For this gorgeous loaf I made a few minor modifications to my stand-by European style bread recipe. This time I coated the outside of the bread with oil, giving it a crisper crust, and baked it in parchment paper. It contains 1/3 whole wheat flour. It’s still made using the same method, mixing the dough the day before and letting it sit for 12-18 hours – this slow fermentation is what gives the bread so much flavour. Very easy, very delicious, and economical too.
This loaf was served with salty butter, brie cheese, and some creamy duck pâté.
For this recipe you will need a large container with a lid. I use a le Creuset oval pot or a Romertopf clay baker. You also need parchment paper and plastic wrap.
What you need:
- 1 cup whole wheat bread flour
- 2 cups white flour
- 1 & 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoons yeast (I used Fleischmann’s active dry yeast)
- 1 & 1/2 cups water
- canola oil for coating the bread
What you do:
- Combine the flours, salt and yeast in a bowl. Add the water and mix; add more water if needed until you have a wet, sticky dough.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid, and let sit for 12-18 hours in a warm-ish place, and out of direct sunlight. The dough should double in size and become dotted with bubbles. If your house is a little on the cool side you will likely need the longer rising time.
- Cut a large piece of parchment paper and lay it on your kitchen counter. In the bowl, coat the top of the dough in oil, then turn it out onto the parchment paper. Coat the top of the dough in oil, using your hands. Cover with some plastic wrap, tucking it in loosely around the edges. Let the dough sit for 1-2 hours, until it has doubled in volume.
- About 1/2 hour before you want to put the bread in the oven, set the temperature to 475 F and place your baking pot on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Let the pot heat up, and when the oven has reached 475 F, remove the pot from the oven. Remove the plastic wrap and pick up the dough by gathering together the corners of the parchment paper. Carefully (remember the pot is smoking hot!) place the dough in the parchment paper into the pot, as in the photo of the baked bread above.
- Put the cover on the pot and bake for 30 minutes while the bread forms its nice thick crust. Remove the lid from the pot and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes more. The bread should become a deep brown when it is done, and if you tap on it, it should sound hollow. Remove the pot from the oven, lift the bread out of the pot, remove the parchment paper, and place it on a rack to cool. It needs to cool for about 1/2 an hour before slicing.
- This bread has no preservatives, so if you don’t use it up of the second day, it should be frozen.
I had plans to make a delicious fried rice with veggies, and wanted to add a little chicken to it, so I found this recipe for Classic Chicken Teriyaki here. The only change I made was to use skinless chicken – I know it’s not authentic, but it’s healthier, and the sauce was so delicious that I felt it didn’t need the skin. I don’t have the fried rice recipe posted (oops, forgot to write down how I made it!), but here’s an awesome one that I posted a long time ago: Kale and Scallion Fried Rice.
The chicken just needs to marinate for at least 30 minutes, and that time can be used to prepare your rice, or whatever else you want to serve with it. Alternately, you could begin marinating the day before, or earlier in the day.
I usually keep a knob of ginger in the freezer, so that I always have some on hand, and because it is easier to grate when it is frozen.
What you need:
- 300 grams (2/3 lb) of chicken thighs, boneless and skinless (unless you prefer skin-on)
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 of a medium sized onion
- 4 cm knob of ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon saké
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 more tablespoons saké
- 1 tablespoon butter
What you do:
- Cut the chicken into pieces and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
- In a container large enough to fit all the chicken, finely grate the onion and ginger, and mince the garlic.
- Add the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of saké, mirin, and the sugar. Stir to combine. Add the chicken and coat it completely with the sauce. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from sauce and it add to the pan. Cook until browned, then flip chicken, and turn the heat down to medium. Add the remaining saké, cover, and cook until saké is absorbed.
- Add the rest of the sauce to the pan and cook until it thickens. Add the butter and stir until it has evenly coated the chicken.
I’m really proud of this recipe – it turned out perfectly! My goal was to create a savoury pie crust using duck fat, and this one ended up being so perfectly flakey and flavourful. And the chicken and vegetable filling was super tasty as well.
I used half butter, half duck fat for the crust, because I wanted it to still have that awesome buttery flavour, which is even more decadent when paired with the duck fat.
For the filling I began with this recipe, and made a few changes. I used my own pastry recipe, used a store-bought rotisserie chicken instead of cooking the chicken breasts, used butter instead of olive oil for frying the veggies, omitted a few items, made less sauce, and added the mushrooms, leek, and potato. I also added some thyme and a lot of freshly ground pepper.
The keys to a successful pastry are using very cold ingredients, weighing rather than measuring, and not overworking the dough. One of my guests was surprised to see rather large chunks of fat in the crust, but leaving the butter and duck fat in pea-sized pieces allows the pastry to be flakey rather than dense.
