July 2008 archive

One Local Summer – week seven

The past few weeks have been pretty crazy with lots of wedding stuff to do but we still managed to eat most of our meals local.  Here are some of the things we’ve had:

Chicken & mushroom kebabs with Tamari-Miso roasted eggplant slices – only the oil, vinegar, spices, tamari and miso weren’t local.

BT sandwich with homemade mayo, local bacon, homegrown tomatoes and homemade bread.  The oil and vinegar in the mayo wasn’t local.  Technically, the bread wasn’t either because the flour isn’t local.  However, I count buying locally made bread as eating local and how much more local can you get than your own kitchen?  The bread was to die for!!!  I didn’t mistype that – this was a BT sandwich, not a BLT.  Lettuce is way out of season here.

Roasted pouisson(that’s a young chicken) with roasted local potatoes and onions and fresh tomato salad – the tomatoes are starting to produce in our backyard so we have tomatoes with white, yellow, orange, red, pink, green, purple and striped tomatoes going into our salads.

Steak with a made up on the spot chimichurri sauce using green tomatoes, parsley, vietnamese coriander (my new favorite plant).  Only the oil and red wine vinegar weren’t local.  Plus we threw together a salad with young chard leaves, some herbs and purslane from our garden.  Even if I can’t keep up with the weeds, I can at least eat some of them.

This summer has been the summer of fruit.  We had very little fruit last year because of the late frost so we’ve been gorging ourselves this year.  Lots of peaches and plums now and we’re going to head out this week to pick blackberries and blueberries.  I can’t wait to make a Blueberry Crisp!

Mark and I are going to start trying out recipes for the apple butter we want to give as favors at our wedding.  If anyone has a favorite apple butter recipe, I’d love to hear about it.  I’m also looking for apple suggestions.  Our favorite is Stayman Winesaps but I’m open to other choices.

The best bread ever!

I’m a but late jumping on the bandwagon but we recently tried the No-Knead bread that’s making it’s way around the internet.  All I can say is WOW!  If you live someplace with great bakeries like NYC or California, you probably won’t be as impressed but I live in a city where a lot of people think Panera is the cream of the crop.  We do have two local bakeries that we patronize but one of them is known more for their sweets and the other, while pretty tasty, sells their peasant bread for $4 a small loaf.  The bread we made was better and a lot cheaper, even with organic flour and King Authur White Whole Wheat flour.  We tried two recipes – they were both delicious so we’re going to have to do a taste test with both of them to decide which one we like the best.

Here’s the first recipe. I’ll try to get the other one typed up and posted this week.

No-Knead Bread (New York Times)
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

NOTES: I used one cup of King Arthur White Whole flour instead of all white flour and I’m going to keep increasing that amount in future tries.  My dough hung out in the cellar for 18 hours during it’s first rise.