This weekend I got myself down to two starters, and made some pretty successful bread. I make my sourdough bread by mixing my starter with salt and flour until I get something that resembles a bread dough, I don't measure or weigh anything. True bakers out there will wringing their hands at that admission, but after I've spent a day lovingly feeding the little yeasties I just can't manage to break out my scale.
Thanks to a coworker I have started doing a double rise, which helped volumes.
Bread made with Inga the starter.
Not measuring seems to have worked fairly well for this bread, and I have some dough made with the other starter sitting on the counter. I'm hoping that it will work just as well for a skillet focaccia tonight with some shrimp and salad for supper.
Recently I have been experimenting with making my own peameal bacon. Been getting some positive results with that as well. Hoping my bacon will take me places. Places with plenty of mustard and kaiser rolls.
Another day with my Christmas ham. With all the trimmings from my first few slices of ham I decided to make a split pea soup, as well as render some of the fat.
Fat on the left, ham on the right. The fat is going into a pot to render for another day, and the ham is destined for my soup. Here's the recipe for a really nice cup of soup on a cold day. If you don't have any serrano ham, any other type of ham or bacon would work just as well.
This soups takes a few shakes of vinegary hot sauce very well - this ugly sauce
has become a favorite at my house.Split Pea Soup with Serrano HamServes 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a hearty mainolive oil150 grams ham, diced in 1/2 inch cubes1/2 onion, finely chopped1 clove garlic, minced1 carrot, finely chopped1 rib celery, finely chopped7 cups stock (chicken or vegetable), divided1/2 pound (1 cup) green split peas1 potato
, dicedsalt and pepperHeat 2 quart stock pot over medium high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil in pan and heat until shimmering. Add diced ham and cook until crisp and fragrant, about 4 minutes.Remove ham and reserve for later. Add onion, garlic, carrot and
celery and cook until beginning to brown, 5-8 minutes.Add five cups of stock to pot, reserve remaining stock. Bring to a simmer and add split peas. Cook for 15-20 minutes until split peas begin to soften.Once peas begin to soften, add
potato and ham to the pot and continue to simmer until peas are completely soft and potatoes are cooked.Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with biscuits and dark beer.
Something simple and filling - inspired by my CSA veggies and leftover corn from the weekend. Easily becomes vegetarian by substituting the bacon for 4 T butter.
3 ears corn
4 strips bacon
1/2 c white wine (or water or stock - for deglazing)
2-4 scallions, thinly sliced (reserve green ends as garnish)
1 small bulb fennel, diced
1 carrot, diced
4 heaping T flour
4 c milk
1 can creamed corn
3 potatoes, diced
salt and black pepper
1) Preheat grill to medium high, remove husks from corn and grill until just beginning to char. Once cool enough to handle remove kernels from cob and reserve.
2) Cook in large stock pot (big enough to hold all ingredients) bacon until just crisp, remove reserving fat in bottom of pit.
3) Add sliced whites of scallions, and some of the greens to rendered bacon fat and cook until soft. Deglaze with wine.
4) Add fennel and carrot and sweat for 4-6 minutes until beginning to soften.
5) Sprinkle cooked veg with flour and cook stirring constantly until veggies evenly coated.
5) Add milk, stirring constantly. Once milk thickens slightly add creamed corn and diced potatoes and simmer 20-30 minutes.
6) Season with salt and pepper, serve with cold white wine and tossed salad.
*I've got to point out that depending on personal preference for flavour and texture veggies can be added or taken away, and the liquid amounts (less liquid for a thicker chowder, more for a thinner one) and types (wine, stock, water, cream etc) can be changed. This is just a very basic outline of what I came up with using the ingredients I had on hand.
Sticking with tradition I made my dear friend Hans his birthday present today, which is large amount of spaetzle, with emmanthal cheese, caramelized onion and bacon. Lots of bacon. I felt I needed to share a quick photo of what I spent a chunk of my day doing.
Also, the oven is totally the way to go when cooking a large amount of bacon. Trust me.
I'm making jook (aka congee) for breakfast today using David Lebovitz's recipe. It's not quite ready as I type this, I"m trying to let the falvours get to know one another as Lebovitz suggests in his recipe.
This is a very exciting breakfast option for me. I like the idea of porridge, jook is essentially a rice porridge, but I'm not a huge fan of sweet things and especially not in the morning. I've added frozen peas, dried mushrooms and garlic scapes to my jook, just stuff I had on hand. It's a shame that I didn't go out and get some ginger and dried shrimp but if this goes well then those can be for next weeks batch.
It's a big recipe so in a perfect world I could make this Monday morning and then have it for the rest of the week.
Here's a picture of its process.
It's pretty. I like the green flecks of the peas and garlic scapes.
I really hope I've found a solution for breakfast. I've been eating cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches for the past six months. Time for a change.
Recently I've been getting into fermentation, which even as I type this seems like a weird thing to be 'into'. Two weeks ago I started a batch of Mexican pineapple vinegar, from Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz, I tasted it on Sunday and it's almost got a vinegary taste. It needs another week or so of fermenting on the counter I think.
When I was last home to Toronto for a visit with my Omi I told her about my experiment with making vinegar, she laughed at me and told me that this was how they made vinegar when she was a child. She's eastern European, so they didn't use pineapple but other kinds of fruit.
It's funny to me that my Grandmother moved to Canada more then 50 years ago to give her family a better life, and a generation later I'm making vinegar the same way she did on a rural family farm in the 1930's.
I'm not sure what that says about me that I feel the need to try and make my own vinegar instead of spending 1$ on a bottle at the store, but it certainly felt nice to give my Omi a good chuckle.
I've been spending a lot of time with offal and meat in general because of my new project www.eatingnosetotail.com. Right now I'm making a tongue and I'm going to serve it with Fergus Henderson's green sauce. The recipe for this sauce called for half and quarter bunches of various herbs. So now I have a surplus of beautiful herbs in my kitchen.
I decided to make risotto for dinner tonight, and having no stock in the freezer I decided to make a vegetable stock with some of the herbs, the top of a giant leek, the peelings from two carrots, a few cloves of garlic and some extra already chopped onion. For good measure I threw in some peppercorns and a few fresh bird chili's. My apartment smells heavenly right now.
Thank god it's summer, because I'm being reminded how much I love vegetables. And with my latest project making my life fairly meaty it was really good to be reminded how wonderful a meal from the garden can be.
My apologies for the blurry picture, all the batteries in the house have simultaneously gone dead, so this was taken with the built in camera on my computer.
This Friday and Saturday I'll be attending at Transatlantic Perspectives Conference at BU. Friday I'm taking a class about fermentation, which I'm really excited about. I grew up helping my Grannie make saurkraut in her basement but I'm excited about learning about yogurt, kimchi and beer.
The instructor wrote a book called Wild Fermentation and I'm going to get a copy of for taking his class. I have minimal experience with food preserving outside of my family experience. I have watched my Mum and Grannie make pickles, but participated minimally and I have not made pickles or jam or anything in a jar since I moved from Canada.
I have a starter in my fridge I use for bread, named Inga. I understand that Inga is made up of live bacteria and if I don't want her to die I need to feed her. Fermentation as far as I understand it is similar to Inga, but you are using the food that you are trying to preserve to feed the bacteria. Somehow through this process the food is preserved. Or maybe it's closer to marinated. I should have all the answers by Friday night.