No Knead Bread

I’ve had a few No Knead Bread recipes pinned to my Pinterest Bread board for at least a year.  I kept saying I wanted to make one, but just never got around to it.

I made and decorated a dozen hard boiled eggs this past weekend.  No, I don’t have any children living at home, however, I do still like to decorate eggs.  So, why not?  This, however, means I have a lot of egg salad to eat.  Hey, it’s a good time to try out one of the No Knead Bread recipes I have.

The one I chose is very simple.  Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl.  Leave the bowl out (do not refrigerate) for 12 to 20 hours.  Form the very loose dough into a bread shape, then bake.

The recipe is adapted from Mom’s Dish:

3 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast (or 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

The night before you plan to bake the bread, combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl by mixing the dry ingredients well first, then adding the water.  The water should be no warmer than 120*F.  This will make a shaggy mess of a batter, but it’s okay.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and then leave it on the counter for at least 12 hours.

After 12 hours, your dough should have raised at to at least double it’s size and look like this:

Nice and bubbly

Nice and bubbly

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and flour the parchment paper.  Flour your hands well, and dump the dough onto the cookie sheet.  I wanted a ciabatta loaf, so I formed the dough into a long, wide loaf.  If you want to make round loaves, divide the dough in half, and form each half into a round (you’ll need two cookies sheets for this).  As you’ll see in the following picture, the dough spreads out to almost the whole length and width of a 15″ by 10″ cookie sheet.

Boil about 2 cups of water, and put into the oven on the bottom rack.  Place the dough on the top rack and let the dough raise until it’s double in size again.  When it is risen, it will be jiggly as you take it out of the oven, but the dough will have a nice skin on it.

It's ready to bake

It’s ready to bake

Take out the warm water from the oven, then preheat the oven to 375*F.  As your oven is heating up, boil the water again.  Once the oven is to temperature, place the water on the bottom rack, and the dough on the top rack.  Bake for 10 minutes, then take the water out of the oven.  Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the bread is golden brown.

Beautiful ciabatta bread

Beautiful ciabatta bread

And finally, I can have a sandwich!

So worth the wait!

So worth the wait!

Next time I make this, I’m going to put it in a 9 inch by 13 inch cake pan.  It’ll make it more uniform and give it a bit more height when it’s in it’s second rise.


Dog treats

Is it treat time?

Is it treat time?

This is my beautiful companion dog, Piffany.  No, not “Epiphany”.  Not “Tiffany”.  Yes, I know it’s confusing.  I named her after a character in Nodwick (a geek comic).  If you don’t know who the character Piffany is, no amount of explaining will ever work.  If you do know who Piffany is, then I don’t have to explain it.  😉  (Or go and start reading the comic at the link.  I’ve linked to the first comic.  If you like it, you’re welcome, but don’t complain to me about the time sink. 😉 )

Piffany is a great dog.  She works really hard to earn her keep in my house.  I have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) among other things.  Piffany knows the signs when I’m going into a flashback, or when the paranoia or other issues are getting to me.  If she notices I’m about to go into a flashback before I enter one, she jumps up on me and starts licking my face.

Yup, dog kisses.  That’ll stop a flashback right quick.  If I’m already in a flashback by the time she notices (and she does have to sleep sometime), she’ll cuddle on me so she’s there when I come out of it.  Also, she has woken me up out of night memory dreams by licking me until I can come out of it.

She’s pretty important to me.

So, when I found out that she had a major allergy issue with many grains and additives that were in many premade dog foods and dog treats, I knew I had to do something.  After much searching on the web, I finally came up with my own recipe for dog treats that she loves.  Seriously, she will do almost anything for one of these treats.

The problem with making dog treats for her is that when I’m making human treats (aka, cake, cookies, etc), she thinks they are for her, and can’t understand why I won’t give her any!

Pumpkin Applesauce Dog Treats

1 cup pumpkin puree (I used pumpkin left over from juicing pie pumpkins in the fall, but a good canned pumpkin, with no additives should be okay)
1/2 cup applesauce (again, I usually make my own, but a no sugar, no additives applesauce works well)
1/2 cup coconut oil (if you don’t have coconut oil, olive oil works fine)
2 tablespoons honey
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 and 3/4 cup oat flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350* F.

If you are using the coconut oil, microwave it for about 30 seconds so it’s liquid.  Make sure your applesauce, pumpkin, and egg are room temperature, or it will solidify the coconut oil immediately.

Mix the applesauce and pumpkin together with a whisk.  Add the coconut oil, and blend well.  Beat in the egg and the honey.  Add the baking powder and the oat flour one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Finally, add the coconut flour and cinnamon, mixing it well.  It will be stiff, but still pretty sticky.  Set it aside for a few minutes.

At this point, take some parchment paper and cut it to just bigger than your cookie sheet.  When you are done with that, the coconut and oat flour should have absorbed all the liquid.  Spread it into your pan as best as possible.  I usually start with the hands and get it spread out, and then I finish using a rolling pin.  You want it to be about 1/4″ thick all the way through.  Once it’s all the way spread out (and you will probably have to take the parchment out of the pan for the rolling), score the dough into bite sized pieces appropriate for your dog.

Bake for between 30 to 45 minutes.  You want to see no moisture in the middle of the treat.  When it has no moisture in the middle of the treat, it will be a nice, hard, crunchy hardtack style biscuit, once it cools.  Or, if your dog doesn’t like the hard treats, then you can cook it for only 25 minutes.  It will be soft, but you’ll have to keep the treats in the refrigerator.  Piffany prefers the hardtack style biscuit.

