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A Fun Experiment

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Last night, I finished baking some bread for this week. My personal favorite sandwich bread: Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough. Yum.

I enjoyed a slice toasted this morning with some pink grapefruit marmalade. I’ve noticed over the past few months, toast has quickly climbed up the charts to become one of my favorite comfort foods.

For dinner tonight, I used some leftovers things to create a baked pasta dish. I used half a head of cauliflower that we had sitting in the crisper, half a box of leftover pasta, and some puttanesca sauce I had made a few weeks ago and frozen. After cooking the pasta and cauliflower and heating the sauce, I mixed it all together and topped with a mix of grated parmesan and panko breadcrumbs and baked for ~15 minutes.

It was easy and pretty good. Crunchy topping makes everything taste better.

For a sweet treat, I wanted to make cookies that combined some of my favorites with some leftover items. Oats were on sale this week so I bought some and knowing I had some raisins in the pantry, I planned on making some oatmeal raisin cookies, which are my all-time favorite!

However, I also had some leftover pumpkin puree in the fridge and shredded coconut hiding in the back of the pantry. Mix it all together and the result was Pumpkin Coconut Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. I was feeling lazy and rather than do batches of cookies, I just filled a sheet pan with the batter and made into into cakey/cookie type bars.

Pumpkin Coconut Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ~1/2 cup raisins

Heat oven to 350. Cream together butter and brown sugar. Add pumpkin and eggs and mix until smooth. Add in flour through baking soda and stir until just mixed. Fold in raisins. For cookies, bake for 15 minutes, or create cookie bars and bake for about ~30 minutes. They’re amazing!

Dill-icious Potato Leek Soup

It’s fall! Or Autumn if you’re fancy. That means soup, at least to me it does. I could go on for a very long time about how much I love soup, but I won’t. Let’s just say it’s a staple for us. Tonight’s soup was loosely based on other soups I’ve made and eaten, but was in large part dictated by what we had in the house. A big pot of veggies always makes me happy!

Here’s went into this one.

CREAMY DILL POTATO SOUP

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance margarine
  • ~about 20oz Red Skinned Potatoes, cubed
  • 1 leek, white part only, sliced
  • about half an onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Dill
  • dash of dried Marjoram
  • 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2-1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup milk
  • big spoonful goat cheese, about 2 tablespoons
  1. Heat oil and margarine in stockpot over medium heat.
  2. Saute potatoes, leek, and onion for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add dill through wine and bring to a boil.
  4. Lower heat and simmer 15 minutes until potatoes are cooked.
  5. Add milk and goat cheese and puree with an immersion blender (the best soup-making tool ever!
  6. Garnish with fresh dill.

RESULTS!

Poor Brent had to eat a bowl of cereal this morning because he was out of bread, and could not have his usual eggs and toast breakfast. So, I also made some bread. I was going to make my honey whole wheat sourdough, but it ended up with some variations because I seemed to be having a momentary bout of amnesia.

I knew I had enough whole wheat flour but I could not for the life of me find it while making the bread! So I used a combination of bread flour and a bit of whole wheat graham flour that I found. Well anyway, while the bread was baking, I found my whole wheat flour in the fridge, where I had put it last week after reading that whole grain flours go rancid more quickly. Whoops. Bread turned out very tasty regardless.

Oh Honey, Honey

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For our bread needs this week, I wanted to make a regular old sandwich loaf, for Brent to eat with his eggs every morning. Yes, we live in a land of constant exotic variety here in the Monroe household. When I was looking through my mostly empty fridge and saw my sourdough starter sitting there forlornly wishing to be used, it was decided: SOURDOUGH!

Other than the sourdough flavor, the other major player here is HONEY, so it’s got a bit of a sweet and sourish tang thing going on. The honey also gave it a nice dark brown color when it baked (along with the whole wheat flour).

This bread has really great flavor, and according to Brent, it is “surprisingly soft.” I ate a slice last night with jam, as a taste test.

I also ate 2 slices buttered with Earth Balance with dinner tonight. Very comforting. I’ve posted the recipe to the right, and I believe you can make this without the starter, but it wouldn’t have the sourdough flavor aspect, so you’d just get the subtle sweetness from the honey. I really recommend trying it. More OLYMPICS tonight!!

Sourdough Rye, Oh My

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Lame title I know, but moving on… This bread recipe is “Roberta’s Sourdough Rye” from The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book, and the starter is from the same book. Last night in preparation for today’s sourdough festivities I combined 3/4 cup of my starter with 1.5 cups of flour and 3/4 cup water and left it to ferment overnight.

This morning I added the rest of the ingredients: yeast, more flour, more water, salt and caraway seeds. I kneaded the dough for quite a while. It was extremely stiff so I had the Kitchen Aid mixer do a lot of it. After rising and deflating, I began shaping:

I rolled the dough flat to get the gas out of it, then I began rounding it by folding the sides inward:

Then I just flipped it over and made sure all the foldsĀ  were tucked underneath for the final rising:

I made one hearth style round and then one loaf for sandwiches. I slashed each before putting into the oven. They baked in the oven with boiling water on the bottom to help steam them and create a good crust:

After the bread came out, I let them cool on a wire rack before trying a slice:

It was chewy but not too dense.

I tried a slice warm with some earth balance and I thought the flavor was great. I think the rye flavor was more apparent than the sourdough, but the sour flavor definitely came through, especially in the aftertaste. The dough didn’t rise as much as I thought it would have, so I think next time I would make this same amount of dough into 1 larger loaf. The flour was a mix of whole grain rye and stone-ground whole wheat. We’re going to be eating this all week long as sandwiches for lunch.

Brent Makes a Sandwich!

Just for fun:

Lightlife Fake Bacon

Bacon gets a friend, Mr. Egg

Flip it, Flip it Good

Completion!

Maybe some cookies tomorrow…

P.S. the lemon cake still tastes great today. I actually think the flavor got better the next day.