Thursday, September 29, 2016

Here it is....Oooah's Famous Zucchini Soup!!

"Oooah" with the grand-daughter
 who named her 
Well, I'm breaking from 159 weeks of bread-recipe sharing......After several requests for the zucchini soup recipe I spoke about in last week's blog , I thought I may as well make that the "recipe du jour". Here's a little bit of the history behind the soup..... 

My wonderful, wonderful mother was an elementary teacher, owned an antique shop, hooked rugs (she called herself "the antique hooker" - haha!), loved being "Oooah" (that's what my daughter, her first grandchild, named her and it stuck) and she was a fabulous cook. When Dave and I  moved back to Ohio, she was a huge help to us in so many ways. She helped me wallpaper our first dining room (back when wallpaper was in style); she recovered our pitiful-looking couch; she loaned us money for the down-payment on our first house (though she could ill-afford it).....the list of contributions goes on and on! But one of our favorite things was when she would cook for us.....no one fixed lamb at Easter like Mom! Even when the meal wasn't a fancy holiday feast, her meals were outstanding. It is hard for me to believe, but her zucchini soup was one of my veggie-hating-hubby's favorites! Loaded with peppers, onions, tomatoes, zucchini and celery, it is PACKED with flavor! EVERY time I serve it, I get a request for the recipe. And every time, I am proud to share it in her honor. 

So, my friends, I share this absolutely delicious recipe with you in honor of my mom! Go back through the recipe archives and I'm sure you'll find a bread recipe that you'll want to serve with this soup (maybe the garlic knots.....) I'm urging you - try this recipe on a cool fall day! It makes a nice pot full, so either share it or freeze some for a cold winter night! ENJOY!! 

Ooaah’s Zucchini Soup- Everyone’s  Favorite!

1-2 lbs. Med.sweet Italian sausage, browned well and drained
2 Cups chopped celery
2 lbs.  Zucchini,chopped
1 ½ cups chopped onion
10 cups stewed tomatoes (5 Cans,14 ½-16oz.) -I blenderize these, as my family doesn’t like tomato chunks
1 beef bouillion cube dissolved in 1 cup water
1 Cup tomato juice (I often do not have the juice on hand, so I substitute some spaghetti sauce diluted in a cup of water ) 
2-3 chopped green peppers 
1 tsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Oregano         
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
½ tsp. Basil
¼ tsp. Garlic powder

Mix all ingredients in a large Dutch oven. Cover and simmer till veggies are tender- 1-2 hours. Serve with grated cheese and garlic bread (Check out our recipe for garlic knots!!)  . This freezes well- make it in the summer with fresh veggies-serve it on a cool fall night! Makes lots!

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Delicious Onion Focaccia!

The other day I was in a "soup-making" mood.......the hardest question at times like this is "WHICH SOUP?!!" I decided on my mom's famous zucchini soup. It's one of those soups that I feel good about serving - it's LOADED with veggies; it's hardy; it freezes well; and....best of all.......it is amazingly delicious! I always get requests for the recipe. Oh, and one other great thing about this recipe: it makes a LOT of soup! Which, in this case, was good..... 

That day, my daughter and son-in-law were heading back to their home in Columbus after an extended visit here. They had stopped earlier in the day to say goodbye, but were going to make a few other stops before their departure. While I was bringing the soup to a boil, it occurred to me that they might enjoy taking some home. A quick phone call confirmed my suspicions, and they were soon knocking at the door for a half-gallon of soup and a loaf of bread to take home. That afternoon, my eldest daughter called, asking me to babysit her girls while she and her husband attended a meeting. I , of course, said "Sure!!" The soup was simmering and the onions were being sauteed for the focaccia as they arrived.....I didn't let Kate leave until I invited her family to dinner after their meeting. She gratefully accepted and we enjoyed a hearty meal together a few hours later. Even after they left, I had enough soup to freeze. That will be going to my dear friend who recently lost her hubby.  

Well, after all that, I should probably be giving you the recipe for the soup! But I must tell you, the focaccia was fabulous! My husband took a bite of it that night and said, "Why haven't I tasted this bread before?! This is awesome!"  So the moral of this story is: Make a vat of your favorite soup, make this focaccia as an accompaniment and then share it!  ENJOY!!! 

