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Watercress, Pancetta & Goat Cheese Spaghetti

Watercress & Prosciutto Spaghetti

If you are reading the blog on your computer, you might notice that it has a brand new look. Nothing drastic but I wanted this page to reflect more of how I currently saw things in my head. Once again, I got in touch with Ana at Blog Milk to install a new theme for me and she did a wonderful job tweaking it to my specs. I love Blog Milk! Not going to lie. Affordable templates, small installation fee if you don’t want to bother with it and great communication. Ana…thank you for keeping on creating!

Creating. It’s always something I keep in mind even for the most mundane everyday tasks. Like cooking dinner. I am fortunate enough to have a husband who enjoys everything I cook, whatever cuisine, whatever season. My mother in law is a traditional southern cook but she has surprised me more than once in the last month by having seconds of lunch salads and soups I wasn’t sure she’d go for. 

Watercress & Prosciutto Spaghetti

But heck…sometimes I am not that inspired comes dinner time. You would think that with the number of recipes I shoot for a living that would never have a problem picking one to make for dinner, wouldn’t you? Well, it’s like having "chefs disease"…you graze but rarely cook a meal for yourself. I see so many meals throughout the week that my brain kind of shuts down from time to time, a bit overwhelmed by the choices. 

That’s when the tried and true dishes and their multitude of variations come into play and make me look like I have awesome creating superpowers. I am all about superpowers. Mine is to usually make food disappear off my plate ūüôā What’s yours? 

One of those dishes is a simple pasta from Cooking Light with plenty of pancetta, lots of garlic, goat cheese and a big handful of watercress. It is actually a blank canvas to let your inspiration run wild. Pancetta is sometimes replaced with proscuitto, garlic gives way to shallots, burrata or feta sometimes eclipse the goat cheese and watercress disappears in favor of sorrel or arugula. I might thrown in some leftover smoked salmon, some fresh shrimp with a bit of chilies. Leftover roasted chicken has also been known to make an appearance from time to time. Spaghetti might give way to orecchiette or fettuccine.

Watercress & Prosciutto Spaghetti

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Fig, Gorgonzola & Honey Tartines

Fig & Gorgonzola Tartines _ © Helene Dujardin 2012


I just sat down with a tartine and a glass of wine and thought out loud "I wish I could just take the weekend off and smell the roses". To which my husband sent me an inquisitive look similar to asking "really? you would?!" Ah! No. He got me there. I don’t wish that at all. Even in the craziest of times when everything comes together in one giant "ca passe ou ca casse" bawoop, I still would not change anything.

Figs


Being able to shoot for awesome and kind clients is pure heaven. I beam. I constantly beam inside. I jump up and down in my head more times than humanly right. Creating is the best drug ever. Being able to do a job that allows you to constantly push your own limits, be diverse, work with a client’s vision and be in contact with amazing creative minds is just…{imagine jumping up and down in your head}.

Fig & Gorgonzola Tartines


One perk of the job that my husband really appreciates is the leftovers from a day spent at the studio shooting lots of recipes. I also send my assistants home with care packages and figure out ways to recycle leftovers the next day’s work lunch. There are days however when I have stared long enough in the eyes of a whole fish to want it for dinner. When a plate of ribs has been mulled so many times over that I don’t even want to look at it. I save, package, label and store.

Fig & Gorgonzola Tartines _ © Helene Dujardin 2012


Fig & Gorgonzola Tartines _ © Helene Dujardin 2012


There will be a time when the craving for that coconut and butternut squash soup will come back. But when it does not, I scavenge some goods from the day’s shoot and make a "nibble plate". My pups by my side and my feet up on the ottoman. More times than not, I end up scrambling together some tasty tartines and a side salad that Bill and I can share. I am never without an appetite but I appreciate the simplicity of a light dinner and a minute of silence.

Last week was no different when I found myself putting together the leftover of a shoot for some a pre-dinner tartines while noodling on social media for a minute. I thought we would have a couple each, a glass of wine and chill while I’d tackle dinner. Well, dinner never happened but a few savory sweet tartines surely did. Piled with gorgonzola, figs, a sprinkle of thyme and broiled just until the cheese would start melting. Some honey drizzled on top, a dash of pepper and we were in business.

Hope you all have a great rest of the week!

Fig & Gorgonzola Tartines _ © Helene Dujardin 2012



Fig, Gorgonzola and Honey Tartines:

Makes 8 tartines.

Note: for the gluten free baguette try this recipe. Anything my friend Jeanne Sauvage at Art Of Gluten Free Baking makes gluten free is AWESOME. She is the GF baking expert in my opinion. Her Gluten Free Baking For The Holidays cookbook is coming out this Fall and I can’t wait!

Ingredients:
8 slices of bread (your choice – I went for gluten free baguette)
1/2 cup (4 oz) crumbled gorgonzola
8 figs, halved
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Turn the oven to the broiler setting or 400F (my broiler has a tendency to start the fire alarm in the room so I usually turn the oven on its highest baking setting)

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the slices of bread in the pan. Top each slice with about a tablespoon of gogonzola. Top with two fig halves. Sprinkle a little thyme. Repeat for the remaining tartines. Salt and pepper to taste.
Bake or broil until the cheese starts to melt. Remove from the oven and drizzle each tartine with about a teaspoon of honey.
Serve at room temperature.

Fresh Pea, Cheese and Herb Salad

Pea Salad Ingredients


Everytime I look at the picture above, I think what a perfect metaphor it is for life. At least mine. It’s got shadows. It’s got color. Texture. Spice. Flavor. It’s got old parts and it’s got new ones. It’s got roundness and it’s got angles. It’s good in so many different ways. Everyday we put things in a pot and try to make them work. Sometimes the pot gets too full and tilts over. Most times, my attempts at making things right result in pretty good things. Literally. This Fresh Pea Salad being one of them.

I got these gorgeous peas during the early days of the farmers market, shelled them and froze them. I was still undecided as to what their fate would be but I could not pass on this much freshness in a pod. It’s been a month now that I have taken a still life of them for the French Word A Week feature but I just did not want to post a shot of a peas in bowl and run off the page.

Like a bunch of petit pois running off my plate.(click on word to hear the pronunciation)

Fresh Peas & Goat Cheese Salad


I think that I like saying "petit pois" as much as I like pomme de terre or pamplemousse. The word just jumps on your tongue before jumping on your plate. I told you. Little things make me insanely happy. The muffled sound of beer being poured in a glass, the shattering of the sugar crust on a creme caramel. The pop that little peas make between my teeth.

Forget what the calendar reads, it’s Summer here already. With this heat, there isn’t a day without a salad. A big bowl with fresh ingredients from the farmers market thrown in together. They don’t have to match. They just have to play well with one another.

This salad is perfect as a side dish whether you use fresh or frozen peas, and lends itself to enough variations it can make your head spin. It’s best served lukewarm with its sauteed onion and garlic and you can skip the cheese on top of need be. The first batch we had was actually just peas, salt and pepper and plenty of fresh herbs from the garden. It made a refreshing, light and easy side to a grilled piece of salmon on a warm and humid evening.

Fresh Local Peas


We also turned it into lunch by adding fresh cheese I made the day I did faisselle, a poached egg and a piece of bread. I thought B. would ask where was the meat but it turned out to be satisfying just as it was on yet another scorching day. I used a basic recipe for paneer to make the fresh cheese but you can substitute any soft variety that you like or pick a harder cheese like parmesan (or skip it altogether). We like ours with a chiffonade of basil and oregano but the choice is yours. The possibilities are only limited by what’s not around pretty much.

I am really tempted to morph it into something similar to what Sean posted the other day: a snap pea, radish and mint salad. Hmmm….

One more thing before you ump on to the recipe:
Congratulations to Katie G. – lucky winner of the Evo 10 conference pass. See you in Utah!

Fresh Peas & Goat Cheese Salad



Fresh Pea, Herb and Cheese Salad:

Serves 4 as a side dish

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups water
2 cups freshly shelled peas (use frozen if you have to)
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup fresh cheese (I used this recipe for paneer)
salt and pepper to taste
freshly chopped basil and oregano (or whatever you like instead)
splash of balsamic vinegar and oil (roughly 2 teaspoons each)

In a large saucepan set over medium heat, heat the oil and sautee the onion and garlic until translucent. Set aside.
Bring the water to a boil in large stock pot and cook the peas until tender (about 5 minutes). Drain them from the water, rinse under cold water and drain well.
In a large bowl, combine the peas, onion, garlic, fresh cheese, salt, pepper and the herbs. Mix until combined and add a few splashes of vinegar and olive oil. You’re set!

———————————————————————————–

Le P’tit Coin Francais:

Salade de petit pois et fromage frais:

1/2 oignon, coupe en des
2-3 gousses d’ail, emincees
120gr-150gr de fromage frais (recette ici)
1 litre d’eau
500gr de petit pois (sans ecosses)
sel et poivre
basilic et origan (ou autre)
1 cc huile
1 cc vinaigre balsamique

Dans une grande poele, faire revenir l’oignon et l’ail jusqu’a ce qu’ils soit translucide. Mettre de cote.
Dans une grande casserole, porter l’eau a ebullition et faire y cuire les petits pois pendant 5 minutes. Les passer sous l’eau froide et laisser bien egoutter.
Dans un grand saladier, melanger l’oignon, l’ail, les petits pois, le fromage frais, sel, poivre et ajouter un peu d’huile et vinaigre. C’est pret!

Potato Leek Pizza and A Giveaway

Potato - Leek Pizza


When I ask my father what vegetables he wants with dinner, his response is often "potatoes" to which I reply "Dad! We already have a starch. What vegetable would you like?" He then looks me with an obvious smirk and repeats "potatoes". I am very much my father’s daughter in that regard. Love them. And noodles. I hope I never have to chose between the two. As much as I am a potato gal, I never thought of putting them on pizza, until last week that is. This Potato-Leek Pizza from The Pioneer Woman has surely changed my mind. "More!" I say!

I remember very distincly the first post I read on Ree’s site. I was on the phone with a friend back home who wanted to know how to make cinnamon rolls. We may have many a delicious pastry back home but I think we sorely miss out in the cinnamon rolls department. As a very occasional baker, she needed visuals. I searched step-by-steps online and stumbled on Ree’s site. Bingo! My friend had an official teacher, willing to take her by the hand through the whole process. I had found a treasure trove of All American classics that my husband grew up on. He never says so but it’s good to split my cooking between my French and his American. Makes for a fun relationship. Much like potatoes and pizza actually.

Ree lives on a ranch in the middle of vast great lands. I live in a house on stilts in the middle of marsh land. She has four 2-legged offsprings, I have two 4-legged companions. She married a cowboy who herds cows for a living. I married a man of the last frontier, history teaching. In her cooking, Ree makes do of what is available in her neck of the woods. I had to learn quickly what is Lowcountry cooking. Her cookbook is #1 in the New York Times Best Sellers list. Mine is still being edited (more on that later, promise) See…completely the same. Ahah!

Pizza Ingredients

Don’t these fancy baby leeks look like glorified green onions?

I don’t know Ree. Sure I have met her at BlogHer Food in San Francisco and exchanged a few words but that’s about it. Yet, and I don’t know how she does it, she is one of the most kind hearted ladies, taking time in her incredibly busy schedule and many roles to make you feel like what you say did not get lost in the big emptiness of the internet. I can guess it has got to be mind boggling for her how life has changed for her family in the last few years. It would make people feel uneasy, others would get the big head. Yet, Ree remains her natural, super nice, dorky self. I do need to say that she made me blush bright red when she put me in the same sentence a Matt Armendariz at BlogHer. Ugh!

Ree’s cookbook reads like a novel. There is food and there is life on the ranch, life with the kids, daily thoughts and aspirations. The one most excited about getting the book was my husband however. He can relate to the recipes, they were part of his mom’s stapples. He thought that whereas I fought the generation gap with his mother and the can of Ro-Tel, I would relate to Ree’s fresh approach to life and cooking as she was trying to adapt to her new territory. He was right. Copies of my mother-in-law’s Little League cookbooks are collecting dust but The Pioneer Woman Cooks is being earmarked by the both of us. He seldoms cooks so he loves the step by step pictures while I skip those for the stories. I like stories.

Ree’s book does not need another review, yet I can tell you that B. is extremely excited to eat "Pioneer Woman" this weekend while I am away. I have been invited by the great folks of The Grove Park Inn in Asheville to be a judge in their annual National Gingerbread House Competition. I am not only extremely honored but thrilled to be in a group comprising Colette Peters and Chef Lodge to name a couple. I thought that B. would be able to accompany me but he’s stuck with gigs this weekend. Instead, gal pal Tami from Running With Tweezers is coming up from Atlanta to share some of the fun and mountain air. In preparation of the trip, I made a few things that Bill loved and that he could easily reheat at night. One of them was this potato-leek pizza except it was devoured the moment it came out of the oven (well, after a few pictures).

Potato - Leek Pizza


I felt a bit pioneer-ish shopping for the ingredients when the only leeks I could find were fancy baby ones (did not have time to get to another store). Despite the double price tag, they looked a lot like green onions to me and I think I even aggravated the store clerck when I said so. I hate to aggravate them because they do order fancy stuff for me when I ask them. They are indeed green onions and they did taste like leeks however so all’s well. The combination of potatoes, leeks, bacon ang goat cheese made me think of Frenchified loaded American baked potatoes meeting their Italian cousin on a bed of mozarella and tender pizza crust. Awesome…and I am packing two slices for the road.

I hate to tell you I’m going to frolic in gingerbread goodness in a paradise like retreat while some of you have to work, play hard or are stuck sick at home. That’s why I am psyched that Ree generously offered to giveaway THREE copies of her book to three readers. If you want a chance to win, here is what to do:
– leave a comment on this post
– ONE entry per person – if you don’t see your comment right away, give me a few hours before re-posting as I have the moderator on.
– Enter until Wednesday November 18th at midnight, US eastern time.

Have a great weekend!

Potato - Leek Pizza

Potato Leek Pizza, with permission of Ree Drummond:

6 slices thick bacon, cut into 1-in pieces
3 leeks, sliced thinly
Extra virgin olive oil
5 small red or Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced paper thin
16 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
4 oz crumbled goat cheese (I used twice that much:))
Parmesan cheese, grated
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Unbaked pizza crust

Preheat oven to 500 degrees
Begin by frying bacon pieces in a skillet over medium heat until cooked but not crisp. Remove bacon from pan and pour off most of the grease. Set bacon aside.
Return skillet to stove and turn heat to medium-low.
Slice leeks very thinly. A sharp knife helps.
Add leeks to the same pan and sauté over medium-low heat until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Using a sharp knife or mandoline, slice potatoes very thin.
Prepare pizza crust according to directions, and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Arrange potatoes in a single layer all over crust, slightly overlapping edges. Sprinkle potatoes lightly with salt, then lay mozzarella slices in a single layer over the top of the potatoes.
Place sautéed leeks over the top of the cheese.
Next, sprinkle the fried bacon pieces over the top, followed by a generous addition of crumbled goat cheese.
Finally, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
Bake pizza for 8 to 11 minutes, or until edges of crust are golden brown and cheese is melted and bubbly. Cut into wedges or squares and serve immediately.

Pizza Crust
Makes two pizza crusts
1 ¬Ĺ cups warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Extra olive oil for drizzling

Pour warm water into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the water.
Stir together flour, olive oil, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add water/yeast mixture and stir together until just combined. Dough will be very sticky.
Drizzle a little olive oil into a clean mixing bowl. Toss the ball of dough in the bowl and turn over to coat in oil. Cover bowl and place in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, or cover in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

The Petit Suisse – Fresh Yogurt Experiments

Petit Suisse-Copyright¬©Tartelette 2008 Not quite Petit Suisse…more like yogurt bulgare…a recipe in progress. Read the rest to find out.

One thing that every European expatriate residing in the States will tell you is that dairy products are different. Let’s take France for example since it is my home country: cottage cheese? Ugh…no not that present. Sour cream? Ugh…no again, we have "creme fraiche" which no matter how hard you try to convince me it is "like" sour cream….it ain’t. Yogurts are different too, some are even so creamy we call them "cremes bulgare". Finally you have my two favorites, fromage blanc and petit suisse. You can find fromage blanc and creme fraiche pretty easily nowadays at health food store like Whole Foods but they cost a pretty penny for what they are. I make my own creme fraiche if I really crave it (recipe below), not to mention that the odds were against me trying to take the easy route, the store was out of it, but I have not tried my hand at fromage blanc….yet!

When expats get together they start talking about everything and nothing and you guessed it, food. Dairy in particular and exchanging recipes on how to recreate them sharing  the same recipes but going a little differently about it.

With friends, we finally put our heads together and came up with a base recipe: creme fraiche, milk, buttermilk and heavy cream. This first experiment we did on our journey to crack down the petit suisse code produced some tasty thick dairy, very close to thick yogurt bulgare. Still….not petit suisse. You will find the recipes for this "yaourt bulgare" below. I encourage you to try it out, very good on its own, but you know what two women with a craving do to satisfy it, right? They keep at it. Back to the drawing board.

Not Quite Petit Suisse: Yogurt Bulgare

1/2 cup creme fraiche (to make your own: mix one cup heavy cream with 1/4 cup sour cream and let sit overnight in the oven with the pilot light on, uncovered, refrigerate after that)

2 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream (40% fat)

1/4 cup buttermilk

In a thoroughly cleaned bowl, mix all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon and incubate in a yogurt maker (read the manufacturer’s instructions).

If you do not have a yogurt maker, set the mixing bowl in the oven with the pilot light one, uncovered and let set overnight. Divide into containers and refrigerate.

Petit Suisse-Copyright©Tartelette 2008Left: Petit Suisse with Xocomeli Chocolate Pearls (explanation below) and salted butter caramel sauce

Right: Petit Suisse, Strawberries and balsamic reduction

While working on a dessert one day, she found out that the taste was really close to what we remembered by adding heavy cream to fresh cheese. Further reading about the making of petit suisse, we realized that was the right track to follow. We had the taste figured out but what about the texture. We could not find any details on how drained the fresh cheese should be before adding the cream but it would not be problem to add whey back in if need be (whey being the liquid that drains out of curds or dairies, like the one in your big yogurt container right now).

Trying to make a long story short: on Monday last week I went and got my gallon of whole milk and my rennet to make fresh cheese. The fact that I chose vegetarian rennet is purely accidental since that was all that was available at the store the day I went.

Petit Suisse:

1 gallon whole milk

5 drops vegetarian rennet

1 Tb water

1 cup heavy cream

Heat the milk to 112F in a large pot or Dutch oven. Remove from the heat. Mix the rennet into the water and add to the milk. Cover with a clean towel. Place the large pot in the oven with the pilot light on. Leave it alone overnight. You should have large big curd chunks after that time. Line a strainer with cheesecloth over another large bowl to save some whey just in case you drain your curds to much. Let the curds drain for about 40-45 minutes. I tie all four corners of my cheesecloth to the faucet for that part and take away the strainer. It just helps the manoeuvre at first. Pass the cheese through a strainer if you want ultra smooth petit suisse over a bowl and then slowly whisk in the heavy cream. Divide in between containers and let set for a few hours (2-4).

 Thick and creamy at the same time. A spoon would stand straight in it but so creamy it melts in your mouth. After that….I did have a little fun with the toppings for my newly made petit suisses as you can see from the pictures. Will I do another batch? I am as we speak, eheheh…It may not be the exact original and while many consider that children’s food, I consider it one of those wonderful little things in life. Digging into one is like putting your head on a soft pillow, savouring is bite is like the first sip of a cold cold beer on a hot day…heaven!

Petit Suisses-Copyright©Tartelette 2008Plain Petit Suisse and Petit Suisse with Praline Sauce

I was working on a few sweet sauces for recipes in the book and thought I’d try them out with the petit suisse. I am evil to tempt you with them right now and not being able to write them out for you….arghhhh! Really it’s hard but I got to keep them hidden for a little while longer.

What I can talk about is the "Xocomeli" that I grated on top of one petit suisse. They were sent to me by a French blogger friend of mine, Mercotte, one of the French authorities on macarons and product tester extraordinaire. She had the chance to try out two of Valhrona’s newest chocolate releases: Xocopili and Xocomeli created by one of my favorites chefs, Frederic Bau. Xocopili is Venezuelan chocolate with 72% cocoa, with different spices such as curry and chili pepper while the Xocomeli is 57% cocoa with spices such as cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, etc… While I had an item she was looking for (package leaving tomorrow), I was really intrigued by the Xocomeli and once in my possession, very eager to grate on of those little pearls on my petit suisse. It brought a taste subtle taste of chocolate but gave the salted butter caramel sauce to a complete different level of intensity.

For the Cantaloupe Sensation Satine, I revisited this post and changed the mango jelly to cantaloupe and left the petit suisse in its original form (no gelatin necessary since it was thick enough). The diagonal layers are explained in that post.

Petit Suisse-Copyright©Tartelette 2008 Left: it all started with milk
Right: Revisiting the Sensation Satine: Petit Suisse and Cantaloupe, Fresh Berries.

Cheese Stuffed Crusty Bread – Baking With The Gals

Cheese Bread-Copyright¬©Tartelette 2008 Remember when a bunch of crazy gals decided to revisit a cinnamon bun recipe by making the Cinnabon knock-offs a few months back thanks to a recipe that Lisa provided? Well, another type of breadish yummy bake got into our mail boxes last month and this time Mary was tempting us with promises of hot cheesy bread on a quiet Saturday afternoon. Gruyere Stuffed Crusty Rolls from the King Arthur Flour site to be precise. Was I game? You bet I was…so where Lisa, Ivonne, Stephanie, Laura-Rebecca, Sara and Kelly. When I said I’d join in the fun I had no idea that the day in question would turn out so…weird.

Before I tell you more about it though I have to say that I may not be the most eloquent blogger today or the most "happy" one…The reason why our "Cheese Bread" day was weird is the same why I am feeling awkward posting today. B.’s band mate L. has been sick with cancer for over two years now, the same one that took my brother away, the same devastating oesophagus cancer. A couple of days before we gathered last week on Skype to make and bake our bread and chat and laugh, he was sent home after a difficult stay at the hospital. He knew the end was near and he asked to be able to say goodbye to all the musicians and friends he had played with and for over the years. His wife called the young ones who had the most energy to help make this smooth and organized and that’s why B. was on duty calling all the numbers they could find of anybody who might want to come and visit one last time. I volunteered to be in the kitchen fixing a breakfast and a lunch buffet for whoever might stopped by. I was also doing a little stint at the old restaurant that night to get them over the hump of Mother’s day…as if I had nothing more to add to make the day complete, right?!!

I had post-its everywhere to start the bread on Friday since it needs a little starter the day before. Saturday morning I took the starter, flour and cheese to L.’s house just in case I would get stuck there and needed to proceed with the bread. I ended up mixing it up, letting it rise, rolling it, filling with the cheese (parmesan and Monterey Jack), and rolling it into a ever rising and expanding log, all over there. That’s when it hit me: I have got to drive across town with that huge…giant snake of a dough in my trunk, shower, cut it, bake it…and leave it to the hungry wolves of neighbors that I have!!

I was running high on adrenaline and lack of sleep and I think that once it actually come out of the oven, I went to type that it looked like…bleep-bleep-bleep…Well, I don’t think, I know and there is actually our Skype archived conversation to prove it. Well, let’s just that my mind was in the gutter big time when the bread came out of the oven, but the smell of the cheese and the herbes de Provence I had added was too hard for me to resist and as soon as it was cool enough to handle, I ripped one round open and "oh my"…I just wanted to stay there and forget the day, the world and the reality of what was actually going on.

I left for work and I left 3 1/2 rounds of bread on the kitchen counter. When I came back that evening there was 1 1/2 loaf left….I love that I have such a generous husband, so giving in fact that he took 2 loaves down to the neighbors for our weekly get together. I would have probably done the same but…after I took some pictures!! Anyways…From what they said, it was a hit! Seriously, can you resist hot, melting cheese on/in bread fresh from the oven? Nah…me neither!
We loved it so much that I made it again later that week but rolling and cutting "the snake" in 12 rolls as if I were making cinnamon rolls minus the herbs that time. Another "oh my" came out of my mouth that day too. I urge you to go ahead and make it…it is highly comforting, addictive and simply wonderful.

Cheese Bread-Copyright©Tartelette 2008Here is the recipe as I modified it because I did not use the King Arthur brand of flour and I went with all purpose flour instead of bread (except for the starter) without a problem. I also replaced the gruyere with what was in the fridge since the crazy week and weekend made my brain very spongy and I forgot to get gruyere everytime I went to the store.

Cheese Stuffed Crusty Rolls:

Starter:
1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cool water

Dough
all of the starter
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) to 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) lukewarm water (I used the lesser amount since it was humid that day)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups (14 3/4 ounces) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

Filling
1 1/2 cups (10 ounces) grated Montery Jack cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 Tb Herbes de Provence

To make the starter: Mix the 1 1/4 cups flour, salt, yeast, and 1/2 cup water in a medium-sized bowl. Mix till well combined. Cover and let rest overnight at room temperature.
To make the dough: Combine the risen starter with the water, salt, flour, and yeast. Knead by hand or with a stand mixer for a few minutes (I went with 5 minutes by hand). Place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it‚Äôs nearly doubled in size. Gently deflate the dough, and pat and stretch it into a ¬ĺ"-thick rectangle, about 9″ x 12″. Spritz with water, and sprinkle with the grated cheese and the herbs. Starting with a long side, roll it into a log, pinching the seam to seal. Place the log, seam-side down, on a lightly floured or lightly oiled surface. Cover it and let it rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till it‚Äôs puffy though not doubled in size. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425¬įF. Gently cut the log into four crosswise slices, for mini-breads; or simply cut the dough in half, for two normal-sized loaves. Place them on one (for two loaves) or two (for four mini-loaves) lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, cut side up. Spread them open a bit, if necessary, to more fully expose the cheese. Spritz with warm water, and immediately place them in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes (for the mini-loaves), or 35 minutes (for the full-sized loaves), or until the cheese is melted and the loaves are a very deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.
Note: You can also roll the log and cut 12 slices from it and set them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and proceed with the recipe as written.

Cheese Bread-Copyright©Tartelette 2008

L. went back to the hospital in the middle of the week so I brought half the rolls to his nurses and the doctors taking care of him. I hesitated posting at all about it today because Lee passed away Saturday night, one week to the day we organized this little visits-marathon weekend for him. I just would like you to indulge me in a little description of him: really tall…think over 6 feet, really big…think Santa Clause belly…about 72 years old although people easily gave him 10
years less…and one of the sweetest and most considerate guys I have met. I am a band wife…the youngest in the band actually, which means that I still go to their gigs on a regular basis and he would always treat me like a daughter, pushing his wife, to come along if he knew I was there. They were married just 15 years ago, finally finding the right companion and lover in each other. L. loved food, he loved bread and he loved desserts…so here you go big guy! This one is for you! His favorite song? "Just A Bowl Of Butterbeans"…. Love you L.! Thank you for all the giant hugs and giant laughs, you will be as missed as you were loved.

A Mouthful Of A Name…

Pear And Blue Cheese With Cardamom And Rosemary….

Problem is I have just spent the last hour blogging about them and Blogger &%^$$(# lost my post in cyber space and I stared at the error message on my screen cursing in French…

Right now, I don’t have the energy to re-write it….and I am still fuming… give me one hour or a day and I’ll tell you all about them escpecially since I made them for lovely Meeta's Monthly Mingle.