Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I have gotten out of practice of making my own bread lately. But I had a craving for some baguettes to put some fresh summer tomatoes on, and I decided to make my own. I topped it with tomato bruschetta!
I almost always make my bread according to the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day method, which is very easy.

Baguette (Adopted from recipe by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day)
Makes enough dough for 4 1-lb loaves/baguettes.

In a counter-top mixer or large bowl, add three cups slightly warm water, 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast, and 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt.
Add 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour. Then use your dough hook attachment to mix all the ingredients. You don't have to let it run long at all, just until all the four is mixed in there.

Dump it in a large container with a lid (It is not supposed to be air tight, and mine is so I only latch two sides of the lid on.)
Let it sit at room temperature for about 2 hours, until it looks like this.

Then put the lid on and stick it in the fridge for several hours, or overnight is best. (Yes, I still have a sticker on there that came with the container. hehe)

Then to make the baguettes I use a baguette pan. It is curved to hold the shape of the bread, and has lots of tiny holes to let the air flow. (It is from Williams Sonoma)

The next day I cut off 2 1lb chunks of bread. Shaped the bread, pulling four corners around to make a ball. Then elongate the ball, placed it on a dusted dish towel in the baguette tray, covered it with the ends of the towel and let it rise for 20 minutes.

Then I sprayed the tray with non stick cooking spray, and turned the oven onto 450 degrees F. Put the bread back in the tray, and put it in the oven with a broiler pan with one cup of water. (The steam from the water helps with a crisp crust.) Let it bake for about 25 minutes, until it was brown and firm to the touch.
I feel French eating this.
The crust wasn't as crisp as I would like, so I am going to work on that for next time. But it was still very good, and very satisfying to make my own bread again!

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

A variety of summer produce

Basil from our CSA!
Here are some of the random things I have been making with our produce that we picked up on Friday:

I made two kinds of coleslaw in the past two days. I just love homemade coleslaw. And whenever I make it for people, there is often someone who says, "Oh, no thanks. I don't like coleslaw." I usually tell them to try it, and everyone who has said that and tried mine, liked mine! I don't think that is a major reflection on my culinary skills, but just the fact that the coleslaw you find in grocery stores is made with gross gross stuff, and the cabbage is all mushy. Fresh coleslaw is the way to go.
Variety #1
I chopped up purple and regular cabbage, 2 CSA spring onions, grated some CSA carrots, and added some CSA cilantro. For the dressing I whisked a little buttermilk, mayo, dijon, sat and pepper. Then I added a little white wine vinegar as well.

This was barely coleslaw. I used:
A little chopped purple cabbage
half a choppedCSA cucumber
red onion
CSA cilantro
a few chopped sungold cherry tomatoes
The dressing this time was mayo, dijon, GOAT CHEESE (major yum) and white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. I loved this. It was a snack today.

Tonight I also made: (Bur forgot to take pictures!!)S

Fusilla pasta with alfredo sauce and sauteed zucchini
Bruschetta-Easiest recipe ever
1. Toast bread. Rub each piece with a garlic clove.
2. Chop tomatoes, add a little olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and fresh basil.
3. Put tomatoes on bread.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Pasta salad with creamy pesto

I made this macaroni salad in order to use some of my lovely CSA produce, along with some local tomatoes I got at Central Market! I know I just made a pesto potato salad, but the 8 bunches of basil I got were starting to wilt, and I really didn't want to chuck them. That would break my self-challenge! I will definitely try to do something other than pesto with the basil next week.

I really liked the pesto with some dijon and vinegar. You really could use a variety of veggies, like broccoli, celery, or add some olives, etc. It was also good and flavorful the next day.
CSA produce used:
carrots, basil, green onion, radishes, and cucumber

1/2 lb elbow macaroni or other small pasta
2 small carrots, thinly sliced
3 radishes, thinly sliced
2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
2-3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
fresh flat leaf parsley and oregano

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While you are waiting, slice all the veggies and put in a large bowl along with the chopped parsley and oregano.

Put the basil, pine nuts, and cheese in a food processor. Mix together, then add dijon, vinegar, about 1/2 tsp salt and some pepper. Add the olive oil while the machine runs, until the pesto reaches a creamy consistency.

It is so pretty. I could have just eaten this plain!
Taste and adjust seasonings.

When the pasta is done, drain it and rinse under cold water to cool it down. Shake off extra water and add to the bowl of veggies. Stir in the pesto sauce, taste, and add any extra salt, pepper, parsley or oregano.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Midsummer Vegetable Burgers with Pico de Gallo

I like veggie burgers that aren't supposed to taste like a meat type thing. I like veggie burgers that taste like veggies. And making your own is always better.

This one sounded great because it uses summer produce and has a south west flair. We got tomatoes for the first time and we were excited. The first taste is....amazing. Months of having tasteless tomatoes, this was like a burst of flavor in your mouth! I was able to buy some local sweet corn. They are not quite ready, they were a little small but five of the little ones were good for this recipe.
I realized after I was done cooking that this meal is not only vegetarian, but it is also vegan! I was amazed... it is probably good cause tomorrow I am making bacon cheesegurgers for the holiday.
CSA produce used in these recipes:
garlic scapes, zucchini, cilantro, red tomatoes and sungold tomatoes

Burger Ingredients adapted from Mark Bittman's recipe in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
serves 2-3

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion
2 garlic scapes (or garlic cloves)
1 minced fresh jalepeno chile
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium zucchini, grated (about 1 cup)
5 small ears of corn
1/2 cup cornmeal
Sliced avocado (optional)

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil cook the ears of corn. Cook for a few minutes, until the corn is tender. Slice the corn off the ears into a bowl.
2. Put 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a deep non-stick or cast iron skillet with a lid over medium heat.

Put the onion, garlic scapes, and chile in a food processor and pulse a few times to grind to almost smooth. add the mixture to the pan with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and cook and stir.

The onion mixture cooking with the zucchini.
3. Stir the zucchini into the onion mixture along with 1/2 cup of the corn and another sprinkle of salt and pepper Put the remaining corn into a food processor and run until it becomes a thick paste. Continue to cook and stir the zucchini mixture until all their water starts to evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the corn paste and cornmeal. Remove from the hear, cover and let rest 10 minutes. If the mixture seems too wet, stir in a little flour to help bind it. Taste and adjust seasonings.

The "burgers" before they are cooked.
4. Form 4 patties and let sit for a few minutes if you have time. Wipe out the pan, put in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and turn the heat to medium. A minute later, add the patties. Cook until nicely browned on one side, about 5 minutes; turn carefully and cook on the other side until firm and browned.
5. Serve with thing slices of avocado and pico de gallo, either on a bun or just plain.

I served em up with avocado slice tossed with lime juice, and my own recipe of pico de gallo. So tasty!!!! Other good topping ideas include sour cream, garlic or red pepper mayonnaise, guacamole....or toast some english muffins and serve like a normal burger with ketchup, onion, lettuce and tomato and some cheese.
Pico de Gallo for 2
2 medium tomatoes, choppped
1 small box sungold tomatoes, quartered
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 small jalepeno, minced
handful cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime

Seasonal local tomatoes are a beautiful, delicious thing.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or store in fridge until ready.

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