Month: October 2014

guest blog: Erin Lake’s baguettes and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

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Greetings, friends! My dear friend, neighbor, and hostess extraordinaire, Erin Lake, has written a guest blog for Bungalow Kitchen! I’m so glad that she’s bringing us not one, but two amazing baking recipes, because let’s be honest–baking isn’t my (Eleta’s) forte.  Enjoy!

These recipes were taught and passed down to me by a wonderful Aunt who is known for her delicious baking confections and flair for off-the-chart meals.
As the weather starts crisping up, I tend to incorporate the bread into more meals and make the muffins as evening and breakfast treats.  (FYI, the muffins are delish with coffee!) These cozy items are a great complement to the season and are a crowd pleaser no matter what your culinary level may be.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Baguette Flutes
This recipe is a cool-weather staple.  It is a superb complement to soups, stews and wonderfully-soppy entrees as it soaks up juices and amps up a meal’s delish factor.  The baguette recipe is an old Danish recipe that my Aunt’s friend converted to American measurements.  She passed the recipe and her techniques down to me during one of her visits to Macon.
With just 7 ingredients, once you’ve learned the simple steps, making this recipe is a snap and the variations are endless.   And, you can multi-task while the bread is rising—I’ve been known to run errands or take the dog for a walk during this step.  In all, the total time for all the steps is about 2.5 hours.
1 T Dry-active yeast
2 c Very warm/hot water
½ c. Dry Oatmeal
1 T sugar
1 T salt
1 T olive oil
4 c. + 2 T unbleached, enriched flour
For this recipe, you’ll need a 3-slot baguette pan.  I have not been able to find one locally and purchased mine online.  You can find a great, affordable version here.

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In a large bowl, combine the yeast and 2 tablespoons of flour.  Slowly add the 2 cups of water and mix with your hand for about a minute to ensure the flour and yeast have completely dissolved.  It is worthwhile to note that while you could use a mixer for this recipe, I was taught, and have always found it beneficial to use my hand to mix all of the ingredients.  This technique ensures that ingredients fully dissolve and you can better better feel the needed consistency.
Once the yeast has dissolved in the water, add the oatmeal, sugar, salt, olive oil and last, the flour.  When mixing in the flour, I shape my hand like a paddle and stir as I add each cup.
Once everything is combined, form the dough into a ball and remove from the bowl.  I, spray the bowl with non-stick spray  before putting the dough back in—it makes the dough easier to remove once it’s risen.

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Cover the dough with a tea towel and place in a location that does not have an air draft.  Let rise for an hour.

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After an hour, your dough should look like this.

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Spray your 3-slot baguette pan and hands with non-stick spray.  I learned to spray my hands as it is easier to form the baguettes without the dough sticking to your hands.  Deflate the dough in the bowl and form into 3 equal-ish balls.  One by one, free-form each ball into a baguette shape while rubbing your hands together and flipping the dough while gravity forms the baguette shape.  This really is a very easy step, gravity really does the work—rubbing your hands together helps keep the piece in a uniform cylinder shape.  You’ll want the length of each baguette to be slightly less than the length of your pan.  This provides a buffer as the dough rises.  Lightly score just the top of each baguette with a sharp knife.  You’re not looking to cut deeply cut the baguette, just simply score it.
Lightly cover with a tea towel and let rise for another hour.
After an hour, your baguettes should be plump and you can smell the lovely yeast working.  Very lightly brush each flute with egg wash and place into a pre-heated 400-degree oven for 15 minutes.  (Note, if you have a convection oven as I do, for most recipes, I lower the temperature by about 25 degrees.)   After 15 minutes, lower the temp to 350 and bake for another 10 minutes.
It has been my experience that neighbors can smell the bread cooking—don’t be surprised if you get knocks on your door for a sample.
Let cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan.  The loaves may stick together slightly but they generally break apart easily.  When hosting a meal, I usually serve the bread on a cutting board and allow the guests to cut their own slices.  Enjoy!
*For a fun twist, try sprinkling the dough with chopped rosemary, poppy seed, course black pepper or parmesan cheese after you brush on the egg wash.  Once you’ve mastered the recipe, you can even braid the dough and make it a culinary and artistic treat.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
A fall staple.  Friends and neighbors alike request these as the calendar flips into September.  These muffins are delish and pair nicely with a cup of coffee.
1 16oz can of pumpkin puree
4 eggs
2 c sugar
1 ¼ c vegetable oil
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 c flour
1 c chopped walnuts
1 c chocolate chips

Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients and mix well.  Fold in chocolate chips and nuts once all other ingredients are combined.  Pour into greased muffin pans or 2 loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees—muffins approximately 18 minutes and loaves need 60-70 minutes.  Enjoy!

meatless monday: pumpkin, spinach, and goat cheese stuffed shells

image(74)Happy Halloween week, everyone! I have a pumpkin recipe for you that you’re going to absolutely love. Yes, I know that everyone is tired of the pumpkin spice latte obsession, but this is a savory pumpkin dish that is deceivingly healthy and tastes like an indulgence.

Many pumpkin pasta dishes are laden with tons of cheese and heavy cream, but between the tomato sauce and pumpkin filling, these creamy stuffed shells are full of nutrition (and definitely some cheese, just not overboard).

Whether you roast your own pumpkin or buy canned pumpkin puree, this recipe is a healthy alternative to creamy stuffed shells, especially if you’re not a fan of ricotta cheese. Instead, this dish highlights pumpkin puree as a vegetable and ramps up the nutrition with the addition of fresh spinach.

A note on the pumpkin puree: if you’re not roasting your own pumpkin and you’re buying canned pumpkin, be sure to buy the can that says 100% pumpkin. Don’t accidentally buy the pumpkin pie filling which is full of sugar and additives!

Pumpkin, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Stuffed Shells

Serves 4-6

about 20 dry stuffed shells, cooked according to package directions (you’ll only need 16, but they break easily, so throw in a few extra for good measure)

2 cups pumpkin puree (or about 1 1/2 15 oz cans)

2 cups fresh spinach

28 oz. crushed tomatoes

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. flour

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 350 F. In a medium pot, heat olive oil, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder over medium high heat. Add the crushed tomatoes, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper and let simmer.

In a wide pan, melt butter over medium heat, then slowly add the flour to make a roux. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine, then slowly fold in the fresh spinach. Add the pumpkin pie spice, parmesan, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper (don’t skimp on the pepper here–it gives a great flavor). Set aside to cool slightly.

Pour the tomato sauce into an 8×8 baking dish, then sprinkle a light layer of parmesan on the sauce. For each pasta shell, scoop about 2 Tbsp. pumpkin mixture and place in the baking dish–you should end up with either four rows of four shells each or three rows of shells (five, five, and six). The shells should be nestled in the tomato sauce with the sauce coming about halfway up each shell. Once all of the stuffed shells are in the dish, top each open shell with goat cheese (about 1-2 tsps. for each shell). Sprinkle the tops of the shells with a light layer of parmesan and bake for about 20 minutes. Serve with a green salad, roasted broccoli, or roasted brussels sprouts.

lunchbox life: baked sweet potato with turkey chili


If you love baked sweet potatoes like I do, then you’re going to love this. If you also love chili like I do, but don’t want to overdo it with an onslaught of toppings (sour cream, cheese, crackers), then this is also for you.

This recipe could not be easier: wrap five small sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and bake at 400 F for one hour. While the potatoes are baking, you make the chili on the stovetop. I like this chili recipe because it’s healthy, flavorful, and has a whisper of sweetness from the addition of ground cinnamon.

I think this would also be a great weeknight meal. Once you put the potatoes in the oven and assemble the chili, you can do a few chores around the house, and an hour later, you can slice up the potatoes, ladle on the chili, and dig in.

Baked Sweet Potato with Turkey Chili

Makes five lunches. The chili makes six servings, so save the last serving for another meal.

5 small sweet potatoes

1 lb. ground turkey

1 Tbsp. olive oil

15.5 oz. kidney beans

15.5 oz. Great Northern beans

28 oz. crushed tomatoes

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cumin

green onions, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Wrap each sweet potato in aluminum foil and bake for about an hour.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Brown the ground turkey in the oil. When the turkey is cooked, add the beans, tomatoes, and seasoning to the pot. Stir to combine. Bring the chili to a boil, then place the lid on the pot and turn the heat down to low and let simmer.

When everything is ready, take the potatoes out of the oven and discard the aluminum foil. Slice the potatoes lengthwise and cut a crosshatch pattern into each side’s flesh. Top with chili and green onions.

lunchbox life: turkey and brie tortillas with kale and carrot salad


Whew! I am totally worn out. After four days and four nights in Athens, I have attended a conference, run a half marathon, and eaten lots of delicious food, and while I’m not quite ready to forge ahead toward a five-day work week, it’s nice to be home. Tonight’s lunch prep is simple and features some of my favorite, tried and true ingredients. Pay special attention to the high fiber, low carb tortillas I’ve featured in this recipe as well as in previous entries. They’re a great way to mix up a sandwich, wrap, or Mexican dish because they’re full of fiber and very low in calories. I know that I just featured kale last week, but I couldn’t help but buy a bag of shredded kale, broccoli, and brussels sprouts at Trader Joe’s this afternoon on our way out of Athens. What a great idea! I also bought a bag of multicolored carrots, so I thinly sliced a few of them and threw them into the kale melange for color and crunch.

