Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Homemade Bagels

As many of you know, I love bread, love love LOVE bread.  One of my most favorite breakfasts is a good toasted bagel with cream cheese.  Seriously, my mouth is watering right now.  I know that bagels are not the most healthy breakfast, but it is definitely a splurge that I indulge in every few months.  I have really enjoyed learning how to make bread, rolls, muffins, but bagels...slightly intimidated.  One day, I decided to man up and try it out.  It was an ultimate failure.  The bagels were hard, dry, and slightly shrivelled looking.  I had attempted to make the bagels more healthy by using whole wheat flour.  Obviously this was a bad idea.  I was somewhat defeated, and my bagel craving was not satisfied.

A few months later, I decided to have another crack at it using bread flour.  The result was the absolute opposite: puffy, golden, satisfying breadiness.  Here's how I did it:


4 cups of bread flour
2 tsp instant yeast
1 tbsp of sugar/honey
1 tbsp of canola oil
1 tsp of salt
1 1/2 cups of warm water

** If you want to make a certain flavors in your bagel dough, add it now.  These bagels were plain with seasonings and cheese added on the top after they were boiled.


Mix all of your ingredients together in a bowl.  This is the labor intensive part!  Knead your dough by hand (a stand mixer with a dough hook would work well too) for 10 minutes.  Dump the dough onto a cutting board and cut the dough into 8 pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball.  Let the dough rise for 20 minutes.

Once the dough has risen, take a dough ball and roll it between your fingers to make a snake (this would be a fun activity to do with a child.  It is very tactile).  Once the snake is the length of your two hands laid flat, grab the dough with one hand and wrap it around your fingers.  Smush the ends together to make an "O" shape.  Repeat with the remaining dough balls.  Let the dough rise again for 20-40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Heat a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add half of the bagels to the boiling water.  The dough will rise to the top and boil each side for one minute.  Remove the first batch of bagels from the water and repeat with the second batch.  This is the point that I added the cheese and seasonings to the top of my bagels pictured above.  Get a cookie sheet, line it with aluminum foil, and spray it with non-stick spray.  Place your bagels on the sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.  Flip the bagels and continue to bake for another 10-12 minutes until the tops are golden brown.

I know it is difficult, but let the bagels cool for a good 20 minutes.  Cut the bagels, toast them up, and serve with cream cheese, peanut butter, jam, butter... the possibilities are endless!

Matt and I recently went to the Mississippi Delta with his family to visit his grandparents.  I made a batch of cheddar bagels and cinnamon raisin bagels.  They were a hit!  Everyone was very impressed, and little did they know how easy they were to make.  The best part about making bagels for people is that you don't eat the whole bunch.  The worst part about making bagels for people is that you don't get to eat the whole bunch : )

Monday, June 10, 2013

Curry Chicken with Peas

Do you know that feeling when you are just bored with food, bored with the same old things you always make, bored with your regular recipes?  This is the recipe that gets me out of this funk and inspires me to create something new.  Cat Cora introduced me to this Indian dish in her Cat Cora's Classic's with a Twist cookbook.  She calls it Curry Chicken with peas; I call it fantastic!

I made it especially for some of Matt and my friends who recently had a beautiful baby girl.  We love to make dinner for newly "parented" friends and hold their sweet bundle while they eat together.  My mom always told me how much it meant to her when friends would offer to hold one of us so they could just eat... at a table... without a baby in their arms.  It was such a simple thing that meant a lot to her.  To make it even better, it so happens that these friends have travelled all over the world and have adventurous palates.  I knew they were the perfect people to whip this meal up for.   This is my adaptation of Cat Cora's Curry Chicken with Peas.

Curry Chicken with Peas

3 chicken breasts
3 TBSP olive oil
3 TBSP curry powder
1/2 red bell pepper
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, diced
1 can of lite coconut milk
1/4 cup of water
1 cup of peas

Heat a large skillet over medium high-high heat.  Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan.  Cut your chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes.  Stir the chicken together with the curry powder, salt, and pepper.  Cat covers the chicken  at this point and refridgerates for 4 hours.  I hardly ever remember to do this, but feel free to do this if you think about it.  Add half of the chicken to the pan and sear on all sides.  Remove the chicken from the pan and place it on a plate.  Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to your pan and add the other half of the chicken and the bell pepper.  Sear the remaining chicken and remove it from the pan.  

Add the remaining tbsp of olive oil along with the diced onion.  Saute until translucent.  At this point, add the chicken and their juices to the pan along with the coconut milk and water.  Stir the mixture together, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the cup of peas and stir everything together.  I serve the chicken over rice and pita.  Enjoy!

              Justin with sweet Corrine
                                                                                            Emily and Emilee     

The votes are in!  Happy plates all around!  Justin and Emily, we feel so blessed to have y'all in our lives, and loved meeting your beautiful daughter.  I can't wait for us to get together again.