29 July 2011

Light on the dressing

I just received my fruits and veggies from the farm share...Fridays are always great days.  What I love about summer produce is that most of it is best when raw and fresh.  

I just cut 2 cucumbers, a peach, and a tomato up.  Combined them in a bowl with a handful of micro greens, a splash of olive oil and balsamic, a smidgen of salt and pepper.  Voila - have myself a nice fresh salad for lunch. Thank you earth :) 

How's your summer eating?

20 July 2011

I started doing this

Follow Me on Pinterest 
Which is a great new distraction and I feel like a good way to organize wedding thoughts and ideas. You might get bored of it, but I think it's pretty darn cool.  Thanks to Joy & Tracy for talking about it on their podcast! (ps. if you haven't already, start listening to their podcast).

It's been a few of those days.  Life's on the lows but, as I have said before and I will say again, this too shall pass.

the best part is the grass people.

18 July 2011

Yeast and flour smell so good

Why is it that that's so true.  On my day off today I decided to bake some bread - proper sandwich loaf - and man does it smell and look good!  It's been nice, sitting in the house working on ideas for wedding stuff, working on my resume, even going for a walk and catching up with some old friends...all the while in the background of my day the bread hangs out.  Then once in the oven the smell of fresh bread eeks out making my apartment smell delightful! 
And man does it taste good. Best bread I have made thus far, for REALS yo.  

After spending about an hour doing research about how to switch whole wheat flour for the bread flour and whether I could use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, I came up with my rendition of this recipe....and remembered that I have durum flour (a high-protein/high-gluten flour) in my cabinet thanks to my older sister who has a love of perfect pizza dough. So, here you go.  

Sarah & Janell - I think you both should make this.

Light Wheat Bread
Makes one two-pound loaf

2 1/2 C unbleached durum flour (or high-gluten or bread flour)
1 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 t honey
1 1/2 t salt
3 tablespoons powdered goats milk (I'm sure regular powdered milk works too!)
1 3/4 t dry active yeast (it's really just over 1 3/4 t - as you are supposed increase original by 25%)
2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 C water, at room temperature

Stir together the durum flour, whole-wheat flour, salt, powdered milk and yeast in a large mixing bowl (or if you have a stand mixer, in that bowl). Proof your yeast w. some lukewarm water, let sit for 5 minutes.  Add yeast mixture, butter, honey and water.  Stir or mix on the lowest speed with the paddle/bread piece until the ingredients form a ball.  Flour still on the bottom?  Add a little more lukewarm/room temp water.  Dough should feel soft and supple not firm and stiff.

Sprinkle whole-wheat flour on your kneading area, and begin kneading (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook...however, I think that this is your opportunity to get really up close and familiar with your bread making process AND as tough as it is to do for 10 minutes, it's rather nice).  Add more flour if too sticky, you want the dough to be a little tacky so don't add too much!  Kneading should take about 10 minutes (6 minutes by machine). The dough should pass the windowpane test - pull off a small piece after ~5 minutes, pull it apart slowly, is it snapping apart too quickly?  You've got more kneading to do!! Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Proof at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

Take the dough out of the bowl and press it by hand into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick, 6 inches wide, and 8 to 10 inches long. Make your loaf by rolling it from the short side, pinching the crease with each rotation to strengthen the surface tension. It will spread wider as you roll it. Pinch the final seam closed. Place the loaf in a lightly oiled 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch bread pan (ends of the loaf should touch the ends of the pan to ensure an even rise).  Rub some oil on the top of the dough and loosely cover with plastic wrap.

(2nd proof!) Proof at room temperature for approximately 60 minutes, or until the dough crests above the lip of the pan. .. this varies from place to place.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.

Place the bread pan on a sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue baking for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the oven. The finished loaf should register 190 degrees F in the center, be golden brown on the top and the sides, and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

When the bread is finished baking, remove it immediately from the loaf pan and cool it on a rack for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours, before slicing or serving. ... you can make it those 2 hours. TOTALLY WORTH IT!!

enjoy! xo

01 July 2011


I seem to always try to make fridge pickles. My problem, a) I never have "enough" cucumbers or whatever it is I am pickling, b) I don't really measure my brine ingredients c) or my spices, d) I rush it and e) I don't follow directions well.

So, these are sort of from Mark Bittman's website.  I'd say, wait until I see if winging it is sufficient enough OR if you want to jump on this train right now, follow the directions.  His directions not mine.

I wonder if this realization about how I make pickles could correlate to how I live my life...both the positive and the negatives of it all.  Hmmm. Maybe there's room for some soul searching here.

This is what they look like, at this point (the beginning):
What I did was: took 1 Persian cucumber, 2 large radishes, 2 summer squashes and probably 6-8 cloves of garlic.  Then I cut them all up and shoved them in the jar, like the other recipe says, I sprinkled spices as I went.  I used: dry dill, coriander, black peppercorn, yellow mustard seeds, fennel, bay leaves and a thing my friend got me from St. Martin's called magic spice. Oh, and salt.   I also boiled 1/4 cup kosher salt with 3 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups of white vinegar.  Once it was boiled, I poured as much as I could over the veggies, closed the top, shook it all around and added more.  I did this a few times until I lost what felt like too many of my spice balls....you know what I mean.  And now, they come to room temp and I leave them in the fridge for 2+ days.

I'll let you know how they turn out!

Ever make quick fridge pickles? Got a good recipe? What have you been cooking now that summer is here?