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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Apple Bread, Roasted Chicken, Shortbread Cookies and More

Life has a tendency to get in the way of the best intentions and so it was yesterday. This is precisely why I do not menu plan. So needless to say I did not get as much cooking accomplished yesterday as I had hoped. The house smelled good despite all the necessary delays.

I make a lot of bread and while I use a breadmachine for the dough, very few loaves are ever baked in the breadmachine. I think baking in the oven gives better results while tantalizing the palate.  Apple bread is always a delight but more so this time of year. It brings in all the smells and flavours of the fall harvest. It is a comforting bread that when coupled with yogurt cheese or cream cheese is sure to please. This bread is very easy to make and trust me that's a good thing because it will be gone within minutes of baking!

Apple Bread (ABM but baked in oven)
source: original recipie was from Bread Machine Magic by Linda Rehberg and Lois Conway but I just had to tweak it so what follows is my version

1/2 c unsweetened apple juice
1/2 c unsweetened homemade applesauce
3 c unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 c cored, peeled and chopped cooking apple (eg. L-star or Northern Spy), in lemon juice water solution until ready to use
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch fresh grated nutmeg (2-3 quick passes on fine grater)
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast

Put all ingredients into breadmachine pan except for apple pieces. Set to dough setting. When dough is ready, remove from pan onto lightly floured board. Carefully distribute apple pieces through dough with your hands. Shape into loaf and place in lightly grease and floured loaf pan or use a silicone loaf pan. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise in warm spot until dough is doubled. Remove towel and bake in pre-heated oven at 400ºF for 20 minutes then lower the heat to 350ºF and bake 20 to 30 minutes longer, or until the loaves have a distinctly hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.

Shortbread cookies are one of our family favourites and I don't mind making them as they take only four ingredients that are always in ample supply in our home give or take my modifications. Do not even attempt to mix the ingredients with anything other than your hands. These are melt in your mouth cookies and should never be overbaked. This is a butter only and don't even try to substitute! You want just a light goldening of the bottoms! They are easy to make, inexpensive and just taste good! It is a true, buttery comfort cookie sure to please and make excellent homemade Christmas gifts. The recipe that follows is the original recipe. You can easily multiply as I do for larger batches. I made 9 dozen today and will repeat that amount tomorrow.

Shortbread Cookies
Source: back of corn starch box, Canadian brand long forgotten due to the age

1/2 c corn starch
1/2 c icing sugar
1 c flour
3/4 c butter

Mix well then form dough into small balls about 1-inch in diameter. Pre-heat oven to 300ºF. Place balls on ungreased cookie sheet then use a floured fork to flatten. Bake 20-25 minutes until lightly golden around the edges. Remove from oven an allow to cool on rack.

Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese sandwiches in our home are never the run of the mill thing, ever! And one thing you will never find in our home is those plastic orange things trying to pass for cheese. My husband wanted comfort food last night so we played with cheeses: asiago, sharp cheddar, mild reserve cheddar and pepper jack. Then we played! But grilled cheese sandwiches have to be made a certain way! This is one of the best ways to discover what kind of melted cheese you like. Now our rule is the cheese is always sliced about 1/4" thick and new combinations are always welcomed. These delectable sandwiches are usually served with home made tomato soup. It's a comfort thing!

Roasted Chicken

Roasted chicken is a pleasure and last night despite the alternate meal the chicken filled the house with a wonderful smell. I roasted the chicken unstuffed on a broiling pan, no rack, no roasting pan and used convection heat. I wanted to see specifically the difference between the regular way I roast chicken and the convection way. I was not disappointed as the chicken came out nicely browned with moist and very tasty meat. I want to try this again stuffing the bird just to see the results. So far what I've seen I like!

2 food lovers commented:

lemongirl said...

Hi, I am thoroughly enjoying your site. I live in New Zealand and know what icing sugar is, but am not sure about a broiling pan. What is the difference between that and an ordinary roasting tin? Do you put any oil/butter in with the chicken.
Marion in Auckland

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Marion, glad you could stop by. A broiling pan is a two piece heavy rack and pan usually in enamelware that comes with most stoves when you purchase them. The rack sits just on top of the bottom pan. It is meant for broiling meats in the oven. If you look at the picture of the chicken, it is sitting on the heavy rack portion of pan. The lower portion is the pan. Overall depth would be about 2" total for both rack and pan. I didn't put any butter in the chicken but it did get a few pats on the outside before roasting.
Garden Gnome