Whole Wheat Bread

July 17, 2007

Yesterday I was trying out a terra cotta bread pan that I have, and used the Whole Wheat Bread recipe on the label. It was British, and called for one pound of flour – so I had to guess a little. Everything else was clear though: 2 tsp. salt, 1 ounce of olive oil, 2 Tbs. honey, 1 cup warm water (it actually said tepid, which I guess means lukewarm), and a package of yeast. I guessed that 2 cups was about a pound, and then kept adding it until it didn’t stick as I kneaded it.

The differences with this recipe from every other one I have seen is that you never punched down the dough, but just put it in the oven after it had doubled in size. I guess that is because it was whole wheat and really dense, so maybe the second rise would have taken forever. Also, it was a 450 degree oven. That is pretty hot.

All is well that ends well, though. The bread had a nice crust and was tasty. The only thing is that it was very dense, like all other whole wheat breads that I have found. They taste great after toasting with a little butter, or as an aside to soup or chili, but I would really like to find a way to make a fluffy, light whole wheat loaf. If anyone knows of a recipe that calls for all whole wheat, let me know.

I have one idea: mix the ingredients and then put them in the refrigerator in the morning to let it rise slowly all day, and then go from there. I think that the longer time would develop the flavor more and perhaps make it a little lighter. Who knows. Really though, does anyone have any ideas.?


Your Organic Stomach

July 17, 2007

I just read a really interesting post by Dave Smith on how your stomach and intestines function similarly to a garden compost pile. It really helps get the “aha” behind how your stomach and intestines work. Pretty cool.

Man Food

July 16, 2007

Man want steak. Man want meat now. Man want spinach quiche….what?

While you might think of the stereotypical Neanderthal male in terms of a club and his latest kill, why is it that certain foods are associated with certain genders? Steak and potatoes is an honorable meal for the typical hungry man coming home to his cave after a day of slaying wild beasts. Yet after a couple of years of steak and potatoes every day, that typical hungry man would most likely look more like the wild buffalo that he is seeking to hunt than a lean, mean, bring-home-the-bacon machine. Let’s be honest: sometimes MANFOOD is not exactly the healthiest, nor is it what we men want all the time.

I am a little interested in nutrition (ok so maybe I would take study breaks in college so that I could research nutrition on my own…I admit it). From what I have learned, in order to live long enough to continue leaving the cave each day to slay the wild beasts, Man need eat salad. Man need eat rutabaga. Man need no eat partially hydrogenated oils. You see, nutrition has nothing to do with our personality or likes or dislikes. It has everything to do with the way our bodies work. And in order to continue for Man to have fluid joints, strong bones, and the mental capacity to properly function, a balanced diet has to be the norm.

This not to say that some good old fashioned T-Bone and a baked potato is to be avoided. I can’t believe that God would make such wonderful things as fajitas and BBQ if we were not meant to enjoy them. Its more the lifestyle of moderation and learning to enjoy the things which are truly beneficial and healthy. I am the poster child for this. I grew up with a funnel in my mouth at dinner time, with my mom cramming as many vegetables down the tube as possible. Needless to say, I didn’t like them at first. However, after learning how I would actually enjoy life more if my body was getting the nutrients it needed, I learned to really like eating healthy (sometimes I really crave roasted vegetables, when they caramelize and you throw a head of garlic in there. Man thats good).

So eat spinach salad man, it is packed with phytonutrients and will keep your bowel functions regular 🙂

Rosemary for Dummies?

July 13, 2007


A couple of years ago, I saw a friend of mine start a cactus plant in his house…for free. He saw some cactus growing on the side of the road, so he just cut off about 2 feet of it, took it home and put it in some soil. Pretty soon, the plant developed roots and he had a nice cactus plant flourishing away.

Since then, I have wanted to try the same thing with other plants. So, last night I was by a huuuuuuge rosemary bush and cut off about 5 sprigs and took them home. I just stuck them in the garden and watered them. I have no idea if this will work, but if it does it will be really sweet. I have great expectations for this plant: that one day it will tower over the other plants in the garden and become king of the backyard.

I know this can work, because I read about it in an herb-growing book that I have. The only thing is that in the book you have to dip the stems in a root stimulate before planting. That kind of makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know much about it, but I don’t want my rosemary to be on steroids. Maybe its just me.

I will keep you posted as to whether or not it actually works. I really hope it does. Fresh rosemary is a wonderful thing.

Slow Foods

July 12, 2007

Don’t you love it when you have this great idea, and then you find out that it is already an international organization with 80,000 members? Well, that happened to me yesterday. I discovered Slow Food USA, the US version of an international foundation for the preservation of local food traditions. It basically exists for everything that fast food does not. Which is cool.

Now, I am not saying that all fast food is evil. Its just that it poisons your body with preservatives, robs you of nutrition, encourages you to not learn to cook, promotes a super-fast-paced lifestyle, and aggressively targets your children to make them even less healthy than you are.

Enter SLOW food. Take the time to enjoy life. Cook creatively. Use locally grown produce (or, if you are really old-fashioned, grow the vegetables yourself). Eat nutrient rich, seasonal food. Talk to people while you eat. I like this stuff.

I think that it is neat that the guy who founded the organization is Italian. I love Italy. Dinner can take 4 hours, and the food is so good that you don’t mind it taking 4 hours because you get to keep eating. I think that every culture has its own unique aspects to it, some strengths and some weaknesses. Italy’s slow paced life can be seen as both, depending on the point-of-view. I am of the view that, at least relating to cooking and food, it is the best way to live. Now if I could only tell my work to give me a nice 2 1/2 hour lunch break so that I can live out my convictions…

This is really awesome. This guy gives detailed instructions on how to make your own ginger ale, using backyard fruit, water, sugar and dried ginger. The idea is similar to making sourdough bread from scratch, something that I have *tried* a couple of times in the past. Most of the time my roommates would just throw out the starter after they smelled it and saw a bubbling mass of goop in the fridge. But this, this is awesome.

I don’t have any fruit in my backyard right now, but I bet organic grapes or something at the supermarket would work fine. It sounds like something that would take a while to try, but if it worked it would probably be worth it. If anybody tries this, let me know how it turns out. I may try it myself if I find the time.

Eating at work

July 11, 2007

Each day I am presented with a quandary – what do I eat for lunch at work? The frugal miser in me says, “Eat soup and vegetables. They are cheap. You aren’t a big shot, so save some money.” Good point miser, it is good to save. Excellent, Excellent. Yet, the culinary Christopher Columbus in me says, “Break out of the monotony. Go eat curry at the Thai place. Eat sushi. Go beg for food on the side of the road. Viva la lunchbreak!” My Columbus, what zest for life you have. How inspiring.

Actually, it usually boils down to whether or not I remember to bring my lunch every morning. I am kind of a Forgetful Jones (throwback to all of you Sesame Street watchers of the past). This morning I was on my way out the door, and barely remembered. So today, it was soup, vegetables and the lovely leftover crusts of the volcanic Sundried Tomato bread. And I must say, it was lovely.