Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Homemade Brown Bread

We were running low on bread recently and I didn't have a trip to the grocery store planned for a few days - so I decided to make some homemade bread.  It had been awhile anyways.....a long overdue treat.

I had just spotted this recipe in a Taste of Home cookbook from 1999 and it made me think of my friend Jenny.
See, Jenny was our neighbor across the street for 3 years in VA and quickly became a dear friend, as well as Corban's piano teacher.  Our kids loved to play together and we spent many a summer evening standing outside chatting in the driveway while occasionally chasing our toddlers and watching the older children ride bikes up and down the sidewalk.  Jenny is a great bread baker and there were several times that she would drop by with a freshly baked loaf, just because.  How's that for a good neighbor??? :)

Anyways, one of the breads she made had oatmeal in it.....and I really loved it.  I had never baked a bread with oats in it before and it was just so delicious.  I totally need to get that recipe from her.
When I read this one, I thought maybe it was similar to what she had made....so I couldn't wait to try it.

What's interesting is that while the bread has a cup of oats in it, after they're soaked in boiling water for awhile and mixed into the dough, you really don't even notice them in the finished loaves.  The addition of both molasses and brown sugar make this a lightly sweet bread that tastes amazing just plain, without butter.

I think it's not exactly like Jenny's bread, but I have a feeling her family would love it as much as mine did. I wish I could take her a loaf.  (of course, now that I'm in Arkansas and her family has just moved to Germany, that would be exceptionally difficult).

Homemade Brown Bread
Yield: 2 loaves

1-1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup old fashioned oats
2 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. bulk yeast (or a 1/4 ounce package active dry yeast)
3/4 cup warm water (110° - 115°)
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
4-3/4 to 5-1/4 cups flour (I used 3 cups white whole wheat and 2-1/4 cups all purpose)
Melted butter

In a medium bowl, combine boiling water, oats, butter, and salt.  Cool to 110-115°.
In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Sprinkle with sugar. Add oat mixture, brown sugar, molasses, and 3 cups of flour; mix well. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Divide in half and shape into two loaves.  Place in greased 9-in x 5-in x 3-in loaf pans.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.  Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to cool on wire racks. Brush with melted butter.

Source: Adapted slightly from Taste of Home 1999 Annual Recipes

Monday, February 10, 2014

Jalapeno Popper Dip - SRC

Y'all have undoubtedly guessed by now that I have a major sweet tooth.  Like, it takes up my whole head sweet tooth.  It's a real problem.  

But if there were ever an appetizer that would tempt me to indulge in it instead of having dessert, this is it.
Well, in all seriousness, it's hard for anything to compete with a dish that features 3 (!!) kinds of cheese, bacon, butter, and the scrumptious flavor (but not much heat) of jalapenos.

"I just want to dive into that dip!" exclaimed my friend after she sampled it.
I wanted to join her.
And our husbands did too.
The kids didn't go crazy for it, but that was really okay, because the four adults who were there managed to eat at least half of it during the Super Bowl (which none of us were watching).

And you know what?  While the dip was really best with corn chips, it was also totally awesome on some leftover steamed broccoli the next day.  Which made me feel like I was really making healthy choices. Clearly I have issues. 

So many thanks to Heather, who blogs at Join Us, Pull Up a Chair, my Secret Recipe Club assignment for this month. She has lots of delicious sounding recipes like Sausage Stuffed Zucchini (can't wait for summer to try that one!) and Apple Glazed Pork Tenderloin.  I'm also planning on making her Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup this week, which sounds ridiculously yummy and might even get my children to eat cauliflower without complaints!

But this dip....ohhhhhhh, this dip.  I'm still drooling over the thought of it a week later and am looking for the next excuse to make it.  Preferably a gathering where there are people to share it with, but not so many people that I don't get my fair share.  :)

Jalapeno Popper Dip

Note: Use care when handling jalapenos - the seeds and membranes can cause some serious burning issues on your fingers.  Speaking from experience here. I usually hold the cut jalapenos with my hand inside the plastic bag from the store - since I don't have food-safe gloves on hand.

2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup light mayonnaise
8 pieces of bacon, cooked and chopped (I used turkey bacon)
6 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375°.  In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients (except for the topping ingredients). Pour into a greased 2 quart baking dish.

In a separate bowl, combine the topping ingredients with a fork and sprinkle over the cream cheese mixture.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown.  Let rest 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with crackers, chips, or vegetables.

Source: adapted slightly from Join Us, Pull Up a Chair

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