Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Soft and Yummy Granola Bars

We eat a lot of granola bars 'round here. But the cost for ones with actual ingredients adds up quickly when you're going through a box or two a week. Now I make them here, and it's so damn easy (plus you get to get your hands dirty :)

2 1/4 cups porridge oats (they're like regular oat flakes but have bran and wheat germ plus flax seeds)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup stuff (any combination of chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit, coconut flakes)

Preheat oven to 325 and butter a 9x9 square pan.

Dump all ingredients in large bowl. Mix well (which is so much easier with your hands than when trying to use a spoon).

Press mixture into pan and bake for 18-22 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes, then slice. Leave bars in pan until fully cool.

Makes 10 good adult size bars. If making for kids, you could cut smaller.

Friday, August 19, 2011

August Spice Rack Challenge - Cumin Spiked Salsa

I like cumin. I use it quite a bit in my Indian and Mexican cooking. But I've been on vacation out in BC (drinking copious amounts of wine, okay moderate amounts). I then got home and promptly forgot about the challenge in the midst of sorting out life (the husband was laid off just before we left for our trip). But today is challenge deadline day and I'm not backing out yet. So a quick and easy salsa sounds perfect.

6 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 shallot, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced (optional, since my hubby dislikes)
1/2 lime
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 - 1 tsp salt
1 - 2 tsp ground cumin (depending on taste)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix and taste and adjust seasoning if needed. (Tip: taste using tortilla chips as to accurately gauge salt amounts, people often forget about the salt on the chip when making salsa or guacamole and can over-salt as a result)

Serve fresh.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Strawberry and (Stolen) Rhubarb Pie

Mmmmm strawberry rhubarb pie. This one was born when we had some ill-gotten rhubarb, a frozen pie crust and some frozen strawberries. I may have been drunk the first time making this because when I read a recipe for rhubarb sour cream pie I decided to sub strawberries for sour cream and it would all turn out well...which it did.
I tinkered with it a few times after to come up with the following.

I,of course would never advocate stealing of rhubarb...but I swear it makes the pie taste better.

4 cups rhubarb (acquired by nefarious means) - cut into 1" pieces
2 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen) - sliced
3 tbsp corn starch
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 9" pie crust

Preheat oven to 425.

In a 2 quart saucepan over medium heat, cook everything but crust (obviously). Stir often (pay close attention if you are also intoxicated), cooking until mixture thickens.

Pour mixture into pie crust and bake 10 minutes. Remove from ove, and lower temp to 350. Bake another 30-35 minutes, until pie is set. Chill on wire rack.

Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Spice Rack Challenge - July Basil

I had such great intentions for basil. I love basil. And then we went away to Edmonton last weekend and I forgot to add water to my Aerogarden. The we got home and my basil was dead. Shriveled and sad. I was all set try this fabulous appetizer that consisted of placing a basil leaf or two on a wedge of peach, then wrapping the wedge in Serrano ham and lightly frying it to warm through. Doesn't that sound delicious? Except I killed my basil.

Now technically I made pasta sauce this week that had basil in it so I did still cook with basil...but there's no picture.

The sauce I made was comprised of:
8 roma tomatoes - quartered
1 red bell pepper - rough chopped
1 onion - diced
1 zucchini - grated
1 carrot - grated
6 or 7 cloves of garlic - halved
a splash of olive oil
1 tbsp dried (cry) basil)
1 tsp oregano
a sprinkle of chili flakes
salt and pepper

I cooked it down for about an hours, then took it off the heat, blitzed it with my immersion blender and dumped it on some pasta. I have some left in the freezer to make a vodka sauce later on.

Friday, June 17, 2011

June Spice Rack Challenge - Raspberry Mint Cooler

This was almost the month that I quit the Spice Rack Challenge. Not because I'm getting tired of it but because one of my best friends has a mint allergy so severe I was seriously contemplating quitting just to avoid bringing it into my house.

We were once out a a club together I and I watched her throat start to close up after a shot that didn't contain any mint simply because there was cross contamination from a bottle of peppermint schnapps.

In addition to my fear of killing someone, my husband is not a huge fan of mint and so I figured a beverage would be best. If he doesn't like it, I'll drink it all.

All that on my mind I set out to make a mint product that touched very little of my kitchen ware and I used only metal to ensure that the oil from the leaves didn't seep into any plastic aside from the pitcher which I'll not let Pat drink out of.

