12 April 2009

Blogs, Bread, and Beer

Welcome to my first blog. I've been wanting to blog (mostly about food) for a while now, ever since Sweet Cheeks introduced me to hers. (You should check it out, it's pretty sweet!) Brianne officially got me addicted to food blogs. The first few days it started out as something nice to browse on the internet when I had some time to kill in the morning before work...but soon it became a full blown addiction. I no longer wanted to view food blogs, I NEEDED to. Then I thought, I love to cook, and I love to share my food; maybe if I show my far away friends what they are missing, they will drive hundreds of miles to Maine to visit me more (Hint, Hint). That's right, I have to tempt my friends with food....*sigh*

Anywho, let's get on to the food. I think I'll show you what I made, and then post the recipes at the bottom. Let me know if you like it like that.

So I've been planning on attempting to make bread for a while. I was one of those silly people who somehow managed to avoid cooking with yeast, until recently. I made pizza dough a few weeks ago and that turned out awesome, and aside from the first pizza I dropped on the floor, it gave me that extra boost of confidence to try...BREAD!

For my first bread I didn't want to take on anything too ambitious, but you know what? I'm still proud. I found this recipe through numerous other blogs, from a book called
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I'm pretty sure I'll be purchasing this book soon.

***Warning - This post is DEFINITELY not Kosher for Passover***

My pretty first bread

While the bread was cooking, I got thirsty. And being that it's all sunny and warm out today, a beer sounded delicious. I wouldn't think to show you this, but I included it in the title of this post, and it sounded better than just "blogs & bread". I'll get better at this, I promise.

blue moon

Then I made some spinach artichoke dip. I've never made it before, and I don't know why, because it was soooo easy. It tasted awesome on my bread and reminded me of The Cup's. I made a whole bunch and froze it in small ramekins, that way I can just take them out and pop them in the oven when I want.

spinach artichoke dip

Here are the recipes:

Artisan Bread
Adapted from ”Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough (*you can replace about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of white flour with any whole grain flour with great results).
  • Cornmeal
  1. In a large bowl, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups warm water. Add flour, and stir to combine completely. Let dough rise in a warm place for at least two hours, until it rises and collapses (up to 5 hours - or even overnight won’t hurt it). The dough may be baked at this point, or refrigerated for later use.
  2. Cover dough, but make sure it is not airtight - gases need to escape - and place in fridge. When you are ready to use it, throw a small fistful of flour on the surface and use a serrated knife to cut off a piece of the size you desire. (The authors recommend a 1 pound loaf - which means cutting off grapefruit-sized piece of dough). Turning the dough in your hands, stretch the surface of the dough and tuck in under. The surface will be smooth, and the bottom with be bunched.
  3. Dust a pizza peel (or any flat surface - I use a rimless cookie sheet) with cornmeal. (This prevents sticking, and adds a nice, rustic crunch. You can use flour instead, but you’ll need to use a very generous dusting). Allow dough to rest in a warm place for 40 minutes - longer (up to an hour and a half) if you use some whole wheat flour in place of the white, or if you make a larger loaf.
  4. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees with baking stone (or overturned baking sheet) inside on the middle rack, plus a shallow pan on the top rack. Throw a small fistful of flour over the dough, slash it 2-4 times with a serrated knife (in a cross, a tic-tac-toe, or a fan), and slide it into the oven, onto the baking stone. Throw 1-2 cups of tap water into the shallow pan, and quickly shut the oven door to trap steam inside. Bake for 30 minutes, or until crust is well browned and bread sounds hollow when you knock on the bottom.
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Adapted from: Alton Brown

  • 1 cup thawed chopped frozen spinach (I used 10oz frozen)
  • 1 1/2 cups thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts (I used 14oz canned)
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (eyeball)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (eyeball)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (eyeball)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (eyeball)
  1. Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 1/2 cups water until tender. Drain, squeeze out excess liquid.
  2. Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until hot & soft. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and serve.

See??? Easy!!!


  1. I love it! I'm so proud! The bread looks amazing...as does the dip. I especially like the warning that it isn't kosher. You bad Jew.

  2. I might consider catering if you overnight me a 3-in-1 sub.