Showing posts with label bread. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bread. Show all posts

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Curd at Home

For breakfast, I had toast with butter & fruit curd, with some jasmine green tea to drink.


Breakfast (which is fundamentally different from brunch, should you wonder) is my least favorite meal of the day. I hate breakfast cereal, and can only handle oatmeal, yogurt, or other quaint "breakfasty" things on occasion. I usually either skip it, have some coffee or tea, forget about food completely, and wonder why I'm feeling faint at 2pm, or I suck it up and nosh a few pieces of toast. Today was the latter. And you know, homemade fruit curd made breakfast relatively tolerable.

I made it a few days back, the impetus being most of a bag of Meyer lemons left hanging around the house after a roast chicken dinner. I used Ina Garten's lemon curd recipe, but added a few strawberries, pureed and sieved, to the mix. The result was a candied Orange Julius-flavored curd that did not quite set. I'm not sure if it's due to the lower acid Meyers, or to the strawberries. Because of my storied history of egg-related mishaps, I actually did measure the temperature with a lab thermometer as I cooked, so I know that wasn't the issue.

At least it's not runny.


Regardless, it tastes unique and pretty fabulous. The remainder might end up in tarts, empanadas, or some sort of layered panna cotta goodness...I haven't decided yet.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Completely Obsessed

...with baking bread. Seriously, this old NYT recipe is so easy. And I've baked, and been frustrated by, a lot of bread. Easy. I googled around to see if anyone had put the recipe online (they had), and was really depressed to see everyone else is getting much prettier results.


Whatever. It tastes great, even when made completely from white whole wheat flour, and it takes no time at all. I mixed up a batch, walked the dog, rolled it around a little, waited awhile, and baked it perfectly in time for dinner.


Still warm, with some shallot butter? Brilliant.

[Digressive edit: one of those links, the one with the prettier-than-mine bread, is actually an awesome-looking blog. Jon's sort of crushed my longstanding live-in-the-Rustbelt-and-build-stuff fantasies, but now I know where to go to get my fix...]

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

French Onion Soup-ish

For dinner, I kind of had French onion soup. Not nearly as deconstructed as this, but almost.


It all started when I tried to make a baguette. I'm still madly in love with the New York Times Cookbook, which I received as a Christmas present. And bread is one of those things I wish I made more often, just because you miss it if you don't have it, and homemade is always best.

So I used the Craig Claiborne/Pierre Franey recipe (couldn't find it online...buy the cookbook, you'll like it. Or borrow mine) for French bread. I used wine yeast, because I happened to have a little lying around. I don't think it really makes a difference though.


It has to be the technique. It's a really simple recipe, and, per usual, I messed with it by using mostly white whole wheat flour instead of white. It still turned out well. I was concerned that the inside was so dense in appearance:


But it turned out perfectly. The dense texture held well when I used it for almond butter & blueberry jam sandwiches at lunch, and was a nice counterpoint to the onion jam at dinner.

Onions?


It was sort of the same confit recipe as before. This time, I measured to make sure I was slicing the onions more or less uniformly at 1/4". My new general rule is to use approximately a tablespoon, or a bit more, of butter per pound of onions. And to cook them very, very slowly. These I removed from heat after 1.5 to 2 hours, when they had barely changed to a light toffee color. I added a little kosher salt toward the beginning, and a little red wine towards the end. This time, I also chose to puree them a bit in the food processor, to yield nicely uniform bits.

To make the "soup", I covered some caramelized onion puree with sliced cubes of bread and shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano and briefly heated it. I can't overstate how awesome slow-cooked onions are- it's pure umami goodness. You don't need to use a ton of butter for a smooth, savory flavor. The bread was also a success, though maybe I'd add a little more water next time- I always forget the white whole wheat flour soaks up more moisture and you have to adjust.

To drink, I had a Dogfish Head "Raison d' Etre". It's becoming one of my local-ish go-to beers for complex, interesting flavors. It has a Belgian feel, with some light banana/clove flavors and heavier 'green' flavors- apple, maybe pear? Unique and interesting and substantial, but it still goes well with most foods.