Roasted Eggplant & Feta Dip, Better-than-Pita Grill Bread, Crudites

by Jennifer

This dip, adapted from Eating Well, is supposed to be an appetizer, but it made a wonderful summer dinner.  My husband doesn’t even like eggplant and had three helpings!  My youngest son declared the grill bread “better than naan”, and that’s saying something.  Serves 4.

Roasted Eggplant & Feta Dip

  • 1 medium eggplant (about 1 lb)
  • 2 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional….I included this, and it was spicy, but delicious)
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh basil
  • 1 TBS chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of sugar (optional…I included this)

Preheat broiler with oven rack 6 inches away from heat source.  Prick eggplant multiple times with a fork, then place on a foil-lined pan and broil, turning every 5 minutes or so,

until the eggplant’s skin is charred and a knife inserts easily near the stem, about 20 minutes total.  Set eggplant aside to cool.

Meanwhile, combine vinegar and red onion in a medium-sized bowl and let macerate for 20 minutes.  When eggplant is cool enough to handle,

slice it lengthwise and scoop out the flesh into the bowl with the onion and vinegar, and mash with a fork.

Add the olive oil and continue to mash, leaving some texture to the eggplant.

Stir in the remaining ingredients, and serve with grill bread and crudites.

Better-than-Pita Grill Bread – adapted from Gourmet magazine

Keep the grill bread warm in a kitchen towel as you cook them, or you can make them up to a day ahead, cool them completely, and rewarm them, wrapped loosely in foil, in a 350 degree oven until warm.  This recipe makes 10 pieces of grill bread, but honestly, my family of 5 could have happily eaten another 10!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for kneading and rolling
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 TBS warm water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 TBS beaten egg

Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a medium-sized bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, water and egg.

Add the liquids to the flour mixture and stir until combined.  Knead the dough, using additional flour to keep it from sticking, for 2 minutes (dough will not be smooth);

transfer dough to a clean oiled bowl, turning to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Divide dough into 10 pieces.  Heat a ridged grill pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.

On a lightly floured surface roll out one piece of dough at a time into a very thin, roughly 6” round (mine are pretty rough).  Brush the skillet with a little oil and grill one round at a time, about 1 minute per side,

until there are grill marks on both sides and the bread is cooked through.

Transfer breads to a kitchen towel and wrap loosely as you cook the rest.  Serve warm.

Semolina Bread

by Jennifer

This bread is wonderful, like soft Italian bread but with more substance.  It makes three loaves;  freeze what you don’t eat the day you bake it, or make yourself some delicious toast for breakfast the next day.  The recipe comes from Secrets of a Jewish Baker by George Greenstein.

Sponge

  • 3 cups warm water
  • 2 heaping TBS yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups semolina flour

Dough

  • 4 1/2 TBS sugar
  • 4 1/2 TBS olive oil
  • 4 – 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 TBS kosher salt

In a large bowl combine sponge ingredients, and let sit, covered, at room temperature for an hour (it will double in volume).

Stir down the sponge, then add the sugar, oil, 3 cups of flour, and salt.  Stir in more flour if the dough seems too sticky and soft.  If using a standing mixer, switch out the beater for the dough hook, and run the mixer at first speed for 10 – 12 minutes;  if kneading by hand, transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for the same time period, or until the dough feels smooth and elastic.  Transfer dough to an oiled bowl,

cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.  Punch down dough and transfer it to a lightly floured surface.  Divide dough into three portions, ideally more equal in size than mine turned out to be.

Working with one portion at a time, using your hands or a rolling pin, press or roll dough into a rectangle about 18” long;  roll up the dough jelly roll-fashion, long side towards you, pressing dough down firmly as you roll.

Place loaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and repeat with remaining dough.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush loaves with water.  Use a sharp knife to form diagonal three slashes on each loaf, trying to cut inside and underneath the crust.

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, or until dark golden brown and they sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

No – Knead Bread

by Jennifer

My apologies, because I’ve had this recipe for so long – I think my father sent it to me originally – and I don’t know who wrote it.  It’s great, though, and very adaptable;  right before the second rise you can knead in anything you want:  fresh herbs, roasted garlic, olives, etc.  You can also use it for pizza dough, too.

