Thursday, October 31, 2013

Falafel Recipe - healthy baked falafel

This baked falafel recipe is a tasty and nutritious way to enjoy chickpeas (garbanzo beans).

Falafel is traditionally fried, but a baked falafel can make a a tasty, healthy, and easy alternative to the tried and true oil-splatter-fest.

Baked Falafel Recipe Ingredients:
1 15oz can CHICKPEAS
1/4 cup CILANTRO
1/4 cup PARSLEY
1/4 cup ONION
2-3 cloves GARLIC
1 tsp CUMIN
1 Tbsp BREAD CRUMBS (or flour)
SALT, to taste
-- Optional garnishes --

Drain and rinse 15oz can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans). Combine in a food processor with all ingredients (except 1 Tbsp olive oil and bread crumbs). Mix roughly--pulse--DO NOT puree into a smooth consistency. Place mixture into a bowl and combine with dried bread crumbs (or substitute flour). Form into discs--I like to get 10 out of this recipe because they cook up well and fit nicely into a pita pocket--but make them as big as you like, and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
(Refrigerate 1-2 hours before cooking if you have the time--they'll bake better, maybe, but it's not the end of the world if you don't. I actually prefer putting them in the fridge for a bit, but sometimes I don't, and the difference is negligible.)
Place on a flat baking sheet and lightly drizzle or brush with olive oil.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes, then turn falafel and bake for 10 more minutes to brown each side (a total cooking time of 30 minutes).
Serve with hummus, yogurt, veggies, and pita slices--or stuff inside a pita to make a delicious falafel sandwich.
And that's it, man. Give this baked falafel recipe a try and let me know what you think and bon appetit!

And if you wanna make your own hummus try this Easy Hummus Recipe.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lasagna with Tofu Recipe

The only thing that sounds worse than a tofu lasagna recipe is a gluten-free tofu lasagna recipe; but it's actually pretty tasty, and still gluten-free.

Camera Girl whipped up this dish and it was damned tasty. I'm not ready to start driving the tofu train, but I am enjoying the ride.

Tofu lasagna Recipe Ingredients:
1/2 tsp RED PEPPER FLAKES (crushed)
1/2 large ONION (chopped)
3 cloves GARLIC (chopped)
1 CARROT (chopped well)
1 stalk CELERY (chopped well)
1/2 tsp BASIL
SALT & PEPPER, to taste
....or substitute 25 oz jar store-bought marinara sauce, but don't do that :^(

1 pkg gluten-free, rice LASAGNA NOODLES (you do not cook them prior to baking)
2 Tbsp extra-virgin OLIVE OIL
1/2 large ONION (chopped)
6 cloves GARLIC (minced)
16 ounce package EXTRA-FIRM, WATER-PACKED TOFU (not silken tofu)
3 cups fresh SPINACH (chopped)
1/2 cup PARMESAN CHEESE (shredded)
1/2 cup part-skim MOZZARELLA CHEESE (shredded)
2 Tbsp Kalamata OLIVES (finely chopped)
2 tsp dried OREGANO
1/2 tsp dried THYME
SALT & PEPPER, to taste

First thing, start making the sauce (don't buy pre-made sauce!--or do...maybe you're busy, I don't know).
Heat olive oil and red pepper in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute 2 to 4 minutes. Add Carrot and celery and continue sauteing.
Mix in the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes or longer, until flavors are blended, stirring routinely.

While sauce is simmering, heat oil in a large skillet and saute garlic and onion for lasagna filling. Add tofu and spinach to skillet and stir until spinach wilts and the mixture is heated through (2 to 3 minutes). Transfer skillet contents to a bowl and stir in parmesan, olives, seasonings, and 2/3 of the marinara sauce.
Spread half of the remaining sauce on bottom of 9 x 13 baking pan. Place a layer of lasagna noodles over sauce--if using the gluten-free rice lasagna, the noodles will not have to be cooked before using. Spread half of the tofu mixture over noodles. Repeat layers of noodle and tofu mixture. Top with remaining marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.
Cover dish and bake in a 350 degree F oven for about an hour.
Remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes.
Then eat, man.
Give this tofu lasagna recipe a try and let me know what you think, and bon appetit!

Want another great gluten-free recipe? Try a Tangy BBQ Beans Recipe for ultimate bean pleasure.
bbq beans

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Perfect Pork Loin Chop Recipe

Cook a delicious, juicy pork loin chop recipe perfect every time.

