Homemade Falafel with Tahini Sauce

Remember when I bought tahini for the first time the other day? And made pita bread? Best day ever.

So I did it again. Not the buying tahini part because I already had some but the making pita bread. Just a half batch this time. Lets not get crazy out of hand people. And then I made homemade falafel to fill it with.

Homemade Falafel and Tahini Sauce

Seriously. Made my own falafel. Who knew it was so easy? Sure you gotta stand over the stove and fry them but it is so worth it.

Precious little brings me as much pleasure as being able to make restaurant quality food at home. I love being able to make things I would otherwise have to pay someone to make for me. And for a fraction of the price plus there is the upside that I get to share it with you.

Homemade Falafel and Tahini Sauce

Speaking of sharing things what are you up to on May 31st? This sweet little blog turns two at the end of May and last year it was SO fun to see many of you at the first anniversary party. Wanna have another party? I’ll cook. It will be delicious. There will be drinks. But seriously. Please just come celebrate with me. I would be over the moon.

Homemade Falafel and Tahini Sauce

Mark you calendar- My 31st. Be there or … I don’t know. I have no threats to make. Just come. It will make me happy. I might make you some pitas.

Homemade Falafel and Tahini Sauce

One year ago today: Baby bok choi and mushrooms and risotto primavera

Homemade Falafel with Tahini Sauce (makes XXX)
From Just a Taste

For the falafel:
2 cups roughly chopped white onion
6 garlic cloves
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
1 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
1 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
Canola oil, for sauteing
Pita bread, for serving

For the tahini sauce:
1¼ cups plain yogurt (full fat or non-fat)
¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Add the onion and garlic cloves to the bowl of a food processor and pulse just until they are finely minced. Remove the mixture and set it aside.

Add the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, salt, chili powder, and cumin to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until they are roughly blended but not pureed.

Return the onion mixture to the food processor, along with the baking powder and just enough flour so that when you pulse the processor, the mixture begins to form a small ball and is not sticky. (Note: Start by adding ¼ cup of flour, and then the remaining ¼ cup. You can add more if the mixture is still too wet.)

Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour.

While the falafel mixture is chilling, prepare the tahini sauce by whisking together the yogurt, tahini and lemon juice. Season it with salt and pepper, cover it and place it in the fridge.

Once the falafel mixture has chilled, use a small ice cream scoop or spoons to form the mixture into balls (roughly 3 Tablespoons per ball). (Note: You can also add additional flour at this point, if the mixture is too wet to scoop.)

Set a large sauté pan over medium heat and add a liberal amount of canola oil so that the pan is well-coated. Let the pan pre-heat for 3 minutes then add the falafel one by one, browning them on the first side for 3 minutes, then flipping them once and browning the second side until the mixture is cooked throughout.

Transfer the falafel to a paper towel-lined cooling wrack and immediately season them with salt. Repeat this process until you have cooked all of the falafel.

Place three or four falafel inside a halved, warmed pita and drizzle with the prepared tahini sauce.

Homemade Falafel and Tahini Sauce

Pita Bread

Hummus and pita go hand in hand. Right? Thanks for agreeing with me.

A good mama friend of mine made these a few weeks ago with her littles. I have seen them all over Pinterest for months dying to try them.

Homemade pita bread

For some reason they simply haven’t surfaced on the list of things I needed or wanted to make. Now you can add them to the list of things I will NEVER buy from a store again.

Pitas to me have always been these overly dry tasteless things that you get at the store in a bag. Occasionally at a restaurant you get really good soft and fluffy ones but they aren’t the pocket type pitas. I didn’t even know that pocket pita could be synonymous with soft and fluffy. Delicious.

Homemade pita bread

Easy peasy bread that you kinda throw together and then leave on the counter. Want to know a secret? I forgot about mine and what was supposed to be 1 hour rise turned into I think three. I can’t remember. The recipe called for throwing it in the fridge- I did none of that. Who has the patience?!

And I baked mine in the oven for only three minutes on my pizza stone. All an absolute utter breeze. Have I stressed the fact enough yet that these were delicious? Often homemade things are pretty good but store bought can be passable. This is not one of them. Two different worlds. Go make your own!

