Friday, February 17, 2012

herbed baguette appetizer

Yummy note: This Christmas, I received a "fun" gift, we shall say.. well, it was more of a challenge... 




My husband's brother and wife had our name in the gift exchange and decided to have some fun with us. They knew I had just gotten a new Kitchen Aid mixer for Christmas, (I know, yeah! finally! I've been wanting one for several years now and I finally got one, thanks to some awesome after Thanksgiving deals.) So Tony and Michelle decided to present us with a cooking challenge gift to use and inside this gift, it included various things that I needed to incorporate to make something delicious. Oh, and I couldn't do any crazy internet searching or googling all of the ingredients in one search. Plus, if I gave up and couldn't find anything and decided to open their findings in the sealed envelope, I'd have to give in to some crazy demands, like wearing a Bears' football shirt, so yeah, uh, hmh, no thanks, I'll start getting creative here. lol. I think my husband thanks me to, as he would have had to wear a Packers' shirt as well. And just to be straight, I like the Green Bay Packers, and he likes the Chicago Bears, so it is a mix of fun in our house during football season. 


The secret ingredient gift box below included:
Natural Sea Salt - Rubbed Sage - Blackberry Preserves - Kitchen Aid Mixer Bowl Lids 


So in essence of one of my other initiatives this year for my blog, I wanted to start cooking and baking more out of real books, cookbooks, or magazines. So I went straight for the heart of the beast, and started looking into my Kitchen Aid Mixer manual book that I just got. 
Initially, before I went looking into my books, I was thinking of doing a stuffed chicken breast type of dish, and stuffing the chicken breast with a cream cheese or cheese and herb mixture and making a glaze or a finishing sauce to tie it all together. But then when I saw this baguette recipe, I knew I could pull it all together and make a yummy little appetizer or well, eat enough of them and it becomes a main dish ;)  which I think we ended up doing, as the flavors were nice together. So here's my results for the Great Cooking Challenge of Christmas 2011-- it's an herbed baguette with chicken topped with a blackberry glaze. 


Herbed Baguette Appetizer 

Original baguette recipe from my KitchenAid mixer manual page 71. http://www.kitchenaid.ca/assets/pdfs/literature/Use%20and%20Care%20Guide%20-%209708307.pdf

Ingredients: 
1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp equivalent)
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)
3 1/4 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp rubbed sage
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup cold water
1 egg
1 tsp water

Additional ingredients: 
couple of cooked chicken breasts
1 jar of blackberry preserves

Directions: 
Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/4 cup of the water in a small bowl. Place 3 1/4 cups flour, along with the herbs and salt, into a bowl. I mixed the dry ingredients using my dough hook in my mixer, roughly about 30 seconds to begin incorporating ingredients. Slowly add the bubbly yeast mixture and additional 3/4 cup of cold water, mixing about 30 seconds. Once dough starts to become sticky, add remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Continue to mix/knead in the mixer on low speed for about 3 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in greased bowl, and cover. I used my new handy dandy lids for this :) Let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.


Next, on a lightly floured surface, punch dough down several times to remove air bubbles, and divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a 12" long loaf, and place on a greased baking sheet. With sharp knife, make 3 to 4 shallow diagonal slices in top of dough. Beat egg and 1 teaspoon water together with a fork. Brush each baguette with egg mixture. Reserve any leftover egg mixture for later. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in warm place, free from draft, for about another 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled again.


When the dough is ready, brush top of each baguette again with the leftover egg mixture.  Bake the two loaves in a preheated 450 degree oven for about 15-18 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove from pan and cool on wire racks.

To assemble the appetizer, prepare some cooked lightly seasoned chicken breasts and slice thinly. Heat and reduce down some (maybe half of the jar) of the blackberry preserves to make a nice smooth flavorful glaze. I added just a small amount of water, maybe a teaspoon to the preserves to get it more of the consistency i wanted, but by just heating the preserves up, it breaks down nicely to a glaze. Assemble by cutting your herbed baguette in thin slices, and top with a slice of the chicken breast. Finish with a drizzle of your blackberry glaze and enjoy.


The kids enjoyed the baguettes with the glaze alot, while I devoured the appetizers, which later I think my husband and I turned them into mini sandwiches and topped the chicken and glaze with another slice of baguette. Delicious. Thank you Tony and Michelle for not making Drew and I wear any crazy football attire during this challenge and for pushing my culinary experiences! 
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