Tag Archives: bread

Fresh Tortilla Chips

I like to make these chips with leftover flour tortillas. They will keep for a week tightly covered, although they never seem to last that long!

6 flour tortillas
2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 F
Cut tortillas into 12 wedges each and toss with olive oil and sea salt
Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment and cook for 12-15 minutes, until golden
Cool and store in a sealed container until needed

Hiding from the storm

Living in the Pacific Northwest means mild winters, not too hot and humid summers, pleasant springs that mean short sleeves in February sometimes, and ALWAYS rain once October hits. Last Sunday was no exception. The last day of September, perhaps the last weekend to hold onto any hope of an extended Indian Summer, and the first heavy rainstorm of the year. The morning started out mild enough, cloudy but not too bad, and I decided it was time to bring out the ladder and harvest the apples from our two trees. With the rainy spring we had, germination had been poor, so there was nowhere near the volume of last year’s bumper crop (200 lb), but I still managed to take about 25 lb of decent apples off of the trees, with a comparable amount of cracked and scruffy ones left for the birds, the squirrels and the compost.

One look at the pool proved the day had come that I dread all year: For some reason, (in all likelihood the same fleeting hope) I always insist on waiting until it’s been three weeks since the last swim, and the temperature has plummeted to single digit temperatures (Celsius) before deciding it’s time to winterize the pool. This means, among other things, a trip inside the frigid water to remove the stairs and a thorough scrub of the walls. Sensing the impending black clouds rolling in and knowing that the task wouldn’t be any more pleasant with rain pelting down as I struggled to pass the awkward stairs up to the rest of my clan, I dove in, and tried to make as hasty a retreat as possible.

Thoroughly chilled to a temperature fit for a white wine, I hopped into the hot shower and began to think about dinner. First something warm for a snack with a coffee, and since I’d been promising that with my newfound schedule of being home more would translate into more baking, decided on some pecan sticky buns. As I do with most things, I consulted a few well respected texts, examined the common traits to the recipes and then made a recipe using the recurring themes and ratios.

Out came the Kitchen Aid, a nice soft egg and butter dough was prepared and set to rest, covered gently. The glaze was quickly boiled together using half honey and half maple syrup, as I didn’t have a great deal of either, and poured into a large pyrex pan. I had just over a cup of pecans in stock, so they were lightly toasted, chopped, and 2/3 used for a scatter on top of the glaze, the remainder set aside for the filling, creamed quickly with butter, sugar, and cinnamon. I rolled the dough out into a large rectangle, spread the filling, and sliced into thick slices which were then arranged nicely onto the glaze. I wrapped the project up and left it to rise, and headed out into the rain to scour for the rest of the dinner.

Being a week before Thanksgiving, I came across a nice half ham and decided that would be fitting for such a miserable day, and provide for ham and eggs on Monday, sandwiches for the rest of the week, and maybe a soup the following. What else, but candied yams to accompany, and I figured I’d make baked potatoes as well. A few beans that were looking decent at the market were procured, and since the morning’s harvest had yielded a bushel of fruit, a deep dish apple pie for dessert.

Back at home, fresh coffee in hand, the buns were ready for the oven, so in they went, giving me a bit over a half hour to make the pie. My favourite traditional pie crust (made with lard) was assembled, a few pounds of the apples selected, peeled, and sliced, and a double crust pie came together rather quickly. By this time, the aroma of yeast, nuts, butter, and several different sweeteners was filling the kitchen, and the pie graciously traded places with the sticky buns in the oven. One always has to remember that no matter how much the temptation, the glaze on the bottom of the bun pan is an extremely hot and volatile mix of sugar and other deliciousness, and must be allowed to settle for a few minutes before inverting them onto a tray to be torn apart and devoured quickly.

The coffee and buns having done the trick and restored regular body temperature, I prepared the sweet potatoes, pricking them with a paring knife and settling the tray in the oven to bake. About an hour, until they are soft and little bubbles of caramel are oozing from the knife wounds should suffice, to be scooped out (it’s actually more like squeezed out) and mashed with brown butter and nutmeg. The ham was lightly scored on top, and a quick glaze prepared, basically something slightly acidic (I had white wine sitting there), something sweet (honey in my case) and a bit of mustard. It makes a rather thin glaze, which is nice, as it then coats the ham as it bakes with a thin veneer of sweet and spice.

Once the pie was out, the ham again filled the void in the oven and set out on its journey from the ordinary to the sublime. I usually will give it an hour before the glaze starts to go on, to prevent it getting too dark, and then apply it in thin coats every 15 minutes, until it’s gone. The whole process usually takes a couple of hours, and then once it’s had a good half hour rest, thin slices across the grain are enough to satisfy completely.

Duly satisfied, at least an hour was required before tucking into the pie, and more than worth the wait. The sound of the rain pounding on the back porch, warm cinnamon and soft fruit in the mouth, it doesn’t seem to matter that it’s half a year before the start of another spring and summer.

Honey (or Maple) Pecan Sticky Buns

I can’t think of anything more satisfying on a rainy day than warm sticky buns fresh out of the oven. Be careful pulling them apart, as the glaze will be quite hot at first!


2 Tbsp instant yeast
5 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup milk, warmed (approximately 100 F)
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter


1/2 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
2 tbsp water
1 cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped


1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped
1 tbsp cinnamon

Prepare Dough:

Combine flour, sugar, salt, yeast and cinnamon and set aside
Place warmed milk, eggs, and melted butter into a mixing bowl
Add flour and knead for 15 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
Set aside and cover lightly while you prepare the filling and glaze.


Combine butter, sugar, honey, and water in a medium saucepan.
Bring to a boil and pour into a 9 by 13 rectangular pan
Scatter with chopped pecans and set aside


Cream butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together until well combined.
Add nuts and mix well.

Preheat oven to 375 F

Roll out dough into a rectangle measuring 12 (depth) by 18 inches (width)
Spread filling out over entire surface of dough
Roll towards you tightly, into a cylinder 3 inches wide by 18 inches long
Slice into 12 pieces (1 1/2 inches thick)
Arrange slices, cut side down into the prepared pan. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour
Bake until puffed and browned nicely, about 40 minutes.
Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then place a tray over the entire pan, and invert it to allow the buns to turn right side up.
Remove pan, and pull apart buns to serve.

Yorkshire Pudding

Long the standing companion to roast beef, this is the consummate, tested recipe used by every hotel banquet chef in the world. Equal parts by weight of egg, flour, and milk with a pinch of salt. Lowering the oven temperature during the last 15 minutes of cooking with the door ajar keeps them from collapsing once out of the oven

1 2/3 cups flour
4 eggs
1 cup milk
pinch salt
vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425 F
Whisk all ingredients together until well combined
Allow to rest in fridge until needed
Place a muffin tin on a baking sheet and place 2 tbsp oil in the bottom of each cup
Place sheet pan in the oven until the oil is hot, about 10 minutes
Ladle batter into heated muffin tins, filling each one 2/3 full
Bake on the upper rack of the oven for 20 minutes, until puffed and golden
Reduce heat to 300 F, open door slightly, and bake for an additional 15 minutes (this will prevent them from collapsing once removed from oven)
Remove from oven, lift from tins, tipping out any excess oil, and serve immediately

Buttermilk Biscuits

3 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup buttermilk


Combine dry ingredients and mix with butter until mealy
Add buttermilk and knead lightly
Roll out 3/4 inch thick and pat into a rectangle measuring 9 by 12 inches
Cut into 12 large pieces, each 3 inches square
Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 F, until golden brown.

Nice additions (to the dry ingredients)

1/2 cup grated cheese
1/4 cup chopped herbs or scallions