This recipe would feed 6 hungry people. I served it with a salad of arugula and spinach, with a walnut dressing.
What you need for the crust:
- 350 grams flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 140 grams cold butter
- 140 grams cold duck fat
- 6-ish tablespoons ice-cold water
What you need for the chicken and vegetable filling:
- meat from 1 small rotisserie chicken (I used a Whole Foods chicken)
- butter for frying
- 1 small onion
- 1 small leek
- 10-12 brown mushrooms
- 2 carrots
- 1 small red potato
- (frozen peas optional)
- 2 & 1/2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
- 1 cup white wine (or just use more chicken stock)
- 2 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 tablespoons cream
- a little thyme
- lots of freshly ground pepper
- salt to taste
- 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water, for the pastry wash
What you do:
- Begin a few hours ahead of time by preparing the dough. In a large bowl weigh and pour in the flour along with the salt. Cut the cold butter and duck fat into small pieces, then add that to the flour. Use your fingers (cold hands are the best for this – lucky me!) to rub the flour into the fat, only working until the fat is in pea-sized pieces. Add about 5 tablespoons of the ice-cold water, and stir it in using a spatula. Add a bit more water if necessary. Turn the dough out onto the counter and push it together into a ball. Cut the dough in half (or a larger piece for the bottom crust, smaller for the top) and form each piece into a disk. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 2 hours.
- To make the filling, begin by chopping the onions and leek. Heat a large frying pan to medium, add a little butter. Cook the onions and leek, lowering the heat, for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Clean and slice the mushrooms while the onions are cooking.
- Remove the onions to a large bowl, then turn the heat up on the frying pan and add a bit more butter. Fry the mushrooms, possibly in two batches, until they are browned. Remove them to the bowl as well.
- Cut the carrots into a medium dice. Blanch them for 2 minutes, then move them to the bowl.
- Cut the potatoes to a medium dice, blanch for 2 minutes, then move them to the bowl as well.
- To make the sauce, begin by heating the chicken stock and wine, and dissolve the bouillon cubes in it.
- Melt the butter in the frying pan, then sprinkle in the flour. Stir constantly over low heat for 2 minutes. Slowly add the liquid, stirring to combine the liquid into the flour mixture as you add it. Simmer for about another minute, until the sauce thickens a little. Add the cream, ground pepper, thyme, and salt to taste (keep in mind the bouillon cubes contain salt, so don’t over-do it).
- Cut the chicken into cubes and add them to the bowl with the veggies. Add the sauce to the bowl and combine everything. (Add frozen peas if you are using them. I had so much filling that I didn’t have room for them.)
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Remove the pie crusts from the fridge. Sprinkle a little flour on the counter and place one of the disks (the larger one) of dough on the counter. Roll the dough a little, then turn, roll, turn, continuing until you get a circle of dough that is 7-8 cm larger than your pie plate. Roll the dough over the rolling pin, being careful not to stretch it, then transfer it to the pie plate. It’s okay if it breaks in places, just pinch it back together. Roll the other crust out. Add all the fillings to the pie plate, then brush the edges of the bottom crust with the egg wash. Place the top crust over the bottom, cut off excess pastry, then crimp the edge.
- Cut slits in the top of the pastry, then brush it with the egg wash, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet, put it in the oven, and bake for 1 hour. The pie should look golden brown, and the filling should be bubbling.
- Wait about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
A nice balance of sweet and tart, these cookies are easy to make, and vegan-friendly. I needed to find a vegan cookie recipe to make with my students, and I found this one on food.com. It makes a lot of cookies, at least 3 dozen.
I made a mistake when I made these, and must have added too little flour or too much oil. The first batch came out looking like a lace cookie. So for the second baking I added more flour – but a little bit too much. I pronounced it a “cookie fail,” but not wanting to waste them, I brought them to the staffroom at work. Well, either the teachers were starving and desperate, or they really enjoyed them. Some people loved the lacy variety, and others liked the more compact ones. So in the end it was declared a “cookie win,” and I was strongly encouraged to make these again.
I only made one change to the original recipe: I rubbed the zest into the sugar to release the oils, providing more lemon flavour.
What you need:
- 1 & 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 & 1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
What you do:
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Place the sugar and lemon zest in a bowl and rub the sugar into the zest with your fingers.
- Add the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt to the sugar; combine and make a well in the centre. Pour in the liquid ingredients and stir until it is combined.
- Drop by the teaspoonful onto parchment-lined cookie sheets.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on whether you prefer them chewier or crunchier.
- Let them sit on the pan for a few minutes before removing to cooling racks.
- Store in an airtight container.
I can honestly say that this is one of the best recipes I have ever invented. This morning I was longing for lunchtime, just because I had leftovers of this stew. It is so flavourful, plus a healthy vegan meal. Filling, healthy and satisfying – the perfect combination for me.
