Saturday, March 31, 2012

Greek Bean Soup and White Milk Bread

I can't believe we are done cooking Tessa Kiros' recipes over at I Heart Cooking Clubs this week!  When we started with Tessa, I honestly hadn't even heard of her, so checked out two of her books from the library -- Apples for Jam and Falling Cloudberries, the only two of her books available in our state library database!  As soon as those were returned I knew I would enjoy her books so bought them all over the past six months. I think my favorite would have to be Food From Many Greek Kitchens since I've always loved Greek food and didn't know too much about it. I also loved Twelve and Apples for Jam, although all her books are gorgeous.

This simple recipe for White Milk Bread (or rolls) is from Apples for Jam...

White Milk Bread

1 cup warm (comfortable to your fingers) milk
One 1/4 ounce package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
3 and 2/3 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Put the milk, yeast, and honey in a small bowl and stir until the honey melts. Leave it for about 10 minutes, or until it begins to froth a bit. Put the flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a larger bowl. Add the yeast mixture, the egg, and butter, and mix through well. Knead 10 minutes or so and, if it seems sticky, just hold the bowl firmly and move the dough around with your hand, rather than adding more flour. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave in a warm, draft free place to rise for 1 and 1 1/2 to 2 hours until it has puffed up well.

Lightly grease a 12 by 4 inch loaf pan and dust it with flour. Punch down the dough to flatten it and shape it into a rough loaf of a size to fit the pan. Cover with a cloth and leave in the warm place for another 45 to 60 minutes, or until it puffs right up in the pan. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375.

Put the pan in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is firm and crusty and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from oven, knock the loaf out of the pan, and cool on a rack in a fly-free zone. This is best sliced warm and spread with butter, but you can keep the loaf for a few days in an airtight container (not a plastic bag) for excellent toast.  Makes one large loaf or about 18 small rolls.

Fasolada -- White Bean Soup
Tessa Kiros -- Food From Many Greek Kitchens

1 pound 2 ounces dried butter (or cannellini, haricot, navy) beans -- I used navy
3 garlic cloves, 1 whole, 2 chopped
1 bay leaf
1 small celery rib
1/2 small onion -- I left this off and used a little onion powder
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled, cut into nice chunks
14 ounce can chopped tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper

Below is the fresh vegetable topping which I skipped...
1 and 3/4 ounces red or green onions coarsely chopped
1/2 cup very coarsely chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
best-quality olive oil, for serving

Cover the beans with plenty of cold water and soak overnight. The next day, drain and rinse them, and put into a pot with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, skimming off and scum that has formed. Drain and rinse again. Wipe and scum that has collected on the pot, then return the beans to it. Add 8 cups of cold water, the whole garlic clove, bay leaf, celery rib, an the 1/2 onion. Simmer, partly covered, for about an hour, until tender. Larger beans will take longer and need more water. Add salt in the last 10 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat and saute the chopped onion until soft and golden. Add the chopped garlic and carrots and when the garlic smells good, add the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Swish about 1/2 cup of water in the tomato can and pour into the pot. Put the lit on and simmer for 10 minutes or so. When the beans are ready, pour them and their water in with the tomato sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes, adding a little water if it's too thick. Ladle into bowls and serve with red onion, parsley and celery leaves on top, a drizzle of oil and a grinding of pepper.


Both the bread and soup were delicious.  My whole family loved the bread and the leftovers made perfect French toast bread. I was a big fan of the soup. The rest of the family thought it was okay, they are their bowl for Saturday lunch but did not want seconds or left overs. Which means that I ate the left overs for about a week myself, but didn't mind one bit.  I had never heard of Fasolada before and when I was looking it up online it was neat to find that it is considered the national soup of Greece, and that it is available in cans there already made! It was nice to use some of my huge bean stockpile and I would make this again but probably a half batch since I was the only real fan.

Since this is the last Tessa Kiros I Heart Cooking Clubs week, I thought I'd share my personal favorite recipes...a lot of these weren't big hits with picky husband or the kids, but I loved them :) Here are my top five in no particular order...

1. Ricotta Gnocchi with Tomato Pesto -- This was my first Tessa recipe, so yummy!

2. Whole Wheat Apple and Pluot Pie -- This was a hit with the kids and I loved using apples we had just picked at the orchard.

3. Winter Squash Pizza Bake -- I was the only one who really liked this but it had such a neat flavor combo that really got me.

4. Greek Almond Halva -- this was another one that only I liked, but it was so yummy, I'm just waiting for an occasion to make another batch! 

5. Tuscan Baked Eggplant -- this was so yummy, I wanted to make batch after batch of this one, a must try for eggplant fans!

I had a great time cooking and baking along with the I Heart Cooking Clubs crew and can't wait to start on our next adventure cooking with Rick Bayless :)


Heather said...

Oh my gosh - YES! That's what I call a meal. Good soup and good bread...want! I thoroughly enjoyed Tessa, but Rick's my favorite - so I'm really looking forward to the next six months! :D

Jamie said...

This is just the type of soup I like to make and take to work for the whole week. And it gets better each day!
Looking forward to Rick Bayless!

Yvette MWCAdventure said...

Great pick for our final week with tessa. After reading your blog i even wished more for food from many greek kitchens, i like greek food too. I only bought twelve and apples for jam but i really love those books but i'd really like to have food from many greek kitchens:-)

luckybunny said...

One of my favorite meals, soup and bread, and this looks perfect and comforting. It's raining here, so this is just what I want right now! Looks lovely.

MM said...

Both look delicious, but that bread really calls to me. These past six months went quickly!

kitchen flavours said...

This is a lovely meal! And I am eyeing that bread! Looks wonderful, will be bookmarking this! Thank you for sharing, and even though I do not cook with Tessa's recipes each week, neverthless I have enjoyed what I have tried so far! Have a lovely day!

Deb in Hawaii said...

How did I not make this soup yet?1 It looks wonderful. You made some fabulous dishes with Tessa--I'll miss cooking along weekly with her too.

Hope you join in cooking with Rick Bayless. ;-)

Kim said...

I really enjoyed Tessa's Apples for Jam too. It was my favorite of her books. Your white bread looks delicious and I'm always happy to eat anything with beans:)

So fun cooking along with you. Hope to cook some Bayless with you!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Great last dinner with Tessa! I loved that bread too - and the soup is perfect with it!

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