Monday, February 23, 2015

Herb Pot Pie, or Totally Change Everything

Challenge #19, "Something Borrowed, Something blue."
It’s a two part challenge! Either create a dish that relies on borrowed ingredients, or create a dish that involves the color blue. Bonus points if you can achieve both!


Herb Pot Pie
a redaction from "French Taste in Atlantic Canada, 1604-1758, A gastronomic History"
The book is borrowed... the redaction is borrowed... heck, I borrowed nearly every single ingredient going into this thing!
Since this book doesn't provide the originals I have hesitated to use it, and while I don't question the quality of the authors work, it also doesn't provide much information as to when/where/who a particular recipe was recorded.
1 1/2 portion of pate fine (p 78) - (I "borrowed" my own lard crust as the kid can't eat butter, it's very close to the one listed).
1 egg yolk for glaze
1 lb spinach, arugula or lettuce leaves scrubbed & well dried (baby spinach and asparagus as that's what was green in the fridge)
2 tbsp butter (omitted)
1/2 c. white sugar
1 c. day-old bread without crust, diced
1/2 c. ground almonds
1/2 c. mixed pine nuts & golden sultanas (I used sunflower seeds as I was out of pine nuts - curses! Another substitution! and currants <-- blue="" br=""> 1 tbsp candied lemon peel (aack! I'm out! orange peel, curse it)
1/2 tsp rosewater (are you kidding me, that's gone too?!? orange juice)
1/2 tsp "epices douces du patissier" (p 86) (which is NOT on p. 86, and my french is horrific, so I guessed they were talking about "mild spices for the pastry chef and added a few dashes of the following: white pepper, ginger, cloves, cinnamon & nutmeg in approximate proportions).
Butter for dish (omitted)

This left me wondering if it's even the same recipe because I "borrowed" so many ingredients, some planned, some by accident.
In any case, it was very delicious. Much sweeter than I anticipated, but very, very good.  I like the white pepper with the traditional sweet pie seasonings.

Please note, I was planning on doing a full blue table setting, and pumpkin soup and a few other things for dinner, but my father brought home a new beagle "pup" who led us on a merry chase over frozen fields & icy roads after he slipped his harness chasing a cat. The lady said he was trained. He is not. He doesn't even know his own name. So anyway, I chased a dog vs. setting a delicious table.  He is a very nice dog and loves my kid already, so if all goes well at his vet appt today, he'll be a keeper.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Beast Is Rising... um, I mean Yeast. The Yeast is Rising.

My first yeast bread as an adult.
Cuz I'm A Big Girl Now!
I've always had this irrational fear of bread making. 
Yeah, I know.  But it's true.  So I finally decided to have my mother buy the uber-scary yeast (which I then tossed in the cupboard like a dead snake - if you've ever done hay you know what I'm talking about) and specifically avoided it for a few weeks.
Today, spurred on by the lack of smell in the positively mouth-watering picture of my friend's homemade bread, I decided to scale this particular cliff, confront and slay the Evil Yeast Beast and MAKE BREAD.


Using a modern recipe:
http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/basic-homemade-bread

The reason for this is that it's (slightly) more certain than a historic recipe.  It also has reviews.  Good ones.

I'm using 1/2 pastry, 1/2 whole wheat flour vs. all purpose, mostly because it's what I had on hand. 
This was much easier than what I remember making bread being like... which is a huge, horrible, stinky, sticky mess.  This was not that at all.
 
First, it was scary (yeast is scary).  No, it really is scary.  Trust me.
 
Mixing it up was scary easy.

I was afraid it would be really sticky, and it was for like 8 seconds.

OK, maybe 12 seconds...

Then I kneaded it for 10 minutes, during which time I was no longer afraid.  Nor did I take pictures because my hands were all flour... however, it got scary after that because raw bread dough covered in oil is like a monster that will eat you alive in your sleep.  Don't leave this stuff in the fridge over night, it'll ooze out & swallow the dog like a giant D&D monster ooze from the Monster's Handbook.

Letting it rise was scary.  Yeast is scary stuff.  Trust me... see?  Terrifying.  It's ALIVE!!! ALIVE!!!

Punching it down was way scary (and ridiculously easy)  I vant to suck yur bluud...

Loading the loaf pans was not scary, and very easy.