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Bread, Bruschetta & 1 Month!

Wow. A month can really fly by. I can’t believe it’s been an entire month since I started this! Actually the truth is that I can’t believe I’ve kept up with this for a month. I shouldn’t speak too prematurely – check back here a year from now and let’s see when my most recent post was… I kid. I’m thoroughly enjoying sharing recipes with family, friends, and others! I suspect I’ll be at this for a while. Well, as long as people keep asking for recipes! It’s amazing the things that can happen in a month: both my future sister-in-law & kyle’s sister have moved back to town (yay more family!); one of my best friends gave birth to her second child (yay more babies!); some friends have traveled throughout Europe and we’ve booked a trip to Nova Scotia for the summer; we’ve had lots of family come to town for visits; we got iPhones (FINALLY!); and the sun has come out, the snow has melted, and summer is just around the corner. Yes, it’s been a good month.

One of my favourite moments of the month was making Jim Lahey’s No Knead Bread for the first time. I realize this recipe has been out and about on the Internet since 2006 – blogged to death – but I just finally got to this. The wait mostly had to do with the lack of appropriate cookware to pull off the recipe as Jim states it should be done. We were very grateful to receive a Le Crueset Dutch Oven for a wedding gift…however the store took 8 months to finally get it to us. Then we were moving, so it sadly got packed up not too long after we had the lovely cast iron in our hands. And since the transition was a long one, the little bugger was packed away for quite some time. But this month, once the packing, visiting, changes at work settled down I could get to this gem.

The method Jim uses is simple. The ingredients only include Flour, Salt, a teensy bit of Yeast, & Water. And you only need a medium bowl, a spatula, measuring cups/spoons or scale, cast iron or enamel Dutch Oven, & a cooling rack. Oh, and little bit of patience. You have to let the flour & yeast come alive and ferment for 12-18 hours before doing anything. Then you have to let the bread cool for at least one excruciating hour to complete the baking process. That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do – I wanted to tear into that little boule so bad. I admit: the first one I pulled out of the oven made me so proud ” I Made This!” This must be how new parents feel. No?

I’m not going to give the recipe here, or talk much more about it. Because as mentioned, this bread has been talked about on almost every food-related website over the past 5 years … So if you want the recipe without buying Jim Lahey’s book, check out the original New York Times article that started the internet craze. But I do highly recommend picking up this cookbook, because he goes into great detail about how he developed his method, why it works, and some extra things to consider when making this + other tasty variations and recipes.

While it’s only been little over a week since I first made this, we’ve pumped out 3 boules. Two for us and one for my parents (to thank them for being the awesome people that they are!). We’ve ate it plain, with avocado smeared on it, with prosciutto, roasted garlic & baked bree, with oka, mozza, blue, & gruyere cheeses, and with a roasted tomato salad to create bruschetta.

I’ll leave you with a recipe for making this hot bruschetta topping – perfect for those in-between days before summer truly arrives. If you have leftovers, it’s excellent heated up in a saute pan on medium heat, then tossed over some cooked linguine. Sprinkle with some parsley & parmesan and PRESTO! Dinner is served.

Oven Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

1/2 small onion, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp basil leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a small saute pan over medium-high heat. Toss onions into pan. Saute for 3-5 minutes, until lightly softened. (you can skip this step and put the onions in raw – however, I like to take the edge of the onions and start to get them sweet. Plus you can do this while chopping up the rest of your ingredients)

Toss together the onions, tomatoes, garlic, balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbsp of olive oil, salt & pepper. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until the mixture is bubbly and the tomatoes are softened. Add the basil leaves, and taste to see if it needs more salt. At this point you can add a tiny bit more balsamic vinegar and olive oil to brighten up the flavours (but not necessary).

Top your toasted/grilled bread with this and greedily enjoy.

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