Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Year of Blogging


What a year this has been! Looking back over the posts it seems like it was the year of BREAD for me. Even though I took a break from bread making (mostly) over the summer, there are still a large number of bread posts as well as all 26 posts on the Bread Baker's Dog blog,

which I started in March because all those bread posts seem to be overwhelming Feeding My Enthusiasms.

I found that I enjoy baking bread, especially yeasted bread, that I seem to have a knack for it, and that the creativity and mystery ('cuz 'ya never know if it will rise properly) appeal to me immensely. It's hard to hate the smell of freshly baked bread, either. Over the years I've posted over 50 bread recipes (not all yeasted, but many are) plus 26 more on the bread blog. Of special joy to me has been the fact that I gave yeast breads for Christmas gifts this year and that I spent a day teaching a dear friend how to bake bread from scratch ...helping her overcome the fear of yeast that is all too common. I also met two of my favorite Bread Baking Babes in Seattle this summer - Tanna and Lynn - which has encouraged me to keep going with bread baking.

An improvement to the blog this year has been the inclusion of an Index of recipes. Since I often use Feeding My Enthusiasm as my personal recipe box, and it has grown to have over 200 recipes, having an Index means I can find the recipe I'm looking for quickly...and so can you. Access the Index by clicking on the photo of a set table that is in the upper right on the blog. I tried to break recipes down by category to speed the search since I don't have an actual search engine. Hope it helps you try something new! Let me know if you tried something and enjoyed it, OK? If you post about it, I'm usually happy to have you link and can sometime provide additional photos...just e-mail me.

Many of the post this year were from cookbooks, often altered to suit my taste or cooking style. I usually borrow cookbooks from the library since my cookbook shelf is full to overflowing. Do you have any cookbooks you would recommend?

As often happens because I am blessed with very thoughtful family and friends, this year for the holidays I received a number of food goodies including yummy home made stollen, a gorgeous bay wreath, an assortment of farmers' market goodies ingeniously packaged with garden greenery instead of peanuts (with simply beautiful holly), a delicious persimmon bread, tasty candy and cookies, and little cakes. Mom's delicate and traditional crescent cookies are still being enjoyed! On top of that the generous gifts of kitchen scale, bread mat, instant thermometer, and King Arthur gift cert. will help with future bread baking and are much appreciated. I even received a monkey bread pan...so you know what I'll be baking soon! A cool gift that I used for the recipe below is a pair of herb shears from Sweetie's Super Second Sister...made the chopping of fresh rosemary very easy!

One of the best gifts has been the assurance by family and friends that even though they may not comment, they still enjoy reading the blog posts. Since I was beginning to lag on my enthusiasm for blogging that has made a difference. Thank you all.

Many thanks to readers who do comment...it really means a lot and encourages me to visit your blogs if you have them. You often inspire me and make me laugh and give me insight into other ways of cooking, baking and looking at the world.

I wish each of you a Happy New Year...another day to wake up and greet the morning...or afternoon :)

XOXO Elle

This recipe is a variation of one I've posted before, but this time I used some of the unique citrus from the farmers' market sent to us by Sweetie's Fabulous First Sister.

The orange like citrus had a pink-orange flesh so it wasn't a regular orange nor a blood orange, but it was delicious although milder than lemon, so the mustard flavor was more dominant than with lemon. I omitted the topping and it was still wonderful. The chicken gets very tender and moist by sitting in the marinade. This is a great recipe to make ahead and perfect for citrus season.

Orange Chicken with Rosemary and Garlic
Serves about 8

8-10 boneless skinless chicken pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil for coating pans
5-6 cloves garlic
2 oranges and their zest
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
3-4 branches fresh rosemary, each about 5 inches long, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
Optional topping:
3 tablespoons cup Parmesan cheese (use the real thing for best flavor)
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Arrange the boneless skinless chicken thighs (or substitute some boneless skinless chicken breasts if you wish) in an 11 x 13 inch baking pan where the bottom of the pan has been lightly oiled with the olive oil. Keep the chicken pieces touching each other. Place whole, unpeeled garlic cloves between some of the pieces.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, the juice and zest of the oranges, and 3-4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary. Whisk in the olive oil. Pour the mixture over the pan of chicken. Tuck a few sprigs of remaining fresh rosemary between some of the chicken pieces. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill 3-4 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover the chicken and place the pan in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until the juice runs clear when a piece of chicken is pierced.

If desired, about 10 minutes before the chicken is done, mix together the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and parsley; sprinkle this mixture evenly over the chicken. Return to oven to bake last 10 minutes.

Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or boiled potatoes, which bread to sop up the sauce. The sauce is mighty good. The chicken is amazing.

Leftovers are delicious, too. You can also freeze this, well wrapped, for a month. Thaw in the refrigerator, then bake in a 350 degree oven until heated through, or in the microwave, reheating at no more than 50% power.

7 comments :

Dharm said...

Happy New Year dear friend!

Andreas said...

Happy New Year to you, your family and Xam.

Elle said...

Dharm & Andreas, Happy New Year to each of you!

Rose&Thorn said...

Happy New Year.
I also had a Year of Bread in 2009. I conquered my fear of yeast and have made some wonderful things. The ideas and inspiration from bloggers like you have helped me so much.
This year I am dedicating to Africa - with the Fifa World Cup Soccer being held in South Africa, it seems the perfect time to spotlight my beautiful continent and country.
I look forward to another year of blogging and "feeding my enthusiasms'

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Happy New Year, dear! Those grapefruit are so beautiful - I love the star in the middle. Your blog is wonderful; I love that you follow whatever creative baking muse strikes you. There's always something interesting to find here.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year!! I love the photo at the top of the pie you were describing. I was hoping to see a shot of the edge, that being the only part that I couldn't quite imagine.

Who did the painting of you and the BBD? Was it you??

Love and hugs,
Natasha

Elle said...

Rose, Looking forward to your blog and learning more about Africa this year. I still remember the post about the hike you took above town...great photos and sense of place.Hopefully you will continue to bake lots of bread, too. :)

Lynn, Thanks for you kind words...it mirrors how I feel about your writing and baking...especially the blueberry series this summer/fall!

Natasha, Glad you like the new header...the whipped cream came out so nicely :) Yes, I painted the doggie picture...part of the portrait section we are doing in class...and that is a younger version of me...fewer wrinkles for sure.