• How to Make Sourdough Starter

    How to make Sourdough Starter

    Cook: 2 weeks


    Organic whole-wheat flour or rye flour
    Bread flour
    Bottled water


    Day 1:

    In a perfectly clean bowl, combine a scant cup (120 grams) organic whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup (120 grams) bottled water. With a clean spoon, stir until a stiff dough forms. If the dough is extremely dry, add very small amounts of water until moistened. Scrape the dough into the 4-cup container. You should have about 1 cup (240 grams). Cover tightly in plastic wrap and place in a cool area for 48 hours. If you don’t have a cool area, let it sit for only 24 hours and feed as described for Day 3.

    Day 2:

    There will be no visible changes.

    Day 3:

    The consistency will now resemble a thick pancake batter and there may be a few bubbles. With a clean spoon, remove and throw away about half the starter, about 1/2 cup (120 grams).

    Stir in a scant 1/2 cup (60 grams) bread flour and 1/4 cup (60 grams) bottled water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 24 hours. After 12 hours the starter may have increased quite a bit and have lots of bubbles. Don’t be concerned if it deflates and falls back down.

    Day 4:

    With a clean spoon, again remove and throw out about half of the starter, 1/2 cup (120 grams). Stir in a scant 1/2 cup (60 grams) bread flour and 1/4 cup (60 grams) bottled water. Cover with plastic wrap, but not tightly, as the gases forming will need to escape. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

    Day 5:

    If the starter is active, it will have increased in volume to at least 3 cups, even 4. It will dome and start to recede. If this hasn’t happened yet, repeat Day 4 steps until it reaches this stage.

    With a clean spoon, again remove and throw out half the starter (1/2 cup or 120 grams).

    Stir in 1/2 cup (60 grams) bread flour and 1/4 cup (60 grams) bottled water.

    You will now have 1 cup (60 grams) active starter. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at warm room temeperature for about 4 hours, until it has almost doubled. If you want to bake bread, you can now expand it by feeding it with flour and water. If you want to wait, you can refrigerate it overnight and start expanding it the next day. If you don’t plan to use it for several days, feed it again to double it, let it sit for 1 hour, then refrigerate it.

    The starter will mature over the next few weeks, increasing in strength and flavor. For the first 2 weeks, store at least 1 cup (240 grams) of it and feed it at least three times a week. After 2 weeks of regular feeding at least 3 times a week the culture is mature and bread made from it will be more mellow and complex. Now you can switch to once-a-week feeding if you only make bread once a week.

  • Fresh vs. Canned Pumpkin

    How to make Fresh vs. Canned Pumpkin

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour


    1-2 pie or sugar pumpkins


    Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

    Using a large sharp knife, slice off the stems then cut each pumpkin in half. Spoon out all the seeds and pulp, reserving the seeds for roasting if desired. Place the pumpkin on the baking sheet, skin side down, and roast for about 45 minutes, or until fork tender. Let cool until comfortable enough to handle.

    Use your fingers to peel off the skin. Place the pumpkin flesh in the bowl of a food processor, high-powered blender, or food mill. Puree until completely smooth, this may take several minutes. Turn off motor and stir mixture occasionally to ensure an even puree. If the puree looks dry, add a tablespoon or two of water.

    Use or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week or in the freezer for 6 to 8 months.

    To Roast the Seeds:

    Place the pulp and seeds in a colander and run under cold water, removing the pulp from the seeds. Spread the seeds out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and let air dry for several hours or overnight, do not attempt to blot with paper towels. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil and generously season with salt and other desired flavorings. Roast low and slow at 250°F for 1 hour, or until golden. Serve.

  • Focaccia Bread

    How to make Focaccia Bread

    Yield: 8 to 10 servings

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 3 hours 5 minutes


    1 3/4 cups warm (110-115°F) water
    1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
    5 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves, chopped and divided
    1 tablespoons granulated sugar
    5 1/4 cups (23.63 or 670 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
    1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus coarse sea salt for sprinkling
    1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided


    In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast, 2 teaspoons of the chopped rosemary, sugar, and half the flour. Stir to combine. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and on low speed add in the remaining flour, salt, and 1/2 cup olive oil. Once the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and knead for 5 to 6 minutes, or until smooth and soft. If the dough is really sticky, add in another tablespoon or two of flour.

    Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, at least 1 hour. Make ahead: place the dough in a large plastic bag, or divide in half and place in two plastic bags, and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. If frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge or for a few hours at room temperature. Proceed with the recipe.

    Coat a jelly roll pan with the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Put the dough onto the jelly roll pan (you can divide the dough in half and bake in 2 smaller 9 by 13-inch pans) and begin pressing it out with your fingertips to fit the size of the pan. Coax and stretch the dough to fit the entire pan, or just about. Spread your fingers to make little holes all the way through the dough.

    Cover the dough with plastic and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F.

    Brush the focaccia with the olive oil on the pan and sprinkle liberally with coarse sea salt and the remaining rosemary leaves. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before cutting and serving.

  • Steak Burrito Bowls

    How to make Steak Burrito Bowls

    Yield: 4 servings

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 30 minutes (plus marinating time)

    Don’t let the ingredient list intimidate you! It comes together pretty quickly and the components can be done ahead of time.


    For the steak:

    1 chipotle pepper + 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
    2 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    3 garlic cloves, peeled
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 pound flank or skirt steak

    For the cilantro lime rice:

    2 cups cooked brown rice, warm
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    1 teaspoon vegetable oil
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

    For the corn salsa:

    1 (12-ounce) package frozen sweet yellow corn, defrosted and drained or 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernals
    1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
    1/2 red onion, finely chopped
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Add ins:

    1 (15 ounce) can black or pinto beans, rinsed, drained, and warmed
    Your favorite salsa
    Shredded Monterey cheese
    Sour cream
    Avocadoes or guacamole


    For the steak:

    Combine all the ingredients except the steak in the bowl of a blender or food processor. Blend until very well combined. Place the steak in an airtight container and cover with the chipotle mixture. Seal the container and marinade overnight.

    Preheat the grill to 400°F. Grill for about 5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the steak, until the steak registers an internal temperature of about 130°F for medium-rare. Remove to a plate and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing against the grain intro strips. Slice the strips into cubes. Taste and add additional salt if needed.

    For the rice:

    Place the cooked rice in a medium bowl and toss with the lime juice, vegetable oil, cilantro, and salt. Keep warm until ready to use or refrigerate up to 1 day. Reheat before using.

    For the corn salsa:

    Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust ingredients and seasoning as needed. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 1 day.
    Divide the rice between four bowls. Top with the warmed beans, steak cubes, corn salsa, and any other desired add ins. Serve.

  • Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

    How to make Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

    Yield: 8 to 10 servings

    Prep Time: 25 minutes

    Cook: 5 hours 30 minutes


    For the chocolate cake:

    1 3/4 cups (7.8 ounces or 221 grams) all-purpose flour
    2 cups granulated sugar
    3/4 cup (3.1 ounces or 89 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon Clabber Girl baking powder
    1 teaspoon fine salt
    3/4 cup sour cream
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    3 large eggs, at room temperature
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 cup boiling water

    For the strawberry ice cream:

    1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
    4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1/2 cup whole milk
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons corn syrup
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    For the chocolate ganache:

    6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    Strawberries, hulled and sliced, for garnish


    For the cake:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder. Add in the salt. Mix on low speed until combined. In a small bowl combine the sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. On low speed gradually add the sour cream mixture into the dry ingredients. Beat on low until just combined, scraping down the edges as necessary. Add in the boiling water and beat until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix.

    Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for 30 minutes before carefully turning them out onto a cooling rack. Freeze the cakes until very firm.

    For the ice cream:

    In the pitcher of a blender, puree all the ingredients until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and press plastic wrap against the surface. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day.

    Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Line a clean 8-inch cake pan with plastic wrap. Pour the ice cream into the cake pan then press another sheet of plastic wrap against the surface. Freeze until firm, about 2 hours or up to 2 days.

    For the ganache:

    Place the chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan heat the cream just until simmering. Pour over the chocolate chips. Let sit for 3 minutes before stirring until the mixture is melted and smooth. Let cool until the ganache is thickened but still pourable.

    To assemble:

    On a serving plate or cake stand, place 1 cake layer upside-down. Remove the ice cream from the pan and place over the cake, peeling off the plastic wrap. Top with the remaining cake layer. Pour the ganache over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Freeze for 2 hours, or until firm. Top with strawberries and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

  • Homemade S’mores Pop Tarts

    How to make Homemade S’mores Pop Tarts

    Yield: 8 to 10 pop tarts

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 2 hours 25 minutes


    For the graham cracker pastry:

    1 3/4 cups (7.9 ounces or 224 grams) all-purpose flour
    9 graham crackers, finely ground (3/4 cup crumbs)
    1/2 teaspoon fine salt
    2 sticks (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
    2 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed
    1 large egg

    For the s’mores filling:

    2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
    1/3 cup milk
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    1/2 cup (3 ounces) milk chocolate chips
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed
    1/2 cup marshmallow creme

    For the chocolate glaze:

    1/2 cup (3 ounces) milk chocolate chips
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    2 tablespoons corn syrup


    For the pastry:

    In the work bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, and salt. Add in the butter and pulse just until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with some larger chunks of butter remaining. Add the ice water and egg and pulse until it just comes together without being wet, sticky, or crumbly. If the dough doesn’t hold together when pinched between your fingers, add another tablespoon of water and pulse. You can also make the dough by hand with a pastry blender.

