Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Rustic Parsnip Bread #BreadBakers

Mashed parsnips add a sweet earthy flavor to this rustic parsnip bread. Caramelized parsnips on top of the loaf bring a little wow factor, making this a great bread for your holiday table.

This may sound silly to a bunch of you but I didn’t discover parsnips till I was an adult. I remember the first time I saw them in a Sydney market and I assumed they were pale carrots until I read the little sign in front of them. Parsnips. The name helped me not one bit.

But I am adventurous cook and eater so I bought a bunch and took them home. Those were the days before internet but I did have a paperback cookbook from the Australian Women’s Weekly series with traditional Australian recipes to consult. Parsnips could essentially be used anywhere a carrot could. In sweet cakes or savory stews. My favorite way of eating them is roasted in the oven or caramelized in a hot pan. Either way emphasizes their native sweetness.

This rustic parsnip bread features parsnips two ways, mashed in the dough for flavor and moisture and tucked in slits on top for flavor and decoration. This recipe is adapted from Julia Child’s rustic potato bread, which I first made more than fours ago, back when I had just moved to Cairo and found myself in a freezing cold house without a working heater. An ideal time to turn the oven on! Read that post for tips if you are trying to get yeast dough to rise in a cold kitchen.

For the dough:
3/4 lb or 340g firm parsnips
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup or 60ml tepid reserved parsnip water (80 – 90°F or 26.7 – 32.2°C)
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/4 – 2 1/2 cups or 280g – 310g flour

For the optional topping:
1 parsnip about 3 1/2 oz or 100g
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon flakey sea salt

Peel your parsnips for the dough and cut them into cubes. In a small pot, cover the parsnips with water and add 1 teaspoon of the salt.

Cook until they are fork-tender. Reserve 1/4 cup or 60ml of the parsnip water and then drain the parsnips well in a colander.  Pop them back in the pot and mash them with a potato masher while they are still warm, getting them as lump free as possible. Set aside to cool.

When the parsnips are cool, stir the yeast into the parsnip water, warming it again if necessary. It needs to be warm enough to activate the yeast. Leave for about five minutes.

Meanwhile, put your cool mashed parsnips in the mixer and beat briefly to loosen them up.

Add in the olive oil, the yeast/water mixture and the last teaspoon of salt. Mix until the liquids are incorporated into the mashed parsnip.

Change your mixer attachment to the dough hook and start adding in the flour.  This mixture is going to be very dry at the beginning.

Just trust and keep mixing. That said, you may not use quite all the flour. I had a few tablespoons left when I decided that the dough was a good springy texture. Knead for by machine for a few more minutes.

For the first rise, put a bit of cling film on the top of the mixing bowl and allow the dough to rest for 20-30 minutes at room temperature.

To caramelize the last parsnip, peel it and cut it into thin, short pieces.

Drizzle the olive oil in a small non-stick pan and gently fry the parsnip pieces until they are golden on all sides.

Sprinkle in the sugar and keep cooking the parsnips till the sugar has melted and started to brown a little. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Once your first rise is done, roll the dough into a ball and then press out into a round disk.  Starting at the end closest to you, roll the dough into a tube.  When you get to the last turn, make sure the seam side is down and fold the sides under.

Place the roll of dough on a lined baking pan and use a sharp knife to cut slits in the top.  Tuck the caramelized parsnips into the slits. Drizzle any oil left in the pan over the top then sprinkle on some flakey sea salt.

Cover the loaf loosely with cling film and put in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Put a pan in the bottom of the oven about halfway through the preheating process. This pan gets really hot and a little water added just as you put in the loaf creates enough steam for a lovely crust.

When the second rising is done, put the baking pan with the loaf in the oven. Quickly pour a 1/2 cup or 120ml water into the pan at the bottom and close the oven immediately.

Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until the crust is nice and brown and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped.  Check halfway through and rescue any parsnips that have fallen off so they don’t burn on the pan, which would be a terrible waste when you could be eating them. Cover the loaf loosely with foil for the remainder of the baking time if you feel the parsnips or the bread is browning too fast.

