breads & muffins, Mains, Parties, Petit Bites, Vegetables

Mini-Calzones stuffed w/ Eggplant Bharta

I have 3 extra Japanese eggplants, half a red onion, some cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, some prepared bread dough, and a lot of spices.  How could I go with anything else but Eggplant Bharta Mini Calzones?

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 Japanese eggplant (1 regular large eggplant)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp tomato paste *
  • handful of cherry tomatoes
  • sliced onion
  • a pinch of ground ginger
  • ~ 3/4 tbsp ground coriander
  • ~1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • a pinch of mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp red chili flakes
  • ~1 tbsp curry powder
  • salt & pepper
  • oil

*side note:  I diced the onion and used 3/4 tbsp of crushed garlic in a jar from Trader Joe’s. I  fried the tomato paste in a bit of oil, added salt, pepper, and a few tbsp of water to make tomato sauce.

Method:

  1. Slice the eggplants lengthwise, brush the cut side with olive oil and bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender. Chop when cooled.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet.  Saute onion until translucent.  Add garlic, spices, & tomatoes and saute for a minute.
  3. Add the chopped eggplant.   Add the tomato sauce (see side note)and adjust the spices to taste.

Normally you’d eat this over rice or w/naan and some raita & pickle.  But I’m going to use it as a filling for mini-calzones since I have bread dough that needs to get baked.

Calzone method:  Prepare half of master bread dough through the first rise (in the fridge) and roll it into 1″ balls, flatten each ball into a circle, spoon a 1-ish tbsp of cooled eggplant bharta in the center, fold it in half, and seal the edges with the tines of a fork.  Cover and let rise until they double in bulk, poke a hole in the top of each calzone, and bake at 400 degree for 15-20 minutes. Brush with butter.

Make sure you get a good seal, or they’ll puff open like this :

I’m serving these for dinner alongside red lentil soup.

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breads & muffins

Herb-Swirl Bread

This was the most perfectly shaped loaf I’ve ever made!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 recipe of master bread dough, prepared through the first rising
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped scallions or chives
  • 3-4 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt

You can add any other herbs you have on hand.

Method:

  1. Melt butter on low heat and add parsley and scallions.  Cook on low until greens wilt.  Cool.
  2. Prepare master bread dough through the first rising.  Roll the dough into a rectangle and spoon on the greens.
  3. Roll up into a cylinder, pinch at the ends, and place into an oiled bread pan (seam side down).  Use extra melted butter to brush the top of the loaf.  Cover and let rise in a draft-free place until doubled in volume.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  It’s fully cooked if it makes a hollow sound when you knock on it.
  5. Brush with butter and let cool for five minutes before slicing.  (remove it from the pan to cool—otherwise condensation may occur and make your bread soggy at the bottom, maybe)

I served this alongside kale-tarragon soup with white bean salad, but I’m sure it can go alongside almost anything.

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breads & muffins, Parties

Ham & Cheese Stuffed Bread

Make Bread Dough through the first rise.  Roll it out into a rectangle ~1/4 inch thick.

Cut ribbons 1 inch thick into both sides of the long ends.

Layer the center with cheese, then ham, then cheese.

Braid the ribbons over the center.

Put on an oiled cookie sheet.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume.  Brush with egg wash. (You can sprinkle black caraway seeds or black sesame seeds on top). Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Eat and smile.

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breads & muffins, Petit Bites, Vegetables

Stuffed Bread Loaf/Stromboli

I basically want a bread loaf that has filling in it! I know that I should use pizza dough, but I want to use up the bread dough that I make last night (basic bread rolls NYT Cookbook 1961).  And since I’m broke-ish, I don’t want to buy any new ingredients.

Here’s what I have on hand:

  • bread dough
  • jack cheese
  • tomato paste
  • spicy peppers
  • leeks
  • potatoes
  • fresh mint and green onion
  • tomatoes
  • walnuts
  • feta cheese
  • raisins & frozen blueberries (ok, maybe  I won’t use these)

Possibilities:

  • mint, walnut, feta
  • chopped tomato, spicy pepper, onion, jack cheese,
  • sauteed leeks, diced (cooked) potatoes, jack cheese, with a pinch of celery seed

Since I have only enough dough for one loaf, I can only make one filling 😦

Filling:

Saute  in 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of oil: 1/2 sliced onion, 1 sliced leek, 1 diced tomato, 1/4 diced spicy pepper.  Add salt to taste.