Use a lot of onion and garlic!--especially garlic (those two ingredients are actually good for you, so why not use a lot?). Also, this dish will go well with whatever beer is on sale.

Pork Loin Chop Recipe Ingredients:
1 lg ONION (sliced)
6-8 cloves GARLIC (rough chopped)
SALT and PEPPER, to taste

Season both sides of chop before cooking--and don't be timid with the seasoning--it'll make all the difference! I often use just salt and pepper (black pepper AND cayenne), but experiment with your favorite seasonings, too--every now and then I'll season up chops with ground ginger and saute them with onion and sliced, fresh ginger--it's pretty damn good.
Heat olive oil in a skillet (skillet should be suitable for stovetop and oven)--not smoking hot, but pretty damn hot--we want to sear the pork and seal in the flavor.
Place chops in the skillet; they should sizzle when they hit the pan. Add fresh rosemary sprigs. Cook chops 3-4 minutes on one side and then turn. This is for chops approx. 1" thick--adjust cooking times according to the size of the chop you use. Move chops in pan to mix with oil and rosemary. Add sliced onion and garlic. Cook chop 3-4 minutes on second side, then remove skillet from stovetop and slide skillet into oven preheated to 350 degrees F. Cook another 4-5 minutes and return to stovetop. Remove chops from skillet and set aside to rest.
Continue cooking onion and garlic with rosemary on medium/low heat to desired doneness.
Top chops with onion and garlic and serve.
That's it...super easy and super flavorful--it's a great way to cook up a juicy chop without drying it out, so give this recipe a go and let me know what you think, and bob appetit!

And if you're still in a carnivorous mood, give this Crispy, Baked Chicken Recipe a try.
baked curry chicken

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sweet Potato w/ Chard Hash Recipe

Chard is similar to beet greens, delicious and nutritious and a lot better for your self-esteem than pie...maybe; so give this chard recipe a try and start feeling better than pie...maybe.

Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and antioxidants and a lot easier on your blood sugar than white potatoes (which is weird since they're called "sweet" potatoes). That's two good reasons to try this dish, plus it's yummy.

Chard Recipe w/ sweet Potato Ingredients:
1 15 oz can CHICKPEAS, drained (or 1½ cups cooked)
4 cups CHARD (w/ spinach mixed, if desired)
1 15 oz can BROTH
1 15 oz can DICED TOMATOES
1 large ONION (chopped)
6 GARLIC cloves (chopped fine)
1 inch fresh GINGER (minced)
1 tsp ground CUMIN
1 Tbsp ground CORIANDER
1 tsp ground TURMERIC
1/2 tsp ground CINNAMON
1/2 tsp SALT
1 tsp ground BLACK PEPPER
-- Optional Accompaniments --

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or pot. Saute the onion for a few minutes minutes then add garlic, ginger, and stalk (if using chard), and saute a few minutes more until onions soften.
Stir in paprika, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, salt, and black pepper.
Add diced tomatoes and broth.
Bring to a boil, then add sweet potatoes and chickpeas. Simmer 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Stir in roughly chopped chard leaves for last 10 minutes (if using spinach, add leaves last 2 minutes).
Serve over couscous, quinoa, or all on its lonesome with a garnish of cucumber, chopped cilantro, and lemon zest.
Give this sweet potato chard recipe a try and let me know what you think, and bon appetit!

And if you want to try another green, what about Beet Greens?
beet greens saute

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Scone Recipe -Maple Pecan!

This is a delicious pecan maple scone recipe, but not a good idea for folks with sugar/carb addictions and questionable degrees of willpower...which is pretty much everyone.

The only reason I'm even putting this up is because The Devil assured me that if I did I would one day win an Oscar and live in a luxury beach house in Malibu (which IS going to happen 'cause I was smart enough to get the deal in writing).

