Easy Country-Style Bread ~ Mix, Rise, Bake in One Pot!

It's a super easy country-style bread recipe from Jacques Pepin.
Jacques Pepin is a genius!

Not only is this a no-knead dough, you literally
stir the ingredients together, let rest, and refrigerate
then bake ~ all in one pot.

It is crucial to use a non-stick pot
in order to keep this a one-pot recipe ~
I used a 4-quart saucepan.

Although you could mix up the dough in a bowl,
then transfer to a greased baking vessel ~ that would
defeat the idea of a simple one-pot bread, yes?

Here's what you need and how to do it:

Non-stick pot
2 1/4 cups lukewarm water
2 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast
4 cups flour

In a non-stick pot combine all ingredients with a wooden spoon. Place
lid or cover on pot and proof at room temperature for 60-90 minutes.

Break proofed dough down (deflate), replace lid and place pot 
 in the refrigerator overnight; 10 to 14 hours or so.

When ready to bake, remove lid and place pot in
(preheated) 400º(F) oven ~ bake for about 40 minutes
until deep golden brown. If you're not sure, an instant
read thermometer inserted in the hot-from-the oven 
bread should read between 190º to 200ºF. 

As you can see, this is truly a "country-style" loaf with coarse
crumb, and wonderful airy holes to capture your spread
of preference. 

Jacques give a great tutorial for making the bread during 
the first few minutes of this youtube video:

As Jacques suggests, I mix up the dough about an hour 
before retiring for the evening, then it's ready to
bake in the morning.

It's excellent toasted, and you can also
vary the recipe by adding herbs of your choice, minced onion,
roasted garlic, etc. to the dough while mixing 
the flour, yeast and water together.

One of my favorite ways of serving it ~


Still warm from the toaster smeared with room temperature
 Cambozola cheese and a drizzle of
local honey. (Cambozola is a cow's milk cheese,
a combination of a French soft-ripened triple cream cheese
and Italian Gorgonzola.)  It's very creamy and much
milder than a straight blue cheese.

For a printable copy of the recipe, you'll find it HERE.

If you give this one a try, I hope you love it as much as I do. :)

Thanks for stopping by today and I hope you have a wonderful 
weekend everyone.  xo ~mari



Black Olive Tapenade

I think it would be safe to say you must like
assertive flavors in order to enjoy tapenade ~
and I do.

But wait ~ before I lose some of you! 

If you cannot tolerate strong flavors but like the idea of
tapenade, Giada De Laurentiis has a
wonderful recipe for a toned down version, using only canned 
black olives and sun-dried tomatoes. 
You can find the recipe here.

As far as authentic tapenade it originated in southern France (Provence), 
it's name comes from the Provençal word for capers (tapenas.)
Traditionally made with mortar and pestle it is
a blend of capers, black olives, olive oil, and anchovies.
Most of the tapenade I have tasted also include
a  clove or two or raw or roasted garlic.

Though apparently not traditional, some versions
include pine nuts or other nuts, and I've seen a version that
Jacques Pepin demonstrated using a dried
figs, or apricots for a unique flavor twist.

Some add brandy to the mix as well, or finely grated
orange zest, and there are versions of green olive tapenade, 
as well as combinations of green olives/black olives 
and artichoke hearts, too.

This time rather than a mix of oil cured black olives and 
Kalamata olives I used only the latter, and as always 
added a bit of thyme, a little lemon juice, 
and freshly ground black pepper.

I've never tried making it with a mortar and pestle 
(a labor of love!) I simply pulse the ingredients up
using a small food processor, so easy and it
keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for a 
couple of weeks.

Called the "butter of Provence", I usually serve 
it spread on toasted baguette slices, 
but it's also good with crudites and as a condiment 
in sandwiches.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Some additional suggestions for use from
around the web:

* As a filling for Palmiers; spread puff pastry dough with
tapenade and roll as for palmiers, slice and bake in hot oven,
best served warm.

