Thursday, November 19, 2009

Homemade Italian Bread

So I know it's been a while since my last post! It's been crazy with how busy we've been!

I love homemade bread, it typically takes forever to make, but this one only took a few hours (it's easy, just, takes a while.)

The original recipe comes from Diana's Kitchen

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 8 cups all-purpsose flour, stir before measuring
  • butter
  • yellow corn meal
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon salt
Pour warm water into a warm mixing bowl; sprinkle with the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir in about 2 cups of the flour. Beat well; add salt and gradually beat in all but about 2 cups of the flour. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and cover with a clean dish towel; let rest 10 minutes.

Knead by hand for 20 minutes or until dough is very elastic, kneading in as much of the remaining flour as necessary for smooth dough. Place dough in a lightly buttered bowl, turning to grease all of the dough surface.

Cover bowl with foil then cover with a dish cloth and let rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk.

Punch dough down and let rise to double again, about 1 hour longer.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half and form each portion into a ball. Cover with dish cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll each half of the dough into a 15x8-inch rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Roll up tightly, starting with short side, sealing as you roll.

Taper ends by rolling out with hands until loaf is 10 to 11 inches long. Place loaves seam side down on buttered baking dishes which have been sprinkled with yellow cornmeal.

Add 1 tablespoon of water to egg white in a bowl and beat lightly; brush over and along sides of loaves. Cover the loaves with a damp cloth without touching dough -- place glasses or cups around loaves and place towels on them. Place pans in in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk. Place a shallow pan on bottom rack of oven; fill with boiling water. bake loaves in center of oven preheated to 375° for 20 minutes. Brush with egg white mixture again and continue baking for 20 minutes longer, or until well-browned and done.

After we were done I cut the bread into pieces and added mozzarella, Parmesan, and garlic and cooked in the oven at 375ยบ for 5-7 minutes. It was delicious!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Alright, so I know it's been about a week since I've updated (oops!) But I do have some recipes!

I have never been a fan of pumpkin pie, it's always made me gag, and grosses me out. However, my friend Jimmy suggested I make a pumpkin pie from real pumpkins - being that the only kind I had ever had was pumpkin from a can or store bought pie. I have never baked a pie before, and I have never gutted a pumpkin, so it was definitely an interesting experience. haha

I got the original recipe from

What you'll need;
  • 2 cups mashed, cooked pumpkin - I used one medium pie pumpkin
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the crust:
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup cold water

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Halve pumpkin and scoop out seeds and stringy portions. Cut pumpkin into chunks. In saucepan over medium heat, in 1 inch of boiling water heat the pumpkin to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain, cool and remove the peel. To do this you will probably need a big strong guy, or a really super sharp knife! I had to ask my husband to cut it for me because I couldn't get through even with our large butcher knife!
  3. Return pumpkin to the saucepan and mash with a potato masher. Drain well.
  4. Prepare pie crusts by mixing together the flour and salt. Cut shortening into flour, add 1 tablespoon water to mixture at a time. Mix dough and repeat until dough is moist enough to hold together.
  5. With lightly floured hands shape dough into a ball. On a lightly floured board roll dough out to 1/8 inch thickness. With a sharp knife, cut dough 1 1/2 inch larger than the upside down 8-9 inch pie pan. Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer it right side up on to the pie pan. Unroll, ease dough into the bottom of the pie pan.
  6. In a large bowl with mixer speed on medium, beat pumpkin with evaporated milk, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Mix well. Pour into a prepared crust. Bake 40 minutes or until when a knife is inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean.

Now, when I did the crust, I am HORRIBLE with it. So I just put it in the bottom of the pan and squished it down with my fingers until it filled up the pan and seemed thin enough haha. It worked out well.

One medium (6"-8" )pumpkin makes about 2 pies.

It's soooo yummy! It was the first time I ever liked eating pumpkin pie. Now, being that I am not a fan of pumpkin pie and I don't eat it often, I can't tell you if it's gonna taste "just like grandma's pie!" but it was good and everyone who ate it seemed to like it!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dinner Party

My husband and I love to entertain people, and what better way to do that than to have a dinner party. I love cooking, and he loves to season things, so it was a great way to pass the time :-D
I made quite a few things, and I am pretty sure we are going to have leftovers for about a week. I will slowly add recipes from the night (maybe 1-2 a day), just so it's not overwhelming.

One of the things we had was the Seasoned Chicken over brown rice, my husband did add a little bit more pepper to it this time, and it was delicious.

A few of our guests remembered that it was my birthday (which I was surprised since we haven't known them very long) and they brought me some gorgeous pink roses, which definitely made my night.
That's all for this post! I'll write more later!