Excellent hearty wheat bread recipe

Can you call it “wheat” bread when it’s not 100% wheat bread?  Eh, whatever, lots of whole grain goodness in this one.  I love King Arthur Flour.  It’s my favorite all-purpose flour, and I love to get their specialty stuff too.  It also helps that it’s in Vermont which is one of only three states where I can get UPS packages in one day.  So, I placed my order on Thursday morning and my package of goodness arrived on Friday afternoon, just in time to make some no-knead bread for the weekend!  Nothing like instant bread-making-gratification.

Bread with homemade blueberry jam

This is the Malted Wheat Flake Bread from the King Arthur website.  If you haven’t explored their treasure trove of recipes and community forums, go there now!  Great stuff.  This was honestly the best bread that I’ve ever made.  Not that I’m an expert or anything.  But it was super simple, although required special ingredients, so I suppose that’s a negative.  My standard no-knead bread made with a mix of white and wheat flours is good too, but this is a great hearty bread, perfect for dunking in soup or serving with cheese.  (Added: Hubby thinks it would be really good with sandwiches too.)

I used my standard no-knead technique, with the addition of about 2 minutes in the mixer with a bread hook.  Throw all the ingredients in the Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  Mix with bread hook for about two minutes.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in warm location for 12-14 hours.  (My office closet has the furnace chimney in it, and is perfect for bread-rising!)  I prepared the bread at 10pm on Friday, and let it rise until about noon on Saturday.  Then, all I did was turn it out onto my Silpat with some flour on it (no sticking, easy clean-up).  Sort of shaped it into a loaf shape.  Placed a piece of parchment paper in a frying pan, sprayed parchment with non-stick cooking spray, and put in loaf, seam side down.  Cover with the plastic wrap, and let sit in the warm place again for about an hour to rise again.

Half an hour later, preheat my oven to 450 with my covered Le Creuset dutch oven in the preheating oven.  When the hour has passed, take out the steaming hot pot, pick up the bread in your parchment “sling” and put the whole thing into the hot pot.  Cover, bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 15-20 minutes.  Take out of the pot (use the parchment to pick it up), and let cool on a wire rack for an hour or two.

Super-yum!  When I’ve made whole grain breads before, they were really dense and didn’t have that really yummy/chewy crumb that is so tasty.  I think using the high-gluten Sir Lancelot flour, in addition to the tablespoon of vital wheat gluten (which I always add to my no-knead bread recipes), really made a difference.  And the malted wheat flakes have such a yummy aroma and add some great texture to the bread.  Let me know if you try it!  Or if you are a local friend, and want to borrow some malted wheat flakes, because they were buy 1 get 1 free, and I have a lot.

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Roasted cabbage soup

Carmelizing the onions and leeks, cabbage is roasting in the oven

I combined two of my favorite Christmas gifts into this yummy pot of soup the other day.  The recipe was from the book  Love Soup.  It was so incredibly stellar.  I’m not sure why I chose that soup to make first with my new book, but it seemed to call to me.  I’m not normally fond of cooked cabbage, but roasting the cabbage first made a huge difference.  I can’t wait to try more soup recipes from this book!  We are looking to eat less meat and more fish and vegetable dishes, and I thought soup would be a good way to do this.  The soup plus a loaf of the hubby’s homemade bread made a great dinner.  Unfortunately, the kids don’t really like soup, but I’ll keep giving it to them and hopefully their taste buds will develop.  I’m impressed by the progress my 7yo has made with trying new food (he says his favorite foods are “pink fish” i.e., salmon, shrimp, and “critters”, i.e., mussels) in the last year, so maybe soup will be next!

I also got hubby some vital wheat gluten and diastatic malt powder for Christmas and he added them to his standard “almost no knead” bread recipe (that we cook in a preheated dutch oven).  Check out the rise on that baby!  The addition of the vital wheat gluten made a huge difference.  He says he’s a convert!

