Oct 232013
 

Today I started to write about those who pilfer recipes from sites and post them on their own sites as originals, or at the very least make NO mention of where the recipe or their idea originated.   Anyone who has ever shared an original recipe knows that can be very annoying –  to see it show up elsewhere after they spent the time, effort and the money to develop that recipe. 

But once I started reading blogs, copyright legalese, and other related articles — I lost my desire to write about any of it.  One topic seemed to lead to another and another on this never ending data supply we call the internet –  so that I started getting confused myself!

My original viewpoint was  — there are too many recipes shared from parents, friends, and pot luck suppers over the years — that not every recipe you think is original or “from your own mom” is actually that!  And maybe a word or two about common ingredients used to make certain items,  and that being unique in ingredients or execution may be harder than you think. 

Recipes are all over the web.  There are thousands of good sites containing all sorts of recipes, and using all sorts of ingredients.  Some of them measure like a chef in grams and pounds and others go by our standard method of a cup and a tablespoon.  You will, if you look, see the gambit in terms of ingredients, combinations and even techniques.  But certain sauces, pastries, meringues, and even some cooking methodologies have specific names attributed to them because they use the same ingredients or procedure time after time to achieve the desired result….and yet, even those are recipes someone, somewhere originally devised.

These are all pictures of some of my breads.

These are all pictures of some of my breads.

Recently some actual recipe developers complained about their recipes being copied, stolen, or used on a “well known” blog without their permission.  And it made me seriously wonder why the blog would do that (knowingly or not) and why the original author didn’t just send a note — thanking them for making and sharing their dish and asking they add a line or two from where the recipe originated. Wouldn’t that just solve the problem?

Yes and No.  And therein lies the dilemma and that’s why I wanted to stop writing about this subject.  I like things black and white, not grey.  While a baker, cook or recipe developer may think that they originally made that recipe and it belongs to them to distribute, authorize or use — what if it doesn’t?  Who makes that call?  What if 40 years ago it was published somewhere and their grandmother found it, made it and then it eventually got passed down — doesn’t it still belong to the original cookbook author  — and how is one to know?  Grandma might be long gone and there isn’t anyone else who really does know.  You could be sure that your dish is unique, but it’s still possible it’s not.

So, while I am not a lawyer and this is definitely not any legal advice — I will just quote the actual US copyright law** with regard to recipes.

Mere listings of ingredients as in recipes, formulas, compounds, or prescriptions are not subject to copyright protection. However, when a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection.

Copyright protects only the particular manner of an author’s expression in literary, artistic, or musical form. Copyright protection does not extend to names, titles, short phrases, ideas, systems, or methods.

But that doesn’t end the discussion.  The real discussion actually just starts there.  And so after reading about 20 different articles about this subject – I still feel that most recipes are not subject to being copyrighted.  I do believe some may (though there are formidable obstacles) but most are not. 

What seems to be clear to me (and again this is not legal advice, and I am not a lawyer) is that while the list of ingredients and way of preparation (divide into quarters, add the butter to the boiling milk, etc)  is not protected …. the way in which you actually did it, the extra flourishes, your descriptions, your expressions of your unique style and also your photographs are subject to copyright protection.

Clear a mud, right?  That’s how I felt.  And so, just as an aside to anyone who might see this – do yourself a favor – do your own descriptions, do your own photographs, add/subtract and make a recipe your own, but also take a minute to give credit to whomever you got the inspiration from — be it your long gone grandmother, your dinner club, or a specific chef, author or blogger.  If you don’t know …. maybe a word about that might also help them know your intention was not to pilfer their work.  

Some of my homemade soups.

Some of my homemade soups.

 I saw a cookbook recently that had several recipes I have been using for years.  I know that these recipes (shared from my relatives and friends) were not the original work of this author.  I don’t know where they actually originated and likely neither does the author (because saying this is Aunt Mary’s recipe may or may not be actually truthful) — but just because she has now published them into a book — the recipes are still not hers to claim.  The book however and it’s design, format, and contents are unique, copyrighted and hers.

