Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cedar Gable Inn in Napa

Last year I was invited to teach a holiday cookie class at Cedar Gable Inn, a luxurious 10,000 square foot Napa Valley Bed and Breakfast mansion. I had one of the most memorable teaching experiences there and I wanted to share with you. Susie and Ken, the owners, made me feel welcome from the beginning and the students were very engaged and friendly. They seemed to know Susie from long time ago. I felt the same way, even if I had talked to her just twice before. If you are looking for a romantic retreat in Napa I highly recommend Cedar Gable Inn. It has a great location within walking distance to popular restaurants and shops in downtown Napa.  The inn is very nicely decorated in Victorian style. But what really make the Cedar Gables memorable is  the hospitality of the Ken and Susie.  They really do a great job of making you feel at home. I can’t say enough good things about them.

Those are some pictures of my experience teaching at Cedar Gable Inn

 Susie in the back
 Cranberry Biscotti

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Whole Wheat Olive Oil Bread

Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed the holidays and are ready to face 2011 with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. If you are like me, your resolutions for this year include eating healthier and exercising more. Eating healthy can be very easy when the food you eat is not only nutritious, but also tasty and flavorful. Just by including more whole grains in your diet and using extra virgin olive oil, instead of butter or margarine, you can achieve that. In this issue, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite healthy bread recipes: whole wheat olive oil bread. This bread is slightly more than 60% whole wheat and with the addition of olive oil it is so delightful that I can eat it every day with nothing else.

Ingredients  (1 oz = 0.2835 grams)
0.6 oz dried yeast
14 oz water
16 oz whole wheat flour (King Arthur)
10 oz bread flour (King Arthur)
2 oz honey
½ oz salt
2 oz olive oil

Warm 3 oz of water to 110 F. Dissolve the dry yeast into the water and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Add the rest of the water and the two flours and mix until blend the flour is well-moistened and the dough comes together.
Add the honey, salt and oil and continue kneading until the dough becomes elastic (approximately 12 minutes).
Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl
 cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rest until it doubles it size (approximately 2 hours) or overnight in the refrigerator
 Turn the dough out, this time on a lightly oiled surface. Divide in half. Lightly knead and form the dough into loaves (see below) and place on a floured baking sheet or into two oiled loaf pans.
Cover again and allow them to rise for an hour more. At this point you can preheat the oven to 400F.
When the loaves have risen, make incisions on top with a serrated knife and brush the top with cold water.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until the crust is nice brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 180F (I insert a kitchen thermometer in the middle of the bread).
I put a bowls with water in the rack below the bread to create steam (good for the crust).