Turkey and Brie Tortillas

10 5-inch high fiber, low carb tortillas

7 oz. brie, cut into slices

8-10 thin slices of deli turkey

Heat a grill pan or large skillet to medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. While pan is heating, assemble five of the tortillas with an even distribution of the turkey and brie and top each one with another tortilla. In batches, grill the tortillas for about 2 minutes on each side. Let cool, then slice in half.

Kale and Carrot Salad

about 5 cups of shredded kale, brussels sprouts, and/or broccoli (I used the Trader Joe’s cruciferous collection)

3 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly on the diagonal (I used one purple, one yellow, and one white)

1/4 cup olive oil

4 Tbsp. dijon mustard

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. salt

Toss the kale mixture with the carrots. In a jar, shake the remaining ingredients together, pour over salad, and toss to combine. This salad can be dressed and refrigerated for a few days.

tasty tuesday: vichyssoise and steak and tomato flatbread

flatbread and vichy

It was raining. From the time we woke up to time to go home, dreariness was the prevailing mood for the day. This called for a meal of warmth and comfort… soup. Soup, the food hug that seems to be part of the cure to anything, is like taking the lemony raindrops and turning them into savory lemonade. Yeah.

I decided to do Vichyssoise simply because I only found the leeks inspiring at the store. I don’t cook with them often, but they are great ingredients to add an interesting, unique flavor to dishes. It is certainly a way to break away from the usual garlic and onions, even if leeks are basically their lovechild. A wonderful elevation.

The steak flatbread is just a redeployment of a basic pizza crust made with yeast, water, flour, and salt rolled thin instead of pressed out. This worked as a great alternative to the flavors of basic sandwiches or the component of the dish. The steak used here is one of my favorite cuts, the NY strip, spiced and sauteed with butter, cut to be tender. This method made the steak very tender and the flatbread just like eating a pizza with ground beef.

Let’s just say the night feels a good bit sunnier than the day after this meal.


2 leek roots, cut into rings
3/4 sweet onion, diced
8 red potatoes, coarsely peeled
4 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp marjoram leaves
3 bay leaves
2 tsp italian seasonings
1 tsp herbs de provence
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup cream

Rinse the leek rings in warm water in a colander. Heat a large pot/dutch oven to medium heat. Add butter and melt. Add leeks and onion and saute about 10 minutes until color starts to appear.

Chop the potatoes into small pieces. Add them to the leek and onion along with all the herbs and salt and pepper. Stir until potatoes are well coated and cook about 5 fives. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook about 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

Pour entire mixture into a blender and return to the pot. Add the cream and stir. Ladle into a bowl and top with garnish of your choice (here, marjoram and parmesan cheese).

Note: to serve chilled, place in refrigerator after blending and add cream after chilling.

Steak and Tomato flatbread
1 Smitten Kitchen quick pizza crust
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp olive oil
1 NY strip steak
Salt, Black and white pepper, paprika to cover steak
Parmesan cheese
4 compari tomatoes

Make the crust.

Coat the steak with each of the seasonings. Using a tenderizing mallet, pound the spices into the meat. Let sit at least 30 minutes to marinate.

Roll 1/2 the crust on a floured surface until very flat perhaps and 1/8 of an inch. Press the garlic and soak in the two oils. Coat the top of the crust/flatbread with the oil and garlic mixture and parmesan. Slice the tomatoes and set aside

Heat a pizza stone to 500. Place the flatbread with oil and parm on the stone and cook 4 mins. Cut the steak into thin strips. Leaving the bread on the stone, layer the tomato and steak on the bread and top with more parm and a garnish of your choice (basil, parsley, rosemary). Return to oven and cook 10 minutes until crust begins to turn golden brown.

Remove bread with peel and cut into quarters to serve.


meatless monday and lunchbox life duo: kale salad with roasted butternut squash, blue cheese, pomegranate, and pecans


…and quinoa, and citrus vinaigrette. For both Meatless Monday and Lunchbox Life this week, the plan is to detox! Alex and I had an awesome time visiting New England this past weekend for my cousin’s wedding. We flew to Boston and drove to Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Thursday, explored coastal Maine on Friday, walked around the city of Boston on Saturday morning, and celebrated cousins Jessy and Doug on Saturday evening. We had a wonderful time, but after lobster rolls, clam chowder, airport snacks, and more locally brewed beer than I care to count, I’m feeling the overindulgence. What do I always crave after a vacation full of rich food? Broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, and other members of the cruciferous family.

Since today was a professional development day and I’ll be in Athens for a conference on Thursday and Friday, I just needed two school lunches this week, so I decided to make a double batch of this kale salad. There are many variations of kale salad, but this version is perfect for fall (despite the warmer-than-I’d-like temperatures this week). The kale is the base, the butternut squash is a great meat replacement because of its heartiness, the pomegranate seeds provide sweetness and a pop, the pecans provide the crunch, the quinoa is there for the whole grains and fiber, and the blue cheese is there for saltiness, tartness, and creamy texture. This is really a non-recipe since you can add or subtract anything you like, but I am proud of this combination and think that it really works!

Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese, Pomegranate, and Pecans

2 bunches of kale, torn into bite-size pieces

2 Tbsp. olive oil, separated

1 butternut squash, seeds and skin removed, small dice

1 cup dry quinoa, prepared as directed (should yield 2 cups cooked quinoa)

2 navel oranges, zest and juice separated

1 pomegranate, seeds removed

4 oz. blue cheese

1 cup roasted pecans

for the dressing:

use the juice from the navel oranges

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

Toss the butternut squash diced pieces with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 400 F for about 20 minutes. While the squash is cooking, massage the kale pieces with the other Tbsp. of olive oil and the orange zest. Add the quinoa, pomegranate seeds, pecans, blue cheese, and roasted butternut squash to the massaged kale and toss to combine. Whisk together the dressing ingredients, pour over the salad, and toss to combine.

Note: You can eat this salad right away and store it (already dressed) for lunch the next day. Kale is hearty enough of a green to not wilt under the weight of the dressing, so save this step the next day and enjoy your already dressed salad!

tasty tuesday: chicken, lentil, and acorn squash soup with rosemary and bacon, plus bourbon apple butter


Fall is a delightful time to be in the kitchen. It’s full of warm, enveloping smells and recipes that take time, but you don’t mind. It’s fall. Braising and roasting doesn’t happen in an instant, and your olfactory senses thank you.

I must confess, however, that I look forward to each changing season and become sad at the end of each season because of the star ingredients we gain and lose. The abundance of tomatoes, peppers, and melons in the summer is so lovely, but the gourds and greens of fall and winter are great, too. The photo above is an interesting study in seasonal transition: an autumnal soup accompanied by a hunk of bread with apple butter and…roasted okra? Okra is decidedly from the summer’s bounty, and it may be the last we get of it from our CSA this year, but it came in the same box as a pumpkin.

This soup, though…this soup should be as ubiquitous as a sorority girl’s pumpkin spice latte. The decadence of the bacon, the heartiness of the acorn squash, and the fragrance of the rosemary marry together in a swirling bowl of fall. The truth about soup is that it’s a great way to remix leftovers. In our refrigerator, I found leftover smoked chicken from Sunday night, some bacon, and some chicken stock that Alex made from the leftover chicken parts from Sunday. I knew we had lentils in the pantry and rosemary in the front yard, so I went to the store, bought an onion, the acorn squash, and some bread. Voila!

Now, a word on the bourbon apple butter. Y’all.

We’re heading out of town tomorrow for my cousin’s wedding in New Hampshire, so I knew that I wouldn’t be able to use all six North Georgia apples we received in our CSA. We’re not big dessert people, so pies, cakes, and muffins were out. I finally settled on apple butter as a way to use the apples, but I could only find recipes that called for apple juice or apple cider as the liquid. Out of laziness and lack of desire to go to the store for one item, I wondered: what could I use instead? Bourbon immediately popped into my head–the flavor profile would certainly work, and it’s something that we always have on hand. I tried it and really liked the result. The flavor from the bourbon is very subtle, but I think it gives the spread a nice depth. The thing I like best about this apple butter is that it’s not sticky sweet. The sweetness is there, but it’s a natural taste that tastes like fruit more than dessert.

Chicken and Acorn Squash Soup with Rosemary and Bacon

Yields 4 large servings, can easily be doubled or tripled

2 large chicken breasts, cooked and cubed

1 acorn squash, halved, scooped of seeds, peeled, and diced

5 bacon slices, cut in half

1 sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced into half moons

1/4 cup fresh rosemary, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup dry green lentils

salt and pepper

In a pot, place bacon slices on the bottom and heat over medium-high heat. You may have to do this in two shifts to avoid crowding the pan. When bacon is done, place on a paper towel and reserve to use as a topping. Turn the heat to medium low and add the onions. Stir onion slices in the bacon fat, then add the garlic, rosemary, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Next, add the acorn squash and stir to combine. After that, add the chicken stock and lentils and bring the liquid to a boil. When the liquid is boiling, place the lid on the pot and turn the heat down to low; cook for 20 minutes. Add the chicken to the soup about five minutes before serving.  Serve in individual bowls with the crumbled bacon on the top.

Bourbon Apple Butter

6 large apples, any variety

1/3 cup bourbon

1/4 cup honey

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. cloves

1 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. cardamom

Core and dice the apples, leaving the skin on. Place all of the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot, give them a stir, and heat over medium-low. Let this cook for about two hours, stirring occasionally. After two hours, blend the mixture either with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Makes about 6 cups and keeps for about 1 week.