For more information …. **Copyright Information – Main:  http://www.copyright.gov/  Recipes: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html

**Disclosure, I am not a lawyer and this article does not contain any legal advice, you need to consult with someone much more knowledgeable on this subject if you have a question about copyright laws.  I was not compensated in anyway for this article and the content and opinions are 100% mine.



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There are times when you know that you are just…. THE ODD WOMAN OUT.

This weekend I had what I consider to be a unique opportunity – I won a giveaway sponsored by Duncan Hines® to be a guest of one of their bloggers at a unique and fun event at their headquarters.

I entered for this on a blog — and while usually the prizes given away on blog sites aren’t a trip, this one was one that sounded like an opportunity I couldn’t miss.

And yes, I won it from a cooking/baking blog called RealMomKitchen. I wasn’t even the first name drawn, as the first choice didn’t respond to the win notice. That means that I was double lucky. I was lucky the first person didn’t respond and then lucky enough to be chosen as the replacement.

I really was excited and thrilled to have won. I absolutely love to cook and bake. I absolutely love the Pinnacle® Brand of Products of which Duncan Hines® is only one…. and I considered this — for me — an opportunity of a lifetime.

I don’t usually enter for trips to travel alone — but because this was in NJ (where I was born) and because it was to a Duncan Hines® Event – I considered it was going to be more than just a trip for me — AND IT WAS!

cakes
The entire weekend was fabulous!

There were some other candidates for the odd woman out title …. those who felt they were “ignored” by the blogs representatives where they had entered – feeling that as a fan and subscriber they meant nothing to the blog owner — and there were some other minor (in my opinion) things to make others feel as if they too were the odd woman out.

But I think I qualified and won that event  – because I spent the entire weekend hungry.  I was not only hungry for the information provided, and for the companionship of the other accomplished bakers, but physically hungry.  

You see I have allergies. Severe allergies. And the foods provided by this spectacular food company just couldn’t really avoid using corn, fructose and fruit, or related products in what they provided to us to eat.   Don’t get me wrong, they provided a ton of food, including unbelievable desserts and everyone but me got to eat well.  Some ladies were even hitting the gym in the hotel to work some of it off, I instead felt like I was going to pass out from hunger. 

It was not 100% their fault, I mean although I filled out my questionnaire listing my allergy, I just don’t think it must have been taken that seriously.   Most people do not realize that there is hidden corn/fructose in products they eat every day – and for the most part don’t have to.  But even commercially prepared bread has corn syrup or fructose added –  and although it’s necessary in many cases to be able to provide a consistant product – do you think about that when you serve it?  Usually not. 

The first night, when I had some green beans and a couple slices of meat/turkey — since it was at the hotel — I thought it would be better the next day.   It wasn’t.  

Do you know the ingredients I asked in the ranch dressing?  And they acted like I had asked them in a foreign language.   The answer, oh it’s just regular ranch.  Helpful?  Not really.  Their reason for not knowing,  “oh we’re just the marketing people”.   I asked because there are products, and even commercially made ranch dressing that I can eat.  For lunch I was having only lettuce and tomato (the only things provided that I could eat) and I would have to eat it dry if I couldn’t find out the ingredients of the dressings.  I couldn’t even have the chips because Lays® products use oils, including corn oil to make their products (which I learned the hard way trying it one time).

To their credit they have a kitchen and they did make me a balsamic vinaigrette that was fabulous — but it didn’t quench my hunger.  I really needed some protein which wasn’t available.

DSC01834

   We spent the entire day learning about great stuff from decorating cakes to making simple sauces, and decorations for our creations.  I would never have wanted to miss a minute of those demonstrations, they were that good!!!  But I couldn’t eat or even taste any of that because almost every item contained or used corn syrup. 

   I didn’t feel “left out” because I know my allergies limit me to what I personally can and cannot have.  I am used to doing without, and not sharing in many of the wonderful things that I love to cook and bake — including desserts.   I cannot eat most commercially made products and/or even indulge in most fast food choices.   I didn’t expect, nor would I ever expect a menu to be made around what I could or could not eat.  But, I can’t just have a bagel, or a waffle till I know what’s in it.  Sometimes they use flours that have corn flour mixed it (from a previous allergic reaction having a pancake in Maine).

