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Tag Archives: Bread

Naturally Leavened Bread: the Beginning

I mentioned earlier this week that I picked up The Macrina Bakery Cookbook from the library, and I am very excited to start using it. I feel fairly confident with bread baking. It’s been a while since I’ve had a major flub, but I have to admit, I’m nervous about baking bread from this book. Part of my nervousness is also why I’m so excited – it’s something new to me: naturally leavened bread.

I decided to jump right in and make the natural sour starter. When I told Brent I needed to go to Whole Foods to buy organic grapes to make a starter for bread, he was a bit dubious to say the least. There was a definitely eye roll and a “whatever” coming from that direction, but that’s entirely normal so I continued on.

This is a sachet of grapes wrapped in cheese cloth.

After tying the sachet, the next step was to squash (always a fun step) the grapes and dunk them in a mix of unbleached flour and water. The mixture stays like this, uncovered, on our counter top for two days, and then I begin feeding it.

I’m not entirely sure how this is going to turn out, but I’m just going to roll with it, and in two weeks I should be able to start making bread out of this thing!

Stuff I’m thinking About

  • I’m sprucing up the blog! And I’ll have a new web address to reveal soon. My husband, the software development engineer who is “not a web developer” is helping me against his will.
  • I’m heading to a class at a new yoga studio tonight and I’m a bit nervous. I haven’t been to a studio class in a very long time. I hope I don’t wuss out.
  • Brent and I are talking about going to see a movie tonight: The King’s Speech. We have been planning to see a movie for the past 3 weeks, but we always laze out or find an excuse not to go. This is actually a very regular pattern for us. We go months without seeing movies because we’re lazy. Very tragic actually. Leave a comment telling us if you’ve seen any good movies lately to give us some motivation!

I Must Tell You About This Sandwich

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Hey all. Not much posting going on over here due to studying for boards. I registered to take my exam and it’s less than 2 weeks away! The big day is Wednesday February 2nd. I’m nervous, but more than anything I want to get it over with!

We’ve been eating a bit at home and a bit out, and I want to play catch up and blog about some fun places some time, but for now I have only a sandwich. A collaborative effort between Brent and I, this sandwich includes homemade brioche (from Artisan Bread in 5…), homemade mayonnaise (whisked to perfection by Brent), and the world’s thickest bacon (Whole Foods). I baked the bread last night, but everything else was done this morning after our workout. While Brent worked on the mayonnaise I got to work toasting our bread (via the broiler on our oven because we have no toaster) and frying up the bacon.

Total sandwich assembly: toast the brioche, slather each side with half a tablespoon of mayonnaise, add a handful of organic spring mix, add one slice of bacon cut in half (2 slices for Brent), add 1 fried egg (2 for Brent). As you can tell Brent’s sandwich was double the size of mine, but even the smaller version was the most simple and delicious sandwich I’ve eaten in recent memory.

This brioche is pretty outstanding. I need to build more sandwiches with it. It’s back to the books for now, but I’ll update later when I’m done cramming! :)

Smoked Salmon Crostini

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Hopefully everyone rang in the new year in a safe and awesome way. Brent and I made some snacks, hung out at home, and went to our roof to watch fireworks from the space needle at midnight.

It was pretty sweet that we had this awesome view and didn’t even have to leave our building! Before all that though, we ate. I wanted to stay in and make something, but I wasn’t feeling up for full-fledged “cooking” because my kitchen isn’t quite set up yet. We headed to the market earlier in the day and picked up some crusty bread and locally smoked salmon — which I am currently obsessed with!

I sliced the bread thinly , drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then grilled in a grill pan until lightly golden and toasty, flipped and did the same for the other side. Next I spread a thin layer of goat cheese on each slice, topped it with a generous dose of the smoked salmon, and sprinkled with diced red onions and capers.

These were pretty fantastic. Like, seriously so good that I made them again tonight. This is the perfect bite of food. I love the tangy-ness of the goat cheese combined with the smoky salmon and the salty bite from the capers. I cannot recommend this combo enough. Plus, it felt so good to make something at home after so much eating out in the past few weeks. I’m really enjoying getting settled in and looking forward to getting into a routine.

To end the post, I’d like to leave you with another gorgeous shot from our balcony – taken tonight around sunset.

Fall Foods

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Wow. I am ridiculously behind on sharing things with you guys. It’s been a busy week. First, the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day Bake-a-Long has returned. Our first recipe to try out was the Pumpkin Oatmeal Bread. Uh, hello? Pumpkin and oatmeal? Why hadn’t I made this already? I made it over a week ago, and I ate the whole loaf by myself. I mean, it took a few days, but still. By myself.

The bread is soft and chewy. I could eat it plain and be happy. BUT it makes some freaking fantastic cinnamon toast. I probably ate half the loaf as cinnamon toast. So heavenly. Another winner from the ABin5 folks.

Sometime last week, I also made a giant pan of butternut squash lasagna which we ate almost all week. I made this sometime before, maybe last winter and we really enjoyed it then and did so this time as well. It packs a ton of veggies into a slcie of lasagna and I love the smoky marinara.

It fed us well, and I highly recommend the recipe. I think it’s one of my fall/winter favorites.

