Friday, June 4, 2010

The Betty Crocker Project : Cobb Salad & Sunflower Seed Herb Whole Wheat Bread

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Ever have a "great" idea that turns out to be a terrible mistake?

I don't mean anything epic - like that highway that goes nowhere or mixing tequila and champagne (true story for another time) but just the everyday ones. Examples of this would be not feeding a meter because "you'll only be a minute" or theme weddings that involve hoop skirts and/or top hats. The other day I had one of those. 

It's pretty humid on VA right now and so I thought it would be a great time to focus on salads. Very little stove time and not too many dishes to wash - who doesn't love a night like that when it's hot out? And what goes better with salad than fresh bread? 

Do you see where it all went wrong? 

There is a lesson here :  The bread actually is completely amazing and it is perfect for eating with this salad and really I wouldn't change a thing about this meal - EXCEPT - I should have baked that bread early in the morning before the heat had gotten to me. By the time Dan came home, I was seconds away from passing out. OK I'm being dramatic but I was really freaking hot and basically baking bread in my skivvies. But I'll admit by the time we finally sat down to eat, It was perfection! This bread has a really nice flavor and texture. It makes great sandwiches, toast and is great dipped in this Cobb Salad dressing. So the lesson? Don't bake bread on a humid Virginia afternoon unless it is this amazing bread.

Cobb Salad
Lemon Vinaigrette 
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil 
  • 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Braggs
  • 1/2 Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Lemon Pepper
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast

In a tightly covered container, shake all the vinaigrette ingredients.

1 head Romaine Lettuce (chopped)
2 Cups Fake Chicken (cooked, chopped and chilled. We are STILL working through that May Wah bag. Seriously folks you get so much for your money and it is good stuff. You can also use Gardein, and  Morningstar Chicken. Just read your labels to make sure it is still a vegan products. I've become suspicious these days.) 
1 Package Firm Tofu (drained and cut up into small pieces)
4 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
1 Large Tomato (sliced)
1 Ripe Avocado (sliced)
1/4 Cup Cheddar and Chives Sheese ( shredded - this is to replace the Blue Cheese)
6 slices of Fake Bacon (cooked and chopped. We used Lifelife Smart Bacon but tempeh bacon would be great too)
1/4 Cup Kalamata Olives
1/4 Cup Carrots
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
Handful of Pepperoncinis

In a large bowl, gently mix the Tofu and Nutritional Yeast.  

Put the Lettuce down first and then sprinkle the Fresh Basil over the top. Arrange the remaining Salad Ingredients like the photo above (which would be better if I hadn't been about to fall over).

Sunflower Seed Herb Whole Wheat Bread (makes 2 loaves)
  • 3 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour ( you're going to need a lot more - like 5 Cups to make this bread and some extra for flouring surfaces)
  • 1/3 Cup Agave Nectar
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Shortening
  • 3 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Packages Bread Yeast
  • 2 1/4 Cup Warm Water 
  • 1 Tablespoons Dried Basil
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Dill
  • 1 Cup Sunflower Seeds
  • Pinch of Celery Seed
  • Olive Oil to brush the loaf with 
In a large bowl, beat 3 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour, Agave Nectar, Shortening, Salt, Yeast and Dried Herbs with an electric mixer on  a low speed until it is well mixed. Add warm water, beat with the electric mixer on a low speed until thoroughly mixed. Be sure to scrap the sides. This stuff is STICKY and will crawl up your mixer and gum you up if you let it. . . DON'T! You'll regret it!

You're going to want to start mixing in more Whole Wheat Flour 1 Cup at a time to make dough easier to handle. I had to add 2 - you may need more.

Place Dough on a slightly floured surface. Knead Dough for around 10 minutes or until the Dough is smooth. Grease a large bowl with Margarine. Place Dough in the bowl and wrap the top with plastic wrap, Let rise in a warm place for about an hour. 

Once it has risen - gently push your fist into the center of the Dough. This will deflate the dough a little. Then take a knife and cut the Dough in half. Flatten each half with a floured rolling pin. Roll the Dough into 2 rectangles. Try to 90 degree angles on your rectangle. Then make 2 loaves of bread.

Take one of the shorter sides of one of  the rectangles and roll up the dough tight. Press your thumbs into the Dough gently to seal the Dough as you roll. Pin ch the ends when finish rolling. Take the ends and fold them under and use your hands to form the bread into a loaf. Pinch the edges in to seal them in. Brush with Olive Oil and place on your handy little Pizza Stone or in a greased Bread pan.Cover and let rise another hour. Do that with both rectangles.

Preheat oven for 375, 

Bake each loaf separately for 40-45 minutes or until the bread makes a hollow noise when you thump it and it is deep golden brown. 

Slice it up and eat it while you rethink your life choices.

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