Loaf without "stuff" is on the right

Baby quilt in action

All spring, all I talked about was this baby quilt.  Finally it was completed….only about 2 months after the gift recipient was born….but now check it out.  In use for tummy-time.  Isn’t she adorable?  I love to see my gifts in action!

Hey baby girl!

Hey baby girl!

My living room and office renovation projects are finally completed.  I spent a good part of Saturday and a few hours on Sunday night painting the closet and trim in the office.  And until I got side-tracked by 15 pounds of Maine wild blueberries today, I was well on my way to moving the furniture into the new rooms and finally finding my camera cord!  But, alas, sidetracked I was.  By sweet, yummy, tiny little bundles of goodness.  21 jars of blueberry jam later, I still have some pie (Cooks Illustrated, July 2008 issue) and blueberry cake to make before I can start moving furniture.  Blueberries wait for no one.  Blueberry ice cream is in the refrigerator waiting to be processed tomorrow, and about 4 quarts are already in the freezer.  And my fingers are very purple.

Paella

As I am sitting here enjoying my leftovers from Saturday night’s dinner, I just wanted to share a picture of the yummy dinner that my husband made.  Mmmm….paella with lobster, shrimp, mussels, andouille, and chicken.  A milestone because my almost 7yo decided that he loves mussels almost as much as shrimp.

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Washoku Warriors, Recipe #1

I love sushi and other Asian foods, so was excited to read about a Washoku Warriors group being organized by Rachael over at La Fuji Mama.  The book, Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen, looked so yummy that I decided to join in.  I also thought it would be something fun to do together with the hubby since he also loves to cook and loves to eat Asian food.  Washoku means literally, “the harmony of food.”  The book is awesome.  Seriously, really awesome.  And I’ve only made one thing out of it yet!  But, it’s got great background on the culture of Japanese food and the Japanese home kitchen, ingredients, tools, etc.  I’ve really enjoyed reading it so far.

Rice Bowl with Three-Colored Topping

Rice Bowl with Three-Colored Topping

UPDATED> La Fuji Mama posted a round-up of all the recipe participants, here.

So, the first challenge was for “Rice Bowl with Three-Colored Topping.”  In Washoku, there should be five-part harmony in terms of the color of the food/meal presented.  The Rice Bowl dish is a one-dish meal, so all five colors are represented in the bowl.  According to the author, Elizabeth Andoh, “Five colors, or go shiki, suggests that every meal include foods that are red, yellow, green, black and white.”  So, in this dish, the white is represented by rice, the yellow by the corn, the green by the peas, the red by the little pickled beets on top (my addition), and the black by the crumbled up nori topping.  The dish was really easy to make, and I loved the ground gingery chicken.  Mmmm….I’m trying to think of other dishes where I can incorporate the chicken.  It was so tasty and my 6yo loved it.  The book says that it’s great for freezing, so I might have to make some up and portion it up for the freezer.

The one thing I found difficult in the recipe (which was generally very easy) was the ginger juice (sounds like a bad drink in college, huh?) for the ground gingery chicken.  I took a knob of peeled fresh ginger and made a bunch of pulp with my ginger grater, which I then pressed with my fingers to extract the juice.  The recipe only required 1 teaspoon, but even that was pretty hard to get!  Lots of ginger grating.  But, I’m not sure what else you would substitute for that great ginger enhancing flavor.  Or maybe there is a better way to extract the juice.

Ginger juice

Ginger juice

Here are the basic ingredients.  It really is quite simple.  The only thing special that I had to buy was the sake which is part of the ground gingery chicken.  The little bit of crumbled nori on top of the rice bowl is just half a nori sheet that I crumbled up.  And the recipe actually calls for pickled red ginger for the “red”, but since I couldn’t find that, I used some small, diced pickled beets.  Yum!

Crumbled nori

Crumbled nori

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You use a chopstick to divide the bowl into sections as you place the chicken, peas and corn on top.  A fun presentation, I think.

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