March 2015 – Artisan Bread, St. Pats. Day, Egg Wars

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Passion is Go Power

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Introducing Steve Clark

Passion is such a driving force and when you meet someone who has it, you just want to be with that person, sharing that energy.  When I met Steve Clark, he was serving slices of his homemade bread.  I didn’t realize really what I would experience.

Steve Clark received a PhD in Chemistry from MIT and served in the Army Reserves/National Guard for 8 years.  He worked in research within the pharmaceutical  and chemical industries.  But none of these things were connected to that baked bread.

It was that passion I witnessed as he explained his search for a recipe and process to bake a delicious rustic loaf of bread. That became his mission for several years.  I tasted many different types of bread that he baked, and each one shouted out a special caring for producing a quality product.  What I was seeing was the magical quality of Passion demonstrated before my eyes!

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Crusty Artisan French Bread*

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Artisan Bread Baker – Steve Clark

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Crusty Artisan French Bread – Dutch Oven Method

 

 

 

 

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Our Passionate Artisan Bread Baker – Steve Clark – Listening to His Bread -” Snap/Crackle and Pop”- as it Cools

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Crispy Artisan French Bread Baking in Oven

 

 

 

I could see it spreading all over his face.  You know the twinkle of excitement of his smile, the wide-eyes gaze as he stared at it, and his enthusiastic words encouraging us to bend down and listen to it. I know you might wonder what could cause a grown man to have this reaction.  Well – it was a loaf of bread.  Not just any bread but his Artisan homemade creation.  It was the excitement and energy of true passion.  It is the thrill of a lifetime to be able to catch a glimpse of this intertwining pride and pleasure.  As he leaned down, one ear moving closer to the steamy hot loaf, he smiled and said, “Listen to it!  Go ahead!  You will hear it crackling.”  I bent down close enough to hear a soft crunching sound that seemed to almost whisper, “I’m so beautiful!” It’s funny but I never knew that a loaf of bread could talk to you.  What a gift he was sharing!

Imagine baking a Crusty Artisan Bread using only 30 minutes preparation time!  This bread requires only a folding (no kneading) and bakes in a heavy 6 quart Dutch Oven Pot. It does require a long fermentation and proofing time, which allows to you to go to the movies, take a long nap, or just go out and have fun.  The dough will do all the work.  You won’t believe that this delicious bread is so easy to make and wonderful delicious to eat.

*Steve Clark adapted this “no knead bread from Cook’s Illustrated, New York Times Mark Bittman’s interview, and from Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery. It features a slow fermentation of the dough and baking in a Dutch Oven.

pdf  for Copy of Recipe for Crusty Artisan French Bread*

pdf for Copy of Original NY Times – Mark Bittman – No Knead Bread Recipe

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Video Clip of Crusty Artisan French Bread – Overview

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Video Clip Of Crusty Artisan French Bread – Full Details

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Sun Dried Tomato Herb & Olive Oil Dipping Sauce

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Sun Dried Tomato Herb & Olive Oil Dipping Sauce

The ultimate temptation is that dish of delightful dipping oil, which is served along with a basket of warm crusty bread at many restaurants.  This recipe captures a multitude of herbal flavors in the olive oil and combines them with slivers of sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, and a touch of Parmesan cheese.  Watch out!  It’s just wonderful with those fresh Artisan bread chunks.

pdf for Copy of Recipe Sun Dried Tomato Herb & Olive Oil Dipping Sauce   

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Tropical “Bacon” Crisps 

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Tropical “Bacon” Crips

A “bacon” that is vegetarian but not fake meat??  Yes, it’s true.  Caramelized coconut flakes, drizzled with soy, hickory smoke, and maple syrup, add an addictive smoky hickory flavor to any soup, salad, dessert, or entrée.  You might even find yourself eating this out of the bag. Really!

pdf for Copy of Recipe Tropical “Bacon” Crisps

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URL Video Clip  link for Tropical “Bacon” Crisps

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Thai Tuna Lettuce Wraps with Tropical “Bacon” Crisps

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Thai Tuna Lettuce Wraps with Tropical “Bacon” Crisps


‘It’s time for Thai!  Light Asian rice noodles, coated with a peanut sauce are topped with spicy peppered tuna slices. Studded with shredded cucumbers, roasted red peppers, onions, and cilantro, they form light healthy lettuce rolls.  That final sprinkle with Tropical “Bacon” Crisps adds a seductive hickory smoke bacon flavor.

pdf for Recipe of Thai Tuna Lettuce Wraps with Tropical “Bacon” Crisps

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Emerald Island’s Miso Pea Soup – with Crispy Pea Snaps

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Emerald Island’s Miso Pea Soup with Crispy Pea Snaps

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Emerald Island’s Miso Pea Soup with Crispy Pea Snaps

‘The flavors in this light pea soup welcome you with an island swirl of coconut milk that blends the fragrant onions, garlic, and ginger with peas, watercress, and cilantro.  Coconut “Bacon” Crisps and cool avocado slices add that final touch.  It won’t be surprising, that this soup will disappear just like Emerald Island did many years ago.

pdf for Recipe of Emerald Island’s Miso Pea Soup with Crispy Pea Snaps 

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Irish Boxty Zucchini Potato Cakes

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Irish Boxty Zucchini Potato Cakes


Boxty traditionally are Irish potato pancakes containing mixed mashed and grated potatoes.  In this recipe, I included fresh zucchini, some broccoflower crumbles, and fresh tomatoes to create a flavorful side dish with some extra protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.  Add some fresh applesauce to serve with the pancakes.  It’s a real family pleaser.

pdf for Recipe of Irish Boxty Zucchini Potato Cakes

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Egg Wars – Annual Easter Family Tradition

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Selection of Colored Hard Boiled Easter Eggs Ready for Battle

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Battle of the Eggs – Top Egg is the Attacker

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Always One Winner and One Loser in Each Battle

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The Family Champion is the Yellow Egg

You know how some celebration days just can’t come fast enough.  That was how I felt about our Sunday morning on Easter.  There they were, all those beautiful colored eggs,  just waiting for the Egg Wars.  We played lots of egg games like “The Easter Egg Hunt” and guessing Jelly Bean colors by their taste, but the best activity was Egg Wars. I’m not sure where this ever started but I know that it existed for my entire life.  Everyone in our family participated and anxiously waited for it to begin.

I recall my father and brother tapping the eggs on their teeth to test out which one was the strongest.  I never quite reached that level of expertise as they all seemed the same to me. After finding what you believed would be your holiday champion, you would challenge someone.  Each person would hold their egg with the pointed side up. Then while one person held his egg, the other person took the pointed side of his egg and smashed the one below. Believe it not, you never knew which one would break. I always thought the smasher had an advantage, but it just depended on the strength of the shells. One of them would always crack and then the winner could challenge another person.  This continued until one egg was declared the Champion since it never cracked.  There was always lots of cheering, giggling, and yes, declaring oneself the Winner was the best part.

There was only one problem with this fun game.  If you wanted to play, you had to agree to one big rule.  If your egg cracked, you had to eat it.  Since a boiled egg  wasn’t one of my favorites but I wanted to play, I was prepared to smear my losing egg with soft butter to help it disappear.

This is what a Winner and Loser egg looks like! Look at the picture to the left. You can see the cracked blue egg was the loser, and the uncracked yellow egg won this round. Also, each member of the family could use multiple eggs as long as he/she agreed to eat all the damaged eggs.  Sometimes, small children would seek assistance from elder family members to agree to eat their egg.  But over time, most became hard boiled egg eaters.

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URL Link to You Tube Video of Easter Egg Wars

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