Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dawn's Homemade Beer Bread

There's not much that makes me happier than fresh warm homemade bread.  With the extreme heat in Texas, my beer bread has been an easy fast bread to make!  Usually it takes longer to rise, but not this summer, and it's still just as delicious.  My husband LOVES this bread.  Loves it.  I love that it's yummy and so easy!  I can throw it together so quickly - sometimes as little as 2 hours from start to finish.  (Cold climates will take longer.)

Dawn's Homemade Beer Bread

3.5 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C cooked brown rice (I make up a batch and then divide it up into ziplocs, and then I throw them in the freezer for future beer bread.)
3 T packed light brown sugar
1 T plus 3/4 t active dry yeast
2 T wheat flour
1.5 t salt
8-12 oz of strong beer, ale, or stout at room temperature (I place it in a warm water bath if I forgot to take it out ahead of time)
1/4 C milk or buttermilk at room temperature (Buttermilk can be made by using 1/3 T lemon juice and 1/4 C milk, let stand for 5 minutes)

Mix all dry ingredients, including rice.  Add 8 oz. of beer and the milk.  Stir until combined.  Mix on medium speed with a dough hook until the dough comes together.  Add additional beer as needed.  Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or with dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic. 

Add olive oil to the bowl and turn the dough to coat.  Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and set in a warm place (73-90 degrees) to rise until doubled in volume.  (In warmer weather, this can be 30 minutes.  In cooler temperatures, it can be an hour and a half.)

Grease a standard size loaf pan.  Punch down the dough; form into a loaf shape and place in the pan seam-side down.  Cover with oiled plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume.  Same times apply as the 1st rise.

Preheat oven to 350.  Bake loaf until the crust is golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped, 35-45 minutes.  Remove loaf from pan, coat top of loaf with melted butter and let cool.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Marinated Manchego

This is an incredibly easy and oh-so-yummy appetizer.  It's made up ahead of time and then served at room temperature which makes it even less work.  This is one of my favorite apps, and it's bite-sized!

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more if needed               
3 large sprigs thyme
3 4-inch sprigs rosemary                                            
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 small dried red chiles, cut in half or thirds             
8 oz. manchego (more aged is better), rind cut off, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes

In a small saucepan, heat the 1 cup oil and the thyme, rosemary, and chile over medium heat until the oil is hot (160°F) and looks shimmery, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool completely at room temperature.

Put the manchego in a glass or ceramic bowl. Pour the olive oil, herbs, and chile on top. Add more oil to cover, if needed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Remove from the refrigerator a few hours before the party to return the oil to room temperature.

To serve, transfer everything to a pretty bowl, with toothpicks alongside for spearing the cheese .

Friday, July 1, 2011

Light Spinach, Bean, and Cheese Enchiladas - aka Good for You Enchiladas

If you are anything like me, then you CRAVE Mexican food.  I know I've said it before, but I absolutely love Mexican food and Tex-Mex. waistline does NOT crave Mexican food OR Tex-Mex.  So, maybe I don't absolutely love's more love/hate.  This is my most recent attempt at a "healthy" option for enchiladas.  We gobbled them up before I got a picture, so I had to add this image later.  The good news is that we did all love them.

Light Spinach, Bean, and Cheese Enchiladas
a.k.a. Good for You Enchiladas
by Dawn Earley

2 cups low-fat (1% or 2%) cottage cheese
1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
Spinach, sautéed and chopped
Cumin (to taste)
Kosher salt and ground pepper
16 corn tortillas (I prefer home-style yellow corn tortillas)
Nonstick Cooking Spray
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 large white onion, diced small (1/2 cup reserved for serving)
4 teaspoons chili powder
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1 can (15 ounces) tomato puree
2 cups vegetable broth
fresh cilantro leaves and salsa for serving

Preheat oven to 350o.  In a food processor, process cottage cheese until smooth.  Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in black beans and spinach.  Season with cumin, salt and pepper.

Wrap stacked corn tortillas in a damp dish towel and microwave until softened, 2 minutes.  Working with one tortilla at a time, lightly spray both sides with cooking spray, place two rounded Tablespoons cottage cheese mixture down center of each, then roll tortilla around filling.  Place seam side down, on rimmed baking sheet.  Bake tortillas until heated through, 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high.  Add garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion softens, 5 minutes.  Add chili powder and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.  Whisk in vinegar, tomato puree and broth, bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer mixture to a blender and puree until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids).

To serve, divide enchiladas among plates and top with sauce, onion and cilantro.
Serve with Salsa.