Saturday, July 19, 2008

Red Sauce For Baked Ziti and Sausage

2 (28) ounce cans tomatoes or 20 fresh, large tomatoes(Fresh are best)
2 Medium stalks celery
1 Medium onion
2 TBS dry parsley or 4 TBS fresh chopped
1 Large carrot scraped clean and cut in pieces
1 Medium green pepper
1 Medium-sized zucchini (Unpeeled)
2-4 cloves garlic
S&P to taste
Tabasco or a hot pepper to taste
2 T. Sugar
2 TBS Parmesan cheese

Chop onions and peppers and saute in a little olive oil until slightly done. Put everything in blender (NOT THE CHEESE OR PARSLEY) and puree. Bring to boil then simmer on very low heat until the raw taste is gone and the sauce is thick. This will take several hours on simmer, so be patient. That's the basic sauce. You can add chicken, pork, meatballs, sausage, or seafood. Sometimes I skip the onion/pepper saute, but it definitely improves the flavor.

Add the chopped parsley and the Parmesan cheese about 30-minutes before you decide to stop simmering.

Optional - add a TBS of Porcini Mushroom Powder - it kicks the flavor up a few notches.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

New York Deli Style Rye Bread

Preparation time: Start to finish is 3 days because you will have to make a starter.


Sour Starter

1 cup warm potato water*
1 cup rye flour
1 tsp instant yeast

Stir well then cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 3 days at room temperature (65-70 degrees) Stir the second day.

(*) Potato water---Peel and quarter 2 pounds of regular potatoes, cover with water and season with salt. Cook like you would for boiled or mashed potatoes, drain---saving the water the potatoes were cooked in. This potato water gives bread a moist and compact texture. Save or eat the potatoes as you like.

Dough for the bread

2 cups warm water, about 120 degrees F.
1 TBS. sugar
1 TBS. Instant yeast

2 cups AP flour
2 TBS. kosher salt
2 TBS caraway seeds and ½ tsp charnushka seeds
4 ¾ cups high gluten bread flour


1 cup water
1 ½ tsp. cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water---no lumps

Bread Preparation:

In a mixer, combine 2 cups warm water with sugar and yeast, mix and let sit for 10 minutes.Add all of the sour starter and the remaining ingredients. Mix on low speed for 2-3 minutes with a dough hook, then increase to speed (2) and mix 6 minutes longer, be sure all the flour has hydrated the dough by raising and lowering the bowl from time to time.

Remove from the machine and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise 2 hours @ 70 Degrees F. or until doubled in size.

Portion into 3 - 1 1/2 pound pieces of dough or 2-pieces for larger loaves and shape into large, balled loaves, place on baking pans that have been sprinkled with semolina flour or fine cornmeal Cover with a damp but not wet cloth – or dry waxed paper - and let rise for 40 minutes.

Carefully remove the damp cloth or waxed paper, then slash the dough 3 times across the top with a very sharp knife or razor blade about 3/4 of an inch deep.

Immediately place in a pre-heated 375 degree F. oven, and place a pan of boiling water on the oven's bottom. Remove the pan after 10 minutes, this will create steam and help with crust development. Continue to bake for 30 minutes or until center is 180 degrees F.

For the glaze: boil 1 cup of water, mix the cornstarch with ¼ cup cold water, then combine with boiled water and stir continually until thickened. Cover with plastic wrap.

Remove the bread, and with a pastry brush, brush the top crust with the cooked cornstarch. A small amount of this glaze is enough, It's used to create a shiny surface. (Optional: While the bread is still hot, rub the tops with a stick of butter.) Let cool, and place in a plastic bag. This will further soften the crust.
Cool the bread on wire racks for at least 1 hour before slicing or wrapping.