Sunday, November 27, 2011

Savory Herb Bread

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! We hosted a couple friends again this year, though it was a lot tighter fit then in our previous apartment in Bushwick! I made a pretty good spread, including turkey and gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, corn bread stuffing, some other assorted veggies and a salad, and a pumpkin pie. I think this may be the first year I've managed everything without stressing out and getting everything done at the same time on schedule! So for that, I was proud. 4 times is the charm apparently. And considering the size of my tiny Brooklyn kitchen now, that is no small feat! :-)

In any case, the new thing I added to the menu this year was bread from scratch! I've been wanting to make homemade yeasted bread for awhile now, but have never gotten around to it. I've done pita bread and pizza dough, but not actual loaves of bread. I spotted this recipe in my Cafe Brenda cookbook and it sounded lovely for a Thanksgiving meal, so I went for it. This was probably the last time of the season to get fresh herbs at the farmers market, so it was especially great for that!

Though bread making takes awhile, it's not active cooking for the whole time, mostly you just have to wait for things to rise. So, for a Thanksgiving cooking day, this was perfect to throw together, leave it alone for a few hours, and then pop in the oven.

And, it was DELICIOUS!


Savory Herb Bread
Cafe Brenda Cookbook

Makes two loaves

1.5 Cups warm water
1.5 TBS active dry yeast (about 1.5 packets)
1/4 cup honey
4 - 4.5 cups flour
2 tsp chopped fresh chives
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
up to 2 TBS other chopped herbs such as marjoram, basil, or oregano (or slightly less dried)
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS oil

Add the warm water and yeast to a large bowl and mix together until the yeast dissolves. Add in the honey and stir well. Add in 2 cups of flour and mix together. Set aside the mixture while you chop all the herbs. Then add in herbs, salt and oil and stir. Then add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time. Once the dough has come together, turn onto a floured work surface and knead well for a few minutes. Place in an oiled bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place for an hour. Punch the dough down and knead a couple times for air bubbles, then separate into two loaves. I did one circle flat loaf and one regular bread loaf, as we only have one rather decrepit loaf pan. (Santa! Hint: we could use a new loaf pan! :-) ) Place the loaves either on a buttered cookie sheet or in a loaf pan. Cover and let rise for another 45 minutes to an hour.

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes. (Note: Our oven runs quite hot, and I peeked in at about 20 minutes and the dough was already starting to brown. I turned the heat down to about 325-300 and it turned out well. So be sure to keep an eye on things once you start to bake.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Curried Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup

So the past two days were pretty grey and drizzly here in the city so I figured it'd be the perfect excuse to make some warm, delicious soup. I positively love soup on a cold day, and this hit the spot. This soup also makes a TON! So, lots of leftovers for lunch! Alex said this is one of his new favorite soups ever. (And since we now both work right next to the most awesome soup place ever, that's a mighty big compliment!)

Curried Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup
Cafe Brenda Cookbook

1 large onion, diced
6-7 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup peeled and finely minced ginger root
olive oil
1.5 TBS curry powder
1 chile pepper (or jalapeno) minced
1 cup diced carrots (which I think I forgot, opps!)
1 bell pepper, diced
5 cups (about 3-4) sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 14oz can coconut milk
2 cup dried lentils
8 cups veggie stock
juice of 1 lime
1 bunch cilantro, minced

Add onion, garlic and ginger to a large pot with a bit of oil. Saute until softened. Add the sweet potato, peppers, carrots, and curry powder. Saute about 5-10 minutes. Add lentils, coconut milk, and stock. Simmer covered about 30-40 minutes until lentils and potatoes are cooked. Add lime juice and cilantro just before serving.



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pasta with Broccoli, Walnuts and Edamame!

In need of an easy, healthy, tasty dinner? This totally hit the spot and was great to throw together for a weeknight meal!

Hurray for Moosewood Cookbooks from the library!

Also, I promise hopefully soon once I finally finish plowing through my mountain of photo editing I will have more exciting posts for you besides just recipes!

Pasta with Broccoli and Edamame
Adapted from Moosewood Simple Suppers: Easy Meals for the Weeknight Table

3/4 bag of whole wheat rotini pasta
3 cups-ish broccoli chopped into smaller pieces
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 shallot, finely chopped
4-5 cloves, minced
2 tsp mix of dried herbs (basil, oregano, thyme)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
olive oil
sea salt
parm or romano cheese for serving

Cook pasta to al dente per package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, add the garlic and shallot to a deep skillet and sautee with olive oil. Add the brocolli and a half cup of water. Cook over high heat for about 2 minutes, then add edamame and herbs and salt to taste. Stir to combine, add a bit more water as needed. Cook about 5-7 minutes until the brocolli is bright green and steamed crisp.

Combine pasta in a serving bowl with veggies, nuts and a few tsp of olive oil. Toss to combine. Serve topped with shredded cheese is desired.


(Hopefully my flash will be out of the shop soon and I can take more normal photos again!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011


On this today.

may my mind come alive today
to the invisible geography
that invites me to new frontiers
to break the dead shell of yesterdays
to risk being disturbed and changed

may I have the courage today
to live the life that I would love
to postpone my dream no longer
but do at last what I came here for
and waste my heart on fear no more.

-John O’Donohue

Halong Bay, Vietnam.