Friday, December 31, 2010

Comfort Mashed Potatoes

I have a confession to make.  Here goes... I LOVE MASHED POTATOES!  Ok, now that I have that off of my chest I have another confession.  The most depressing part of my Christmas in Minnesota was that there was no mashed potatoes at the big familypalooza.  It felt so wrong.  I had been expecting to eat my weight in potatoes that night.  This is the first year that this sin has been committed, so the next time I take part in this mass family gathering I will be taking care of the potatoes, assuming that no one else has spoken for them.  Anyway, back to my baked potato obsession. 

When I was a kid mashed potatoes were my favorite thing ever.  To be specific, I liked them as a dipping sauce if you will for baby dill pickles.  Gross?  Maybe.  Instant mashed potatoes were probably the first thing that I learned how to master.  I could eat a whole bowl of mashed potatoes smothered in butter for dinner, and in fact that is what I am doing right now (gravy instead of butter though).  I'm posting this recipe not because it is mind-blowing or original (but it's pretty healthy considering the other recipes that are out there), but mainly so that I have a record of it for myself for when I'm craving it in the future.  Which will be all of the time.  No joke.  Poor Al, he doesn't like mashed potatoes.  Hehe.  Rating 7/10.

  • 4 russet potatoes- peeled and chopped into about 4 chunks (cut them widthwise not lengthwise, so that the slices are circles, not wedges)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp room temperature butter
  • 1/2 cup hot milk (I used skim)
  • pepper to taste
Peel and slice potatoes.  Place them in a large pot with enough water to cover them completely.
Put in 1/4 tsp of the salt and bring the potatoes to a boil.
Once the water is boiling bring the temperature down to medium, cover the pot, and simmer for 15 minutes (or until the potatoes are soft enough to be pierce by a fork).
Drain the potatoes and take this time to microwave the milk.
I used a hand blender to mash the potatoes, but use any method (NOT THE FOOD PROCESSOR) that you like to mash the taters.  Mix in the butter, remaining 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper to taste.


I decided that having my wisdom teeth removed was the perfect incentive to make my own applesauce.  I finally got around to it today since I am awfully tired of eating processed food.  I also threw in some cranberries that have been sitting idle in my freezer for the past two months.  However, in the end I was kind of disappointed.  The good news is that this cranapplesauce is absolutely amazing.  The bad news is that I definitely forgot just how prevalent cranberry seeds are.  The thing about getting your wisdom teeth removed is that you can't let anything get lodged back in the holes, or else you could get an infection or develop a dry socket.  Yikes!  I ended up licking around the seeds on the ladle that I was using, num num!  I'm freezing the rest for a happier time in my life when I don't have huge holes preventing me from eating/cooking delicious things.  In the meantime I'll be living on Special K french vanilla protein shakes, which are pretty good but full of nasty ingredients. Rating 7/10.

Update- wisdom teeth holes have finally closed.  I thawed out the applesauce, and instantly devoured it.  Rating boosted to 8/10!

2 cups of cranberries- frozen or fresh
10 apples (a combo of apple varieties is best)- skinned and sliced
1 lemon- juiced
1/8 cup of brown sugar (or more to taste)
1 1/2 tbsp turbinado sugar (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I used Tung Hing from China- nom nom)

Measure out the cranberries and place them in a 4 qt or larger pot or dutch oven.
Cover the cranberries with enough water so that they are completely submerged.
Boil the cranberries for 10 minutes.  I used this time to prepare my apples.
Combine the apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, turbinado sugar, and cinnamon in with the cranberries.
Stir the ingredients together and cook on medium for about 15 minutes- or until the apples have softened.
Mash with a potato masher, blend in a stand mixer, or process (depending on how you like your applesauce).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chicken Masala

