Rustic Country Artisan Bread


Rustic Made-From-Scratch Country Artisan Bread | Culinary Compost Recipes

This is a recipe adapted from the Tartine Bread Cookbook. Unlike the no-knead recipe featured here, you must knead and then proof the dough. The result is a bread with more rise and a fantastic soft and airy crumb texture. Try both recipes and see which one works best for you.

A five-quart cast-iron dutch oven with a tight-fitting cover is ideal for this recipe. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

1.5 cups warm water (110-115°F)
1 tbs. white granulated sugar
1.5 tsp. active dry yeast
3 cups bread flour, leveled
1 cup, whole wheat pastry flour, leveled
1.5 tsp. table salt
bread flour, for dusting the dough work surface
Cornmeal for dusting the pot
XV olive oil

Directions:

Measure the warm water and place in a quart Pyrex dish. Add the sugar and use a wooden spoon to stir and dissolve. Add the active dry yeast and stir gently. Let stand ten minutes until the surface starts to bubble.

While you are waiting, measure the flour and salt and add to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spatula, mix the dry ingredients. Slowly add the water, sugar and yeast mixture. Fold in with the spoon until the mixture starts to pull away from the bowl. Using your hands, carefully pull out the dough and continue kneading by hand for eight to ten minutes on a floured work surface. Add a bit more flour or water if necessary. The consistency of the dough should be tacky.

Gently form the dough into a ball and place in a separate bowl greased with a bit of olive oil, that is about three times the size of the dough ball. Cover with a dampened, warm towel. Place the dish in your oven and turn on the oven light. Allow to proof (rise) for two hours. The warm environment in your unheated oven with just the oven light on will allow the dough to rise perfectly.

After two hours, remove the dough ball and place back on your floured counter. Punch down the dough and gently fold it back in, forming a ball. Place back in the covered bowl and let stand for ten minutes so the gas caused by the yeast has a chance to reincorporate. After ten minutes place the ball on the floured counter and gently pull and fold over the dough in thirds. Pinch the seams together and place back in the bowl and let sit to rise again for 30-45 minutes. This stage is called the second proof.

During the last twenty minutes, remove the bowl from the oven and place on the cooktop. Preheat your oven to 450° F. Place an ungreased five-quart cast-iron dutch oven inside with the cover on. Preheat the pot.

After the second proof is done, carefully remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid. Sprinkle a bit of cornmeal on the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle the dough ball lightly with more flour and add to the preheated pot. Working quickly, carefully score two shallow slits in the top of the dough with a serrated paring knife. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, uncover the pot. Reduce the heat to 375° F. Bake uncovered for an additional 9-10 minutes, until the internal temperature of the bread reads 200-204° F. Monitor closely during this time so it doesn’t overcook.

Carefully remove the bread and allow to cool for one hour on a wire baking rack. Using a serrated bread knife, cut and serve.

Makes one loaf. Serves 6-8

Note: An accurate instant-read digital probe thermometer is a must for this recipe.

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Gouda Stuffed Crust Cast-Iron Pizza


Gouda Stuffed Crust Cast-Iron Baked Pizza | Culinary Compost

Burnt, but not forgotten….

This is a recipe loosely based on one presented by Geoffrey Zakarian of Food Network. His recipe was great, but I wanted more toppings to properly fill a 12″ cast-iron skillet. My version is in between a thin-crust and deep dish pizza with a wonderful gouda-stuffed crust.

On my first attempt, the kitchen smoke alarm went off six times, the cat hid in the basement, and the crust was slightly burnt. Lesson learned. Every oven cooks differently — and knowing how blistering hot cast-iron gets, my next attempt will be at 475°F for 20 minutes, with no preheat on the crust. I’ll update ya’ll on my progress. Overall, it had great flavor, and an intense, rich, smokey undertone from the gouda cheese. I stressed over making pizza dough from scratch for the first time, but it was easy.

This is a winning recipe. Enjoy!