This will make a TON of treats for a small dog!  It keeps well in an airtight container or ziplock bag.

Grape Sauce for a Roast

This sauce is redacted from The Opera of Barolomeo Scappi.  The original recipe called for grape must, but as I do not live in wine country, I was not able to find any in my area.  All research I did said a good substitution was to simmer grape juice until it was 1/3 it’s previous volume.

Start with 1 cup of grape juice, and simmer it until there is only 1/3 cup left.  To the Must substitute, add 2/3 cup of roast juices, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon tapioca starch, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, dash of cloves, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a simmer, and let simmer for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened.  Keep warm until serving.

This is a good sauce for either beef or pork roast.


Glazed Eggplant

This past weekend, I was the head cook for an SCA feast.  Along with the very necessary and appreciated help from some friends, I put out a four course, fifteen dish middle eastern dinner.  After the event, I was asked for the recipes for 3 different things.

The number one asked for recipe was the Glazed Eggplant.  So, for anybody who wants it, here it is:

Glazed Eggplant

1 eggplant
1/2 cup flour
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/4 garlic powder

Olive oil for frying

For the glaze:
1/3 cup gluten free soy sauce
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter

Peal the eggplant and cut into 1/2″ to 1″ slices.  Mix the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a shallow bowl, then dredge the eggplant slices in the flour mixture, making sure to cover all sides of the eggplant.

Fry in pan with olive oil until brown on both sides.  Put onto a cookie sheet, single layer, and into a warm oven while you prepare the glaze.

There are two secrets to the glaze:  one is the gluten free soy sauce.  This soy sauce is made from only soy beans, no wheat or wheat flour as is in the regular soy sauce, and it does have a different flavor.  It can be found in most local grocery stores in the asian food section.  The other secret is the butter.  When you add butter to a sauce, it finishes the sauce, makes it velvety, and gives it a bit of a rich mouth feel.  Do not substitute margarine for the butter, as margarine won’t give it the same taste or feel.

Put the soy sauce, red wine vinegar, and pepper into a shallow pan and heat on medium until it simmers.  Allow the sauce to simmer until there’s about 3/4 of the sauce left, then turn down the flame.  Stir in the butter until the butter is melted and the sauce is smooth and silky looking.

Put each piece of eggplant into the glaze, and then onto your serving plate.

This should serve four, but you may be surprised and find it’s not enough for one!

Note:  After a friend asked about it, I realized I’d messed up the amounts of soy sauce and red wine vinegar.  I have it fixed now.  My apologies to anybody who tried this before and had inedible food because of it!

New Year, New Energy

It has been a while since I’ve posted on here.  I’m sure all two of the people who follow me here have been wondering what’s up with me.

The short story is that I was suffering from a very bad case of depression.  I did not work on very many things last year.  I didn’t write about anything because of the depression.  I have found two things that are doing a good job in helping the depression go away; one is an over the counter supplement, the other is good counseling from a counselor who regularly kicks my butt.

In the past couple of months, I’ve started to want to work on my art and my crafts again.  I’ve pinned so many things to Pinterest, things that inspire me, things I want to do, and things that just look really cool.

As I said in the title, it’s a new year, and I have new energy.  I have decided the first things I’m going to work on and complete are my UFOs — those UnFinished Projects I have laying around.  Some of them are over 11 years old (I’m looking at you, Cloak of Doom), some about 6 years old (a lavender suit jacket I started to make and then never finished), some a year or less (lace cuffs and a couple of doublets that have been cut out for a couple months).

So my first priorities are to finish those things.  After that, I want to really start thinking out of the box with my art.  Yes, as long as I do period recreations on my needle lace, there will be a certain amount of flat things (handkerchiefs, cuffs, things like that), but I also want to do some 3-D needle lace items.  I want to push my limits on color and shape and size, while staying in needle lace.

Yeah, that’s a lot for a year, but I’ve got the energy now to do it all.

Hope all y’all will enjoy the pictures I put up, as soon as I take pictures of everything!

Lace completed!

I have completed two new lace pieces, just in time for the competition I’m entering tomorrow.

Queen’s Prize Tourney, in the Outlands, is being held on Sunday, Feb 17.  The rules are that anybody who does not have a Grant Level award or higher (Flower of the Outlands, Laurel) or who is not a Lady of the Rose, may enter one A&S item.  The entrant has to be sponsored by an above mentioned award holder.

As I have not been honored yet with any of the above awards, I am entering a piece of lace.   Yes, I know, you are all shocked to find out I’m entering some lace.

White lace

This lace is made with 35/2 linen.  It is one motif from a pattern from a German Needle Lace Pattern book, from 1597.  I still have to sew the lace onto some fabric and make a small pouch out of it, but that won’t take me very long to do.

At Queen’s Prize, there’s a competition that’s being sponsored by the Ladies of the Rose.  This competition is for “A Rose in Any Medium.”  So, of course, I made a lace rose.  Again, I’m sure you are all surprised.

lace rose

This was made with DMC tatting thread, and the pattern was a modern pattern of a Tudor Rose.  Where the wrapped bars are in the pink and rose areas, I wish I’d put needle weaving instead.  I think it would have made it look nicer.  However, I’m pleased with the overall look of the lace.