  • 6 1/2 cups flour (I usually use a mixture of bread flour and whole wheat flour, plus occasionally a little dark rye flour;  if I’m going to make pizza crust with it I use all-purpose and whole wheat)
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 TBS yeast
  • 1 1/2 TBS sea salt

In a large bowl combine yeast, salt and flour.

Add the warm water, stir well, then

put it into a large container which has a lid and let rise, partially covered, at room temperature, up to 5 hours or until

the top is flat.  Cover but do not make completely air tight, and refrigerate, at least a couple hours and up to 2 weeks.  The longer it’s in the fridge the more sourdough-y it gets.

When you want bread, take 1/4 – 1/2 of the dough and form it into a ball by grabbing from the top and pulling underneath (so the top looks smooth and the bottom is bunched up),

then place on a cornmeal covered pizza paddle (or back of a cookie sheet).  Let sit at room temp for @ 45 minutes;  you may not see it rise very much.  Meanwhile, preheat a pizza stone in a 450 degree oven for at least 30 minutes.

Using a sharp knife, score the top.  Slide dough onto hot stone and bake for 30 – 40 minutes (depending on the size of your loaf), or

until the bread is dark brown and sounds hollow when tapped.  To try to recreate the injection steam of a professional oven, place a small pan in the oven while preheating and carefully pour some water or ice cubes into it right before you put the dough in.  Let cool completely before slicing.

This dough can also be used for pizza crust, using 1/4 – 1/3 of the dough to make a roughly 12” thin crust pizza.

Butter Beans and Collard Greens, Skillet Corn Bread

by Jennifer

The beans serve 4 adults;  the corn bread makes 6 servings (would be good toasted with butter for breakfast!).

Butter Beans and Collard Greens

  • about 1 lb. trimmed collard greens, thick stems and ribs removed, chopped
  • 4 TBS olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 15.5-oz. cans butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • optional – red pepper flakes

Cook collard greens in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 minutes;  drain.  When cool, press to extract any remaining liquid.  Set aside.

Heat 3 TBS of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, until the onions begin to turn translucent.

Add the peppers and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Add the cumin, coriander, salt and pepper to taste (and red pepper flakes, if using), and stir to combine well.  Add the collard greens and toss to combine.

Add the butter beans and lemon juice;  gently toss to combine.  Before serving drizzle with remaining TBS of olive oil.

Skillet Corn Bread – adapted from Deborah Madion’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

I found corn “flour”, by Bob’s Red Mill, in my grocery store, and this was my first time using it.  And also, the best corn bread I’ve ever made.  Substitute regular cornmeal if you can’t find it yourself.

Serves 6.

  • 3 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup corn flour
  • 2 TBS cake enhancer from King Arthur Flour (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 2 cups buttermilk or combination of buttermilk, sour cream, non-fat plain Greek yogurt, or creme fraiche to equal 2 cups (this is a good way to clear out stuff from your fridge!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place butter in a 10” cast-iron skillet and place skillet in oven while it’s preheating.

Whisk together dry ingredients (flour through salt).

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and buttermilk/combo.

Add dry ingredients to wet and stir just until combined and smooth.

When oven is ready, remove skillet and brush the butter to cover the entire interior surface of the skillet.

Pour in the batter, and return the skillet to the oven.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Pumpkin Bread

by Jennifer

This bread is delicious, healthy, and freezes well.  Feel free to omit the chips and/or almonds, or increase one, or add your own mix-ins.  Lately I’ve been adding King Arthur Flour’s “Cake Enhancer” to my quick breads, muffins, and yeast breads with wonderful results;  it makes everything more tender and the baked goods seems to have a longer counter-life.  If you find it on-line, use 1 TBS for every cup of flour.

Makes 2 loaves, or 8 mini-loaves, or a combination of both.

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Stevia
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 15-oz. can pumpkin
  • generous 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • generous 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Coat mini-loaf pans and/or regular loaf pans with cooking spray.

Whisk together dry ingredients, flours through nutmeg.

Combine oil, eggs, water and pumpkin and stir well to combine (or use the mixer blade in a standing mixer or a medium-low setting).  Add dry ingredients to wet and stir well to combine.

Stir in almonds and chips.

