Pesto Bread

Pesto BreadCarb-free diets be damned, I love bread.  The smell of it baking, the taste of it warm with butter still melting in.  A well made sandwich is a work of art, but on home baked bread it’s enough to make Michelangelo cry.  So now that we’re finally (mostly) settled into our new house, we broke out the bread maker and treated ourselves to a fresh loaf. It’s been a little while since we’ve done any fresh bread other than popovers (check out our gruyère and cracked pepper or jalapeño and cheddar popover recipes), so we started out easy with the basic white loaf with a little bit extra and made this pesto bread recipe with our bread maker.

ingredients:

Makes one small loaf (about 1 pound)

Water, 80°–90°F – 3⁄4 cup
Olive oil, extra virgin – 1 tablespoon
Pesto – 3 tablespoons
Sea salt – 1⁄2 teaspoon
Bread flour –  21⁄4 cups
Granulated sugar – 1 teaspoon
Yeast, active dry, instant or bread machine – 11⁄2 teaspoons

directions:

Add the ingredients in the order listed and set your bread machine for small white loaf (NOT rapid).  I wish I had followed the rapid recipe, because waiting the nearly three hours for this to mix and bake was rough.  I dreamt of fresh bread for breakfast, but ended up with it for lunch.  Next time, I think I’ll add the ingredients the night before and set the times so I can wake to fresh bread… Share your favorite bread machine recipe links in the comments!

Pesto Bread Pesto Bread

 

 

Honey Lavender Cake

Honey Lavender Cake

What is it about bees that makes me love them so?  It’s funny too, because I hate insects, and get nervous around bees, but I love bees and honey in designs.  Maybe its the honey they make that’s got me so sweet on them.  How cute is this cake pan? I’ve been eying this pan for months, and finally I could resit no longer. Not only is it adorable, the squares are already nicely (almost) separated. This recipe takes that a page from the standard recipe on the pan, substitutes in greek yogurt to keep it moist, and adds a little lavender to give a slight floral lift to the dish.  And really, what goes better than bees and honey? Whatever you do, don’t skip the glaze.  When added just before serving it really brightens up the cake with the sweetness of the honey and the punch of lemon.  Serve with tea or coffee, and enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp  honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp dried lavender flower (food grade)
  • 1 cup greek yogurt

GLAZE:

  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

directionS:

  1. Pre-heat oven 325˚F
  2. Grease flour pan
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda e salt
  4. Beat butter and sugar on low speed, until light and fluffy
  5. Add eggs and beat until well-blended
  6. Add yogurt, flour mixture, lavender and mix on low speed for 1 minute
  7. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes
  8. Pour in prepared pan, and bake for 45-55 minutes
  9. Let it cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  10. Prepare the glaze
  11. Brush honey-lemon glaze

Honey Lavender CakeHoney Lavender Cake
Honey Lavender Cake

Liège Waffles

Breakfast can be a hurried affair hastily thrown together, but when you can, taking just a little more time and attention sets the day on a great path.  These Liège Waffles take breakfast to that next level and make it a treat your breakfast table won’t forget. The pearl sugar really makes each bite pop with sweetness without being overpowering!

You’ll see in the second photo one of my new favorite kitchen gadgets for dusting with powdered sugar, the OXO Dusting Wand.  This was in my gift bag from the Food Blog Forum Orlando in February, though it’s almost been more of a curse than a gift, because I can’t stop myself from dusting everything with powdered sugar and other spices. It’s compact, inexpensive, and you can get a tighter more accurate dusting than the big powdered sugar shakers I’ve always had.

Liège Waffles

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  2. 1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  3. 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  4. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 3 large eggs
  7. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  8. 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted (about 1 cup), plus more for brushing
  9. 1 cup Belgian pearl sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the brown sugar and yeast into the lukewarm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, mix the flour with the salt. Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix at medium speed about 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for 20 seconds between each. Whisk the vanilla with the 1 cup of melted butter. With the mixer at medium-low, gradually mix in the butter until smooth; the batter will be thick and very sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the batter rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  2.  Stir the pearl sugar into the risen batter. Cover again and let rest for 15 minutes.
  3.  Preheat the oven to 250°F. Preheat a Belgian waffle iron and brush it with melted butter. Gently stir the batter to deflate. Using about 2 tablespoons of batter for each, cook the waffles according to the manufacture’s directions until they are golden and crisp; brush the waffle iron with melted butter as needed. Transfer the waffles to plates or keep them warm in the oven, then serve.

Liège WafflesLiège WafflesLiège Waffles

 

Watermelon, Cucumber & Feta Salad

Watermelon, Cucumber & Feta Salad

Despite the Washington area’s recent seeming indecisiveness on the issue (and the 53 degree weather), the calendar and I boldly declare it is officially springtime.  So here’s one of my favorite springtime salads to start off the season.  The watermelon, mint and cucumbers are so fresh, they really brighten the feta, red onion and olives.  It’s a light, greek inspired salad that has become one of our staples.

INGREDIENTS:

  • organic cucumber, julienned or spiralized
  • chopped watermelon
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • chopped fresh dill
  • chopped fresh mint
  • pitted kalamata olives
  • feta cheese, crumbles
  • lemon, olive oil, salt & paper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Mix all the ingredients together. Serve right away or refrigerate for later. Enjoy!

I served mine under a delicious oven-baked macadamia & pistachio crusted Mahi-mahi with mango salsa.

Serve right away or refrigerate for later.Watermelon, Cucumber & Feta Salad