Cinnamon Bread! My Son Will Love It

cinnamon bread

Fresh Backed Cinnamon Bread

The other day when my son was here, we decided to make two loaves of our “no knead bread.” One as we normally do, and the other with cinnamon added. My son loves cinnamon, and we both thought it might be interesting to try a loaf with some added.

Well… it was ok. I decided to add a tablespoon of cinnamon and a tablespoon of sugar to the water, salt and  yeast, and mix that all together, and then add to the dry flour. But I forgot that cinnamon does not dissolve very well in lukewarm water. But we did our best, and certainly when we baked it, the scent of cinnamon went through the house and the taste of the bread was pretty good.

But not good enough for me. I was sure we could do better.  And cinnamon is such a wonderful spice that goes well with bread or toast.  It’s also high in antioxidants and has some really great things going for it as far as your heath (read more about the health benefits of cinnamon here) including possibly preventing cancer, helping with glucose levels in diabetes, and more.

Health benefits aside… the taste.. the wonderful taste of cinnamon! Cinnamon toast, cinnamon bread, cinnamon in my coffee, cinnamon in my hot chocolate. My son and I love the stuff. So much, I go through it pretty quickly.

So yesterday, I was looking for a recipe for a cinnamon loaf of bread that would taste better than what I had made. And I stumbled across this:  Homemade Cinnamon Bread. Oh, that looked good!

Well, it was good! There is some discussion about ensuring there is enough warmth for the yeast – and I too live in an old house that is way more than 100 years old and has little insulation. The kitchen is warm when the oven is on, but other than that, I keep the temperature pretty low to save on natural gas costs, and tend to wear a bulky sweater. When guests come, I do turn the heat up for them… I am not that inhospitable!

But I solve the heat problem when trying to raise doughs with yeast by putting it in the oven with the oven light on. That keeps the temperature of the oven at around 100 to 110F, and my yeast does quite well in that. (Note, I do not do this with the no knead bread I linked to above; it’s secret is a slow rise which is possible in conditions even under 68F).

Well, my loaf of bread turned out amazing to look at as you can see by the image above. How did it taste?

Awesome! And even better when I toasted a couple of slices and melted butter all over it!

My ten year old son is just gonna love this!

I won’t post the recipe as the it’s posted at the link I provided. Go visit and bake cinnamon bread!

 

A Dinner For A Cold Night

chili

Chili Simmering In My Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Outside my door, the winds are howling and snow along with sleet is falling – or blowing around if you prefer. It’s not terribly cold but in the wind, it feels quite bitter. The same sort of weather is supposed to continue for a couple of days, and when the weather is like that, I enjoy something substantial that will warm my insides.

Time for chili! I have no clue if I make mine like other people to do. I have to admit that I do like it spicy, but not so spicy that I cannot enjoy it. Too much spice burns my mouth, makes me sweat, and takes away from all the other tastes in the meal. So I do like it spicy, but not where the heat overwhelms everything else.

As you can see from the photo, I love my cast iron! This is simmering at the moment on my stove and when I finish this post, I will be having a big bowl. Over rice. That is another thing about chili in my house – I’ve just always had it over rice. It was the way my mom made it and I’ve just continued doing the same thing.

I don’t really have a recipe for it, but it all starts with about a pound of ground beef. Along with that pound of beef, there are some other standards like 2 cans, 28 fluid ounces each of diced tomatoes.  Of course there are kidney beans, but I also use black beans in addition to the kidney beans. I just like it that way. As well, I used dried beans to start with. And again, I don’t measure – it’s all done by approximate memory.

Tonights Chili Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • Approx. 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Approx 2 teaspoons chili powder (or more, to taste)
  • Approx 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • Black beans
  • Red kidney beans
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • A few dashes of Franks Red Hot Sauce (I just like the additional subtle flavour it adds)
  • 3 Celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 Fresh tomato, diced (just because it was in the fridge and needed to be used)

Method:

First thing in the morning, soak kidney and black beans by bringing to a boil, then simmering for an hour. Turn off the heat and let them soak for at least another 8 hours.

Pour enough olive oil into dutch oven on stove burner and heat on medium heat. Add cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper, stirring well.

Add salt, chopped onion and minced garlic. Then add the ground beef (mine was frozen ground beef) and brown thoroughly.

Add the two cans of tomatoes. Strain some of the water off the black and kidney beans that have been soaking and then add to the dutch oven. Stir well.

Add a few dashes of Franks Hot Sauce, then the celery, green pepper and fresh diced tomato.

Simmer for a couple of hours.