Scone Recipe Ingredients:
2 cups FLOUR
1/2 cup SUGAR
1/2 tsp SALT
1/2 cup PECANS (chopped)
1/4 cup RAISINS

splash of WATER

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut butter into flour mixture (freezing the butter and grating it into the mix is an easy trick to get this done). Add pecans and raisins into the mix.
In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, vanilla, and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Whisk together until smooth.
Pour the sour cream mixture into the flour mix and gently turn for a few minutes until the flour begins to form into clumps. Most of the loose flour will adhere into these clumps, but it's okay if all of it doesn't.
On a sheet of parchment paper or floured surface, pour the contents of the bowl. Press the clumps together into a mound--it'll want to brake apart somewhat, but that's cool, relax. Flatten the mix into a circular cookie shape about 1 inch thick and cut like a pizza into 8 slices. Arrange onto a flat baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes, until baked through and golden brown.
While scones cool, add powdered sugar into a small bowl. Add 1-2 Tbsp of warm tap water--add water slowly and whisk into a syrup; be conservative, it's easy to add too much water. Then whisk 2 Tbsp of maple syrup into the powdered sugar syrup. Why? I don't know, just crazy.
Drizzle the syrup glaze over the scones and allow the icing to harden (approx 10-15 min).
And there you go...a very sweet and healthy-free combo of questionable ingredients combined to put on the pounds and take potentially vibtrant years off of the back-end of your life.
But this scone recipe is delicious.
Enjoy, if possible.
I usually really like the first two, and then I begin to question my motivations.

For a less decadent, less lethal treat, try a Big Biscotti.
almond biscotti

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Easy Baked Jalapeno Poppers Recipe

Baked jalapeno poppers are quick and easy and cheesy. And bread crumby. And can be garlicky, too, if you like.

Thanks for watching, give it a go, and let me know what you think.

Baked Jalapeno Poppers Ingredients:
6 large JALAPENO peppers
1 cup shredded CHEESE
4-5 cloves GARLIC (finely chopped)
about 1/4 cup CILANTRO (chopped)
1 tsp smoked PAPRIKA
SALT and PEPPER, to taste
(dill, cumin, cayenne, and cajun mix
go well in poppers--experiment
with your favorite seasonongs)

Set cream cheese out from fridge for at least 1/2 hour to allow time to soften.
Cut stems from peppers, but not enough to open the back of the pepper entirely, this shallow cut will leave enough of the top of the pepper in place to form a "wall" that will hold the cheese as it bakes. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and ribs; your jalepeno should look like a little rowboat (without oars or lifejacket).
In a bowl, throughly mix cream cheese, shredded cheese, cilantro, and seasonings together.
Spoon cheese mixture into pepper boats. Fill each pepper entirely, but do not overfill--just to the top of each pepper--mounded cheese will only make a mess and disrupt the optimal cheese to pepper ratio.
In a skillet, on medium heat, melt 2-3 Tbsp butter. Add garlic and stir 1 minute. Turn off heat and add bread crumbs. Stir until butter is absorbed and garlic is mixed well with bread crumbs. Or, if you don't want to fool with garlic cloves--just substitute garlic powder.
Press peppers cheese side down into the crumb mixture, then turn over and mound extra crumb topping on the peppers.
Place peppers on a baking sheet and cook 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees F.
When the crumb topping is baked golden, remove and allow peppers to rest 5 minutes.
After that, you can do whatever your heart desires.
Give this baked jalapeno poppers recipe a try and let me know what you think, and bon appetit!

And if you wanna saute some poppers on the stove top with onions, try this Stove Top Poppers Recipe.
kick ass jalapeno poppers

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Vegetarian Chili Recipe that EVERYONE Will Love

A vegetarian chili recipe for folks who don't like vegetarian chili!

It's pretty damn tasty, and easy to make, too; once you've chopped up the ingredients, you're 90% done. Or at least 85% done. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Vegetarian Chili Recipe Ingredients:
2 15 oz cans CHICK PEAS
2 15 oz cans KIDNEY BEANS
2 BELL PEPPERS (chopped)
1 ONION (chopped)
1 HOT PEPPER (diced)
6 cloves GARLIC (finely chopped)
2 SQUASH (cut into large pieces)
1 ZUCHINNI (cut into large pieces)
2 lg or 4 sm TOMATOES (chopped)
1/2 cup CILANTRO (chopped)
1 heaping Tbsp OREGANO
1 Tbsp CUMIN
SALT and PEPPER, to taste
WATER as needed...add slowly

Heat olive oil in large pot on medium high heat. Add onions, hot pepper, and garlic and saute 4-5 minutes. Add bell peppers and continue sauteing. Add chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper. Mix ingredients well. Add beans and continue cooking. Add zuchinni and squash and oregano. Continue cooking 2-3 minutes and then add fresh tomatoes. Add canned crushed tomatoes. Slowly add water--not too much--as the vegetables will begin to release water as they cook. Cover and bring pot to a boil. Reduce heat and stir in the cilantro. Cover and allow to simmer approx. 45 minutes.
That's it man. If you can make it a day ahead, then you're lucky--chili aways taste best on the day after! But it's good right away, too. Top with shredded cheese, or a dollop of sourcream, or a handful of corn chips--or all three--it's gonna be delicioso!
Give this vegetarian chili recipe a try and I bet you're gonna love it--and it's a healthy chili choice, too.
Bon appetit!