 

INGREDIENTS:

For the Dough:
2 cups bread flour
1.5 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. breadmaker yeast
3/4 cup warm water + 2 tbs. (115°F)
1 tsp. honey
1 tbs. XV olive oil

For the Pizza Sauce:
2 tbs. XV olive oil
1/2 tsp. cayenne chili pepper flakes, to taste
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 can 8 oz. Contadina tomato sauce
4-5 chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt, and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

For the Crust:
4 tbs. XV olive oil
White flour, for flouring the dough surface
4 oz. smoked Gouda cheese, cut into 2″ x 1/2″ slices
Cornmeal for dusting the pan
Kosher salt

Pizza Toppings:
1/4 cup crumbled, cooked bacon
1 Johnsonville mild Italian sausage, casing removed, fried until no longer pink, crumbled and drained of fat
Premium pepperoni sausage slices – 12-14, enough to cover the pizza
2-4 oz. smoked Gouda cheese, 1/4″ cubed, as preferred
1/4 cup black olives, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 sliced red bell pepper
6-10 fresh basil leaves rough-chopped
3 large Crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced and sauteed in 2 tbs. XV olive oil for five minutes
4 oz. shredded hard Parmesan cheese

 

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare the pizza dough by adding 2 cups bread flour, kosher salt, yeast, honey and olive oil to a food processor with a dough blade.
Turn on the processor and gradually add the warm water until the dough pulls away from the sides of the work bowl. In my Breville Sous Chef processor, it only takes one minute.

Remove the dough and place on a sheet of nonstick baker’s parchment paper that has been sprinkled lightly with flour. Knead gently for one minute. Place in a greased mixing bowl covered with a damp, warm towel, and let stand for one hour. I prefer to let the dough rise in my oven with the oven light on. This is a great technique when temperatures are cooler in the winter.

Preparing the Sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and then add the chili flakes and minced garlic. Saute for five minutes, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t scorch. Add the tomato puree and basil. Bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with Kosher salt and pepper. Shut off the heat.

Preparing the Pizza Crust: Preheat oven to 475 or 500°F. Grease a heavy, 12″ cast-iron pan with 2 tbs. XV olive oil. Dust the bottom of the pan with a bit of cornmeal to prevent the crust from sticking. When the pizza dough has doubled in size, punch down, then roll out on parchment paper or a floured counter top into a 14″ circle. Carefully place in the cast-iron pan. Press the dough into the corners of the pan to prevent air pockets from forming. Add sliced Gouda cheese around the perimeter of the dough, and then fold and crimp the dough over the cheese, forming a rolled crust. Brush the rim of the crust with the remaining 2 tbs. of olive oil. Sprinkle the rim very lightly with kosher salt.

Add the prepared pizza sauce to the center of the dough and spread out evenly with a large spoon. DO NOT over sauce, or the crust will be soggy. Layer the toppings, finishing off with the remaining Gouda and grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake as instructed, 475-500°F, for 20 minutes, watching the crust carefully. Remove from heat, let stand for ten minutes in the pan, and then cut and serve.

Serves 2-4.

 

Gouda Stuffed Crust Cast-Iron Baked Pizza | Culinary Compost

Gouda Stuffed Crust Cast-Iron Baked Pizza | Culinary Compost

Gouda Stuffed Crust Cast-Iron Baked Pizza | Culinary Compost

 

3/12/16  UPDATE: Made a second pie and cooked it at 475°F for 20 minutes. Crust came out PERFECT. Results shown below. Experiment and have fun!

Gouda Stuffed Crust Cast-Iron Baked Pizza | Culinary Compost

 

 

Shakshouka – Middle-Eastern Egg Bake


Shakshouka Middle-Eastern Egg Bake

I stumbled on this recipe after a friend posted it on Facebook. I have adapted it from the original, featured on The New York Times.  It is a recipe that originated in Tunisia, North Africa, and remains very popular in Israel, due to cultural ties from the early 1950s.  The incredible, mind-numbing heat from the Berbere spice takes center stage, so use it sparingly.  I created this as a single-serving dish, as the rest of my family cannot tolerate the spice. Prepare it in a 5″ well-seasoned cast-iron skillet.

