Miss A’s Favorite Bread

Miss A and I are visiting my mom and dad this beautiful fall Sunday. We’re cooking our usual weekly staples from their house quite simply because I missed them and needed out of the house. Even though I’m still rolling through my cooking, I have company and I don’t have to look at all the chores stacking up around my own house. There is just no time to get to them this week. Out of sight, out of mind.

So while Miss A and I are visiting, Mike is working on his portfolio for work. He’s up for tenure this year and it’s review time. And Mr. N is at rehearsal. He has another show next weekend, so today is the beginning of tech week, rehearsals for four hours a day until opening night. So aside from our prepared lunches and snacks, we won’t be cooking too much this week. It’s going to be one of those grab and go times. Fortunately, we did have the chance to cook quite a few new recipes for the blog last weekend and we’ll have some delicious Indian dishes on the way soon. First, we thought we’d share Miss A’s favorite bread recipe and a few pictures from our annual fall trip to Winona, Minnesota. white bread dough

As you may recall, Miss A wasn’t such a big fan of the kefir bread. She prefers a regular white or wheat bread taste to a sourdough bread taste. Now for those of you that have been following our blog for a while now, you also know that I am not a bread baker. Yeast and I tend to not get along so well, unlike Miss A and yeast-based breads. She has it down to a science. rising dough

So when Charles at Five Euro Food posted his recipe for No-knead bread in two hours, I knew I had to give this a try. It seemed fool-proof. The recipe truly couldn’t have been easier. I followed Charles’ instructions to a “t” and it didn’t disappoint. The bread rose beautifully as you can see. rising yeast bread

And then it baked just as well; although I left it in a smidge too long. No matter, it looked like real bread and I counted this as a true success. A breakthrough! white bread

Of course, the true test came when I sliced a piece. I still had a fear that it would have turned out too dense, like my typical bread baking results. Not this time though! It even looked like real bread; and Miss A’s 4 spoon rating was the icing on the cake. white bread slices

In fact, it got a 4 spoon rating from each one of us. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to have finally, and successfully, pulled off a yeast bread recipe. Miss A enjoyed many a lunch sandwich on the bread. It also went perfectly with wine and cheese. Thank you Charles!

For the recipe: Charles’ No-knead Bread

Now, here are a few pictures from our recent annual trip with Friend Sue and Richard to Winona. We ate fantastic food, tasted good wines, drove to historic sites and saw old friends. It was the perfect fall getaway, and a much needed respite. And even though the weather wasn’t 100% cooperative, it did lend for a beautiful rainbow that stretched over the entire town. Unfortunately, by the time we drove to a good overlook and I got my camera ready, it had faded to just one end of town. The full rainbow was a stunning sight. rainbow over Winona

While in Winona, we also had the chance to see the largest steamboat ever built. The American Queen was built in 1995 and is a replica of a classic Mississippi River steamboat from the 1800’s. The American Queen docked for a day at Levee Park while on its nine-day journey on the Mississippi River from St. Paul, Minnesota to Memphis, Tennessee. It was an impressive ship and one that invokes thoughts of Mark Twain and early life on the Mississippi. levee park
American Queen1
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American Queen 8

And just so you know that we’re alive and well, despite our infrequent posts and comments, here are a few of the family shots from our weekend. family at American Queen
Miss A






Happy fall everyone! Next time we’ll be back with vegetable dish that actually garnered a 4 spoon rating from one of the kids! Cheers.

A Taste of Home

I promise we’ll finish our Romanian cooking. We have one more recipe to share with you all, and it’s coming up soon. We’re just finding it hard to keep up this summer what with road trips, birthdays, anniversaries, camps, swimming…yada, yada, yada. June and July are always our busiest months – and some of our most fun months too. It’s always a whirlwind and full of milestones that remind us how lucky we are and how much fun we have together. You know, the stuff memories are made of…

We recently took a road trip back to Minnesota. While we didn’t live there more than a few years, it was long enough to make it home. The kids still get excited singing “London Bridges” every time we cross the state border between Wisconsin and Minnesota. Continue reading

The Lighter Side of Minnesota

For this week’s stateside adventure, we’re revisiting Minnesota. Well, sort of anyway. We bought this squash on a recent trip to Minnesota at a local farm, but it’s really Japanese in origin. That said, we’re calling it our state night recipe this week. 

The farmer that we purchased the squash from described it as having a nutty and sweet flavor which instantly made me think that this would be perfect in a soup. You see I’ve been somewhat obsessed with soups after making Geni’s Sweet Potato Soup and I thought this squash might be a fun way to mix things up. Not to mention, after our major feasting last week, we’re looking to eat a bit more healthy – and so we bring you Uchiki Kuri Soup. Continue reading

Our Take on Minnesota Bars

When Erin and Molly requested we make a Minnesota bar recipe, I have to admit I had no idea what that meant. The only Minnesota bars that I knew about are those I frequented in college – but that’s a whole other story. So after a little research we discovered that in addition to the Minnesota hotdish, Minnesota bars are the second most popular potluck dish in the state. The dessert bars are any kind of dessert that fits into a large baking dish, is easily made and requires little to no cookie dough. For example Rice Krispie treats, lemon bars and peanut butter bars are all considered Minnesota bars – brownies however are not (although I don’t really understand why).

What I really wanted to make tonight was another batch of these lemon bars, posted over at Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide. These things are unbelievably good, but I know if we made another batch I would eat the entire pan. Seriously. So tonight we went for something a little less dangerous. Can you guess what dessert bar we made? (And it’s not Rice Krispie treats.) Continue reading

Feelin’ Hot Hot Hot

It’s state night again! Tonight we’re featuring a traditional Minnesota Hotdish at the request of Mr. N’s prize winners, Molly and Erin. Hotdishes, or casseroles, come in many shapes and sizes, but Minnesota hotdishes traditionally combine a meat, starch, veggies and cream of mushroom soup. This past January, Minnesota Senator Al Franken invited the other Minnesota Congressional delegates to a hotdish cook-off. While Senator Klobuchar’s hotdish won the cook-off, we chose to adapt Rep. Betty McCollum’s Pork, Cranberry & Wild Rice Hotdish since it incorporates wild rice which is home-grown in the land of 10,000 lakes.

We started making our Pork, Apple & Wild Rice hotdish by preparing 2 dry cups of wild rice by following the package directions; although we always add coriander to the rice as well. Then we began chopping some shallots, mushrooms, pork and fresh sage.

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Minnes-O-ta Maple Chicken

Tonight’s stateside dinner was especially fun for us because Minnesota holds a special place in our hearts. We spent several years (away from our family and friends) living in Winona, MN where we made great new friends, traveled the state and welcomed our darling Miss A to the family. Lutefisk, lefse and hot dishes are among the traditional dishes for which Minnesota is known, but local cuisine often makes use of fresh fish, wild rice and locally grown produce.

Now admittedly while in Minnesota we never ate Lutefisk, lefse or hot dishes. We did however eat lots of locally grown produce, wonderful homemade doughnuts and deli sandwiches from our favorite restaurant, The Acoustic Cafe

Sadly we can’t quite reproduce the delicious little sandwiches we love so much (and that’s not for lack of trying!), so we instead chose a Maple Baked Chicken. Mr. N and Miss A were both very excited for Minnesota night, and for a recipe that combines syrup, chicken and oatmeal!  Continue reading