Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This Week's Eatwell Box - 11/30/2011

We've got more good stuff coming our way from Eatwell Farm.  This week's box features:

Hachiya Persimmons
Crocodile Spinach
Bok Choi
Florence Fennel

Great food as always this week.  Bok choi and Collards stir fry with chicken or shrimp sounds good to me.  Mandarin oranges for lunches or snacks along with the hachiya persimmons (they are the pointier looking persimmons - soft almost like custard when ready to eat).  The arugula, fennel, and raddichio will make great salads.  Dill is calling out for a bit of salmon and a side of spinach. Hmmm, maybe some cottage cheese dill bread from the Tassajara Cookbook.  Lots of good eats here.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This Week's Eatwell Farm Box - Something to give Thanks for

So here's what's in the box this week: -

Fuyu Persimmons
Broccoli, Cauliflower OR Romanesco
Winter Squash
Diane Sweet Potatoes
Rosemary & Thyme Bunch
Tokyo Turnips
Mixed Baby Lettuce
Red Russian Kale
*Lemon Salt Sample

What great stuff!  Sweet potatoes, winter squash and turnips with lemon salt,  a drizzle of honey, balsamic vinegar and olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh herbs(rosemary, thyme) then baked in the oven until tender.  The broccoli will make a tasty gratin.  Leeks, celery, spinach and kale - add some carrots, potatoes, diced cooked chicken and chicken broth for a hearty soup.  Serve the soup with a fresh salad and some bread for a complete meal.  Use the apples in a crisp and make salad dressing with the pomegranate seeds.  So many good things in the box, this time of year!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rainy day - time for soup!

Alright so, it's always time for soup in my book, except for the warmest summer days.  In an attempt to use up all the squash(2 small red kuris and 2 small delicatas) and greens(cabbage and collards), I put together a big pot of lamb stew.  It's perking away on the stove right now with a nice big lamb shank in it thanks to Sierra Farms in Oroville, CA.  Mel Thompson provides the most flavorful lamb at a great price, cut and wrapped half or whole lambs at $7 lb.  The taste of this lamb is exceptional. 

We had a small rack of lamb last night for dinner with baked sweet potatoes and steamed romanesco.  The lamb was just terrific.  Just can't say enough about Mel's product.  Oh, and the romanesco (fractal broccoli/cauliflower) was good too.  I would've posted a picture, but we were too busy eating to take one. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Soul Food Farm Visit Today!

We took a ride out to Vacaville today to visit Soul Food Farm.  They provide us with great pasture raised meat chickens for our dinners and great chicken broth for soups.  We feasted with several other CSA participants on homemade chicken soup, bread and cheese.  It was great to get out and walk around the farm among all the chickens, some fenced and some roaming freely, all  enjoying their day.  It was also good to see so many children at the farm.  Eric (farm owner) gave tractor rides and Alexis (farm owner) treated us to a wonderful meal topped off with berry pie and whipped cream.  Here's a picture of the bread and cheese we contributed to a great day.  Many thanks and a great time visiting with other CSA members, too.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Aunt Lillian's Apple Cake

Today, I am baking Aunt Lillian's Apple Cake from the book "Inside the Jewish Bakery" by Ginsberg and Berg.  The cake uses eggs and baking powder as the primary leavening.  There's no butter in this cake - vegetable oil serves as the fat.  The batter is made and then placed in alternate layers with cinnamon and sugared diced (1 inch) apples.  I'll post a picture soon, once it's out of the oven and cooled.  Presenting (ta-da!) the cake-

Monday, November 14, 2011

Seedy Whole Wheaty Sourdough Bread

Two days ago, plus yesterday and today to make 2 loaves of seeded whole wheat sourdough bread - I found the recipe on http://www.freshloaf.com and boy, is it good bread!  Worth the wait and then some.
Here are some pictures of the loaves and a close up of the crumb the bread has.  This hearty bread will be great toasted with some melted cheese on top and a nice bowl of soup. This week the soup is Red Kuri Squash and Fennel soup - recipe at http://www.eatwell.com  Thanks, Eatwell Farm, for a delicious soup to go with this bread.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This Week's Eatwell Box - 11/16/2011

This week we will be treated to the following items in our box of Eatwell Farm goodies:

Fuyu Persimmons
Green Cabbage
Broccoli, Cauliflower OR Romanesco
Green Onions
Collard Greens
Italian Parsley
Hot Peppers
Delicata Squash
Red Kuri OR Festival Squash
Eggplant (Bonus Item)

