Archive for the ‘Breads’ Category

Prune and Ginger Loaf

August 1, 2011

It’s egg-less, dairy free and fat free but oh so yummy with the flavors of molasses, ginger and those sweet prunes. It toasts beautifully and is perfect with just butter. However, this fruit loaf is even more tasty imbibed with brandy and aged like a fruitcake.
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Whole Wheat Flat Bread for Dips and Wraps

July 20, 2011

Homemade flat bread is marvelous with dips and makes tasty wraps for your favorite sandwich fillings.  Plus, if you make flat bread with whole wheat flour it is healthier and cheaper than store-bought pita or lavash.  This recipe is adapted from my master Italian bread recipe which calls for 3 cups of all-purpose flour.  All I did was substitute 2 cups of whole wheat flour, the rest of the recipe is unchanged.  Super easy to make in a food processor, it yields 12 flat breads about 6 or 7 inches in diameter, or 2 mini loaves, or one loaf of superb whole wheat bread your family will love.  Note, this recipe is dairy free and sugar free.

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Momma’s Batter Dilly Bread

May 6, 2011

My mother gave me this recipe back in 1970.  Its one of those no-knead batter breads with super easy instructions for the novice bread-baker.  The crumb is moist and dense like a sourdough and perfect for sandwiches but of-course its the best right out of the oven slathered with butter.  It goes well with tomato or chicken soup and can spruce up a Sunday dinner as well. 

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Pumpernickel Rye Bread My Way

May 4, 2011

One of my favorite cookbooks is “Our Immigrant Ancestors” by The Frugal Gourmet, Jeff Smith.  Its an oldie but a goodie for simple and earthy bread recipes like this German dark rye.  A Reuben sandwich is simply scumptuous made with this savory bread which has no molasses or other sweeteners.  The crumb is dense yet light and well suited to grilling.  The recipe given was adapted for restaurant quality sandwiches but its so simple and easy to make that anyone who enjoys baking savory breads will add this to their repertoire of recipes.  My restaurant customers certainly enjoyed this bread and you will too.

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Easy Homemade English Muffins

November 20, 2010

There is nothing quite like mornings in the center of Rincon, Puerto Rico.  The neighbor is singing in the shower, some romantic Latin tune, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, people are passing on their way home to enjoy coffee and pastry from the panaderias.   Breakfast on the veranda with eggs Benedict, fresh papaya with a squeeze of lime and a cup of robust Puerto Rican coffee simply adds deliciousness to the morning.    more

NO-Knead Ciabatta Bread – NY Times Video

June 23, 2009

This is simply the ultimate in Italian ciabatta bread. For all you who love to bake bread, try this. Mix the ingredients the night before and get out your heavy cast iron Dutch Oven with its lid to use the next day.

Extreme Veggie Sandwich

June 20, 2009

Ivegan sandwich

It was 92° F. in Las Vegas today.  Way to hot to cook and definitely time to clean out the refrigerator.  So here’s my version of a veggie sandwich that turned out so big I ate half for lunch and half for dinner.  Watched cooking videos all afternoon, took a nap and twittered.  Never thought a veggie thing would fill me up like that.   This would make a great sandwich for a picnic.

I baked an Italian rustic bread on Friday and it was perfect for this sandwich. The hummus was a snap to make in food processor with just a can of garbonzo beans, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, hot sauce and salt.  The tapenade was made with leftover Greek olives, leftover capers, leftover chopped onion, a can of anchovies, leftover dried raspberries, a dab of mayo and some parsley.  Slice the goats cheese with dental floss rather than a knife.  Salt and pepper the tomato, cucumber and avocado once layered on the hummus.


  • 2 slices of rustic Italian bread
  • 2 Tbsp of homemade hummus with garlic and lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp of homemade black olive tapenade with anchovies and capers and dried raspberries with 1 tsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 avocado sliced
  • 2 plum tomatoes sliced
  • 2 large red radishes sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber sliced
  • 2 oz of goats cheese sliced
  • handful of baby greens

Herbed Italian Bread

May 13, 2009
Herbed Italian Bread

Herbed Italian Bread

Don’t you just love the artisan breads available now?  My favorites are black olive ciabatta and breads made with cheese and herbs.  You can turn any basic pizza dough into a crusty loaf with herbs, olives, roasted cherry tomatoes, and cheese.  This recipe is basic pizza dough with herbs and it makes a terrific roll for muffalatta, sliced and toasted for bruschetta, and other inspired sandwiches.

Thank heavens for food processors, they are a gift from the culinary gods for making fast work out of labor intensive chores, like kneading bread.  This is a quick and no-knead recipe for the food processor so you’ll need a processor with a large bowl and a large bowl or pot to cover the dough while it proofs.  All-purpose flour is fine all by its self, or you can add some whole wheat flour to kick-up the protein value.   It’s so warm in Las Vegas that any yeast bread dough will rise in 40 minutes anywhere I leave it.  Just be sure to proof your dough somewhere warm and test for proofing after 40-45 minutes.  Leave it longer if need be.

Here’s an old trick I learned from Pierre Franey for making crusty breads:  throw a few ice-cubes onto the floor of the oven just as you start baking.  As the ice-cubes melt they will humidify the oven.    Also, if you want a shiny crust, egg wash the loaf before baking.


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 Tbsp for bench flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp fresh coarsely ground black pepper (about 6 grinds)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pkg. rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 cup water (if weather is dry, you may need to add more water a Tbsp at a time)


Processed dough
Processed dough


  1. Place all ingredients into bowl of processor in the order given.
  2. Pulse until just combined then increase speed to maximum until dough comes together in a ball.  Don’t worry about scraping down the sides, as the dough comes together and spins around the bowl it will clean the bowl of any ingredients clinging to the sides.
  3. Dust your counter with a little flour and knead dough 2 or 3 times to form a ball. 
    Ball of dough before proofing

    Ball of dough before proofing


  4. Place a large bowl or pot over the dough and let proof for 40-45 minutes.  Press a finger into the dough.  Dough will not spring back if it has finished proofing.

    The dimple means the dough is finished proofing

    The dimple means the dough is finished proofing

  5. Preheat oven to 375° F.  Lightly grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal.
  6. Punch down dough and let rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Shape into a loaf.  Place dough on prepared baking sheet. 
  8. When oven reaches temperature, place baking sheet on middle rack of oven.  Dough will finish rising while baking.
  9. Throw 3 or 4 ice-cubes onto floor of oven. 
  10. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until top is golden brown and bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
  11. Remove from baking sheet to cooling rack.

    Ready to slice for bruschetta

    Ready to slice for bruschetta


Coco’s Pancakes

May 12, 2009

iStock_000001560440XSmallThis recipe is adapted from the standard Better Homes and Garden Cookbook that I was given for a wedding gift in 1967.  I altered the ingredient proportions to make the recipe a “no brainer” for breakfast chefs at my restaurant in Tonga.

The secret to making these lofty pancakes is in the whisking – don’t over beat the batter!  The batter should be a bit lumpy and then let it rest while the griddle heats up.  You can also use a non-stick skillet to bake these cakes.  Pancakes should be light and fluffy, and uniformly golden brown on both sides.  There’s only 2 tsp of sugar in this recipe because you’re going to serve them with sweet syrup or fruit.  At Coco’s, we baked them with sliced bananas, apples and of-course blueberries.   Although we paid $8 for 1/3 cup of imported blueberries, blueberry pancakes were still profitable and a good seller.   We served them with a variety of tropical fruit syrups or with fruit coulis, fresh sliced fruit and whipped cream.  


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 2 eggs


  1. In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together milk, water, oil, and eggs.
  3. Pour wet mix into dry mix.  Whisk to just moisten dry ingredients. 
  4. Preheat griddle, brush with oil.
  5. When griddle is hot, wipe off excess oil with paper towels.
  6. Pour batter onto griddle and cook until a few bubbles pop and the edges look dry.  Flip and continue cooking until done.  Lightly press tops, if they spring back, they’re done.