* Spread tapenade on pizza dough, top with feta or
mozzarella cheese and tomatoes, then bake.

* Flatten chicken thighs or breasts, spread with tapenade,
jarred roasted peppers, and cheese if desired, then
roll and bake.

* As a topping for grilled or broiled fish.

* Tossed with hot angel hair pasta along with diced
tomatoes, finely diced or shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
and fresh basil leaves.

* Add a little tapenade to your omelet filling.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

If you would like a reliable recipe for basic, traditional
Tapenade you can find a printable version by
following this link.

Thank you for stopping by today!
~Mari :)


Tequila-Lime Grilled Chicken

We're savoring the last bit of the warm weather of the year, 
so the outdoor grill is getting quite a workout. 
Actually we grill year round (when it's not raining), 
but honestly, for me,  it's a lot more enjoyable when 
the weather is warm. :)

I made this a few nights ago ~ I think this is the second
or third time I've made this chicken recipe  (from
Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa). Ina suggests using
boneless, skin on chicken ~ I had boneless-skinless so that's
what I used, and just cut the grilling time so they would
still be moist. 

The marinade is also wonderful for
grilled shrimp, too which I've done before. But I 
happened to have a few uncooked shrimp from the previous 
evenings meal so I marinated those, threaded them on skewers 
and placed them on the grill a few minutes before the 
chicken was done. (Cluck and Surf, anyone?)

Usually if I'm using black beans in a salad for example,
 I'll just use canned, but The Pioneer woman recently shared
this recipe for Refried Black Beans, cooked from scratch, 
as well as the one for the Mexican-Style Rice Casserole 
and they are actually quite good. However, 
I didn't "refry" the beans, just served them 
out of the pot.  

I tweaked the rice recipe by cutting some fresh corn off the cob 
and stirred it in, just because I love corn in Mexican-style rice... 
it's a textural thing!  (A little bit of turmeric gives the rice a nice 
golden yellow color.) The recipe makes 12 servings,
so it would be good for a large family or gathering.
I reduced the recipe by a third, and there was
enough to accompany another meal for the two of us.

Of course you can just scoop the rice onto the plate;
this time I lined a couple of oval ramekins with plastic
wrap (with a little extra wrap hanging over the rim all the
way around, filled the ramekins with the warm rice,
pressing down gently, flipped the filled ramekins over onto
the plates the removed the plastic wrap ~ it makes
a neat presentation and takes only moments if
you have just a few plates to serve. 

If you click the links above, they will take you to the recipes 
on Food Network.

Thank you for stopping by for a visit today!



Quick and Easy Italian Plum Cake (You can use other fruit, too.)

This just proves, once again that delicious recipes need not
be complicated! I believe the original recipe may have
been from Martha Stewart but I found this one, said to
be an adaptation by a reader, on 
where it was first published in 2005, and has been 
popular ever since.


No need to arrange the fruit, unless you want to. :)
The sugar sprinkle adds a pretty sparkle and a delicate 
crispy crunch.

You mix the simple batter in one bowl with a spatula, pour into
a greased & floured cake pan, press
the fruit slightly into the batter, sprinkle the top with
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and bake.

We just harvested the last of the Italian Plums from our
tree, so that was my fruit of choice. The good news is
that you can use other fruits too:

Plums, Apricots, Berries, Peaches, Nectarines, Pears, 
Cherries, or a combination would all work in this recipe.
You can use frozen berries as well, don't thaw.

The sugar sprinkle adds a pretty sparkle and a delicate 
crispy crunch.

We've eaten it for breakfast, as a snack, and dessert ~
it doesn't last long around here!

So easy to put together that I made two one afternoon
one to keep and one to give.

If you would like a printable copy of the recipe,
it's over on my recipe blog ~ click here.

Thank you for stopping by! 
Blessings ~ mari


POSTCARD from the Garden ~ Gathering.

