Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ultimate Twice Baked Potatoes

Source: All Recipes

If there's one "food group" I couldn't live without, it's carbs. And not the good kind, of course...I need crusty French bread and scalloped potatoes. Twice baked potatoes fit nicely in this category. Talk about satisfaction...potatoes, bacon, cheese, butter, sour may want to stay away if you're on a diet, but otherwise, this is one of my favorite dishes. I will actually push aside the main dish just to finish these up. Yum.

First of all, if you're using large russet potatoes, the recipe lies and you will NOT be done baking the potatoes in an hour. At 350, you'll realistically need an hour and a half. Or you could increase the oven temperature. Or you could gut the still-firm potato innards and nuke them in the microwave. The original recipe also calls for salt. With the bacon and butter, I don't think it needs it, but it's a matter of taste.

Overall, you can't go wrong with these!

Ultimate Twice Baked Potatoes

COOK TIME 1 Hr 15 Min
READY IN 1 Hr 30 Min


4 large baking potatoes
8 slices bacon
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
8 green onions, sliced, divided


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in the microwave. Let cool and crumble.

3. When potatoes are done allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; save skins. To the potato flesh add sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 the green onions. Mix with a hand mixer until well blended and creamy. Spoon the mixture into the potato skins. Top each with remaining cheese, green onions and bacon. Bake for another 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Chicken with Herbed Pan Sauce

Source: Elly Says Opa

I saw this on Elly Says Opa, and besides the fact that it was simple and delicious, it reinforced the fact weekend dinners don't always have to be complex. This particular combination of chicken with garlic, shallots, wine, and chicken broth can be mixed with ANY herbs of your choice. I didn't have fresh on hand, so I used 1/2 teaspoon of dried majoram, thyme, and rosemary. I felt the amount of herbs compared to the liquid left was a little strong. If you're going to use dried, I'd recommend 1/4 teasoon of your selections. probably no more than 1 teaspoon total.

But overall, this is a great recipe and a reminder to adapt it to make your own!

Chicken with Herbed Pan Sauce
Serves 2

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 chicken breast halves, pounded to about 1/3″ thick
1 small shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh marjoram, thyme, rosemary & sage (or about 1/4 dried of majoram, thyme, rosemary...or mix it up to whatever you want!)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil until shimmering. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and then cook in the oil, about 4 minutes per side or until done. Remove the chicken and keep warm.

2. Add the shallots to the pan and saute until tender. Add the garlic and herbs and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Pour in the white wine and cook it down by half. Add the chicken broth and do the same. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper, and add the butter in to melt. Serve sauce over chicken.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Simple Italian-Style Meat Sauce

Source: Cooks Illustrated

Okay, first thing's first. If you love cooking, you MUST get a subscription to Cook's Illustrated online! I received one for Christmas this year, and I LOVE it! It's $34.95 per year and well worth it. ALL of their recipes, techniques, equipment ratings, etc, from 16 years are on the site. It's a great value. Seriously, you will find yourself just browsing the site and before you know it, an hour will have passed! And dinner is burning! Whoops.

Okay, to the meat sauce. The recipe title perfectly conveys how the sauce tastes: a very simple, classic meat sauce. The actual preparation, however, was not simple. It took a long time to do the prep work, and you have to get out your food processor.

But it was very satisfying! There was just about 2 servings left over after we ate dinner; if you're making this with the intention of freezing some, double it. It can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for one month. I also included my favorite noodles to cook with here:

I love these noodles. They don't taste any different than the wheat noodles I typically buy, but they have protein, fiber, and Omega-3 fatty acids. They're good stuff. You know. If you're in the market for noodles.

No spaghetti is complete without some Roasted Garlic Bread! I roasted the garlic and prepared the rest of the ingredients for the bread while the sauce simmered.

Simple Italian-Style Meat Sauce

4 ounces white mushrooms
1 large slice high-quality white sandwich bread , torn into quarters
2 tablespoons whole milk
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion , chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, 1/4 cup liquid reserved
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomoatoes
1/2 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)

1. Process mushrooms in food processor until finely chopped, about eight 1-second pulses, scraping down side of bowl as needed; transfer to medium bowl. Add bread, milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to now-empty food processor and process until paste forms, about eight 1-second pulses. Add beef and pulse until mixture is well combined, about six 1-second pulses.

2. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add onion and mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are browned and dark bits form on pan bottom, 6 to 12 minutes. Stir in garlic, pepper flakes, and tomato paste; cook until fragrant and tomato paste starts to brown, about 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup reserved tomato liquid and 2 teaspoons fresh oregano (if using dried, add full amount), scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Add meat mixture and cook, breaking meat into small pieces with wooden spoon, until beef loses its raw color, 2 to 4 minutes, making sure that meat does not brown.

3. Stir in crushed and drained diced tomatoes and bring to simmer; reduce heat to low and gently simmer until sauce has thickened and flavors have blended, about 30 minutes. Stir in cheese and remaining teaspoon fresh oregano; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roasted Garlic Bread

Source: All Recipes

There are few things I love to eat more than garlic bread. Or really, bread in general. When we go out to eat, I have to be very careful to not eat all the bread at Italian restaurants so I can save room for the main course.

I love this version of garlic bread. It crisps up nicely under the broiler, and all that cheese/garlic/butter spread just soaks right in.

You do have to roast the garlic first in this recipe, which is time consuming, but well worth it! If you're using larger cloves, you should add on another 15 minutes or so, until they're fully softened.

This went nicely with the spaghetti sauce I made--while the sauce was simmering, I roasted the garlic, mixed the rest of the ingredients, and then popped it in the oven while the noodles were finishing up!

Roasted Garlic Bread


3 bulbs garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (1 pound) loaf Italian bread
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (optional) (surely a joke by the original poster--is cheese ever OPTIONAL?)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Slice the tops off of the garlic bulbs so that the tip of each clove is exposed. Place the bulbs on a baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes, or until garlic is soft.

2. Set the oven to broil. Slice the loaf of bread in half horizontally, and place cut side up on a baking sheet.

3. Squeeze the cloves of garlic from their skins into a medium bowl. Stir in the butter, parsley, and Parmesan cheese until well blended. Spread onto the cut sides of the bread.
Broil for about 3-5 minutes, watching carefully, until toasted.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Seven Layer Taco Dip

Source: All Recipes

This recipe is a no brainer any time I have to bring a dish to a gathering. I never have any left! The only thing I changed from the original recipe was to omit black olives, since I don't like those. It leaves a bit of a mess in your kitchen between all the chopping and bowls, but is so yummy! Perfect for any Superbowl parties you may have coming up!

Seven Layer Taco Dip

Prep time: 30 minutes
Servings: 56

1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese,
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
1 large tomato, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch chopped green onions
1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese


1. In a medium bowl, blend the taco seasoning mix and refried beans. Spread the mixture onto a large serving platter.

2. Mix the sour cream and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Spread over the refried beans.

3. Top the layers with salsa. Place a layer of tomato, green bell pepper, green onions and lettuce over the salsa, and top with Cheddar cheese. Garnish with black olives.

Kielbasa Pockets

Source: ???

I love, love, LOVE kielbasa! My mom used to make this a lot in the summer or for picnics. Unfortunately, I made the whole recipe before realizing our pitas were moldy, but the kielbasa mixture is so yummy, so I just ate it off the plate. My husband, however, apparently has no dedication to pitas and loaded up his into a tortilla, which is just NOT the same! Pshaw! Anyway, if you like kielbasa, you'll love this. It's an easy weeknight dinner!

Kielbasa Pockets

1 pound Kielbasa sausage
1 medium onion
1 green pepper
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons dried basil
¼ cup Italian dressing
Pita bread

1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons flour
1/2 cup milk

1. Slice Kielbasa into bite size. Sauté onions, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and kielbasa. Add Italian dressing.

2. Make sauce and pour over everything. (Do NOT mix together the melted butter and flour, and then add in the milk. The mixture will clump.) Slice pita bread in half and open, add filling. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Salmon Pesto Pasta

Adapted from: Pillsbury Complete Cookbook

I am not stalking you, Bridget! Well, actually, I am stalking The Way the Cookie Crumble's 2008 favorites, which gave me the idea to make my own list for last year. I make a lot of salmon filets, but I've never mixed it in with both pasta and pesto, so I thought it would be a fun new dish to try.

I used jarred pesto, so the recipe came together quickly. I thought it was very good; I'm sure making your own pesto only enhances the flavors as Bridget does in her posted version. But pesto IS the overwhelming flavor in the dish, so if you're not a huge fan, you may want to take a pass. As I was setting out the bowls, my husband said, "I don't really like pesto." Whoops. I guess this was one of those occasions I was "cooking for my blog," as he so often jokes.

Salmon Pesto Pasta

Serves 2

8 ounces pasta
12 ounces salmon
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
5 ounces evaporated milk
½ cup pesto (recipe follows)
grated parmesan, for serving

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When water is boiling, add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta; stir to separate pasta. Cook pasta until al dente; drain. Pour evaporated milk into empty pot and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to ¼ cup. Add cooked pasta to pot and stir to combine.

2. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat broiler. Line a baking sheet or pan with aluminum foil. Season skinless side of salmon liberally with salt and pepper, sprinkle with zest, then rub with olive oil. Broil until salmon is no longer translucent and is firm when pressed, about 10 minutes. Remove from broiler and sprinkle with lemon juice. Use fork to flake into bite-sized pieces. Skin will stick to foil and can be discarded.

3. Add salmon to pasta mixture and stir over medium heat until hot. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Top with parmesan.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Rice and Beans

Source: Epicurious

I saw this recipe on The Way The Cookie Crumbles, my favorite blog besides Pioneer Woman. I have actually never had rice and beans before, but it looked like good eatin'.

Only as I was preparing it did my husband say, "Hey, I used to eat this all the time in the south!" No pressure! Actually, his version was straight up red beans and rice, so this was an improvement.

I like Crumbly Cookie's version. I think 3 cans of beans would have been WAY too much as in the original recipe. I was a little bummed out when I realized my can of Old Bay seasoning was expired. I used cumin, but I think the Old Bay, or creole seasoning, would have complemented the flavors better.

I personally could have done without the rice. I never mix rice in with Chinese food when we eat it because it "dilutes" the flavor to me. I know, I'm weird.

Rice and Beans

Serves 4

8 ounces cooked sausage, such as kielbasa (I used a full pound)
1 medium onion, diced small
1 stalk celery, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Old Bay or creole seasoning
2 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth

6 cups cooked long-grain white or brown rice (from 1 cup uncooked rice)

In a 3- or 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, cook the sausage until it begins to brown and fat begins to render. Add the onions and celery/pepper/whatever and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown. Add the garlic and spice(s) and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beans, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and the flavors have blended, about 45 minutes. The mixture will thicken slightly after the heat is off. Serve over rice. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Garlic and Chicken Stuffed Shells

Source: Allrecipes?

I saw this on Love Deliciousness as well as Annie's Eats and had to try it. We love Italian food more than anything and this looked like a good twist on basic pasta! Annie's Eats notes the recipe is originally from All Recipes, but when I searched the site, I couldn't find one exactly like it. No matter--the version posted here is great! Like the other blogs, I also halved this recipe. I cooked 12 shells for the two of us, and after stuffing the rest, froze those without adding pasta sauce. I'll just have to thaw the rest overnight to make them again! Very tasty and a departure from my typical Italian dishes!

Making these also reminded me I really need to use my oven more! I make so many dishes in a skillet that I forget how nice it is to clean up while everything's baking!

Garlic and Chicken Stuffed Shells

1 box (or more) uncooked jumbo pasta shells (about 50-55)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 chicken breasts, cooked and coarsely shredded
30 oz. part skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 ½ tsp. dried parsley (1 tbsp. fresh, chopped)
6 large basil leaves, torn (I used 1 tsp, dried)
1/3 cup half and half
approx. 28 oz. pasta sauce
¼ cup Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 375°. Cook pasta shells according to package directions and drain. Separate onto a cutting board or cookie sheet to prevent from sticking together. Add ingredients garlic through half and half to a food processor and process until just combined. (I left the chicken out of the food processor, and then poured the mix over it and stirred, so as not to further chop up the chicken.) Add more salt and pepper if necessary, to taste.

2. Spoon enough sauce into baking dish(es) to cover the bottom. Fill the cooked shells with the ricotta mixture and place open side up in a prepared baking dish. Spoon as much of the remaining sauce over shells as desired. Bake covered with foil for 15-20 minutes, remove foil and continue baking for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Shelly's Crunchy Shrimp

Source: Nom Nom Nom

I saw these recently on Shelly's blog, and I love Panko, and I love shrimp, so I had to try it! It was so simple and delicious! The original recipe is for 2 servings--if you have more, I'd plan for at least 10 shrimp per person and adjust the rest of the ingredients accordingly. I also reduced the amount of cayenne pepper to 1 teaspoon. The original recipe called for 3, which was too hot for us. I'll definitely make this again!

