Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Betty Crocker Project : Italian Chopped Salad & Asiago Bread

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So you had to know this was coming. We're going to talk about Star Trek today.

Many people know that Dan and I live in a house divided. He grew up in the Red Sox Nation and I'm from Yankee stock. I love TV that is so bad it is amazing and Dan would prefer to spend his TV time with nobler pursuits like killing Xbox mutants. When it comes to one of the most heated debates in The Nerd Nation, my husband, The Love of My Life, thinks Jean Luc Picard is the baddest cat to wear a Federation Starfleet uniform. OK, I have to admit that the photo the Picard link goes to is sweet but I can't help it- I'm more a Kirk girl.

It's not like we're Trekkies or anything. Though I would put the movie Trekkies in my top 100 desert island movies. I find them fascinating. This is just one of those things that comes up in the life of someone who is not exactly "cool" and you develop a stance on. Probably in the same way people who are "cool" have opinions on Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirts and spray tans. I'm getting to my point. 

This week you are going to notice a lot of vegetable recipes because we totally loaded up at the farmer's markets on the way home from Assateague Island. You may love some more than others but unlike Star Trek Captains - you don't have to have a favorite. You can love them all equally. *

Ready to eat? Make it so. 

Italian Chopped Salad
  • 6 Cup of Romaine Lettuce  ( this makes a lot - so you may want to use the 1/2 to 3/4 Cup per person rule.
  • 1 Cup Basil Leaves (fresh)
  • 1 Cup Fake Chicken (We are still using that Mah Wah Chicken. We're only half way through the bag. I think Gardein or Morningstar Chicken Strips would be great.)
  • 2 large Tomatoes (chopped into big chunks)
  • 2 Medium Cucumbers (chopped into big chunks)
  • 1/4 Large Red Onion (chopped)
  • 4 Pieces of Tempeh Bacon (chopped. This is replacing the Salami - So you may also consider using Tofurky Peppered Slices or Lightlife Fake Pepperoni)
  • 1 Can of Cannellini Beans ( rinsed and drained)
  • Handful of Kalamata Olives
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • A Few Dashes of Liquid Smoke
Basil Vinaigrette
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar 
  • 2 Tablespoons Basil Leaves (fresh and chopped)
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano Leaves (fresh and chopped)
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Braggs 
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper

In a tight container, shake all the Vinaigrette ingredients. 

In your handy cast-iron skillet, heat Olive Oil and Liquid Smoke on a medium heat. Fry up the Fake Chicken and Tempeh till the reach a desired crispiness. Set aside to cool on a plate with a paper towel to soak up oil. 

Once the Fake Chicken and Tempeh are cooled, chop them up. Place all Salad ingredients in a bowl and toss. Pour the Vinaigrette over it and serve! 

Asiago Bread
  • 3 1/4 Cups Bread Flour (you'll need more to Flour surfaces)
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 Package Quick Active Yeast
  • 1 1/4 Cups Very Warm Water 
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Rosemary (crush them up in your fingers before you drop 'em in)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (you'll want some extra to brush over the bread)
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Package Smoked Cheddar Sheese (cut into tiny cubes)
  • 1/2 Cup Daiya Mozzarella (shredded)
  • Margarine for greasing a bowl 

    In a large bowl with high sides, mix the Flour, Sugar and Yeast. Add Warm Water. Mix with an electric mixer. WARNING : This gets really sticky! I know I may sound like I'm being silly BUT I'm not. Don't touch this stuff and watch out for your mixer and just be careful. IT IS VERY VERY STICKY!

    Once it is completely mixed (be sure and get whatever is on the side) put some plastic wrap over the top and let stand in a warm place for about an hour or until bubbly. 

    Stir in Olive Oil, Herbs and Salt. Cover and let stand another 15 minutes. 

    On a Floured surface, gently knead the bread for around 5 to 15 minutes. You're going to be working in more Flour so the Dough should start to lose the stickiness. Knead in the Sheese. Grease a large bowl with Margarine. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rinse in a warm place for another hour. 

    We baked ours on our pizza stone dusted with Flour but you can also bake this on a slightly greased cookie sheet. Gently shape the dough into a sort of football shaped loaf. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise another hour. The dough should (sorta) double in size. 

    Heat oven to 450.

    Brush the outside of the bread with Olive Oil. Put bread in the oven for 5-10 minutes. The outside of the bread should start to have hardened - but not really bake. Cut a slit down the middle and gently open the cut with your knife to create a little like canal. Sprinkle Daiya Mozzarella in the canal. Bake in the oven for another 20 -25 minutes until the Bread turns golden brown and sounds hallow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

    *Asiago Bread is one of my favorite recipes in this project so far. It isn't really a VEGETABLE recipe but DAMN it is good.


    1. I have a soft spot for Kirk myself, but Jean Luc does have an awesome song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSC5pU-N9rs&feature=related

    2. This looks so yummy and who can beat fresh bread? I never knew how Asiago bread was made, and now I do! YAY!

    3. Mmmm that sure looks and sounds good! What a cool project. I just came across this. I will definitely try out some of your recipes! My fiance and I are big trekkies ourselves. Right now we're working our way through the Voyager series. I think Picard is still my favorite captain though! :-)

    4. It would be awesome if these recipes were printable in the 4X6 recipe card size!