101 Cooking For Two - Everyday Recipes for Two: March 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Julia Child's French Bread- kind of - version 1

April 6, 2010 update: go to newer easier version HERE

So I'm out of bread. And I'm home all day so time is no problem. No rush to get it done and raised. So given time and a stand mixer, can you do a better bread. I don't have time for the 18-24 hour traditional no knead and I want to use technology to conquer the world. I have watched a couple of videos with Julia Child's on bread making. The last one included 850 (yes that is right) hand kneads.

So I want to do a Julia inspired bread but without the work. Google time again and I found a wonderful site Sugar and Spice . I don't know who's recipe it is since I have seen the same recipe probably word for word on multiple sites, but she presents a lot of material very nicely. I copied the recipe but it (only the recipe) was still 9 pages long. OH MY.

A lot of the recipe was explanations and variations on loaf shapes. A lot on the oven. I'll strip those out. I'm just doing a large loaf and baking in my dutch oven. Still 6 pages but I want only one page. My mind can only handle one page. And it is just bread... well Julia Child's French Bread but still... bread.

So here is my simplification of the simplification. I highly recommend going back Sugar and Spice and reading her post. Very well done. and someday I will go to the original book and read.

I really (yes really) had every intention of following the recipe as much as possible and I did for 8 hours but then I ran a-muck. Actually while I could spend the 7-9 hours the recipe stated or even 12 but this just wasn't happening.

Maybe it was the house temp of 62 degrees. It felt warm to me (I have been in Michigan a long time) and I put the dough in the warmest room in the morning sun. This had been working fine. But I did up the thermostat to 72 after about 4 hours.

Maybe it was my yeast. It was the end of the bottle but it was only 4 months old and had a long time to out-date. It worked fine last week. So here is my one page version. I started to a-mucking in step 4 and from there on it's just me.

Results: 9 Should have had a little more rise. 9 for crust. 9 for Crumb. 9.5 for taste. Very near the best tasting bread I have ever had and better than the no knead loafs. Definitely worth doing in this form if you want.

Notes: Lots of fuss in the original recipe. Less in mine especially since I cut it "short" and baked it. But excellent results really. I will be repeating this with the third rise and some fancy shaping. But I'm waiting for warmer weather or I will "pre-heat" the house. New yeast is coming but I don't think that was the problem.

Other change ( yes I dare)
1) Bread flour maybe but probably not. Current AP flour is approximately equal to older French flour in protein content.
2) Mixing the yeast with all the water at the start and using 105-110 degree water. Give those little yeasteis a boost. Absolutely doing this.
3) Let the dough rest in the mixing bowl on the stand mixer in step 2. Decrease the fuss. Yep.
4) I like the large first rise if it will happen with the volume going from about 3 cups to 10 1/2 if it works. I got about 9 this time.
5) I will do the third rise and other forms if time permits.
6) I want to try this on a baking stone but the dutch over is so easy

PS it is only one page and will be less next time. YES!
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

How To Brine and Grill a Pork Tenderloin

How To Brine and Grill a Pork Tenderloin from 101 Cooking For Two
How to brine and  grill a pork tenderloin? Welcome to the world of easy moist and tasty.

I'm starting my first series  "Grilled Pork Tenderloin". I plan to have many variations on this over the summer. But first I want to see if it is worth a series. I will brine it and grill on high heat for speed which is important to me for the summer. I can plan ahead and brine but I don't want to be tied to the grill for hours this summer.

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Grilled Garlic Asparagus

Simple and fast. And very very good.
Wash, trim, add oil and garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes. Done.

Rating 9

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Quick Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

So you are making dinner but don't have much. A meat and veggie but nothing else. No decent bread. The home made French bread turned green yesterday... what to do. Biscuits of course. That was part of my downfall for years and I broke the habit with a low carb diet for the last several years. Now that I'm more liberal with carbs, this little suckers could be my downfall again. Oh so wonderful.

My previous version of drop biscuits had a fair rise but nothing like this. I have read many recipes over the years on drop biscuits. Some requiring hours of work. It is just a biscuit for heavens sake. I want to just wipe this out in the few minutes I have while cooking other things.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Grilled Boneless Country Style Pork Ribs

Grilled Boneless Country Style Pork Ribs from 101 Cooking For Two
KISS is good. Great taste with minimal work. How do you grill these things? This is one of those things that you can't seem to find.

What I wanted?  
First: To cook these fast enough to eat at a reasonable time after getting home from work. A weeknight recipe.  
Next: To grill entirely and not do multiple steps.  
Lastly: Keep it moist.  

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Garlic Filet Mignon

For the garlic lover in you... a garlic topped filet mignon.

We're back one of my favorites and the meat that started this blog. I wanted to write up the trimming and cutting of a whole beef tenderloin but my recipe page just didn't seem right so my blog was born with 4 posts on the "care" of the beef tenderloin.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Single-rise Crusty Bread

This is a large loaf. 9 1/2 inch diameter and 3 1/2 inch height.
A wonderfully simple bread. A crusty open crumb bread complete in 3 hours.

I read too many recipes. I mean really way too many. I get confused about what technique is where with what recipe. I see too many things I want to try. This has things from at least 4 recipes.

So this is what I wanted to do and it worked wonderfully.
1) I've done no knead breads to get texture. I don't mind kneading in my Kitchenaid stand mixer. I believe the second rise usually gives a finer texture so I'm skipping that.
2) I wanted to use ingredients that we all have setting in our kitchens.
3) I want a crusty loaf so I'm using the dutch over.
4) I wanted a bigger loaf since I was going to bake in the dutch oven and I didn't want a pancake due to the large diameter.
5) I wanted a high liquid to flour ratio to keep the open texture.
6) I would do a loose mix initially and let it set for a while to hopefully help in gluten formation.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

I know this is call "Cooking for Two" . This should serve 4 but we ate almost all of it.

This is a modification of a Mark Bittman recipe from the NY Times. HERE. Watch the video to see Mr. Bittman explain his method. Somehow I had also run into the CI version of Chicken Pot Pie recently but I mainly did Bittman. I really like the Bittman recipe and method better. Maybe it's his aversion to making things hard. I love that about him. He calls this a cobbler. OK call it what you want, I never liked the crust on the bottom anyways.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Parmesan Crusted Boneless Chicken Breast

Excellent. Great. Loved It.

This is a modification of a pork recipe I found  Mandajuice Blog for a very nice crusted pork tenderloin. I did the recipe and liked it but my pictures were bad so although the article is partially written, I'm waiting to do it again (with a few changes) to publish it.

I also combined this with my pan fried chicken where I had a difficult time getting the temperature to 170. Since then I bought a 10 1/2 inch Lodge cast iron frying pan specifically for this type of application. It is seasoned and ready to go.

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Faster 100% Whole Wheat No Knead Bread - Finalized

This is the final version of my 100% Whole Wheat No Knead Bread. Better than I though possible. Great crust and taste. Very good texture and only 5 hours from start to eating. A must try if you want a 100% whole wheat bread quick and easy.

My main disappointments with the first version was the amount of rise and the adequate (but could have been better) open crumb structure. Also the crust could have been more crunchy.

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Oven Baked Barbecued Boneless Country Style Pork Ribs

Oven Baked Barbecued Boneless Country Style Pork Ribs from 101 Cooking For Two
Great BBQ. Low and slow equals super tender with great taste with this super easy oven based recipe. With almost no hands on time even the cooking impaired can pull off a great meal

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Asparagus with Garlic and Sesame Seeds

I seem to always be doing asparagus. It's not that I'm not satisfied with what I've done already but just to try something different. So here I go again.

I seem to always want some garlic on my other veggies. So that was a given. But what to but with it. Onion? Bread crumbs? Sesame seeds? Everything? I was hard to resist everything but I restrained myself. Just the seeds please.

Rating: 9 for me. It helps that we had porterhouse steaks with it.

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Easiest Crockpot Extra Thick White Chicken Chili

Easiest Crockpot Extra Thick White Chicken Chili from 101 Cooking For Two
Ultra thick and tasty. This has been one of my most requested recipes for years. Use any precooked chicken and you have a simple and easy slow cooker delight. Take copies of the recipe if you're taking it to a party.

I have no idea where this came from but I must have made this at least 50 times. It's simple and great. What more do you want?

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