Shelly's Crunchy Shrimp


Approximately 2 dozen medium shrimp, thawed
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 teaspoons black pepper
3 teaspoons garlic salt
2 eggs
Panko bread crumbs (about a cup or so)
Vegetable oil


1. Mix the flour, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and garlic salt in a small bowl or pie plate. In a separate bowl, beat 2 eggs. Pour some Panko crumbs in another pie plate.
2. Heat up some vegetable oil in a large skillet (not olive oil). Pour just enough oil so it thinly covers the entire bottom of the pan.
3. Take a shrimp, dunk it in the flour mixture, then the egg, then the panko. Carefully put it in the skillet. Repeat as necessary.
4. Fry each side about 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
5. Serve, either plain or with whatever sauce you prefer. I thought they were great all by themselves, and my husband liked a little cocktail sauce!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Top 10 of 2008

I've seen this on a few other blogs, and thought it was a neat idea. Without further adieu, here are my top 10 recipes from my blog from 2008.

1.Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

I put this in the category "Best Chicken Ever" for a reason. The skin is crispy, the chicken is moist, and the flavors are sublime. If you make one recipe from my site, make this one!

2. Chicken Marsala

This is a very close second. I have made chicken marsala in the past, but have found the breading falls off. The Cook's Illustrated version pan-fries the chicken and then puts it in a 200 degree oven to keep warm while you make the sauce. Yum yum yum.

3. Almond Crusted Halibut

A real winner from All Recipes. The crunchy coating on the halibut combined with the shallot-infused butter sauce (it's not exactly a calorie-saver) makes for a delicious dish.

4. Baked Pasta

A ridiculously simple Italian dish that satisfies every time. This is the recipe most requested by my husband!

5. My Fly Stir Fry

I don't make a lot of pork-based meals, but this is one of my favorites. The pork strips marinated in a combination of mirin, rice vinegar, and soy combined with crisp veggies over egg noodles is always yummy!

6.Stuffed Peppers

My first Cook's Illustrated recipe! Since then, I've bought The New Best Recipe, an online subscription to, and their recommended roasting pan, garlic press, and Dutch oven. It is an expensive addiction! But anyway, back to the peppers. We loved these! Not too difficult and an easy company dish.

7. Pioneer Woman's Whiskey-Glazed Carrots

So...freaking...good. And easy, too. I could not stop eating these over Christmas dinner!

8. Garlic Rosemary Roast Chicken with Potatoes

Another great recipe from The New Best Recipe. I had never brined a full chicken before, or roasted on a v-rack. The red potatoes were also really, really good--seasoned with rosemary, garlic, and chicken drippings. I believe in the v-rack!

9. Sunday Gumbo

This had the perfect blend of a lot of different flavors, and just the right amount of spice, too.

10. Pioneer Woman's Linguine with Chicken Thighs

I am not playing a hoax on you: there IS a Pioneer Woman recipe without any heavy cream OR butter! I love, love, LOVE this recipe. Using chicken thighs instead of breasts was a new idea to me, and I love the resulting flavor and tenderness.

Thank you to everyone who looks at my blog! 2008 was my first year and not only did I learn a lot, but having a blog forced me to try a lot of new recipes, which was a ton of fun. I look forward to even more recipes and new ideas in 2009!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Garlicky Shrimp Pasta

Source: Cook's Illustrated

Yum yum yum! Cook's Illustrated continues to impress me. I love shrimp, and I love pasta, so I knew this would be a winner. I especially loved the idea to cut the shrimp in small pieces and use shorter pasta--so much of the time I make dishes like this with linguine and the pieces get lost in all that pasta. It made for an even balance, and it was surprisingly filling! I've never made a dish with clam juice before, and I like the taste it added to the dish. Cooking the shrimp for a short period allowed it to still have a nice bite. I would suggest having all the ingredients ready to go once you start cooking the shrimp, since the dish comes together quickly from that point. And I just realized I completely spaced on the parsley--it would have added some nice color had I remembered!