If you are so inclined, you can check the internal temperature to see if the rustic parsnip bread is cooked throughout. It should be about 200°F or 93°C. in the middle.


This month my Bread Bakers are baking breads with root vegetables of all kinds, with thanks to our host Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories. We've got both sweet and savory bakes for you today, so something for everyone!
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Cheesy Jalapeño Corn Casserole

If you are a fan of cheese and spice and corn, you are going to love this cheesy jalapeño corn casserole. The whole dish is great, but that golden top is the absolute best part.

I must confess that in my family we have a standard set of sides that must be made for Thanksgiving and Christmas and this cheesy jalapeño corn casserole isn't on that list. Not because it’s not perfectly spicy, cheesy and delicious. No, it's because that list was set in stone many years ago and no one is allowed to alter it. In fact. lest we forget, the list is kept at the front of my recipe binder, in a little pocket. Along with the turkey and stuffing, we must have rich creamed potatoes, sticky sweet potatoes, maque choux, green beans with baby new potatoes and, of course, my aunt's best pecan pie for dessert. Is it only my family that is so set in our ways?

If your family is not as persnickety about the holiday menu, you’ll want to add this casserole to your line up. Never mind, if they are. Just make it for a Sunday Supper.

2 tablespoons butter
1 fresh jalapeño or part thereof- depending on your heat tolerance - minced
2 tablespoons onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, about 12 oz or 340g
4 cups or 540g fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 eggs
1 cup or 240ml milk

Use one tablespoon of the butter to sauté the onion, garlic and jalapeño in a small saucepan, over a very low heat, just until softened, about 5-7 minutes. The onion doesn’t need to color, just soften. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C and use the other tablespoon of butter to grease your casserole dish.

Toss together cheese, flour, mustard powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add in the corn and mix well. Set aside.

Beat the eggs and whisk in the milk and the sautéed vegetables.

Pour milk/egg mixture in the corn/cheese mixture; stir well to blend evenly.

Pour the combined mixture into your buttered casserole dish. It looks a bit dry on the top but don't worry, the egg and cheese will rise up and created a beautiful almost soufflé like texture throughout.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes or until puffy and golden on top. The middle should be ever so slightly jiggly when you take it out and will firm up as it cools.


Check out all the other special tasty side dishes our Sunday Supper tastemakers are sharing today! Many thanks to this week's host, Caroline of Caroline's Cooking and our event manager, Renee of Renee's Kitchen Adventures for all of their hard word.

Fruity Side Dishes

Other Side Dishes

Potato Side Dishes

Vegetable Side Dishes


Monday, October 31, 2016

Orange and Plum Muffins #MuffinMonday

Shiny deep purple plums and bright oranges vie for my attention in my local grocery store these days. How could I resist baking them both into orange and plum muffins?

I briefly considered making sugar plums with orange zest and putting those into muffins. But, you know what, I am just too lazy for that. After all, once they are all cut up and mixed with muffin batter, who would know they had ever started life as sugar plums?

I brought these muffins round as a welcome for a new neighbor who moved in across the street while I was away last month. Shortly after, I got an iMessage: “Thank you so much for the muffins. My daughter doesn’t usually like muffins but she’s on her second one now!”  As you can imagine, that made my day! May they get as good a reception in your house.

2 cups or 250g flour
3/4 cup or 150g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest 1 orange plus juice
4 small ripe, yet firm, plums (Mine weighed about 8 3/4 oz or 250g total, whole)
1 egg
Enough milk to orange juice to make 3/4 cup or 175ml
1/3 cup or 75g butter, melted then cooled

Optional: Pearl sugar for decoration

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C. Put liners in a 12-cup muffin pan or grease it well with butter or non-stick spray.

Cut the pits out and chop the plums in small pieces.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Zest your orange into the dry ingredients and stir gently with a fork to combine and separate the zest strands from each other.

Add in your chopped plums and stir till they are well coated with the flour mixture.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, melted butter, and the 3/4 cup or 175ml orange juice/milk mixture.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just mixed.

Divide batter among the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle on some pearl sugar, if desired.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.


We are so glad that you’ve stopped by for Muffin Monday! We've got some beauties for you this month.

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

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