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Archive for the ‘bacon’ Category

Longtime readers may remember that I restrain myself from eating fresh tomatoes out of season. Nothing compares to a homegrown summer tomato, in an heirloom variety that may not ship well but tastes delicious on your table. For those beauties, I like the simplest preparation, such as slices on my dinner plate with a little salt and pepper. If the tomatoes are really good, come morning I still want more. That’s when I make a fried egg and tomato sandwich, with or without (turkey Canadian) bacon. Butter some good bread and then toast it while you slice the tomatoes and lightly fry an egg. I like mine open-faced and over easy.

This is really my sandwich, straight out of the camera, no retouching or boosting the color.

That’s a classic brandywine tomato, by the way, plus a country egg, of course.  If you don’t like yours runny, break the yolk in the pan and cook it a bit more.  It’s tasty that way too!

What’s your favorite simple summer breakfast?

Copyright 2011 Ozarkhomesteader.

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Previously I posted a recipe for a traditional pizza with a whole-grain crust.  Today’s recipe is a deep-dish pizza in a cast-iron fry pan, although you could use a standard pie pan if you want.  I was inspired to create this pizza after we got some great local shiitake mushrooms and some wonderful tomatoes for slicing along with really good raw milk cheddar.  The dough produces a consistence much more like bread than the previous recipe that I posted, thanks to more gluten and a little oil.

Begin by making the dough, so it can rise while you prep everything else.

The Dough

  • 1 tablespoon yeast (less, like a teaspoon, if you have all day for the dough to rise–if you want pizza in an hour or two, use the full amount)
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons wheat gluten
  • pinch of sugar
  • pinch of salt and/or Cavender’s Greek Seasoning
  • optional:  dried oregano, thyme, and rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon olive oil

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, at about  bath-water temperature.  If it feels like good bath-water to you, the yeast will like the temperature too.  Let the yeast hang out in their bath for a few minutes and then add the remaining ingredients.  You can make this dough in no time if you use a food processor, but your hands will work fine too.  In a food processor, you know you’re done when the dough forms into a ball.  Do not over-process!  Now put the dough in a well-oiled bowl more than twice as big as the dough ball, cover lightly, and set aside until the dough is almost doubled.

Toppings

  • Canadian bacon (we used nitrite-free turkey bacon), cut into quarters
  • thickly sliced shiitake mushrooms, 1-2 cups
  • thinly sliced tomatoes, at least 2 tomatoes–you could also use one can of good tomatoes, drained, whole so you can slice them yourself, otherwise the chunkier the better
  • mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheese, about 2-3 ounces, shredded

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Clean and slice the shiitake mushrooms.  In a 10-inch cast iron skillet on the stove top, lightly brown the mushrooms in a little olive oil to release some of the mushrooms’ liquid.  Now remove the mushrooms, add a little more oil, and lay the tomato slices out evenly across the skillet.  Bake the tomatoes for 15-20 minutes to get them to release their liquid.  Turn off the oven if you want.  Now remove the skillet from the oven, set aside the tomatoes (drink any juice they leave!), re-oil the skillet, and let it cool for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, flatten out the dough ball on a lightly floured surface, until the dough is about ten or eleven inches around.  Let the dough rest and rise a bit more while the cast iron skillet cools so that you can comfortably touch it.  Now gently fold the dough in half and transfer it to the skillet and spread it to within a half inch or so from the edge. Preheat the oven to 450 degree F now while the dough rises in the skillet.  Once the dough is puffy again, put the skillet in the oven and let the dough bake by itself for about 15 minutes on the upper oven rack.

Take out the skillet and add the toppings, starting with the meat, then a tiny bit of cheese, then the mushrooms, then most of the cheese, then the tomatoes, then the rest of the cheese and Italian herbs (oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil). Increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees F and bake the pizza for about 15 minutes on the top rack again, until the top is browned.  Check for overly juicy tomatoes periodically.  Should the tomatoes still be producing juice, you can lift the edge of the pizza to let the tomato juice drain underneath.  It will start to bake off as soon as the juice hits the hot skillet, and it’ll give your crust a nice flavor too. Let the pizza cool for a few minutes to help the cheese set up, and then cut the pizzainto wedges using a bread knife or pizza wheel–or both, as we did, using a wheel for the middle and the bread knife for the edges.  Eat and enjoy!