Scoop batter evenly into pans.  Bake for 40 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Whole Wheat French Bread

by Jennifer

This recipe comes from Secrets of a Jewish Baker by George Greenstein, which is filled with fantastic recipes for all kinds of breads.  I feel incredibly fortunate to own a standing mixer, but I remember well back to the days when I had to knead dough by hand.  Not too bad, especially if I had someone to talk to or good music to listen to, but I’m loving not having to knead anymore!  Whether or not you own a standing mixer, this bread is not difficult to make and is wonderful to eat.  The ingredients are for a standing mixer, and make 3 loaves (freeze 1 or 2 for later), but in parentheses are the ingredient amounts for kneading by hand, which will make 2 loaves.  The method is the same either way.

Sponge

  • 3 cups warm water (2 cups)
  • 2 heaping TBS yeast (1 1/2 TBS)
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour (3 cups)

Dough

  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups whole wheat flour (2 – 3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 TBS salt (1 TBS)
  • Cornmeal for dusting baking sheet

To make the sponge:  In a large bowl, standing mixer bowl or otherwise, combine water and yeast and allow a few minutes for the mixture to become foamy.  Add the bread flour and stir until mixture is smooth.

Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free space (I turn my oven on for a minute or two, then turn it off and place the bowl in there) until doubled, about 45 – 60 minutes.

To make the dough:  Punch down the sponge either by stirring it or with the mixer blade on first speed.  Add the whole wheat flour, starting with 3 1/2 (2) cups, and the salt, and mix until the dough to is too stiff to mix, or until the dough starts climbing up the mixer blade.

For the latter, scrape off and change to the dough hook, and knead for 10 minutes, adding additional flour if necessary (better not to add more flour if it’s not too sticky);  alternatively, knead by hand for 10 minutes, adding more flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking too much to your hands.

Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Punch down the dough:  gently press down until the dough deflates, and gently knead once or twice inside the bowl.  Re-cover and allow to rise again, another 30 minutes.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and divide into 3 (2) portions.  Using your hands or a rolling pin, press each portion into a long flat rectangular.  Starting with the long side away from you, roll the dough towards you, like a jelly-roll, pressing down as you roll, so you have a long, tight, baguette shape.

Transfer to a cornmeal-dusted (or parchment paper covered) baking sheet;  repeat with remaining dough.  Cover and allow to rise one more time, about 30 – 45 minutes.  While the dough is in its last rise, preheat the oven to 475, with a metal brownie pan (or something similar) on the lowest rack.

Brush the loaves with water, and slash the loaves at regular intervals at about a 20 degree angle.  Drop 6 – 8 ice cubes into the metal pan (this tries to simulate the steam injection of professional bakers’ ovens), then place the loaves in the oven and bake for 25 – 35 minutes, until they are golden brown and the crust feels hard when you gently squeeze it.  Cool for as long as you can keep yourself from tearing into them!

Olive and Red Onion Bread

Olive and Red Onion Bread

by Jennifer

This is an adaptation of a recipe which came from a now long-forgotten cookbook, and is open to interpretation.  Having made this once kneading by hand, and kneading with a standing mixer, the by-hand version is prettier (the mixer really mixed the color of the olives throughout the dough) but both are quite tasty.

  •  2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups oil cured olives, chopped
  • 7 cups bread flour, plus about 1/2 cup more for kneading
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 4 tsp yeast
  • 3 TBS fresh herbs, alone or in combination, such as parsley, thyme, oregano, etc.
  • 2 cups warm water

Saute the onions in the oil over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk together the flour, salt and yeast.

Add the onions, olives and herbs, stirring to combine.

Add the warm water and stir well (by hand or with the paddle attachment on a standing mixer) until combined.  Knead for 10 minutes, adding flour as needed if the dough is too sticky.

Place dough in an large oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot (like your oven; preheat just for a minute, and keep the door closed while it’s rising) until doubled, about an hour.

(At this point, if you’d like to make this ahead of time, refrigerate the dough overnight.  The next day, allow extra rising time for the dough to come to room temperature, adding another 30 minutes or so.)  Punch down the dough on a lightly floured surface, and divide in two.  Form two balls of dough, pulling dough from the top to the bottom, so the top surface is smooth and the bottom is bunched.

Place each ball on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.  While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Slash the top of the loaves;

bake for 40 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow if the bottom is tapped.  (No worries if you have one oven and both won’t fit;  my second loaf waited patiently for its turn to bake.)  Freezes well.