Our Chickens ~  we feed them, they feed us. :)

Blessings on this beautiful Sunday, friends.

xoxo ~m.



Lemon, White Chocolate and Basil Cookies

A friend of mine on facebook mentioned these cookies recently ~
They sounded so interesting; I had lemons on hand, white chocolate 
in the pantry, and  it's basil season here so I didn't really need an excuse. 
I felt compelled to mix up a batch! :)

They are very good; nice and lemony and the basil
adds a nice little background flavor of not-quite-mint.

If you're looking for a cookie that is a little different, I
think you might like these. After baking they freeze
very well, too. They are fabulous with hot tea, ice tea
or milk.

Many thanks to Karen L. on facebook, and
Mia at Mia's Domain who developed the recipe!

You can check out Mia's beautiful blog here:

Lots of great recipes and mouthwatering
photos as well.

If you'd like a copy of Mia's cookie recipe you can
find it HERE on my recipe blog.

Thank you again Mia. :)

Have a wonderful day everyone, and thank you
for stopping by!

Blessings ~xo ~m.


Italian Style Chicken Breasts ~One Baking Pan. (It's a KEEPER!)

I've been on a Donna Hay recipe kick lately and, happily, I can't seem to stop. :)

There is a lot to like about Donna's style; her recipes are so 
flavorful, plus they are generally fast and easy to put together. 
And here's another one. Thank you Donna Hay!

"Italian Baked Chicken" is my new favorite. Although I think she 
introduced the recipe about a year ago it's new to me. 

It's very, very tasty ~ 

(It's a two part recipe ~ you partially roast some of the
ingredients, then you add the chicken and olives and
continue baking until done.)

Boneless chicken breasts, fresh tomatoes, 
whole garlic cloves (no peeling necessary), flat pancetta, cubed*, 
olives, oregano, fresh basil, a little
olive oil and freshly cracked black pepper.

The first time I made it I followed the recipe exactly:

I tossed the tomatoes, pancetta, garlic cloves and
oregano in a pan with olive oil, and baked in
a 400ºF/200ºC oven for 25 minutes, at
which point the chicken breasts, olives, and 
black pepper are added and baked for an
additional 20 minutes or until chicken is tender.

While the flavors were delicious, parts of the 
tomatoes and pancetta ~(or I should say, my substitute for pancetta)
 were overcooked by the time the chicken was cooked through. 
Although it still tasted good, some of the cherry tomatoes had
disintegrated and and stuck to the bottom of the baking dish.  
Being that I was a little short in the amount of cherry tomatoes required 
I had included some Roma tomato halves (they saved the dish and
 roasted up nicely.)

Later on the internet I found a video of Donna demonstrating
the recipe and realized what she refers to as "cherry tomatoes"
are closer to the size of (what we in the U.S.) refer to as between
walnut and l little smaller than a golf ball (or huge cherry tomatoes!) 
I find them here as (small) "tomatoes on the vine".

The second time I made it, I used tomatoes that were
like those described above (halved them) and proceeded with the
recipe, except that I reduced the initial roasting
time to about 12 to 15 minutes (your oven may be different,
so keep an eye on things) I believe my oven runs a little hot ~
In any case, the pancetta cubes should be getting crispy and
 the tomatoes should be roasting and shriveled.)  

Then I added the chicken and olives and continued baking for an additional
 20-25 minutes until the chicken was tender.

This image is just for illustration. 
If it were in real time, the (raw) chicken breasts and olives would be nestled among the 
semi-roasted tomatoes, pancetta/bacon/salt pork, garlic and herbs, ready to be put in the oven to finish baking.  
The tomatoes would have given up some of their juices and shrunk, pancetta/salt pork 
would be slightly crispy, and the garlic would have begun to soften.