Serve on a cold winter morning — it is incredibly satisfying.  Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

2 tbs. XV olive oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1 medium tomato, cored and finely diced
1/4 cup Feta cheese
1 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp. Berbere seasoning, to taste (use with reservation)
1 tsp. cumin seed, toasted and then ground in a mortar
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
2 eggs
Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

 

Directions:

Prepare all of the ingredients and have them ready.  Preheat your oven to 375°.  Using a 5″ cast-iron skillet, add two tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onion and pepper over medium heat, about 15 minutes. Lower the heat and add the minced garlic, taking care not to scorch it. Continue to saute for two minutes.

Add the diced tomato, smoked paprika, berbere, ground cumin, salt and pepper, and continue to saute for about 3 minutes until reduced.

Add the crumbled Feta cheese, then carefully crack two eggs and place on top. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the eggs have set. Carefully remove and place on a trivet. Allow to cool for two minutes, add the chopped cilantro and serve in the skillet.

 

 

Smoked Spanish paprika (L), Ethiopian Berbere (R) and whole cumin seed

Smoked Spanish paprika (L), Ethiopian Berbere (R) and whole cumin seed

shakshouka recipe | Culinary Compost

Saute the onion and pepper in olive oil. Then add the minced garlic.

Mike’s Wisconsin Batter-Fried Bluegills


This recipe takes me back thirty-five years to my childhood in northern Wisconsin. My grandmother would fry up 60 fresh-caught bluegill fillets in a large black cast-iron skillet for the family. There is no better home-cooked meal – period. I hope you enjoy this special recipe as much as I do.

Ingredients:

30 bluegill fillets, cleaned and rinsed in cold water
1 quart vegetable oil
8 oz. buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1-1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat a 5-quart cast-iron dutch oven over medium-high with the vegetable oil. The oil will be ready for deep-frying when a drop of water sizzles on contact.

Place the buttermilk and egg in a wide, shallow baking dish. Whisk thoroughly. Place the bluegill fillets in the dish and coat evenly.

Prepare a two-quart plastic food storage bag with the flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Shake well.

Shake off the fillets and add to the bag, about eight at a time. Coat evenly and transfer to the dutch oven; frying in batches. Deep fry until just lightly golden-brown. Ensure that the bluegill fillets are not overcooked. Using a Chinese spider strainer, remove and transfer to a heated platter with paper towel to absorb the excess frying oil.

Serve immediately with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.

Serves 4-6.

Mike’s Big Breakfast Skillet Potatoes


Mike's Big Breakfast Skillet Potatoes | Culinary Compost RecipesThis is a Sunday favorite in our house – if you have a large skillet, this recipe will feed at least six people with plenty of leftovers. There is no substitute for a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. The flavor of this recipe really shines when prepared in cast-iron.

Ingredients:

6 large Idaho cooking potatoes, washed and scrubbed with skins left on
2 ribs celery with greens, washed and fine sliced
1 large onion, peeled and rough chopped
Garlic powder to taste
1/4 tsp. ground dry thyme
1 tbs. dry parsley
1 tbs. dry chives
1 tbs. ground smoked Spanish paprika
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
3 tbs. butter
2 tbs XV olive oil

Directions:

Prepare the potatoes and slice in planks, leaving the skins on, then quarter into matchsticks. Ensure they are sliced evenly. Preheat a large 12″ cast-iron skillet over medium low with a little cooking spray. Add 3 tbs. butter and the potatoes. Chop the onion and celery and add to the skillet. Level and let sit a bit to brown.

Prepare the spices and add to taste. Stir every ten minutes or so, until evenly crispy brown. My wife likes them somewhat burnt on the edges. I add the olive oil after the potatoes start to brown so it doesn’t scorch.

When possible use fresh parsley and garden chives. If going this route, add a bit later during cooking so they don’t burn.

Remove from heat and serve with bacon and eggs. Serve with ketchup and hot sauce on the side, or all by itself.