For more vegetarian comfort food, try this Gluten-Free Tofu Lasagna.
gluten free tofu lasagna

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Roasted Veggie French Fries w/ Maple and Mustard

French fries without the guilt of eating French fries? Try this roasted vegetable fries recipe.

Sweet potatoes, parsnips, and carrots make delicious fries, especially with a little mustard and maple syrup thrown into the mix. Give this roasted root vegetable dish a try, and for more video recipes check out the Chef Buck Playlist:
Roasted Vegetable Fries Ingredients:
4 Tbsp OLIVE OIL (extra virgin)
SALT and PEPPER, to taste
 2 med-sized SWEET POTATOES (steak fry-sized pieces)
4 PARSNIPS (peeled, steak fry-sized pieces)
4 CARROTS (steak fry-sized pieces)
1 ONION (sliced)
GARLIC cloves (sliced in halves or whole)

 Preheat oven to 425. When slicing the root veggies, leave on the skins if desired.  The skins will taste great roasted and you'll have added nutrition as well.  Place prepared veggies in bowl large enough to mix. In a small bowl, mix together syrup, mustard, oil, salt & pepper. Toss chopped veggies with syrup mixture, coating well. Spread sliced vegetables out in a single layer onto a cookie sheet--use two sheets if necessary; make sure the veggies are not piled up or jammed together. allow the veggies to roast, turning occasionally, until brown and cooked through [approx. 25 minutes, it will depend on volume and size of veggies].
The longer you cook them, the crispier they'll get.
Give this roasted vegetable fries recipe a try and let me know what you think, and bon appetit!

 And for another tasty veggie side, try this Easy Okra Recipe. tomato okra

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cha Lua -Let's Try Vietnamese Ham

Cha Lua, or Vietnamese ham, is a staple of the Vietnamese diet and often found on the table during Tét--the celebration of the New Year. During a recent trip down to Little Saigon (on a bánh mi run), we randomly picked up a cha lua and brought it home to give it a try. It was pretty bland right out of the banana leaves, with a rubbery consistency--but these characteristics make it a pretty versatile ingredient in many dishes--much the same as tofu, but a meat version. I ended up slicing and marinating the ham in chili and soy sauce with curry and garlic powder and frying up the slices to make an awesome bánh mi burger--which was delicious; I will definitely be making again in the near future. Take a look at an exceptionally delicious Bánh Mì Hamburger I made using cha lua and ground beef. Take a look at a traditional Bánh Mì Sandwich. bahn mi

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Acorn Squash Recipe :Fancy Edition

Acorn Squash is easy to cook, yummy as hell, and looks pretty fancy-pants when you stuff it full of delectable goodies.

Try out the recipe below and let me know what you think. Hope you like it!

2 ACORN SQUASH (halved, seeds removed)
3 cloves GARLIC (minced)
1/2 inch fresh GINGER (minced)
1 CARROT (peeled and chopped)
1 cup GARBANZO BEANS (drained)
1/3 cup RAISINS (or dried currants)
1 tsp ground CUMIN
1/2 tsp ground CINNAMON
[1/4 tsp ground GINGER, if didn't use fresh]
SALT and freshly GROUND PEPPER, to taste
1 cup BROTH
3/4 cup instant COUSCOUS
1/2 cup SLIVERED ALMONDS (toasted)
2-3 GREEN ONIONS (white and green parts, chopped)
1/2 golden delicious APPLE (cored and chopped)

Preheat the oven to 400.
Toast the almonds.
Place the squash halves, cut side down, on a shallow pan with ¼ inch of water. Roast until the squash is easily pierced with a fork, about 30 - 40 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and carrots, and cook 5 minutes. Mix in the garbanzo beans and raisins. Season with cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper, and continue stirring for another minute.
Add broth, simmer 5 minutes.
Stir in couscous, cover pot, and turn off heat. Allow couscous to absorb liquid for 5 minutes.
Stir in the almonds, green onions, and apple. Spoon the filling into the roasted squash, mounding generously and serve.
You can freeze leftovers (or make extras). Freeze by mashing the squash on the bottom of the container then adding the couscous mixture on top.
And that's, that.
Bon Appétit!