   My reactions can be just from my lips and nasal passages swelling, to migraine, to asthma attack, to having to use all the techniques in my arsenal, including my epi-pen to quell it. It’s not an easy journey. I cannot take a chance and just “try” something without considering it could be the last bite I take.

   What made me the Odd Woman Out contest winner this past weekend was that no one even vaguely considered how hungry I would be all weekend without being able to eat the provided food? 

But, am I still a Duncan Hines® Sweet Star?  You bet I am!

**Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for this post, and all the information contained here is 100% my personal observations and perspective.



 

SOUP NUMBER FIVE:  Ham and Cheddar Soup

This soup started from leftover ham.  Since I have been making so many things into soup – this of course was a natural assumption when that beautiful ham first arrived at our house.  Most people would chose to make pea soup with leftover ham and a ham bone — and I could have also done that, but it’s not a favorite in our house and this one looked so much more appealing.

This recipe originated at Taste of Home Site (http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Cheddar-Ham-Soup) – and has been minimally modified (no peas, for example).

This soup is a little different in preparation from the others I have made and posted about, but I chose it to use because it still looked fast and easy and of course it used up that all important ingredient – the leftover ham.

So I started with chopping, dicing and slicing so I’d be ready to add these ingredients once the roux was ready.  Yes, I said roux and yes, this is the first time that I posted a soup using one.  I have tried to avoid using flour and butter as a thickening agent (using instead mostly olive oil for the butter, and using potatoes to thicken my soups – but sometimes you need a change). 

This soup has potatoes, but we aren’t going to cook this soup long enough to use the potatoes for the thickening, nor are we going to use the blender in any way. This soup is meant to be creamy and chunky!

2 1/2 cups or so of peeled and diced red potatoes (used these because I happen to have them on hand)
2 cups water
1/2 cup or so sliced carrot
1/4 cup or so chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
salt
pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups cooked cubed ham

 Ham and Cheddar Soup

As you can see, in my ingredients picture above, I don’t always use exact measurements when making soup – for one thing, the soup is forgiving, and for the other, there is no way I am going to not add the entire potato (for example) once I have peeled and diced it.

Note: I always place my potatoes in water after I’ve peeled and diced them – my mother always said it would help them from darkening in color – and who I am to question her wisdom.

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, combine potatoes, water, carrot and onion. Bring to boil then reduce heat; cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender.

While that is cooking:

2. In another saucepan (large enough to hold the entire batch of soup) – Make the roux.  Roux is simply butter and flour that will be used as the thickening agent in this soup.  It’s not difficult…. basically you …  melt the butter and then stir in the flour until smooth.

3. Once your roux looks smooth – gradually add in the milk, salt and pepper – bring to a boil and let that boil for about two minutes or until thickened.

4. Stir in the cheese until melted. Stir in undrained potato mixture.  Then add the ham… and heat it throughly. 

It’ll look something like this, and I can say without a doubt – it was delicious.

Finished Soup

 

SOUP NUMBER FOUR ~ Tuscany Soup – Version 2

These two recipes (Soups number 3 & 4)  are my own variations for a Tuscany Style Soup.  This version used ingredients I had on hand and I almost didn’t get any to even taste!  This was definitely the favorite of the two versions I have made so far!

