recipe

Bake It Up -> No Knead Bread Recipe from Alyssa Joy Photography

Guest post. This recipe from Alyssa Joy Photography is so easy; even for non-bread bakers like me. I can attest to its yumminess because, yes, you bet your arse we ate it while photographing it! Do check out Alyssa’s amazing photography skills on her website and instagram. xo, jennifer

styling by jennifer oatsvall  |  photo + recipe by    alyssa joy photography

styling by jennifer oatsvall | photo + recipe by alyssa joy photography

From Alyssa:

The thought of making bread at home is often intimidating. But this recipe I’m sharing with you today is super simple to make and the result is a beautiful, perfectly crusty, flavorful loaf of bread that looks like it came straight out of a bakery. I’ve made this recipe many times over the last few years and it’s never failed me!

I first discovered this recipe when my friend Katie posted photos of this amazing homemade bread years ago, initially on her tumblr blog. She sent me this blog post by The Londoner, which explains the recipe in detail and has helpful process photos. I’ve compiled the instructions from that blog post with my personal experience of making the bread many times. Just follow the directions below and it’ll be a no-brainer! I recommend making the dough in the evening, letting it rise in a warm place overnight, and baking in the morning.

styling by jennifer oatsvall  |  photo + recipe by    alyssa joy photography

styling by jennifer oatsvall | photo + recipe by alyssa joy photography

No-Knead Bread

3 cups flour
1.5 tsp salt
1/2 tsp yeast
1.5 cups water

Mix ingredients together in large mixing bowl until just blended - no need to over-stir it. It won’t be pretty or really look like dough. If it’s a bit dry, just add a little more water until all the flour is blended together. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place. I usually turn my oven on low for a few minutes, then turn it off and put the bowl in there and leave it there. Let dough sit overnight/all day.

After rising, turn oven to 450 F and preheat a dutch oven pot in it.

Place the dough on floured surface. Don't knead or punch it down. Just flip the dough over a couple times to coat it in flour so it’s not sticky anymore. Place the dough in the dutch oven and bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, and 10-15 minutes with the lid off, until the crust is brown and crispy.

Slather in a nice healthy amount of butter, drizzle with some honey, and enjoy!

styling by jennifer oatsvall  |  photo + recipe by    alyssa joy photography

styling by jennifer oatsvall | photo + recipe by alyssa joy photography

If you don’t own a dutch oven, you could also use any large oven-safe pot and lid, a pizza stone, or a large cast iron skillet. This week I baked the bread in a cast iron skillet and loosely covered the bread in aluminum foil for the first 30 minutes, and it worked great!

Also: dutch ovens are wonderful, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to get one that works well. The colorful Le Creuset and Staub dutch ovens are glamorous and gorgeous and I definitely want one someday, but this $40 Lodge 5-quart dutch oven on Amazon does the trick just as well.

Seasonal Entree -> Whole Roasted + Stuffed Pumpkin Magic

styling by jennifer oatsvall | photo by    Alyssa Joy Photography

styling by jennifer oatsvall | photo by Alyssa Joy Photography

Let me begin by saying there is a degree of “fly by the seat of your pants” when doing a whole roasted + stuffed pumpkin. Size and variety of pumpkin both play a part in how long it takes for it to cook through. That being said, it is an easy recipe as most of your effort is in prepping the pumpkin and ingredients. The rest is just hurry up and wait. I used Dorie Greenspan’s recipe in Around My French Table as my main guide as well as perusing a couple of other versions I found online.

Most people use pie pumpkins for this recipe for their small size. But I love a challenge so of course I bought an heirloom variety twice the size of a pie pumpkin. A fairytale pumpkin to be exact; approximately 6ish pounds. I can’t say for sure on weight as my kitchen scale doesn’t go that high. As most pie pumpkins are half that weight or smaller, you can see why I’m harping on “guide” here. Especially since heirloom varieties often have thicker flesh. Everything below is approximate so add as much or as little as you want of something. All the ingredients are pre-cooked anyway so if there is something you love (bacon!), by all means, add more (mushrooms!). I recommend baking this on a sheet pan or in an oven safe skillet/braiser. Be sure to read recipe through before beginning. If you have questions feel free to ask!

