sourdough: take 2

I made a loverly  loaf of ‘sourdough’ bread, and by the way it disappeared I assume it tasted decently  – but it wasn’t sour enough to suit me.

I need the tang. I need it.

So, I’m trying again, this time working with the process and recipe that Stephanie at A Modern Christian Woman  followed when she made sourdough. Hers was actually *sour*. I like it. I have great expectations.

And get this, one of her readers actually named her starter and keeps track of each one as if they were part of a family tree (“…my starter now is Betty, she came from Bob, my last starter…”)

Am I the only one that thinks this is *THE* party to join?

Here’s the question that weighs on my mind – what should I name *our* starter?

*Spider

*Smitty

*Sourly

It has to be something fun to say in public. I want to be able to be in line at the grocery store and say, “I wish this line would hurry up – I have to go home and feed —!”

Any suggestions? Throw them in – I am in desperate need, I can’t have a nameless starter living on the counter, now can I?

Adios-

Andi

So there. the story of a good day

Bad bad bad bad bad Day.

Can’t get out of my way.

Can’t say the right thing.

Can’t do the right thing.

I might just throw rotten eggs at the mirror.

Don’t you just hate those days when it’s like,

“Ok – CAN I JUST TAKE MY ICE CREAM AND GO HOME NOW?”

Written out in capital letters all over your forehead?

And people ask you and you laugh and say,

“No, it’s ok. REALLY.”

I guess. Through gritted teeth.

I’m not sure why the sun disagrees with me so much

but it does and it works because today –

I am against it.

So there.

And I trod home and curse up every stair and then repent as the key turns in the lock

and I’m safe

And he hugs me and tells me that I don’t have to save the world after all.

And we eat pancakes with butter and syrup and I turn off that

god-awful calorie counting ‘pal’ I am so addicted to

and he eats the chocolate chunks out of my ice cream.

And I realize I can’t be everything to every one and fix everything and be superman

all at once

and suddenly, I feel as though it’s been sort of a good day all the same.

coconut chicken curry

You thought I forgot, didn’t you?

You thought I had forgotten about the Great Chicken Challenge.

NEVER!

True, our sultry, poultry friend had to sit in the freezer for a week or so while I recovered, but I thawed out the two thighs and drumsticks a couple of days ago and made a curry.

Hurray!

True, I used four pieces of meat, but it fed both of us for two meals – it worked.

First:

I cooked one entire sliced onion and a clove of diced garlic in a bit of coconut oil in my big cast iron skillet until they were just about caramelized.

Then:

I added some curry powder and ginger (a good teaspoon of the ginger and half again as much of the curry powder) and let it all simmer and turn gold.

Then:

I removed the onions and seared the chicken pieces in the hot oil for a couple of minutes on all sides so that they had a little crust on them.

Then:

I poured in half a can of Thai Kitchen, lower fat coconut milk and added one potato that I had washed and cut into little pieces *plus* the onions that had been waiting on the sidelines.

I covered the whole lot, reduced the heat to low and let it cook for a good 45 minutes.

Oh. My. Word.

Then:

We ate it with brown rice. It was such a deep, creamy tasting dish – it came out very well. I love the coconut milk!

Cost Per Serving – $2.00, roughly. The coconut products are a little pricey, but so worth it.

SO what is that so far?

One chicken: 2 People: 4 different meals: 14-16 very generous servings of food

I’m impressed… We’ve done a salad, a soup, a ‘straight chicken meal’, and a curry. I’ve still got the giblets and the entire back to use – things are going to get creative! Plus, we still want to do the ‘chicken deconstruction tutorial video’ – doesn’t that sound peachy?!

Stay Tuned folks-

Andi

training the eyes

“I have decided,” she said, “to write about love on my arms.”

“I will write Love,” she said, “for every time I have spoken Hate,

“And every time I have spoken Wrong.

“For every scar. For every mark I’ve made, I’ll write Love.”

She said.

“Until I get it.

“Until I look at myself and see Hope

“and Love – until I see it where it isn’t written.

“Another month, ” she said,

“Another month and people will ask me Why I’ve Done It

“And I’ll say that I’ve Done It because It Needed Doing.

“Who’s going to write it if I Won’t?

“Who’s going to believe it if I Don’t?

“Look, eyes, and see Love. All Over.

“Thick, black Love like permanent ink.

“Believe it.”

She said.

you say ‘addict’ like it’s a bad thing

But I will have you know – who ever you are – that I have gotten some of the best food ideas I have ever SEEN on Pinterest.

Like this one:

I mean, really – who ever truly knows what to do with a cauliflower. You buy them on sale, they sit in your crisper looking a white, frozen brain – it’s creepy. The only decent way to end the thing is by boiling it to death in salty water, cutting it into little pieces and dipping it in ranch dressing at parties or- if thee be ambitious – baking it in a cheesy casserole. Cheesy Brain Casserole. I’m lovin’ it!

I was standing in my kitchen, feeling rather claustrophobic about the lack of options for my own personal cauliflower and then it hit me –

Pinterest.

Just like that -like some Good Kitchen Fairy suddenly appeared and smacked me with the computer mouse. Search for cauliflower ideas on Pinterest.

Make that addiction work.

So I did. And I made baked cauliflower with herb seasoning and pine nuts.

Sounds infinitely more interesting than cheesy brains.


Baked Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower cut into florets

enough olive oil to toss the cauliflower in – I probably used 4 or 5 good Tablespoons.

Seasonings of your choice.

Not only did I use my addiction to Pinterest to find the inspiration for this meal, but I cheated and used an all natural spice packet that came in a box of couscous mix that we ate the couscous from – *without* the mix at a previous meal.

Wow.

But you don’t have to depend on your mental weaknesses, you can spice up your cauliflower with curry powder and turmeric or basil and garlic or ginger and sesame seeds. The sky’s the limit people… the sky is the limit.

Toss the cauliflower with the oil and then the seasonings, making sure they’re all covered pretty well. Toss onto a baking sheet – or if your baking sheet is irreparably damaged by past abuse (as is mine), feel free to use a glass casserole dish. Be my guest. Now, it goes into the oven at about 350 degrees, until the cauliflower is well browned. Mine was cooking for about 30 minutes until I panicked and remembered that it was baking. Turns out that was the perfect amount of time.

viola

Let that be a lesson to you.

and so we beat the butter

This is going to be one of those awful posts in which I ramble on and on about my random life and don’t really say anything helpful or clever or tasty at all.

I hope you are prepared.

Almost a week ago I had my four wisdom teeth *extracted* – my mouth feels strangely dumb and empty without them, but all the same – they are gone. I have spent the past many days in a semi-delirium of pain and pain medications as one of the sockets slowly dried out instead of healing.

*cue return to surgeon, snipping of stitches, scraping of bone, inducing of bleeding, more  stitches, more pain meds – NOW*

I am feeling much better now, thank you, and have begun weaning myself off the narcotics so that I may do useful things like think and work and cook dinner.

All I remember from the last week has blended together in my mind like one big smoothy of ice cream, salt water, antibiotics, and this strange image of Julia Child, standing over a stick of cold butter, waving a gigantic wooden rolling pin around in the air while saying, “And so we must beat the butter…” in her cheerful, breathless way.

I am left thinking, “Was it real?”

Was it?

Sourdough

20120516-232932.jpg

My first loaf of sourdough bread, fresh from the oven. I tried this awesome baking method where you put a pan on the bottom of the oven and douse it with cold water just as you put in the bread so it steams for the first few minutes. The result? A delightfully crusty, chewy loaf of bread. Yes, please.

it came out of nowhere

I Love Leftovers. For this home chef, ‘Leftovers’ is code for, ‘Easy-Meal’ and that’s a good thing. I usually plan for leftovers when I can; cooking an extra chicken breast and stashing it away, boiling too much rice and storing the extra, or sauteing two onions when I only need one then saving the rest.  In this day and age, time seems to be as expensive a commodity as fuel and food and it makes sense to cook two meals at once, saving time, energy and thought.

But, even with all this careful meal planning, every so often I face an interesting situation. It usually goes like this; there are two more days until it’s time to go shopping and we’re running low on ‘regular food’. The main meals I planned have been cooked and eaten, the leftovers conveniently consumed, and I am left with a smattering of completely unrelated ingredients. A couple of eggs, a quart of chicken broth from Monday’s stewed chicken, half a cup of lemon juice, a serving or so of cold white rice from Tuesday’s stir-fry and some garlic.

For all my love of easy-peasy menu making and ‘second meal’ strategizing, I do love the once-in-a-while meal challenge. I need a meal to come out of nowhere – something recycled, repurposed, reconstructed, rethought. Something that is going to spring from the cupboards and fridge and appear in delicious completion on the dinner table – and, oh yes, I need a meal in less than 30 minutes, if you please. If there were such things as Good Kitchen Fairies, this would be the time to summon one, but as I am yet Kitchen Fairy-less, I must think of something all on my own.

Last night was such a night in our angled apartment. I needed a meal, a good, recycled sort of meal that was going to take the culinary cacophony in my fridge and turn it into a poem of  a meal – and fast. How do eggs, lemon, chicken broth and cold (slightly old) white rice sound?

How about Avgolemono? It’s alright if you can’t say it – I barely can, but thankfully for us we don’t need to pronounce it to be able to enjoy it. This is a traditional Greek soup that just happened to call for several of my misfit ingredients. Here’s how you make it:

Avgolemono

4-8 cups of chicken stock

1 cup cooked white rice (you can also use small pasta if that’s one of your random ingredients)

3 eggs

4 tablespoons of lemon juice

1 garlic clove, grated or minced

salt and freshly ground black pepper

In Greek, the name of this soup means “egg” and “lemon”. Ah ha.

 The first order of business is to put the stock into a pot and get it boiling. Once it boils, add the grated garlic and let it simmer for a minute. Now, add the rice. While the rice is being warmed by the broth, beat the eggs until they are frothy. Add the lemon juice and stir well. Now, this is the tricky part – tricky, I say, because if you dump the cold egg into boiling broth you will end up with a Greek-styled egg drop soup. This is Not what we Want. You are going to gently, kindly introduce the hot broth to the egg mix. Take a spoon and add a few spoonfuls of broth to the egg, stirring well. When that’s mixed in, add a couple more spoonfuls of broth. This warms the egg mix up slowly so that you can bring the two together without tragedy. It’s important that the broth isn’t boiling, so you might want to lower the heat to make sure it stays just ‘really really hot’.

When you have mixed enough broth into the eggs to make the egg mix relatively warm, stir it into the broth. Don’t let it boil again, or the egg will curdle. Take it off the heat, stir in salt and pepper and serve.

You’ve done it. You’ve made a meal come out of nowhere. Impressive, isn’t it?

because it wasn’t enough just to eat it

Surely my little chicken friend could be put to use in other ways – – surely.

Eggshells. They’re now drying on my widow sill, waiting to be ground up and added to  the soil around my tomato plants – a little trick I learned from my father-in-law. It’s going to help them grow big and loverly…

Ah so.