And as a reminder, most of my soups are “fashioned” to use up ingredients that I happen to have on hand.  I do sometimes have to buy something to make a specific soup but my overall goal in making these soups is to “use up” what might be sitting on my shelf or in my refrigerator. To that end, you should feel free to substitute some items and make your own variations.  I am currently making these soups for either dinner with my homemade breads or as a carry to the office lunch (or both).  I feel good about these meals because they are made with fresh ingredients.

tuscan soup ingredients 2

 **This picture is from my phone, and so sorry it’s blurry!**

Ingredients:
4 Slices of Bacon, cut into small pieces –  again  I used a kitchen scissor to cut the bacon
1 lb. Hot Breakfast Sausage
1/2 to 1 Tablespoon each of Oregano, Basil and Parsley
1 large yellow onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups of chicken broth or stock
3 cups of Russet Potatoes Cubed
salt, pepper to taste
1 cup of heavy cream
Parmesan cheese, grated for garnish
 
**Changes in the ingredients from Tuscany Soup – Version 1 are in red.
 

 The overall method to making this variation of Tuscany Soup is the same.  In a large soup pot cook bacon until crispy, then add the sausage and break it apart as it cooks.  Once the sausage is browned and crumbled, drain off the majority of the grease, leaving just a little (tablespoon or two) to use to saute the onion.  I added the oregano, basil and parsley at this point because the breakfast sausage wasn’t “Italian” smelling at all.  It smelled like breakfast sausage and that was not what I had in mind for this soup.  You may adjust these spices to your own taste.  I added these slowly (stirring the meat mixture after each addition) till I went from a breakfast sausage smell to an Italian smell.  Then just like in version 1, I pushed the sausage/bacon mixture again to the edges of the pot and left a space in the center to add and saute the onion until it is translucent.  Next I added the garlic and sauteed it till fragrant. 

 Once you are done with that you will want to add the broth and potatoes and season with some salt and pepper (about 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 of pepper – you can always add more later).  Simmer till your potatoes are done, or longer.  I let this mixture simmer about an hour, because I was waiting for my dinner guests to arrive – and when it was apparent that they might not arrive soon, I finished up the soup  by adding the heavy cream, and slowly stirring it in.  Bring the entire mixture again to a simmer after adding the cream and simmering it again for another 10-25 minutes to mix the flavors. 

Again my company hadn’t arrived, so I did let it cool down and refrigerated it.  I reheated it for my guests – and since I was making alfredo sauce and someone else was serving the soup for me, I almost didn’t even get to taste it!  They did however think about me (yeah!) and saved me a bowl.  It was delicious.  There is no “ready to serve picture” because I was just so happy everyone had arrived and we were finally eating  that I didn’t even come close to remembering to take a picture!

This soup was gone in 30 seconds, but everyone  (aka my dinner guests) voted this one a keeper.  It was spicy but not as overwhelmingly as it was when using the ground hot Italian sausage (Version 1) and it was “thicker” because  I used less potatoes and the potatoes cooked down more than in the first one.  It also was simmered so much longer,  that it actually thickened the soup.  I have to almost thank my guests for being late – as this soup is now a family keeper!

This version also happens to be less expensive to prepare.  The roll of hot breakfast sausage was $2.50 less than the package of ground hot Italian sausage.  It also was, believe it or not, less oily and fatty.   The other plus was that the breakfast sausage didn’t add that “red” color to the soup. 

So if you decide to actually make this soup, try version 2 first! 

UPDATE: I have since made this soup two additional times by request and both times it was a hit!

 

SOUP NUMBER THREE ~  Tuscany Soup – Version 1

These recipes are my own variation of a recipe that I have seen for a Tuscany Style Soup.  So far I have made this soup twice (and will post both versions) and each time I adjusted ingredients and things based on what I had on hand.  Both times it was well received by my family, but each soup was different in flavor, and texture and I’ll share their comments.

Ingredients:
4 Slices of Bacon, cut into small pieces –  I used a kitchen scissor to cut the bacon, and I cut all 4 slices at one time — and for me that was much easier than trying to dice it with a knife.
1 lb. of hot Italian Sausage – I used the ground package for this soup
1 large yellow onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
6 cups of chicken broth or stock
4 cups of Russet Potatoes Cubed
salt, pepper to taste
1 cup of heavy cream
Parmesan cheese, grated for garnish
 

In a large soup pot cook bacon until crispy, then add the sausage and break it apart as it cooks.  Once the sausage is browned and crumbled, drain off the majority of the grease, leaving just a little (tablespoon or two) to use to saute the onion.  Push the sausage/bacon mixture to the edges of the pot and leave a space in the center to add and saute the onion until it is translucent – then add the garlic and saute it till fragrant.  This does make a wonderful smell and everyone in the family came to see what I was making.

Once you are done with that you will want to add the broth and potatoes and season with some salt and pepper (about 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 of pepper – you can always add more later).  Simmer till your potatoes are done, this will take about 20 -40 minutes depending on the size of your diced potatoes.

When the potatoes are done, you can add the heavy cream – I added mine slowly and while stirring.  Bring the entire mixture to a simmer and simmer for another 10-20 minutes to mix the flavors.  Serve with a grated parmesan garnish.

Comments:  This soup was much more spicy and liquid than the Version 2 will be.  As such it was a totally different taste/texture experience than Version 2.  Hubby liked this one more because of the spicy-ness, one of my sons said this version was a thinner soup (than version 2) with sausage and potatoes although he did like the flavor.

 

SOUP NUMBER TWO – Creamy Stuffed Baked Potato and Leek Soup. 

This soup was so very different from what I expected.  And as usual, I varied from the recipes that I read online. 

potato leek soup ingredients

6-8 small to medium baked potatoes
1 Tbs of butter
3 medium leeks
4 cloves of garlic
4 cups of chicken broth
kosher salt (it was already on my potato skins)
pepper to taste
6 slices of thick bacon (eventually diced)
2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cheese

 

I baked my potatoes earlier in the week.  I actually planned on trying this soup – and I especially wanted to see how different this recipe was from the creamy potato soup of the week before.

So I started my prep with making sure I had all my ingredients ready. I peeled and cubed the potatoes, I diced up about 1/3 of the potato skins (discarding the rest to the compost pile),  I washed and cleaned my leeks – and sliced them up.  I prepared my garlic slices and then got started.

First, I put my 1tbs of butter into my pan, melted it and then added my 6 slices of thick bacon (doesn’t that look good middle picture below – smelled good too).

Once that was done, I took the bacon out onto a paper towel lined plate  and added in the garlic, onions to the bacon drippings ~  and re-washed leeks.  I used all three of the leeks that I purchased. They were organic and I had to wash – slice and then rewash,  but I used them all because the other recipes I had read said people couldn’t taste them in the soup and I definitely wanted the onion like flavor of the leeks in the soup. 

Add and cook your sliced leeks with the onions and garlic until the leeks are soft  – about 10 minutes, then add the chicken broth and cook for about 20 minutes longer to really get the leeks very tender.
Next you’ll add the potatoes and chopped skins – I simmered this for about 10 more minutes – while I thought of how I would “cream” my potatoes.  

I finally decided on two almost even batches in my kitchen aid mixer – as I could not find my blender (which is the usual way I would do this).  Once I got them to the consistency I wanted, I returned them to the pot.  You can chose your own consistency here — but the thickness does depend on the starch from the potatoes, so you will want to break some down to get the soup thickness you desire, as well as a creamy texture.

Stir the sour cream and milk together and then stir into pot with about 1/2 the cheese.  I didn’t have cheddar cheese that I could actually use (it turned out to be moldy), so I used  a 4 cheese blend.  I have read of people using all sorts of odds and ends of cheese in this soup and I don’t think it can hurt it.  My soup would have had a stronger cheese flavor with the cheddar, but it also might have lessened the flavor of the leeks.  You taste buds must be your guide when choosing.

I cooked mine down  (about 30-40 minutes on simmer, stirring regularly), and then stirring in the remainder of the cheese right before I served it.  I will say it retained the leek flavor and was definitely not as creamy as it could have been had I used the blender, or if I added cream cheese instead of the sour cream.  But it was good, hot and hearty and we definitely enjoyed it with the poppy seed homemade bread that I made earlier in the day.  I think though if I had to choose, I’d go with the easier and faster creamy potato next time.  Much less work and definitely richer tasting.

