Thoughts

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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Mar 28, 2020

French Bread

I like to make bread to go with winter soups and summer salads.  Hubby wanted a Baguette Pan and this is what we use to put that pan to use.




1 Cup Warm Water - no warmer than 110 degrees
2 Tsp Yeast
2 1/2 Cup Bread Flour
1 Tbl White Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
1 Yolk
Sesame seeds (optional)

Put yeast in the water and allow to bloom.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together 2 Cups Flour, Sugar and Salt.  Add Warm Water.  Run mixer with dough hook on low until well combined.  Add remaining flour 1 Tbl at a time until dough ball forms.  It will be tacky, but should pull away from the dough hook easily.  You cannot over mix, but you can add too much flour.

When completed, place in a greased bowl and turn to coat.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled and indentation remains when poked.  While rising, make a 16 x 12 template from parchment.

Lightly grease pan.  Turn onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide in half.  Roll into a 16 x 12 rectangle,  Cut in half to two 8 x 12 rectangles.  Roll up each half tightly, rolling from a 12 inch side.  Place in baguette pan OR on a cookie sheet, 3 inches apart.  Make deep, diagonal slashes across loaves every 2 inches.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.


Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix egg yolk with 1 Tbl water, brush over top of loaves.  Add sesame seeds, if desired.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and has a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.





Mar 25, 2020

Fruity Pebbles Cheesecake

I don't often like no bake cheesecakes.  I couldn't find a baked cheesecake large enough, so I made this recipe.

Crust
5 Cups Fruity Pebbles
5 Tbl Melted Butter

Filling
32 Ounces Cream Cheese
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tbl Cornstarch
2 Tsp Vanilla
4 Eggs
1 1/4 Cup Fruity Pebbles


Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a 10 inch springform pan with aluminum foil - non stick if you have it.  Butter sides of pan - bottom if NOT non stick.  Set aside.

Combine crust ingredients in a large bowl then pour and press into the bottom of the pan.  Set aside.

Beat the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth.  Add sugar, cornstarch and vanilla - mix until well incorporated.  Add eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.  Fold in cereal.  Pour over the crust and bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake for 1 hour.  Check to see if sides are done and middle is loose.  If not, bake for up to additional 20 minutes, checking ever 5 minutes.  When done, turn off oven.  Gently loosen the cake with a knife and return to the oven.  Let sit for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Before slicing, top with additional cereal.


Mar 24, 2020

Sauced Up Green Beans

This recipe can be made with fresh, canned or frozen green beans.  If canned, please drain.  If frozen, thaw first.  Bean weight is approximate - over or under is acceptable.



6 Slices Bacon
24 Ounces Green Beans
1/3 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
2 Tbl Melted Butter
1 Tbl Worchestershire Sauce
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the bacon and crumble, set aside.

In a square cake pan, place the beans.  Top with crumbled bacon.  Stir together the remaining ingredients, pour over the pan.  Bake 40 minutes, toss and serve.




Mar 23, 2020

Sunny Citrus Cake

With a beautiful color and dense crumb, this cake is wonderfully citrus laced.  Coconut is the figurative icing on the cake.



5 Tbl Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
8 Oz Kumquats
Zest of 1 Lime
Zest of 1 Lemon
Zest of 1 Orange
1 Tbl Lime Juice
1 Tbl Lemon Juice
1 Tbl Orange Juice
8 Oz Kumquats
2 Cups Cake Flour
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tbl Baking Powder
2 1/4 Cup Sugar
3 Oz Instant Coconut Pudding Mix
4 Large
1 Tbl Coconut Extract
7 Oz Sweetened Shredded Coconut

Butter and flour a 9 to 10 inch bundt pan, set aside.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small pan, melt the butter and turn off heat.  Add coconut milk, ensuring to get some solids.  Stir together with hot butter until you melt the coconut solids.  Set aside.

Cut the Kumquats in half, remove the seeds, put the remainder of the fruit (including the peel)  into a food processor or blender and puree.  Add the zest of 1 lime, 1 Lemon and 1 Orange to the puree. Juice the fruit, adding 1 Tbl of each to the puree,  Set aside.

