Babushka Delight

As a child, Liz’s father did the bulk of the cooking in their home. Norm Robinson was a creative and resourceful culinary artist, never cooking from a recipe and always applying the creativity required when feeding a family on a meager budget. As a hungry child, when Liz began smelling tasty aromas waft from the kitchen she would consistently ask, “Dad, what’s for dinner?” And much to her chagrin he would he would respond, “Babushka Delight…and then insert a random number.” A variation of Baked Ziti would be called Babushka Delight #14 and Pork Chops and Rice entitled Babushka Delight #982…no rhyme or reason for the numbering system and never a dish or number repeated. Night after night, meal after meal, our table and stomachs were warmed with a series of meals made by a loving father each entitled Babushka Delight. As a child, anxious for dinner, Liz found his predictable answer a bit silly. Now, as an adult, when contemplating the daily questions, what shall we have for dinner?” she hears the trusted words of her father ringing clearly in her mind…”Well, tonight we are having Babushka Delight.”

Burke grew up working inside the delicious walls of a professional kitchen at his families business, Jacob Lake Inn nestled near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. While standing on milk crates Burke joined his parents to help peel potatoes, crack eggs, flip burgers, and sling hash. Through this process Burke developed the confidence of a chef, the speed of a line cook, and the creativity of a working mans Iron Chef.

Growing up in a foodie family has real benefits for a newly married couple. For Burke nothing brings a bigger smile than the potential of a handful of chopped onion, celery, carrot, and garlic sautéing in a few hearty splashes of a fine olive oil…and Liz is more than happy to sample the tasty outcomes.

Together Burke and Liz enjoy nothing more than a fine meal shared with family and friends. In keeping with tradition of both families, Babushka Delight is a collection of their favorite recipes and culinary creations.


The Texas Rich’s

Sunday, January 16, 2011

BREAD: No Knead Bread with Sun-Dried Tomato & Asiago Cheese

No Knead Bread with Sun-Dried Tomato and Asiago Cheese


3 cups bread flour

1 3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

1 cup finely grated Asiago cheese

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 3/4 cup water


1. Using a large bowl, pour all the flour in. Add instant yeast, salt, dried basil, finely grated Asiago cheese and chopped sun-dried tomatoes. You can use tomatoes packed in oil or you can hydrate the dried ones. If you are using ones packed in oil be sure to drain and pat dry with paper towel.

2. Mix all those ingredients together by hand. Add slightly warm water and combine with a wooden spoon.

3. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 12-18 hours.

4. After that time dust a parchment lined cooking sheet with flour. Set cookie sheet aside.

5. Sprinkle a little flour on a flat surface.

6. Pour out the dough carefully onto flour. Dust the top and lightly pat the dough into a ball.

7. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

8. Stretch the dough into a rectangle and fold one side half way over. Do the same to the other side. Now, fold from the short side of the dough the same way. Place dough seam side down onto the well floured parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap for 2 hours.

9. A half an hour before you want to bake the bread place a 6 to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in a 500F oven to heat up.

10. Remove the pot from the oven and carefully drop the dough into the pot seam side up this time.

11. Place the hot lid onto the pot and place back into the oven.

12. Bake for 30 minutes, if the bread is golden brown it is ready. If the dough is still white you can remove the lid and continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes.

13. Carefully remove from the pot and cool on a wire rack till completely cooled.



According to the recipe, you just combined all of the ingredients together and let it sit over night which seems both awesome and a bit unbelievable. I do trust Ben and he says to just follow the recipe and I should be fine. Cross your fingers, here goes….

So, I mixed everything together and let it sit over night. This is a pretty wet dough but it smells great. I had to go digging in the garage to locate our Dutch oven. We had not used it since this summer and unfortunately, I had to wash it out and re-season seeing that it has not been properly cleaned. This was kind of frustrating but had a really positive outcome on my bread. To season a Dutch oven you scrub it clean with just water and then pat it dry. Next, you have to grease it with lard, oil, or Crisco before you cook with it. So, I cleaned it out and greased it and then returned to the baking directions found in the recipe. The Dutch oven sits in a very hot oven for 30 min. before you add the bread dough. What I did not realize was that the oil that I used to season the cast iron oven would help create the most delicious and crusty bread I have ever tasted. This was a complete mistake that made all our mouth water. The bread bakes in the hot oven for 30 min and hot, moist, and in this case greasy air circulated inside the oven to create a nice crust. It was pretty amazing to open the lid and discover a beautiful loaf of bread. This is the kind of bread I will pay good money for at any local bakery. It was absolutely beautiful- and the best part is I made it! It crunched when we cut it open and was super moist on the inside. The sun dried tomatoes, cheese and basil worked in perfect harmony to create the best loaf of bread I have ever made. We had dinner with Brad, Leslie and the girls so we baked the bread at their house and everyone one was impressed. I am so proud of my ability to produce such a great product. I am so glad that I made the mistake of not completing the seasoning process before I put the bread in the Dutch oven because I would never have discovered that hot oil is the key to creating a crusty loaf.

Later that night, I called Ben to share my great crusty bread success. He was both shocked by the successful outcome of my mistake and a bit jealous that I had accomplished the perfect degree of crusty-ness. His excitement and feedback were empowering and I am glad that in this case my culinary ignorance resulted in such a positive outcome. I think if Ben or Melinda had been there, I would have waited for the newly Dutch oven to cool and heat the Dutch oven again before I attempted to make the bread. I am quite sure I would have waited because I am still a bit nervous about bread baking. However, after a few great conversations, lots of reading and a handful of successful break making experiences, I just went for it. This is certainly something

I would not have done before. I feel like I am gaining confidence in my ability to make bread. This is a result of two great teachers who provided information within my zone of proximal ability. They modeled each step of the process and then let me experiment on my own, providing a careful balance of feedback and course correction. Each week, I approach the new recipe with more confidence and curiosity. I am grateful for this assignment because I have always wanted know how to bake really good bread and so far so good.

1 comment:

  1. Mmmmm. Reading this has reminded me that I need to make this bread again. Ah, that crispy crust. Also, Susan has been baking wheat bread for us every week because it's better than buying a loaf for John (he's into PBJ's now). She's worked out a really good wheat bread recipe. You should ask her about it.