Pane Bianco Torsione (Italian White Twist Bread with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil)


Pane Bianco Torsione (White Twist Bread with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil) | Culinary Compost RecipesI stumbled upon this recipe in an effort on further honing my bread-making skills. It is shown here, verbatim on King Arthur Flour’s website.  Quite simply stated, it blew me away and was a huge hit with my family. The preparation is tedious, but not overly complicated. The visual presentation is stunning and if you follow the directions step-by-step, it’s virtually impossible to screw up. Trust me, if I can make this, anyone can. In my version, I added a bit more salt and also added sugar to the dough, based on other bread recipes from my family.

 

INGREDIENTS:

~For the Dough:

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
2 tsp. instant quick-rise yeast (one package)
1-1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbs. white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 tbs. XV olive oil

~For the Filling:

3/4 cup shredded Italian-blend cheese
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (1/2 of a 7-oz. jar)
3 to 6 cloves garlic, roasted, peeled and minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

 

PREPARATION:

Prepare the dough by combining all of the ingredients shown in a large mixing bowl. Using a silicone spatula, fold by hand until the dough starts to pull away from the bowl.
Remove and set on a floured work surface. Fold and knead by hand for six to ten minutes, until the dough has firmed up. Add a bit more water or flour if needed. The consistency of the dough should be tacky and soft. Gently form it into a ball and transfer to a greased bowl about double in size of the dough ball.

Place the bowl in your oven and turn on the oven light. Cover with a towel dampened with warm water. Let rise for 45 to 60 minutes, until doubled in size. Your time may vary.

While you are waiting, drain the tomatoes on a paper towel. Squeeze out the excess olive oil. Mince and set aside.
Finely chop the basil and set aside.
Measure the shredded Italian cheese and set aside.
Roast, peel and finely chop the garlic. Add to the tomatoes and mix to incorporate.

After the dough has risen, gently deflate and then roll into a 22″ x 8″ rectangle. Spread the cheese, basil, tomato and garlic evenly over the entire surface.

Carefully roll the dough into a 22″ log by turning it the long way. You will need to turn it over itself at least once. Crimp the edges together and pinch the ends shut.
Turn it so the seam side is down. Carefully place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Using a kitchen shears, cut a slit down the length of the loaf, at the top, stopping about 1″ from each end.
Twist the log into an “S” shape and tuck the ends under the center of the loaf, forming a figure-8, while keeping the slit to the top.

Cover with plastic wrap and let the loaf rise in a warm place until double, 45 to 60 minutes.
While the loaf is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Uncover the bread, and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it with foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning.
Remove the bread from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.

Enjoy warm or at room temperature, drizzled with quality XV olive oil. Store, well-wrapped, at room temperature for a couple of days; freeze for longer storage.

Serves 6
Makes one loaf

Pane Bianco Torsione (White Twist Bread with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil) | Culinary Compost Recipes

Pane Bianco Torsione (White Twist Bread with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil) | Culinary Compost Recipes

Pane Bianco Torsione (White Twist Bread with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil) | Culinary Compost Recipes

Thai Dragon Noodles


thai dragon noodles prepared in a cast-iron wok

This is an amazing and economical dish that can be very spicy – control the heat by limiting the amount of hot chili used — but why would you want to?  The fish sauce is very traditional, but may be omitted if desired. Get everything measured and cut so you are ready to go, as the preparation only takes a few minutes.
Yum!

Ingredients:

1 8-oz. package Chinese wide Lo Mein noodles
6 cups of water
2 eggs, beaten
3 tbs. salted butter
1 tbs. soy sauce
1 dash of Asian fish sauce
1 tbs. packed brown sugar
1 tbs. Vietnamese “Rooster” chili garlic sauce or Sriracha, to taste
3 cloves minced garlic
1 Thai hot green chili, stemmed, seeded and cut into thin strips
2 scallion, trimmed and cut into 1″ chunks, sliced at a bias
1/2 cup trimmed and washed whole cilantro leaves
Lime wedges for garnish

 

Directions:

In a heavy stock pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil for the noodles. Prepare 4 ounces of the Lo Mein noodles according to package directions, and cook until al dente; just over four minutes.
(One eight-ounce package is enough for two people – the recipe shown here is for a single large serving.) Drain and set aside, covered.

While the noodles are cooking, prepare the sauce ingredients by mixing the brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce and chili garlic sauce or Sriracha. Set aside.
A note on the fish sauce: A little bit goes a long way! The flavor is very intense, so use it sparingly.

Heat the butter over medium heat in a heavy wok or skillet and add the garlic; stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Add the eggs and stir constantly until cooked through. Shut off the heat and add the sauce, sliced green chili, noodles, scallion and cilantro. Toss until coated.

Serve with lime wedge as a garnish.

 

Serves 1-2

thai dragon noodles recipe ingredients

Stir-Fry Vegetables with Ginger and Garlic


This is a simple stir-fry recipe that can be used with any fresh vegetables that you have on hand. Just make sure to cut them in small, even pieces. The seasoning is light and flavorful. If you prefer it spicy, add a couple of crushed chilies to the wok oil before frying.

A properly-heated wok is a must with this recipe to ensure that the veggies don’t get soggy. My electric flat-top stove doesn’t generate enough heat so I use my cast-iron Lodge wok on a 22″ Weber grill over real wood charcoal until it’s blistering hot.

Ingredients:

2 handfuls fresh string beans – washed, ends snipped and cut into 2″ pieces
2 carrots, peeled and thin sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/2″ strips
1 head broccoli, washed thoroughly and trimmed
2 scallions (green stalk onions), washed, split and quartered with roots removed.
1″ chunk of ginger, about the diameter of a quarter, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. pure sesame oil

2 tbs. peanut oil for frying

Directions:

Prepare all vegetables and seasoning before cooking. This recipe cooks fast – it will be done in four minutes once it hits the wok.

Trim all vegetables and pat dry. Let warm up to room temperature before placing in the wok.

Combine the minced garlic, ginger, 2 tbs. soy sauce and 1 tsp. sesame oil in a small mixing bowl. Mix well and set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat until it smokes. Add the 2 tbs. peanut oil and swirl to coat the sides of the wok. When it just starts to smoke test the temperature by adding a drop of water to the side of the wok. It should sizzle and evaporate almost instantly.

Add the ginger and garlic mixture to the wok and quickly stir fry using a wok ladle or two silicone spatulas to avoid scorching until just aromatic. On a very hot wok this should take no more than 30 seconds. Immediately add the vegetables and stir to coat well. Let sit for a minute. Stir briefly, let sit for an additional minute to sear. Stir well to incorporate and remove when just crisp-tender – about four minutes total.

Serve with steamed white rice and your choice of a dinner selection.

Serves 2-4.

Pasta with Garlic Sauce


If you love garlic you will love this authentic Italian recipe. It goes well with a number of main dishes including swordfish or shrimp scampi.

Ingredients:

Angel hair pasta
1/4 – 1/2 cup XV olive oil
4-6 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and fine chopped
1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh parsley, washed and minced
Red pepper flakes to taste
Salt to taste
1/2 cup hard Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

Boil the noodles al dente according to package directions and time them so that they are done with the sauce.

Sauce: Combine the olive oil and fine-chopped garlic, saute until garlic just starts to turn a golden color. Add 3/4 of the parsley, salt and red pepper.

Toss immediately with the noodles. Top with remaining parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Prep time: 1/2 hour
Cook time: 7 minutes
Serves: 4

Garlic Chicken Melt


I love quick and easy chicken recipes. This one is great for busy moms. Dress it up with a side of grilled Panini bread basted in olive oil.

Ingredients:

4 boneless chicken breasts
1 envelope “Lipton Recipe Secrets” Savory Herb with Garlic soup mix
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes – do not drain
1 tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a 13×9″ baking dish arrange the chicken. Mix the soup packet, tomatoes and olive oil in a bowl. Spoon evenly over the chicken.

Bake uncovered for 25 minutes.

Sprinkle with Jack cheese and bake for an additional 2 minutes, or until melted.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Mike’s Famous Guacamole


Mike's Famous Guacamole | Culinary Compost

I’m always amazed by how people settle for commercially-made guacamole frozen in 5-gallon buckets and served as “fresh.” They mindlessly dollop this bland, pale green concoction on their favorite Mexican entree at their local restaurant — never realizing how good it can be if you make it yourself.

Don’t make this mistake at home. Try my recipe and you’ll never order it at a restaurant again. It takes only 20 minutes and is well worth the small amount of time you put into it.

 

Ingredients:
2 ripe Haas avocados
1 large clove garlic, mashed (a clove is one part of the bulb)
3 tbs. finely chopped red onion
3 tbs. minced cilantro leaves
Juice of 1/8 lime
Salt and Pepper

Optional:
minced jalapeños
diced tomatoes

 

Preparation:
Remove skin and pit from avocados. Place in a small mixing bowl. Add juice of 1/8 lime. Mash the avocados with a potato masher until a textured consistency is achieved. Do not blend in a food processor.

Combine other ingredients and fold in with a spoon or fork. Serve immediately.

Makes about two cups.

Note:
There is no such thing as leftover guacamole. Use it up or throw it out. If you must save it overnight, place it in a non-reactive bowl and cover with a small amount of lime juice. Place plastic wrap over the dish and push it down on the surface of the guacamole, removing the air pocket. Contact with air is what turns the avocados brown over time.

You may have heard stories from housewives who place the avocado pit into the serving bowl to help keep the guacamole fresh. It is simply not true. Don’t expect your guests to politely fish around this culinary eight-ball with their chips either. It’s tacky and I’m here to do my part in ending this craziness; one reader at a time. Citric acid from the lime juice will stop the reaction with oxygen, but you must also remove the air pocket described above.

On a side note; it may be just me, but I think Haas avocados are hands-down better tasting than the smooth, green-skinned variety.

Garlic Skillet Potatoes


Baked in the oven — a perfect side dish to just about any meal.

Ingredients:

2 Idaho potatoes, washed and scrubbed (Leave the skins on)
2 tbs. XV olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 scallions, with greens, sliced at a bias
Pinch of crushed rosemary
Pinch of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the scrubbed potatoes into narrow planks. Place in a cast-iron skillet sprayed lightly with no-stick cooking oil.

Drizzle with 2 tbs. olive oil. Place the garlic clove slices and scallion on top. Sprinkle with dry spices and bake in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the garlic is roasted through and the potatoes are just golden-brown. (Stir once at 15 minutes.)

Serves 2-4.