Stir together the flour, instant pudding, salt and baking powder.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together sugar and eggs.  Beat on high until it gets fluffy.  Add the coconut extract and beat to combine.  Add the puree mixture and slowly beat until completely incorporated.  Slowly mix in the butter mixture until completely incorporated.

Fold in coconut.

Gradually add 1/3 of the flour mixture at a time, completely incorporating before adding more.  When mixed, pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 45 - 50 minutes until edges brown and toothpick comes out clean (crumbs are okay, there should not be any liquid).

Cool in the pan for 1 hour then turn onto a cake plate.

Enjoy!


Mar 22, 2020

Jalapeno Cheese Bread

Some time ago, I shared a patience building bread recipe book with you (find it here).  This recipe is baked in the same vessel - but it takes a little less time and has jalapeños and cheese.  Pick any cheese you like - Colby, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Cheddar.....anything shredded.

2 Cups Warm Water - not over 110
2 1/4 Tsp Yeast 1/2 Cups Bread Flour
2 Cups Shredded Cheese
2 Jalapeños, Coarsely Chopped (keep seeds for more heat, if you like)
1 Tbl Salt


In a small bowl, combine warm water and yeast, set aside.  In a large bowl, stir together flour, cheese, jalapeños and salt.

Add the yeast and mix by hand until blended.  Fold and punch 10 times.  Cover with towel and let rise until double.

Fold and punch 10 more times - cover and allow to rise another 30 minutes.

When done,  put a lidded cast iron dutch oven into your oven and preheat to 450.

While heating, pour the dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Fold the edges into the middle and punch down 8 times.  Form into a ball and place onto a piece of parchment paper.

When oven is heated, carefully remove the dutch oven.  Turn the bread from the paper into the oven, replace the lid and put into the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes, remove lid and continue to bake until browned.

Place finished bread onto a rack to cool.  DO NOT CUT UNTIL SQUEAKING STOPS.

Slice and enjoy.

Mar 21, 2020

Southwest Chicken Soup

Still a chill in the air?  Still time for soup.  Work in an office with air conditioning turned to arctic?  Soup for lunch.

1 Pound Dark Meat Chicken, cooked and shredded
2 Cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Can Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
32 Ounces chicken broth
14.5 Ounces Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
8 Oz Chopped Chilis
15.25 Ounces Whole Kernel Corn
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbl Chili Powder
2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
3 Tsp Cumin


Optional Toppings:  Cheese, Sour Cream, Fresh Cilantro, Tortilla Chips

Place all ingredients into a slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Top as desired when serving.



Mar 20, 2020

Rustic Tortellini Soup

I was referred to a local Italian foods shop called Penne From Heaven.  I stopped in and found the most wonderful things - including frozen cheese tortellini and fresh hot Italian sausage.  Soup was called for - I needed fresh tortellini, so I put the frozen in the refrigerator over night to thaw.  You can use dried pasta but you will need to add additional liquid to the recipe.



1 Pound Hot Italian Sausage, Casings Removed
1/2 Cup Onion, Finely Chopped
1 Cup Carrot, Finely Chopped
6 Garlic Cloves, Minced
6 Cups Roasted Chicken Stock
14.5 Ounces Petit Diced Tomatoes
1 Tbl Italian Seasoning
1 Tsp Oregano
1 Pkg Tortellini - Your Choice of Filling
6 Ounces Fresh Baby Spinach, Coarsely Chopped
1/2 Tsp Pepper
1/2 Tsp Aleppo Pepper
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan

Crumble sausage into a Dutch oven set on medium heat and brown lightly.  Add onion and carrot, continue cooking until meat is no longer pink.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant.  Stir in stock, tomatoes and Italian seasoning.  Bring to a bil.

Add tortellini, return to a boil.  Cook just until the tortellini loosen, about 5 minutes.  Reduce heat, stir in the spinach and peppers.  Stir until the spinach is wilted and tortellini is tender.  Remove from the heat.  Add the parmesan and serve.