Those persimmons will sure be good for lunches or maybe an arugula and persimmon salad?  Eggplant will be roasted and made into baba ganoush served with some homemade whole wheat crackers on the side.  Broccoli, Cauliflower or Romanesco will make a gratin.  Green onions, collards and spinach would make a good filling for ravioli.  Cabbage and squash would go well with a lamb shank and some beans in a hearty soup along with carrot and celery.  Hot peppers in some bread along with jack cheese would make great soup bread.  Pomegrate would make up a good salad dressing for the arugula and persimmon salad.  And of course the parsley will add to lamb soup flavor and can be dried for later use.  This box is just overflowing with good things!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Whole Wheat Sourdough Sandwich Bread!

Finally, success making a completely whole wheat bread  with Eatwell Farm Expresso flour.  The recipe comes from the website http://www.thefreshloaf.com  If you go to their website, select Handbook at the top of the page and then recipes on the subsequent page you will see the recipe listed.  It made a big ol' loaf. I probably could have put it in a bigger (9x5)  pan without a problem, but I didn't want to risk it.  Also, I probably could have done the full three hour initial ferment instead of just about 2 hours.  The loaf did 'pull' on one side probably due to under proofing.  I got nervous half way thru the bake when the crust was looking pretty anemic so I rubbed some cold butter on it while it was in the oven.  Also, I rubbed more butter on the top crust when it came out to hopefully provide a softer crust. I have to wait at least an hour before I cut into it (patience!)  The bread -

Next time, I'm going to try an updated version of this recipe that makes two loaves (also on the same site but need to search for whole wheat sourdough sandwich to find it).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rugelach from Inside The Jewish Bakery

Today, I tried my first recipe from Inside the Jewish Bakery, Rugelach.  The recipe had some issues - like you really need to roll out 2 pieces of dough 18 x 8 instead of just one and you need to roll them out thinner than 1/8 inch.  I made 36 cookies from the recipe instead of the supposed 24, bonus!  Also, the recipe had you make up twice as much cinnamon sugar mix as you really needed.  But, the results are very tasty.

Sesame Thins - a taste of home

My mom used to make these cookies periodically.  I made a batch for some friends recently and thought I would post the recipe here.  These are very addictive cookies!

Sesame Thins

2 cups Flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 cup Butter or Margarine (2 sticks)
1 cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 pkgs. Sesame Seeds (2 oz. each)

Sift: Flour, baking soda & salt into small bowl.
Cream: Butter with sugar until fluffy in a large bowl; beat in egg & vanilla.
Stir In: Flour mixture, half at a time. Blend well to make a soft dough. Wrap in waxed paper & chill seveal hours or until firm enough to handle.
Roll: Roll dough a teaspoon at a time into small balls & roll sesame seeds in a plate to coat lightly. Place 2 inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake: in a moderate oven @ 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until delicately golden. Remove and cool completely. Makes 8 dozen.

Soup and Bread - It's winter time!

What I love most about eating with the seasons is that each season has its special treat.  For me, winter means time for soup or stew and a good loaf of homemade bread.  Not much can top that for a lunch or dinner.  Yesterday, I made a lamb stew with fennel, napa cabbage, carrots, leeks and a lamb shank.  Here's the recipe:

Lamb Stew (Makes about 1 gallon of soup)

1/2 lb. dried lima beans, soaked overnight, with 2 bay leaves
3-4 TBSP Olive oil
3 leeks, washed and rinsed well, cut into circles no more than 1/8 inch thick
1 fennel bulb, diced along with the chopped fronds
1 medium napa cabbage, cut in shreds
4 large carrots, diced
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
1 TBSP dried parsley
3 bay leaves
2 tsp. salt or more to your taste
generous grinding of fresh black pepper
2 TBSP minced fresh parsley
1 lamb shank

In a heavy bottomed soup pot over medium high heat, heat the olive oil.  Add the sliced leeks and salt.  Saute until leeks start to wilt.  Add the fennel, carrots and cabbage, dry seasonings and black pepper.  Turn the heat down to low and cover the pot.  Cook the veggies for 10 minutes, stirring well about 5 minutes into the cooking time. Place the lamb shank on top of the veggies.   Remove bay leaves from the lima beans, then strain the soaked lima beans and rinse under water.  Place the beans in the pot with the lamb and veggies. Add enough water to cover everything 1 or 2 inches (you can make the soup as thick or thin as you like, but be sure to put in enough water to cook the beans as they will absorb water as they cook).  Add the fresh parsley. Bring the heat up to medium high until the soup comes to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer 2-4 hours until the meat falls off the lamb shank bone.  Stir occasionally during this time to ensure even cooking and add water if needed during this time. Remove the bay leaves.  Eat some hot soup now or allow to cool and place in containers to freeze or refrigerate for later use. 

