Saturday, May 9, 2020

Isolation Bread Baking - Part 9

Stay-at-Home # 12     Mustard and corn rolls from "The Handmade Loaf" 

Into this little crack you drizzle a mustard glaze. 

Very chewy and lots of flavor from the sour dough starter and the corn.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Isolation Bread Baking - Part 8

 Stay-at-home #11  Sour Dough

Oh, how I tried to create a sour dough by myself, but I got pretty discouraged and I hated using so much valuable flour to feed it every day. I don't know about your grocery, but we have literally NO flour anywhere in town. No frozen vegetables, no canned vegetables, no pasta, no rice, no paper products, no broth, no tomato soup, no yeast, no non-dairy milk.... I could go on. 

 After a week of trying to get a bubbly starter, I begged a cup off my neighbor and voila! You can see how healthy it is. Notice my scale? If you are going to bake bread, you should weigh everything in grams.
I won't bore you with the  story about why one is perfect and one is burned. 

We are lucky to have purchased a 50 pound bag of flour a few months ago when my guys started baking bagels and french bread. At the time, I thought they were crazy, but now I am so thankful to have it! We store the huge bag in a big air tight cooler, right in the middle of our kitchen!

This recipe is from Dan Lepard's "The Handmade Loaf." There was no kneading, just folding, turning, and lots and lots of resting and waiting. Literally, this bread took all day to make. 

This sourdough loaf is from the King Arthur site. It's my new favorite bread. Slices well, and only took a few hours to make. I kneaded it in my stand mixer. 

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Food Photos - Part 2

Potato Curry, Chana Masala, Mango salad
Stay-at-home # 10 Food Photos - Just photos, no comments. Delicious meals everywhere.

Stuffed potato skins 

Baked tofu and pineapple rice

Grilled mushroom sandwich - my favorite way to eat a portobella

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Isolation Bread Baking - Part 7

Stay-at-Home #9 Challah Bread 

I am getting lots of inspiration from King Arthur during these quarantine days. They are hosting great classes every Friday at 2:00 (eastern time zone) and watching them knead, shape, discuss, explain, teach, and coach the home baker has been so supportive! Plus, their recipes are 100% the best. No fuss, no fancy measurements, etc. 

A few things I've learned from King Arthur: home bakers often don't let their dough fully ferment and rise completely....relax and allow the magic to happen! Don't rush! 

I've also been convinced that using a scale to measure the dry and liquid ingredients is essential. I now weigh everything in grams. 

Also - home bakers usually remove their bread too soon from the oven because they are afraid of an overly brown crust. And I think I was guilty of that on these challah loaves. Although they were absolutely delicious and perfect, they were a tiny, tiny bit weak in the middle..... I bet 5 more minutes in the oven would have solved that. 

This was one serious dough - 6 eggs and 7 1/2 C flour. Lots of kneading and waiting. I'm proud of my kneading  - not too bad considering it was my first time. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Food Photos - Part 1

Stay-at-Home #8 

.... cleaning out old photos from the computer ....just wanted to save these meals and share. No recipes, just pretty plates. 

home made tamales

Asian tofu 

black rice stuffed mushrooms

lentil shepherd's pie

gluten free canillini  bean sausage, lemony polenta and lemony chick peas 

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Isolation Bread Baking - Part 6

Stay-at-Home #7 (our stay at home has been extended to May 15) 

Above you see Rice Bread from Dan Lepard's  book "The Handmade Loaf." This would be a great loaf for a beginner baker - it was pretty much fool proof. It made the BEST garlic toast and grilled cheese! Oh, how I wish I had a Pullman pan for this loaf..... when the quarantine is over, and Amazon shipping is not so slow, I'm treating myself to this fun loaf pan. Check it out on the internet and see if you agree with me ..... I deserve it....right? 

See the grains of cooked rice on top? Weird, but effective. 

Friday, May 1, 2020

Isolation Bread Baking - Part 5

Stay-at-Home #6

These are lentil rolls which tasted as unusual as they look. I found the recipe in "The Handmade Loaf" by Dan Lepard. I chose this recipe because it's one of the few in the book that doesn't call for a sourdough starter (more about sourdough later in this series of blog posts.) It calls for a bit of rye flour, but I swapped out white with no problems. I also used some great black lentils that were hidden in my pantry. (I used those in a black lentil soup that was so good!) 

Because of the heaviness and moisture of the lentils, these did not rise much, but you can see that they still turned out surprisingly light. 