I went to Costco earlier this week and ended up buying a HUMONGOUS pack of spinach.  I hate wasting food, so I've been trying to figure out discreet ways of sneaking it into meals.  I actually made this meal tonight solely for the purpose of using spinach.  It was a nice simple dish, and the spinach tasted great in it. Rating 6/10.
(I went semi-veggie and didn't eat any of meat since I used some really fatty thighs- yuck)
Recipe from lolfoodie
  • 2 tbs cooking oil- I used vegetable and coconut
  • 1 pound chicken- cut into one inch cubes
  • 3 tbs garam masala, divided
  • 1/4c all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic- minced, or 2 tsp pre-minced garlic
  • 1 tsp freshly-grated ginger
  • 2 15-ounce cans of petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 c light coconut milk
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine the garam masala, salt and pepper.  
Toss the chicken with the seasonings so that every piece is evenly coated.
Toss the chicken with the flour and then stir fry in a wok with 1 tbsp of oil until cooked through.  Set the chicken aside on a plate.
Cook the onion in the wok for 2 minutes, and then add in the garlic and ginger and cook for one minute more.
Dump in the tomatoes- you can drain one can if you like want a less soupy mixture.  However, I love a soupy tomato dish.
Add in the coconut milk.
Add in the remaining garam masala
Stir, bring to a boil, lower the heat and stir some more!
Let simmer for 15 minutes and then add in your cooked chicken and allow the chicken to heat through.
Serve on rice.  If you have spinach, serve it with that as well!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pot roast with sweet potatoes

Pot roast isn't very exciting.  However, it can be scrumptious, comforting, and super EASY.  This one delivered on all fronts. Rating 7/10.

  • 3-4 lb chuck roast
  • PAM
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup of low sodium beef broth
  • 3 ribs of celery
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
Prepare your veggies by cutting each sweet potato into four pieces.  Dice onions and celery.  Place veggies in crock pot.
Spray a frying pan with PAM and brown the roast on each side.
Place roast on top of veggies.
Combine the beef broth, cinnamon, and pepper and pour into the crock pot.
Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.

Vanilla poached pears

I went grocery shopping today sans Al.  This gave me more time in the produce section, since it is usually so crammed that he quickly gets antsy to get going to the beef jerky section.  Anyway, I ended up staring at some bosc pears for quite some while.  I picked a couple up and then contemplated what the heck I was going to do with them for the rest of my shopping spree- and obviously came to the conclusion that they would be scarfed down in a dessert form.  This recipe is pretty good, but I can't say that I'll make it again.  Why?  It used up all of my vanilla (which is definitely not cheap), I JUST bought some and I already need to run to the store to buy more!  I'll probably just wait to eat these again until pears have been genetically modified to taste like vanilla. Rating 6/10.


  • 2-4 bosc pears
  • 4 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • optional 1/2 cup sugar
Boil the water, vanilla extract, and honey in a saucepan.
Core the pears from the bottom, but don't remove the core all the way to the stem.  Peel the pear (and eat the peelings nom nom).
Slice off enough of the bottom of the pear so that they can stand upright.
Place the pears in the saucepan, cover, and reduce the heat.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Remove the pears and allow them to cool before serving.

Optional sugar striping:
in a frying pan heat up 1/2 cup of white sugar.  Stir constantly until melted through and stripe the pears with it.

Chocolate sauce would also be delicious.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dutch baby pancake

With the stress of finals wearing me out, I've barely had a chance to realize that Christmas is less than one week away.  Oh gosh.  Yesterday while we were driving home from seeing The Fighter (good movie btw), it finally hit me that in a week Alex and I will be home in Minnesota for a long string of Christmas-related events.  I have a rather large family on my mom's side, which means a lot of family events (pizza night, cousin night, ladies luncheon, and the grand family finale) and that is just for my mom's side of the family.  All of these events are food-centric. 

  So, this realization of the impending holiday has definitely made me have Christmas grub on the mind.  One of my favorite things to eat is a nice German pancake/panacookin (I have no idea how to spell it) on Christmas morning.  Naturally I smother them with cool whip and strawberries.  I happened to pick up Ellie Krieger's cookbook, So Easy, from the library and there just happened to be a healthy recipe in there for a panacookin (I blame all the plaque on my artery walls on my mother's panacookins).  However, she calls it a Dutch pancake.  Pfft.  ANYWAYS, I decided that I needed to try this out and see if it could compare to the butter-heavy version.  Did it ever!  Had I been a kid I probably would choose the unhealthy version, just because I was a chubby little butter-obsessed porkster for quite a while.  However, this was equally delicious without butter gushing into my mouth while chewing.  AND the whole-wheat flour made each portion much more filling.  I couldn't even eat half of one panacookin, whereas normally I could eat a full one.  One panacookin from this recipe could easy feed 3 adults. Rating 9/10.

Recipe from Ellie Krieger
Adapted by me!

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour- or regular whole-wheat flour
4 tsp sugar (I used 2.5 tsp of turbinado because Alex drank a whole big gulp sized soda by himself yesterday and I'm afraid any more sugar than necessary may cause him to keel over)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup 1% milk (I used skim)
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
grated zest of one lemon (I used a lime since I didn't get a chance to go to the grocery store)
4 tsp butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with a pie plate inside.
Combine the flours, sugar, and salt in a medium sized bowl.
Combine the remaining ingredients (except for butter) in another bowl. 
Mix the combined ingredients until just blended.
Remove the pie plate from the oven and melt the butter in it, swirling the butter around until the entire bottom and the lower half of the plate walls have been coated.
Add batter to the pie plate and place in the oven for 23-25 minutes.  DO NOT OPEN YOUR OVEN DOOR TO LOOK AT IT until the very end.
Remove from oven.
Divide and devour.
Good toppings- cinnamon, whipped cream and strawberries, banana slices, apple sauce, peach sauce, pretty much any fruit or regular pancake topping.

This is the super healthy smoothie that I made to go along with breakfast.  It was healthy, but the grapefruit didn't really play well with the other ingredients as much as I had hoped :(.

2 1/2 bananas
1/2 cup squeezed pomegranate juice- or POM
1 lime
1 tsp sugar
1 grapefruit that was previously peeled and broken into pieces then frozen.
produces 3 cups of smoothie

Blend everything!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Spicy pulled chicken fajitas

Alex and I are huge fajita connoisseurs (for some reason the part of Madison that we live in has like 10 different tex-mex places within five minutes of our place).  I'm pretty sure that out of all of our frequent trips to "Mexican" restaurants, I've only NOT gotten a fajita entree twice.  I'm always looking for new and exciting recipes to make each home-made fajita dinner memorable, and this one definitely was.  Usually I just mash a bunch of spices together and smother the chicken with said spices, but this recipe produced a nice sauce that was obvious and yet not overbearing.  Granted, I didn't make it as spicy as the recipe calls for! Rating 7/10.
Recipe adapted from Healthy Food For Living

1 small onion- finely chopped
1 minced jalapeno pepper- removing seeds is optional
1 large garlic clove- minced (or one tsp of pre-minced garlic if you're lazy like me)
1 can of tomato sauce (8 oz)
1 tbsp of tomato paste (I added in three, just because I hate wasting paste)
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry ground mustard
2 tsp ground chipotle chile pepper (I couldn't find any, so I just went with chili powder)
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (you chicken breast fans won't regret this)
Salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle oil in a large pot or dutch oven and add in the onion and jalapeno.  Cook for about 3-5 minutes, and then add in the garlic.
Let the vegetables continue to cook by themselves for 30 seconds, or until the garlic becomes fragrant.
Add in the remaining ingredients (excluding the chicken) and stir the sauce until everything is combined.
Add in the chicken and make sure that each piece has sauce surrounding all sides.  There should be just enough sauce to cover all sides of every chicken thigh.
Cook for an hour, flipping the chicken thighs occasionally. 
Shred the chicken with two forks (if there's a better method out there- use that).
Allow the newly exposed meat to become saturated with the sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Eat in a sandwich, a fajita, a burrito, an enchilada, whatever!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

I know that pumpkin baking season has been over now for a couple of weeks, but I have not reached my pumpkin limit yet!  It also doesn't help that Alex has been NAGGING me forever to make him pumpkin cheesecake.  Why he didn't think that he could do it himself is beyond me, but I finally broke down and decided to make him his stinking cheesecake.  And I'm glad that I did.  However, I made him help me out :).  I figured that this was a great way to use up all of the pumpkin puree that I aimlessly made, but I ended up using a can of Libby's since it was already at room temperature.  I decided to make the cheesecake into single size servings by baking them in a muffin tin.  Each serving size is approximately 3 tablespoons worth of awesomeness, and one more bite would probably make my stomach explode since they are so filling.  They are SO good that I downed an entire serving right when I took them out of the stove, mmmm hot cheese.  Recipe from Tracey's Culinary Adventures. Rating 9/10.
  • 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar (I used turbinado)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer on a medium setting until it is fluffy, about 4-5 minutes
Combine the sugar, vanilla extract, and salt in a separate bowl and then combine with the cream cheese.
Add in the eggs one at a time.  Do NOT OVER MIX.  Mix until thoroughly combined, and then turn your mixer off!
In a separate bowl combine 2/3 cup of the cream cheese batter with the pumpkin, flour, and spices.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Line a muffin tin with paper liners.  I only needed ten.
Fill each muffin liner with 2 tbsp of regular cream cheese batter.  Add 1 tbsp of pumpkin cream cheese batter on top, and use a knife to make swirls between the layers.
Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the center of the cheesecake is settled.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Once cooled, place in the fridge and try to resist eating one for up to six hours.  I made it to one hour, not including the hot cheesecake that I slurped down.

I was able to make ten

The Best Bagel

No joke, these are AMAZING.  I baked these last night and just ate one of these for the first time this morning (I was too stuffed from pretzel bites last night to try to consume any more carbs).  The trick is that you need to make these bad boys the day before you bake them, which isn't very fun for those who want instant gratification. I'm planning on freezing the bagels that I don't hand out to friends in class tomorrow.  Rating 10/10
These are from Peter Reinhart.

Set 1
1 tsp instant yeast
 4 c bread flour
2 ½ c warm water

Set 2
1 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp honey
Set 3
3 c bread flour
3 Tbsp sugar (I used turbinado)
2 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
2 ¾ tsp salt (I used less)

Set 4
3/4 cup bread flour

1 tbsp baking powder

Start out by mixing set 1 together by hand or with a stand mixer.  The batter should be sticky.  Cover with saran wrap and let rest for 2 hours, or until doubled in size. 

Add set 2 into the bowl and stir.

In a separate bowl mix together set 3 and then combine with everything else that is already in the mixing bowl.  Mix together with a dough hook.  Once the dough has formed a ball, slowly add in the remaining flour from set 4.  If you have ingredients that you want within your bagels  (raisins, sun-dried tomatoes, dried cranberries, chocolate chips), add them in within the last two minutes of mixing.  However, I added in fresh cranberries, and found that they they were so large that they needed to be folded into the dough by hand. 

Knead for 10 minutes by hand.  Divide the dough into 8 separate balls that weigh 3.75 oz each.  Cover with a wet towel and let rest for 20 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it with Pam.  Form each ball into a bagel by poking a hole in the center and stretching it out.  Place the bagels onto the baking sheets and cover with saran wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes more.

The bagels need to be refrigerated, but need to pass the floating test before they can be placed in the fridge overnight.  To do this fill a bowl large enough to fit a bagel with cool water and place one bagel in it.  The bagel should float within 10 seconds.  If it doesn't float, gently dry it with a paper towel and retry the floating test again in 10 to 20 minutes.

Once the bagel passes the floating test, place all of the bagels in the refrigerator.  To be honest, my bagel didn't pass the floating test.  I tried it twice.  My bagels still turned out to be quite worthy.

The next day
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees, if you are using a baking stone place it in the oven during the preheat.  Boil water in a large pot.

Place as many bagels as possible without crowding them in the pot.  Let the bagels boil for one minute, and then flip them over and boil them for one minute more.  With a slotted spoon remove bagels and place them on your cornmeal sprinkled baking surface. You can use a baking stone, a parchment paper lined baking sheet, or a rack.  If you are adding toppings (sesame seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.) to your bagel, add them now.

Bake bagels at 500 degrees for 5 minutes.  After the first 5 minutes, rotate the baking surface and bake for 5 minutes more at 450 degrees, or until golden brown.  Remove and let cool.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

White bean soup featuring kale and chorizo

AKA another way to add kale into my diet.  One of the blogs that I poke around featured this recipe from Cooking Light, and I decided that in addition to getting a good dose of kale I wanted to find out what chorizo is (my taste buds are sheltered, gimme a break).  I was pretty surprised at how delicious this is, especially considering the small amount of ingredients that needed to be dumped into my big ol' pot.  I found myself yearning for the kale, chorizo, and beans all at once (so basically every spoonful left me satisfied and yearning for more).  Alex managed to consume an entire bowl within a matter of minutes- and he was using a fork.  So yeah, it's good.  Rating 7/10.

  • 3.5 oz of chorizo- I used mild
  • 1 yellow onion- diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic- minced
  • 2 cans of white cannellini beans- drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 3-4 leaves of kale- chopped or hand-ripped
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp arrowroot powder (optional)
Spray PAM or spread oil on the bottom of a large pot.
Cook the chorizo in the pot over medium hot, making sure to break it up into pieces with a width around that of a dime.
Once the chorizo is cooked through add in the diced onion.  Cook for about three minutes, stirring often.
Add in the garlic and cook for about one minute more.
Add in the chicken broth, beans, salt and pepper. 
Simmer for 30 minutes and then add in the kale.
Add in arrowroot powder in order to thicken up the broth a bit.

Serve with freshly baked bread.  Nuuum.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cheeseburger PSA

For some reason the most stressful thing for me about making cheeseburgers is when to add the darn cheese!  Usually I add mine about 3/4 of the way through and put a lid over my grill pan (I can't have a legit grill at my apartment).  My NEW and AWESOME way of making the burgers is to put the cheese in it, not on it.  Because of this I needed more hamburger than usual, since there needs to be enough meat to encase the queso.  To assemble the cheeseburgers I make each individual future cheeseburger into two balls of meat (two cheeseburgers= four burger balls).  Flatten each of the burger balls and place your desired cheese (I did the classic American) on a flattened burger.  Place the other burger half on top of the cheese and pinch down around the edges so that the cheese won't ooze out all over when you're cooking it.  Set aside in the fridge for awhile (~10-15 minutes) so allow the cheeseburger to become one.  Grill/pan grill on each side until done!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Banana Ice Cream

I made a lot of stuff today.  More stuff than usual.  In fact, everything that I consumed was made from scratch.  Does cracking an egg and frying it count as scratch?  It would be more "scratch" if I had raised the chicken myself, but same difference.  I was reflecting on why I made so much, and I think I came up with a possible reason.  My favorite movie ever is the first half of Gone with the Wind.  For those of you who have watched the VHS version of GWTW, you know that at the end of the first tape Scarlett goes all bonkers in the depleted garden and announces that she "will never go hungry again!"  Oh Scarlett.

Anyway, before yesterday my fridge and cupboards were both practically empty.  I didn't even have any milk, which is a huge sin in my milk-guzzling family.  I fixed this yesterday by going to three different grocery stores to obtain all that I desired, and I desired A LOT.  I didn't get to really prepare any food post-shopping trip since I had to get all fancified for a holiday party... SOOO today I was constantly in the kitchen, and I think that preparing food was my mechanism to deal with the stress of previously having nothing to eat.  At least I haven't started hoarding hamburger hot dish kits like my mom.  Rating 9/10 (it's pretty darn good).

 I feel like bananas are one of those things that you put in a smoothie as a filler since berries are so expensive.  It never occurred to me that a smoothie should consist of only bananas, until yesterday when I was grocery shopping.  The result of my endeavors was much more ice creamish than smoothieish, which works for me!  This "ice cream" is so simple and delicious that I will consistently be making this in the future whenever I want something sweet but healthy.  Seriously, all that you really need is one ingredient.

Very ripe bananas- or however you prefer them.  I like the extra sweetness of the very ripe banana.

Optional ingredients
whipped cream
vanilla extract
orange juice
Chocolate pudding (Al's contribution)

Place chopped up bananas in a freezer bag.  I literally put my bananas in the bag whole and chopped them up with a butter knife in there.  Only one thing to wash! (with this step anyway).
Forget about the bananas for several hours- they need to become significantly hardened.
Dump an appropriate amount of banana slices into a blender or food processor.  Add in any optional ingredients.  I added about 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract to the equivalent of 1 chopped banana.
Blend until all chunks have been transformed into this simple yet drool-worthy treat.
I topped mine with whipped cream, even though it didn't need it.

7 Grain Bread

I've really been wanting mozzarella cheese sticks lately.  So much so that I bought a huge bag of mozzarella sticks yesterday.  However, I was a little aloof and forgot to buy the bread crumbs.  This morning I was distraught when I realized my grocery shopping fail, and to my dismay the little shop across the street is closed on Sundays.  They probably would have charged $10 for a regular sized container, so maybe it wasn't such a bad thing that I couldn't get pre-made bread crumbs.  I wasn't in the mood to walk 20 minutes to go to the grocery store, so I decided to invest way more than 20 minutes into making my own bread for the cheese sticks, which I will hopefully be consuming later on tonight.  Anyway, I whipped open my copy of Healthy Breads in Five Minutes a Day, and I instantly started paging through looking for the 10 grain bread recipe that I have had my eye on.  Why did I make this bread with 7 grain then?  Because 7 grain was on sale one million weeks ago when I went shopping, whereas 10 grain was not.  Anyway, I'm not sure how this bread will be as a cheese stick breading, but it is pretty tasty just as bread.  Num!  Rating 7/10.

I halved the original recipe, so you can double the ingredients below if you go through a lot of bread.

  • 1 cup of 7 grain hot cereal (or 10 grain, if you want to really get a great variety of grains)
  • 1 1/2 cuips of white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast (or one packet)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1 3/4 cup lukewarm water
Combine all of the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Add in water slowly until all of the water has been incorporated into the dough.
Cover the bowl (not airtight) and let it rest for two hours.  It can then be transferred to the fridge, if you want to use it on another day.

Assuming that you are baking it now:
Cut off 1 lb of dough from the dough wad (this should be roughly half of the dough, or 1/4 of the dough if you doubled the recipe).
Sprinkle with flour and form into a ball by tucking the dough under the ball and turning the dough as you go.
Stretch it out into an oval and place it on a clean surface/pizza peel/cutting board and cover loosely with saran wrap.  If you didn't refrigerate the dough then let it rest for 40 minutes.  If it has been refrigerated let it rest for 90 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees for 30 minutes with a baking stone and broiler pan inside the oven.
Apply water to the top of the loaf and coat with seeds.  I just used sesame.  Make 1/4 inch deep diagonal slashes across the top with a knife.
Place the loaf onto the baking stone and add 1 cup of hot water into the broiler pan.  Shut the door immediately so that the steam doesn't escape.
Bake for 30 minutes and try to wait for it to cool before you consume a sizable chunk.

Update- this would make great bread crumbs for anything that does not need to actually be breaded.  I had a crazy time trying to get the crumbs to stick to my cheese sticks, so I'll probably just use this recipe for crumbs for things like macaroni and whatnot.   However, this bread is DELICIOUS and oh so crunchy.  I'll be making this often.