We had this soup today for lunch with some fresh baked sourdough rye bread - recipe on http://www.breadtopia.com


Here's a picture of the bread:

Monday, November 7, 2011

What's in the Box? - 11/9/2011

More good stuff heading our way from Eatwell Farm, this week's box stars:

Granny Smith Apples
Florence Fennel
French Breakfast Radishes
Bunching Onions
Red Kuri
Crocodile Spinach
Fuyu Persimmons
Cauliflower OR Romanesco
Eggplant *bonus item

Michael will be so happy to have the persimmons.  This time of the year, they are his favorite to take for lunch.  I have designs on that dill and bunching onions for a low fat schmear of salmon, yogurt cheese, dill, and onion.  The tatsoy and cauliflower will make a great stir fry.  Red Kuri squash baked in the oven might get made into a soup or maybe we'll just eat it as is, with a side of spinach and a salad.  The eggplant will be the basis for an eggplant and tomato sauce with a touch of vodka in it to blend the flavors.  The carrots will find their way into chicken broth that I need to make so I have some on hand for soups.  Granny smith apples will make a great crisp or maybe an apple cake.  Of course the radishes will add a nice crunch to our salad this week along with the fennel.  Yum!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Going Crackers!

I found a great recipe for using up sour dough starter when you don't feel like making bread right away. The recipe is from http://www.thefreshloaf.com.

Sourdough Whole Wheat Crackers

1 cup 'discarded' sour dough starter (the starter you take out in order to 'refresh' your sourdough)
1/4 cup room temperature butter
1 cup whole wheat flour or as much as needed to form a stiff dough
1/2 tsp salt
Olive oil to brush the tops of the crackers
Coarse salt or other seasonings (sesame seeds, kolongji seeds, caraway - whatever you like)

Combine the butter with the starter, add the salt. Add enough flour to form a stiff dough. Knead.   Knead the seeds or seasonings into the dough. Set the dough in a bowl and allow to sit for at least an hour.   Roll the dough on a silpat or parchment paper a thinly as you want for crackers.  Score the dough into cracker-sized squares or rectangles (roughly 1 1/2 inch by 1 1/2 inch or whatever size you like) using a pizza cutter or sharp knife.  Brush with olive oil. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes or until the crackers are golden brown and crisp.  Remove from oven and cool completely. Enjoy! Place any leftover crackers(if there are any, LOL) in an airtight sealed baggie or food container.

The cracker dough is resting now and in about 3-5 hours I'll bake them. Stay tuned for the outcome.

Friday, November 4, 2011

When the Moon Hits Your Eye like a Big Pizza Pie...

I just finished putting together some pizza dough based on a recipe found on http://www.breadtopia.com (they have everything you would want for baking good bread including some great videos and recipes). It's rising now. After its rise and shaping, we'll top it all off with some tomato sauce, a bit of homemade pesto (thank you, Eatwell Farm, for all the basil) and the last of the homemade mozzarella cheese. Into a 450F oven for 12-15 minutes as the pizza we are making is thick crust (hope it bakes thru). Yum! Fresh salad with that and a glass of wine, put your feet up and relax.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rustic Bread Baking Today

In the quest to develop my bread baking skills, today I am making a rustic bread recipe from http://www.thefreshloaf.com  The recipe makes two loaves but I decreased everything to make 1 loaf. The dough just finished the second stretch and fold of the bulk fermentation (first rise) process.  The dough has another 1 1/2 hours to rise before shaping. 

For my birthday, I received 2 brotforms, a 9 inch round and an 11 inch oval.  I washed them with hot water, dried them and sprayed with a thin film of cooking spray a few days ago.  Today I prepared the round brotform by liberally dusting it with a combination of 50% white rice flour and 50% all purpose flour, being sure to work the flour into the little nooks of the form.  The brotform is used in the final proofing of the dough.  I'll be making a boule with the rustic bread dough.  Stay tuned for updates on the bread's progress from dough to finished product.

Here is a picture of the finished loaf:

The obligatory crumb shot: