Salami and Pickle Grilled Cheese

This became something I had to try because of the sheer uniqueness of the recipe (from my perspective). Salami and pickles, on a grilled cheese, sounded good yet one of those that leaves you kind of scratching your head. You can read the recipe here

In the end, there isn’t much to the recipe. Pick a suggested cheese (I used Swiss) and some salami (not sure the brand I got), throw some pickles on it and off you go. I did use two slices of Swiss per side which may have been too much (waiting for it to melt while not burning the bread) but I wanted some extra cheese. I used the marbled rye bread I had just made (see previous post) and it worked out well. If nothing else, I like the light/dark contrast on the finished product. 

This was a good sandwich. After making it, it occurred to me that it wasn’t much different than a regular sandwhich. In fact, the next day I made the same sandwich but put mayo on the inside and didn’t grill it. That worked pretty well too. Short version? I’d recommend it. 

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Marbled Rye Bread

About a month ago I had this idea to make this kind of bread. I thought it might be a good compliment to a dish I was making that was German (Bavarian) in style. I first looked in a cookbook we had – the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook Bridal Edition – as I had recalled that there was a recipe like that in there. And yep, there was. Sadly, I forgot about it and didn’t have the time to make it given the time it takes (two separate rises). But I kept it in the back of my mind to make. I had everything anyway so I could do it whenever. And finally I did. 

I actually got off the fence about making it as I had another recipe that I wanted to use this bread for. More on that recipe later. I’ve written the recipe out below. Overall, I was very happy with how this turned out. Both rises went better than expected. (If you recall, I seem to have problems with bread rising.) Although the dough with the rye and molasses didn’t rise as well as the other portion. This was evident in the first rise. It wasn’t as evident in the second rise but as I cut into the bread more I found a “hole” where I think everything rose except the rye portion which left an empty space. 

But the taste was good and it worked well for everything I’ve used it for so far – toast, grilled cheese, regular sandwich bread, etc. And while I haven’t been making my own bread as often as I used to, this might need to be made occasionally. Oh, and despite it being a rye bread (well, partly anyway), it didn’t really taste like it. 

The only “problem” I had with it was that the directions were a little confusing. It told me two different times to “add as much of the remaining all purpose flour as possible”. Well, how is that possible. What happens if I add all the extra flour the first time and there isn’t any for the second time?  Ultimately I came up with a plan. 

It calls for 3 to 3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour and you use 2 right off the bat. That leaves about 1 1/2 cups as the extra. You are supposed to split the dough (which I did by weighing it out – about 11 ounces per half). To one half you automatically add 1 1/4 cups of rye flour. And then “as much of” the all purpose as you can. Well, to the over half I added 1 cup of all purpose and part of another quarter cup during the kneading process. I felt like that was pretty equal given the rye flour that was going into the one half. To the rye half, I added a quarter cup of the all purpose and then the rest of the other quarter cup during the kneading process. 

It worked out but in hindsight I think I would have added more to the non-rye portion. The rye portion turned out pretty stiff which could be from the extra flour. It was already pretty stiff without any of the all purpose flour. And that may have contributed to the lack of rise.  

Oh, and I used my stand mixer with a paddle attachment. One that has a rubber edge to scrap the bowl on its own (best thing ever).

  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast 
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons dark-flavored molasses 
  • 1 1/4 cups rye or whole wheat flour

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of all purpose flour and the yeast. In a saucepan heat the milk, sugar, oil and salt until just warm. Add milk mixture to flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed (“stir” on mine) for 30 seconds, scraping the bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. 

Dv idea dough in half. To one portion, stir in as much of the remaining all purpose flour as you can. Turn out dough on to a floured work surface. Knead in enough of the all purpose flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface of the dough. 

To the other portion, stir in molasses, rye flour, and as much of the remaining all purpose flour as you can. Turn out on to a floured work surface. Knead in enough of the all purpose flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface of the dough. Cover both dough portions and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. 

Punch both portions down. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grease an 8x4x2 inch loaf pan. 

On a lightly floured surface roll each dough portion into a 12×8 inch rectangle. Place dark dough on top of light dough. Roll up, starting from short side. Place seam side down in prepared pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30-40 minutes. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when lightly tapped. If necessary, tent with foil during last 10 minutes to prevent over browning. Immediately remove from pan and cool. 

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Zucchini Muffins

It’s another summer and once again we have a bunch of zucchini growing in the garden that we need to find uses for. I’m not a fan of zucchini unless it is in bread/muffin form so I set out to make some muffins. Interestingly, I didn’t have a “regular” zucchini muffin recipe posted on this blog. A quick internet search led me to this recipe.

Now, I have to be honest. This is actually the second time I’ve made these. The first time I (somehow) left out the baking soda. They did not turn out. I tried one just to see and that definitely led to all of them going in the trash.

This time I made sure that I included all the ingredients and I was much happier at the turn out. Overall these were really good muffins. I only have two comments and neither really have to do with the recipe itself.

