Wednesday, March 31, 2010

April Breads

I made both of the two breads for the HBin5 group this session. The first one was Carrot Bread, made with whole wheat flour, shredded carrots, coconut, walnuts, and dried cranberries. I really liked this one. I used sweetened coconut so this made a lovely toasting bread for breakfast.

Here is a closeup showing the cranberries, freshly sliced and ready for butter! I would be happy having this bread for breakfast every day. Maybe I would alternate this one with the apple bread, both make great breakfast breads.

The second recipe this time was for Olive Bread. This bread was made with spelt flour, plain yogurt, and lots of sliced marinated green olives. I bought the big deli olives, pitted but not pimento-stuffed. We served it with spaghetti and a nice green and orange salad (baby greens, orange sweet peppers and baby carrots). It was very good.

I found this bread to be moist, salty and slightly sourdough in flavor. I probably won't make it again because my family is not really made up of olive lovers, even though I love them. Perhaps I would try it with garlic cloves.

Would you like a slice?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I want to share some of the projects I have finished over the course of the winter. I made a scarf from the pattern "Shaken Not Stirred" by Wendy Gaal to wear with my winter coat. The kit, which included the pattern, fingering weight yarn in the color "Margarita with Salt", beads, and a cute martini stitch marker, was part of a knit-a-long/contest, of which I was a winner! I won a skein of hand dyed sock yarn in the colorway of my choice. Here is the scarf:

I let my daughter Jessica choose the colorway of the yarn I won and promised to make her a pair of socks for Christmas with it. She chose the color "Seabreeze" and I knitted a pattern from the book Toe Up! by Chrissy Gardiner called Gull Wings. She likes them.

I knitted a pair of Entrelac socks from a skein of Scheafer "Anne" yarn, a blend of merino and mohair which is just luscious to work with. However, it is a very fine yarn which I had to work on a size 00 needle. I chose this colorway because it was called Boop, and so I call them my Betty Boop socks. They are super cozy!

I knitted a pair of pretty pink socks from Cascade Heritage sock yarn, using the pattern "Kristi" by Cookie A in the book Sock Innovation. I love working the intricate patterns from this book, they really hold my interest. I am not a knitter who can finish the "mindless" projects with miles of stockinette or garter stitch, I am always looking for a challenge.
I also joined a Mystery Sock knit-a-long where we knitted a mosaic two-color sock designed by Star Athena. At the time, I was listening to an audio book on my iPod by Dan Brown called The Lost Symbol. I think it is a little bit obvious from my color choices, don't you?

This was the first pair I knitted with the 9" circular needle in the photo above. I don't care to work with double points, I am always poking myself or losing one. I do like the 9" needle, but my hands got a little sore because you have to hold them differently. Here are the finished socks, which I gave to myself and wore for the first time on Christmas day.

Just recently while my husband Gary and I were driving to Florida and back on vacation, I worked on a pair of socks made from Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball wool. I love the color changes in this yarn! It is so bright and vibrant. I used the pattern "Changeling" by Janel Laidman from the book The Enchanted Sole. I will share more projects with you very soon! I am trying to get back into blogging more often. I must say I miss it.

See you next time!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Guacamole Bread

This week we made guacamole bread in the Healthy Bread in 5 minutes a day group. The dough called for chopped garlic, chopped tomato, and a whole mashed avocado. In bread? Sounded odd to me, but it was actually very good! It was nice and moist with a slight garlic flavor, and the loaf rose nicely in the oven. Both my husband and son liked the bread, even though neither of them cares for avocado.

With the leftover dough, I made a batch of crusty rolls to serve with our favorite soup, Cheese Vegetable Chowder. It is always a big hit!
I never got around to making the second recipe this time because I came down with a terrible cold, but still want to make the Pesto Bread next. I will post about it later, see you then!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Assignment 4 for HB in 5!

Already on the fourth assignment for HB in 5! How time flies! Well, truth be told I baked these breads early because I didn't want to miss out while I was on vacation. When the March 1 bread braid falls due I will be vacationing in Florida and I can't wait!! I SO need a break from the frigid north.

It is actually Valentine's Day as I write this post, and I wanted to share my delicious lunch with you. I defrosted one of my Soft Whole Wheat Hamburger buns, split it, spread it thickly with fig jam, added ham and swiss cheese and grilled it panini style in my Foreman grill. Oh my gosh was it good... and thanks to Rachel Ray magazine for the idea.

Well this week, we began with a full recipe of 100% Whole Wheat with Olive Oil dough. I had a little trouble getting the olive oil in incororate into the dough. During the initial rise the oil seemed to settle on the edges leaving a greasy crust.

I let it proof overnight in the refrigerator and the next day baked this loaf of bread. The dough was still on the greasy side when I shaped the loaf, but the bread came out okay. Here is a picture:

Gary used it for sandwiches and didn't say much about it, so I guess it was okay. I preferred the Soft Whole Wheat recipe.

The next recipe was Aloo Paratha, which is an Indian style calzone stuffed with curried potatoes and peas. I was really looking forward to this recipe because I love curry, but it wasn't as good as I had hoped. I used Yukon gold potatoes and frozen peas. I am afraid I overmashed the potatoes, they were pretty mushy. I made 2 large ones, and sliced them to go with supper.

Fresh from the oven: And sliced, ready to eat: I felt these could have used a lot more curry powder. When I told Gary they were stuffed with curry he was surprised. He hadn't even tasted the curry. It pretty much tasted like bread with mashed potatoes and peas inside. Just bland. Next time I would stuff it with cheese and tomato sauce.

The third recipe was my favorite this time. It was Southwestern Focaccia Bread with Roasted Corn and Goat Cheese. Doesn't that sound great? However, finding the ingredients locally proved to be a major challenge. I lucked out with the fresh cilantro and even the goat cheese, but finding a fresh poblano pepper in the frozen tundra of Maine in January is impossible. The closest I could come was an Anaheim pepper. No fresh corn either, I had to use frozen. The authors said you could use frozen, but didn't tell you how to go about roasting it. I put some in a pan and stuck it in the oven while it preheated to 450.

I rolled the dough into a circle on parchment so I could slide it onto the stone without fuss. Parchment has become my new best friend in baking! I added the sauce and corn and dabs of goat cheese:

then I baked it. When it came out of the oven I sprinkled the fresh chopped cilantro on top.

And I ate two healthy slices for lunch!

It was really good.