Whole Roasted + Stuffed Pumpkin

(adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s recipe in Around My French Table)

Ingredients

1 pumpkin, washed thoroughly (mine was a ‘fairytale’ variety, 6ish lbs)

2 cups pre-cooked rice (I used basmati cooked in chicken broth)

1 pound bacon, cooked crisply and diced or sliced into lardons (I used about 8 slices)

portobello mushrooms, sliced + sauteed (I used a half dozen or so)

1 small onion, diced sauteed

1-2 clove garlic, minced

5 oz (-ish) cheese of choice, cubed (I used emmenthale. Gouda would also be great.)

thyme, few sprigs, de-stemmed + more for garnish

1 cup (-ish) heavy cream

nutmeg, pinch freshly grated

kosher salt + pepper to taste

olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and center a rack. I lined a baking sheet with foil and then lightly sprayed the foil. Things didn’t get messy but I also chose a more dense variety of pumpkin. Cut the top out of the pumpkin. This isn’t a jack o’ lantern so make it a bit wider so you have room to work. Scoop out the seeds and strings. Thoroughly season the inside of the pumpkin with salt + pepper.

In a large bowl, mix the rice, bacon, mushrooms, onion, garlic, cheese, and thyme. As I prepared each ingredient I used salt + pepper accordingly. Test for salt + pepper preference and add accordingly keeping in mind the bacon and cheese are going to release salt into the mix. Fill the pumpkin with the mix all the way to the inside top. You may or may not use all the filling. Season the cream with nutmeg and a little salt and pepper to taste. Remember not to overdo it because bacon + cheese! But I did find in mine that I needed to add a bit to the cream. Pour the cream over the rice mixture but not all at once. Pour over a half cup and check the moisture level. Your mixture might require more or less than the recipe calls for. You want it moistened by not soupy as the pumpkin is going to release moisture into the rice mixture as well. Put the cap on. Rub olive oil over the outside and sprinkle with salt. Pop it in the oven. Mine took approximately 3 hours to cook. This means that you WILL NEED to cover with aluminum foil once the skin starts to darken to keep it from blistering too much. It is done when you can easily pierce the pumpkin flesh with a fork. You will need to periodically check for doneness as it cooks. I checked at the two hour mark and again 30 minutes later. You may want to remove the lid for evaporation purposes if the stuffing is too moist for your liking. When it is done you can scoop it from the inside like a pot of stew being sure to pull some of the pumpkin into the mixture or you can cut into wedges. I did the old scoop and pull as I wanted to keep its shape for serving.

Be sure to check out Dorie’s recipe as well as she has ideas for different ingredients. While researching I discovered Armenian and Turkish versions called ghapama - stuffed with rice, dried fruits, and honey! - and I will definitely be trying that in the future. Good luck! You got this!

styling by jennifer oatsvall | photo by    Alyssa Joy Photography

styling by jennifer oatsvall | photo by Alyssa Joy Photography

Seasonal Dessert -> Salted Caramel Chocolate Bundt Cakelets

Need an easy fall or winter dessert that oozes simple beauty? These little mini bundt cakes pack ease, lots of flavor, + pretty presentation all in one. While you do need a few different bowls, this really is a simple dessert to put together. And it works well whether you use a mini bundt pan or a full size bundt. I've even made this gluten free using King Arthur gf flour and it still works beautifully. I love this recipe and hope you do, too. 

prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography:  alyssa joy photography    

prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography: alyssa joy photography
 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Bundt

adapted from Samoa Bundt Cake

Ingredients

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (we used 60% cacao)

1/2 cup butter, softened

16 oz light brown sugar

3 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into measuring cup)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 oz sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup hot water (not boiling)

Toppings

1 jar caramel sauce

toasted pecans, chopped

flake salt (we used Maldon)

prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography:  alyssa joy photography    

prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography: alyssa joy photography
 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Grease and flour bundt pan (or use a baking spray).

  3. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl at 20-30 second intervals until smooth. Set Aside.

  4. Beat softened butter + brown sugar with an electric mixer (hand or stand) until blended well.

  5. Beat in each egg, one at a time.

  6. Beat in melted chocolate until blended. Do not over mix.

  7. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.

  8. Add the flour mixture to chocolate batter, alternating with the sour cream, beating at low speed until blended after each addition. Do not over mix.

  9. With mixer on low speed, add the hot water.

  10. Stir in vanilla.

  11. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan*.

  12. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes in pan then remove cake from pan to cool. If using mini bundt pan, adjust baking time accordingly.

  13. While the cake cools, lightly spritz a baking sheet with cooking spray and spread pecans on a baking sheet. Toast in oven for five minutes. Be mindful not to let them scorch. When cool, chop or break into smaller pieces.

  14. Warm caramel sauce in microwave and drizzle over cooled cake. Sprinkle with toasted, chopped pecans + flake salt.

*Note: Baking time is for a standard 10" bundt pan. Can also be used for mini-bundt pan. Makes approximately 12 mini bundts. Baking time for mini bundts was 20-25 minutes on our oven.

 

prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography:  alyssa joy photography    

prop + food styling: jennifer oatsvall of {feather + oak}, photography: alyssa joy photography