Friday, November 25, 2011

Gratitude plus one day ~

I think here - where some of my food thoughts end up online - I'll be grateful for the best and most beautiful loaf of rye bread I've made to date....included in the gratitude is equal thankfulness for all the breads that were not as tasty, over-proofed, dull, what have you...they lead me to be keep looking. 

My wish is for those that are afraid of let go and stay at least start looking...and those that keep looking.  Self love shows up even in in the form of bread.  *smiling* ...and giggling a little at myself.  

Toodles ~

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cinnamon Raisin Almond bread ~

 Oh, heavens.  At the time of this writing (Sunday) there is a close scent of cinnamon raisin bread.  Not from baking either, but from kneading the dough an hour ago, the scent lingers in my fingers.  This brings a warm inner smile inside.   I touched FLD’s face. Smiling he asked, “Is that cinnamon raisin bread I smell?”  There are almonds in the dough as well.

Sunday snapshots.  What an evening, serene from the inside out.   The children watching two back-to-back shows of “Nature”, chicken stock simmering on the stove, bread rising on the adjacent burner for warmth.  Little One More (Sofia) left me a love note on my settee while I got up to check stock and dough, smiling in wait for me to discover it when I returned.  Earlier all three children stood in the middle of our tiny livingroom having a distance contest with paper airplanes.  Sofia made us all our own custom drawn and colored airplanes.  Earlier in the day was a verbal tussle (or two) with the teenager fueled personality FLD and hormonal tired of hearing it Me.  That’s never too pretty.  :)  Forgive easily, learn and do better next time.  Sofia added to her Christmas list.  Annie, as tall as I am, sat on my lap and hugged me.  All in all…as usual…no matter what happens, every day is a good day.

Today is a good day with a lot of bread.  This is the recipe for one breads I baked.

Linked to wonderful Yeastspotting and this week's guest host Hefe und mehr

Cinnamon Raisin Almond bread ~
Heavy and dense.

Sponge or old dough - 8 oz.
4 ½ tsp. yeast *(see notes)
¼ c. warm water - 105-115 degrees
1 ¼ c. bleached white flour**(see notes)
2 ½ - 3 c. whole wheat pastry flour
¼ c. sugar
1 T. kosher salt
2 T. cinnamon
1 1/3 c. warm water
2 c. raisins
1 ¼ c. chopped almonds
  • In a small bowl, add hot water to the raisins, barely covering. 
  • Proof 2 ¼ tsp. of the yeast in the ¼ c. warm water, let sit 3-5 minutes.
  • Mix the flour, sugar, white flour and 2 ½ c. of the whole wheat pastry flour, salt and cinnamon
  • Add the warm water and the old dough (or sponge) to a mixing bowl and squish the dough up into bits.  This is fun!
  • Add proofed yeast and the remaining 2 ¼ tsp. dry yeast.
  • Slowly add the flours.  Mix until shaggy and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Resume mixing to kneading.  Add any more of the ½ c. of flour if needed, but do not make it tough to knead by adding too much.  
  • Drain the water from the raisins, add them to the dough along with the almonds.  Knead until evenly distributed.
  • Cover and let rise until double.
  • When double divide the dough and roll each into a round.  Cover and let rise until almost double.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees approximately ½ hour before bake time.
  • When almost double, glaze and slash if desired.  And egg wash is great.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 and bake until done - approximately 20-30 more minutes.  Check temperature of bread if you are unsure. - 200-220 degrees.

Notes ~
    * It was late in the evening- I had leftover old dough to use or toss - I more than doubled the yeast because I didn’t feel like staying up extra late or refrigerating and baking the dough the next day.  Use less yeast if you have more time.
    ** Yes, I know…unbleached flour in a bread recipe?  Yep, it’s all I had of white.  I have all kinds of flour, but no unbleached white in the house.  Sometimes…as a baker of sweets, unbleached does give better results depending on what it is used for.   Wanting to offset some of the wheat flour, I added what I had.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tomato soup ~

I made this last Saturday and again on Monday.  The second go round I found out the following:  This is one of the few things all three children will not want to eat again.  Even though FLD said, “Hey, this is really good!”…turns out he thinks one needs to chew in order to be satisfied and an occasional succulent tomato doesn‘t qualify.  He’s wrong, but he’s 14, so he’s not wrong.  Parent?  You understand.  Miss Annabelle said she liked it, too - surprisingly.  In a surprised happy hopeful enthusiasm I asked if she would have more.  No, she won’t.  Strike two.  I barely needed to look in the direction of Little One More to know her reaction.  She silently balks at things with tomatoes in it.  She was so proud of herself telling me that she ate three bites.  Truth is, I was proud of her. My fragile food ego was not bruised.  Much.  

The ending which resulted in those that were pleased with this soup:  When I had company over Saturday night, this was on the menu.   They both had seconds.  It’s good.  I’ll be making this every winter from here on out - that’s how much I loved it.  And to love means I don’t need to have it verified by an outside source to have my love be validated.  That’s not soup talk.  May your week be one that is full of honest love.  

Tomato soup ~

2 T. olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced - approximately 1 c.
3 large garlic cloves, minced
Freshly ground pepper
Kosher salt
Fresh thyme leaves, approximately 2-3 tsp.
Fire roasted tomatoes, loosely drained, leaving approximately 2 lbs. of the tomatoes to work with. (see note)
2 c. chicken stock
3 T. unsalted butter

  • Heat a soup pot over medium heat.  Add olive oil when hot. 
  •  Add the onion, salt, pepper.  Saute for five minutes or until slightly browned.
  • Add the garlic, saute for a minute longer.  Be careful to not brown garlic.Add the thyme leaves, tomatoes, stock.  Bring to a simmer - a steady, full simmer - let simmer 30 minutes.  This will reduce by quite a bit.  (see notes)
  • Add butter and remove from heat.  Stir to melt the butter.
  • Remove approximately 2/3 of the tomatoes to a blender.  Do not close up the top completely or the heat will blow the lid off.  Instead, use a towel over ¾ of the top with the lid more than ajar.  Start off on low and puree.  
  • Return the pureed soup to the pot.  Add more stock at this point if you want a thinner soup.
  • “Oh boy!” said the porcelain bowl, “Tomato soup comin’ up!!”
  • Croutons and parmesan cheese optional…but oh, what a nice bonus.
Notes -

Possibly two 28 oz. cans of fire roasted tomatoes, drained, might be enough.  I buy 6 lb.+ cans of fire roasted tomatoes, so I only know what I measured out and weighed from a larger can to make this recipe.

The yield from simmering and reducing will vary depending on how vigorous your simmer winks at you.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Half & half ~

This recipe using half whole wheat pastry flour, half white flour, smaller breads, less baking time, different toppings.  Dinner.  Easy peasy.  

~ From back - pesto, roasted garlic, caramelized onions & tomato, caramelized onions-roasted garlic-fresh rosemary ~
 Shared at Yeastspotting - a wonderful place to hang out.  :)  Guest host for the week ~ Bewitching Kitchen