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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Weekly Recipes: May 15

Muffaletta Bread
This bread recipe came from a lady on usenet. I have changed the ratios and amounts a little to better serve our family. I've also made it on the dough cycle in the bread machine successfully, though it is better done either in a stand mixer or by hand.

1 1/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 cups pastry flour
2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons sesame seeds
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine the water, yeast and sugar in the work bowl of a stand mixer, stir
well and let stand for 5-10 minutes or until good and foamy.

Meanwhile, combine the flours, salt and butter in a bowl and work in the fat
with your hands until broken up into very small pieces.

When the yeast is foamy, fit the mixer with a dough hook attachment and
gradually add the flour on low speed until its all incorporated.

Scrape the sides down between additions. When the dough comes together, turn
it onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5-10
minutes, adding more flour if necessary.

Coat a large bowl with the olive oil, then put the dough in, turning once to coat both sides. Cover loosely with a clean dry towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 hours.

Punch the dough down and shape into a flat round about 9 inches across (it
will expand to about 10"). Place the dough on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds then press them lightly into the dough.

Loosely cover the loaf and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. When the dough has risen, remove the cover, then gently place into oven and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 25 minutes or until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Muffaletta Salad Spread
This recipe came from the same lady and, again, I have tweaked it a bit.

1/2 cup kalamata olives, drained and pitted
1/2 cup Spanish olives stuffed with pimentos, drained
1/2 cup giardiniera, drained
1/2 cup drained, pickled pepperoncini, stems removed
2 stalks celery
1 red bell pepper, seeded and stemmed
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried
1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Chop the olives through garlic in the food processor by pulsing. Add olive oil
until mixture just begins to loosen up. Transfer to a bowl. Store in the fridge.

To assemble your sandwich, split the loaf in half horizontally, spread both halves with the muffaletta spread. Layer ham and salami over the bottom half, place another layer of the provolone over the meat. Put the top on the sandwich and cut into large wedges. This sandwich serves all eight of us with leftovers.

Pasta Primavera Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

This is a really easy and tasty salad, and simple to vary as well. I make lots of mustard vinaigrette around here, because it is a good way to use up the bits of mustard left in a jar.

1 pound penne rigate pasta, cooked in al dente in salted water
5 cups chopped vegetables of your choice, I used a frozen mix of romanesco broccoli, orange and yellow carrots and green beans
1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces (I had some leftover asparagus from the previous week's farmer's market trip that wasn't enough to make into a side dish for the family. I was worried was starting to go bad, however since they had been harvested the morning I bought them, they were still in great shape, so I tossed them into the salad.)
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
Mustard Vinaigrette

I put the frozen vegetables straight into my salad bowl and just tossed the hot, drained pasta over to thaw them. I added the asparagus at that point, too. Add in the cherry tomatoes and red pepper and toss to mix.

Pour dressing over pasta salad and toss to mix thoroughly. Chill so it isn't warm.

You can add diced fresh mozzarella or a little shredded parmesan to this. If you wanted to make it more of a meal, you could add cooked, diced chicken, turkey, ham or salami. Normally, I would add black olives to something like this, but because I was serving it with the muffaletta, I did not.

Mustard Vinaigrette
I usually make this with Dijon or grainy mustard, but whatever you have will work. You can add a touch of honey if you think your dressing is too tart, but I rarely do that. I like to use either thyme or tarragon as my herb, but use whatever you like, dill is nice, parsley or chives would work, too.

1 nearly empty jar of mustard, with the last bits you can't scrape out still in it
1/2 the jar of olive oil
1/3 the jar of vinegar (I use champagne vinegar, but again, any vinegar you like would work)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

I pour everything into the mustard jar, screw the lid on tightly and shake it all up until it is mixed nicely. Taste to see if it is too tart, or needs more salt and adjust as you see fit.

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