Two variations of the same recipe – One sweet, one savory
Have you ever tried pull-apart bread? I saw this recipe posted by King Arthur Flour in a savory version layering garlic, herbs and butter between thin layers of dough. It looked so delicious I absolutely had to try it. I then decided to bake a sweet version of this recipe by spreading Nutella in the layers instead of garlic and butter. It is a positively beautiful bread and so delicious.
The recipe calls for two tablespoons of potato flour which I think is essential in making a soft bread that doesn’t dry out too quickly. The bread can be wrapped in foil and placed in a sealed plastic bag to stay fresh for three days.
Pull apart bread requires time to make. The dough comes together very quickly but requires 90 minutes for the first rise and another 90 minutes for a second rise after the loaf has been formed. I decided to make the savory garlic and butter version when I was having some friends over for dinner. I started to make the bread early in the day and the second rise was done by 4:00pm. My friends weren’t due to arrive until 6:30 and I wanted to serve the bread fresh from the oven. I put the loaf in the refrigerator after the second rise was complete. Putting dough in the refrigerator won’t reverse the rise but it will slow down the yeast. I took the loaf out a half hour before I baked it so that it would be room temperature when it went into the oven. The pull apart bread came out great. This pull apart bread is so beautiful to serve and the buttery garlic layers in between the dough ensures equal flavor in every bite.
Next, I decided to use the same dough recipe but used Nutella in the middle of each layer to create a breakfast version. My son Max could not get enough of the Nutella bread. Three mornings in a row he woke up and warmed a piece of the pull apart Nutella bread to have with his coffee. The dough worked equally well with the sweet version as it did with the savory.
I like to make this dough with my hands, not a mixer. Mix the ingredients together as instructed and form it into a shaggy ball. Place ball on the counter and knead the dough until it comes together and is smooth and slightly stick. You do not want a dry dough. The dough should be stick but not wet.
After the dough has risen to about double in size divide the dough into 2 pieces. Roll each piece into a circle that is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter or top of a glass to cut out disks that are 3.5 inches in diameter. You want disk to be about the same width as the loaf pan. If your disks are too small just roll each one out a little more before you put the filling on.
You will have leftover dough after you have cut out the circles. I like to roll pieces and tie knots with the dough. Place knots on a parchment lined baking sheet and let rise until double in size. Bake in 350 oven for 10 – 15 minutes until light brown. When knots come out of the oven toss them with softened garlic butter. You can also let them cool and place them in a plastic bag and freeze them for another day.
Fresh baked bread with layers of garlic and butter OR Nutella
Prep Time15 minutesmins
Cook Time25 minutesmins
Course: Breakfast, Main Course, Side Dish, Bread
Cuisine: Italian, American
Keyword: bread, breakfast
2 Standard loaf pans (8½x4½x2½)
4cupsall purpose flour
Filling Option 1
1garlic clove peeled and minced
½tspfresh parsleychopped fine
Filling Option 2
Heat milk, butter, sugar and salt in a sauce pan until butter melts. Do not boil
Let milk mixture cool to lukewarm
When milk is luke warm pour it into a mixing bowl and add yeast and eggs
add half the AP flour and potato flour mix until incorpoated then add rest of flour
form dough into a shaggy ball and place on work surface
knead dough by hand until very smooth. Should take 5 or 6 minutes
place into a lightly greased bowl and cover with a kitchen towel
Place in a warm place and let rice for 90 minutes until double in size
lightly grease (2) 8 inch loaf pans with butter OR line them with parchment paper
when dough has doubled in size press down gently to deflate
divide dough in half and work with one half at a time
roll into a circle that is ¼ inch thick
cut (12) 3½ inch circles out of the dough using a round cookie cutter or top of a glass
You can roll each circle a little more after it's cut out so it fits in the loaf pan
cover half of one side of circle with filling and fold circle in half
place folded side down in loaf pan and continue to line up circles in pan
cover with plastic and a kitchen towel. Place in a warm place and let rise for 90 mintues
preheat oven to 350
bake loafs uncovered on middle rack for 25 minutes until golden brown on top. If browning too quickly tent loaf with foil.
Remove from pan and serve
Wrap leftovers in plastic and foil and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. Tip 2: You can make recipe through the second rise and place in refrigerator if you would like to bake the loaf later. Remove loaf from refrigerator 45 minutes before baking to bring to room temperature.Tip 3: Roll leftover dough into 3 inch rods and tie into knots. Let rise on a baking sheet for 90 minutes. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes until golden brown. Toss knots in meted butter with garlic and herbs
A bit of spice and a touch of heat makes this a perfect side dish for grilled chicken, meat or fish
I adapted this recipe from Mexican street corn. Mexican street corn is corn on the cob that has been brushed with a mixture of sour cream, mayonnaise with Cotija cheese, lime, chili powder and cilantro. I wanted to lower the calories and remove the corn from the cob to make it easier to eat when serving a group. I added black beans for nutrition, color and because I love black beans but you can absolutely leave them out if you prefer a solo corn dish.
What kind of corn should I use?
Using fresh corn cut off the cob is ideal. Fresh corn has a sweet bite that is unmatched by frozen or canned. Summertime is corn time so I strongly encourage you to use the fresh corn when in season but in the winter you can use corn that has been cut off the cob and frozen. Please don’t use canned corn. It is much too soggy for this recipe. Visit a local farmstead in August and buy a bunch of corn to cut off the cob and freeze in plastic bags so you have fresh corn all winter long. Corn is a great starch to add to lots of side dishes, salads and soups. Corn is high in carbohydrates but it does also contain many healthy nutrients like Vitamin B, fiber, magnesium, iron and zinc. The sweet flavor of corn is perfect in off-setting spicier dishes.
How should I serve this dish?
This corn and black bean dish is very versatile. It can easily be reheated or eaten at room temperature. It is also extremely low in calories and big on flavor. Serve it alongside simple roasted chicken enchiladas. Buy a roasted chicken, pull meat off bone and place in pan, add 3/4 cup of my homemade enchilada sauce and 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, fill chicken in flour tortillas and place in a row in a baking dish that has a half cup of enchilada sauce on bottom. Top the enchiladas with remaining enchilada sauce and more shredded cheese. Cover and bake in 350 oven for 15 minutes until warm.
This dish also works great as a vegetarian entree when served with flour or corn tortillas on the side to fill with the corn, black beans and a touch of squeezed lime juice.
Serve this corn and black bean dish as a salad at lunch with grilled shrimp and avocado on top. It can be made earlier in the day so it is ready when you want to serve lunch.
The addition of Tumeric and cumin adds brightness and helps to make this soup packed with flavor and health benefits. The soup is vegetarian and vegan. I like to classify this soup as a power soup because it is high in nutrients like vitamin A, potassium, fiber and protein and low in fat. It tastes great, looks beautiful and is very healthy.
What’s the Big Deal about Tumeric?
Tumeric contains curcumin which has powerful antioxidants. Curcumin boosts brain power, reduces inflammation and can lower your risk of heart disease. Tumeric has been around for over a hundred years but the extreme heath benefits have only recently been studied and recognized. Tumeric is also what gives curry its beautiful yellow color. I love to develop recipes that I can add tumeric to so that the dish not only tastes great but is also healthy for you.
Yellow vs. Green Split Peas
Yellow split peas and green split peas are both delicious. I tend to think that a green split pea soup works best with ham since it is a sweeter split pea and balances well with salty ham.Yellow split peas have an earthier flavor that works well with full flavor spices like turmeric and cumin. This yellow split pea soup is vegetarian and vegan.I puree the soup so that all the flavors blend completely and result is a smooth earthy flavored soup. If the soup is too thick add more vegetable broth to thin it out. The yellow split pea soup is perfect for the spring and summer because of the beautiful color of the soup. It is perfect to serve as a light lunch or dinner with a leafy green salad and some crispy bread. Yellow split pea soup freezes well so you can make a big batch and freeze it in individual portions that you can defrost on those long summer days when you don’t feel like cooking.
Chefs all over the world rejoice when ramps are in season. The truth is that ramps are in season for a very short period of time and signify the beginning of Spring. Ramp season typically only lasts a month or so from early April until May which is part of the reason why they are such a delicacy.
So What is a Ramp?
A ramp is an entity of its own. Some call them wild leeks. Ramps have a thin stalk that looks a bit like a scallion with one or two flat leaves. The flavor is a cross between an onion and garlic. Ramps have a very distinctive flavor that is not found in any commercially harvested vegetable. Ramps are foraged which makes them rare and adds to their delicacy. They are the first green that emerges from the soil after a long winter. Ramps can also be a little costly due to their scarce supply.
How to Prepare Ramps:
Ramps can be used in wide variety of ways. Once the bulb at the end is cut off the entire ramp can be eaten. They are delicious sautéed in butter and eaten with fried eggs or as a side dish with steak or fish. You can also use them in quiche with a little bacon. I have decided to make a caramelized ramp Chimichurri sauce that works well with fish or can be used as a marinade for skirt steak. Grilled swordfish with avocado is perfect with Caramelized Ramp Chimichurri. Make sure you save a little on the side if you are using the Chimichurri as a marinade so you can serve it as a sauce. I love how vibrant and green this Chimichurri is. It just screams spring to me.
Ramps come from the ground and the soil can get caught in them. Run the ramps for several minutes under cold water to remove soil. Then cut off bottom stem and pull back the outer skin and rinse again.
Similar to a bolognese but instead of using ground meat we use bone-in short ribs that are roasted until the meat is so tender that it falls off the bone. This sauce starts on the stove and finishes roasting in the oven. Low and slow is the key here. The result is a rich savory meat sauce that goes perfectly with a flat long pasta like fettuccini or pappardelle. You need to use a flat noodle so the sauce has something to cling to. The sauce combines flavors of sweet and savory with a touch of spicy. I like to top the pasta with an individual sized ball of burrata weighing 2 ounces.
Tip on serving the best mozzarella:
Put the mozzarella in the microwave for one minute to warm it up before you place it on the pasta. When I owned my restaurant I was told by our mozzarella company to always serve fresh mozzarella slightly warm. When fresh mozzarella is made it comes out of the water warm and is shaped into a ball. There is nothing like truly fresh mozzarella that has never been refrigerated. The flavor is so smooth and mild. When fresh mozzarella is cold it does not have the same flavor, it is masked by the cold temperature. When you serve any fresh mozzarella or burrata you should place it in a pot of warm water or in the microwave for 30 seconds to take the chill away. You will see how much creamier and tasty the mozzarella is.
Making Short Rib Ragu:
A good ragu should have layers of flavor that can only be accomplished with a slow cooking process. In this recipe I combine red wine, brown sugar, mustard, tomatoes and red chili flakes with other herbs, carrots, onions and beef broth. All the flavors marry together and create a wonderful spicy- sweet short rib ragu. The short ribs are seared in a touch of olive oil on the stove top before being added to the sauce and placed in the oven for two hours. The sauce is done when the short rib meat is falling off the bone and ready to be shredded. The sauce will not take more than 15 minutes to prepare before going into the oven and once in the oven there is nothing you have to do for the next two hours. Just let the sauce stew together and work its magic.
What should I do if the Sauce is dry after roasting?
After two hours take the short rib ragu out of the oven. Remove the short ribs from the sauce and shred the meat from the bone. You should try to cut the fat off and discard it with the bones. Return the shredded meat to the sauce. If the sauce seems too dry add additional beef broth to the short rib ragu. One cup of beef broth should be sufficient. This is a ragu so it is a thicker meat sauce that should cling to the pasta.
This sauce can be made up to two days in advance and reheated when ready to serve. Add more beef broth if you need more liquid.
Roasting the garlic cloves creates a nutty mild garlic flavor that balances well with the tahini.
Hummus is a Middle Eastern spread that is made with cooked chickpeas. The chickpeas are boiled until very soft and their skin is beginning to come off. This makes it easy to mash them into a very smooth dip that blends perfectly with the silky tahini. Tahini is made from sesame seeds. I like to use the Soom Premium Tahini available here on Amazon. This tahini is all natural, delicious and made by a woman owned company.
Homemade hummus can be used in a variety of ways. You can serve it as an hors d’oeuvres with pita or flat bread and raw vegetables or as a side dish with charred broccoli and peppers. Simply toss the broccoli and peppers with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes in a 400 oven then serve over the hummus as a side dish or appetizer. The hummus will stay fresh for 5 days in your refrigerator and is a healthy snack to have around. If you feel a little hungry try dipping some pretzel crisps into the hummus as a mid afternoon snack