Raspberry Mint Cooler -from Allrecipes by Patricia Kile

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons sugar
1 packages frozen sweetened raspberries, thawed
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate
3 cups cold water
Crushed ice

I halved the original recipe and it fills my 2L pitcher. It is quite potent however. I've been enjoying it cut with club soda, about 50/50. My husband, as predicted, doesn't like it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May Spice Rack Challenge - Broiled Coriander Chicken Thighs

Seriously? It's already May 19th? Where the hell did that come from,and yet, still three months until my BC vacation...sigh.

As I have only until tomorrow to get this recipe up and I'm going to a local brewery after work tomorrow I needed to get cooking today. The first recipe I googled for was the one I used (though I did read a few more before deciding that the first one was best. I didn't have green onions or a lime, but lemon juice worked just fine.

Broiled Coriander Chicken Thighs (By Pam Anderson at

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
Vegetable oil for coating
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs. ground coriander
2 Tbs. fish sauce
2 tsp. light brown sugar
1/4 lime
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion greens

Adjust the oven rack to the position closest to the broiler and set the broiler on high. Coat both sides of each thigh with just enough oil to get the seasonings to stick. Sprinkle each side with salt, pepper, and a portion of the coriander, rubbing the seasonings into the meat. Mix the fish sauce and sugar in a small bowl; set aside.

Lay the thighs flat on a broiler pan and broil until they’re opaque on top, 3-to 4 minutes. Remove the thighs from the oven. Without turning them, brush them with the fish sauce mixture and return them to the oven. Continue to broil until the thighs are spotty brown and cooked through, another 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate; pour the pan juices over the chicken. Squeeze lime juice over the chicken and sprinkle with the scallions.

I served them with roasted new potatoes and lemon garlic broccolini...mmm!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cheese and Stuff Quick Bread

So last week was Ty's birthday and we did up a big cheese plate for nibbles. Leftovers are to be expected but we had even more than I thought. Plus Ty is now off dairy for a bit and my parents have gone to Europe and asked me to bring the last of the food in their fridge home, which of course included cheese as well as some veggie odds and ends.

Speaking of cheese, our rotary grater broke (well one piece did) and when I contacted the company to ask if I could buy a replacement piece, they told me they would send a whole new grater free of charge. Thanks Fox Run brands!

Right, back to the loaf...

Well we had a bunch of cheese, and Ty wasn't eating any so I needed to bake something with it, preferably that I could freeze. I was originally thinking about cheese scones but then drifted to quickbread. After double checking my solid to liquid ratios this delicious taste of using up stuff was born.

Cheese and Stuff Quickbread

1 3/4 cups whole wheat bread flour
1 cup grated cheese (I used sharp cheddar and local gouda)
2 tbsp white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup finely diced white onion
1 1/2 tbsp fresh dill
1/4 tsp granulated garlic (or 1 fresh clove, minced)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 F and grease an 8x4 (or 9x5) loaf pan.

Combine first 8 ingredients in medium bowl and mix well. Combine egg, milk, and oil in small bowl and beat together. Add we ingredients to dry and stir until just combined (do NOT overmix). Pour mix into loaf pan and bake for 35 or until a tester inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

April Spice Rack Challenge - Dill Batter Bread

All right, spice rack challenge time.

April is Dill and I have it growing fresh in my Areogarden. Did you know that you actually need more dill when fresh than dried because the flavour is more subtle, unless of course your dried dill is years old and then there's no flavour at all.

A few years ago one of my friends gifted me a copy of the Joy of Cooking, the 75th anniversary edition. I was pleased with the gift, but it has sat on my shelf now without me really using it. I'd flip though it for a specific recipe now and then and then use one from elsewhere. The other day however, I watched an episode of Anna and Kristina's Grocery Bag where they tested reviews from the book.

It inspired me to get out the book and have a serious read through it. I decided to try the Portuguese Greens Soup along with Dill Batter Bread and oh my, were both delicious. The recipe for the bread is listed below.

Dill Batter Bread - from the Joy of Cooking
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
3 cups bread flour (I used a whole wheat/white blend)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3 tbsp chopped fresh dill (or 1 tbsp dried dill)
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1 cup cottage cheese
1 egg

Mix yeast and water in bowl and let stand 5 minutes.

Combine all other ingredients ASIDE from cottage cheese and egg. I mixed mine in my stand mixer. Add cheese, egg, and yeasty-water. Mix on low speed (or by hand if you don't have a stand mixer - you poor poor soul) until it comes together. Add additional flour or warm water if needed.