Onion Focaccia
2 medium onions, divided
2 ½  tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for bowl and pan
1 garlic clove, minced
2  teaspoons salt, divided
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
½  cup milk, warmed
½ cup warm water
1 teaspoons sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour

Finely chop 1 onion. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp. olive oil, the chopped onion, garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Set aside to cool. Place warm water and yeast in EZ DOH bucket and stir to dissolve yeast. Let rest 1 minute. Add one cup of flour, then additional dough ingredients, including cooled fried onions .  EZ DOH-it for 2-3 minutes, or until dough is smooth and soft and all ingredients are incorporated. Remove dough from bucket, spray bucket with cooking spray, “smooth” dough and replace in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Meanwhile, halve and thinly slice remaining onion. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add remaining  olive oil, the onions, and remaining  salt. Cook, stirring, until onions are soft and beginning to turn translucent. Set aside. When dough has risen, remove from the bucket and press lightly into a 12” greased pizza pan (or similar size pan) . Preheat oven to 450°. Using your fingers, poke holes straight down into the risen dough. Spread cooked onion mixture evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. (You may also sprinkle a little grated parmesan on the top, if desired)  Bake until golden, 20-30  minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe adapted from Sunset Magazine 

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Best Pizza Dough Ever!

I almost feel ridiculous posting this pizza recipe....it is so darn simple! But it is also so darn delicious! My hubby stated that this is now "THE" pizza dough recipe.....and believe me, I've tried A LOT of pizza dough recipes! Surprising how something so simple is the best.....but isn't that true with most of life? The simple things.....family, a beautiful fall day, faith, etc......make our lives "the BEST!" 

I hope you enjoy this simple recipe....and that you also watch for and enjoy the simple things in life! 

Best Pizza Dough Ever!

Dough:
1 Cup warm water
1 packet/Tbsp. Red Star Platinum Yeast
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 ½ Cups unbleached all-purpose flour

To grease pizza pan:
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Place warm water and yeast in EZ DOH bucket and stir to dissolve yeast. Let rest 1 minute. Add one cup of flour, then additional dough ingredients. EZ DOH-it for 2-3 minutes, or until dough is smooth and soft and all ingredients are incorporated. Remove dough from bucket, spray bucket with cooking spray, “smooth” dough and replace in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.

As you remove the dough from the bucket, you may want to “flour” your hands a bit, as the dough may be somewhat sticky.  Grease a 12” pizza pan with the olive oil. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and place into the greased pan. (I baked mine in an outdoor gas pizza oven, so I just placed my dough on a floured pizza peel) Preheat your oven to 400. Let dough rise in pan for 15-20 minutes. Top with whatever ingredients you would like (I tried goat cheese and fresh basil – AMAZING!!!) . Bake for 15-20 minutes. (I also tried a free-form loaf with this recipe – delish!!)


Adapted from Chef-in-training 

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Honey Pecan Twists!

As summer fades and routines change, it's usually a time for reflection as to what the change of seasons will bring. This week, a true "change of seasons" occurred for a dear friend of mine. Her wonderful husband of 39+  years unexpectedly passed away. His death left us all reeling, as this man was also my youngest daughter's father-in-law and an amazing friend to our family and our community. Though we are all steeped in the mourning of this great loss, we are also celebrating the beautiful legacy he left......Four wonderful children; An example of selfless service to his church, his family, his profession and his community; A beautiful, strong wife who grew and served with him......Now we all will begin a new "season" of life without Terry, but the seasons we were privileged to have shared with him have impacted each one of us in a powerful way. Those times of our lives were truly sweetened by his presence with us! 

These sweet rolls are shaped in a "figure 8" or an "infinity" - there is no beginning and no end to the shape. It made me think of Terry.....though he is not here with our family physically, his sweet influence upon us does not end! 

These rolls are TOTALLY delish - Enjoy them with someone you love! 

Honey Pecan Twists!

Dough:
½ + 1/3  Cup milk, warmed to touch
1 Tbsp/packet Red Star Platinum Yeast
4 Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
½ Cup butter, melted
¼ Cup honey
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. salt

Topping:
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp. honey (I warmed this slightly in the microwave to make it easier to spread)
½ Cup chopped, toasted  pecans (or other nut of your choosing)

Place warm water and yeast in EZ DOH bucket and stir to dissolve yeast. Let rest 1 minute. Add one cup of flour, then additional dough ingredients. EZ DOH-it for 2-3 minutes, or until dough is smooth and soft and all ingredients are incorporated. Remove dough from bucket, spray bucket with cooking spray, “smooth” dough and replace in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Deflate dough and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece to 12” then form a “figure 8” (tails should meet under the mid-section so they don’t show J ) . Place “8’s” onto the cookie sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until rolls are puffy, 30-45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350.  Before baking, brush each roll with the beaten egg. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven when golden. Brush with warmed honey, then sprinkle with pecans. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Red Star Yeast recipe / A Treats Affair 
For additional wonderful bread recipes, check out wildyeastspotting.com 

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