    Shape the dough into a disk and cover wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. You can also freeze the dough, well wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight.

    For the filling:

    In a small saucepan, combine the cocoa powder, brown sugar, milk, salt, and chocolate. Set over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the chocolate is melted. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add in the butter, stirring until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Mixture will thicken as it cools.

    To assemble:

    Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place between two sheets of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Cut the dough into even rectangles. Place 1 tablespoon of chocolate fudge and 1 tablespoon of marshmallow crème on a dough rectangle, leaving a 3/4-inch border. Top with another piece of dough, pressing out any air and using the tine of a fork to seal the edges. Repeat with the remaining dough rectangles and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush all over the tops of the pop tarts. Prick each tart a few times with a skewer or toothpick to allow steam to escape. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, or until the dough has stiffened slightly.

    Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed. Transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely.

    For the topping:

    While the pop tarts are cooling, place the glaze ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and continue microwaving in 15-second bursts until melted. Let cool. Spoon the glaze over the cooled pop tarts and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

  • Homemade Hawaiian Bread Rolls

    How to make Homemade Hawaiian Bread Rolls

    Yield: 15 bread rolls

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 2 hours 10 minutes


    For the rolls:

    1/2 cup pineapple juice (room temperature)
    1/2 cup warm milk (100 – 110°F)
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
    2 whole eggs, lightly beaten
    6 tablespoons granulated sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
    2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
    4 1/2 cups (20 ounces) bread flour

    For baking:

    1 large egg


    Combine the pineapple juice, milk, melted butter, eggs, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2 cups of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a rough, shaggy mass. Attach the dough hook to the mixer and turn to medium-low speed. Gradually add the remaining flour, kneading until a dough begins to form. Continue kneading on medium-high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until a soft and smooth ball of dough forms.

    Place the dough in a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until puffy and doubled in size, about 1 hour.

    Spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Gently deflate the dough. Use a bench scraper or knife to divide the dough into 15 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and place in the prepared pan.

    In a small bowl combine the egg with 2 tablespoons of water. Brush all over the rolls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.

    Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

  • Homemade Cheesesteaks

    How to make Homemade Cheesesteaks

    Pop your steak in the freezer until firmed, about an hour, before slicing against the grain to get the thinnest slices possible.


    For the sandwiches:
    1 tablespoon butter
    1 small onion, thinly sliced
    1 small bell pepper, thinly sliced
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 1/4 pounds ribeye, beef round, or top sirloin, thinly sliced
    4 sturdy hoagie rolls
    Mayonnaise, if desired
    8 slices mozzarella, provolone, or white American cheese
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano


    Preheat the oven to 400°F.

    In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Saute the onion and pepper until they are tender. Remove the vegetables to a bowl and heat the oil in the same pan. Add the beef and season to taste with salt and pepper. Saute until lightly browned and cooked through. Divide the meat into two batches if necessary.

    Spread each bun with mayonnaise, if desired. Divide the beef and vegetable mixture among the buns. Top with the cheese and oregano. Bake the sandwiches in the oven until the cheese is melted and the bread is slightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Serve.

  • Homemade Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Oreos

    How to make Homemade Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Oreos

    Yield: About 25 sandwich cookies


    For the Oreo cookies:
    1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    1 cup granulated sugar
    10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 large egg

    For the peanut butter cookie dough filling:
    4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
    1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
    2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    1/4 cup milk (any kind)
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1/8 teaspoon fine salt
    1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips


    For the cookies:
    Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper.

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. On low speed, add the butter then the egg. Continue mixing until the dough comes together.

    Take rounded teaspoons of dough and place on prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2-inches apart. Use the bottom of a measuring cup or a glass to slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes. Set on a cooling rack to cool completely.

    For the filling:
    In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter on medium-high speed until light and creamy. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat until well combined. Add the milk and vanilla, beating until combined. On low speed gradually add the flour and salt, beating until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

    Dollop 1 tablespoon of filling onto the bottom of half of the cookies. Sandwich with the remaining cookies, pressing lightly. Serve or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Serve at room temperature.