Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Because we live far away from the rest of our family, we don't often get the honor of having our children and grandchildren with us during the holidays, much to this grandma's dismay. However, we do have a great group of friends that we spend some time with during the holidays. They have become our family here in the Springs. We gathered together with our friends for an early Thanksgiving feast on Monday, so because we didn't want a big turkey dinner again for just Bruce and myself, we opted for a yummy salmon dinner, with pumpkin mousse parfaits and a heavenly crusty bread with herbs and cheese that I found the recipe for on Pinterest. By the way, did I mention that I love Pinterest? Some recipes have been more successful than others, but this crusty bread recipe is a keeper! You can add just about anything to the basic recipe. I added rosemary, thyme, garlic, toasted onions, and a little cheese... yummmmy! Bruce says I get way too excited about food. He's probably right.
 Citrus crusted salmon, parmesan herbed roasted potatoes, and green beans almondine
Pumpkin mousse parfaits
Crusty bread with herbs and cheese
Crusty bread, fresh from the oven

For step by step instructions with pictures, click here:

Crusty Bread

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours. Overnight works great. Heat oven to 450 degrees. When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron or stoneware pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating. Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough. Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.
Comments from Cathy:
1.   I used just regular bleached flour since I didn't have any unbleached on hand - worked fine. Do not try using all 100% whole wheat; it is too heavy for this recipe.
         2.  You can add just about anything to the original recipe. I added herbs, onion, and cheese. You can add fruit and nuts, cinnamon and sugar, different types of cheeses... be creative.
        3.  Make sure your pot is at least 3 qt. size or larger. Mine is 3 qt. and was perfect for this recipe.
         4. This is by far the easiest bread recipe I have ever made, and the results are superb! 

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