Good things to eat

Posts tagged ‘Bread’

Beet Bread – Happy Fall

I believe that once in a while a person should share their failures and not just their triumphs.

It makes one less intimidating.  And especially when it comes to cooking, for all those people who think they can’t cook things and that those of us who cook a lot always get it right!

And for those people, like me, who don’t always get on too well with recipes and just figure it is okay to “wing it”, hopefully you can learn from the mistakes.

I think this might be the case with my “Beet Bread”.

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I saw some somewhere, on one of the many blogs or newsletters that I get and thought, “I could make me some o that!” as I have long been a fan of hiding innocent vegetables in places they might not otherwise be found.

KALE PANCAKES

I looked up a bunch of recipes and they all seemed rather involved, as bread in general can sometimes be.

Because we are after all talking actual bread with yeast and a crust and not cakey loaf like  BANANA BREAD  or what have you…..

So I decided to do it the lazy way and just use the old faithful POT BREAD tried and true recipe but toss in some beet!

Seemed a no brainer.

I started by adding to the mixer:

  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Then while they were getting to know each other, in a blender or food processor squish up:

  • peeled raw beets cubed  ( enough to yield about a cup of puree)
  • 1/2 cut of warm water

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Now here is where  I think I got in trouble because I probably had about two cups worth of squished beet, which turned out to be all together too much.

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Once the yeast mixture starts to foam, add in:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups flour

The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups warm water.   So I had 1/2 cup in with the yeast,  1/2 cup in with the beets and so then there was still a 1/2 cup to go……which I added but probably shouldn’t have.

I would say, add in the beet mixture after the flour is well mixed in and then just add the remaining water gradually making sure your dough doesn’t get too wet.

Then, as per the original recipe, plop the dough in a bowl and cover it with clean film plastic wrap and put it somewhere safe for 12 – 18 hours.  I always just pop it in the oven out of the way.

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I find doing the prep in the evening gives you nice bread for breakfast!

So when it is time, pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees and only when it has reached full temp, pop your cast iron pot with the lid into the oven for 30 minutes till it gets smokin hot.

Meanwhile, dump your dough on to a well floured board and knead a little.

This is where I really got in trouble!   When I took the dough out it was literally swimming in liquid.   So I had to keep adding more and more flour to the board and rolling and turning it in, to try and dry it out.   Not really sure how good that was for it.

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Then cover with plastic and leave sit until your pot has heated.

Then VERY carefully remove the pot from the oven, take of the lid and plop your dough into the pot, cover it back up and bung it back in the oven!

Bake for 30 minutes, then take off the lid and bake another 15 minutes.

I think mine needed to be baked just a little while longer because it seemed a bit gummy in the centre.

Then let cool on a rack till it is well cooled, but doesn’t have to be cold.

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I was very surprised when I cut it open only to find that the tell-tale beet pink was only on the outside!  And then inside it just looked like some sort of dark, regular homemade bread.

The pictures I saw of other beet bread seemed to be pink all the way through.

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I ended up toasting a few pieces before we ate it, because it just didn’t seem quite done.

But it tasted just fine.   Although not “beety” at all, just pretty much like any other homemade whole grain bread.

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And it was particularly good with some cream cheese and a bowl of soup!

I do think I will have to try again.

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Different Salads

I suppose a staple of the Vegan diet is salads.

All shapes, sizes and colours.

To be honest, you can pretty much chop up anything, put on a little dressing and call it a “salad” these days!  And why not?

One of my favorite meals, Vegan or not, is what I call my “Mediterranean plates” where I just make a bunch of flavorful piles of stuff that go nicely together.

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Here’s tonight’s group:

First I got started with a nice batch of roasted yams and roasted cauliflower.

Get them started.

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Then I went to a white bean and kale with lemon salad:

In a glass or ceramic bowl add:

  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon ( but zest it first and put aside)
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1 large handful of chopped green kale ( hard stems out)

Mix the kale down into the lemon juice and cover well and let sit in the acid until it gets a little wilted.

Then drain and rinse a can of white kidney beans and add to the bowl.

Then add:

  • 1 tbsp dried or fresh chopped sage
  • a splash of olive oil
  • a pinch more salt and some fresh cracked pepper.

Mix thoroughly, top with the lemon zest and set aside to rest while you perform your other duties.

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Next we have a nice Cous Cous salad.

Again, in a glass or ceramic bowl ( but preferably with a seal-able lid) start with your dressing on the bottom.   I just used more lemon juice, a little olive oil and some fresh herbs.

Then to the bowl I added some left over grilled vegetables, peppers, asparagus, Portobello mushrooms, zucchini.   If you don’t have any grilled veg and don’t feel like making any, raw ones would work just fine too but try and keep them of the more delicate nature, not hard things like raw carrots.

Toss these in the dressing.

Meanwhile and this is just something I do for added flavour, but by no means essential……

I like to dry toast the couscous in the bottom of a heavy pot or fry pan till they get just a little bit brownish.

Then toss the DRY couscous in with the vegs and dressing and toss them in well.

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Then pour boiling water over the whole thing ( amount according to couscous directions) and then seal the bowl with a lid or place a plate on top and let stand for about 10 minutes.

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Then I whipped up a nice little Tahini sauce to pour over things:

  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • salt & pepper
  • water as needed

Stir this all up in a bowl adding water as needed to get to the consistency you are looking for.  Tahini tends to cease up when you mix it with other things, so you may have to keep adding water for a bit.

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So now with our yams and cauliflower roasted.

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Our couscous absorbed and fluffed.

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Our beans and kale marinated.

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We are ready to put it all together!

Maybe drop a few spinach leaves or mixed greens on the bottom to “green ” it up a little and then pile on the good stuff!   And drizzle with a bit of tahini sauce!

Yummy Vegan Salad night!!

Or anytime really!   In fact this combo cold the next day made a great work lunch!

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Oh and …….note use of home-made bun now as toasted garlic bread!!!

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Buns of your own

One place that animal products seem to be heavily lurking is in bread product:  milk, eggs and butter

So seeing as this is a Vegan challenge and not a gluten free challenge…..I thought I best whip up some buns of my own to have around.  You can always “slap something on a bun” in a pinch if you are starving and can’t wait for the “rice to cook”!

And having a little “safe” bread is good to have with a salad to just “top you up” and good to put things in for work lunch, which is always a challenge, Vegan or not, because I refuse to use the microwave!

I more or less went with this recipe that I found on line, only I substituted 3 cups of whole wheat flour and then the rest was white flour and only used almond milk.

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They turned out very nice, if I do say so myself……imagine……crackin one of these babies open with a nice pat of butter………..oh yeah……sorry.

Kinda Calzone

I guess to answer my own question of where do people even FIND my blog, I have recently signed up on some site that sends me all kinds of other blogs to read.

I found this one (click here) particularly intriguing, mostly because it was in Swedish!!

It is so interesting how it doesn’t really mater where you are from, people who like food, like food and like to talk about it!

While checking out this particular blog I found a recipe for something called Piroger and thought maybe it might be some sort of Swedish perogi.

Well it wasn’t, but it was a pastry type item filled with a delectable filling……so close enough

I was thrilled to find out that there  is a “translate” button.  I’m not sure if that is something built-in to that particular blogging software or just an internet thing…….but how great!!   So I clicked “translate” and I was in business!

I have to admit that some of the word choices or the sequence in which they are used are a little wonky but at least it gives you a good idea.  So please, I encourage you to not be afraid when you see foreign language food blogs!  You just might find some treasures!!

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So I thought I’d give the Piroger a go.    In English they seem to be “Patties with turkey, thyme and paprika” which I admit isn’t quite as exotic but still a nice idea.

I didn’t happen to have any of the ingredients for the filling, but I really liked the idea of baking something tasty inside a bread like bun.

So I started by making up a batch of her dough and letting it sit for 30 minutes, as directed.

Then instead of the turkey filling, I made up a batch of my old favorite Nelson’s Beans and then let them cool right down to room temperature and then added about 3/4 of a cup of parmesan cheese just to thicken them up.

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What ever you decide to use as a filling and that’s what really excited me about this because I can see using all kinds of different things!  But whatever it is, make sure you make it with a think consistency.   You really don’t want to be putting anything too runny or oozy because it will just be too hard to keep inside the dough!

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So with my Piroger dough and my Nelson’s beans, I started to assemble my nice little patties.   I did add some salami into some of them because the Chef still likes his meat.

Then, as directed, let them rise for about another 30 minutes, then into a 450 degree oven until they get nice and toasty looking.

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Serve as you wish.

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What excites me about these it that they seem a perfect solution to my on going “work lunch” dilemma.   A nice little pocket of goodness that will taste great hot or at room temperature.

Thank you Praline in Sweden!

Fancy Focaccia

I made a little batch of this over the holidays and found it to be a great little “tide you over” type snack.  Cause God forbid you should go hungry for any reason!

But sometimes you just find yourself in between “feasts” and need a little something.

Holidays 2012039

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Start with a fairly straightforward bread recipe:

  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil ( 2 tbsp in dough, 2 later)

Topping:

  • seedless grapes cut in half
  • rosemary

Combine water, sugar and yeast and let sit about 5 -10 minutes until the yeast starts to froth up.

Then if you like, mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then add the wet stuff gradually.

But I’m really not a fan of dirtying too many things so I just do it all in the mix master machine.

I’m also not much of a “kneady” girl, so again, I let the machine do it.

