Beer, basil & bread

Beer, basil & bread…sounds like some kind of heaven to me.

So when I was making a dinner menu for the other night I decided that I really wanted to bake some bread to pair with the pork tenderloin I was craving. A recipe I had used a long time ago popped into my mind and then it was a matter of finding it…Basil Beer Bread. It’s from an issue of Real Simple in 2006! What’s great about this recipe is that you don’t have to think too far ahead because the stuff doesn’t have to rise.

Ingredients

Olive oil for the baking sheet
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Parmesan — I used Manchego
1 12-ounce bottle beer, preferably ale — ok, total side note, somebody brought non alcoholic beer to a party at my place once. It’s been sitting around for awhile. Finally got to get rid of some of it here!
flour for the work surface
1 cup chopped or torn fresh basil

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Directions

Heat oven to 400° F. Oil a baking sheet. In the bowl of a standing mixer on low, or in a large bowl using a spoon, combine the flour, yeast, salt, pepper, and Parmesan.

Add the beer and mix just until the dough comes together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with the basil and knead gently just until incorporated. Shape the dough into a round loaf and transfer to the prepared sheet.
Bake until the loaf is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Turn the loaf onto a wire rack. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

The loaf is heavy! Definitely not light and fluffy but totally delicious! Paired perfectly with the tenderloin and roasted Brussels sprouts.

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Soup of the Day

Real Simple always has some good recipes to check out.  The most recent one I put to the test was their Squash, Mushroom, and Kale Soup With Dill.  All ingredients sound pretty darn good!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound mixed mushrooms (such as button and shiitake), stemmed and halved (or quartered if large) (grabbed some good ones from Trader Joe’s)
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks (about 12 ounces)
1/3 cup orzo (could even use quinoa, etc if gluten intolerant)
4 cups loosely packed baby kale leaves (about 2½ ounces)
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnishing (just used dry stuff)

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Directions

-Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, ½ 
teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 4 minutes. 
Add the mushrooms and lower heat to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and have released their juices, 6 to 8 
minutes. Stir in the broth, squash, and orzo and bring to a boil. Reduce heat 
to medium-low and simmer until the squash is tender and the orzo is cooked, about 15 minutes.
-Stir in the kale until just wilted. 
Season with salt and pepper and stir in the dill. Serve topped with more dill.

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When I sampled this mid-way through I was a bit disappointed.  But then, when you add the dill…totally amazing flavor punch!  Very happy with the end result and nice one to add to the list.