Swap to dough hook and knead about 10 minutes on medium-low until dough is smooth and elastic. Oil dough and trasfer to oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise somewhere warm) until doubled (1-1 1/2 hours).

Grease 9-x loaf pan. Punch down dough, form into loaf and place in pan seem side down. Cover again with plastic wrap and let rise about 1 hour.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

Remove loaf from pan and cool completely on rack.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

When you have a great crop of zucchini (or a coworker shares from their garden with you a good way to handle excess zucchini is to grate and freeze it in the quantities you typically bake with/use it for. Just flip through your recipes and determine if you need 1 cup, 1.5 cup, or 2 cup portions. I measured mine and then plopped portions in Ziplock bags, flattening the packages out for stacking. I froze 6 cups in three portions for baking throughout winter though you could also add a package to soup or stew for some extra veggie nutrients.

Recipe Adapted from Baking Illustrated
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted)
1/2 cup canola (or vegetable) oil
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 ts baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Set aside.

Grate the zucchini, using a medium sized grater (If not pulling yours from the freezer and thawing it.) Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, and ground allspice.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until well blended (about 2 minutes). Fold in the grated zucchini. Add the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Then fold in the chocolate chips.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the bread has risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely.

Makes one loaf.

Corn Chowder and Cookies

Last week Ty decided to take on a few nights worth of dinner (okay two, but he'd planned on three and is making his planned meal for that night tomorrow). His first night cooking he made this corn chowder.

It was delicious.

Later that evening I made Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies using a recipe from Tasty Kitchen that I forgot to save. They were quite good considering I forgot to add the cup of brown sugar to them. The only sweetness was a 1/2 cup of white sugar and the chocolate chips. See, I made them healthy without even

Today has been laundry, repotting seedlings, and baking a chocolate zucchini loaf. Picture and recipe to follow.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

March Spice Rack Challenge - Spicy Indian Chicken Curry

The March Spice Rack Challenge was cardamom.

For a household that has 34 different containers of spices plus several blends or seasoning mixes you wouldn't think that I would need to buy stuff for the spice rack challenge. But my cardamom was both powder and OLD so I hit Superstore for a new stock of pods. (By the way, if you're in Canada and use a lot of spices that are also commonly used in Asian cuisine, it's all about superstore...huge savings!!!!)

Ty and I love Indian food so it seemed a logical idea to make a curry of some sort and it was off to allrecipes where I found a recipe to use as a base.

6 chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 red onion, finely diced
1 can coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste (I mixed up what I assume this is in my mini food chopper)
2 tbsp curry powder
2" piece cinnamon stick, broken up
8 whole cardamom pods
6 whole cloves
4 bay leaves
15 (I grabbed some) whole black peppercorns
2 tsp coriander seed
red pepper flakes to taste

Toss the chicken, onion, oil, and garlic ginger paste into a pot and let cook on medium heat for 5ish minutes.

Meanwhile dump all lumpy spices into some cheesecloth and make a little bundle so you aren't chomping down on a seed every bite you eat. Add the bundle, the bay leaves, the curry powder, and the pepper flakes to the pot along with the coconut milk and some chicken broth.

Cook uncovered for 30 minutes. Check seasoning (Here I actually added about a half tsp ground cinnamon and 1/2 a chicken stock cube to amp up my flavour.)

(You've now added everything except the bell pepper)

After the 30 minutes has passed, toss in the bell pepper and cook 10 minutes more. The broth and milk should have thickened up into a nice sauce.

Serve with basmati race and/or naan bread.

Cheesy Garlic Mushroom Orzo with Italian Sausage and Mixed Greens

(Please forgive my horrible image quality here. I was in a hurry)

Standard chez hates Orzo
1 cup orzo
2 cups chicken broth or stock
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Brown orzo lightly in butter over medium heat. Add chicken broth, cover, and reduce heat to low.
Cook covered for 15 minutes. When all liquid has been absorbed stir in basil and Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4 healthy side portions.

**Add In**
1 1/2 cups diced button mushrooms that were sauteed in butter and 4 minced cloves of garlic.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dinner Tonight

Roast chicken, potatoes and apples...
Served with green salad...
Strawberries for dessert...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February Spice Rack Challenge - Pork and Shrimp Meatballs

Sigh....the spice this month was Citrus, but not as simple as using some lemon or lime juice I need to used either citrus peel (fresh or dried) or preserved citrus, neither of which I use much.

I would have automatically made limoncello (actually I am still making limoncello) however the recipe that I follow takes longer than a month to complete so time constraints ruled it out for the challenge.

