Archive | August, 2013

Crusty Dutch Oven Bread

18 Aug
Basic Crusty Dutch Oven Bread & Variations
3 cups flour (plus some for dusting)
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water
How to make it & forget it…

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and yeast.  Add water to the mixture until it looks fluffy.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place…such as your kitchen counter or inside the cool oven for 12 – 18 hours.  Overnight is best.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Once ready, place your lidded, empty dutch oven in it for about 30 minutes before placing the dough in it.  Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface, such as a cutting board and shape into a ball.  Have a pre-cut piece of parchment paper ready and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Place the dough ball on top of the parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and set aside again while the empty pot is heating.  Remove hot pot lid from the oven and place the parchment paper and dough in.  Lightly dust the top of the bread with flour and cut three lines across the top.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.   Enjoy!

Possible variations:



Cheese & garlic

Pumpkin Spice

Walnut Cherry

Cranberry Orange

Lemon Almond, etc.


Vanilla Bean Peach Jam

12 Aug

Vanilla Bean Peach Jam 

3 lbs. ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped

3½ cups sugar

1-2 vanilla bean(s), halved lengthwise, seeds scraped out

Juice of 1 lemon


Making the Simplest Jam Ever…

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, combine all ingredients (including vanilla bean seeds and pods) over medium heat.  Bring it to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until the fruit has softened and is partially caramelized with a dark orange-ish color.  Pick out the vanilla bean pods.  Then if you’re not into chunks of fruit & prefer a smoother jam, take out your hand blender and puree your heart out.  No judgement, just yummy !

To preserve your bounty…

You can preserve jam by boiling the sterilized, filled and sealed jars in a water bath for 15 minutes.  You can also skip this step and store the jam in clean jars and keep refrigerated; however it won’t keep for long.

peach jam

Just Peachy Cupcakes & Peach Frosting

12 Aug

Just Peachy Cupcakes & Peach Frosting

For the Cupcakes, you will need:

2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup sugar
1 cup peach puree
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons vinegar

For the Frosting, you will need:

1 can store-bought vanilla or white frosting
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup peach puree

First start with the cake~!
You’ll want to preheat your oven to 375°F. Then line a muffin pan with your choice of paper liners or lightly grease the pan.  In one bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar.  in a smaller bowl, mix together the peach puree, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk together until combined.  if you’re looking to add color, you should add a few drops pf food coloring at this point. When the batter is all smooth, then add the vinegar…stirring quickly just to simply mix in…don’t over-mix. The batter will foam slightly when the baking soda and vinegar react to each other.  Pour the batter into the liners in the pan and bake for 20 minutes.  If you wanted to make a cake, you could easily…just bake for 25-30 minutes.  Allow to cool before you frost it…unless you’re going for a glaze look & taste.

While that’s baking…move on to making the frosting~!
I tried several recipes for fresh puree frostings…none worked out.  Too lumpy…tasted good, looked awful.  I finally resorted to taking a can of store-bought vanilla frosting and mixing in the puree.  That made the frosting yummy, but lacking stick-ability.  So, to remedy the problem, I kept mixing in powdered or confectioner’s sugar until the consistency was what frosting should be.  It worked awesomely & tasted amazing.

peachy cupcakes