The sweet potatoes give a hint of sweetness, and the Morita chilies add a little smokiness. If you’re not a fan of a lot of spice, no worries, the Morita chilies aren’t very hot, and you can always add a little less jalapeño pepper. When serving you can also add some of your favourite hot sauce to spice things up a little; this is a great option, since everyone has a different tolerance of spice. One person’s ‘warm’ is another person’s ‘deadly.’
I had a taste of the stew after cooking it yesterday when I made it. The flavours seemed even better today, so I would imagine this would freeze well. I think I won’t have any leftovers, so I won’t be able to test that. Please comment if you freeze it and let us know how it was after thawing. I’d also love to hear if people make substitutions; this is one of those recipes that could be great with so made different ingredients.
The garnishes really add to it, but aren’t necessary – a tiny bit of salty Cotija cheese, some chopped cilantro, and the crunch of the toasted pepitas.
What you need:
- 1 & 1/2 cups dry pinto beans, soaked the night before
- 1 carrot
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 onion
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 dried Morita chilies (a smoked red jalapeño)
- olive oil
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
- a few mushrooms, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 1 sweet potato, diced
- 1 small can cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro (stems go in the stew)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Garnishes: crumbled Cotija cheese, toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), cilantro
What you do:
- Soak the beans in a large pot of water the night before you are going to make the stew.
- Drain the beans, then cover them with fresh water. Add the whole carrot, celery stalk, 1/4 of the onion, the bay leaves, and the chilies. All of these vegetables are for flavouring the stew and will be removed before serving. Bring the contents of the pot to a simmer.
- While the beans are simmering, heat a frying pan to medium and add a little olive oil. Add the mushrooms and fry until cooked, then add them to the pot. Dice the rest of the onions and brown them lightly, then add them to the pot.
- Add the minced jalapeño (or half if you you’re spiciness scares you), the diced zucchini, sweet potato, and canned cherry tomatoes to the pot. Chop the cilantro stems and add them to the pot, along with the bouillon cube.
- Simmer the stew for 1 & 1/2 hours, stirring now and then, until the beans are soft and the stew has thickened.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with crumbled Cotija cheese, toasted pepitas and cilantro.
I’ve roasted a chicken many times in a clay baker, and have posted the recipes a few times. Romertopf roasted chicken remains one of the most popular recipes on my blog. I changed up a few of the ingredients this time, and added more vegetables to cook inside the baker.
On a winter’s evening it is a perfect simple and satisfying meal. Impressive too, since it seems like you went to a lot of effort, but it’s actually quite simple, and you don’t need to do any last-minute preparation.
Served with a salad and maybe a nice baguette, it’s the perfect winter meal. And the leftovers are awesome!
What you need:
- 1 free-range chicken
- 1-2 tablespoons garlic-infused olive oil (or regular olive oil, or room temperature butter)
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- a few stems of fresh rosemary
- a few cloves of garlic
- a few small potatoes
- a small sweet potato or yam
- a few carrots
- 1/2 red or sweet onion
- lemon (optional)
What you do:
- Soak the Romertopf clay roaster for at least 15-20 minutes before using. This provides some moisture for the cooking process, and keeps the roaster from cracking.
- Drain the roaster and place the rosemary stems in the bottom of the roaster, reserving one. Chop the vegetables into chunks and place them in the roaster, leaving an empty spot in the middle around the rosemary.
- Dry the body and cavity of the chicken with paper towel. At the breast of the bird, put your fingers under the skin to separate the skin. Put the rosemary stem and a few springs of thyme under the skin. Salt and pepper the whole chicken.
- Spread some of the garlic-infused olive oil all over the chicken, using your hands. Now sprinkle on some paprika on the chicken.
- If you have a lemon you can stuff it into the cavity of the chicken, along with some thyme.
- Place the chicken in the roaster, breast side up, and tuck the wing tips down so they won’t burn. Throw a few sprigs of thyme on top of the vegetables.
- Place the cover on the roaster, then put it in a cold oven – this is important to prevent the clay roaster from cracking when it goes into a hot oven. Turn the temperature to 4ooF and set the timer for 1 & 1/2 hours. Leave it to roast without peeking; this will help keep all the moisture inside.
- After the 1 & 1/2 hours of cooking time, remove the roaster from the oven. Test the chicken to see if it’s cooked all the way through by cutting into the leg joint: if the juices run clear it is done. If not, return it to the oven for a little longer. As well, if the skin doesn’t look browned, pop it back in without the lid and let it brown a little. Once it is done let it sit with the cover on for about 20 minutes before carving. I like to ladle some of the juices over the chicken, and you could also make a gravy with the juices.
Save the bones and excess juices in the freezer to make a gorgeous stock that you can use to make the best soups.