Don’t forget to garnish with those bacon bits — and extra cheese  ~ and if you like it ~  some sour cream!

cooking and ready to eat

 

I am going to be doing a series of soup recipes here on my blog.  You might ask why? — but I think there is nothing more satisfying that a hot cup of soup and some homemade bread on a cold fall or winter day.  There is no rhyme or reason the the way or sequence that I will use with these recipes and I hope you will try them and leave a comment on the blog as to whether it was a keeper or not in your house.

SOUP NUMBER ONE ~ Easy Creamy Potato Soup

This first soup was quick and easy and delicious.  I often make things based on what is on sale, or what I happen to have in the house.  I have learned over the years some bits and pieces of substitutions that work and so even though something may not “call for it” in a recipe – I am not afraid to try new things.

That said ~~  this soup was really easy to make, and delicious.  It was rich but not spicy at all.  We happen to like it that way… you may want to add additional seasonings to your if you like it spicier.
creamy potato soup ingredients

6 cups chicken broth

10 decent size potatoes (I used 3 different types – yukon gold, red and russet)
  ~ approx. 6 cups cubed

1 8oz package of cream cheese  (leave it out to warm to room temperature)

Salt and Pepper to taste

4 Slices of Bacon (cooked and crumbled for garnish)

Peel the potatoes and cut into approximately 1/2-1 inch cubes; approximately 6 cups.  I needed to add one more potato than pictured to get my 6 cups cubed.

Place the potatoes in your soup pot with 6 cups of chicken broth.  I used the 32 oz container pictured and another can to get to my 6 cups of broth.

Add salt/pepper to taste.

Cook until the potatoes are tender/done.

potatoes cooking The picture here is the potatoes in the chicken broth once they were cooked.  You will need to mash up some ~  to all of the potatoes in the pot till you get a consistency you like.  Just  take some out, mash them and add them back into the pot.  I did mine in batches.   The starch released from the mashing of the potatoes will thicken up the soup.

I actually took out some potatoes, mashed them, and then returned them directly back to the soup pot.  I did this till my soup was 90% creamy with just a small hint of some chunks of potatoes.

Note: You can take them in batches and but them in a blender, or you can use a handheld immersion blender and keep them in the pot.  In my case, I did them by hand a little at a time as I wanted to have some chunks of potatoes in my soup.

Once you are ready add the cream cheese.  You should cut the cream cheese in chunks if you didn’t leave it out to warm to room temperature (I put mine away after the picture) because it will take much longer to completely melt into the soup if it’s one large cold chunk!

Cook and stir, stir, stir. 
I had to stir for longer than I wanted because I didn’t leave the cream cheese to warm to room temperature …. I am hoping you remember and don’t have to quite stir that much.

Serve immediately (or simmer till ready, stirring regularly) and garnish with the cooked and crumbled bacon.  And yes, I forgot to take a picture of the finished soup in the dish, but I promise I’ll take them in the future.

 

Today I started with one pound of beef cubes out of which I wanted to make a stew.  This beef stew was supposed to be “scaled” down somewhat for just the two of us.  However, we wound up with enough for second meal.  I feel good about that for two reasons, one is that I don’t have to cook tomorrow, and I used up a lot of things waiting to be used in my refrigerator.  I also didn’t use a recipe.  I looked into my closet (at spices and such) and into the refrigerator for what we had on hand, and away I went to create dinner.  I want to call this stew “whatever you have in your refrigerator to use up beef stew” but the name is just way too long.  Fridge Leftovers Beef Stew?  Use it Up Now Beef Stew… well, you get the idea.  This stew isn’t going to be hurt by a little less peppers and maybe some broccoli, or green beans etc.  If you have leftover cooked vegetables, add them to stew about 10 minutes before it’s done.  Stir them in, put the lid back on and they should heat up fine. 

And if you haven’t already guessed, we are again using the cast iron dutch oven on the stovetop.  I use this pot because it’s just plain easy, the dinner is cooked super fast and it cleans up easily. I just can’t see a downside right now.

stew ingredients

First, I cut all my ingredients (onions, peppers, garlic, celery) which I specifically chose simply by what I had in my refrigerator and wanted to use in this stew. However these are all things that are going to give that great flavor you want in your stew

Then, I mixed the flour, minced garlic, minced union, black pepper and thyme. 

