Monday, May 24, 2010

The Urban Farmer's Wife

As I mentioned in my previous post, my staging area was consumed by seedlings. Well, I would like to report that the seedlings are all in the ground! And, what better way to celebrate being a farmer's wife than to make really good wheat bread? Well, you can cover a warm slice with mini chocolate that's a way to celebrate!

I found this recipe in a a baking edition of a CIA cook book for home cooks, I believe it was Baking at Home with the CIA, but I'm not 100% on that. I've made this several times, and I've found that 1) it works best if you don't bake in a loaf pan, and 2) this bread makes a mean grilled cheese.

In garden news (which will soon be related to food news), I have a few pictures of our gardens (flower and veggie), and our CHICKEN COOP!!!!! (Note: bread recipe to follow pictures)
From left to right: covered chicken run, chicken coop, garden with picket fence made by Greg.

One cute chick. I'm not sure what species this is, we have 4 different kinds.
Garden! We have a shade-tent frame up, it's easy to put the cover on solo, very difficult to assemble the whole thing alone. The cover is really nice to work under when it is blazing hot, or drizzling. Thus far, I believe we have the following planted: Tomatoes (3 varieties), onions (2 variates), leeks, bell peppers, hot peppers (3 varieties), squash (summer and winter), melons (cantaloupe, red & orange water melon), strawberries, asparagus, lima beans, lettuce and arugula (though they bolted this weekend and are now pulled up), egg plant, carrots, parsnips, turnips, string beans...and maybe I could very well have missed something. Like I said, I am now the wife of an Urban Farmer.
Lovely old red rose. We were told when we bought the house, that these roses were there when the previous owner purchased the house, 47 years ago.
A few iris that we transplanted last summer, plus the fence sans any pickets. A lot of the flowers in the yard were so over grown that they did not bloom last year. Greg and I thinned and moved what feels like hundreds of flowers. It was so fun to watch what colors the flowers have been.

And now, the bread recipe (thanks for your patience !!!)

Recipe: makes 2 loafs

2 1/2 C. warm water
1/4 C. honey
3 1/3 C. bread flour
2 1/2 C. whole wheat flour
1 tsp yeast
1 tbs salt

-Mix warm water and honey to dissolve. Add yeast and let bloom for about 10 minutes.

-Mix flours and salt together. Slowly add to water mixture. Kneed for about 10 minutes once the dough turns smooth.

-Let rise in a warm place for about an hour to double in size.

-Gently punch down, turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Shape into rounds or baguettes. If you would like to roll dough in seeds/nuts, this would be the time. Score bread as desired.

-With the oven at 475 and a small bowl of water in oven (oven proof bowl please), place shaped dough in oven. Turn the temp down to 450 and bake for 12 minutes. Turn the temp down again to 425 and bake for another 18 minutes.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Whole Wheat Veggie Pizza

I know that it's been over two months since I've posted anything, but I have a fairly good reason: my staging area for pictures had been usurped by my Husband for starting seedlings! At one point, I believe that we had around 60 seedlings growing. We thinned plenty, and gave a few others away, but since our frost date has passed, most are now happily in the ground. And no, the veggies on this pizza are not from our garden (yet), but our squash and zucchini plants both look promising right now! This summer should be full of garden-fresh meals. The thought of cooking from our garden is a bit overwhelming. The pressure is on for quality produce, and if/when we get that, I have to not screw up a good thing from nature. I've been browsing a lot of veggie-full cookbooks, and my new favorite is from The Cooks Garden. They have the most beautiful woodcut printings of vegetables and garden life, and the recipes are so descriptive that I don't feel the need to actually see what the food looks like. I tagged about 2 dozen recipes to try, and used my family has Guinea Pigs for the pizza dough when they were here last weekend. Since we had a large crowd, I tripled the recipe and it turned out just fine. I made no major adjustments to the dough itself, just added oregano and basil for flavor. We had three pizzas: veggies with rosemary and feta cheese, ham, and cheese. I think the ham went over best.

Whole Wheat Dough (From the Cooks Garden):
1 9x13 inch pizza
1 1/4 C. warm water
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 C. whole wheat flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 C. Parmesan cheese
1/4-1/2 C. pizza sauce
corn meal
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil

-Using stand mixer, add 1/2 C. warm water to bowl, add yeast and sugar. Let set 10 minutes. Add remaining water and oil.

-Mix flour, salt, basil and oregano together. Gradually add into water and yeast mixture until the dough becomes stiff and comes together. Kneed for a few more minutes.

-For the dough into a ball, place in a large, lightly oiled bowl and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in volume.

-Sprinkle bottom of pan with corn meal. Punch down dough and roll out until pan. Let rise again for 30 minutes.

-Sprinkle dough with Parmesan cheese and bake for 10 minutes at 424 degrees.

-Remove from oven, add toppings and bake another 10 minutes.

Veggies on top: Enough for 1 9x13 pizza
1 small zucchini, sliced and quartered
1 small yellow squash, sliced and quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp rosemary
1 tbs. feta cheese

-Mix all ingredients together while raw. Place over pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese while pizza is baking for the last 10 minutes.