03 March


Baguette

March 21: National French Bread Day

We celebrated Highlander’s birthday while touring Paris, France, many years ago. Before heading out of our hotel to go sightseeing, we ate croissants, brioches and other breads for breakfast. But our favorite was the classic baguette, a long loaf of French bread with a crusty exterior, which was served with many meals at the cafes and restaurants throughout the day. It tasted so delicious, especially when smothered with creamy French butter!

We still like to buy baguettes and fresh artisan breads at the local grocery store’s gourmet bake shop. But for our blog, we decided to try the “dough only” cycle on our bread machine and bake baguettes in our own oven because Islander has an old form pan that she wanted to use (both our bread machine and the form pan were acquired in our newlywed year).

Whether starting from scratch or taking a shortcut with a bread machine, try baking a baguette for National French Bread Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Oster)

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon softened butter (or margarine)
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons regular active dry/bread machine/quick-acting active dry yeast

Directions

In the container of the bread machine, place the water, butter or margarine, flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Set the machine to “French” and “dough only” cycles. Press start and wait until the cycle is complete.

Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into two or three balls. Place the balls in well-greased bowls or pans that are large enough for the dough to rise. Cover with a damp cloth or greased plastic wrap.

Put the dough in a warm, draft-free place, such as an oven. Let them rise until doubled in size (about 1-2 hours). Remove from the pans and roll out to form a long loaf shape. Sprinkle corn meal on a greased French bread form pan or baking sheet. Lay the dough on the pan/baking sheet, cover with a damp cloth or greased plastic wrap and return to the oven. Let them rise again until doubled in size (about another hour). Remove from the oven. Meanwhile, preheat it to 375 degrees F.

Brush a little milk on top. Cut diagonal slits on top of the dough. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven. Cool slightly before slicing.

Notes

  • We bought our baguette form pan from Wilton before the item was discontinued. However, Amazon.com sells a variety of French bread pans.
  • Search our blog for other Franco-inspired food recipes.

 

Mini Corn Dog Muffins

minicorndogmuffins

Mid-March: National Corn Dog Day

March Madness is upon us! Spring into action and make mini corn dog muffins for watching all those basketball games on TV. They are just as easy to pop into the oven as well as pop into your mouth for a “slam dunk” snack.

According to Wikipedia, “National Corn Dog Day is a celebration concerning basketball, the corn dog (usually a hot dog sausage coated in a thick layer of cornmeal batter), Tater Tots and American beer that occurs in March of every year on the first Saturday of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship” (usually in mid-March).

Make some mini corn dog muffins for March Madness basketball game days and on National Corn Dog Day.

Recipe

  • 1 box Jiffy brand corn muffin mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • hot dogs

Directions

Generously spray or grease a mini muffin pan with cooking spray. In a bowl, combine the corn muffin mix, egg and milk. Beat until the batter is smooth. Scoop into the wells of the pan no more than halfway or the batter will engulf the hot dog pieces.

minicorndogmuffinssteps1

Slice the hot dogs into ¾ – 1 inch pieces. Place in the middle of the corn muffin batter in the pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven. Let cool in the pan for another 10 minutes before removing them (run a toothpick around the edges to loosen, if necessary). Yield: Approximately 2 ½ dozen.

minicorndogmuffinssteps2

Notes

Homemade Shamrock Shake

March 17: Feast Day of St. Patrick

McDonald’s offers the Shamrock Shake at select restaurants for a limited time only during a few weeks in February and March to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. But if we want to slurp up a smooth, mint flavored, light green colored ice cream dessert, we make our own Shamrock Shake at home to enjoy any time of the year. Get in a green mood and make a festive food like this easy homemade Shamrock Shake for St. Patrick’s Day.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • ¾ – 1 cup milk
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon mint extract
  • green food coloring
  • whipped cream
  • green sugar or shamrock-shaped sprinkles
  • maraschino cherry (red or green)

Directions

In a blender, combine the ice cream, milk and mint extract. Put a few drops of green food coloring to get the desired shade of green for the shake.

Blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass. Generously swirl whipped cream on top. Optional: Garnish with green sugar or shamrock-shaped sprinkles and a maraschino cherry. Insert a straw and serve immediately.

Notes

  • McDonald’s debuted the Shamrock Shake in 1970. It was a lemon/lime sherbet instead of today’s mint flavored ice cream shake.
  • That Irish elf sitting by our homemade Shamrock Shake above is Lucky the Leprechaun, mascot of General Mills’ Lucky Charms cereal.
  • Search our blog for more Irish-inspired or green-colored recipes to make in observation of the Feast Day of St. Patrick.

 

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