Friday, September 24, 2010

Pampered Chef Party and Recipes (Almost No Knead Bread, Artichoke Dip, Carmel Pecan Chocolate Ganache Cups)

Tobie in the kitchen. Look at his back feet! He cracks me up.

Chicken grilling in the grill pan.

Almost No Knead Bread stuffed with Artichoke Dip. Heaven!

We had a great time last night. It was interesting to see how everyone fit into the tiny little townhouse kitchen, but it was a beautiful night and we mostly gathered outside.

The food was GREAT! I made two recipes of Almost No Knead Bread (Cooks Illustrated, one white and one wheat), artichoke dip to go inside one of the loaves of bread, Harvest Grains from Trader Joes with garlic, parmesan and tomatoes, steamed broccoli, and grilled chicken in the grill pan. We finished it all off with Caramel Pecan Chocolate Ganache Cups (went very well with the Cupcake Vineyards Shiraz).

As promised, here are the recipes. I will post pics of the artichoke dip in the bread bowl a bit later, but the pics of the dessert really didn't turn out very well.

Almost No Knead Bread (Cook's Illustrated)
3 cups all-purpose flour**
1/4 tsp rapid-rise yeast
1-1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup + 2 Tbl water, at room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 Tbl mild flavored beer (I used Rolling Rock because that's what Ty drinks)
1 Tbl white vinegar

1. Whisk flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Make a well or dip in the middle and pour in the water, beer, and vinegar. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold the mixture from the bottom of the bowl until a shaggy ball forms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours. I usually do this just before I go to bed and let it rise overnight.

2. Lay a 12x18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside a 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Lightly flour your countertop and dump the dough onto the counter. Dust the top of the dough with flour as well. Knead 10 to 15 times with clean hands. Shape the dough into a ball by pulling the edges toward the middle. Place the dough, seam side down, in the middle of the parchment lined skillet and lighltly spray the top with nonstick spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and lest rise at least 2 hours (longer for wheat dough).

3. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and place a 6-8 quart heavy bottomed Dutch Oven with the lid on the rack. I use an enameled cast iron dutch oven and remove the knob on the lid. Heat oven to 500 degrees.

4. Lightly flour the top of the risen dough and use a sharp knife to cut a 6 inch long, 1/2-inch deep slash across the top of the dough. Carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and remove the lid. Pick up the dough by lifting the edges of the parchment paper and carefully lower into the pot. Let the excess paper hang over the edge of the pot. Cover the pot and place in oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to bake until the loaf is a deep brown color, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Remove the pot from the oven, then carefully remove the bread from the pot and transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temp,about 2 hours. Enjoy!

**When making the wheat version, I use 2 cups all purpose and 1 cup whole wheat flour. The resulting dough will need to rise a bit longer than the white dough.

Artichoke Dip (Pampered Chef Recipe Card)
2-16 oz. bread bowls or two loaves of Almost No Knead Bread
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
14.5 oz can artichoke hears, drained well, chopped, and drained again
1 clove garlic, minced
1 envelope Vegetable Soup Mix (1.8 oz., I used Knorr)
8 oz. sour cream
1 Tbl lemon juice
Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice the top third off of one of the bread bowls. Using a small knife, carefully hollow out the bowl, leaving about a 1-1/2" bread border on each side and bottom. Place on a cookie sheet or baking stone. Cut the middle of the bread, top third, and second loaf into 1" cubes. Arrange the cubes around the hollowed out loaf and spray lightly with cooking spray.

2. In a medium sized, microwave-safe bowl, whisk cream cheese until smooth. Slowly whisk in milk, then stir in artichoke hearts, garlic, and veggie soup mix. Microwave on high 5 to 7 minutes or until hot but not boiling.

3. Stir sour cream and lemon juice into the warm artichoke mixture, then pour into the hollowed out bread loaf. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of the dip and over the bread cubes.

4. Bake in oven for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the bread cubes are lightly toasted and the dip is bubbly. Serve immediately.

Caramel Pecan Chocolate Ganache Cups
9 Nilla Wafers
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces (I use Ghiradelli)
1 cup whipping cream*
1/4 tsp espresso powder or 1 Tbl strong coffee**
2 Tbl caramel sauce***
Extra caramel sauce
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
whipped cream

1. Line 9 muffin cups with liners and place a Nilla wafer at the bottom of each cup.
2. In a medium sized bowl, combine the chocolate, cream and espresso powder. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir briefly, then microwave an additional 45 seconds.
3. Whisk until smooth and dark brown in color. This will take about 2 minutes to get everything completely mixed. Add the caramel sauce and stir well.
4. Using a 1/4 cup measure, fill each muffin cup 2/3 full. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
5. Just before serving, add 1-2 tsp caramel sauce to the top of each cup. Top with whipped cream and toasted pecans. Serve with a spoon.

*For a firmer texture, use whipping cream. For a light and soft texture similar to pudding, use half and half.
**This ingredient is optional, but highly encouraged. The coffee accentuates the chocolate and makes it taste more like chocolate.
***seedless raspberry preserves or orange marmalade may also be used.

Goodness! That was a lot of typing. Have a great weekend!

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