Serve with tomato sauce on the side:

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp tomato paste in a skillet.  Saute for a minute.  Add garlic powder, salt, paprika, oregano, and pepper to taste.  Dilute with water, stirring with a wire whisk constantly.

How to shape the dough:

  1. Roll into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick or 12 X 15 inches large.
  2. Spread the filling in the center of the rectangle. Leave a 1″ border on all sides.  Top the filling with shredded jack cheese.
  3. Brush one long side of the rectangle with egg wash ( a tbsp of water with a beaten egg).  From the un-eggwashed side, roll up into a tight cylinder like a jellyroll.  Pinch the ends. Transfer to an oiled cookie sheet seam side down.  Cover, and let rise for 30-40 minutes.
  4. (sorry, I know my cookie sheet is dirty) Brush the roll with egg wash.
  5. Bake in a 400 F oven for 25-30 minutes until done.

This was SO GOOD!  I was even surprised 🙂

It started out as a civilized meal but then….

and eventually, it devolved into a plate graveyard.

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breads & muffins, Petit Bites, Sides

Basic Bread Rolls -NYT Cookbook circa 1961

This recipe is from the New York Times Cook Book.  Let’s try it out shall we?

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4.5 tsp yeast (2 packages)
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 5-6 cups flour
  • extra butter for melting

Method:

  1. Scald the milk.  Remove from heat and add butter, sugar, salt.  Cool to lukewarm
  2. Soften the yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm water for a few minutes. Add to the milk mixture.
  3. In a large bowl combine the milk mixture with half the flour, beat well.  Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.
  4. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then knead it for 10 minutes.
  5. Put dough to rise in a greased bowl, covered, until it doubles in size.
  6. Knead dough lightly and shape as desired.  Brush with melted butter, cover, and let rise until doubled in size. *
  7. Brush with melted butter, milk, or diluted egg and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, or until brown.

* since I have to practice rolling dough, I’m going to make biscuit rolls: roll dough 1/2 inch thick and cut into two-inch rounds.

Result: These are very soft and delicious, but almost too soft to my liking.  You can smash them down like white wonder bread so I don’t think it will hold up very well with stews.  I don’t like the large amounts of butter, sugar, and milk that this recipe requires–although these ingredients are what make these rolls last for a few days, where the other bread dough with less milk and butter would be hard as rock.

I think this would be a very good dough to make cinnamon rolls with 🙂

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breads & muffins, Breakfast, Sides

Bread Adventures! – master bread dough

I’ve decided to start making bread at home and now it seems all I eat is ______with bread.  I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Here’s a recipe for white bread that I’ve found to be the best (although, it’s really only the better of two recipes, I’ll have to keep trying new ones):

Master Bread Dough–yields two loaves

  • ~ 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp  sugar
  • 4 1/2 tsp or 2 packages of Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2  cup milk
  • 2 tbsp butter

Method:

  1. Mix 2.5 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Heat water, milk, and butter on low heat until warm (120-130 F).  White bubbles will form around the edges of the pan.
  3. Gradually add the liquid to the dry ingredients.  Beat for two minutes.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of flour and beat for another two minutes.
  5. With a wooden spoon, stir in enough flour to make a moist, but not sticky dough.
  6. Knead for 10 minutes on a floured surface.

If using dough immediately: place in greased bowl, turning to grease the top of the dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel. Allow to rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size (around 60 minutes). You can put the dough into the fridge for 12 hours to 2 days to retard the rising. When you remove it from the fridge, leave it out until it comes to about room temperature before shaping it.

Dough may be frozen after kneading. Divide dough in half with a serrated knife. Shape each into flattened 6-inch disk. Dough will keep for 1 month in an airtight, 1-gallon freezer bag. Defrost in refrigerator for 8 to 16 hours or on the countertop for 4 to 9 hours.

7. Shape the dough :

For a loaf: On lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12 x 7-inch rectangle. Beginning at short end, roll up tightly as for jelly roll cake. Pinch seam and ends to seal. Place, seam side down, in buttered 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 inch loaf pan. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap, let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Bake at 400 degrees F. for about 30 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack. Brush with melted butter.

For cloverleaf rolls: Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and mold into balls.  Let rise for 10 minutes.  Roll eat ball into 3 smaller balls and place into a standard oiled muffin tin.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour until almost doubled in volume. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

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