Challah Back Ya’ll

You knew we couldn’t help it with the title.

Anyway, it’s high time we gave you a bread recipe. Making bread may seem daunting, but honestly, it’s more about testing your patience than anything. A couple of ingredients, a good amount of time, and you have a delicious sweet bread to serve during dinners or to make french toast with during the weekends.

Also, how cool is it that you don’t have to go to the store? You can MAKE it yourself! I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I walk around the grocery store and realize, “I can make that, and that, and that.” We hope you’re starting to feel the same way. That is our motto after all. 🙂

  • 2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs (take 1 of the eggs and separate the yolk from the whites. Store the whites in the fridge separately until ready to use.)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, water, and a pinch or two of sugar. Whisk together until the yeast and sugar are dissolved. Let it stand until you begin to see a frothy layer on the top. While the yeast is “frothing”, in a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Make a “well” in the flour mixture and drop in the yeast water, eggs (including the egg yolk) and oil. Begin mixing and slowly incorporating the flour from the sides. Eventually you’ll see a dough begin to form. Knead it until it’s smooth and no longer sticky. Roll it in to a ball, put it in a big bowl and cover it with plastic wrap to rise for 2 hours.

After the 2 hours, the dough will have doubled in size. Cut it in to 3 equal pieces, and roll the pieces in to strips. (I made the strips 19″ which is waaay too long. I would suggest making them around 15″ to get a good size loaf.). Press the tops of the 3 strips together and begin to braid the rest, just like hair. Move it on to a parchment paper lined baking sheet, sprinkle with flour and cover it with a towel. Unfortunately, you have to let it rise again here for another hour. I told you this is about patience.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take the egg whites out of the fridge, combine with a tablespoon of water and whisk together to make an egg wash. Uncover the bread and brush the egg wash over the top, sides, and in the cracks of the bread. Bake it for 30 minutes.

Challah bread

 

Happy Eating, XO.

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Curried Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Ok so as much as I adore my freaking garlic and chive mashed potatoes and I mean freaking LOVE. How many years in a row can I make them for Thanksgiving without seeming played out? Well this year my aunt made some mashed tators that will blow your mind. Kids, these things were BANGIN. I just HAD to recreate them and figure out how she got those flavors in my belly. So because I’m such a giver, see below. You will be thanking me at your next holiday meal.

  • 6 Sweet potatoes or about 4 lbs.
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 3/4 cup Coconut milk (before you freak the eff out, yes I said coconut milk…this will take place of the half and half or heavy cream or buttermilk all y’all use in your basic bitch mashed potatoes, so hear me out and let go of the panic button)
  • 3 tsp. Red Thai Curry paste (didn’t I say pipe down and trust the food blogger)
  • 3 tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • Lil buttah (that’s Butter for those of you that don’t speak New Yawk & by lil I mean eye ball it but Id say no more than 1-2 tbsp.)

Bake the potatoes at 375 degrees for 1 hr. Peel once cool (the skin will literally just melt off with a light tug, no peeler needed) and mash with the curry paste, coconut milk, salt, & 1 tbsp. of syrup (which I mixed and heated in a saucepan while peeling potatoes). Then place in a baking dish while topping with butter and remaining syrup. Broil in oven for 3-5 min.

Ok so still not convinced? A) make it before you hate and B) I have logic: the sugars from the coconut milk and sweet potatoes need to counteracted and balanced with some bold spice & flavor.
Plusssss, these things are amazeballs 2014 with a dollop of cranberry relish/sauce/chutney.

Happy Eating, XO.

A conversation with Martha Stewart, part 2

I know you all have been anxiously waiting to hear the rest of what Martha had to say, so here it is! (If you missed the first post, you can catch up here.) This “part 2” is around Martha’s tips on holiday cooking – they’re coming sooner than you think people!

Martha’s holiday cooking tips

  • Vacherin cheese is a wonderful “winter” cheese made from cow’s milk. It’s very creamy in texture, a little “funky”, and is best eaten spooned right out of the rind.
  • She said her couscous royale is always a hit at holiday parties. It has the perfect blend of herbs and spices, and is great for your vegetarian guests.
  • And now for the big reveal – how Martha cooks her turkeys! Martha is very much about home-grown goodness and sustainable farming, whether it be vegetables, turkeys, or goats. For her holiday turkeys, she prefers to use one of her own grown Lebrun female turkeys as they tend to be bigger (up to 22lbs) and juicier. Her secret for cooking it comes in the form of a cheese cloth soaked in white wine and butter. (I was, and still am, drooling over this.)

From Martha’s Mouth:

  • Florence asked Martha’s opinion on whether or not you’re born with a good palette. “Yes, I believe you either have a good palette or you don’t. Some people are just born with it.” She went on to reference many famous chefs who have made it because their palette is so broad.
  • A reoccurring theme throughout the conversation was Martha’s praise for the people she works with. “The greatest influence in my life are the people around me, the people I work with. I learn from them every day.”

It was such an experience getting to meet Martha Stewart and learn a bit about who she is. If any of you ever get a chance, I highly suggest taking advantage! That woman has a wealth of knowledge that we can all learn a little from.

martha and florence

The Ugly Sugar Cookie

With Christmas quickly approaching, we of course want to give you the traditional sugar cookie recipe! However, I want to warn you: I recently discovered that I’m not cut out for cutting out cookies. Therefore, I’ve dubbed these cookies the ugly sugar cookies. They’re delicious, I just can’t make them look quite like they should. You may have better luck than me, but either way they’re really fun to make!

  • 2/3 cup softened butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour

Whip butter for 30 seconds, then add sugar, baking powder, and salt. Once combined, add in egg, milk and vanilla. Slowly add in flour. Chill dough for 30 minutes (it can be hard to handle if it’s too warm and soft.) 

On a floured surface, roll the dough to 1/8 inch thick (ie. thin), and start having some fun with the cookie cutters! (I got my cutters from Williams Sonoma – it comes with three cookie cutters and letters which makes for some interesting DIY messages.) Bake at 375 degrees for about 9-10 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Move to a wire rack and let cool.

Ugly Sugar Cookie

Happy Eating, XO.

Foodie Fav: Pomegranate Jeweled Cheeseball

While perusing the internet one rainy day, we recently came across this awesome food blog – How Sweet It Is. Not only does it have super tasty recipes and a bubbly personality we can’t resist, but she’s also a fellow Pittsburgh-er!

One recipe we just had to share with you is her Pomegranate Jeweled Cheeseball. I mean, just look at it. It’s almost too pretty to eat! (Almost.) And the bonus? Yummy and simple ingredients. We can’t wait to try this for the holidays!

pomegranate-cheeseball-I-howsweeteats.com-3

Happy Eating, XO