This first is that is says it only takes 15 minutes to put together, which is true if you don’t count the time it takes to shred the zucchini. I realize I took a slower route by using the small holes on a box grater but it probably took me 15 minutes just to do that part. Side note, using the small holes of the grater produced something that I thought would incorporate very nicely into the batter. It’s not an issue to have a big piece of zucchini but the smaller ones definitely mixed in well.

The second is that I ended up with 19 muffins. Certainly not an issue and as I’ve said before, I think the two pans I use the most are smaller than a normal pan (I think). But even filling the cups up to the top (mostly) I was able to fill a half of a second pan.

All in all, this was a good recipe and one that everyone liked.

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Alton Brown’s Waffles

As I’ve said before, I’m a bit of a sucker for waffles. So when I found out that last Wednesday was National Waffle Day and I found out on the actual day, I had to make waffles. Which meant waffles for dinner and that I had to run to the store but I did it. And, I had already saved this recipe a few days prior so it worked out overall. 

I came across the recipe by happenstance. I wasn’t searching for it but was happy to save it for later use. I was surprised that for all the waffle recipes I’ve tried, I hadn’t tried this one. And I am glad I did. It was a very good waffle. I don’t have anything fancy to say about it. It was just a really good waffle. As the recipe states. Nothing to be surprised about with a recipe from Alton Brown. 

Since I had to go to the store to get eggs, I did buy buttermilk so my changes/substitutions were only limited using plain whole wheat flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour. I would definitely recommend this and will likely keep this in my waffle rotation. Plus, I will need to try the chocolate variety he has listed at the bottom. 

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Iced Matcha Latte

This recipe was saved as I have his container of matcha in the fridge that I bought awhile back. At that time I I told myself that I would use it up pretty quickly since I wanted to eat more healthy and this was maybe a way to do. Well……..I only used it that one time. But I found this recipe and decided to make it. And I’ve found some others so I might be making more matcha related dishes in the future. 

The downside of this was that I didn’t feel like it turned out exactly as it should have. I used my immersion blender to (attempt to) froth the milk. It didn’t froth. I suppose I could have kept at it longer but I didn’t. The other problem if you will was that in pouring the matcha part into the glass, it pretty much filled the whole glass. There wasn’t room for the milk. Maybe I should have put less ice in it. It resulted in my splitting it between two glasses, drinking some, and pouring it into one glass again.  Not ideal and it messed up any “photo op” of the finished product. Which was okay since I don’t think it was going to look as fancy as the one in the recipe no matter what I did. 

But, it didn’t taste half bad and it’s healthy, right?  That makes up for it doesn’t it? I may make this again but I may also focus on finding some other uses of my matcha powder. 

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Strawberry Cake

I often get asked if I bake and my standard response is that no, I don’t really bake, I cook. Which I suppose isn’t all that true. I have plenty of recipes on this blog that are the result of baking. I can’t say why I respond that way other than I think I like the idea of “cooking” better than “baking”. But it’s all the same anyway, right?  

I digress. But it came to mind with this recipe. For my wife’s birthday, she wanted a strawberry cake. And while I could have asked her mom to do it, or simply bought a box of cake mix, I went searching for a recipe. Eventually I settled on this one. Partly because I knew I already had everything and partly because it sounded good. 

I fell that this turned out very well. It had a great strawberry flavor. The only change I made, if you want to call it that, was that I didn’t sift the cake flour. Rather, I weighed it out using a guide from King Arthur Flour on how much a cup of cake flour weighs. My preferred method is to weigh ingredients when possible. There were a few comments in the recipe itself about the cake being dense and the popular reaction was to remind people that they needed to sift their cake flour. I’d argue that weighing it can help. I felt like the cake came out just fine. Although it did wind up in the fridge which made it hard to tell as being cold makes it a little more dense. But I was happy with it. 

For the frosting I used regular butter cream, doubling the recipe. I doubled it to make sure I had enough. I am not an good cake decorator and I seemed to remember in the past running out or having just enough. And then with doubling it, I had more than enough. In looking at the picture, I should have put more between the layers. But it worked out in the end. Who doesn’t like frosting?

I would recommend this. I’m not sure I’ll make it again but you can be sure that if someone does ask for a strawberry cake, this is the recipe I’m going to pull out. 

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Strawberry Cucumber Salad with Lemon Cream

This is another one of one of those recipes that sounds kind of weird but works really well. I certainly wouldn’t think of strawberries and cucumbers. You can read the recipe here

I made an adjustment using one cucumber we had gotten out of our garden rather than the type called for in the recipe. I also used heavy whipping cream with some lemon juice in place of the crème fraîche. That worked well but I could have done without it. I think the dish would have been good minus the cream. Then again, maybe it is fine using what it calls for. 

Regardless, it was still a good dish. The cardamom adds a nice flavor. The pistachio give the dish a different crunch and worked okay with it. Again, I think it would have worked fine without the cream and the nuts would have still added a nice crunch. I will say that it doesn’t keep very well as leftovers as the strawberries and cucumbers both start to wilt/get soft. 

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