September 17th, 2008

english muffins

english muffins 1

i’ll be honest, i’m not much of a morning person. i’m much more likely to be up until 3 or 4 in the morning and then sleep until lunchtime – except for weekdays, in which case I go to bed around 3 or 4 and drag myself out of bed for work at 8:30. it doesn’t sound too healthy, but it works for me. on days when i actually wake up early enough for breakfast, i’m still not very hungry for it. but one of the few things that can interest me in the morning is an english muffin.

english muffin dough

there’s something about melted butter flooding over the crispy toasted peaks of warm nooks and crannies that is completely irresistible. even commercials for thomas’ english muffins have me salivating. luckily, this recipe was even easier to tackle than i thought, and i probably won’t ever buy them from the store again.

english muffin on griddle 1english muffin on griddle 2

it’s so rewarding to see a recipe come out to look and taste like the real thing. there was a moment when i was cooking them on the skillet and i got giddy seeing the perfectly toasted cornmeal crusted english muffins really take shape. it’s a moment that makes you think “why isn’t everyone making their own bread?” please, please, please try these out this weekend.

english muffins 2

is there anything better than smothering an english muffin (or three) with butter? maybe adding delicious grape jelly is your thing. or topping with a fried egg. or maybe you want an open face ham and cheese sandwich? i forgot how little self control i have around these little fluffy muffins. i’m going to have to make more before the week is out.

english muffins 5

continue reading and get the recipe »

September 4th, 2008

monkey bread in a dutch oven

monkey bread 1

i’ve got a confession that will either make me seem really cool or really lame: i’m an eagle scout. i spent most of my teenage years camping and tying knots with my fellow boy scouts, learning the skills i would need to survive in the wilderness. and although i’ve never actually been lost in the wilderness (yet), i still use a lot of what i learned in the scouts every day. one of the coolest things about camping is figuring out how to cook gourmet meals with greatly reduced means. no oven, microwave, mixer, toaster, or *gasp* panini press.

dutch oven

the dutch oven quickly becomes one of your best friends when camping, despite it’s weight. a dutch oven is basically a giant cast iron pot with a lid. it’s traditionally placed right on hot coals (hot coals are placed on top as well) to fire up whatever amazing concoction you’ve put inside. there are literally thousands of sites dedicated to dutch oven cooking featuring recipes for anything from pizza to gumbo to cobbler. i was lucky enough to get a dutch oven for my birthday last year from the girl (ain’t she great?) but the only thing i had used it for up until now was slow cooking apple and pumpkin butter. luckily, it also works flawlessly in the oven.

monkey bread dough 1

when we camped, the dutch oven monkey bread was made with ready-made biscuits that were torn up into smaller pieces and rolled in cinnamon and sugar. this recipe actually uses a sweet yeast dough that you let rise, but instead of baking it in a tube pan, i doubled the recipe and used my dutch oven so it would be brimming with gooey cinnamon sugar goodness.

monkey bread dough 4

why is it called monkey bread? no one seems to know the real answer, but i’ve always assumed it had something to do with the bread being easy to pull apart and eat by little hands – for instance the hands of monkeys or small children. whatever the origin of it’s name, monkey bread has a few rules: it can and should be eaten with every meal, and it will disappear a lot faster than you think. maybe you should think about tripling or quadrupling that next batch.

monkey bread 3

continue reading and get the recipe »

September 1st, 2008

we now interrupt pete bakes…

nana bread 4

…to bring you these photos of the banana bread family – papa, mama, and baby banana bread. horray for finding mini loaf pans at the thrift store! and get the banana bread recipe right here!

nana bread 5

this banana bread is too big, this banana bread is too small, but this banana bread is just right.

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