Serves: 4-6
Cooking Time: 1.25 hours

Mike's Big Breakfast Skillet Potatoes | Culinary Compost Recipes

Skillet Quiche Egg and Cheese Bake


Cast-Iron Skillet Spinach Quiche | Culinary Compost Recipes

This is a smaller quiche recipe that will fill an 8″ skillet. It will serve four. I love the spinach in this recipe – I tried other veggies but have always come back to it.
Best served in cast iron as it ensures very even cooking.

 

Ingredients:

Seasoned croutons
Chopped ham
Chopped spinach
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp. dry parsley
1 tsp. dry chives

5 eggs – beaten
1/4 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Spray the cast iron skillet so that it doesn’t stick. Preheat your oven to 325°F.

Layer the first six ingredients in the order shown. Place enough croutons to evenly cover the bottom of the skillet. Load up the ham and spinach to your liking.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk and add the salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the base ingredients in the skillet. If the ingredients mound slightly over the top of the skillet, that’s ok; the spinach will settle a lot when baked.

Bake in the oven uncovered for 50-60 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove and let stand for two minutes. Quarter and serve hot.

Note: Cast-iron cooks very efficiently. Do not let it overcook.

Serves 2-4.

 

Cast-Iron Skillet Spinach Quiche | Culinary Compost Recipes

 

Grandma’s Country-Fried Chicken


This is a tried-and-true recipe from my Northwoods Grandma. I’m sure it’s close to just about every other homestyle fried chicken recipe out there. My wife had adapted the recipe for use in an electric non-stick skillet, but you just can’t beat an heirloom antique cast-iron chicken fryer. If you’re lucky enough to own one with a cover, by all means, use it.

A note on the shortening — while not exactly healthy, Crisco® shortening is the traditional way to prepare this dish. You can also use vegetable oil in a pinch.  When done, the chicken should read 165° F. in the thickest part of the meat. It will be golden brown when completely cooked, with the juices running clear. Thighs will take longer to cook. Watch the wings so they don’t burn.

Enjoy, this is a recipe I’ve adored since I was a kid.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cut up whole fryer chicken, rinsed in cold water and patted dry
1 cup Crisco® vegetable shortening

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. table salt
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic granules
2 tsp. smoked paprika

2 cups room-temperature buttermilk

2 cups chicken stock
2 tbs. reserved flour from the dredge
4 tbs. drippings from the fried chicken
4 tbs. butter
Salt and pepper to taste

 

DIRECTIONS:

Prep the chicken and set aside on paper towels, ensuring the pieces are patted dry. Mix the flour dredge ingredients in a wide, deep mixing bowl. Add the buttermilk to another smaller bowl. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk. Then add the pieces to the seasoned flour and coat well. Shake off and place on a serving plate for five minutes. Place them back in the flour dredge, shake off and set aside for another five minutes. Reserve the flour for the gravy in the next step.

Preheat the Crisco shortening in a cast-iron chicken fryer so the temperature reads 325°. The shortening should cover about 3/4″ to 1″ of the bottom of the fryer.

Working in batches to avoid overcrowding, place the chicken pieces in the hot oil and sear until golden brown on one side, about 10-12 minutes. Cover during this process.
Carefully turn the chicken and sear again on the other side. TURN ONLY ONCE. Cover and cook for another 12-15 minutes until evenly golden-brown. Remove and place on a wire baker’s rack. Keep warm in your oven over a cookie sheet or in a covered serving dish set at 225° F.

Preparing the Gravy:
Reserve up to 4 tbs. drippings from the chicken fryer. Place in a heavy 10″ cast-iron pan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and butter. Whisk constantly for about ten minutes to form a golden roux. Add the chicken stock, salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium and cook until reduced, about ten more minutes. Pour in a gravy boat and serve with mashed or boiled quartered potatoes.

 

Serves 4-6

Note: As an option, for even more flavorful chicken, brine it overnight in buttermilk, salt and some hot sauce. Place 2 cups buttermilk in a sealable container with 1 tbs. salt and a few dashes of Tabasco. Mix well, add the chicken, cover and let sit for at least 12 hours. The next day, when ready to fry, you can skip the buttermilk step shown above.