Friday, 20 February 2015

Olive Bread + Sweet Potato/Leek Casserole

Long time no see!

The past few days have been glorious. After several weeks of intense studying, I am rewarded with a few days off! I had missed you, kitchen.

This olive and sunflower seed bread is my best one to date. Wholesome, crispy on the outside and fluffy inside. For a plain version, you could omit the olives but you might have to add some water as the olives add moisture to the dough. Check it out!

Slathered in butter right out of the oven... 

Olive and Sunflower Seed Bread:

- 1 cup warm water
- 1 Tbsp cane sugar
- 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 Tbsp vital wheat gluten (optional, but recommended!)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 Tbsp plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- an egg, lightly beaten, for brushing (optional)

In a small bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water and add yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes, or until the mixture becomes foamy - that's how you know your yeast works.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat gluten and salt. Pour the yeast mixture on top and add the olive oil, as well as the yogurt. Mix until the dough starts to come together, then add olives and sunflower seeds and mix until barely incorporated. Turn the dough over onto a clean surface and knead until smooth - about 10 minutes.
Let the dough rest in an oiled bowl, covered with a kitchen towel in a warm spot, for about 2 hours - it will have doubled in size.
Lightly grease a loaf pan. Punch down the dough and place into prepared loaf pan, folding the sides underneath and keeping the top smooth. Let it rise, loosely covered, for another 40 minutes. During this second rise, preheat oven to 425F.
Once the dough has nicely risen above the loaf pan, lightly brush the top with the egg.
Bake at 425F for 10 minutes, then, without opening the oven door, turn the temperature down to 350F and bake for an additional 18-20 minutes.

Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.


Did I ever mention how much I love sweet potatoes (and chocolate, but that has nothing to do with the following recipe)? I have made a few variations of this sweet potato and leek casserole in the past, but never bothered writing down the recipe. I am glad I did this time, because it turned out delicious!

Ready to eat

Mmmmm, creamy leeks...

Sweet Potato and Leek Casserole:

- 1 Tbsp butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch leeks (3), washed and thinly sliced, tough green part removed
- coarse sea salt + freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup cream (half and half or heavy)
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 4 small sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
- 1/4 cup veggie broth
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oben to 425F and lightly grease a casserole dish.
Melt the butter in a pan and sauté the leeks and garlic, seasoned with salt and pepper. When the leeks are soft (about 6-7 minutes), add the lemon juice, mustard, cream, thyme, nutmeg and rosemary. Cook for a few more minutes and remove from heat.
Arrange a layer of sweet potato on the bottom of the casserole dish, overlapping slightly.
Spread 1/2 of the leek mixture on top. Repeat with another layer of sweet potato (they can be more spaced out), then add the rest of the leek mixture and one last layer of sweet potato.
Pour the veggie broth over top.
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, with a pinch of coarse sea salt and some black pepper for good measure. Sprinkle on top of the casserole.
Bake, covered with foil, for about 35 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. You can broil for a couple of minutes to give it a lovely golden colour.
Let sit for 10 minutes before digging in and enjoy!

Have a wonderful week-end!

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