Toasted Peanut Bread

As many of you know, I love to try new dishes with the hope of adding, tweaking, and creating them to fit into my own repertoire of dishes that I can whip out later in life. That’s exactly my vision for this site: my diary of the dishes I love and want to try again. Yes, I go back and make many of these recipes a second or third time. This is my very own cookbook. A collection of my favorite recipe attempts and the stories that go along with them.

It is no secret that my husband is a huge soup and bread fanatic. He was recently experiencing what many of us can relate to: a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day… at the office. It was my winter break (if you can even call it that) so I was able to devote the time to laundry and baking. After reading his woes on twitter, I wrote him back and said “have no fear, you will have homemade bread when you get home.” I flipped through my favorite food sites and came across a perfect marriage of two bloggers that I have grown to admire and enjoy. 101 Cookbooks provides the bread inspiration (Heidi Swanson and I seem to have an almost unmatched love for anything with coconut milk) and a newcomer from Food BuzzMahna Mahna, who has made the Daily Top 9 recipes several times, one of which happens to be this delicious red lentil soup. This was such a fine marriage of recipes, writings, and musings!

The food was a success and I can only hope that it was the silver lining to my man’s crap shoot of a day. It’s the little things, right?

Toasted Peanut Bread

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 cup coconut milk (note:  I used a full can)
3 tablespoons honey
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/2 cup peanuts
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Bring the coconut milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the honey and stir continuously until the honey dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool until just warm, then whisk in the yeast. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

Toast the peanuts in a large pan over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, until golden and fragrant.  It smells amazing! Add the chili powder and cumin and toast for about 20 seconds. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor and puree until a smooth paste forms. (note: 101 Cookbooks says you can use either a blender OR a food processor, but I highly recommend the food processor. I tried with a blender and it was messy and really difficult to control.)

Mix together the flours and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the butter, coconut milk, and peanut paste to the well and slowly combine with the flour, using your hands to work the flour into the well until all the liquid has been absorbed. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until a ball forms, about 5 minutes.

Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth or oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Punch down the dough and place in the pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the bread for 35 minutes, until the top is browned. Invert the pan onto a cooling rack and let sit for 5 minutes, then remove the pan and let cool.

Makes 1 loaf.

Fall Vegetable and Red Lentil Soup

Fall Vegetable and Red Lentil Soup

By Mahna Mahna

1 medium onion, diced

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp curry paste

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced (PSK note: I couldn’t find sweet potatoes at our market so I settled for yukon Gold and they worked just fine! I’m sure it’s a much different flavor than originally expected, but still delicious)

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1/2 fennel bulb, cored and chopped

1 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped

3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed and picked over

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups water

In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, saute the onion in olive oil and butter for 10 minutes or until soft and golden, stirring frequently. Stir in the minced garlic and curry, and continue sauteing until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the potato, carrots, fennel, apple, lentils and broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Using an immersion blender, blend soup until you have a smooth puree (or pour into a food processor and puree, but if you don’t have an immersion blender yet, I highly recommend getting one!) – if you find that the soup is too thick at this stage, add more water or broth until you’re pleased with the consistency.

Before blending

After blending