I was browsing Tasty Kitchen a week or so back and saw this recipe for pork and shrimp meatballs. It sounded pretty tasty and I saved it to use as a starting off point.

I used all the amounts roughly, used more garlic and pock, zested two lemons and added the juice of one.

Squish it all up with your hands, cook according to instructions in linked recipe (though I'm going to bake the ones that I froze when we have the second half of the batch).

I served half for dinner (and overcooked them slightly...oops,I don't fry much) with sauteed asparagus...

...and froze half the meatballs for a later date.

The verdict was that they were pretty tasty, though next time I'll have a dipping sauce to go with them.

Aerogarden - Two Weeks In

Three kinds of herbs all growing up. I've got genovese basil, dill, and thyme. Should be big enough to start harvesting in another 3-4 weeks I think.

Off to the side I'm growing baby lettuce in a clamshell container. I'm going to have fresh lettuce, locally (in Calgary), in March...I can't wait!!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My new Aerogarden

I bought an Aerogarden 3. We'd been discussing getting one for a while now and walking past a display at Canadian Tire I gave in to temptation.

I got it home.

Pulled everything out of the box...

Assembled it in a minute flat...filled it with water and am now on my way to fresh herbs.

Apparently the thyme will begin to sprout in 5 days and the dill and basil will be about a week.

I'm ordering a tomato kit next so I have tomatoes before the garden ones will be ready...

and then I'll have fresh tomatoes all year long.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Garden Planning

Planning my January...with a foot and a half of snow covering my back yard. It seems early, except that I need to order seeds and seed potatoes. And Ty said he's going to build me two new beds (though together they'll be about the same size as the one I already have). Yay for doubling my growing space!

I just placed my order for seeds potatoes. I got three fourpacks of different varieties from a supplier out of Bowden, AB. Eagle Creek Farms has a CSA program, a u-pick, a sunflower maze, and a huge selection of seed potatoes. Instead of the generic bag of seed potatoes that I bought from Safeway last year (which were fine and tasty mind you) this year I''m planning for Banana Fingerling, Russian Blue, and Russet Burbank.

We have these bricked in planters on the front of our house but we get so much sun out front that the beds had just baked into a brick. Last year I got one side dug up, weeded, and mixed in some compost and a ton of water and planted potatoes there. After harvesting those potatoes I planted garlic for the first time back in October so I'm looking forward to seeing how that pans out. I'll be repeating the fixing up and poto process on the other half of the house this year.

I'm also getting ready to start my tomato seeds inside . I''m thinking seven starts as I'm sure two or three won't take off as well. I'll be pruning my tomato leaves far more aggressively this year as last years summer was so terrible I barely got fruit off the plants.

Early Planting - Spring 2009

Man, is it spring time yet?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January Spice Rack Challenge - Rosemary and Sea Salt Crackers

Here it is. My first post done for the Spice Rack Challenge.

The herb selected for January was Rosemary and I made up a batch of crackers using Rosemary and Sea Salt as the flavoring. The downside to this month was that while I really enjoy fresh rosemary, I didn't much like the crackers. While I rolled them as thin as I though I could, they're kind of thick and not at all like the thin rosemary crackers from Costco that I was trying to replicate. Ty says they're good, but he wasn't the one trying to make an at home version of something he loves so his opinion is skewed (or so I choose to believe).

They look pretty at least. And they do taste fine. I know that I'm just being picky.

2 cups all purpose flour (next time I'd go 1 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat for more flavor)
1 1/4 tsp salt (plus more for sprinkling)
3 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup water
1 Tbsp chopped rosemary (plus 2 more Tbsp for topping)

Mix ingredients well (I used my hand to really squish it all together) and let sit for 20 minutes. Divide in half and on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin roll out as thin as possible (and trust me now when I say if you think they're thin enough, go thinner). Cut into square/rectangle/ diamond shape of choice with pizza cutter and transfer to parchment lined cookie sheet.

Brush with water and sprinkle with a touch more sea salt and more chopped rosemary (press the rosemary in slightly to make it adhere. Prick each cracker with a form to help it from puffing up too much and bake in a 450 F oven for 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Banana Oat Muffins

We buy a lot of bananas in our house but often end up not finishing the bunch before they over ripen. I typically toss those ones into the freezer until I feel like baking but upon my freezer tidy earlier this week I realized I had a dozen bananas taking up space in a corner. A double batch of something was in order so I flipped through my favorite muffin cookbook (Pilsbury best Muffins and Quickbreads) for inspiration. I tweaked the recipe by upping the cinnamon, and skipping the topping (unneeded extra sugar). I've also made these muffins with some of the all purpose flour subbed out for whole wheat flour with great success.