Also, try this TERRIFIC SPAGHETTI SQUASH RECIPE! mediterrean spaghetti squash

Friday, October 11, 2013

Daikon Salad Recipe

Daikon has a mild flavor and adds great texture and crunch to a salad. This is a crisp, light recipe with lots of natural flavor. Print the complete recipe at


Give this daikon salad recipe a go and let me know what you think.

1 DAIKON RADISH (matchstick cuts, about 2 cups)
1 large CARROT (shredded)
3 salad CUCUMBERS (sliced)
1/2 SMALL CABBAGE (chopped)
1/2 cup rice wine VINEGAR
1/2 cup WATER
2-3 Tbsp SUGAR
3 GREEN ONIONS (chopped)
1 inch GINGER (finely chopped)
1/4 cup CILANTRO (chopped)
1 hot PEPPER (jalapeno, diced)
1/2 cup SLICED ALMONDS (toasted)
1 package RAMEN NOODLES (toasted)
SALT and PEPPER, to taste

 Chop vegetables and place in 1 gallon size ziplock (except cilantro). Mix water, vinegar, sugar, and salt and pour over chopped veggies in ziplock. Seal and shake and then place in fridge, occasionally turning.
On a baking sheet, spread out almond slices and broken ramen. Bake at 350 degrees F until toasted–watch carefully to avoid burning. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Remove ziplock from fridge and place vegetables in bowl. Toss with toasted nuts, ramen, and cilantro.

Want another healthy salad idea?
Try this Kale and Beet Superfood Salad Recipekale beet salad

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Chinese Eggplant -- Healthy, Low-fat Recipe

This Chinese eggplant recipe is awesome because it's purple--not purple like a black eye--but purple like Barney the Dinosaur, which is nice.

Choose eggplants that are firm and have a glossy skin. The skin is thin and tasty, and Chinese eggplants have smaller seeds than the black, bowling ball eggplant you might be used to preparing. They're a great ingredient for a stir-fry and can stand in for meat without being as awful as tofu. So give 'em a try.

3-4 Tbsp OLIVE OIL
5 cloves GARLIC (finely chopped)
1 inch GINGER (thinly sliced)
1 Tbsp ground CORIANDER
1 bunch GREEN ONIONS (chopped)
1 JALEPENO or other hot pepper (sliced)
SALT to taste
-- optional garnishes --

Heat olive oil on medium high heat. When oil is hot, add garlic and ginger. Add mustard seeds and coriander powder and sauté 2 minutes. Add chopped green onion bottoms and reserve the chopped green onion tops for later. Add hot pepper and continue sautéing for a couple minutes. Add sliced eggplant (with skin). Choose eggplants that are firm, glossy skinned, and heavy for their size. Slice into rounds no more than 1/4 inch thick. Add salt and stir eggplant. Stir for a few minutes. Add water as needed, but not too much, the eggplant will release water as it cooks. Reduce heat, cover and cook 10-12 minutes, stiring as needed. The eggplant will be ready when it is soft, but not falling apart. Mix in green onion tops and remove from heat. Add soy sauce or chili garlic sauce if desired. Serve as a main dish over pasta or rice (or on it's own as a side dish).
Give this Chinese eggplant recipe a try and let me know what you think, and bon appétit!

Want to try a decadent version of Chinese Eggplant?
Try Chinese Eggplant w/ General Tso's Sauce.

Chinese Eggplant Recipe with Sweet Sauce Chinese Eggplant Recipe with Sweet Sauce

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bánh Mì --A Vietnamese Sandwich

What is in a Bánh mì sandwich? Lets take one apart and see what we got.

Best Bánh mì  so far--thanks to eastsidegirl1977 for the great Seattle recommendation. I've been eating a lot of these sandwiches crammed with spicy, fresh ingredients--maybe too many sandwiches--but it's too great a taste and value to pass up.

Bánh mì are a fusion of French and Vietnamese culture. Spicy peppers and daikon mix with cooling carrot and cucumber to create a a real treat for your tongue, and a little BBQ pork added makes it irresistible; wrap it up in a crunchy French baguette and it's heaven.