I dissolved the bouillon cubes in the cup of water, as well as having the second cup of water and the other ingredients ready to go.

I sautéd the onions, garlic and celery in olive oil in the dutch oven, on the stove top. Once they are done, remove them from the pot and set them aside.  I turned up the heat on the pot, put in additional oil and waited till I thought it was hot enough to sear the meat.  I dredged the meat in the flour mixture (made earlier) and then put it into the hot pan. You have to watch this and stir as your goal is just to brown the meat.

stew ingredients

 Once your meat is browned, the rest comes very fast.  I put in the dissolved bouillon and water and stirred. The potatoes on top of the meat, then the cooked onions, peppers and celery, the red pepper flakes and the bay leaves.

remainder of the stew ingredients

 

finished stewLastly I added the worcestershire sauce on top of it all and closed the lid and moved the heat down to low. 

You need to move the heat down to low!

I cooked mine for 45 minutes, took off the top and stirred the contents. 

It was perfectly done. Please remember to remove the bay leaves before you serve the stew!

It was a nice hearty, thick stew, and again it was delicious.   I served biscuits with this for a hearty Saturday meal. 

 

Let me first say… I do bread.

The learning – for me – took a few twists and turns but eventually I learned how to deal with yeast.  In the beginning of my journey my loaves were just plain gorgeous, as were my yeast coffee cakes – however no one could eat them.  They weighted about 2 tons out of the oven and the only result back then that I could guarantee was that I would have another beautiful piece to varnish and use as a doorstop.  Oh, we laughed heartily back then about all those gorgeous “mistakes”  I made.   

I couldn’t seem to follow a recipe and get a result that we could actually eat.  Finally I was able to master the yeast – get to understand what it wanted from me to perform it’s best and what I needed (without fail) to do to insure it worked as it should. 

And then… I could say – I do bread.  And I still do bread and cinnamon rolls, and other items containing yeast without hesitation.  I started making bread because of my allergies.  It seems most commercial products contained some form of corn.  I am allergic to corn, and also fructose so that I cannot have anything containing either corn or fruit.  When I found this out and started reading the labels I knew that I needed to start making bread for my family all the time.  

Fast forward to today.  My favorite breads to make today are the Artisan breads. When making Artisan loaves – especially the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day from Jeff Hertzberg, MD and Zoe Francois or the No-Knead Breads from Jim Lahey and Sullivan Street Bakery – you discover just how easy and fun making your own fresh baked bread can be.

I really wanted to try the rye bread… so here is my first attempt at Artisan Rye Bread!

This recipe is from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day Cookbook and is slightly adapted because I cannot use either the cornmeal for sprinkling nor the cornstarch for the cornstarch wash they recommend.  If you want their recipe and to know about those two items, you will have to check out their book for that information.

I am listing the names of the ingredients I used because I have found that sometimes, the actual brand will make a difference in the finished result.

3 Cups Lukewarm Water (I made my 100 degrees)
1 1/2 Tbsp Fleischmanns® yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp Morton® Kosher Salt
1 1/2 Tbsp caraway seeds (plus more if you want to sprinkle them of the outside)
1 Cup of Organic Whole Grain Rye Flour from Arrowhead Mills®
5 1/2 cups Gold Medal® All Purpose Flour

rye process for artisan bread

Mix the rye and all purpose flour and set aside.  Next mix the caraway seeds, the yeast, and the salt into the water in a large container.  Once mixed, add in the dry ingredients.  Do not knead.  Just add them in and stir them to combine them.  Once done, set aside covered with a towel and allow to rest at room temperature for about 2 hours. 

I actually went back to the dough exactly 2 hours later.  Dusted the surface of the dough in the storage bowl with flour, and my hands and parchment paper, grabbed about 1/4 of it and dusted it while making it into a ball and then oval to put onto the parchment to rise for about 40 minutes.Rye bread done and sliced

In the meantime, I preheated my dutch oven at 450 degrees.  I used this method instead of the pizza stone, and water method to get a crispy crust because I cannot do the cornstarch wash.  If I wanted caraway on the outside of my bread I would roll my bread dough in the seeds before putting it into the dutch oven.