These rolls were very hearty and chewy and a bit sweet which was nice. Perfect with a bowl of soup and some cheese. We ate them toasted for breakfast also. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Creamy Chickpea Curry

Stay-at-Home #5

If we eat with our eyes, then feast on this colorful array. You probably have everything you need in your pantry. One trip to the grocery for some 'essential' cilantro and you're good to go. 

Here's what you need:
1/2 large Vidalia onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, chopped (seeds are optional, I usually remove them)
1/2 C raw almonds (cashews would work here too)
5 Roma tomatoes, rough chop
1 t curry powder
1/4 t allspice
1 can coconut milk
1 can garbanzo beans
1 carrot, peeled and cubed
1 C frozen peas
large handful chopped cilantro

Here's what you do:
Saute the onions, peppers, and nuts in a bit of oil until the veg is soft. Look at that color!

Add tomatoes and spices and cook until tomatoes are soft. Blend all this well in a high speed blender. Return to the pan. Use the coconut milk to clean out the blender. Add the the milk to the pan to create your sauce. 

Add the garbanzo beans and carrots and simmer until carrots are tender. Add peas and cilantro just before serving. Serve over rice or potatoes. 

Monday, April 27, 2020

Isolation Bread Baking - Part 4

Stay-at-Home #4

My current obsession: scouring Instagram for beautiful bread art. I am totally inspired and in love with these. The sky is the limit as far as decorations go - in fact I made a few with chocolate chips, fresh strawberries, and pecans. I used Peter Reinhart's famous 'Pain a l'Ancienne' recipe from "The Bread Baker's Apprentice," which made these more like vegetable pizza or chewy bread. Most bread art I've seen on Instagram has been with focaccia, so I need to try that also. 

Warning: if you try this at home, be prepared to share the kitchen with everyone who will want to try their own designing. It's hard to stop! 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Isolation Bread Baking - Part 3

Stay-at-Home #3

The process of making English muffins is a bit time consuming, but as you can see, it's worth it. Especially if you eat them right out of the oven. I wish I could describe the crunch and chew of the crust. By the second day, they were not as satisfying to eat, maybe because they hardened and compacted a bit, but we choked them down. 

They'd be difficult to make for breakfast because they need two 90 minute rises, plus kneading and resting times. They are fun to make though, because first you 'bake' them in a hot skillet, and then you pop them in a hot oven. You're supposed to wait 30 minutes before eating them, but that's not practical! 

I made them a second time and served them with pea soup for lunch which was perfect. We were doing one of our many 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles that day. Classic quarantine activities: puzzles and bread baking and soup.  

I used the recipe found in Peter Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" and was not disappointed, although as with all of his recipes, it took some concentration to decode and apply the steps. 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Isolation Bread Baking - Part 2

Stay-at-Home #2

Homemade flour tortillas. Homemade flour tortillas. Homemade flour tortillas. 

These beauties were from an on-line recipe.....just search around and choose the one with the 4,000 5 star reviews.  Nothing difficult at all and the end result, as you can probably see, was excellent! Chewy and warm, we stuffed them with perfect avocado slices and hot sauce. 

You'll need a cast iron skillet or other pan that can reach very high temperature. You'll also need a rolling pin. See that one on top, with the tiny fold? Try to avoid that. See the third one down, with the tiny bubbles? Try to attain that. My technique improved as the stack grew. 

You could start these right now and they'd be ready for dinner. If your town is anything like my town during these days of hoarding, you can't buy tortillas anyway. 

Friday, April 24, 2020

Isolation Bread Baking - Part 1

Stay-at-Home #1

If I hear one more person say, "....during these unprecedented times....," or ".... we are all in this together.....," I will scream. Yes, we are experiencing a stay-at-home order, but why such drama? Must everything be such hyperbole? 

I decided that when I'm not wallowing on my couch in pure boredom and frustration, I would learn how to make bread. And gain weight. 

I started with a very easy recipe from Peter Reinhart's masterful cookbook "The Bread Baker's Apprentice". You can find the recipe on line or you can purchase the book for yourself. Warning: it's quite a serious cookbook including lots of scientific explanations and lengthy techniques, but I know you have time on your hands during these unprecedented times...... 

 One major suggestion is to roll the dough two times as large as the recipe suggests. Reinhart calls for one sheet pan and it will easily roll to fit two sheet pans. You'll get a better, crispier cracker.