Garlicky Shrimp Pasta

5 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 teaspoons), plus 4 medium cloves, smashed
1 pound large shrimp (21-25), peeled, deveined, each shrimp cut into 3 pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
Table salt
1 pound pasta in short, tubular shapes, such as fusilli, campanelle, or mezze rigatoni
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons unbleached, all-purpose
1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine
3/4 cup clam juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice plus 1 lemon, cut into wedges
Ground black pepper


1. Toss 2 teaspoons minced garlic, shrimp, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Let shrimp marinate at room temperature 20 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

2. Heat 4 smashed garlic cloves and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is light golden brown, 4 to 7 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and use slotted spoon to remove garlic from skillet; discard garlic. Set skillet aside.

3. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta. Cook until just al dente, then drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water, and transfer pasta back to Dutch oven.

4. While pasta cooks, return skillet with oil to medium heat; add shrimp with marinade to skillet in single layer. Cook shrimp, undisturbed, until oil starts to bubble gently, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir shrimp and continue to cook until almost cooked through, about 1 minute longer. Using slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to medium bowl. Add remaining 3 teaspoons minced garlic and pepper flakes to skillet and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute; stir in vermouth and cook for 1 minute. Add clam juice and parsley; cook until mixture starts to thicken, 1 to 2 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter and lemon juice. Add shrimp and sauce to pasta, adding reserved cooking water if sauce is too thick. Season with black pepper. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately.

Focaccia Bread

Source: All Recipes

I saw what looked like an amazing recipe for focaccia bread on Annie's Eats; however, having never made bread before, the length of time it took to make the recipe intimidated me. I found a shorter recipe on All Recipes, so I was off! It was very simple, but it showed me I don't need to be afraid of bread. A candy thermometer is essential, and it's nice to have a mixer with a dough hook, but not completely necessary.

To be honest, I didn't love the end result. It was too dense for my liking. So why am I posting this? First off, it gets excellent reviews on All Recipes; secondly, I discovered a HUGE error after
making it--I didn't knead it nearly enough. The original recipe didn't indicate how long; not only that, it said to knead it by hand, so when using the dough hook on my KitchenAid, I was uncertain when it was at its "smooth and elastic" point, also thinking that kneading with a mixer meant far less time by hand. I later read the proper times to knead, see below. I'll probably try it again in a few weeks and report back if the texture was improved!

Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Ready In: 1 Hour
Yields: 12 servings

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
1 cup mozzarella (I did not add the cheese; if using, add about half-way into baking time so it doesn't burn.)

1. To proof the yeast: Add 1 cup of water to small dish, heated from tap until 110 degrees. Dissolve the sugar in the water. Slowly whisk in the yeast until completely dissolved. (Do not just dump in the water as I did the FIRST try or it will become a gluey clump!) Let sit for about 10 minutes, until mixture is frothy, like so:

If the mixture doesn't become frothy, unfortunately the yeast is no longer active and you'll need to start over.

2. Add the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in salt and vegetable oil. Add in the flour, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper. Mix using a spoon, or flat paddle attachment, until the dough has pulled together. Either turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface or use a dough hook to knead until smooth and elastic. According to Baking911, it's important to knead bread long enough; 8-10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes with a dough hook.

3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. (I consulted Google and one of the suggestions was to place the bowl on top of a heating pad on low. Since the recipe doesn't allow much time for the dough to rise, I let it sit there, and it rose quite well!)

4. While the dough is rising, add the olive oil to a small saucepan and warm over low heat. Add a combination of herbs to your liking. I used small amounts of rosemary, basil, oregano, and thyme. You could also add Italian seasoning just to simplify.

3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Brush top with olive oil, allowing to sink in dough completely before putting in the oven. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Rave: Zyliss Susi 2 Garlic Press

I have an OXO garlic press, and every time I've used it, I've been like, "SERIOUSLY? That's ALL the garlic you're going to give me?" I did some digging, and found the Zyliss Susi 2 Garlic Press had received great reviews. I got mine last week and I LOVE it! It's easy to use, and you don't have to peel the garlic cloves first. The only problem, which is not really the Zyliss's problem, is garlic cloves seem to be HUGE now, even when I'm not buying elephant garlic, that sometime you have to fiddle to get the device lined up right before you press. But overall, a great garlic press! And very affordable at $14.99. There is also a model that comes with a cleaner, which is supposed to help get out the garlic bits--I just rinse mine well and put it in the dishwasher.