Once it’s oven ready, I quickly open the dutch oven, throw in the bread – slash a few deep cuts into it and place back the lid.  I cook it for about 20 – 30 minutes and then remove the lid.  I cook it for an additional 10-15 minutes for that nice brown crust to form. 

Remove to cooking rack and wait till it cools before you cut it!  This recipe is a keeper for me. The bread is delicious and the preparation is easy and quick. I can’t wait to make the remainder of the loaves (the recipe can make about 4 – 1 lb loaves!)

 

 

Now that I am getting back to normal, and I have so much less on my plate to do for others (see Change is Inevitable), I have decided that I really need to start cooking again.  Lest you think that’s a joke, let me tell you, I have not cooked anything from scratch in a long time because of the heat, the power outages, or just plain exhaustion after working all day.

The heat and humidity around here has been unbearable most days – for the entire month of July.  That scenario drains all the energy from my old body and it makes me totally unmotivated to do anything.  And although I made sure I completed all the things I had to each day, anything and everything that could be – was put on hold.  And, I didn’t cook. 

Yesterday, I decided I needed to start cooking again.  I had a pork roast thawed, so I decided to make a medium hot and spicy pork roast.  This is out of my normal comfort zone.  I could have made something I had made 100 times before with 100% success, but there was no fun in that.  I also decided I did not want to use the oven – and considered the crock pot, but decided on the dutch oven on the stove top, which was also a first for me!

First I gathered information on the internet on which spices I needed to use, and how to combine them.  I did this by reading recipes for spicy pork roasts.  I didn’t see any that involved all the ingredients below, but many contained some of them and they gave me the inspiration to “try” what I thought would work. My main influence was from a Filipino recipe I saw and the resulting “praises” from the people who had tried that recipe. 

The picture is the ingredients I originally assembled, but as you can see I added more. Ingredients for Spicy Pork Roast

 3.5 – 4 lb. Boneless Pork Roast
4 – Yukon Gold Potatoes peeled and cubed (large cubes)
2 Tablespoons Oregano
3 Bay Leaves
1 Medium Garlic bulb – peeled and separated
Olive Oil – as needed
1 Medium Sweet Onion- sliced and chopped
½ Teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper
1 small can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce
¼ Cup of Kikkoman Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons of White Vinegar
½ Cup of Water
Cup of Sugar

The first step for me was to make that spicy hot sauce.  I used my Cuisinart Chopper/Grinder and added the entire can of chipotle peppers, the 2 tablespoons oregano, all but 2 of the larger cloves of garlic, ¼ of the onion, ½ cup of water, ¼ cup of soy sauce, ½ tsp. of the crushed red pepper, ⅓ cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.  I ground/chopped/combined it and then put it into a bowl and set it aside.

Next I put a little olive oil in my dutch oven over medium heat on the stove top and added the remaining garlic (which I had sliced thin) and all of the remaining onions.  I cooked them till the smell was amazing and the onions were just getting transparent.  It didn’t take long.  I put them in another bowl on my counter and proceeded to brown the pork roast on all 4 sides. 

Once the pork roast was browned,  I put ½ of the sauce I had made over the top, making sure to “paint” the roast with it.  I put the potatoes in on both sides of the roast, added the onion and garlic to the top of the roast, and put the remainder of the sauce on top.  Last I added the 3 bay leaves, and put the top on to start it cooking.

Spicy Pork Roast Pictures
Just 1 hour later on low – it was done.  I immediately removed and discarded the bay leaves. I think if I make this again, and you can bet my family is already hoping for that – I’ll try checking it a little earlier because the internal temperature of the pork was a little higher when I checked it than I needed.  It was still delicious.  My son gave me the ultimate compliment when he said it was spicy and sweet when you ate it and then gave you a punch of heat. He said I should make this my “signature” hot sauce.  That sure makes me want to try it with some chicken or shrimp!

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