Homemade pita bread

One year ago today: Apple Cupcakes with Vegan Buttercream Frosting

Pita Bread (makes 8-12)
From Smitten Kitchen

3 cups plus a scant 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all the ingredients. With the paddle attachment, mix on low speed just until all the flour is moistened, about 20 seconds. Change to the dough hook, raise the speed to medium and knead for 10 minutes. The dough should clean the bowl and be very soft and smooth and just a little sticky to the touch. Add a little flour or water if necessary.

Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, scrape the dough into a 2-quart or larger dough-rising container or bowl, lightly greased with cooking spray or oil. Press the dough down and lightly spray or oil the top of it. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. Let rise for about an hour and a half. Proceed to shaping or place in the fridge for 4 to 12 hours.

When ready to bake preheat the oven to 475°F one hour before. Have an oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone, cast-iron skillet, or baking sheet on it before preheating. Cut the dough into 8 or 12 pieces. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the rest covered with a damp cloth. On a lightly floured counter, with lightly floured hands, shape each piece into a ball and then flatten it into a disk. Cover the dough with oiled plastic and allow it to rest for 20 minutes at room temperature. Roll each disk into a circle a little under 1/4 inch thick.

Quickly place 1 piece of dough directly on the stone or in the skillet or on the baking sheet, and bake for 3 minutes. The pita should be completely puffed but not beginning to brown. How well the pita will puff depends on how much moisture is in the dough. The more moist the better the puff. Allow to cool then enjoy.

Homemade pita bread

Irish Soda Bread

St. Patricks day is just one week away! I have had Irish and green recipes on my mind lately. You are forewarned.

My first exposure with Irish soda bread was at a friend’s house last summer. For some reason I expected a yeasty not sweet bread so I was a bit taken back by the flavor and the currants. Not my cup of tea that day.

Irish soda bread

But in thinking of what would go with the stew I will be posting later this week the only thing I could think of was bread. Irish soda bread at that.

I was hesitant at first because I wasn’t sure that a slightly sweet orange and currant bread would go well with stew. However once it was was made and out of the oven it scarcely mattered. This bread is downright delicious in its own right. Particularly slathered in butter (but what bread isnt?!).

Irish soda bread

Little loved it too devouring two slices back to back hardly pausing to take a breath. I subbed out over half of the originally called for white flour for whole wheat so I didn’t even feel bad letting him. There are worse things he can have for dinner (he refused the stew we served it with). Right?

Geez. Toddlers.

Anyways. I highly recommend this quick and easy bread. I can see it being a staple around here for days when you just need something tasty to munch.

Irish soda bread

One year ago today: Hazelnut Biscotti 

Irish Soda Bread (makes one ginourmous loaf)
From Ina Garten via The Food Network

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for currants (I used 2 1/2 whole wheat 1 1/2 unbleached)
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup dried currants

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silpat.

Combine the flour(s), sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the currants with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.

Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature (if you can wait that long).

Irish soda bread

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

Seriously people can we knock it off with the snow already?

This is what it looked like out my window this morning. Not.ok.with.me.

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

Ok ok ok I know it isn’t your fault but for the love of all that is holy who DID we piss off this year?

We already had an incredible amount of snow (for the Willamette Valley) in December. Snow, which because of sub zero temperatures, stuck around for a week.

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

Then it came again. Although this time it was out for blood. First four inches, then a nice layer of freezing rain turned that into an ice skating rink. As if that wasn’t enough we then got another 6-8 inches (what the ?!?) topped with off with more freezing rain. Everything was coated with an inch of ice. Lovely.

Mostly we have taken it in stride though. Cold weather always brings out the carb craver in me. We don’t usually have bread around the house unless I make it. We were short on white flour and even shorter on bread flour so attempting a whole loaf of bread wasn’t on my list of things I wanted to do.

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

Crackers though. Crackers rock. Or flatbread which is what this really is.

These were are breeze. A quick mix and knead and into the fridge. I totally followed the recipe to a T and used my pasta roller. If you have one this is absolutely the way to go. I can’t speak to how easy or hard it is to roll these out by hand since I didn’t even try.

photo-(1)

Also this is a great snowy day activity for your littles people. Painting activities at our house involve egg wash. I’m the best kind of mom. Really.

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

One year ago today: Tuna Noodle Casserole and Peppermint Pattie Cookies

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers (make about 16)
From Martha Stewart Baking Handbook

1 cup warm water
3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl and plastic wrap
15 ounces (about 3 cups) all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup freshly grated aged cheese (I used manchego and parmesan), plus more for sprinkling
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves (or 3 tablespoons caraway seeds)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir the water and yeast together. Attach your dough hook. Add olive oil, flour, salt, and honey and mix on low speed for 1 minute. Switch to medium speed and mix until dough is soft but not tacky, about 2 minutes. Add cheese and mix for 1 minute more.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface; knead four or five times, forming into a ball. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap; let rest for 10 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour or overnight. Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces. Flatten the dough with your hands into a disk. Using a pasta machine, run it through on either #3 or 4. If you don’t have a pasta roller, just roll out thinly with a rolling pin. Transfer pieces of dough to prepared baking sheets. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon water; brush over dough. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and additional cheese and top with sprigs of rosemary (or with caraway seeds).

Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until crisp and golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough. Bread can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

Rye Caraway Bread

I am in the love love love rye bread camp.

And caraway. Love me some caraway.

Rye Caraway bread

But you know that already from the rye caraway scones.

So when my sister offers to bring over bacon, tomatoes, and lettuce for BLTs if I provide the bread I gotta bring my A game.

Rye Caraway bread

Well that and I am weird. Really good bakery bread can be pretty spendy ($4-5 a loaf or more). We don’t eat sandwich bread unless it is Dave’s Killer Bread and that isn’t cheap either. The artisan bread I have been making lately is delicious but I wanted something just a bit better for this go around.

And we already had rye flour. That’s normal right? To just have rye flour on hand? Thanks for making me feel normal about it.

Rye Caraway bread

So off I went to try and find a good recipe. I feel like recipe picking is something I am pretty good at. Rarely do I get a recipe that is a complete and utter failure and I ascribe that to my ability to know what a recipe will turn out like by reading it. Oh and by knowing that Smitten Kitchen is almost always a sure bet.

I don’t pretend that making this bread is quick. It is ridiculously easy but takes a while. I think I started around 8 am and pulled the bread out of the oven around 2. There is a ferment, kneed, rise, punch down, rise, shape, rise, and lastly bake. None of it takes particularly long but you are required to be around and baby sit the bread off and on.

Rye Caraway bread

Perfect for a lazy Sunday morning. Or when you get snowed in. Or when you really really want rye bread.

Totally worth it though. I baked it on a pizza stone and threw some ice cubes onto a sheet pan in the oven before I shut the door to create some steam. The bread is light, flavorful, chewy, and has a slightly crisp crust.

Rye Caraway bread

Beyond perfect for BLTs. I used some the leftover bread for an egg sandwich the next morning and then a cheese sandwich that afternoon. Then it was sadly gone. I have been obsessing over it ever since and fully intend on making another loaf this weekend.

Rye Caraway bread

One year ago today: The very best pizza dough

Rye Caraway Bread (makes 1 large loaf)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Sponge
3/4 cup bread flour
3/4 cup rye flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 cups water, at room temperature

Flour Mixture
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1/2 tablespoon coarse salt

Dough and Baking
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
cornmeal for sprinkling

Make the sponge
Combine sponge ingredients in a large or mixer bowl and whisk until very smooth, to intentionally incorporate air — this will yield a thick batter. Set it aside.

Make the flour mixture and cover the sponge
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour mixture and gently scoop it over the sponge to cover it completely. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 2-3 hours at room temperature. (The sponge will bubble through the flour mixture in places.)

Mix the dough
Add the oil and mix with the dough hook on low speed for about 1 minute, until the flour is moistened enough to form a rough dough. then raise the speed to medium and mix it for 10 minutes. The dough should be very smooth and elastic, and it should jump back when pressed with a fingertip; if it is sticky, turn it out on a counter and knead in a little extra flour.