Banana Oat Muffins (makes 24)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sugar
5 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
4 medium bananas (thawed and mashed)
1 cup buttermilk*
6 tbsp vegetable oil
2 eggs

*While not a decent substitute for all recipes, when baking you can replace buttermilk with a self soured version. Simply add 1.5 tsp vinegar (or lemon juice) per 1/2 cup milk and let sit for a minute to sour.

Preheat oven to 400 F and spray muffins tins with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl until well blended. In a smaller bowl, mix bananas, buttermilk, oil and eggs. Beat well.

Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. A bit of dry stuff still there is fine. You don't want to over mix muffins or they get a little tough and get those super pointed tops.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in a muffins comes out clean. Let sit in pan for 1 minutes and then remove to rack to cool.

Banana Oat Muffins

Store in a tight closing container or freeze (I usually freeze 8 muffins from a batch of 24 so we always have baked goods handy). Four muffins to a ziplock freezer bag works great for us.

Friday, January 14, 2011

2011 Spice Rack Challenge

It's my day off in between three days and three more days of shifts. It's also freezing cold outside so I have no plans to leave the house anytime soon. I am however baking bread, making muffins, and because I've decided to participate in the Spice Rack Challenge I figured that today would be an excellent time to clean out and reorganize my spice cabinet.

Cabinet and Door Post Clean

I wiped down the cupboard and the lazy susan, tossed a few blends that were pretty old, filled jars where I could, noted that I was out of tarragon (which I'll still probably forget to pick up at the store the next time I go, and rearranged everything back in there the best that I could.

I've got a loaf of bread baking in the oven and the dishwasher is running. Banana Oat muffins are up next (recipe and pics posted tomorrow hopefully) and then I'll be making some kind of shrimp scampi and salad for dinner.

And did I mention that I sorted through the vast amount of recipes ripped out of magazines. Must actually try more of those instead of just collecting them...sigh.

I'll leave you with an in progress...

and finished shot (crappy as it is) of last nights breakfast for dinner. We had sweet potato, scallion, and sausage hash topped with poached eggs (and served in pasta

Sweet Potato, Sausage, and Shallot Hash with Poached Eggs

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bread for Lazy People -aka- No-Knead Bread

I'd been aware of no-knead bread for quite some time but not having an adequate pot to bake it in it had never been more than a passing fancy. Until I started seeing the latest crop of recipes and pictures of it everywhere. I read the Patent and the Pantry recipe, I read the version in the New York Times that she adapted hers from, I read about Jim Lahey's book, and then I put a dutch oven on my Christmas wish list.

My recipe is not an exact representation of any of the aforementioned ones, but really, they're all pretty close. I love Gwen's method of letting the second rise occur on the parchment paper.

No Knead Bread
-adapted from Jim Lahey, the New York Times and Gwen from Patent and the Pantry-

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 5/8 cups water
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl. Add water. Stir together into a sticky mess. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit on counter for 12 - 18 hours (I recommend mixing it up around 6 pm on a Friday so it can sit over night).

The next morning take a look at it, the surface should have a ton of tiny bubbles. This is good. Flour a work surface and plop the dough on it. Sprinkle flour on to of the dough blob and on your hands to keep them from sticking. Fold dough over on itself a couple of time, cover loosely with plastic wrap (I use the same wrap that was on the bowl) and let it sit for 15 minutes.

Re-flour your hands and form the dough into a ball. Plop ball onto sheet of parchment paper, cover with a clean towel and place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 2 more hours. (For ease, I wash the mixing bowl during the 15 minute rest and drop the parchment paper right in it for the second rise. That was the towel doesn't touch the dough and if the loaf starts to spread it stays ball shaped). The dough is ready when it is almost doubled in size.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (such as my brand new enamel cast iron Kirkland Signature pot from Costco which is awesome and 6 times less money than a Le Creuset - hence my ability to own one) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Pick up the parchment paper, drop it in the HOT pot (seriously, it's hot, don't touch it with your bare hands).

Cover with lid and bake 25 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes (2o minutes for me in Calgary), until loaf is a nice brown. Pick up the parchment paper by the corners, remove loaf from pot and cool on a rack.

After it's cool, slice it open and smear with butter. It's remarkably airy for homemade bread (because of the long slow rise) and there are good air pockets throughout.