After the yeast has frothed, add the salt and the oil, then turn on the machine and put the flour in about a cup at a time, stopping to add more and scrape down the sides.

Then with the dough hook, let it go until it forms a nice ball.

OR   do it all the traditional way of flouring a board and kneading it.

Then oil a bowl and drop the dough ball in, turning it over in the oil a bit so it won’t stick.

Then cover with a damp tea towel and put somewhere warm and draft free ( I usually put it in the turned off oven) for about 2 1/2 hours till it doubles in size.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Then,

Once that has happened, brush a 9 x 13 size dish or pan with some more olive oil and drop the ball of dough in the middle.   With your fingers, poke and stretch the dough till it covers the bottom of the pan.

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Then,

Arrange the grape halves as you please, all over the top the dough and then sprinkle with rosemary.

I didn’t on this occasion, but you could also sprinkle with some coarse salt.

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Then bung it in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, till golden brown.

Cool on a rack and serve!

It tastes wonderful with some nice Boursin Cheese spread on it!!

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Bread in a pot

I had some bad news over the weekend.

And what’s the best thing to do when you get bad news?  Well, make bread of course!

I saw this technique while I was “stumbling” on the internet recently and thought “Hmm…that looks interesting” and believe me, it IS!!

The original recipe  Click Here

I followed the instructions exactly as they are written, no adding my own little this or that!  Except for the additional flavours, instead of any of her choices I used fresh chopped cilantro, lemon zest and dried garlic, cause that’s why I happened to have around.

I was also THRILLED to finally find a use for this cast iron dutch oven I have.  I had bought it a couple of years ago because I thought I was going camping……but as it turned out……I didn’t…..and actually have never been camping!  But I had this pot, which I like, but I don’t know if you know this but you can’t really cook things with tomato in plain cast iron.  Something to do with a reaction of the two that causes some unpleasant taste, and seeing as I envisioned it as my “chili pot”…..well…..it didn’t work out and it has been sitting on the shelf waiting to be used.

Well this was the pot’s chance to shine!!

So, like I said, I followed everything exactly.  Prepared the dough late in the  afternoon, and let it sit over night and then baked it in the morning.

I swear, I really DID try to let it cool!!

But the smell was too overwhelming.  It took all our strength to not gobble down the whole loaf!  Warm and soft on the inside and golden crispy on the outside.  Few pats of delicious butter………it was heavenly!

And just what you need when you are feeling a bit sad!

And then it made great toast the next day and even better croutons for the Caesar Salad!

Hidden Treasure

Well after a whirlwind visit to Montreal and trying to eat as many of the old favorites as possible, I was off to Toronto.

I’ll admit that I never really had the same eating relationship with Toronto as I ever did with Montreal.  Except of course with one exception.  When I lived in Montreal and used to visit Toronto there was always one place that I absolutely had to eat on each visit.  And that was to get an order to Thai noodles at the legendary, but long since gone, Bamboo Club on Queen Street.

But on this trip a friend turned me on to a hidden surprise.

I have long been a fan of Dimpflmeier Bread, although I’ve never really been able to pronounce it and refer to it by many bastardized versions of the name.  I began eating Dimpflmeier bread when I started to become aware of  eating for health, I have always enjoyed it for all the good things it was made of and the noticeable lack of bad things that it didn’t contain.  And it makes great toast!

I was sad when I moved to Victoria, that there only seems to be one place that actually sells it, because it was always readily available in Toronto and Montreal.  So imagine my delight  today when we went to the Dimpflmeier factory!

All these years it has been tucked away in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke on a street  filled with auto body repair shops, that runs between Kipling and Islington.

Dimpflmeier bakery

They have an outlet store type shop and a small cafe attached to factory.  It definitely has the feel of a bakery in the “old country“.

Dimpflmeier factory

Wholesome ingredients

I would have liked to take pictures but I’m quite sure I would have been run out .  But here is a glimpse of one corner of what is going on in there.

Inside Dimpflmeier store

The store is probably four times bigger than what we see in this picture and has all sorts of baked delights from pies, to buns, to donuts and filled pastries and fancy cakes.  Not to mention the huge assortment of bread products made from every imaginable grain in a full range of gluten contents.

Jam filled donut with powdered sugar

I had some sort of flakey cheese filled pastry but gobbled it down before I thought to take a picture of it!

Just the wrapper

And not only do they have the same versions of the breads I buy in the grocery store for a fraction of the cost, but you can also get big family style or perhaps army style versions of the same breads at extremely reasonable cost.

Half Big rye loaf

Only half loaf

And this is only the half loaf.  A full one is only sixteen dollars and you can bring it home, divide it up and freeze it into normal load portions.

So if you live in Toronto or are just visiting and are a bakery fan you must check this place out!  I’m sure they will let you bring bread in your carry on bag!!

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