Enjoy either on it’s own, or as I do, over rice.

For me, there is no “right” way to make chili.  I am never exact with the ingredients, except I always use a pound of beef and two cans of diced tomatoes.  As the chili is cooking, I will taste it, make adjustments, sometimes add a bit more salt, or chili powder. Sometimes, if I have mushrooms, I’ll throw in some of those too.  And it always tastes good! Of course, I always make way too much for me to eat by myself at one sitting, but that’s ok. I keep some for the next day, and freeze the rest of it for another day!

Do you have a favorite recipe for chili that you always follow completely?

 

Spicy Chicken Leg Quarters With Preserved Lemon

chicken quarters

Chicken quarters in cast iron pan

I took out some chicken leg quarters (legs with back attached) out of the freezer the other day to defrost as I was going to cook them up yesterday. However, yesterday I came down with a wicked tooth ache and could eat nothing although I was starving. As my father used to say, “I’m so hungry, me belly thinks me throat is cut.”

When I woke up this morning, the toothache had subsided considerably and after a quick breakfast, I decided I was going to cook those chicken legs for my lunch.  I had no recipe, and just decided to try something along an old standard of mine, but with the addition of Moroccan preserved lemon.

If you’ve never heard of preserved lemon, you might want to look into making some for yourself. I had never heard of it myself until recently, and being curious, made a big batch up. It adds a wonderful lemony taste that is hard to explain, but much better than a regular lemon does. You can find out more about Moroccan preserved lemons here.

I also love using cast iron for my cooking, and I made this in a cast iron frying pan. They are fantastic because you can use them both on top of the stove or in the oven, and I think they give food a subtle taste that I enjoy. The particular frying pan I used will fit the lid of a cast iron Dutch oven that I own.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Chicken leg quarters
  • Olive Oil (I didn’t measure)
  • 1 Teaspoon cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 Teaspoon gara masala
  • 1 Teaspoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1″ of ginger root, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, sliced
  • Pulp from 1/2 preserved lemon, finely chopped

Method:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Pour enough olive oil into the skillet or frying pan to completely cover the bottom and heat on medium on a stove burner. When oil is hot, add the cumin, turmeric, gara masala, and paprika and mix well.  Add the oregano and continue to mix well. You want to have enough oil that you will be able to spoon it and drizzle over the chicken.

Add the garlic, ginger, preserved lemon pulp, and diced tomato and stir well as the tomato heats up.

Put the chicken legs in the skillet and brown both sides. After you’ve turned them, drizzle some of the oil with spices and preserved lemon over top of the chicken.

Add the leeks and green pepper on top of the chicken.

Cover with a lid and put into the oven for one hour.

I had this with jasmine rice and I drizzled some of the oil over the rice and the whole thing was delicious!

First Attempt At Moroccan Skillet Bread

moroccan skillet bread

Moroccan Skillet Bread Cooking On The Griddle

Yesterday, I needed a change of pace and wanted to do something different. One of the things I enjoy eating is a pita bread, and I came across this recipe for Moroccan skillet bread, also called “Rghayef” (no, I have no idea how to pronounce that, but I imagine it is an English rendering of an Arabic word).

Well, I did not pay enough attention to the photos! I did not end up with exactly what you see in the above link, but something a little bit different; yet still tasty enough that I gorged my belly on them! They were especially good right off the skillet, warm. I tried them with butter melting, honey, and olive oil… and I could put on some weight if I keep making these.

Mine ended up being thick enough that I could split them. There definitely was an air pocket inside after cooking, but I had to play around with the heat settings on my stove to get them to cook just right.

I know that I made mine a bit too thick. I did not flatten the dough balls enough.  However, what I ended up with was something that almost resembled an English Muffin, only smaller. When I split the resulting bread, the texture inside was very much like that of an English muffin, with the very airy bubbles.  I decided to try a couple of them toasted after I split them, and they were toasted, they were very much like what I would use to make a breakfast of a muffin with an egg and round sausage.

The biggest difference is that they just were not as thick.

So, I am going to try to make these again, in two different ways. I am going to try to make them to match the original recipe but also, I’m going to see if I have come across an inexpensive way to make something like an English muffin, so I don’t have to spend the exorbitant costs of those at the supermarket when I want one.  English muffins to me are a great way to make a quick breakfast or even as a snack, with a slice of tomato and then a couple of slices of cheese, melted on top.

One of the things I had to learn was how much yeast was in a package of yeast. The Moroccan skillet bread recipe called for two packages of instant yeast, but I just buy yeast in a bottle now.  Well, a package of instant yeast contains about 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast.