Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2 Different Methods of Making Bread

In short: Kneading vs. No-Knead.
Growing up, we always kneaded our dough, believing that it was necessary to develop the gluten and produce fluffy results. While this is true, kneading is not the only way to create the 'elastic-y' stretch in the dough before it moves onto its second rise.
TIME works in just the same way. If you create a wetter dough -- mixing to combine instead of kneading -- then let it sit for 18 hours, results will be just as good, if not better.
My new favourite recipe is Jim Lahey's no-knead bread. 
While it takes quite a bit of time to prepare, the actual hands-on time is very little (around 15 minutes).
It's taste, texture and crust are the closest I've come to good-quality restaurant bread.

Once in a while I'll make kneaded bread for sandwiches (I find it has a smaller hole-size and a softer crust), but for bruschetta, dipping in oil, eating on its own, etc, I'll make the no-knead version.
The first two pictures are of the kneaded loaf, and the third photo features the no-knead results. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Greens Galore!

Spring is the time of year for all things green! Sprouts, lettuce, peas, asparagus, asian-greens, green-herbs...
After a winter of beans, cabbage, meats and starchy foods, I'm utterly content to slip into herbivore bliss.
Our CSA pickup at Fertile Grounds this week was (in excitement level) similar to Christmas morning.
The 100-mile diet has never seen it so good.
I've been munching away on salads everyday, and have been throwing fresh dill, cilantro, summer-savory, rose-merry, basil, thyme, parsley, oregano and tarragon into pretty much everything.
TGIS --> Thank God it's Spring!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sunday Baking with Friend

Heading into exams, what better way to cope than with a multitude of amazing pies?
Apple crumble and strawberry-rhubarb.
Fresh, seasonal fruit made them even sweeter!
My friend Sav (in the last picture) makes the BEST crumble :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What's for Dinner? Pan-Fried New York Striploin, Spicy Potatoes & Roasted Tomatoes & Asparagus

Long-time blog readers will know that I'm not a big fan of expensive cuts of meat. Besides the odd splurge on a leg of lamb or a prime-rib roast, I find that with a little extra cooking time, tougher (and cheaper!) cuts of meat can taste just as good, if not better. With this meal however, I went for it! 2 beautiful, marbled new your strips from Charles' meats at the Kitchener market and a variety of seasonal vegetables. The vine-tomatoes were as sweet as candy after 2 hours of roasting at a low temperature. As well, I served the meat with an herbed compound butter packed with fresh herbs from the farm. YUM!

Friday, June 17, 2011

What's for Dinner? Lentil Burgers with Asian Greens, Spicy Yogurt Sauce and Sweet Potato Fries

Meatless dinners are my favourite go-to for warm-weather cooking. Whether it be pasta, beans/legumes, eggs, etc, they are easy, usually quick and don't leave you feeling weighed down afterwards. To make the patties, I combined cooked green/red lentils, breadcrumbs, 2 eggs and a variety of fresh herbs/spices. With the right combination of wet to dry ingredients, they hold together very easily and cook in the pan beautifully. Served with some sauteed tat-soi and boch-choi, as well as a spoon of spicy, dill yogurt sauce, this was a phenomenal dinner.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

Asparagus Tart

The step-by-step making of a beautiful spring tart, bursting with ripe asparagus.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Toasties & Toppings

This is a great way to use up day-old bread.
Simply slice it up into little triangular wedges, brush with olive oil (I used local canola oil), rub with a clove of garlic and toast in the oven at 400 degrees F.
Make a variety of toppings and let people spoon on what they like.
I made:
- Bruschetta (with lots of fresh basil from the garden)
- Green Lentil and Asparagus
- Guacamole (for non-local eaters)


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Split Pea and Sweet Potato Soup

With many of the vegetables in our root cellar having reached their prime when the weather was cold, I am in a rush to use them up. Combined with chicken stock, boiled split peas, herbs and a splash of cream, I was able to get rid of 3 large sweet potatoes.