The Baker Upstairs: 2010


bok choy noodle bowls


Since we've been doing the Bountiful Baskets co-op lately, we've been getting a variety of different fruits and vegetables. One week we got about 20 heads of bok choy, and I had no clue what to do with it all. I used my trusty friend, the internet, and found this Rachael Ray recipe for noodle bowls.

Bok Choy Noodle Bowls

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 3 turns of the pan
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 inches ginger root, peeled and cut into very thin matchsticks or grated
1/2 pound shiitake mushroom caps, sliced, a couple of cups
1 medium bok choy, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces, then cut sticks lengthwise
Salt and pepper
1 quart chicken broth
1 cup seafood stock, available on soup aisle or, 1 cup clam juice
1 1/2 pounds medium peeled and deveined shrimp
1/2 pound vermicelli (thin spaghetti)
4 scallions, cut into 3 inch pieces, then shredded lengthwise into thin sticks

Heat a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil, 3 turns of the pan, crushed red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, and bok choy, then season with salt and pepper. Add chicken broth and seafood stock or clam juice. Put a lid on the pot and bring soup to a boil.
Add shrimp and noodles and cook 3 minutes. Add in scallions and cook 2 minutes, then turn off soup and let it sit 2 to 3 minutes more. Adjust salt and serve.

Here are my thoughts on the recipe. It was pretty good, and it was definitely better the next day. I used chicken and an extra cup of chicken stock instead of shrimp and seafood stock because G hates shrimp.  The chicken was good, but it probably had less flavor than if I had used seafood. I also used linguini instead of vermicelli because that's what I had. Plus I love linguini. The bok choy was fantastic! Really, the only complaint I have is that you kind of have to add a lot of salt to make it taste good. I don't usually add much salt to anything that I cook, so I get a little bugged when I have to add any. The recipe probably could have benefited from a whole teaspoon of salt added at the end, which seems way over the top to me. On the whole, though, I would say it was good. I would make it again.

mango peach chicken


Lately I haven't had much inspiration (or time) so I haven't done much in the way of new recipes. My friend Emma from nursing school, though, is totally creative and posted a delicious menu for last week. Of course I had to steal it. Emma contributes to the blog Just Cook Already (which I love!) and got this recipe from there. It is fantastic, and super easy to make!

Mango Peach Chicken

4 chicken breasts {thawed}
mix 2 T cumin & 2 T lemon pepper, pat on both sides of chicken breast
cook on low in crock pot for 3-4 hours until chicken can be shredded, shred chicken

add 1 can black beans {drained}
1 can corn {drained}
3 cup mango salsa with peach {from costco}
cook on low for 2 more hours

Coconut Milk Rice

2 cups of water
2 cups medium grain rice
1 cup coconut milk
1 T olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

combine ingredients and stir on high till it boils. put the lid on and turn to low for twenty minutes. turn the burner off and let it sit for another twenty minutes.


braided bread


Last week I made this super delicious bread, and I want to make it again and again. It was really easy to put together and turned out really well. As time goes on, I am realizing that I can't imagine life without my Kitchenaid. I love it! It does everything.

Braided Bread

1/4 cup warm water
2 ½ tsp yeast (or one yeast packet)
1 Tbl sugar
1 cup hot water
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbl butter

2 ½ cups flour
1 egg
1 ¾-2 cups more flour

In a drinking glass or bowl, stir together the warm water, yeast and sugar. Set it aside for about 10 min to rise. In your mixer, combine the hot water, salt, sugar and butter and mix. Once the yeast has risen, add 2 ½ cups flour, 1 egg and the yeast. Mix all together (using your mixing paddle arm.)

Add 1 ¾ cups more flour and mix until a ball forms. If the dough is still too soft, add more flour until the dough feels like squishy play-dough. Take the paddle arm off your mixer and put the hook arm on. Turn mixer on to the number “2” setting (if you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer) and let machine knead the dough for 7 minutes. OR knead the dough by hand for 5-6 minutes on a hard surface.

Spray a large clean bowl with cooking spray. Put the dough in the bowl and cover with a cloth to keep from drying out. Place the bowl in a warm place (like the oven with just the light turned on). Let the dough rise for a couple hours.

Punch the dough down and let it rest for 10 minutes. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Using a knife, divide the dough in half. Starting with the first ball of dough, divide it into three pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 14 inches long. Pinch the 3 ropes together at the top, braid the ropes, and pinch the ropes together at the end. Squish the braid together slightly and place the braid onto the prepared cookie sheet, sideways. Repeat with the other ball of dough and place on the same sheet. Cover cookie sheet with a cloth and let rise for about an hour.

Using a fork, whisk together one egg and 1 T. water until well combined. Brush the egg wash over the tops and sides of the braids. Be careful as you brush that you don’t press too hard or you may deflate the loaves. Heat the oven to 350. Bake for 14-18 minutes or just till they start turning golden brown. Let the bread sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting. Serve with butter and fresh jam.


whole wheat pancakes


These are excellent! They don't even have that slightly weird whole wheat taste to them, and they're light and fluffy. I've made them twice already since I discovered the recipe last week.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
2 T oil
splash of vanilla

Mix dry ingredients. In another bowl (I just use a measuring cup) mix egg, milk, oil, and vanilla. Mix dry and wet ingredients just enough to combine. Make pancakes!

I've experimented with them a little bit both times I've made them. The first time I added fresh blueberries, and the second time I added chocolate chips. Both ways were delicious. The first time, we had several pancakes left over, so I experimented with freezing them. They were pretty awesome reheated after freezing (I just threw them in the toaster oven).