Friday, November 13, 2009

Bacon & Bread & Make Believe

Ok, so I found a great recipe and a helpful cooking tip!

I was making this good chicken for dinner last night, and I found a tip that I have to share. I don't like to cook bacon, cause I hate getting splashed with grease. I needed bacon for this chicken dish, and the author explained how to get great bacon that is flat and not all shriveled. Line a baking sheet with foil, then place a cookie cooling rack on top of the foil lined sheet. Lay the bacon on the cooling rack, and bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes, depends on how crisp you want it. It doesn't splatter much at all in the oven cause the grease is dripping down into the foil lined pan, and you don't have to watch it or flip it. Best of all, it tastes exactly the same but is totally flat! Try it.
I also made some potatoes from that same blog, and if my brother-in-law wants second helpings, then I know it's good. PHEW. I made them with low-fat ingredients since it's not exactly a low-fat dish.

One more thing, you have to try this bread from this blog! I don't like to try breads that take a long time to make, but this one was EASY. It took time, but it wasn't hard at all. It's supposed to be a copy cat of the bread from Macaroni Grill, and it's the only time that I like rosemary--usually, it's too strong for my tastes.
Bread from Macaroni Grill
1 Tbsp. Dry Yeast (you'll need two packets of yeast)
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees)
2 ½ cups white flour, divided
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. rosemary, chopped (I used about a tablespoon of dried rosemary, and it worked great.)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
Coarsely ground salt
Put the yeast, water and sugar into a blender. Mix it until it is frothy. (I used a hand blender that I bought for making Izzy's babyfood awhile back.) Turn the oven onto 200°. (You just need to warm it up; you’re not baking yet.)

To the mixing bowl of yeast mixture, add two cups of the flour, salt, and half of your chopped rosemary. Keep the other half cup of flour close at hand. Knead the dough for a few minutes. Add the rest of the flour as needed to get the dough to the right consistency (soft and stretchy without being overly sticky). I only needed a little bit more flour, like a small handful. Turn the oven off.
Lift the dough out of the mixing bowl. Add the olive oil to a bowl and swirl it around. Roll the dough in the olive oil so it is well coated and let it sit in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and place it in the oven (the oven should be off by now, if you missed that step). Leave the door cracked so it isn’t too hot in there.Let the dough rise for about an hour. It should be approximately doubled in size.
Take dough out of oven, turn oven back on to 200 F. Punch the dough down and knead it again. Divide it into two equal sized lumps and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. (Don't just make one loaf--it's easier to cut the two smaller loaves in the end.) Turn oven off again. Prepare your baking pan. I use a ceramic stone, but a cookie sheet will work. If the surface is not naturally non-stick, spray it with the cooking spray, or use parchment paper. Shape the dough into two oval-shaped loaves and arrange on the pan. Melt the butter or margarine. Use a brush to paint the surface of the loaves with butter. Use all of the butter. The loaves will be quite saturated when you’re done. Take the rest of the chopped rosemary and sprinkle it over the loaves. Pat it down gently to set it into the dough. Return the loaves to the oven. Don’t turn it on yet. Let the dough rise again, for about 45 minutes.
Remove the loaves and preheat the oven to 450°. Sprinkle a little bit of coarse salt over the loaves (see my pic--I used sea salt). Return the dough to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes until light brown--mine only needed 15 minutes till it was brown, so adjust time according to your oven. Makes two loaves. Best enjoyed dipped in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic. We didn't have any left over after dinner with 5 adults and 4 kids. Well, there were 6 kids, but 2 weren't eating bread... ;)
After dinner, Cora, Mary Grace, and Dorn taught Izzy how to "play" with her fake food. It was pretty cute. She just hadn't figured it out, even when I would try to play with her.
Yes, she took off her pants for the evening.
This morning, she is in a different red shirt (the previous one has a snowman and this one has a butterfly on it). Yes, I do like red and do dress my child in clean clothes--even if she doesn't wear pants when guests come over. Anyhow, I know she understood what the kids were teaching her, cause she played with her corn on the cob and even fed a spoonful of corn on the cob (how do you get a spoonful of that?) to Lamby, of course!

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