Basic Bánh mì Ingredients:
Sliced Pork
Pickled Daikon
Pickled Carrots
Hot Pepper
Black Pepper
Salt (if desired)

What is Bánh tét? Take a look at this Vietnamese rice cake.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bánh Tét -- Vietnamese Rice Cake

What is Bánh Tét?

Banh tet is a rice cake, and a staple dish served to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Vietnam. It's a very popular dish in Vietnamese culture, and if you live near a Vietnamese market or deli, you'll probably be able to give it a try--and I recommend you do. It's pretty tasty, kind of addictive, and a bargain dish in the International District in Seattle. I've eaten several bánh tét since shooting this video, and I see many more in my future.

Making bánh tét often begins the day before Tét. The ingredients are prepared then cooked for at least six hours in a pot of boiling water. Glutinous rice, mung bean paste, and cooked pork fat are the main ingredients. The ingredients are layered on top of banana leaves and then wrapped tightly together with string. Bánh tét are generally wrapped several times with a string before boiling in a large pot of water to prevent the banana leaf from coming apart during cooking. The cake is savory, but sometimes sweetened, and tastes great with chili sauce.

What is a bánh mi sandwich? Click to see.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Parmesan Pesto Bread Recipe with Mama Redbuck

Mama Redbuck bakes up a delicious Parmesan Pesto Bread Recipe.

Thanks for watching!

5 ½ cups unbleached BREAD FLOUR
2 cups WARM WATER (approx. 130 degrees F)
2 Tbsp SUGAR
PESTO (approx. 1 cup divided between loaves)
1 cup PARMESAN CHEESE (shredded and divided)
a sprinkle of CORN MEAL
(recipe makes 2 loaves)
Sift 5 ½ cups of unbleached bread flour. Bread flour has a higher gluten count than all-purpose flour; gluten holds in the gases released by the yeast, enabling the bread to rise.
In a bowl, add 2 cups of warm water (approx 130 degrees F). Add 2 Tbsp olive oil, sugar, milk powder, salt, and yeast. Mix well.
1 cup at a time, add the sifted flour into the bowl until the dough thickens. Do not add all of the dough into the bowl. As soon as the dough in the bowl reaches a density forming a sticky ball, remove dough from the bowl and place onto a surface coated with flour. Continue adding the sifted flour to the ball, turning and folding the flour into the dough ball. Continue this kneading process for 8-10 minutes, adding dough as needed (the entire 5 ½ cups may not be needed). Kneading transforms the dough into a more elastic consistency, enabling the gluten in the dough to better trap the gases from the yeast.
After kneading, place the dough into a bowl coated with 1 Tbsp of olive oil. The bowl should be at least twice the size of the dough ball. Cover bowl and set aside for 45-60 minutes to allow the dough to rise. The dough will expand to approx. double in size.
When dough has risen, push a floured fist into the top of the dough—this will release the gas. Remove dough from bowl and divide into equal halves (equal halves will cook equally in the oven).
With a rolling pin, spread one of the dough halves into a square approx. 9 X 14 inches. Spread ½ cup of prepared pesto evenly over the flattened dough. Sprinkle top with ½ cup shredded, parmesan cheese. Roll up the dough and toppings into a 14 inch "burrito" shape, folding and pinching the ends shut. With a sharp knife, cut lengthwise down the center of the rolled bread, creating halves. Cut gingerly, being mindful not crush the layers of dough, and leave one of the very ends attached so as to not separate the halves completely. Fold the bread halves into a braid. Keep the cut sides of dough facing upward.
Coat a loaf pan with olive oil and sprinkle the bottom of the pan with a light dusting of corn meal; this will help keep the bread from sticking to the bottom of the pan as it bakes. Transfer braided bread "face-up" into pan and cover.
Repeat this processes with the other dough half and then set the 2 loaf pans aside for 1 hour to allow them to continue to rise.
After the loaves have risen, place them in an oven pre-heated to 375 degrees F and bake approx. 35-40 minutes.
Remove bread from oven. Parmesan cheese and pesto may be melted to the inside of the pan and you may need to cut around the edges of the pan with a knife. Remove loaves and place on a cooling rack, but don't let the bread cool for too long before cutting off a slice—it's delicious warm.
Give this Parmesan Pesto Bread Recipe a try and let me know what you think, and bon appétit.