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Basil tomato bread recipe improves with change

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This has been a very busy week and emotional, at that.  My daughter, her fiancé and my grandson moved to New Jersey. After having them in the area for the past seven years, it was very hard to say goodbye. But on the other hand, we are very excited for them. They are off to new adventures.

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In the process of packing up, my daughter thought her fiancé had thrown away a large notebook with recipes I had given her over 15 years ago. She was really upset about it. I told her that it could be rectified and not to worry. It forced me into finally finishing my cookbook, which I was able to present to her on her birthday. She was so pleased. A few days later she told me they had actually found the notebook. She felt bad that I had gone to the trouble to replace the old one, but I didn’t feel bad at all. Actually, that incident helped me, my cookbook has gone to the printers. It took me a few years, but I did it.

Now I am going through some of my old recipes trying to decide which one’s will go in my second cookbook. In this process, I came upon a recipe that I had made and printed in my column, a few years ago. I decided that I was going to try something different with it; it had baking soda as the leavening and all-purpose flour. I changed it to self-rising flour and quick rise yeast. What a difference it made and it was still very simple to make. Without further suspense, I give you:

Refreshed Basil Tomato Bread

3 to 3-1/2 cups self-rising flour

1 package quick-rise yeast

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp. sugar

3 tbsp. onion, finely minced

1 tsp. dried basil leaves

1 cup sour cream

1/3 cup milk

1/3 cup chopped, sun-dried tomatoes in oil

1/4 cup butter, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine  2-1/2 cups flour, yeast, parmesan cheese and basil in a large mixing bowl. In saucepan, add butter and onion, sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes on medium heat. Add sour cream and milk to onion mixture; heat only until warm (120-130 degrees).  Add sour cream mixture and chopped sun-dried tomatoes to flour mixture. I used my dough hook on my electric mixer and beat until thoroughly mixed. If dough is very sticky, add more flour, until dough is of right consistency to knead.  Place dough on floured surface (using self-rising flour) and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Dough should be soft, not too stiff.

At this point, you can form dough into one round loaf, or divide it and make two loaves.  Place dough onto a greased baking sheet; brush tops with egg white that has been mixed with a little water; sprinkle on 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese.  Cut an “X” about 1/2- inch deep in top of loaf or loaves. Let rise for 30 minutes. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet; cool completely.

The original recipe was very good, but personally I like my refreshed version better. I served this bread with an Italian grilled pork chop and fettuccine primavera. I marinated the pork chop with red wine vinaigrette, dried basil and Italian seasoning. With the bread, it was a great meal. Enjoy!

Lonnie Sundermeyer is a retired professional caterer residing in Ghent, Ky. Her cookbook sells for $21.20, including tax. To reserve a copy, contact her at (502) 347-0161 or robertsundermeye@bellsouth.net.