Let the dough rise
Place the dough in a large container or bowl, lightly oiled. Oil the top of the dough as well (spray oil works great). Allow the dough to rise until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Flip the bowl over and let the dough fall out on to a lightly floured counter, press it down gently, fold or form it back into a ball and allow it to rise a second time, back in the (re-oiled) bowl covered with plastic wrap for about 45 minutes.

Shape it and wait out the final rise
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gently press it down again. Round it into a ball and set it on a cornmeal sprinkled pizza peel (or baking sheet). Cover it with oiled plastic wrap and let it rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. While it is rising preheat the oven.

Preheat the oven
Place your pizza stone (or upside down baking sheet) in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F as early as you can tolerate. On a shelf below the pizza stone place a cast iron skillet or sheet pan.

Slash and bake the bread
With a sharp knife or singled-edged razor blade, make 1/4- to 1/2-inch-deep slashes in the top of the dough in a square pattern. Quickly but gently slide the bread on the hot stone or hot baking sheet. Toss 1/2 cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath and immediately shut the door. Bake for 15 minutes, lower the temperature to 400°F, place an instant read thermometer in the bread and continue baking till it registers 190F or for 10-20 minutes and the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Cool the bread on a wire rack.

Rye Caraway bread

Cornbread (gluten-free)

I do not appreciate being challenged in the kitchen.

Well, I guessI should really say I don’t like being challenged when I am not wanting it. Does that even make sense?

Make homemade marshmallows? Sure why not. That can’t be hard.

Fondant? Total breeze.

An ice cream cake that took a whole week to make? Bring it!

Corn bread (gluten free)

Gluten free baking when it has to be intentional and not incidental? No! Please don’t make me!

It is an established fact that I love taking dinner to those I love. A sweet dear mama friend of mine just recently welcomed her second daughter into the world (remember the almond lemon ricotta cake I made for her shower?). Delivering dinner to a new mama is a privilege and I wanted it to be special. However my repertoire of gluten free cooking is not very deep.

I made a delicious chili to take to her. It was such a big batch it fed her little family AND mine. Even with planning on packing sour cream, grated cheese, fresh fruit, and those amazing marshmallows I felt that the meal was lacking something.

Corn bread (gluten free)

My train of thought went as follows- corn bread goes with chili well, except my recipe has flour. Gluten free corn bread has got to be a thing right? To Google! No not that recipe, or that one, or that one (all involving odd gluten free flours I didn’t have). What?! One with just cornmeal?! Win.

And that’s how I stumbled on this recipe. And it’s perfect. Perfect crumb, delicious taste, and not a hint of gluten or ingredients you would have to go on a hunt for.

Absolutely perfect with a warm bowl of homemade chili.

(It should be noted that not all cornmeal is gluten free so be sure to purchase a gluten free labeled brand if you are sincerely avoiding gluten)

Corn bread (gluten free)

One year ago today: Perfect chocolate frosting

Corn Bread (Gluten free) (serves 6-8)
From Gluten Free on a Shoestring

2 cups coarsely ground yellow cornmeal (gluten free)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg at room temperature, beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
4 tablespoons honey

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet or an 8-inch square or round pan. If using a skillet place it in the oven as you preheat.

In a large bowl, place the cornmeal, salt, baking soda and baking powder, and whisk to combine well. In separate bowl, mix the egg, butter, buttermilk and honey, and whisk to combine well.

Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. The mixture will be relatively thin. Remove the skillet from the oven. Add an additional tablespoon of butter and wait for it to melt. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes (closer to 20 minutes if using a cast iron skillet), or until lightly golden brown on top, golden brown around the edges, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Slice and serve immediately.

Corn bread (gluten free)

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

Well…. that escalated quickly.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

One small recipe. Taunting me for the better part of a month. Seriously. It has been on my To Make list for eons.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

I was mentally making a menu to take a new mama friend of mine (remember on delivering dinner?) and added these to list. First, it justified making what I thought was two pans of rolls. Second, who doesn’t love cinnamon rolls, and these just sound like a better, badder, more delicious version of regular cinnamon rolls. I’m in.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

Um. I should warn you. This made FOUR pans of rolls. That would be 32 rolls in all. Who on earth needs that many? Mercifully we only ate through two of them here at this house. One went to the sweet new family and one went to my mom’s.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

Yum yum yum.

The original recipe called for lemon and blueberries. That was what originally persuaded me. I have a freezer full of cranberries, however, and I couldn’t resist making some rolls with said cranberries.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

Hands down the cranberries were my favorite. The tartness of the berries really carried it. The blueberries were a bit too sweet for my taste, but no one seemed to complain. In fact the quickly emptied pan should have been an indicator they were quite the hit.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

I will be saving this roll recipe. It’s an absolute winner in my book, and it has proved versatile and flexible. I am presenting this to you as I made it but please feel free to halve the recipe…

Or make a ridiculous amount of rolls to eat and then stuff everyone else you know. That way at least you will still appear skinny in the long run.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

That’s my strategy at least.

Nom.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

One year ago today: Chanterelle Mushroom Gravy

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls (makes 32 rolls- 4 pie pans of 8 each or two 9×13 pans with 16)
Adapted from Pioneer Woman

For the dough:

4 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
4 1/2 teaspoons (1.5 Tb) active dry yeast
8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (additional) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

For the filling:

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 whole lemons, zested
4 cups (heaping) blueberries or cranberries (thawed if frozen)

For the glaze:

1 whole lemon, juiced
2 whole lemons, zested
6 cups powdered sugar
1 cup whole milk

Start the dough: Mix milk, 1 cup sugar, and butter in a large pot or Dutch oven. Heat over medium heat to 180 F. Remove from heat and allow to cool until 115 F. Sprinkle yeast over the surface of the liquid, then add in 8 cups flour. Stir gently until totally combined. Mixture will be very wet and sticky. Cover with plastic wrap, keep in a draft-free place, and allow to sit for 1 hour. After 1 hour, add in an additional cup of flour, as well as the salt, baking soda and baking powder. Mix until combined. Refrigerate dough, covered, until you need it (at least 1 hr). Refrigerating the dough helps make it easier to handle.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a large baking dish (or a couple of smaller dishes) generously. You could use a 9×13 or two 9-inch pie pans (this is only for half the dough).

Melt 1/2 of the filling butter (6 Tb) in the microwave. Divide dough in half. Store one half in the fridge. Turn the other half of the dough onto a floured surface. Roll into a large rectangle, about 30 inches wide by 10 inches deep. Roll as thin as possible! Drizzle melted butter over the dough, using your fingers to spread evenly. Using your fingers, mix sugar and lemon zest so that it’s a nice, light yellow sugar. Sprinkle half of it all over the butter. Sprinkle 2 cups of the berries evenly over the surface.

Beginning at the side furthest from you, roll dough toward you until it’s in the shape of a tight log. Tuck as you go so the roll stays tight. Pinch the edges to seal the seam shut. With a sharp knife, slice into 1/2 thick hick rolls and lay the slices, cut side down, into the buttered baking dishes. Allow to rise for 20 minutes, then place in oven and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until deep golden brown on top.

To make the glaze: Whisk lemon juice, lemon zest, powdered sugar, milk, and dash of salt in a bowl until smooth. Taste it and add more of whatever it needs.

Remove rolls from oven and drizzle the glaze all over the rolls. Be sure to get it all around the edges and covering the surface so they’ll be nice and moist!

(Repeat rolling, filling, slicing, rising and baking with second half of dough.)

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Lemon and Berry Sweet Rolls

Challah Rolls

Book giveaway winner– Hannah E! (I will text you about getting you your copy of the book!)

What are your Thanksgiving staples?

Around here it is a given that we have stuffing made by my brother-in-law, these rolls and chanterelle mushroom gravy made by Nathan, and then turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pies made by whomever. But those are the requirements for our Thanksgiving dinner.

Last year was the first year we had Thanksgiving at my house. It was such a wonderful time and it was our first dinner around our new dinning room table Nathan made for me. This year we are lucky to have three meals with those we love. One with my mama tribe, one with our friends, and one with our family.

Challah rolls

Happily all of the complicated dishes have become dishes Nathan is an expert at making. And he is particularly good at these challah rolls. It is just a plain challah bread recipe that he simply makes in to rolls. He has been making them for years now and is a bonafide challah making expert.