Of course, you can choose any toppings that you want, but we think heartier toppings work best with such a thick crust.  Some of the Chicago pizzerias where deep dish originated use a whole disk of cooked sausage as the base of toppings.  You can even get seafood in a garlicky white sauce with few or no tomatoes.

Do you make deep-dish pizza at home?  What are your favorite toppings?

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Short excerpts with full URL and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome.  Please ask for permission to use photographs.

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Every now and then I get a hankering for an old Southern favorite.  This week it was angel biscuits, also known as “honeymoon biscuits” because with yeast, baking, and baking soda, they are just about guaranteed to rise, even for novice bakers.  The original recipe featured ingredients we don’t use for health reasons–like lard or Crisco–but the recipe is easily adaptable.

makes about two dozen biscuits–or a bit more

Ingredients: use organic if you can

  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (Yes, you can use a hard wheat flour, but your results will not be as good.)
  • 1/4 cup wheat gluten  (Gluten is only bad if you’re sensitive to it.  It’s just wheat protein, and it helps whole-wheat flour build flexibility.)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (okay to use a little less)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk or kefir (You really, really need this ingredient, although Alton Brown has tried a lemon juice-milk substitute on his show “Good Eats” that looked like it might work in this recipe.)
  • 1 big tablespoon of yeast, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of warm water (See here for why you want water the temperature of a good bath.

Method:

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Use a whisk to mix ingredients together and add lightness to the mixture. Now cut the cold butter in quarters, lengthwise, and then slice the butter thinly.  Work the butter into the dry mixture quickly, using a pastry cutter (shown here).  If you do not have a pastry cutter, you can use a fork, but it will take longer, and you’ll need to take breaks to keep the butter cold.

After you cut in the butter, the dry mixture should have a mealy texture.  Now stir in the dissolved yeast and buttermilk or kefir, just until you’re sure that the yeast is fully incorporated.  Stop.  Do nothing else except cover the bowl securely.  Biscuits, like pie dough, do not like to be overworked.  There is enough liquid in this mixture that the dough will sort of knead itself.Can you see the bits of butter?  That’s good!  Those will help build flaky layers when you roll out the dough.  Now walk away for several hours or even overnight.  Here’s another dough picture while you wait.  Mmmmmm:  bits of butter.

Okay, let’s assume you’ve given the dough a chance to rise a bit.  It’s relatively cold in our house right now (high 60s F), so I just left the bowl out overnight (securely covered).  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.  Now you need a bread board (or any clean surface).  Take out about a third of the dough.  Dust some flour on your bread board, and plop on the dough.  Add some more flour to the top of the dough (just a dusting!), and roll the dough about 1/2 inch thick–or maybe just a little thicker.

Using a round cutter (or old clean can, both ends removed, as you see here), cut out biscuits.  Scoop up the leftovers, reform them, and cut more.  

Put the biscuits on a shiny pan and bake on the middle oven rack at 450 degrees F for about 10 minutes (in other words, 9-12 minutes).  Oven temperatures vary, so please watch closely.Take the biscuits out of the oven.  Admire them.  Smell the combination of biscuit and yeast.

Think about whether you need butter.

No, no butter for me, thank you.  I’ll just add a slice of turkey ham steak and some apple butter.

Oh–you’re wondering what to do with the leftover dough?  Refrigerate it and use it.  It’ll keep well for about a week, getting more yeasty the whole time.  You could have another round of breakfast biscuits with sausage and red-eye gravy.  (From start to finish this morning with dough I left out (covered) on the counter last night, rolling out and cutting, and baking, I had biscuits in less than 20 minutes.  I’d have had them more quickly if I’d thought from the start to use the toaster oven instead of the big oven.)

Consider making smaller biscuits to fill with cream cheese and pepper jelly for appetizers.  Add slices of cooked bacon (or turkey bacon) and tomato with lettuce in the summer for a good Southern BLT lunch.  Serve biscuits with dinner instead of rolls.  You’ve got lots of options!

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Short excerpts with full links to this URL and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome.  Please contact me for permission to use photographs.

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