Here you see various seeds and paprika. Delicious. I also made a batch with Middle Eastern spices (curry, cumin, harissa, mustard seed, etc) and it was out of this world! Be sure to include black pepper and/or salt.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Red Lentil Soup with Pea Puree

I never, ever, tire of soup. This one was created using stuff in my pantry, vegetable drawers, and freezer. I used harissa just for fun, but paprika would work here just as well.

1 C red lentils
4 C veggie broth
4 small Yukon potatoes, chopped
1 small onion and 3 garlic cloves sauteed in a drop of oil
2 carrots
1 red bell pepper
1 t harissa or paprika

Cook until soupy and whirl in a blender.

In the meantime:
1 C frozen peas
some basil and parsley
salt and pepper
1/4 C sour cream
2 T milk

high speed blender : add milk until it's pouring consistency.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Broiled Grapefruit

I have been eating lots of red grapefruits this winter! They are such a treat in the dark months here in the north..... and with just a few minutes under the broiler, they become a super comforting breakfast. The cherry and brown sugar don't hurt either.

Separate the sections of the grapefruit with a sharp knife, (go around the circumference and also between all the pithy parts),  sprinkle lightly with brown sugar, add a maraschino cherry for fun, broil for a few minutes.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Artichoke and Spinach Rolls with Lemon Bechamel

There is a nice difference in presentation between regular lasagna and these lasagna rolls. It made the entire meal nicer somehow. However, I think this recipe would work fine in a more traditional lasagna presentation. Try it, and let me know :)

Here's what you need:
1 box lasagna
16 oz ricotta
3 14oz cans artichokes
1 C mozzarella
1/2 bag fresh spinach (about 3 oz)
4 C non-dairy milk (I used rice milk)
1/2 C fresh lemon juice
4 T butter
4-6 T flour (I used 6 because rice milk is a bit thin)

Here's what you do:
Cook the noodles according to the box. Rinse, drain, set aside.
Chop the artichokes and spinach. Mix veggies and cheeses together.
Working with one noodle at a time, place some filling down the center of the noodle. Roll up gently. Place in a greased casserole. Keep going until the filling is gone and the kitchen is a mess.

In the meantime, melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add the flour all at once, whisking constantly until the flour has had a chance to cook and thicken a bit. Add the milk, whisking constantly. Add fresh lemon juice to taste, making sure this is a predominate flavor. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pour sauce over the rolls and bake until bubbly. This will freeze well. So good and pretty simple even for a weeknight dinner.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Creamy Carrot Pasta

Look at those amazing colors! You know when food is that vibrant it is going to be packed with flavor. You're looking at carrot puree, cashew cream, roasted garlic, and fresh sage leaves. Simple and delicious.

Here's what you need:
1 C carrot puree : Approximately 3 large carrots and 1 cut water in a high speed blender
1 head garlic
6 fresh sage leaves plus for more garnish
1 C vegetable broth
1/2 C raw cashews
1/2 C walnuts

Here's what you do:
Cut off about 1/4 inch of the top of the head of garlic and remove the loose outer skins. Wrap in tin foil and before sealing it, drizzle with olive oil. Close the bundle tightly. Roast 350 for about 45 minutes. When cool, squeeze the cloves out using a fork or other sharp instrument.
Make the carrot puree. Add it to a medium pot. Make the cashew cream by blending the nuts with about 1/2 C water. Add it to the carrot mixture. Add the garlic and sage leaves and simmer until thick, being sure to smash the garlic with a fork.  Thin with the vegetable broth to taste. Remove the sage leaves after about 15 minutes.

Garnish with walnuts and fried sage leaves. (1/4 C oil, fry for 5 seconds, drain on paper towel)

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Curried Brown Rice Salad

A most delicious and unusual rice salad found in  "The Abundance Diet" by Somer McCowan. I had to swap out a few ingredients, but this salad is full of flavor! This makes a super lot! Maybe cut the recipe in half for a more reasonable amount for your family meal.

Here's what you need:
4 C cooked and cooled brown rice (that's about 2 C raw rice)
4 ribs celery, diced 1/4 inch
2 carrots, diced 1/4 inch
1 red pepper, diced 1/2 inch
1 small bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 C roasted cashews
1/2 C cilantro, chopped
1/2 C dried cranberries

3 T white wine vinegar
2 t dried curry powder
1 t dried cumin
1/2 ground ginger
1/2 garlic powder
1 T peanut butter

Also add to the dressing 1/3 C date paste: 1/3 dates, 2/3 water, high speed blender.