Monthly Archives: April 2009

I’ve moved…

and I sure hope you will follow me. For the time being (nothing is forever, right?) I will be at the link below.

Thanks for reading!



VertigoB Bread

VertigoB Bread Recipe
3 packets of yeast
1 quart potato water (save the water from cooking potatoes)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 dry skim milk
1 tsp + 1 Tbsp. salt (I use kosher)
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup oil
3 eggs
5 lbs. flour (16-18 cups including 4-5 cups of whole wheat flour)

Here are the little beauties all ready for the oven.

Get yourself a really big bowl. This is a huge amount of bread dough, so you will need it.

Wisk together the yeast, potato water (it should not be hot, room temperature is just fine), sugar, milk, salt, and oil. Add the eggs one at a time. From this point on, it is all about adding flour. I usually add the whole wheat flour first and then add the white flour. Mix it as long as you can in a mixer and then turn the dough onto a floured surface (preferably a board).

I mix my bread in a contraption like this. We rock it old school around here. No fancy bread electric bread makers around this ranch. Cranking that bread dough, kneading it by hand, I am here to tell you, is a REAL work out. You will be sweating when you are done, but lucky you, you will have some yummy bread to replace the calories you just burned off!

You have kneaded enough and added enough flour, when you stick your finger into the dough and it no longer sticks to you when you pull it back out.

Wash out the bowl you mixed the dough in, spray it with non-stick spray. Put the dough inside, turn it once to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and towel. Make sure it is not in any drafts and let it rise until doubled.

If you are like me, it will “get away from you” and be pushing the cover off the bowl.

Punch the dough down completely. Get four bread pans ready, grease them up. Then cut the dough into four equal portions. I usually weigh them to make sure they are the same size. I am terrible at estimating (too much like math and I am REALLY bad at math), so I want to make sure they are equal.

Roll each portion out into a 9 x 12 rectangle, making sure all the bubbles are out. Roll dough toward you, jellyroll fashion, beginning with the upper edge. Seal the dough with the heel of your hand after each roll of the dough. Be sure to seal the final seam on the bottom of the loaf.

Seal the ends of each loaf by pressing firmly with the side of your hand to make a thin, sealed strip.

Fold the sealed ends of the loaf under. Be careful not to tear the dough. Place each loaf into a greased loaf pan ( 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan).

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a towel again and let it rise until doubled in size. Again, I have a very bad habit (in the grand tradition of my Grandma Doty) of letting the dough “get away from me.” It ends up making these big, beautiful loaves of bread.

Be very careful removing the plastic wrap from the loaves once they have risen. I have fallen victim to rushing to get the plastic off too quickly and deflating the dough. Heartbreaking. There is nothing more pathetic than bread dough that deflates. I am getting sad just thinking about it!

Here are the beauties right out of the oven.

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes.

Turn the oven temperature back to 375 and bake until brown on the bottom (about 20 minutes, but keep a close eye on them.) My ovens are pretty hot, so I only bake them about 12 minutes on 375.

You can check on them by knocking on the bottom. It should sound hard, not like it is still soft and raw.

Sit down and breathe in the intoxicating perfume of baking bread. It has no equal. It might make you feel giddy and a little lightheaded, but don’t worry, it isn’t permanent.

Now, once the bread has cooled off a little, slice some of it. Make yourself some toast, pour some coffee and enjoy, really really enjoy the fruits of your labor.

This bread recipe is a family heirloom. My great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, my aunts, and now me have all made this recipe for years.

My great-grandmother made all the bread her family ate. She wore a hole in her cutting board, that is how much bread she made.

After I quit my job, I was feeling super domestic (and a little lost) and starting making bread again. Mr. Smith (my brand new husband at the time) dubbed it “B Bread.” So, for the purposes of this blog, it is now VertigoB Bread. Whatever you choose to call it, it is damn good bread. There is also something very therapeutic about making bread. It has helped me make through more than a few rough patches.

It is also so rewarding to have these lovely things gracing my counter.

Email me if you have questions about this auntbaaa [at] gmail [dot]com. Even if you don’t have questions, I would love to hear from anyone that tries this recipe. Drop me a line and let me know how it turned out.

Artichoke Dip with Zip

I originally had this dip at my brother-in-law’s house. His wife made this for an appetizer for my mother-in-law’s birthday celebration. I could not believe how wonderful it was! Of course I immediately had to snag the recipe!

My not-so-dear MIL’s birthday is right after Christmas. She has a problem with this. In fact she hates it. She hates that her birthday is overshadowed by Christmas. To add further insult to injury, she is a twin, so she has had to share her birthday her entire life. She was 63 at that point. Luckily, that was the last birthday we would be forced to celebrate with her. Hurray!

It was H’s first Christmas and we were all sick. Mr. Smith had pneumonia as did The Monkey. Like always, my mother was sick too, but kept insisting she was so glad she didn’t get it. However, she kept complaining about being achy, cold, runny nose, etc. Hmmm…good thing she never caught the cold. She sooooo had the cold, but will never ever ever ever admit that she is sick.

It was one of those colds that just hangs on forever and ever. We were all sick for a month. It was so sad. There are no pictures of our son’s first Christmas because we were all so miserable. We pretty much just opened gifts and went to our separate corners and licked our respective wounds.

Anyway, we were all still sick. Mr. Smith was nursing a pretty nasty fever/cough. H was still a complete mess (low-grade fever, cough, runny nose, etc.) and I was just getting over the dreaded cold.

No excuses would be accepted. This was another in a long series of command performances! So, off we went to suffer.

The ONLY saving grace was this dip and some phenomenal cupcakes (that I had dragged my sad butt up to Newport Beach to procure for the occasion). Otherwise, the evening was  total bust.

It is not as greasy as some other artichoke dips I have tried. This is nice and creamy and has just enough of a kick to make it interesting.

Artichoke Dip with Zip

2 cans artichoke hearts in water

8 ozs. (1 box) cream cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 can diced jalapenos (4-6 ozs. depending on your preference)

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Chop artichokes and jalapenos in food processor. Mix all other ingredients together. Add artichoke jalapeno mixture and mix well.

Spread in an oven safe baking dish and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Serve with sourdough bread, crackers or pita chips (Stacy’s parmesan are very good with this) or tortilla chips.

Pioneer Woman strikes again


Here is the recipe for the Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce I made for dinner last night.

I have almost completely given up on regular pasta. I am a big fan of fortified (protein, Omega 3 and whole wheat) varieties. It gives the meal a little something extra and doesn’t change the taste, in my opinion. Also, it is healthier and Mr. Smith has no real objections to it.

If you can find it in your store, I would recommend Barilla Plus. They just do the best job. It is always perfect, not sticky.

This sauce was a little bit of extra work, but very worth it. I roasted the peppers right after lunch, so that I would have plenty of time to deal with the peeling, coring, etc.

Mr. Smith had some misgivings about the recipe, that is until he found out that it was from The Pioneer Woman. Suddenly, his mood changed and he announced, “Oh, anything from her is good.”

And he was right.

I have never roasted peppers before, but it worked just fine. I did them on the burners (gas stove).

Everything was fine until Baby C saw me take the food processor out of the cupboard. As soon as she saw the thing, she fell apart. We are lucky enough to be in the “I am almost 11 months old and I am terrified of all things that make noise” phase. The mixer, the blender, the vacuum cleaner, the coffee maker, all make her burst into tears and sob uncontrollably. This is a real problem since I cook almost constantly.

Anyway, the peppers tasted great, the sauce was wonderful. Definitely worth the extra work. So, go roast some peppers!