Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Living in Virginia

Snickers "helping" us unpack.

So we moved to Virginia in January.
We're officially all moved in and genuine VA residents - Got our License plates changed, Driver's Licenses, up to date on Insurance, Inspections and all that fun stuff. I'm stuck around the house while I'm still job hunting, trying to find my place. But in the meantime, the dog and I have been exploring the neighborhood and I've been baking and cooking and figuring out what grocery store is good for this and not that. My current favorite is Safeway, they remind me of Wegmans from NY though not quite as large and specialized. The fruit and veggies seem to be freshest there.

This past week (and weekend) I made baba ghanoush, fresh bread and spinach artichoke dip.

-Baba Ghanoush & Bread -

The recipe I used for the Baba Ghanoush was from Pioneer Woman's website, here:
Baba Ghanoush

With this I made Baguettes from my good ol' Good Housekeeping Baking cookbook.


  • 2 Cups warm Water
  • 1 package active dry Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1/4 tsp Salt
  • About 5 cups All-Purpose Flour (Or 4 1/2 cups bread flour)
  • 1 Large Egg White

  1. In large bowl combine warm water, yeast and sugar; stir to dissolve. Let stand 5 minutes or until foamy. Add 1 Tbsp salt and 3 cups flour. Beat well with spoon until smooth. Gradually stir in 1 1/2 cups flour.
  2. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead 6 - 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic, working in remaining flour as necessary just to keep dough from sticking.
  3. Shape dough into ball and place in greased large bowl, turning dough over so as to grease the top. Cover bowl with greased plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  4. Grease 2 large cookie sheets. Punch down dough. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and cut in half. Roll each half into 18in x 7in rectangle or there abouts. From one long side, roll up tightly, rolling dough with hands to taper ends. Place one loaf diagonally on each cookie sheet. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until almost doubled, about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. With serrated knife cut 5 diagonal slashes in each loaf. In small cup beat egg white and remaining 1/4 tsp salt, then brush loaves with this mixture. Bake 30-35 minutes, rotating cookie sheets between top and bottom tacks halfway through baking until well browned. Transfer loafs to wire racks to cool.
This recipe makes 2 loaves.
Prep time: 20 minutes plus rising (rising is about 2 hrs)
Bake time: 30 - 35 minutes


The Spinach Artichoke recipe I used was Alton Brown's found here:
Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

The recipe turned out really good, I was surprised it had some red pepper flakes in it as I'd had it in restaurants before and never noticed it with any spiciness, but make no mistake it tastes great in this recipe! My only qualms with this recipe were:
  • Amounts of frozen spinach, artichoke and sour cream- Of course our local grocery store only had one size of each of these, and of course they didn't match up, so instead of 8 oz of spinach, they only had a 10 oz package. And instead of 12 oz of artichoke hearts, there were only 8 oz packages so I used 16 oz of hearts. And instead of 6 oz cream cheese I had a package of 8 oz, so it all worked out, I added a little more of everything else to account for these changes.

Ever watch your dog sleeping and catch them with their lip stuck up all funny or their face squished in?
Like this?

How could anyone NOT smile at that? He looks like a tough guy :P


Next post - Smoothies, My random concoctions I will be making over the next week or so and hopefully more in the future! Do you have a favorite smoothie?