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Monthly Archive for May, 2011

Almost No Knead Wheat Bread

almost no knead wheat1

almost no knead wheat2


Almost No Knead Wheat Bread (recipe from America’s Test Kitchen) 


  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 oz), plus additional flour for dusting work space
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup, plus 2 Tblsp water(7oz), @ room temperature
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 Tblsp mild-flavored lager(3oz), such as Budweiser
  • 1 Tablsp white vinegar


  1. Whisk flours, yeast, & salt in a large bowl. Stir the honey into the water, then add the water, beer, and vinegar to the dry ingredients. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms.
  2. Cover bowl w/ plastic wrap & let sit @ room temperature 8 to 18 hrs. (mine fermented for 15 hours)
  3. Lay 12 by 18 inch sheet of parchment paper inside a 10-inch skillet and spray w/ nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10-15 times.
  5. Shape dough into a ball by pulling edges into middle.
  6. Transfer dough, seam side down, to parchment-lines skillet and spray surface of dough w/ nonstick cooking spray.
  7. Cover w/ plastic wrap, sprayed w/ cooking spray, and let rise @ room temperature for 2 hours.
  8. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven to lowest position, place a 6-8 qt. heavy-bottomed Dutch oven w/ lid on rack & heat oven to 500 degrees F.  (I used a cast iron dutch oven)
  9. Lightly flour top of dough, and using a razor blade or a sharp knife, make one 6-inch long and 1/2-inch deep slit along top of dough.
  10. Remove pot from oven, remove lid, & place dough (by lifting parchment overhang), & lower into pot.(Let any excess parchment hang over pot edge).
  11. Cover pot & place in oven.
  12. Reduce temperature to 425 degrees F & bake, covered, for 30 minutes.
  13. Remove lid & continue to bake until loaf is deep brown & instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 210 degrees F, 20-30 minutes longer.
  14. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack & cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.
  15. Makes 1 loaf, and is best eaten the day it is baked, but can be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a cool, dry place for up to 2 days.

Bakers notes: I removed the bread from the oven after 30 minutes because the bottom was starting to get charred but the internal temperature was only 204 degrees F.

The crust wasn’t as crisp as I would have liked but the bread had a full bodied aroma and tasted terrific!

Next time I’ll tweek the recipe by  1) lowering the oven temperature ; 2) putting the dutch oven on a higher rack; and 3) removing the lid earlier during the baking process. I hope these changes will result in a better end product.   

Happy Baking!


Asparagus and Prosciutto Tart

I made this tart a couple of weeks ago when I had some friends over for dinner. I wanted to make something using the fresh asparagus from my garden.  The tart accompanied a roasted chicken that was flattened by removing the backbone for quicker cooking. I tucked some garlic and pepper flake sauteed arugula under the skin to boost the chicken’s flavor. The juices from the chicken made the butternut squash w/ sage in the roasting pan taste extra good! For dessert we had “floating islands” (merengue floating in a pool of creme anglaise) made by one of the guests who is an aspiring pastry chef.  This meal was totally delicious!! 

asparagus tart1

asparagus tart2

Asparagus and Prosciutto Tart (adapted from a recipe by Cassandra Vires)

Serves | 6 to 8 |

  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 4 oz prosciutto  (torn into long pieces)
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (dry roasted)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz whole milk ricotta
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 lemon  (zested w/ a microplane)
  • pate brisee crust  (par-baked in a 9 inch pie dish)

| Preparation | Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut off and discard the rough ends of the asparagus. Using a vegetable peeler, thinly slice the asparagus lengthwise, creating long ribbons. Toss with  prosciutto, pine nuts and oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together ricotta, cream, eggs and lemon zest. Fold in half of the asparagus mixture. Spread evenly over the bottom of the prepared crust and bake until filling is set and crust is golden brown (about 30 minutes).

Remove from oven and top with remaining asparagus mixture. Tent with foil and return to the oven for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until asparagus is cooked through. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Happy Cooking!