Oh my goodness…you would have thought two winters in Wisconsin would have prepared me for the cold this year, but that’s not the case. It was a scramble to find hats and gloves for everyone the first day the highs dropped below freezing, and I still resent having to even wear a coat. So I don’t, but I do carry it in the car with me, just in case.
But, anyway…I needed hot, comforting food this week, and my favorite made-from-scratch bread, Pub Bread, along with my mom’s Beef Stew, really hit the spot!
There’s no photo of the stew, because, really, who can take an appetizing photo of stew? Certainly not I! This bread takes a few hours because of the rising, but the hands on time is less than thirty minutes, so it’s a completely doable indulgence. What smells better than a loaf of homemade bread baking, I ask you?
- 1 bottle dark beer
- 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup butter (unsalted and softened)
- 1 package dry yeast ( 2 1/2 tsp)
- 1/3 cup very warm water
- 5-6 cups flour
In small saucepan, heat beer to boiling. In large bowl, combine oatmeal, salt, butter, molasses and hot beer. Let cool to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in water and add to oatmeal mixture. Stir to blend, then stir in flour, 2 cups at a time, stirring well after each addition.
Turn dough onto well-floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, turning to coat entire surface. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft free place for about an hour, until doubled. I preheat my oven to 175, then turn it off before starting the dough. Then I set my bowl in there to rise.
Punch dough down, shape into loaves, and place in 2 ungreased loaf pans. Cover and again let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 (remove the loaves if they’re rising in there!). Bake 30-45 minutes, until loaves sound hollow when tapped on top and the sides start to pull away from the pan. Remove from oven and cool in pans 10 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool on a wire rack.
Smother it with butter while a little warm and enjoy! This makes two loaves, so you can freeze one (if you have that much willpower).
And here’s what was for dinner this week:
- Monday: Beef Stew with Pub Bread
- Tuesday: Chicken and Butternut Squash Tagine with Pine Nut Couscous (from a mix) and Cucumbers with Oikos Yogurt Dip
- Wednesday: Brisket and Havarti Melts on Ciabatta Rolls (openfaced) with Veggies and Dip
- Thursday: Back-of-the-Box Lasagna (made with soy crumbles) and Chopped Salad
- Friday: Make Your Own Pizza
Let it be known that my favorite GI Joe has been in Japan for the last two weeks on an exercise (which was in the newspaper, so I’m not violating OPSEC), so I have been completely unmotivated to cook actual meals. Fortunately, when I did make these fairly simple meals, the hooligans praised them to the heavens, so I got my motivation back!
The brisket was leftover and frozen from Thanksgiving. To make your own, rub the brisket with Liquid Smoke, then heavily season it with seasoning salt, lemon pepper, and garlic. Cover the pan tightly with foil and roast at 275 degrees for 45 minutes PER POUND of brisket. This is amazing, y’all…I cook a big brisket, then portion it out and freeze it for future meals.
Enjoy your weekend!