We had the 2021-2022 season’s last MLSNext game in Temecula, California yesterday so after the game ended, we ventured back to one of our favorite places to go whenever we are in the area: Downtown Temecula!
We love eating at Mad Madeleine’s Grill, checking out Old Town Sweet shop, Temecula Valley Cheese company, the antique stores that dot the street, the Lavender Company, and the Temecula Olive Oil Company.
There are numerous other bars and drinking spots that line the main street, wine tasting booths and local breweries, so there’s something for basically everyone.
Yesterday, I saw a small jar of Green olive and almond tapenade at the Olive oil store and it got me curious as I had been preparing and devouring a lot of charcuterie boards quite often lately.
I was going to buy a few items but the lines were just too long, and I think they were rearranging the store as a few employees were by the entrance and talking about where to put the ladder…which was at the time smack in the middle if the store…🤷♀️
So I made a mental note of it and somehow just never forgot about it.
Everything fell into place this morning as I went to the grocery store and somehow passed by the olives! Got a can of green olives and hoped it’s all I will need. Will have to improvise otherwise!
I made it quite thick and “scoopable”, but feel free to thin it out with more olive oil if you prefer a thinner consistency.
Serve with crackers, bread, veggies, or thin out with more olive oil to use to top pasta, pork chops, mushrooms…use your imagination! I bake bread regularly and I think I can roll the dough up with some of this spread in between for a delicious olive tepenade loaf!
1/4 cup toasted almonds
1 (6 oz.) can Green Ripe olives, drained
1/4 cup chopped celery stalks
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1-2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked sea salt
2 – 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. In the bowl of a small food processor, finely chop the almonds. I used my kitchen aid 3.5 cup food processor and it worked perfectly with the amount of ingredients.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients except the olive oil.
3. Process until finely chopped and throughly blended.
4. Pour in enough olive oil to loosen up the mixture and pulse for a couple of seconds more.
4. Transfer to a serving bowl or a jar with a lid if serving later.
I love Fall! It gets a bit cooler here in Southern California during the last few months of the year (specially at night!) and it’s the perfect time for everything pumpkin, apples, soups, stews, and chili!
So here is the recipe that I made to look like my favorite Starbucks Pumpkin Bread. I usually buy a slice or two when we are on the road and stop by Starbucks. I like it as the seeds on top gives it another layer of texture and the bread itself is moist and flavorful. And totally perfect with coffee!
As I was trying to figure the ingredients while eating one, I can definitely taste the cloves over any other spices. So, even though I give you a range to use half the amount, I always make it with the full 2 teaspoon of cloves.
This is the very reason I make my own food, because I can tailor it to how I like it. I also happen to like pepitas so I just covered the top of the batter with pumpkin seeds until I do not see the batter anymore. You can definitely use less, or omit it completely if you do not like it.
This recipe uses oil instead of butter as I always have enough oil in the pantry, but sometimes just a pat of butter in the fridge. It is also so that the pumpkin and the flavor of the spices shine through.
I hope you like this recipe as much as my family does. It makes 2 big loaves so that you have enough to share with those near and dear. Happy Fall my dears!!
Focaccia, specially when fresh from the oven, is one of my favorite things to eat! The topping can be as simple as rosemary and smoked sea salt, or elaborate with za’atar seasoning, olive oil, tomatoes, mint leaves, and cucumbers! 😋
I also tried focaccia with salty, dry cured olives and sun dried tomatoes on it. And to make my son happy – ones with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and lots of pepperoni!
Feel free to top it anyway you like! That’s the fun part of making your own food!
My usual sourdough focaccia (https://athomewiththeresa.com/2021/06/09/sourdough-focaccia/) takes about 8 1/2 hours from start to finish if you used an active sourdough starter, but a bit longer if it is made with a dormant starter. I usually follow the timeline I typed up, preparing it after breakfast and baking either before or after dinnertime.
I got a few requests for an easier, faster recipe. And I totally get it! There is never enough hours in a day! So after a couple of weekends trying to make an easier focaccia recipe without compromising the taste, here we are! It still takes a bit of time, but you need time to allow the dough to develop flavors by slow fermentation.
This recipe makes use of instant yeast and can be done in a little less than 6 hours of mostly hands free time. I use a brand called SAF instant yeast, see photo below.
You’ll just mix everything together until it forms a shaggy dough and set it aside, covered, for about 4 hours. Then, you’ll transfer the dough into a generously greased pan and set it aside for about an hour. After which it’ll be drizzled with more olive oil, dimpled all over, and topped with whatever topping you like. Then it’s going to be baked for 20-25 minutes. Ta-da! Delicious, crisp, and super soft focaccia!
You can also get this ready at night: prepare the dough before dinner, let it sit on the counter while you eat and clean up and let it rest overnight in the fridge. Take out the next day, transfer to an oiled pan, let rise until doubled(about 2 hours or so) and bake. Or reverse it, preparing it in the morning and baking it at dinner time.
You likely have all the ingredients needed as this is a very simple recipe: flour, yeast, sugar, water, olive oil, salt and rosemary(or whatever you like) for extra flavor.
I usually make 2 pans at a time to make better use of the oven’s heat. If you like to do that too, just double this recipe and divide the dough into two 13”x9” pans. Bake times and temperature remain the same.
Whatever else you like(pickled jalapeño and cheddar, mozzarella and pepperoni, olives, etc)
1. In a large bowl (specially if you’re doubling the recipe), mix together the water, yeast, and sugar.
2. Add the olive oil and give it a stir.
3. Pour in the flour and salt. I use a Danish whisk to mix everything together until you have a rough dough. As long as there is no dry patches of flour, you’re good. *Remember, we do not need to knead this dough!
4. Cover the bowl and set aside for about 4 hours. I use a clean shower cap to cover the bowl – it’s reusable unlike a sheet of plastic wrap. The dough should double in size in this time.
5. In the meantime, grease a 13”x9” pan with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Smear it all over the bottom and sides of the pan.
6. Pull the dough in from the sides of the bowl using a spatula and transfer into the prepared pan. Touch the greased pan with your finger tips to pick up some oil, and gently stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan.
7. Cover the pan and let dough rise 45 minutes to 1 hour, until doubled in size.
8. Preheat the oven to 450F about 20 minutes before second proofing is over.
9. Uncover the dough and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Using your fingertips, poke the dough multiple times, touching the bottom of the pan each time. The oil will pool into the little grooves you created.
10. Sprinkle with rosemary leaves and smoked sea salt. This is my favorite topping. Feel free to use what you have or what you like!
11. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden.
12. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly. Enjoy warm!
I had been making our sourdough bread weekly for over four years now and I was curious to see if grinding my own flour is worth it. I know for a fact that since the pandemic hit a couple of years ago, it was difficult to find specialty flours and it is very expensive if you ever found it.
For a while, I did have to use whatever I could find, when I could find it – store brand, bleached, all purpose flour, usually – and I learned that they are good enough for most of the things that I bake. Something good to know!
But as more items become readily available again, I want to try to get better ingredients for my family. A grain mill sounded like a great idea since I already had a place to order my organic grains in bulk – Azure Standard! Check them out online 👉https://www.azurestandard.com
Looking up the various types of flour mills online, I fell in love with the Komo Classic. It had this beautiful, wood cabinet casing and looked like it was easy enough to use. Even though it was $600, I placed it in the cart and started checking out.
But they were not available. No unit of whatever brand was available as they were all back ordered for several months. Looks like everyone was already doing what I was thinking of doing!
A few weeks later, I found a similar one in Amazon, a MockMill 100. Not as pretty as the KoMo but more practical AND available NOW! I purchased it before I could think of reasons not to. Its cheaper than the KoMo, about $375 with taxes and shipping.
It arrived a week later and I did run a variety of grains and beans through it to see how it handles it. Rice first to clean it out, then black beans, soybeans, garbanzo, wheat, millet, oats…it was really good! 😊
Reading up on this brand, I found out that there is another, more powerful one called MockMill 200. Debating to return this for the 200, I emailed the seller asking how much better the 200 is over this and they replied that the only difference is the speed of grinding. I can live with the speed of the 100 as I am not a commercial bakery. So I decided to just keep this unit and use it until I outgrow it.
I would likely use it more often for specialty flours, garbanzo, rice, beans than regular flour but it’s handy having it that I did buy wheat to mill at home.
Let me tell you, the taste of bread made with fresh milled flour is out of this world! You have to cool down the flour a bit after grinding as it gets quite warm.
I think even if I can get good quality flour, I might still grind my own every now and then.
Totally late and I apologize for not posting in a long time! It’s hard to find time now that everyone is so busy!
Thank you to my wonderful reader Joyce Ciotti for asking for this recipe! I had it typed up and almost ready to post so, here you go!! I hope you’ll like it!
Perfect as a side for any Indian inspired meal, used in a sandwich wrap, or even eaten plain, these naan breads are a breeze to make!
I had purchased my first naan bread frozen from Trader Joe’s. It was smeared in garlic butter and only required heating it up or toasting it before serving. It was so good!
I had read somewhere that they sometimes stuff these with Laughing Cow cheeses so since I had it in the refrigerator, I ate some with cheese and some plain. Both were so good I couldn’t stop eating it!
I love making breads and baking in general so I thought it was time I make my own naan. I found several recipes and tried a couple of it.
Here is a recipe that uses the Thermomix to make the naan with hardly any effort on your part. Don’t worry, there is instruction on how to make it without the Thermomix right below!
Place all ingredients for the naan bread into the Thermomix bowl and mix for 6 seconds on speed 5.
Set to Knead for 2 1/2 minutes.
Leave dough in the bowl, with the measuring cup in place, at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Roll dough into sausage shape and divide into 6 even portions. You can use the thermomix’s scale function to weigh the dough and divide it into 6, to get evenly sized dough balls. Roll each portion into a thin, oval shape.
Place dough onto a hot, ungreased grill or fry pan. Cook for about 1-2 minutes per side then flip to cook the other side.
Brush with ghee or garlic flavored butter. Serve plain or stuff with cheese.
* To make without the Thermomix:
Place all ingredients for the naan bread in a large mixing bowl and mix using a wooden spoon or spatula until it comes together. Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Return to the mixing bowl. Cover with plastic warp and let rest at least an hour, or until doubled in size. Continue with procedure #4 to #6.
I really did NOT need another kitchen gadget but this amazing lady I follow (Impulse to Legend on FB and instagram) started using a Sun Oven and posting the results on her page. It was nothing short of amazing.
I snapped one up right away! I definitely can see the many uses of this:
1. In the summer, it’s often too hot to use the oven. But the sun’s intensity during these months will make using the sun oven outside a brilliant idea.
2. Sunlight is abundant almost year round here in Southern California, a totally eco-friendly alternative to gas or electricity.
3. Sunlight is free! I can bake to my heart’s content without using precious resources. As long as you can cast a shadow on the ground, you can cook!
4. It is super portable, it folds up like a small suitcase and weighs just a bit over 20 pounds.
5. It is perfect for camping, no fuel required and no fire danger issues! A great plus specially in high fire danger areas like here in California.
6. Food won’t burn. I still do not understand how this works but yes, I left a pan of my bread rolls there for over 2 1/2 hours (not on purpose though, got busy and forgot about it) and it was just perfect.
7. Food won’t dry out. It cooks/bakes with moist heat, unlike the oven, but it is not wet like steam cooking. You can see moisture accumulate on the inside of the glass door when you cook. The chicken I baked was cooked through but moist and tender.
8. Emergency situations when power is out. A perfect excuse for me to get this item, like mentioned above, as long as there is sunlight, I can cook and bake.
9. Cooking/baking while on the beach anyone? I see people lugging grills and stoves and even a pizza oven once! I am not one of these people but you could totally bring this too! Me, I just take some drinks, fruits or chips, and sometimes sandwiches. I like to just chill on the blanket or body board at the beach.
I love this oven so much that I asked Sun Ovens to allow me to market these and they gave me a special link. These are affiliate links, where in I might earn a little commission when someone buys the oven using my link, without affecting your purchase price at all. It helps keep my blog going, and I truly appreciate any support.
Click here to attend a free webinar that runs every Tuesday and Thursday evening. During the webinar, each participant will be emailed a link to a special offers page where they will be able to purchase an All American Sun Oven with $118 worth of free products! This includes a free oven cover and their latest cookbook: https://email@example.com
I made it into 24 rolls, and placed 12 dough balls in 2 13×9 pans. I placed the pan in the Sun Oven, stacking the second pan on top. Of course accidents happen and it dropped straight down, flattening the rolls below. Oh well…..I guess flat bread is still bread.
It baked for less than an hour before it was golden brown and the fragrance of baking bread was wafting in the backyard. Time to get it out!
When I removed the pan, I realized that bread in the bottom pan was not browned so I adjusted the oven and left the second pan in there. I forgot about it and got it about 2 1/2 hours later. I’m happy to report that it browned and even though I left if too long, it did NOT burn.
Next was a whole chicken. Now, this I had to finish browning in the Ninja Grill as I started past 4 pm. I spatchcocked the chicken, rubbed it with salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary. Grabbed a lemon from the yard and sprinkled lemon juice over it before placing it in the preheated oven.
