Category Archives: savory

Homemade Cayenne-Cheddar Bread

DSC_0045Remember when Mike and I went on a Cambridge eating tour adventure and I haven’t been able to stop talking about it? Well, heeere we go again.

On our last stop at The Friendly Toast (and any/every time I go there), I ordered a side of their homemade Cayenne-Cheddar bread. They grill it up with some butter and HOLY COW IT IS SO GOOD. Just enough cayenne spice to give it a good kick, with little pockets of melty cheese* throughout. After ordering it at least 14 times, I decided it’s finally time to try and create it myself!

DSC_0017Listen up, friends..

This bread is the BOMB DIGGITY.

DSC_0006PerHAPS the most delicious bread I’ve ever baked. It is soooo so (so so so so so so so SO so so) good, almost as good as the professionals make it. It’s the kind of bread that is so delicious that you don’t even need anything on top, though butter makes everything better 😉

And, just a thought…using this to make grilled cheese? WHOAAAAAAA. Mike and I gobbled up the whole loaf too quickly to do so, but I bet it would be the most wonderful grilled cheese in all the land.

*I realized I only had about half the amount of cheese I needed when baking this bread, which is why the bread doesn’t seem cheesy in the pictures – though still totally delicious. Adding the full amount will give you those ooooozy melty cheesy pockets of happiness I mentioned above.


Cayenne-Cheddar Bread (adapted from Williams-Sonoma‘s Whole Wheat Bread recipe, idea from The Friendly Toast)

yield: one loaf


  • 2 cups* white or whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons quick-rise yeast (about half a package)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese

*The original recipe calls for 2 1/4 cups white/whole-wheat flour, but I only ended up using about 1 3/4 cups. You should add as much flour as you need to make the dough hold together until it stops being sticky.


  1. In a bowl, whisk together the white or whole-wheat flour and 1 1/4 cups bread flour. In a separate bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1 cup of flour mixture, salt, yeast, and cayenne pepper. In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup water, milk, honey, and butter. Heat on low until lukewarm (110 degrees F). Stir the water/milk mixture into the yeast mixture and beat on medium-high until smooth. Add the cheese, then stir in more of the flour mixture until the dough comes together and stops sticking to the sides of the bowl. If you add a bit too much flour, you can always add a teaspoon of water to bring the dough back together.
  2. At this point, you can either kneed the dough by hand or use the dough hook attachment. Need until smooth and elastic, either 10 minutes by hand or 6-7 minutes with the dough hook. Form the dough into a ball and place in a clean, greased bowl (I greased mine with olive oil), turning the dough to coat on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Coat a 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan with butter or cooking spray. Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and press flat; use a rolling pin to roll into a roughly 12-by-7-inch rectangle. Starting on a short side, roll the dough up tightly and pinch the bottom and side seams to seal. Place the dough into the prepared pan, seam side down. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Bake the loaf for about 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

*one final note: the original recipe says to brush the loaf with an egg wash (1 egg yolk + 1 teaspoon water), but I was out of eggs so I skipped that step. It doesn’t change the flavor much, but does make the loaf look prettier!

Homemade Ricotta Pizza

I hope this blows everyone else’s mind as much as it blew mine:

You can make your own ricotta cheese. And it’s really, really ridiculously easy.

Four ingredients. 30 minutes. Warm, creamy, freshly made ricotta ready to be put onto a spoon and into your belly. UUUUUHHHHH HUUUUUUHHH.

If you’re anything like me, this is a real game-changer. Ricotta is the boooomb and knowing that it can easily be made at home is the best news I’ve gotten all week (thanks Katy!). I used this homemade ricotta recipe from the Barefoot Contessa (I didn’t have white wine vinegar so I subbed regular distilled white vinegar).

Though I could have very easily eaten the entire batch of ricotta straight out of the bowl, I decided to make some homemade pizza with it instead, totes gourmet. Though this isn’t technically a recipe, I topped my dough with the ricotta and a little bit of fresh mozzarella and basil and baked it at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Then I threw on some fresh arugula and cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. I love fresh tomatoes on my pizza so much more because they don’t get all mushy in the oven and personally I think they taste better, but you could easily bake the tomatoes into the dough with the ricotta.

This is what’s up. Make your own ricotta cheese, AND DO IT NOOOOOOOWWWWW.

PS: Since this is 100% homemade it’s also 100% healthy. #lawsIwouldmakeifIwasincharge

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

Remember last week when I mentioned that weird moment where I housed an entire head of cauliflower?

Well, the bad news is I’m about to share a recipe about…cauliflower. Out of the ordinary, to say the least.

The good news is said cauliflower just so happens to be purple.


It really is that purple! Thank you Copley farmer’s market.

To be honest, the real reason I love this cauliflower recipe is it’s an excuse to eat entire cloves of roasted garlic. Don’t judge.

Roasted garlic is my new obsession of the moment. I want roasted garlic hunks on bread…pasta…crackers…pizza…a fork. It’s a good thing I have a boyfriend who loves me a whole lot (and happens not to be a vampire) because I’m willing to bet this new obsession isn’t doing me any favors in the romance department.

Roasted cauliflower tastes like reeeeallly good for you popcorn. This is coming from a girl who used to sit for 3 hours at the kitchen table refusing to eat one more bite of veggies, even if it meant I would get dessert afterwards. So you know it’s gotta be good.

I’m droooooling looking at the roasted garlic nuggets.

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower (adapted from Ina Garten, How Easy is That?)

serves 4-6


  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. On a large sheet pan, toss cauliflower, garlic, oil, salt and pepper.
  2. Roast for 15 minutes, stir. Roast for an additional 10-20 minutes, or until tender and browned. Toss in the pine nuts for the last 3 minutes of roasting.
  3. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then stir and serve.

Rosemary Crackers

A simple truth: there is no situation in life in which Rosemary and Olive Oil Triscuits are not appropriate.

I mean, have you tried them?



So when I went to get my bake on this past weekend and opened my fridge to discover a bunch of fresh rosemary… I knew it was a sign. Homemade rosemary crackers. Crack being the operative word here.

Annnd then I found a recipe for rosemary flatbread (otherwise known as giant cracker) on one of my fave blogs, Smitten Kitchen, and my brain said: mustmakemustmakemustmake.

And so I did.

All you need is:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil plus more for brushing





At 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes.


Homemade Tomato Soup

Happy Monday! Today is the first day that I’ve….

A. seen dry sidewalks and roads


B. walked outside without my hood on

…in the past two months. Glorious! Though I hear there is more snow on the way tomorrow morning. In which case you should make this creamy homemade tomato soup. It is SO easy and SO good.

(adapted from Eat, Live, Run)


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda


Heat butter in a dutch oven (or a big pot) on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the flour and stir to incorporate; cook for 2-3 more minutes. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Whisk milk into butter and onion mixture, then add the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes; soup will thicken. Carefully pour the soup into a blender and blend until smooth, or use an immersion blender if you have one! Serve with grilled cheese for maximum enjoyment.

And you should finish it off with this rich, dreamy peanut butter hot cocoa.

Rosemary Foccacia

Do you guys remember that time I made “rosemary focaccia” out of pizza dough? Aka I sprinkled rosemary on pizza dough and called it a day?

I almost a little embarrassed to relive that time. Now that I’ve made this.


Beautiful, crispy, chewy, tastes-like-its-been-soaked-in-butter (without using any actual butter) rosemary focaccia.

I’ve been running around my house saying “foKAcheeA. foKAHchia. fokahsha!” gleefully. It is SO good. Even if I don’t know how to pronounce it.

It’s a work of art.

Work being the operative word there. This baby takes 2 days and lots of love – but no kneading! I’ll attempt to take you through the steps now.

(recipe below)

Day 1

Make your starter.

I’ve always been a little intimidated by starters. For some reason I thought of a starter as a really complicated and sophisticated baking technique, so I refused to make any bread that called for one. Which is pretty much all breads.

Boy, was I wrong.

A started is just yeast, flour, and warm water that you leave in a bowl to ferment overnight. That’s it. It takes 2 minutes.

And it will look like this the next day:

As long as you see bubbles, you’re in business!

Day 2

Make the focaccia.

First, you add some more flour, yeast, and warm water to your starter. Then there are a series of rising, turning, stirring, rising steps.

And voila, dough!

Then you split the dough in half and add toppings.

Santa brought me some pink Himalayan salt for Christmas, so I sprinkled some of that on top of the dough. I think it really glammed up the final product.

Finally, you stick it in the oven.

My family managed to polish off one of these babies in mere minutes. We are attempting to save the second one for dinner tonight. Y-u-u-u-m. Y-u-m-m-m-m. Yum.

Rosemary Focaccia (adapted from Cooks Illustrated 2010)


For the starter:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup warm water (100-110°F – or as hot as your tap will go)
  • 1/4 teaspoon rapid-rise yeast

For the dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon rapid-rise yeast
  • salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary


  1. Mix ingredients for the starter until all flour is absorbed. Allow to sit, covered in plastic wrap overnight, or for at least 8 hours.
  2. Stir flour, water, and yeast into starter with a wooden spoon until all the flour is absorbed. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at warm room temperature for 15 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons salt over dough, stir until incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 more minutes.
  4. Spray rubber spatula with cooking spray, fold dough over itself by picking up an edge and folding over as you turn the bowl slightly. Turn until all dough has been folded, or about 8 times. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
  5. Repeat step 4 twice.
  6. At least 30 minutes before baking, preheat oven and baking stone (or you can use an overturned rimmed baking sheet) to 500°F.
  7. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and sprinkle with a bit more flour. Divide dough in half and shape each half into a circle.
  8. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil each. Sprinkle each pan with 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, depending on your taste.
  9. Place round of dough, top side down, into pan, and slide around to coat with oil. Flip the dough over and repeat. Cover pans with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  10. Gently press dough to the edges of the pan. Using a fork, poke surface of dough 25-30 times, making sure to pop any large bubbles. Sprinkle rosemary evenly over the top, cover, and allow to rest for 5-10 more minutes.
  11. Place pans on baking stone (or sheet), and reduce the oven temperature to 450°F. Bake until tops are golden brown, 25-28 minutes, switching the pans position on the stone halfway through.
  12. Allow focaccia to cool in pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes.