Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Homemade French Bread

I have always wanted to try making French Bread from scratch, and this recipe from La Fuji Mama looked so easy that I finally took on the challenge last night! (This recipe makes two loaves, but I halved it since we only needed one).

1 1/2 Tbsp. or 2 packets (1/4 oz./7 g each) dry active yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
2 cups hot water
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
1/2 cup oil
5 - 6 cups all-purpose flour

1. Dissolve yeast, warm water, and 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar in a small bowl.

2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine hot water, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, salt, and oil. Add 3 cups of flour to the mixture in the large bowl/mixer and mix well. Stir in yeast mixture.

3. Add 2 - 3 cups more flour and mix until well blended. (At this point your dough will still be quite sticky). Leave in bowl and let rise for 1 hour, mixing a few strokes a couple of times during the hour.

4. Divide dough into 2 (or 3 if you want smaller loaves) pieces. Roll out each piece on a floured surface into the length desired then roll up length wise like a jelly roll.

5. Put on a greased cookie sheet, sealed side down, and tuck the ends under. Slash the top diagonally across the top every couple of inches with a sharp knife. Brush with egg white. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Let loaves rise 30 more minutes.

6. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.

Mmmmm...this smelled so great, I couldn't wait to dig in. It wasn't like your typical store-bought loaf of French bread. They tend to be chewy on the outside and really fluffy and insubstantial on the inside. I've always liked that fine, but I didn't know what I was missing! This French bread was thicker while still being very soft, and the crust was just slightly crispy. Totally divine! I put some butter and garlic on a few slices and toasted them up to go with our pasta for dinner.

I'm usually scared of making any bread that doesn't involve the use of my bread machine, but this was so quick, easy, and yummy. It was a little bit sticky, but if you make sure your surface is amply floured you should be fine. No kneading, literally 10 minutes to put together, and that wonderful homemade bread smell permeating your home. Who could find fault with that? Now excuse me while I go eat the rest of the loaf for breakfast. :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I love this dish because it's relatively healthy and very easy to modify according to what you have on hand. Plus, it's so pretty! Just look at those colors!

This stir fry had chicken, yellow squash, carrots, red bell pepper, and broccoli. I'm also a big fan of sugar snap peas and baby corn, but I didn't get to plan ahead this time, so we used what we've got!

Start by placing raw chicken in a greased frying pan over medium heat. At this point, I brushed a little bit of sauce all over it.

If I'd had time to marinate the chicken, I probably would've done so. But this was a quick, whatever-we-have dinner, if you haven't gotten that point yet. :)

I love Kikkoman sauces. I've tried experimenting and making my own stir-fry sauces at home, and they usually turn out pretty well. But I keep coming back to my old reliable Kikkoman. It's tasty and it's simple. Can't complain! Although my dad makes a wonderful lemony stir-fry sauce that I need to steal from him sometime. If I can master it, maybe that will replace it.

Cover the chicken, and while it cooks, chop up your veggies. Once you can't see any more pink on the chicken, flip it over and cut it into small pieces with a fork. Then, add in a little bit of oil and your veggies. (I tossed in the carrots and broccoli a few minutes before the peppers and squash, just because they take longer to cook). Stir frequently. I like to go ahead and add a little bit more of the sauce at this point, just for the extra flavor boost.

By the way, see how shiny the food is? I used way too much oil this time, bringing that whole "healthy" thing down a notch and also making it a bit slimy.

It was still delicious, but definitely could've been better. I think I kept adding in oil because I was worried the vegetables wouldn't cook properly or something. Just keep in mind that you can always add more, but you can't take away what you put in. So easy on the oil!

Once the vegetables are cooked to your preference (I like them to still be a bit crisp), serve them on a bed of hot cooked rice.

Speaking of rice, I need some advice. Rice advice. Heh heh. :) Anyway, I just can't cook the stuff. It seems to turn out differently every time: too mushy, too firm, etc. What I usually do is this: heat 2 parts water to boiling, add 1 part rice, cover and reduce heat to low, cook 20 minutes. At our old apartment I got it right every once in a while, but now it never happens. Anyone care to share your method with me? Is it just my stupid stove? Do I need to invest in a rice cooker?

Friday, June 26, 2009


Well, I finally started my own food blog, mostly to feed (ha ha… no pun intended) my obsession with all things kitchen without having to use my family blog as an outlet. I always felt like I had to apologize for posting another soup recipe instead of more pictures of my little boy for his grandmas to see. No more!

I will most definitely be posting recipes, both tried-and-true as well as experimental. But I also plan on posting other things from time to time: reviews of cookware, questions I have (so that you can fill me in), and whatever other food-related tidbits happen to pop into my head! Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy!