BBD #19 – Parmesan Herb Batter Bread

This month’s BBD was hosted by Cindystar.  She has a great blog that’s mostly in Italian, but hey, who needs to speak it when you have all her awesome food to look at!  The pictures tell a thousand words.  She chose as the theme for this month Spring Country Breads and gave us considerable leeway with the breads we could choose…savory/sweet, yeast/quick, etc.  That left a lot of options to choose from!  When I think of spring, I think of the color green.  My herbs are starting to take off, and I figured I’d incorporate them into my bread somehow.  This bread was great!  Very simple to make but delicious.  Be sure to check out the BBD round up (here on Zorra’s blog) for the other participant’s creations.















Parmesan Herb Batter Bread (Adapted from King Arthur Flour)


  • scant T or 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 c lukewarm (105°F to 115°F) water
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 T granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 8 T (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c lukewarm (105°F to 115°F) milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 T fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used a mix of parsley, oregano, and thyme)
  • 3 oz chive & onion cream cheese spread


1.  In a cup, stir yeast into water to soften.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt together to combine. Add softened yeast/water mixture, butter, milk, egg, Parmesan cheese and the herbs. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

3.  Turn batter into a well-seasoned 10-inch skillet or round pan. Dot top of dough with cream cheese spread. Cover with tightly woven towel and let rise for 1 hour.

4.  Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake bread for 20 minutes, or until internal temperature of bread reaches 190°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove bread from oven, cut into wedges, and serve immediately.

Published in: on April 30, 2009 at 7:45 pm  Comments (16)  

April 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge – Cheesecake Centerpiece

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.  I was really happy when I discovered this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge was cheesecake.  I love cheesecake, and I haven’t made one in a while.  We were encouraged to be creative and play with the recipe.  While I would’ve liked to have made this with a crapload of chocolate, caramel, or something else of the sort, my husband is more of a purist when it comes to cheesecake…nothing fancy or outrageous.  The bottom line was I couldn’t eat a whole cheesecake on my own (I could have, but my ass which would’ve been sure to expand wouldn’t have been thanking me), so I had to concede and go rather basic.  Ultimately, it turned out delicious!  The texture was very creamy and light.  This was a great recipe.  It was a winner with the hubby as well, so I plan to use it again and will experiment with other flavors/combinations.  Thanks to Jenny for hosting this month’s Challenge!  Please also visit other Daring Bakers’ blogs to view their delicious creations.










I didn’t use a water bath as the recipe directed and opted to place a shallow container of water on a rack beneath the cheesecake.  Here it is after cooling in the oven.  Not one crack on this baby!  I was happy about that :). 


I served it with sliced strawberries with a bit of sugar added to them.

Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake



  • 2 c graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract


  • 3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
  • 1 c sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • the innards of a vanilla bean
  • 1 T vanilla-flavored vodka


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Place one rack in the middle of the oven and the other rack under it.  Fill a shallow bowl with water and place on the lower rack.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into the bottom and up the sides of a greased springform pan.  Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, vanilla bean innards, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface.

5. Bake for about 1 hour 20 minutes, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Published in: on April 27, 2009 at 1:21 pm  Comments (28)  

Grace’s Sourdough Cownies

One of my favorite blogs I frequent is A Southern Grace.  Grace is hilarious and her posts are lots of fun.  She also makes really awesome food!  One of her specialties is sourdough.  Since I’m always on the lookout for ways to use my starter, her recipes using sourdough are of particular interest to me.  I spied her recipe for Sourdough Cownies and knew I had to make them.  She dubbed them Cownies due to their texture being somewhere between cake and a brownie.  All I have to say is they’re darn good!  I just hope I did them justice :).  Thanks for such posting such a delicious recipe, Grace!


Sourdough Cownies (Courtesy of A Southern Grace)


  • 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c hot water
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 c butter
  • 2 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 c sourdough starter (active and bubbly)


1.  To prepare the chocolate mixture, heat the chips and water in the microwave or on the stove.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the baking soda (beware, the mixture will foam).  Cool to lukewarm.

2.  Meanwhile, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the eggs and beat well.  Mix in the vanilla, cooled chocolate mixture, and starter.  Add the flour, cayenne, and salt and blend until the mixture is uniform.

3.  Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan.  Let sit in a warm place for 30 minutes. 

4.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees  and bake the bars 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Published in: on April 26, 2009 at 5:25 pm  Comments (8)  

Meat Loaf and Scalloped Potatoes

On the movie, A Christmas Story (One of my faves!), Ralphie Parker’s brother, Randy, was pissing and moaning at the dinner table about how he hated meat loaf.  Well, unlike him, I like meat loaf!   This meat loaf recipe is another winner from Dining in Style by Ann Lund.  It was delicious!   Check out the puddle of greasy goodness under it….yum!dsci0072

Meat Loaf (Courtesy of Dining in Style by Ann Lund)


  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 c oatmeal
  • 2/3 c milk
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 c carrot, grated
  • 1 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sauce:
  • 1 c ketchup
  • 1/2 c water
  • 4 T brown sugar
  • 1/2 t onion powder (or to taste)
  • 1 t dry mustard powder


1.  Mix meat with oatmeal, milk, onion, salt, pepper, carrot, and cheddar cheese. 

2.  Form into a log and place on a greased baking sheet.

3.  Mix sauce ingredients in a saucepan.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Pour 1/2 of the sauce over the meat loaf.

4.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Heat the remainder of the sauce and serve with the meat loaf.

One of my favorite dishes to serve with meat loaf  is cheesy scalloped potatoes.  The scalloped potatoes are my own creation.  I had to really think about what I put into it cause it’s usually just a little of this and a little of that :).


Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes


  • 4 – 5  lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 4 c milk
  • 1 t onion powder (or to taste)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 4 c shredded cheddar cheese


1.  Boil the potatoes in salted water until easily pierced with a fork.  Drain and set aside.

2.  Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add the flour and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes while stirring constantly.  Whisk in the milk and bring it to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 7 or 8 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the onion powder, add salt and pepper to taste, and add the cheese.  Stir until it’s melted.

3.  Combine the cheese sauce with the potatoes.  Pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until the top is golden and it’s bubbly.

Published in: on April 19, 2009 at 6:08 pm  Comments (16)  

Pizza Pasta

My husband’s aunt gave me some really cool cookbooks for Christmas this past year.  Two of them were by Ann Lund, the owner of Dining in Style Culinary Instruction in Overland Park, KS.  They both have the best recipes.  I’ve made quite a few of them already!  That’s where this particular recipe came from.  This was really delicious!


Pizza Pasta (Adapted from Dining in Style Returns)


  • 16 oz. mostaccioli noodles
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/4 lb ground turkey
  • 1 1/4 lb Italian ground turkey sausage
  • 2 (14 oz) jars pizza sauce
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t Italian seasoning
  • 1 (32 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 2 small cans mushrooms, drained
  • 1/4 lb turkey pepperoni
  • 12 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese
  • 12 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 c grated mozzarella cheese


1.  Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.  Rinse noodles and toss with olive oil and Italian seasoning.

2.  Brown meat in skillet and drain; set aside.  Into same skillet, put onions, peppers, and garlic and saute until translucent.  Add drained meat, pizza sauce, and spaghetti sauce; simmer for 30 minutes.

3.  Mix cheddar, parmesan, and 12 oz shredded mozzarella cheeses together.

4.  In a greased 9 x 13 inch pan pan, layer as follows:  Place 1 c of meat sauce mixture in the bottom of a greased 9 X 13 pan.  Layer 1/2 of the noodles, 1/3 of remaining meat sauce, 1/2 cheeses, 1/2 mushrooms, and 1/2 pepperoni.  Repeat layers, ending with the final 1/3 of meat sauce mixture on top. 

5.  Cover with foil and bake 30 to 40 minutes or so until bubbly at 350 degrees.  Remove foil and sprinkle the top with 1 1/2 cups grated mozzeralla cheese.  Bake an additional 10 minutes or so until cheese melts.

Published in: on April 6, 2009 at 6:37 pm  Comments (19)  

Sourdough Italian Potato Bread

I made this bread to go along with the Pizza Pasta.  It turned out great.  It didn’t have an overwhelming sourdough flavor, and it had a nice texture.

dsci0170 I sliced the loaf rather thin, brushed the slices with melted butter and garlic (I heated them together in the microwave), and toasted both sides under the broiler.  It was a great complement to the Pizza Pasta!


Sourdough Italian Potato Bread (Adapted from Recipezaar)


  • 1 c sourdough starter, brought to room temp
  • 1 1/2 c warm water
  • 2 c bread flour
  • 1 c mashed potatoes, plain and warm
  • 3/4 c warm water
  • 2 t salt
  • 1/2 c melted butter or margarine
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 2 t Italian seasoning 
  • 6-8 c flour


1.  Combine the first four ingredients in a large non-metal bowl and blend well.

2.  Cover and let stand overnight till light and bubbly.  Do not skip this step!

3.  Add the next 5 ingredients and 3 c flour.

4.  Mix in enough of the rest of the flour to make a soft but pliable not quite sticky dough (fingers when touching the dough should come back clean).

5.  Place dough in an oiled bowl turning once to coat both sides, cover and let rise 2 hours.

6.  Place dough on counter (lightly floured if needed) divide in 2 or three equal portions and let rest 10 minutes.

7.  Form into loaf shape and place on greased baking sheet, do not make too thick or this will never get done in the middle.

8.  Let rise till doubled.

9.  Just before baking slash the tops with a sharp knife 4-5 times.

10.  Spray dough and inside of oven w/ water (will need to repeat at least every 15 minutes) and bake in a 350 oven 1 hour for large loaves and 45 minutes for regular sized. Watch carefully to prevent overbrowning. May need to increase bake time depending on the area you live.

Published in: on April 6, 2009 at 6:36 pm  Comments (4)