A family snow day tradition is to bake bread. I barely eat bread anymore, but a snow day is a snow day. One of the things I always wanted to try was making baguettes. Well, I came across two baguette recipes this week and then got a snow day. Must be a sign!

I mainly followed Farm Girl Fare’s recipe, but I did the flour more like America’s Test Kitchen. Here’s my recipe:

Four Hour Baguettes
3 cups all-purpose flour (you may need a little more) – I recommend King Arthur Flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour, sifted and anything that stays in the sieve discarded – to better simulate the texture of French flour – I used King Arthur 100% white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast or active dry yeast
1½ cups (12 ounces) tepid water (20°C)
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 cup ice cubes (for making steam in the oven)

Add flour to large mixing bowl. If using active dry yeast, add to water and set aside for 10 minutes. If using instant, mix into flour. Add water, mixing with rubber spatula until the flour is combined and a chunky dough is formed. Cover with a damp dish towel and let rest for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle salt over dough. Knead dough by hand for 10-12 min or use a KitchenAid with the dough hook on speed 2 for 8-10 minutes. Finish with several kneads by hand. Place in a tightly closing large plastic container and set aside for 45 minutes to ferment.

From here on, I followed Farm Girl Fare’s recipe exactly. Took me just about four hours from measuring ingredients to bread on the counter. Perfect with soup or some European butter. I also sliced some thin and made mini open face sandwiches with bread, sharp cheese, chicken, and a drizzle of rosemary olive oil.



Home Made Hot Cocoa

With today’s snow, I went to buy some hot cocoa at the store.  I was disgusted to find that all the mixes in my store were made with hydrogenated oils, so I set out to make my own.  Here is my recipe, modified from an Alton Brown recipe.


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • Hot water


Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly. Sift into second bowl to smooth mixture.  In a small pot, heat 4 to 6 cups of water.

Fill your mug one third full with the mixture and pour in hot water. Stir to combine. Seal the rest in an airtight container, keeps indefinitely in the pantry. This also works great with warm milk.


Making a Great Steak . . . Indoors

Frying panThis weekend, I tried a new recipe. I decided to be brave and cook a steak indoors. I’ve had previous problems with cooking steaks inside. I tried to fry a ribeye about two years ago, and it was so disgusting that I couldn’t finish it. Thanks to some tips from my coworkers, especially Mike, I was able to create a masterpiece completely using a typical kitchen range.

Indoor Steaks

1 or more ribeye steaks (I actually used NY strip this time, but prefer ribeye)
Olive oil
California style garlic salt (garilc salt with parsley in it)
Oregano (optional)
1 tsp. real butter per steak
Oven safe frying pan

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Preheat the frying pan over medium high heat. Salt the steaks well. If desired, add a little oregano or other spices to the steaks. Pour a little olive oil on the side of the steaks that you will sear first. Place steaks in the frying pan and sear the first side until just before it starts to burn (no more than two minutes). Flip and sear the other side of the steak using the same procedure. Once both sides are seared, remove frying pan from the burner and place in the oven. Cook steak for about 10 minutes more for a medium steak. Once cooked to desired temperature and coloration, remove pan from heat. Place butter on top of steak. Let steak sit for five minutes before eating.

IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE: remember to use hot mits while handling the frying pan after it has been in the oven. The handle will still be hot enough to burn you after sitting on the counter for five minutes.

GRILLING NOTE: I use approximately the same recipe when grilling steaks, except I omit the olive oil and do all the cooking time in a closed grill over medium to high heat.