Monday, June 29, 2015

Asiago Sandwich Buns


                 It's's finally happening..Summer has arrived! Not only has she arrived but promises to dazzle us with nearly 100 degree temps a few days this week. That's big time for us,folks. So in preparation for said high temps and massive humidity I am sure,I am heating up my kitchen now so that I don't have to do it later on. I've got plenty of bread,rolls and flat breads in the freezer. I've got watermelon chillin in the fridge,apples,banana's,lettuce for salads and yogurts in a variety flavors to eat for a light snack.

I am so ready for this week. My garden is ready and has been ready for a few months now. Summer has finally reached The Netherlands!!!!!

We have a store here that loves to have themed weeks..We get American week,Spanish week,German week and Italian week. For American week you can get things like jelly beans,gross flavored fry and hamburger sauce,various ice cream flavors and mini t-bone steaks and fake hot dogs they try to claim as being American. A few weeks ago with was Italian week and I was finally able to score some Asiago cheese! I'd never had it before but a few of my expat friends swore by this cheese and kept mentioning their love for the Asiago bagel from Panera Bread. Now, I've never been to a Panera Bread but anything in bagel form with cheese is always ok by me.

I found several recipes to try that used the cheese and decided to go with this recipe. I made the buns larger so that we could use them for the main part of our meal and was so glad I did. I made them for the first time on Saturday and we absolutely loved everything about the bun. The cheese on top was perfect and the buns were fluffy and soft and made the best sandwiches ever. I baked them again this morning and popped them into the freezer to be used later on this week.

Asiago Sandwich Buns

1 cup Warm Milk
1/2 cup Warm Water
1 TBS Honey
2-1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1-1/2 tsp. Salt
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Finely grated Asiago Cheese

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the milk,water,honey and yeast. Stir to combine and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Add in the oil,salt, and 3 cups of the flour. Turn the mixer onto speed 2 and mix with the dough hook attachment for 7 minutes while adding in remaining flour in 1/4 cup want a smooth and elastic dough. Transfer the dough bowl to a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size,1-2 hours.

Gently deflate dough and using a weight scale,portion out 4 ounce pieces of dough. Shape into a tight round ball and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Gently press down on each dough ball to slightly flatten them ( they are going to get huge in the oven so don't worry about flattening them out..or don't flatten's up to you!). Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise 30 mins-1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375/190. Brush the tops of each bun with milk or an egg mixture and sprinkle the cheese on top. Gently press the cheese onto the bun to make sure it doesn't fall off while baking.

Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Devour.

** Not feeling the ginormous bun size? make them smaller. I decided to go big but you can make them slightly smaller by dividing the dough into 10 pieces..or go smaller. It's up to you**

Yield: 8 Large Sandwich Buns
Source: Little Kitchen,Big Flavors 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Polar Bread

               My newest obsession is flat breads. I don't know what it is about them exactly but I can't stop making these. I stash them away in the freezer and serve them with everything I can think of or turn them into whatever I want..flat bread pizza? yes,please! flat bread sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar? why not! 

Polar bread is a Swedish flat bread and a snap to make. You can change up the size and the spices and use it however you like. I usually end up tossing in dried chives and various spices and then I roll them out really big and them smear cream cheese on it and then add a variety of meats and cheese or scrambled get the idea!!

Polar Bread

400 grams (14 oz) White Bread Flour or All-purpose Flour
50 grams (20 oz) Rye Flour
225 grams (8 oz) Luke Warm Water
50 grams ( 20 oz) Plain Yogurt or Sour Cream
4 tsp. Sugar or Honey
1 tsp. Active Dried Yeast
1-1/2 tsp. Salt
1-2 tsp of Fennel or Anise Seeds or Chives..whatever you want!

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flours. Make a well in the center and add in the water,yogurt,honey,yeast,salt,and spices of choice. Knead on speed 2 for 7 minutes...adding in additional water or flour as needed. The dough will be slightly tacky at the end and that is ok!
     Place the ball of dough into a lightly greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size,about 1 hour.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into either 6 or 8 portions. Shape each into a tight ball and set aside. On a lightly floured surface roll each ball out to around 1/4 inch thick..or go thinner if you like. It's really up to you. Prick both sides all over with a fork and place onto baking sheets that have been dusted with flour. Cover and allow to rise 40-60 minutes.

Dry fry bread in a large pan over medium heat for around 3 minutes on each side. 

** If you don't have rye flour just substitute it for another flour in equal quantities**

** Sometimes the bread will puff up like a pita pocket and that is ok**

I love bread.

Yield: 6-8 Flat Breads
Source:The Bread Kitchen

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Take A Peek Wednesday: Container Garden Update!

                  One of my biggest complaints about living in The Netherlands is the weather. We can have one amazing summer and the next 3 or 4 can be total crap when it comes to warmth..So far this summer has blown the big one. We've had two whole days of 90 degree weather and next week it will be dropping into the 60's..with rain of course because it wouldn't be Holland without it.  I've had a feeling it would be like this so I decided to put up my large green house months ago to save myself several crying sessions when my veggies wouldn't grow.

 Normally I would have almost everything outside but instead you can only see my golden raspberry bush in the middle,carrots are off to the upper left side and the bottom left are my potatoes. At some point along the right side there will be huge sunflowers! It's my first time growing those and hopefully by the end of summer I will have gigantic brightly colored sunflowers. This year I concentrated on only two main crops and those are zucchini and cucumbers..everything else is a bonus if it grows.
         I've got several types of zucchini growing in all stages.

    I've been able to harvest two fat zucchini's and instantly turned those into fritters for lunch. They were so delicious!
    I'm growing two types of cucumbers and this one is called Patio Snacker Cucumber. I grew them last year in my big front window! The second type is a lemon cucumber and I grew those about 4 years ago. They are so neat looking and will take pics of those when they show up.
       What's going on in your garden and how has your summer been?