Country Bread

Country Bread

I am not an expert on bread baking in the slightest.  I have only been doing it for a year, so I am trying to learn as much as I can and try as many recipes as I can.  I love cookbooks and bought a bunch of bread baking ones, but I found myself scouring the cookbooks for recipes that do not use a starter.  Who has time for a starter?  Feeding it and waiting around?  Plus, they sound kind of scary – Biga?  Poolish?  What do those words even mean?

Then this past weekend I decided it was time to get over my fear and make bread with a starter.  And boy am I glad I did.  It brings the bread to a whole new level.  The flavor is more complex and the texture is just perfect.  I guess there is a reason that over half the recipes in my cookbooks use a starter.

There are various types of starters, but I used a very basic method from Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook.  The only hard part about using a starter is timing.  But on a cold winter weekend, I have nothing but time for baking!  … 

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

choco

This blog needs a cookie post.  In fact the first post probably should have been a cookie post.  Now granted I am just getting started, so there are so many things that I want to post about.  But if you have been reading all of my posts up until now, you probably don’t realize quite how obsessed I am with dessert!  Specifically with cookies, although I don’t really discriminate.  My favorite cookie recipes usually include chocolate or peanut butter.  Or better yet, both.  This recipe for chocolate peanut butter chip cookies is one of my absolute favorites.  It is my go-to when I am bringing cookies to a party because everyone loves them (and because I know I won’t mess up the recipe!)  I also like that you don’t need a mixer for it – I love my KitchenAid, but sometimes I just don’t feel like dealing with it.  Another plus is that you don’t need to leave the butter out at room temperature.  Sometimes, I just can’t wait that long to make cookie dough.  It is a rich, moist cookie with the most amazing chocolate flavor, studded with perfect peanut butter chips.  And if for some crazy reason you don’t like peanut butter chips (if you are allergic that is one thing, but if you just don’t like peanut butter I’m not sure we can be friends…), you can sub in any kind of chip you want!  Green mint chips are fun around Christmas time…. 

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La Vinya del Senyor – Barcelona

Vinya

One of the best parts about our nights in Barcelona was wandering around and finding cute little wine bars.  The different neighborhoods are full of great spots to grab a glass of wine and a small plate of food.  One of our favorites was La Vinya del Senyor.  I would like to say that I just stumbled upon it (and we did stumble upon some great bars) but this one came recommended by an amazing travel website, Indagare.   This site is full of useful tips for traveling and has great city-specific recommendations.  I have tried many wonderful spots thanks to their “travel wisdom”!  La Vinya del Senyor is in the Gothic Quarter – close to Cal Pep – so we decided to stop in for a glass of wine after dinner.  We ended up staying the rest of the night.  … 

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Tickets – Barcelona

Tickets Cover

On the second night of our eating tour of Barcelona, CateyLou, my sister, and I went to Tickets.  Tickets is an upscale tapas restaurant started by famed El Bulli founder Ferran Adria.  It was probably our best meal in Barcelona and even though not every course was a home run it was a fun and memorable meal. … 

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Cal Pep – Barcelona

calpep

CateyLou and I, along with my sister, went to Cal Pep for dinner during our trip to Barcelona in February of 2013.  Although the restaurant is unassuming from the exterior, it came highly recommended from several trusted sources who raved about their simple but expertly prepared tapas.  We were not disappointed and would definitely recommend Cal Pep to eaters looking for authentic tapas in a no-frills atmosphere.  … 

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