Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Edible Breadibles-- Baked Bread Bowls for Spicy or Grilled Chicken Salad (or Soups + Stews)

See, I've got a most delicious recipe for spicy popcorn chicken, but it's fried, so recently we've just pan-grilled strips of salt+pepper seasoned chicken in extra-virgin olive oil. (If you want it, though, the recipe for spicy popcorn chicken is yummier, and mum will be the word.)

Either way, these bowls filled with salad and chicken strips are one of mine and John's favorite meals. Perfect texture, perfect taste. Fill them with salad and chicken, prepared the way you favor, after they're removed from the oven. They're ideal for stews and soups, too.


1 cup warm water
2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons yeast
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

Four small ovenproof bowls (I use stainless steel mixing bowls, and they work fine, but small casserole dishes or something similar would be best.) Experiment with bowl size and dough thickness to reach your preference. Ours usually turn out crunchy in the thin parts and chewy in the thicker parts. Mmmm.

1. Combine the warm water, yeast, sugar, and salt, and let sit until foamy.

2. Combine with flour and knead until smooth and elastic.

3. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

4. Shape over 4 small, greased, overturned, metal or ovenproof bowls and let sit, covered, until puffy.

5. Mix egg yolk and water and brush over dough.

6. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.** 

7. Remove bread bowls from ovenproof bowls, turn right-side-up, fill, and munch.

**Note-- for soups and stews, I usually bake for about 12-15 minutes before taking them off the bowls and placing the bread bowls (without the bowls) back into the oven for three more minutes.  This bakes and hardens the inside of the bowl so that the bread bowls are more firm and stable for stew.

Chicken and Mushrooms in Ale

I used a big bag of delicious shittake mushrooms I found for 69 cents on a reduced rack, but I later discovered they were @ $7.00/lb. normally, so regular mushrooms must do from now on. If you can find flavorful mushrooms for a good price, though, wild or in a store, those would work best. I cut back on the amount of chicken (because it's just the four of us),
but I increased the corresponding amount of mushrooms, onion, salt, pepper, and ale, and I may have cut down a bit on the thyme. I just used regular Worcestershire sauce, but in a lesser amount and only to taste. If you have white wine, that would probably work as a substitute, too.
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves (1 and 1/2 lbs.)
1/3 cup chopped onion (more)
4 tsp. olive oil
2 and 1/2 cups chopped mixed mushrooms (more) (you could probably use canned mushrooms, even, adding them at a later point, but just use much less b/c they won't shrink when cooked)
1 and 1/4 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup brown ale or amber beer (more-- can be non-alcoholic; dark ale is the most flavorful)
4 tsp. white wine worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. dried thyme or 1 tbsp. fresh
1/4 tsp. salt (more)
1/4 tsp. pepper (more)
12 oz. fettuccine or other pasta
3 tbsp. flour or enough cornstarch to thicken sauce desirably
Rinse and pat dry chicken. Brown chicken and onion in oil in a skillet, turning once, about 2 minutes per side. Add mushrooms, 3/4 cup chicken broth, the ale or beer, worcestershire sauce, thyme, and salt+pepper. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat and cook uncovered about 5 minutes or until chicken is not pink.

Meanwhile, prepare fettuccine or other pasta. Remove chicken breasts from skillet and keep warm. Shake or blend remaining broth and flour (or cornstarch) and pour into skillet. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook one minute more. Place chicken back in skillet and serve with pasta.

Coca Bread

This is a sweet Spanish flatbread that I haven't made in a winter or a two. It's heavenly eaten warm, and I think it's about time for a pairing with tea or cocoa. Now, where's my chef gone off to...

1 tablespoon + 1 tsp. yeast
1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 and 1/4 cup sugar
5- 6 cups flour
1/4- 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk, room temperature
4 large eggs
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Combine yeast and warm water. Let stand 10 minutes till foamy. In bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, 4 cups flour, and salt. Stir in yeast mixture, milk, 3 eggs, and 1/2 cup melted butter till combined. Work the rest of the flour into the dough with your hands, 1/4 cup at a time, until it's no longer sticky. Knead until the dough has a smooth, satiny texture and springs back when you poke it, @ 5 minutes.

2. Place balled dough in a buttered bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about one hour.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease two baking sheet with unmelted butter. Cut dough in half. Place each half on a sheet and press into an 8" x 17" rectangle. Allow dough to proof for 15 minutes.

4. Whisk remaining egg with water and brush onto the dough. Generously sprinkle dough with remaining sugar and drizzle with honey. Bake until golden and crispy, about 18 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool a bit. Eat, oh, just eat it!

Savory Oven-Baked Fish

1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. crushed basil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder, or more, to taste
1/2 tsp. salt

Italian bread crumbs

Mild, skinless, white fish fillets (pollock, haddock, etc.)

Combine all ingredients except bread crumbs and fish. Roll fish pieces in butter mixture and then immediately coat with bread crumbs. Bake, on an ungreased cookie sheet, about 15 minutes in a 450 degree oven, or until fish flakes.

Serve with seasoned, oven-baked potato wedges and yummy green beans. Or garlic bread. Or lots of milk.

Beef Bulgogi

This is a spicy Korean dish, made even spicier and more delicious if you double, like we do, the amount of marinating sauce and spices it calls for. This dish is traditionally wrapped in lettuce leaves, but it's also served over white rice. We use brown rice, and it's yummy. We also use a different amount of spices each time and add julienned carrots to it, so I guess what we prepare isn't really beef bulgogi at all, but more of a spicy beef stirfry. Oh, well. It's still good.

1 and 1/2 pounds steak, trimmed of excess fat
---Double ingredients from here on out, if you wish, to strengthen the marinade----
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon hot chili sesame oil (we don't have it-- just use olive or vegetable oil)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh peeled ginger (or ground ginger, to taste)
2 medium red onions, cut into wedges (or, if you're lame like us, regular yellow cooking onions)
1 green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, sliced into 1/2 inch strips (when in season, a mixture of green and red bell peppers is better)
some julienned carrots, if desired
4 teaspoons vegetable or olive oil
We add lots of dried red pepper flakes, too. A must to balance out the brown sugar if you're not using the hot chile sesame oil!

And don't forget to cook enough brown (or vitamin-sapped white) rice to eat with the beef mixture.

1. Freeze beef for 20 minutes (or start with already frozen beef). Slice diagonally across the grain into 1/8 inch-thick strips. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger. Place onions and peppers (carrots, too, if using) in a small bowl and toss with half the soy marinade. Toss steak in remaining marinade. Let stand at least 15 minutes.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the marinade with onions and peppers (and carrots, if using). Cook until softened. Transfer from pan.

3. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Cook the meat mixture, turning often, until done. Return vegetable mixture to pan and toss with meat mixture.

4. Serve over brown rice. Skip the lettuce.

Chicken Vegetable Soup with Noodle Balls

One dead and plucked chicken, cooked whole in its skin (reserve broth)
a large onion, diced
carrots, chopped
potatoes, cubed
green beans, cut
celery, if desired, sliced

lots of little noodle balls, recipe found below

ground sage
ground thyme
minced, fresh garlic
salt + pepper, in copious amounts
a dash of cayenne pepper for zip
chicken bouillon, if needed
a dash of parsley
*When in season, use chopped, fresh herbs of your choice. They make it even better.

Boil chicken in its skin. When chicken is cooked, remove and discard skin, then cube the chicken, reserving the fluid (chicken broth) for the soup base. Cook carrots, potatoes, onion, and celery in chicken broth until almost tender (keep skins on the potatoes to seal in nutrition). Add beans and cook another five minutes. Add spices, to taste, and let simmer while you make the noodle ball fixings. Add noodle balls and cook another few minutes until done. Serve with garlic bread if you want to feel too stuffed.

** If you have no whole chicken available to make chicken broth, cook + cube the cut you have and use chicken bouillon, to taste, for the chicken soup base. Even with boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, refrain from discarding any skin or fatty parts and boil them in water to make a type of broth.

Noodle Balls-- The Cheater's Way

To be fair, I'm including the real recipe for noodles, which is quite good, but, at the end, I'll give you my I'm-always-in-a-rush version.


2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 beaten egg yolks
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon oil

1. In a large mixing bowl stir together 1 and 3/4 cups of the flour and the salt. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture. In a small mixing bowl, combine egg yolks, egg, water, and oil. Add to dry mixture and mix well.

2. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (@ 8-10 minutes). Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

3. Divide dough into four equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 12" square about 1/16" thick. Let stand, uncovered, about 20 minutes. Loosely roll up dough jelly-roll style, cut into 1/4"-wide strips. Shake the strands to separate and cut into 2-3" lengths. Pass through pasta machine or hand-cut into 1/4" wide strips. Cut strips in 2-3 inch lengths.

4. To store cut noodles, spread on a wire cooling rack and let dry overnight or till completely dry, place in airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Or, dry the noodles for at least one hour and freeze for up to 8 months.
5. Cook for 1 and 1/2 to 2 minutes, a bit longer for dried or frozen noodles. Makes about one pound fresh pasta.


For one large pot of chicken soup, combine 1 cup flour and 1/4 tsp. salt in a medium mixing bowl. Make a well in the center.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg, @ 1/5 cup water, and 1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil. Dump egg mixture into the well you've made in the flour mixture. Mix well and knead until smooth-ish. Add more flour, if needed, to make an easy "noodle-balling" consistency. Remove small pieces of dough; using your hands, roll lots of tiny little noodle balls; plunk noodle balls into soup; cook for a few minutes.

Voila! In five minutes, you've got Noodle Balls in your Chicken Vegetable Soup!

Honey Oatmeal Bread

I think this is the lost recipe, Leah! It makes three loaves and isn't all that healthy, though it's yummy. You could probably experiment with increased oats and the addition of some whole wheat flour, too.

1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup honey
1 tbsp. salt
2 cups boiling water
2 scant tablespoons yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
8 cups flour
melted butter

Combine oats, 1/4 cup butter, honey, and salt. Stir in the boiling water. Cool to lukewarm temperature. Sprinkle yeast on 1 cup lukewarm water and stir to dissolve. Add yeast mixture to 2 cups flour and the oat mixture. Beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the rest of the flour until a soft dough forms that leaves the sides of the bowl. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and satiny (about 8-10 minutes).

Cover, in a lightly greased bowl, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Punch down dough, divide into thirds, and place in 3 greased 9x5x3 pans. Let rise in warm place until doubled. Beake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30-35 minutes more. Brush with melted butter, remove from pans, and cool on racks.

Drizzle with honey, if desired.