The surface area of the baking pan you use, and the size of chicken breasts will all affect the baking time as well. 
The chicken breasts I used the second time were rather large, 
so I let the initial baking go a few minutes longer, then added the chicken.  
Ideally, the pan in this picture would have been a bit larger so the ingredients  wouldn't be so crowded, but I'm sure you get the idea.

*I did not have flat pancetta or slab bacon. Instead
I had some salt-pork in the freezer, so I thawed and used

(Left stacked together in clumps so they wouldn't over-brown.)

 It was pre-sliced (thick slices) so I cut it into crosswise strips and kept three 
slices or so of the crosswise pieces together so they wouldn't burn. 

To finish, the recipe suggested serving with some fresh Parmesan
cheese, I skipped that part and found it perfectly seasoned and
flavorful  just the way it was.

Hmm, I want you to know that I've taken longer to explain the recipe 
than it will take you to put it together!  

If you would like a printable copy of the recipe, it's HERE on my recipe blog.

Thanks for stopping by today ~ I love it when you leave me a
comment so I know you've come by.  :)

Blessings!  ~m.

P.S. For those of you looking for the Tulip cupcake/muffin liners I used with the Raspberry-White Chocolate Muffin recipe ~
You can purchase them at the King Arthur Flour website.


Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins

Proclaimed delicious! Another great recipe from Donna Hay.

I have one issue with the recipe though ~ I think the name is misleading.
I think of these as little cakes rather than muffins;
very decadent, indeed.  Too rich for breakfast or mid-morning
snack (in my humble opinion.) 

And without a doubt I would file this in the dessert category!

There is no butter involved, if that is important to you. The fat 
in the recipe come from sour cream and vegetable oil.

The recipe suggests using frozen raspberries, but I had
fresh on hand, so naturally that's what I used. Probably
the raspberries would have held their shape better with
frozen,  but I kind of like the smeary effect of the berries. :)

No matter, the combination of the tart berries and
sweet white chocolate is sublime! The recipe makes
6 large "muffins" (cakes) ~ so it is ideal for
smaller families.

If you would like a printable copy of the recipe
click here.

Thank you for stopping by for a visit today!

Blessings, ~mari xo


Grilled Burgers with Roasted Green Chile Aioli

For the Labor Day holiday (here in the US) on Monday I grilled 
 burgers using roasted Hatch New Mexican Chiles in two ways; 
as a spread as well as adding a few strips tucked beneath the burger. 

A vendor at our local Farmer's Market sells a variety of
 fresh peppers and they also roast peppers on site in a large, 
expanded metal, rotating drum fired with a propane burner.
I love the fragrance of the chiles roasting ~ sensory pleasure!! 

This past weekend I was happy to find they had 
Hatch New Mexican Chiles, warm and freshly roasted. :)
(You could use any mild, roasted green chile 
if you cannot find Hatch Chiles.)
This sauce/spread is also good served with slices
 of roasted pork, grilled chicken, shrimp, as well
as a spread on BLT sandwiches, and in chicken or
egg salad.

Here's all you need to make the flavorful Green Chile Aioli:

A cup of mayo, the chiles, roasted garlic, and a little
fresh lime juice.

Simply mince the peeled and cleaned chiles, and stir into the 
remaining ingredients.  I opted to mix it up in the 
small food processor instead, giving it just a couple of pulses.

Besides the Chile Aioli and chile strips, I served the burgers on 
crispy La Brea Bakery Torta sandwich rolls, a slice of 
Monterey Jack cheese (added a few minutes before removing 
the burgers from the grill), ripe garden tomato slices and fresh greens.

Oh, and I highly recommend McCormick's Grill Mates Hamburger
Seasoning (no compensation from the company ~ I just love
this seasoning for burgers!)

These were voted right up there among the best burgers we 
ever have had. 
They were very good ~ I hope you'll give them a try!

For a printable copy of the Green Chile Aioli recipe
click here.

Thanks for coming by today!

Blessings,  Mari xo

A Sampling of my food . . .


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