Friday, April 10, 2020

Covid Cafe: Learning to Love Lockdown Sourdough

Hello, chefs. Ours is the Family Ferment, apparently. Good for the belly, good for the brain. Frank Lipman, MD, includes fermented foods on his excellent list of 30 Ways To Boost Immunity Right Now

Another in our series of splendid nephews is here today. Marc, who's found the pandemic lockdown an ideal time to focus on sourdough...

Marc writes: The sourdough starter had been going for about a week, and following the advice of Sandor Ellix Katz in his brilliant The Art of Fermentation, he recommends discarding a portion of the starter and feeding it fresh flour/water. Rather than tossing that part of the starter he suggests making sourdough pancakes. So, here we are.

Sourdough savory pancakes 
with shaved sweet potatoes, diced onions and garlic, rosemary, and thyme 

I grated sweet potatoes, chopped some onions and garlic, and took a pinch of dried rosemary and thyme, working with what we have on hand as I'm sure we all are. 

I lightly browned these in some olive oil with a little salt and pepper and then added them to the discarded portion of the sourdough starter. 

Put a pan on high heat, switching to coconut oil for the pancake frying.  We'd done a few trials in the days before. Based on the advice of my trusty focus group/quarantine partner Leah, we spread the batter thinner to get a more evenly crisp finish to the cake. Previously it had turned out a bit doughy in the center. 

Can we get a crispy close-up?

And, I think I nailed it this time! Cooked for roughly three minutes on a side and it was ready to be plated alongside a salad of mixed greens with beets, red peppers, and avocado, with a simple oil/vinegar dressing. It was a terrific meal and a fun step in our journey of learning the sourdough starter.
(Fun and delicious, we're guessing. Thanks, Marc, for sending this along.)

There are fewer introductions
In plague years,
Hands held back, jocularity
No longer bellicose,
Even among men.
Breathing’s generally wary,
Labored, as they say, when
The end is at hand.
But this is the everyday intake
Of   the imperceptible life force,
Willed now, slow —
Well, just cautious
In inhabited air.
As for ongoing dialogue,
No longer an exuberant plosive
To make a point,
But a new squirreling of air space,
A new sense of  boundary.
Genghis Khan said the hand
Is the first thing one man gives
To another. Not in this war.
A gesture of  limited distance
Now suffices, a nod,
A minor smile or a hand
Slightly raised,
Not in search of   its counterpart,
Just a warning within
The acknowledgment to stand back.
Each beautiful stranger a barbarian
Breathing on the other side of the gate.

Angus and Julia Stone

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