresses. Here are some varieties we love and the cheeses that are best:

  • Delicata Squash: Cut lengthwise and scoop out center. Add to this: leftover rice mixed with sausage, more vegetables that you love, fresh, chopped grated pecorino romano over the top. 
  • Acorn Squash: Halved and roasted with a bit of water, open side down until soft. When cooked, add in some cooked Italian Farro, tomatoes, dried apricots and a heavy amount of thyme. Top with grated Gruyere 1655 and broil until warm and bubbly. Finish with Tondo Balsamic Glaze.
  • Butternut Squash: Peel and cut into cubes about 1 inch square(ish). Toss with salt, pepper, olive oil, brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Roast in hot oven until cooked through. Toss the squash throughout the cooking. When finished, put in a pretty bowl and grate heavily some Manchego. Parsley to finish.

Pastina

Pastina is what your Nonna gives you when you're sick. It's creamy and buttery....I like it with shredded chicken. You can make it as thick or thin as you would like, but we usually make it fairly thick with a bit of fresh chicken stock poured over the top. Use the traditional star shaped pasta for extra points.

  • 1/2 cup pastina
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated cheese like Parmigiano, Fontina or any of the Pecorinos in the case
  • Fresh ground pepper
  1. Bring two cups of stock to boil in small saucepan.
  2. Add pastina and salt and cook until most of the water is absorbed, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat and stir in egg, letting it cook in the hot pasta. Temper it in slowly so you don't get scrambled eggs!
  4. Add butter, cheese and pepper. I like to top it with a bit of warmed stock, chicken or other protein.

Alplermagronen

Alpler....what?! Alplermagronen is Swiss for "Holy Moley, this is the best macaroni and cheese I have ever had." Well, that's our translation! If you've ever visited a friend in Switzerland or wanted to be impressed by someone from Switzerland, they will make you this dish. It is creamy and savory and sweet and smelly all at the same time....kind of like me! (Karin)

This recipe comes from one of our Swiss importers in New York. They are on a campaign to "Save the Emmentaler" and they are doing a fantastic job! Visit their website here. For the month of November, let's make a pact to eat as much Swiss Cheese as we can. 

Alplermagronen

  • 2 Onions, in rings
  • 2 garlic cloves, slices
  • 2 cups waxy potatoes, in cubes
  • 2/3 cup bacon/pancetta/porky goodness

Roast all in a cast-iron skillet until brown. Set aside.

  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1# pasta: They use something like penne or similar tube like shape

Boil the vegetable stock and cream together in a pot. Add the pasta and cook until the liquid is absorbed.

  • 2/3 cup grated Swiss cheese like: Schalenberg, Schnebelhorn, Urnerboden Alpkase, Vacherin Fribourgeoise, Raclette, Gruyere 1655, Emmentaler or Tete du Moine
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Stir in the cheese into the pasta, then stir in the bacon/onion mixture over the pasta.

Serve with applesauce. If you really want people to know what you're doing, stir in your applesauce into the cheesy noodles all together. 

A big thanks to Joe at Gourmino for the recipe! Stop by the shop to see which cheese you like best for your Alplermagronen. (extra points if you say it with a Swiss accent!)

Ribollita

When the last thing in the garden is Kale and there's snow in the forecast, this soup makes the best dinner. While there are many recipes, we go back to the classics, like this one from Foods 52 and Lydia Bastianich.

  • 3tablespoons olive oil
  • 2cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1onion, chopped
  • 1/4teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes
  • 1carrot, chopped
  • 1rib of celery, chopped
  • 28ounces (1 can) plum tomatoes
  • 1teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1potato, peeled and diced
  • 1pound cavolo nero, or any other variety of kale, trimmed and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 15ounces (1 can) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4-6thick slices of country bread, torn into pieces
  • 4cups water
  1. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, and crushed red chili pepper flakes. Sweat the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Toss in the carrot and celery with a pinch of salt and sweat the vegetables 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, trim the hard stem ends off the tomatoes and discard. Crush the tomatoes with your hands.
  4. Pour the tomatoes (and their juices) into the pot with the thyme, potato, and 3 cups water. Bring the soup to a simmer, turn the heat down and partially cover with the lid. Keep the soup at a low simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Toss in the kale with another cup of water, a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Partially cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the canned beans and continue to simmer the soup 5 more minutes.
  7. Stir in the bread and serve with a drizzle of spicy Tuscan extra-virgin olive oil. The soup should be thickened by the bread, but not at all dry.

Pane Bianco

I think they should have called this bread "Pomodoro Basilico" because it is absolutely filled with tomatoes and basil, not so 'Bianco'. This recipe is super simple and easy to adjust the fillings to accommodate any flavors. Ones we are going to try: Walnut/Cranberry, Pesto/Walnut/Tomato, Chocolate/Cinnamon, Ground Beef/Curry.....

We found this on the King Arthur website, which is fantastic. 

DOUGH

  • 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour*
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

 

FILLING

  • 3/4 cup shredded Italian-blend cheese or the cheese of your choice
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes or your own oven-roasted tomatoes
  • 3 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil, green or purple
  1. To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients in a bowl (or the bucket of your bread machine), and mix and knead — by hand, using a mixer, or in your bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a smooth, very soft dough. The dough should stick a bit to the bottom of the bowl if you're using a stand mixer.
  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 45 to 60 minutes, or until it's doubled in size.
  3. Meanwhile, thoroughly drain the tomatoes, patting them dry. Use kitchen shears to cut them into smaller bits.
  4. Gently deflate the dough. Flatten and pat it into a 22" x 8 1/2" rectangle. Spread with the cheese, tomatoes, garlic, and basil.
  5. Starting with one long edge, roll the dough into a log the long way. Pinch the edges to seal. Place the log seam-side down on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Using kitchen shears, start 1/2" from one end and cut the log lengthwise down the center about 1" deep, to within 1/2" of the other end.
  7. Keeping the cut side up, form an "S" shape. Tuck both ends under the center of the "S" to form a "figure 8;" pinch the ends together to seal.
  8. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, 45 to 60 minutes.
  9. While the loaf is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  10. Uncover the bread, and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it with foil after 20 to 25 minutes to prevent over-browning.
  11. Remove the bread from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Store, well-wrapped, at room temperature for a couple of days; freeze for longer storage.

English Muffin Bread

I love baking, but bread can sometimes be a challenge. This recipe, however, is fantastic and easy and super consistent. I love that it makes two loaves, because it gets eaten quickly, especially with two boys in the house! It's from a great blog called Restless Chipotle. The recipe is below with my experiences and notes changed a bit.

  • 5 1/2 cups flour 
  • 2 tablespoons dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/4 cups warm milk
  • Butter and cornmeal for greasing and dusting the pans
  1. Mix the yeast, honey, and water in the bowl of your mixer. Set aside.

  2. Sift the salt, baking powder, and flour.

  3. Add the milk and one cup of the flour to the yeast mixture.

  4. Blend well.

  5. Add the remaining flour and beat for 5 minutes.

  6. You should have a very soft, goopy dough. Yes. I said goopy.

  7. Spoon the dough into 2 loaf pans that have been greased and dusted with the cornmeal.

  8. Set aside in a warm place until the batter has doubled and is at the top of the pans, or a little above. This may take 30 to 45 minutes.

  9. Preheat the oven to 425F

  10. Dust the tops of the loaves with cornmeal and bake for 15 minutes or so. Loaf will sound hollow when tapped.

  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes if you want a crisper, more golden crust.

  12. Cool and slice.

Try pairing this for breakfast with Deliciousness Pinon Cherry Jam!! It's one of the best jams we have in the shop and is perfect!