Life on the creative side

Posts tagged “simple foods

A Hearty Basic Bread Recipe

Hearty basic bread:


As I mentioned in a recent post, I have been making  this great basic bread based on  a  recipe posted by Diana Bauman, over at the Humble Kitchen blog,   For the past few days  my son and I  have been experimenting and tweaking the recipe to make an equally simple, but little more hearty, basic bread.  The whole process has been great fun and now I’m ready to share our modified recipe.  It is soooo good and soooo simple you’ll want to throw on an apron and get started.  Let me know how you like this hearty basic bread.

Original “Simple European Style Everyday Bread”


2 1/2 cups flour (you’ll add more as you knead)
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water
extra virgin olive oil

Diana has posted a really helpful video on “Humble Kitchen” where she demonstrates the entire process, I would definitely recommend you give it a view.


My Modified, ” Hearty Basic Bread Recipe”
2 cups flour-unbleached all purpose
1/4  cup almond flour
1/4 cup milled flax seed
1 cup sunflower seeds (next time I think I’ll try pumpkin seeds)
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

The method is exactly the same for both the recipes.

Mix well together the all purpose  flour, almond flour, milled flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, salt and yeast in a large bowl.
Stir in warm water until dough is sticky and shaggy.

shaggy dough

shaggy dough

With floured hands knead the dough right in the bowl for 3 or 4 minutes – you will need to dust  the dough with flour  occasionally (no more than an  extra 3 tablespoons) so you can continue to handle it, but you want the dough to stay light and tacky.
Once the dough is holding together and is  firm and  tacky,  pour about a teaspoon of evoo over the dough

adding EVOO to dough

adding EVOO to dough

Then  using oiled hands gently but firmly knead the dough into a tight ball – this is done by placing your  hands a few inches apart on the top of the ball of dough, gently but firmly force the dough from the top of the ball out, over the side, down and under to the bottom while maintaining the shape – apply enough pressure to keep the ball together and to meld the dough back together on the underside of the ball; repeat this for 2-3 minutes until you have formed a tight ball.

kneading dough

kneading dough

kneading dough

kneading dough
Place the dough into a well  oiled bowl, roll the dough in the oil then cover the bowl  with plastic wrap and  a cloth towel, let  rise for one  hour.

cover with towel

cover with towel

place dough in well oiled dough

place dough in well oiled dough


cover with plastic wrap

cover with plastic wrap

After the hour  the dough should have doubled in size, carefully remove it from the bowl to  a floured surface – don’t compress or punch down the dough, although it will fall.

remove dough from bowl

remove dough from bowl

Now repeat the kneading process from  he previous step until it is once more a tight ball
Place the ball of dough on a cookie sheet,  gently  cut a large X about half an  inch deep across the top of the ball (you will need a razor or very sharp knife).

I use scissors to cut x on top of dough

I use scissors to cut x on top of dough

Rub or brush a bit  more evoo over the top and sprinkle lightly with four
Once again cover the dough with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise for another 20 minutes.

cover dough with plastic wrap and towel

cover dough with plastic wrap and towel

Now pre-heat oven to 500F
After the 20 minutes place it in the  preheated oven  and bake for 10 minutes at 500F- then lower the temperature to 350F and bake for  another 25  minutes

place dough in pre-heated oven

place dough in pre-heated oven

After baking let the bread sit and cool to room temperature  – if you can :)

If you have more self-control than I do, share a photo of your fresh-baked bread.



Take It Outside: outdoors dining

food, toasting to dinning outside

On these lovely last days of summer, one of my favorite activities is outdoors dining.

great food and wine and outdoors dining

The season brings an abundance of fresh produce, inspiring causal alfresco meals.  During a visit to the beach an Italian friend  introduced us to dolce vita, preparing an easy delicious meal that our families took together under the seaside arbor. While Roberto didn’t measure ingredients, I have roughly estimated quantities so I can share this wonderful dish with you and your family, but by all means take liberty with the recipe to suit your tastes.  This has become a family favorite, it’s so simple and so good-especially with tomatoes and basil fresh from the garden.

Roberto’s Spaghetti:

roberto Spaghetti Food

½ box Spaghetti cooked al dente
While spaghetti is cooking mix the following together in a large shallow bowl
1 ½ cups Fresh mozzarella cheese (I prefer water packed if available) chopped into 1 inch cubes.
4 large tomatoes cut into 1 inch cubes
½ – ¾    cup olive oil
2 teaspoon Salt or to taste
Fresh basil torn or cut into rustic pieces

Strain spaghetti and mix into tomato mozzarella mixture serve immediately with hearty rustic bread, some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese for dipping. Throw together a simple spinach salad, great for outdoors dining.

Food, Roberto spaghetti perfect for outdoors dining

My brother and sister-in-law are pros at embracing dolce vita. They have created an amazing shelter, tucked into the trees at the edge of their yard, for gatherings that always seem to involve delicious food. A favorite shelter activity is grilling personal pizzas.

Super Easy Grilled Pizza:

pizza on the grill for outdoors dining

Pre-made Naan bread lightly coated with olive oil and grill until lightly browned (homemade or purchased pizza dough can also be used)

Toppings of your choice.  Pre-cut, sliced or shredded tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, peppers, pineapples, pepperoni, ham, beef, sauce, cheeses…

Let your guest top the grilled naan bread buffet style,  then place the pizza back on the grill to heat, blend the flavors and melt the cheese. So easy and soooo yummy!

food outdoors grilling pizza

So before summer fades, gather up some loved ones, grab some great food and take it outside for some outdoors dining!

