25 October 2011

Meat Ball Sub

Hi y'all,

It's time for a new recipe.

I love to cook. When things around us seem a bit hectic, I cook. Cooking and baking makes sense. I can take ingredients and make sense of something (usually). Thankfully I've got four teenage boys living in our guesthouse that eat it all before I can go for seconds.

Because I love my mom. I'll share the recipe I use to make my french bread. (she's been hounding me for it since I made it while home a few years ago)

I discovered this recipe out of a baptist missionary cookbook several years ago. I grew up bapitst and let me tell you, baptist know how to cook and eat! I've been to more potlucks than I can remember. Anywho....

This french bread. It saved my life. And my marriage. Ok not really, but it could in case of emergency. The closest place to get a loaf of french bread is to drive over 6 hours. So I had to find a recipe. I was all proud of myself and did a little happy dance with my beautifully fresh baked bread when I first tried this recipe. And there's a healthy and regular version of it too. We'll start with the regular version.

Let's get to cookin...

Here are the ingredients I find here in Kenya:

You'll need:
-2 tablespoons of dry yeast (and there is such a thing as bad yeast in this country, it's actually common, I know from experience, I stick with the brand pakmaya and store it in my freezer to keep it fresh)
-1/2 cup warm water (a good test is sticking your finger in the water before adding yeast, make sure it warm but not too hot to keep your finger in it)
-1 teaspoon sugar
-2 tablespoons shortening (kimbo)
-2 tablespoons sugar
-2 teaspoons salt
-2 cups boiling water
-7 to 8 cups of flour

- 1 egg beater
- 2 tablespoons milk

-sesame seeds or poppy seeds

First dissolve the yeast in a bowl with 1/2 cup of warm water and teaspoon of sugar. Then grab a big mixing bowl. Combine remaining ingredients, except flour, in the large mixing bowl and allow to cool. (sometimes when I'm in a rush I'll add just one cup of boiling water and make sure everything dissolves, then add another cup of cool water to cool it off quick) Next stir in yeast and enough flour to make a medium dough. I usually add one to two cups of flour at a time since I've learned once you've added too much flour, there's no going back and it has to be chunked in the trash. (do you say chunked or chucked? us Texans say chunked, we also say y'all a lot, and I rode a horse to school. not really. but i did get asked that all the time when we moved to new mexico in the 10th grade)

Ok, so when the dough is formed it's time to knead. Knead for 10 minutes.

Kneading: streatch dough, twist, pound, repeat.

When it is smooth and elastic, place it in a bowl that you've smeared with oil. Turn the dough once so that it is lightly covered in oil....

Find a place in your kitchen that is fairly warm and let the dough rise until doubled...

Punch the dough down and let it rest for 15 minutes. Now is when I usually preheat the oven to 400 degrees since the preheated heats around the area and causes the dough to rise faster. After it has had some rest, divide dough into three pieces. Take each piece and roll out into a rectangle.

Then roll it up, place on a greased baking sheet and make 4-5 slashes diagonally. You can then mix the glaze up, brush each loaf with it and sprinkle with seeds.

Wait again until they have risen. Sometimes I don't wait until they are doubled. It just doesn't fluff as much in the oven. So I'd go ahead and wait till they are doubled before sticking them in the oven.

Bake for around 20 minutes. Take a coffee break and enjoy the smell of fresh bread baking in your entire house.

Then voila!
There are several things you can do with this bread. One is to make "the bread" by pioneer woman. The only thing I do different is add garlic and parsley to the butter. Another option is to make garlic/herb butter. I fill a small bowl with butter, mince a few cloves of garlic over it, sprinkle parsley, oregano and sea salt in it then pop it in the microwave. When the bread is cooled, I slice it up, drench the bread with the garlic/herb butter, cover the bread with foil and stick it in the oven right before dinner to warm it up.

(And p.s. in case you want to go a bit healthier, there's a few things you can tweak in the recipe and it still turns out pretty darn good. When mixing the yeast, instead of sugar use the same amount of honey. when mixing the other ingredients, instead of shortening use the same amount of olive oil and instead of sugar use honey again and do everything else the same)

Another option is to make mini loaves and use them for sub sandwhiches. Which is what we did last Monday and now my husband insists on making every Monday "meatball sub Monday". This is pretty simple. I divided the dough into six instead of three. They bake quicker too.

To make meatballs I just mixed minced meat (ground beef if you are in America, but same thing) with a teaspoon of italian seasoning per pound of meat and a teaspoon of lowry's seasoning salt. I then formed meatballs, placed them on a foil lined baking sheet and popped them in a 350 preheated oven and cooked until done.

Before all that happens, you can make a marinara sauce. Since I cook for a teenage boy army, I doubled my marinara recipe. First saute a large onion with 2-3 cloves of garlic in olive oil. Pour in a 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup tomato paste and after dumping the can of tomatoes, fill it with water and add to the pot. For spaghetti sauce I add two cans of water but since this will go on a sandwhich you want it thicker so just add one can of water. Next add a teaspoon of salt and a few tablespoons of sugar. Then add a teaspoon of basil (if I had fresh basil then I'd go with that), and a teaspoon of italian seasoning (which I'm sure is just parsley, rosmary and oregano, you could google it if you don't have it) The tomato paste makes it bitter so after it simmers for 5 minutes, taste it. If it's still bitter, add more sugar. Not only is this option cheaper in Kenya, but you can monitor how much sugar you add as oppose to the stuff in the jar. If I'm really feeling in a healthy mood and have the time, I'll boil fresh tomatoes, take the skins off, dice them and use that instead of canned. But lets be honest, that doesn't happen much. Bring all this to a boil, simmer for around 30 minutes or longer. Taste as you go and add where needed. When it's the consistency you want, turn off the heat and add the meatballs. When the bread came out, I just sliced it in half length wise, scooped up some meatballs to shove inside and smeared more marinara sauce on top of the meatballs. The result was comfort food at its best....


NeNe said...

Rhee who? She "ain't got nothin' " on you. You pour an amazing amount of love on your household with meals like that. Most Mom's get a decade of practice before cooking for teen boys, but I see that God apparently just gave you the gift of cooking at a very young age! I've seen it with my own eyes and tasted it too. I'll never forget our meals at your table!

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