Friday Night Feasts

Brent and I have recently decided that, in order to spend more quality time together and save money, we will try cooking a new recipe once a week. It’ll be fun for us to try to make restaurant-ish food at home and to try cooking together in our tiny, tiny kitchen. We figured we would take turns finding recipes. Last week was our first project, which Brent found. We made Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Whole Grain Mustard. WE took the easy way out and had the butcher take the backbone out for us. Our main concern was finding a big enough pan for the whole thing. We managed to stuff it in one and we were on our way.

Trying to flip that thing with a pair of tongs was scary. Brent and I were pretty sure it was going to end up with the dogs on the floor, but we managed to do it. While it was in the oven, I toss some potatoes and sweet potatoes with olive and threw them in the oven to roast alongside. Brent suggested laying the chicken on a bed of arugula. (My husband is very fancy.) All together now:

Oh, I should mention Brent made the sauce. Apparently he doesn’t trust me with things like sauce and gravy. Whatevs. Everything was very delicious though, and a sauce with mustard is always good. It worked well on potatoes too!

I’ve already picked this week’s recipe! I’m so excited about it. :)

Eatin’ Solo

Brent was gone all weekend doing dude things like drinking a lot of beer and going on a multi-city, 4 baseball games in 4 days roadtrip with his college friends. What this means for me, is that my effort in the kitchen has been pretty minimal. I enjoy cooking, but it’s hard to make it seem worth the effort when it’s only for one person.

That doesn’t mean I eat TV dinners and drive-thru fare when I’m hanging out by myself, but I definitely don’t like to dirty a ton of pots & pans. Friday night all I really wanted was wine and cheese. I thought about making something “more complete” but I just didn’t feel like it. I just made what I was craving: a whole wheat baguette¬†made from the whole grain master recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

I cut the baguette into slices and toasted them in the oven for about 5 minutes and topped with some Brie and sliced Honeycrisp apples.

Along with a glass or two of Chardonnay, this was such a satisfying dinner.

Saturday night, I wanted to clean out the fridge, so I threw the remains of some zucchini, mushrooms, and red bell peppers onto a baking sheet with some olive oil and salt and roasted for about 10-15 minutes. I rolled out some whole wheat dough from the recipe above and covered it with the roasted veggies and a few leftover artichoke hearts. I covered all of that with some mozzarella and goat cheese and baked at 450 for 12 minutes.

Perfect pizza for one. Making individual pizzas is definitely one of the reasons I like making my own. This was so good! (and there was more wine). I wouldn’t have probably made it for Brent because he doesn’t appreciate a lot of stuff on his pizza usually. He’s more of a cheese and anchovy person.

Tonight I got a dinner and Dexter date with my friend. So psyched! :)

Falafel & Frites

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Today was pretty awesome – I was so productive in the kitchen, with housework, and schoolwork, AND I got Brent to run with me after he got off work! Brent got home late from work (about 7ish) and by the time our run was done, I was beyond ready for dinner. I had planned falafel for dinner, and I was psyched to try my hand at making pitas again. I was so happy – my pitas puffed up this time!

I made the pitas using the master recipe from Artisan Bread. They ended up soft and tasty. The pita made excellent wrappers for the falafel. I layered falafel, hummus mixed lemon juice, lettuce and sliced tomatoes. So delicious. At Brent’s suggestion, when I was done frying the falafel, I threw in french fries that were leftover in the freezer from Brent’s birthday dinner. A perfect dinner enjoyed on the back patio.

Yum!

Today Brent and I reserved spots to a local food and beer dinner at J.K. O’Donnell’s! It’s on Monday and I’m really looking forward to a date night with Brent and awesome, local food. :)

Whole Wheat Pasta with Edamame, Arugula & Herbs

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I spent the day going to school (for the bookstore & the gym), cleaning, baking, and putzing around with the blog. I love making bread – I love everything about it from the sticky dough to the smell of it in the oven. I like kneading by hand, but I lack the counter space to do it effectively, and sometimes it’s nice to have a machine do the work. Even watching dough kneading in the mixer is calming. So rhythmic, right? Mabes I’m just crazy (I’ve been called worse).

As you may be able to tell, my mixer gets more than its fair share of use and abuse. After 10 minutes of kneading, my bread dough was gorgeous, but the bowl was stuck in the mixer! This actually happens to me fairly frequently. All that crazy whirring really locks it in there. Brent was able to rescue it for me when he got home though. 2 hours later I had 2 beautiful loaves of bread. I so wish I had more time in my life for bread… Sigh.

Once the bread cooled off (but was still warm!) I cut a thick slice and spread with Earth Balance and cinnamon sugar. I was going to make cinnamon toast, but the toaster was in a cabinet, so I lazed out and ate it soft. Amazeballs.

Dinner… was less stellar. It was fine, even tasty in some bites, but it was just not our thing I guess. I made this pasta dish, again from the new Cooking Light and it was definitely quick & easy, but I doubt I’d make it again.

I ate a few bites before realizing I forgot the cheese. The dish definitely improved with the addition of Parmesan. Most things do, duh. But it was just ehh. Brent was defs not a fan.

I’m bored with the blog. Not with writing it, but just with the general look and function of it. My husband writes computer code for a living and has a masters degree in computer science. I feel this means he should be able to make my blog more kick-ass. He disagrees. I’m a computer user in the “I can check my email and use iTunes” sort of way, so I’m not really sure what I can do to solve this problem. Alas. I’m off to do some yoga and get in bed super early. Wish me luck with football practice tomorrow!

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