Farm to Table

egg avocado cheese sandwich

organic, permaculture farm, produce market, ky

Summer time is the perfect time to embrace farm to table dinning. Blue Antler Studio sits on a rocky ridge in rural Kentucky, where farm to table is just simply the way of life, so farm fresh produce is easy to come by this time of year.  In fact I sometimes come home to find a sack or a basket of fresh produce, a gift from one neighbor or another’s garden.

basket of sweet potatoes

Out the road a little ways sits my dad’s treasure-stuffed, man-cave cabin…

a man-cave cabin

just inside the door there is a small refrigerator. If you look inside the frig you’ll usually find several dozen beautiful farm fresh eggs sitting beside a jar labeled with a hand-written note that reads, “egg money $2.00 a doz”. The eggs are not from my dad, as he and mom no longer keep chickens, but from Danny, a life-long neighbor, who keeps my family in lovely brown, pale-blue and cream-colored eggs all season.

colorful farm raised eggs

Much to my disappointment however, this year has been so hot the hens haven’t been laying well; but today I got word that finally there were eggs in the frig.  So I hurried out the road, threw open the frig door and to my delight discovered four dozen Danny eggs stacked beside the money jar; yipee!

egg jar

In true farm to table fashion, or Rocky Round tradition, this evening I enjoyed a delicious egg, cheese and avocado sandwich on a hardy, grilled bread; complimented by a glass of red wine sangria sweetened by in season, peaches and blackberries.

egg avocado cheese sandwich

LOL – I was so excited about this lovely meal, I had eaten half the sandwich before I thought to stop and take a picture.

                    .fresh sangria makings

Does life get any sweeter?


To learn more about farm to table living  check out –



sandwich using seasonal produce

fresh summer produce sandwichI am so enjoying the wonderful summer produce showing up on the grocery shelves, roadside stands and farmers markets this time of year. So I’ve decided to take a moment andfarmers market produce share one of my favorite, easy, delicious sandwiches; it’s healthy to boot!


Tomato, cucumber, pesto sandwich:

  • Hearty grain, artisanal bread (I always slice it myself)
  • Beautiful heirloom tomato (sliced)
  • Fresh spinach
  • Pesto (freshly made or store-bought)
  • Cream cheese
  • Cucumber (peeled and sliced)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt (I love, love, love coarsely ground, pink, Himalayan salt)

Heat olive oil in skillet and grill the sliced bread on both sides to a light brown,

Generously spread cream cheese on one slice of grilled bread and pesto on a second,

On one of the slices of bread, layer with the sliced tomato and cucumbers,

 Sprinkle with salt,

Add a layer of spinach,

Top with the second piece of bread,


Spring Time On The Ridge

rain bootsAs we slog our way through a soggy spring season on the Ridge, everyone anxiously anticipates the warm sunshine of summer.  Even as Blue Antler Studio is blanketed under a short lived, late season snow there are signs of warmer days to come. Cheery yellow daffodils wake from hibernation, push through the soil and burst into glorious bloom, while trees struggle to hold closed young buds seemingly as anxious to get on with summer as we are.

One rainy afternoon during Lisa’s visit we scraped from a mason jar the last bit of Danny’s honeycomb; the same Danny who provides us with beautiful rich eggs Kentucky honeyin subtle shades of blue, brown and cream and helps with the syrup making. Dripping the honey over Brie, Gouda and Gruyere we wiled away the hours around the large heart pine table discussing all manner of goings on along the Ridge; planting ideas for flower beds; the railing project for the new deck and the calving watch underway on the neighboring farm.

For three days and nights the concerned young farmer trudged over the hill into the holl’r to keep watch on the stubborn heifer which insisted on calving under a large cedar near our shared property line. After one of the late night labor checks my weary neighbor decided to climb the hill on the Blue Antler Side of the line to take an easier route home when he stumbled upon a group of deer bedded down in the woods just beyond our yard. Surprised, the frieghtened creatures made a nosiy scramble to their feet while loudly snorting out warnings. Equally startled the strapping young farmer jumped and, would later confess, maybe even screamed.  As the deer made a paniced dash across the yard  he suddenly became aware that his position could look suspiciously like he was lurking in the shadows. Sure that the ruckus would  draw attention and perhaps some buckshot, he made his own hasty retreat.  With his heart still racing and nerves jittery he stumbled back through the dark woods toward home. 

The next morning, after a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, biscuits and maple syrup I got the happy news that the heifer had finally given birth to a healthy calf;  as well as a humorous thank you from  the farmer for not filling his tired, startled backside with buckshot.

********A classic Ridge recipe********

colorful farm raised eggsJeff’s Scrambled Eggs: You’ll need a good iron skillet, 3 or 4 farm fresh eggs for each person you’re feeding (if you’re lucky you may have a Danny near you) and  “way too much” butter (about 1 tlb – per egg) and a “little” milk  (1/8 c – per 3 or 4 eggs) – note –  3 or 4 eggs would likly feed 2 or 3 regular people , Jeff’s just a harty eater :)

Begin by slowly melting the butter in your iron skillet over low heat, don’t let it brown.  Remove the skillet from heat and break the eggs right into the skillet along with the melted butter,” if you get in a little egg shell just scoop it out”. Add the milk, sprinkle with a little salt (to taste).  Then using your spatula gently mix it all together. It’s OK, even good, if the whites don’t get completely incorporated.  Return the skillet to the heat and watch the eggs constantly, “sort-a roll” them over,  (folding) gently from time to time until they’re done.  Jeff cautions not to work with them to much or they wont be light and fluffy. Yummy!