January 23, 2011 § 1 Comment
Getting a late start in the kitchen last night I dove right into these–I didn’t do the multi-source, cross-check research that is very typical for me before making a new recipe. So, essentially I just used the recipes as they were. I didn’t even read the posted reviews.
I came across the recipes on Facebook in the last couple of weeks. Yep, Facebook. My friend Rena forwarded a bread recipe which turned out to be a forward of a forward. I wonder if there is a word yet for an item that is passed along numerous times? There should be. The soda bread was appealing since I really like seeded and hearty breads. The soup(stew) was listed on Good’s Facebook page. Good is a real printed magazine about things that matter in the world. Good things.
Also, I’ve been very interested in trying my hand at bread making. This soda bread is a “get your feet wet” step, since it isn’t a yeasted bread. I’ve already had my fair share of quickbreads, but now with my new stand mixer I will be trying real bread soon.
Seed collector. I tried to grow fennel in my backyard patio garden a couple of years ago. I didn’t succeed, but I saved the cool stens with seeds. I pulled down those remnants from my pantry. I used them up but it provided less than a teaspoon. Since the Fall other recipes called for pumpkin or sunflower seeds so I had them in my collection. I could have spent a couple of hours arranging just the seed for some interesting photos, if I had a photo lighting set up instead of the overhead fluorescents in my kitchen (belch!), and more time. but just some quick shots of the ingredients are included. Shown in the shots below is only half of the amount used for the bread.
The bread was so easy. Wet added to dry, typical technique. So, prep went quickly. The smell that emanated from the oven was great. Some fennel some flour. The spelt flour definitely added to the aroma. In forty five minutes I had a huge chunk of six-seed soda bread. Without the yeast it doesn’t have the typical bread texture or flavor complexity. It was sort of a cross between a scone and wheat bread. With lots of seeds! I wonder what it will taste like today for lunch? It was a nice partner for the lentil stew.
Dinner last night, was like recreated meal in a vegetarian cafe in SF. Tassajara comes to mind. So pure. The soup was simple to prepare too. maybe too simple? In the end I felt it needed a bit more depth. The base was just a few cloves of chopped garlic. I am sure that a bit of chopped celery, carrots, and shallots would improve the base. And more garlic. But I wanted to stick with recipe. I needed ‘simple’ at the late hour I started dinner.
I used green french lentils. They hold their shape better than the regular lentils. The original recipe only makes two servings, so I increased the recipe by one-half to ensure leftovers. I used Pacific brand vegetable stock, in the box, which provided 4 cups. I had to add a little water to make up the difference. The quality of the stock has a large part in the resulting soup, vegetable stocks have been disappointing in the past. The Pacific brand was pretty good, not overly carrot-y as some others are. I am still searching for my goto brand. I also added some fresh thyme. Why not? When tasting for salt pepper when the soup was done, I found that the soup was lacking depth so I seasoned just a bowl portion–I added more lemon juice, more cayenne, and some cumin too. Better. Don’t leave out the fresh lemon and mint, otherwise it’s just plain old lentil soup.
The recipe lists feta cheese as an option, which sounds great but I didn’t have any and didn’t want to make a run for just that. I think this is really not optional in the recipe as it likely adds some complexity and contrast to this simple soup. Maybe some feta for the left over leftovers after my Rainbow foods shop today?
This soup/stew is something I could experiment with in the future. Even now it likely will hit the spot when I get back from my bike ride this afternoon, if I decide not to have a second breakfast instead.
FOLLOWUP EDIT: The soup improved overnight–as expected. I even added the feta, but the flavors in the soup–definitely a stew consistency now–blossomed quite a bit on its own. It wasn’t a simple soup any longer. So maybe either a longer, low simmer or even making it earlier in the day would intensify the flavor on the cooking day.
Then two days later, I still had bread! So the last slices were topped with a great fig jam. This bread is good. The buttermilk gives it a tanginess and a bit of moisture. Grabbed the camera a snapped a few because I wanted to remember the inside as well.
Odd Blood – Yeasayer
Good News For People Who Love Bad News – Modest Mouse
A Strange Arrangement – Mayer Hawthorne
Recipes after the jump…
« Read the rest of this entry »