Posts tagged ‘how to’

March 18, 2014

Learn How to Make Artisan Bread with no Kneading

by Sandy Pollock

Editor’s note: This guest blog post is written by Jenny Corteza. Jenny Cortez recommends Homejoy to all her single friends in Chicago. As a writer, she knows it can be hard to get everything done if you’re writing articles to remove complaints about negative falsehoods on the Internet.


                                           Photo credits:  victoriachan

Homemade bread is a wonderful addition to any meal say most food bloggers. Taking time-out to bake a delicious bread from scratch provides a wonderful opportunity for you to de-stress and create! This recipes is easy for beginners, and very forgiving. This recipes let’s you play with your food and eat it too. Here’s a simple recipe for making Artisan bread and there’s no need to knead!

4 simple ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

1 ½ cup cold water

Tools you will need:

1 large mixing bowl

1 wooden spoon

2 oven ready pots with lids (substitutes listed in recipe!)

parchment paper

extra flour


Step 1. In a large mixing bowl, add 3 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached flour is preferred. Bleached flour is OK and bread flour is the best.

Step 2. Add ½ teaspoon of instant or rapid-rise yeast. You can use regular dry yeast by proofing it first. To proof regular dry yeast, combine and mix ½ teaspoon yeast with ¼ cup hot water, let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, and voila – instant rapid-rise yeast.

Step 3. Add 1 ¾ teaspoon kosher salt to your flour and yeast mixture. To substitute table salt for kosher, reduce the amount of salt to ¼ or ½ teaspoon. Stir the dry ingredients in mixing bowl.

Step 4. Pour 1 ½ cups cold water to mixed dry ingredients. Cold water is preferred, but any temperature will work. This recipe is very forgiving!

Step 5. With a whisk or dough whisk, mix the dry ingredients and water together to create the dough. You can also use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to mix the ingredients by hand. Mix the dough until it reaches a soft doughy consistency, but do not overmix. This is no-knead to need bread!

Step 6. Cover the large bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for 12-18 hours. The dough can sit from 10 – 24 hours and still be OK.

Step 7. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Find an oven ready pot with a lid and let the pot heat in the oven for at least 30 minutes. The pot must be able to hold 3 – 6 quarts. Oven ready pots include glass Pyrex dish, stainless steel pot, clay bakers, pizza stones along with two stainless steel bowls, or a heat-resistance bowl with aluminum foil.

Step 8. Remove plastic wrap from the dough. At this point, the dough will be very sticky. On a floured surface, begin to form the dough into ball. Do not knead out the bubbles, this is no-knead bread, so there’s no need to! When making Artisan bread, holes are preferred, and this pockets of air bubbles will provide authenticity.

Step 9. Ensure your surface has a good amount of flour and flour your hands. Take the dough out of the bowl and place it upon a sheet of parchment paper. Begin to smooth the surface of the ball of flour.

Step 10. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes, (preferably while the oven-ready pots are heating).

Step 11. Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the dough. Place the dough in heated oven-ready pot with parchment paper, place lid over dough. Place covered dough in oven and let bake for 30 minutes.

Step 12. Bake an additional 15 minutes without lid. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes and your no-knead Artisan bread is ready to serve!


February 21, 2014

Lessons from Mamaw Maggie: How to properly season and care for your cast iron pan

by Crystal Cook

Pan and Crisco

My Mamaw Maggie passed when I was only six months old. I didn’t get to create my own memories with her, but I felt as though I knew her as everyone I met had a fond memory of her and a story to share. One of the very few items I have of my Mamaw Maggie’s is her cast iron skillet. When I was younger I only really used it when I was feeling nostalgic, and would bake up some cornbread. When I was little my Mom always said cornbread, soup beans and buttermilk was her favorite meal. But as I got older, I began to discover the pan’s varied uses.

If you are not familiar with cast iron pans, they can seem intimidating. All that talk of properly seasoning it, how to wash it (or not wash) it, seems like too much work. But trust me, the benefits of the cast iron pan far out way any care concerns. When seasoned correctly, a cast iron skillet will work better than any non-stick pan in your cupboard. They heat evenly and beautifully, and when properly cared for, they will last a lifetime. In fact, Mamaw Maggie’s pan has lasted several lifetimes!

For Christmas, I received another vintage cast iron skillet from my boyfriend’s family. Since I need to season it, I thought that I would just share with you all the secrets I learned from my Mom – who just happened to learn from her mom- Mamaw Maggie!

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • If you have purchased a brand new pan, chances are it will contain a coating of wax. To remove the wax, you will want to thoroughly wash the inside of your skillet with warm soapy water to remove the coating, and rinse it extremely well. Please note that this will be the ONE and ONLY time that you will ever use soap on your pan. After you season it, you will only want to wash with hot water. Since my pan is vintage, and does not have a wax coating, I am just going to wash the pan under hot water for several minutes. It is imperative that you understand that a cast-iron skillet is not dishwasher safe, nor is it made for soaking. For best results, always rinse the pan with hot water immediately after cooking. If you have some stuck on food, try scrubbing with coarse salt or a nonmetal brush.


  • Be sure to dry your skillet thoroughly with paper towels, or if you want to dedicate a kitchen towel to your pan, you can. The main thing is to get it completely dry immediately. Never let it air dry or it will rust.

dry pan

  • Dampen a paper towel with a vegetable oil such as canola oil, lard, or a shortening such as Crisco, and wipe your skillet thoroughly. I always use Crisco, because that is what my Mamaw always did, and I rub the entire thing down with a nice even layer. Note: You don’t want the grease to pool up, but you will want to create a nice sheen or glisten to the pan.


all sides

  • Place the pan upside down on the top rack of a preheated 350° oven. Set a baking sheet, or spread a piece of heavy aluminum foil on the lower rack to catch any grease drippings.

best stove

  • Let the pan bake for 1 hour.
  • Cast iron skillets get very hot so use caution and oven mitts when removing and place on a safe surface for cooling. (In fact, another awesome present they got me was my Lodge Handle Mitt.  I love it!)  Cool for 30 minutes or more until the pan is cool to the touch.

cool with handle

cool for sotring

  • You will reinforce the nonstick coating every time you heat the Crisco in the skillet, so I like to repeat this process two or three times.
  • Rinse and dry skillet thoroughly like mentioned above (no soap).
  • Before putting your pan away, be sure to give it another light coating of oil or shortening to protect it from rust and corrosion. I also like to cover it with a paper towel to protect it from dust.

store with papertowel

Some other important things to note:

  • After you have seasoned your pan, you should avoid cooking anything acidic the first couple of times. In fact, you should try cooking up some bacon, or some other high-fat food, to help build up the surfaces high gloss.
  • Once you have achieved that ultimate gloss, you can cook up just about anything. The only thing you should never try is to boil water. That will cause your pan to rust.
  • Don’t let the cast iron sit too long without using it, if you do it may become a bit rancid. If this happens, clean and re-season the pan (no soap).
  • Always remember to give the pan a light coat of grease after cleaning the pan and storing.
March 15, 2013

Hey NYC! Chefday will help make it a great day!

by Sandy Pollock

New Yorkers are some lucky dogs!

Crystal and I were introduced to a couple of great food entrepreneurs, Laurent Moïsi and Agathe Roncey, the last time we were in New York City. They, along with a great team, have started a company called Chefday


The concept of the business is a food delivery service where you receive all the ingredients you need to prepare a meal. The ingredients have all been neatly pre-measured, cleaned, and are pretty much ready to go into your dish. Other than some light chopping, dinner really is almost on the table. Chefday is a great service for people who want to participate in the preparation of the food they eat, but need it to be made simple, fresh, and fool-proof. I had a great time making and eating my dish, which was the Stir Fried Green Bean Vermicelli. It was easy to prepare and fresh, spicy, and super flavorful.

I also think it is super cool that they have a how-to video for every dish they offer: However; I only used the printed instructions and found them to be clear and easy to follow.

Keep up the great work and best of luck to everyone at Chefday. If you live in NYC, give them a try!

Delivery bag

Delivery bag


Ingredients: So cute!

How to

How to: Clear to understand and the online video provided was very easy to understand!

Time to eat!

Time to eat! Very very flavorful!

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