Oh how my life has changed. As I’m writing this, it is 8:30 on a Saturday morning and I’ve already nursed my little girl, had some play time with her, had my own breakfast and coffee, changed her 3 times, successfully put her down for her morning nap, cleaned my kitchen, and paid our bills. I’ve also managed to brush my teeth, wash my face and put on a little tinted moisturizer, so I’m feeling pretty decent! Prior to having a baby, there was no way I would even be up by 8:30 on a Saturday morning!
Baby E is just over 3 weeks old now and I’m attempting to put her on some sort of schedule. If all goes according to plan, I have about an hour before she wakes up so I thought I would pay some love and attention to this blog!
The recipe I want to share today is pan bread. One of the restaurants that my husband and I often go to is Earl’s, and I just love their pan bread. One of the go to menu items that I often order is the soup, salad and pan bread combo, with their clam chowder. I have my own seafood chowder recipe that I’ll post one day (it’s a little more involved, so I haven’t made it since having the baby) but today I’ll post my version of the pan bread.
This pan bread is prepared in my trusty cast iron skillet. Actually, it’s my husband’s cast iron skillet and it’s probably one of my favourite things that he’s brought into our marriage! It’s well seasoned, perfectly maintained, and I use it on a regular basis to make chicken, steaks, frittatas, etc.
Give this pan bread recipe a try and stay tuned for a seafood chowder recipe soon!
1 package active dry yeast (or 2 and 1/4 tsp if you're using bulk yeast)
2 cups warm water
1/2 tbsp salt
4 and 1/3 cups all purpose flour
**garlic infused olive oil (See instructions below to make your own)
Combine yeast and warm water in a large bowl.
Using a wooden spoon to mix, add in 1 cup of the flour and then the salt and mix until combined. Stir in the rest of the flour, one cup at a time until well incorporated.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour.
Lightly oil the bottom of the cast iron skillet with the garlic infused olive oil. Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough and cover your hands with flour. Take the dough, place it in the skillet, mold it to fit the skillet, and cover loosely with a tea towel. Allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Drizzle a little bit more of the garlic infused olive oil over the top of the bread, slash the top of the dough with a knife creating an X on top. Sprinkle the top of the bread with some coarse salt and fresh rosemary leaves.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is brown and crusty.
Serve with soup or chili for a hearty meal!
**TO MAKE THE GARLIC INFUSED OLIVE OIL
You can buy garlic infused olive oil, but it's also really easy to make your own. Just heat up some olive oil on medium heat in small pot. Peel and crush a couple cloves of garlic and fry in the olive oil to infuse the flavour into the oil. Remove the garlic cloves before they burn or else the oil will taste like scorched garlic. You just want to fry the garlic in the olive for a few minutes to lightly flavour the oil.
In our household, our roles and duties are strictly delineated. I do all the cooking. My husband mows the lawn and shovels the snow. I do all the laundry. My husband changes the Diaper Genie (I actually refuse to learn how so that I’ll never have to do it). I do all the grocery and household shopping. My husband builds and fixes all the things. This arrangement may seem traditional but it works for us. When I cook, I’m basically cooking for him and when he builds things, most of the time it’s something for me. Like when I found an old secretary’s desk for sale for $80, and he refinished it for me for Christmas.
Old Secretary’s Desk
Refinished Secretary’s Desk
Refinished Secretary’s Desk
Or like when I said I needed a beer caddy so I can bring a few beers out to the deck, he built me one and he even let me choose which stain colour I wanted.
Which one would you choose?
I chose this one!
And when I said I had no wine storage, he built me a wine rack for above the fridge, complete with a stained glass backing that lights up. I mean, what else can a girl ask for?!
My favourite place in the house
I have never attempted to crossover into any of his duties. I wouldn’t know how to start the lawnmower, I don’t know how to open the Diaper Genie, and I don’t know which shovel to use to shovel the snow. But sometimes, the husband surprises me and cooks or bakes in the kitchen. For my collection of recipes, I have a few of my favourite cookbooks of all time stored in my pantry, and this blog serves as my diary of personal recipes. For him, he has this tattered grey plastic covered notebook that he keeps in the garage, and there are a few of his favourite recipes jotted down in there. I have no idea where he got these recipes from – he says they are either from his mom or from some random place on the Internet.
Anyway, he decided to make a banana bread the other day and it was sooooo good. I was pretty impressed! It was super moist, and it was the perfect snack to have with my morning coffee. Although I appreciate his efforts in the kitchen, this doesn’t mean that I’ll be learning how to change the Diaper Genie any time soon!
You’d think that since I am an aspiring amateur chef and food blogger that my husband and I eat home cooked meals 7 days a week. Unfortunately that’s not true, as there are days that I just don’t feel like cooking. I don’t feel like cooking after a long, difficult day at work, I don’t feel like cooking when 35 weeks of pregnancy has sucked all the energy out of me, and sometimes I don’t feel like cooking for no specific reason at all. I’d say my husband and I go out for dinner once or twice a week. That’s a little too much for the frugal side of me to justify, but I figure once this baby comes we won’t be going out that often so I might as well enjoy it now.
If it’s a Wednesday and I let my husband pick where we are going, he would undoubtedly pick Montana’s every single time for the all-you-can-eat ribs. I don’t have a favourite dish at Montana’s, but I do have a favourite drink (their spicy Caesars with horseradish) and I have a favourite side (their cornbread).
I have tried so many times to recreate their cornbread. I’ve tried cast iron cornbread recipes, I’ve experimented with fine cornmeal versus coarse cornmeal, I’ve varied the types of sweeteners and fat used, I’ve tried so many things, and I think that this is the closest I’m going to get to recreating Montana’s cornbread recipe. The taste is pretty close, which I credit to the use of both sugar and honey. The texture is a little off though, and I have a feeling the restaurant must use whole milk and/or a little bit of lard, but these are two ingredients that I don’t have in my kitchen so this is the closest I’m going to get.
I don’t have mini bread loaf pans to recreate the look of Montana’s cornbread, so I make cornbread muffins instead. This recipe makes exactly 12 medium-sized muffins that are best served warm with a pat of butter. These cornbread muffins are a perfect side to chilis and stews, and last night I served them as the starch alongside honey lime chicken drumsticks and organic corn on the cob from Body Fuel Organics.
Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!