Honey Whole Wheat

Well, we broke in the new bread maker this weekend. First loaf was Honey Whole Wheat from the handy dandy recipe book that came with it. It’s supposed to be a start it and forget it machine, but we kept peeking through the little window on top to see what it was doing. It made a huge, 2 lb. loaf with slices 5-6 inches tall. An added bonus of the machine cooking away? The house smelled amazing!

LAYOUT 4

So far the bread has proven itself to be a tasty with butter, butter and jam, and peanut butter and honey. It was also best fresh out of the machine while it was still warm. Haven’t taken it for a full on double decker club sandwich run yet. Maybe this weekend. I’m also figuring out what the next loaf will be.  They have a lot to choose from in the book, and there are even some dough recipes for things like pretzels and cinnamon rolls. Chances are I’ll try both.

August Catch Up

I can’t believe we’re about to start our second full week of September already, I don’t know where the summer went! It’s still feeling more like summer than fall around here. A garden full of tomatoes and 90 degree weather makes it hard to think about. Over the past month we’ve had some more kitchen projects that I haven’t been able to update you on. All of them are designed to give us a taste of summer come January and February when we’re sick of the cold and snow.

Corn Chowder: recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.

corn chowder

Zucchini Bread, recipe below

20130909-203500.jpg

Canned Tomatoes: recipe from the Ball Canning Book

20130909-203836.jpg

We’ve been trying extra hard to not have any of our garden veggies go to waste this year. So far we’ve been doing pretty well. We’re getting an excess of zucchini again that we need to address. I think we have plenty of bread so I’m looking in to other preserving methods or easy week night recipes. So far the tomatoes have all been eaten or preserved. We’d be happy to eat our tomatoes as BLTs every night but I have a few other ideas in mind to switch it up.

Do any of you have tried and true recipes for summer? I’d love to hear from you!

Zucchini Bread- from mom’s kitchen

3 Eggs
2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Oil (canola or vegetable)
3 Cups Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
3 Cups Shredded and Peeled Zucchini
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts (optional)

1. Lightly grease two, 9 inch loaf pans. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream together eggs, sugar and oil
3. In separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder
4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to sugar, eggs and oil until completely blended
5. Add cinnamon and vanilla
6. When all other ingredients are combined, fold in zucchini and nuts if using until fully incorporated
7. Divide batter into 2 pans, cook for 50-60 minutes or until knife comes out clean

Summer Catch Up

It’s hard to believe the summer is half over already.  Back to school ads are all over the place and the nights are getting cooler again.  I realized that this time last year we were harvesting tomatoes and zucchinis and were working on our second harvest of raspberries.  This year we still have yet to see a red tomato or full grown zuke.  There’s been plenty of produce at the farmer’s market while we’re waiting for our garden, but it’s just not quite as exciting as picking a few bowls of your own cherry tomatoes.

summer catch up

Despite the lack of produce and posts, I have been doing a few projects in the kitchen.  We’ve made a batch of jam from the first raspberry harvest, I’ve made some wheat bread from scratch and we made BBQ Pulled Pork.

I’m trying to get myself motivated to try some new projects and new foods for the rest of the summer and into the fall.  To help get inspired, I bought a few books that should give me plenty to work with.

cookbooks

I have to say I’m most excited about my new text book ‘On Cooking’.  It’s sort of nerdy but I’m hoping reading through this will make me more comfortable with trying new foods and new cooking techniques.  I’m too quick to just throw something in olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Not always a bad thing but there’s got to be something more exciting.

The Green Room- Stillwater

Hi Everyone!  I hope you had a good holiday weekend:)
Like I said earlier The Hubs and I spent some of the weekend in Stillwater, Minnesota.   It’s a smaller town that sits on the St. Croix river and is full of antique shops and beautiful older buildings.  We checked out a few antique stores until we couldn’t look at another old china set.  My favorite find was the signed photo below.  The icy blue eyes of a husky……. 30 rock? anyone?

For lunch we checked out The Green Room.  It claimed ‘Local Food and World Cuisine’ however, I didn’t see anything on the menu or the website that called out what farms or suppliers they sourced locally.  I was disappointed there wasn’t information on it since that was my main reason for picking it out but the food was pretty tasty.  We were served warm fresh bread with herb butter and I’d ordered the spaghetti carbonara.

The pasta had really good flavor with a rich and creamy sauce.  The egg was cooked just right with a runny yoke and the pepper gave it just the right amount of kick.  It was really filling so I didn’t quite finish it but I would definitely go back and have it again.   It also made me want to go home to figure out the perfect way to poach an egg!

I’ve got a bit of catching up to do from the weekend, I don’t remember the last time I went to the grocery store, but I’m going to try and squeeze in both the dessert and drink of the month yet this week…. or I might just end up doubling up in June.  Either way you win:)

Pinterest Recipe of the Month- Rustic Artisanal No Knead Bread

For the Pinterest Recipe this month, I wanted to try something other than a main dish and take a stab at bread.  I pinned this recipe form Anna’s Table and with only 4 ingredients, and the promise of minimal labor, this seemed like a good place to start.

Talk about easy!  First thing you do is combine your flour, yeast and salt with a wooden spoon or your hands.

Then you add in your water.  Anna didn’t call out what temperature it needed to be, I nuked mine in the microwave for a minute to make sure it got the yeast working.

Then I slapped some cling wrap across the top of the bowl and left it alone for a little over 12 hours.  You can leave it for up to 24, but I didn’t want to wait that long for my bread.

After 12 hours, you scrape out the dough onto a floured piece of parchment paper.  Make sure you have a good amount of flour down so your dough folds easily later.

Then spread it out to about a 10×10 square, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Then you fold in the edges from side to side and top to bottom.

Flip the dough, folded side down onto another floured piece of parchment and wrap with parchment loosely, then cover with a dishtowel.  Let it rise under the towel for another couple of hours.

When the two hours are up, put a cast iron dutch oven in the oven with the lid on  and pre-heat  to 500 degrees.

Once the oven has reached 500 degrees, put the dough in the dutch oven folded side up, place the lid back on, and let it bake for 30 minutes.

After the 30 minutes are up, remove the lid, turn the oven temp down to 375 and let bake for another 15-30 minutes depending on how dark you want your bread.

I ended up making 2 loaves this weekend.  The first one because I didn’t turn the oven down to 375 for the last 15 minutes.  The crust was burned a bit on top but the inside looked (and tasted) pretty good.

I gave it a second shot tonight and turned the oven down like I was supposed to.  The top came out a beautiful golden brown.

While it was still warm we sliced it up and buttered it to have along side some cheesy chili.  Pretty perfect for a night with a temp of 33 degrees:)

I was really happy with how the bread turned out and with such a simple recipe, I want to try making it again adding in some herbs or top with cheese.  I also want to try adding in some cinnamon or sugar to make a sweet bread for breakfast, I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.