I left it for about an hour, but by then my backyard is no longer sunny, as a matter of fact, it is completely shaded by the house. I moved the oven to the front yard and left it for a few minutes but decided to finish it up in the Ninja Grill. It took about 20 minutes to brown the chicken nicely and cook it thoroughly.
I replaced the brown sugar with Splenda brown sugar, used sugar free chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips. Poured the batter into 2 greased loaf pans and into the preheated Sun Oven they went.
It was in the oven from 1:27pm to 2:19pm and it was done!!! Golden brown and smelling delicious!
It does look like it was baked in a regular oven but the bread is moist and very flavorful. Not dry at all.
Look at the slices below! They are absolutely beautiful!
So next, since it was still a bit sunny, I decided to cook this Spaghetti Squash that is in my panty. I cut it in half lengthwise, removed the seeds using a spoon to scrape it away, placed it cut side down on a baking pan, and placed it in the oven.
I decided to leave it there until past dinner, hoping the residual heat will cook it through. I wasn’t mistaken. It cooked wonderfully!
See how it looks like spaghetti? The video below is to show you how tender it was.
I totally recommend this oven if you are like me and want to bake in the middle of summer! I will keep experimenting with recipes that I can bake in it, hoping to use it all year long.
We have been making homemade pizza for a few years now and it’s become a staple that I have 2 outdoor pizza ovens at the moment.
I also make our sourdough bread every week and need to switch it up with a few varieties using different flours, inclusions, or liquid to flavor the bread. Marshmallow stout instead of water for a chocolate chip sourdough batard anyone??
Between bread and pizza, there’s also focaccia! And here is a very easy recipe complete with a timeline to guide you!
You can split this bread in half crosswise to use for sandwiches, or just cut into squares, or rectangles to eat as is! Dip in olive oil, Trader Joe’s Garlic dip, hummus, baba ganoush…..It’s crunchy and soft, salty and herby…just delicious specially when still warm from the oven.
I use really good olive oil and salt as I believe it contributes to the overall taste of the focaccia. The olives are dry cured from Trader Joe’s, tomatoes and rosemary are from the backyard.
I doubled the recipe and made 2 13”x9” focaccia to eat and have enough to trade with a dozen home grown eggs. So please don’t be confused by the discrepancy between the instructions and the photos. 😊
I hope you will like this recipe as much as we did!
115 grams starter, I used one straight from the fridge
12 grams good quality olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Toppings of choice, chopped herbs, olives, tomatoes, etc.
1. 10 am to 11 am
In a large bowl, mix flours, water, salt and starter. Mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the dough comes together.
Set aside for about 15 to 30 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the water.
Then mix the dough thoroughly, drizzling in the olive oil and pulling the dough up until well mixed. Use a plastic bench/dough scraper to help you pull up the dough and mix the oil in.
Cover (I use a clean, unused plastic hair cover!) and set aside for 30 minutes
2. Bulk 11:15-1:15
Perform 4 sets of stretch and fold every 30 minutes, for 2 hours.
Photos 1 – 4 are the stretch and fold in the first 30 minutes, #2 at an hour, #3 at an hour and thirty minutes, and #4 was after 2 hours, the last of 4 folds. See how stretchy and smooth the dough looks after?
3. Proof 1:15- 5:15
Pour some olive oil in a 13 x 9 inch pan.
Transfer dough to the pan and cover.
Every 30 minutes on the first hour, uncover the dough and stretch gently to fill the pan.
Cover and let rest for the remainder of the 4 hours.
4. 5:15 Preheat oven to 450F.
5. Drizzle the dough with about 2 -3 tablespoons of good olive oil.
6. Wet your finger tips and dimple the dough all the way to the bottom of the pan, multiple times.
7. Sprinkle with chopped herbs, olives, capers, cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, etc.
*I used halved cherry tomatoes, chopped rosemary, olives, and Maldon sea salt. The other focaccia had the same toppings except it did not have tomatoes, as I only got a handful from the garden.*
8. Sprinkle with good quality salt.
9. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown.
*After baking, tops should be golden and edges crusty.
*Bottom should be toasted. This looks perfect!
Cut for sandwiches, this is what the crumb look like on my bake. Yummy!
After posting the Jiffy Spoon bread recipe for the ELB, I got a few requests for a “from scratch” recipe as Jiffy is not readily available where they live. I had that problem once in a while too, so I am more than happy to accommodate that request.
The texture if this is not as soft as the spoon bread recipe, but it is close. I hope you try it both and decide which one you like better!
*NOTE that this recipe uses regular sized measuring cups, NOT the tiny ELB cup, unless specified.*