I can’t remember the last time he actually this recipe into a challah loaf though. Always always always they wind up at rolls and are trotted out at the holidays.

Leftover rolls make the BEST leftover turkey sandwiches by the way. Just sayin.

Challah rolls

One year ago today: Oatmeal butterscotch cookies

Challah Rolls (makes 64 small rolls)
From Nathan 

2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon salt
8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (2 lbs 4 oz)

In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.

Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into 32 smaller rolls (for a totaly of 64 rolls). Roll into balls and place about 1/4 apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise about one hour.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over the rolls. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour eating.

Challah rolls

Traditional Banana Bread

Nathan is our banana bread baker.

And yes I know I already have three banana quick bread recipes on here (a vegan one, one with zucchini, and a decadent one with cream cheese). All three recipes I found and decided to make. No input from Nathan.

Traditional Banana Bread

They were all tasty but banana bread has always been Nathan’s thing.

One very sweet day a couple weeks ago I was running errands and busy and I came home to find a napping son and warm banana bread on the counter. My loving husband had baked the bread with Little. Melt my heart.

I bake with Lincoln often and it always fun albeit messy. I think was the first time Little and Nathan have cooked together. Adorable.

Traditional Banana Bread

Little would NOT stop talking about this banana bread. He was so thrilled to have been part of the process. He kept calling it his banana bread.

After dinner one night we even renamed it banana cake and fed it to him as dessert. Even days after it was over he obsessed about it and asked about it.

Traditional Banana Bread

This recipe is a keeper for so many reasons- the banana flavor is impeccable, the texture perfect, the memories the best.

So maybe Nathan isn’t the only banana bread baker in our house anymore. Maybe it will just be Nathan and Little.

Traditional Banana Bread

One year ago today: Snickers Ice Box Cake

Traditional Banana Bread (makes 1 loaf)
From Food Network

1 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely before slicing.

Traditional Banana Bread

Rosemary Garlic Focaccia

I am not the bread baker.

I also do not always manage to coordinate my dinners well. Rosemary garlic focaccia with curry? Sure! Sounds like a great idea!

Rosemary and garlic focaccia

You know why we made focaccia? Because it was something I have been wanting to share with you. The conversation the day I made this literally went:

“Naan is on the blog already isn’t it”

“Yeah I think so”

“What should we have with the curry?”

“Focaccia?”

“Sure!”

Rosemary and garlic focaccia

Except… I just discovered naan isn’t on here. So now we get to add naan to the list of recipes to share and maybe eat it with lasagna or ravioli. This all makes perfect sense right? Good. I am glad we are on the same page.

And even if it doesn’t I got to have delicious focaccia for dinner. And a delicious curry. And they weren’t awful together.

Perfect lazy Sunday bread baking project. I am fairly new to yeast baking and, as you can see, I didn’t screw this one up at all.

Serve however you wish but this is particularly decadent with a plate of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Yum.

Rosemary and garlic focaccia

One year ago today: Carrot Cake Cookies

Rosemary Garlic Foccacia (makes one 9 x 13 pan)
From Baking Bites

2 cloves garlic
3 cups bread flour
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (.25 oz)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup water
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
additional olive oil and coarse salt

Finely mince garlic using a sharp knife or a garlic press. In a small saute pan over medium heat, saute garlic with a little bit of olive oil until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a small dish and allow to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine bread flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Whisk to combine. Add in olive oil and water, sauteed garlic and chopped rosemary and stir with a large wooden spoon until dough comes together into a ball. Add an additional tablespoon or two of water if dough is too dry to form into a ball easily. Stir until dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. (All of this may be done in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook).
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes (You can also knead the dough with the dough hook on medium-low for 3-4 minutes). Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Generously grease an 9×13-inch baking pan (or a sheet pan) with 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil. Turn dough out onto pan and press gently outwards with your fingertips, spreading the dough as you go, until it has evenly filled the pan. Pressing with your fingertips instead of kneading preserves the bubbles in the dough.
Cover with a clean dish towel and allow to rise for 30-40 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F.

After rising brush dough with 1 tbsp additional olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes until bread is well browned. Place bread on a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

Rosemary and garlic focaccia