Hello, chefs. Our Mexico City correspondent checks in today with an idea on keeping it simple. Carolina writes: I am into
simple ingredients, instruction, and preparation. I call this green soup. Put on a big pot of water. Add broccoli,
Brussels sprouts, celery, garbanzo beans, corn, potatoes--anything you want--cut into cubes. Add a lot of oregano, curry powder,
turmeric, cumin, thyme, and garlic powder. Boil for a bit until everything is
cooked to the texture you prefer.
Top with a whole avocado cut into
bite-sized pieces and sour cream or plain unsweetened yogurt. Add salt
and pepper to taste.
Good day, chefs. What are you making to eat today? We're on the south end of our provisions so first meal for us was cabbage and onions with sour cream and tamari to accompany a nice steak from the grill. Nobody's going hungry here.
Our friends in Wisconsin got going on soda
bread when they couldn't obtain yeast during the early days of the
pandemic. They like it because it's faster
than yeast bread--no waiting for
yeast to proof with warm water, no waiting for the bread to rise, no
punching it down and waiting for it to rise again.
Bill writes: Bread making is an art and a science. The art resembles pottery, kneading the dough and spreading flour and mess everywhere. It's good fun. Science because
making bread is a lot like chemistry with the exacting combinations of ingredients and processing the mixture by baking it at an exacting temperature for an exacting length of time. So much for theory, therein lay the mysterious properties of the bread in our oven.
We prefer Beard’s whole wheat and
unbleached, all-purposewhite flour recipe. It is best sliced thin and toasted,
served hot and buttered. The alternative white flour recipe calls for the
same total amount of unbleached, all-purposewhite flour instead of
whole-wheat. Either is fast and easy to make, but it is a heavy
bread. Be sure it is adequately baked.
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. Salt
1 level tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. double-acting baking powder
1 1/2 to 2 cups buttermilk (we substitute 1 cup yogurt and 1 cup milk
soured with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice)
Combine the dry ingredients in a
large bowl and mix very thoroughly. Make an indentation in the flour mix
and add the yogurt and the soured milk. Combine by hand to make a biscuit
dough. If it is too stiff add a small amount of milk. Knead the dough
on a floured surface for several minutes until smooth and velvety. Form
into a round loaf and place on a well-buttered cookie sheet or round cake
pan. Cut an X across the top of the loaf.
Bake in a preheated oven at 400
degrees for 35 to 45 minutes. Tap the bottom of the loaf. If it
does not sound hollow cook it an additional 5 to 10 minutes and test it again.
Cool on a
Experimentally, we tried making two loaves from the one loaf recipe’s ingredients because we like the
crust so much (editor's note: wholly concur).
Here's the outcome showing two loaves, one of which was sliced prematurely. I nailed it back together with toothpicks and baked
it again for and additional half hour.
NB: Beard's temperatures and bake timing worked well for my first loaf,
but apparently we had trouble with the oven later. I followed the New York Times recommendations for time and temperature, 15 minutes at 450 degrees reduced to 400 degrees for 35 minutes (ours took still longer).
An interesting result from the NYT recipe: the very high initial temperature causes a hard crust to form. It's good if you like a very crunchy
crust. I'd suggest following Beard or just setting the temperature at 400 degrees and letting the bread bake. If it doesn't work, stick it back in the
It's such a dense bread I don't think you could overcook it as long as it doesn't burn. (Please pass the butter.)
Good morning, chefs. If you've never roasted your own chicken, do it now. No trussing or special equipment is required. Set your oven to 400 F and put the chicken in a pan. Slide it in for an hour, a little longer if your chicken is larger. Choose to oil it and shake herbs all over...or not.
Get a good chicken, one that hasn't been raised standing in its own excrement. It will cost a little more. I threw some cherry tomatoes in here too to roast.
Rudy and Karin's clematis
Every mother's son
If you're not incandescent with rage in the wake of the cop murder of George Floyd, check your conscience. And if you think destroying public property is worse somehow than killing, check your conscience at the freakin' door. Charge the cops now who murdered him or stood by and watched. Our nephew rightly wondered if this would be a repeat of the summer of '68. Also, special note to Minnesota state police: WTAF? Arresting an utterly professional CNN reporter who was asking nicely where his crew should stand? And Omar Jimenez, a man of color to boot? If you missed it, click here to view. Shame, shame, shame.
Sounds matter too, as Rob's memories of summer trips to Martha's Vineyard attest. He writes...
It was 20 years ago this June when Wayne and I spent our first of many weeks in a cottage on Martha’s Vineyard. We had made a scouting trip earlier and hand-picked this gem. Wayne was celebrating a milestone birthday and we had a guest staying with us. I cooked the full week, enjoying the well-curated kitchen and the porch screen door held closed by an old spring. When it banged shut it said, “Summer.”
We ate most of our meals on the porch.
That first year, I armed myself with printed copies of all the recipes I needed for a full week. The first night was grilled swordfish and with it I served a roasted vegetable sauce.
We quickly learned the sauce went with everything. A little on eggs in the morning, on a lunch sandwich, or just for vegetable dipping. The next year I made the same sauce, and so it went for several years. On each first night I made a batch of sauce and we soon forgot the actual name and just started calling it Vineyard Sauce.
To make the sauce:
1.Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil, put the pepper halves on it, skin side up, and flatten them with your hands. Put the tomato halves and onion slices on the baking sheet in a single layer. Lightly coat the vegetables with cooking spray.
2.Separate the garlic head into cloves. Place them on the baking sheet.
3.Put the baking sheet under the broiler for about 15 minutes, or until the pepper has blackened. Check to see if the garlic is soft; if not, remove the other vegetables and give it a few more minutes. Put the pepper halves in a zip-top bag and seal. Let stand for 15 minutes, then peel the pepper.
4.Separate the garlic cloves from the vegetables. Squeeze them to extract the pulp, discarding the skins.
the broiled vegetables, the garlic pulp, mustard, vinegar, oil,
cilantro, pepper, olives and minced garlic in a food processor or
blender and process until smooth.
Taste recollections are powerful reminders of place and time. Just making the sauce takes me to cool breezes, sand in my toes, swimming in the ocean, and loving life.
(Chefs, I can attest to the allure of the Vineyard Sauce. It's a perfect and easy pandemic project.)
For the sauce
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and halved
3 plum tomatoes cut lengthwise in half (about ½ pound)
Today we break to share the happy news that two NZ trampers who'd been missing in the wild (and wonderful) region west of Golden Bay, Kahurangi National Park, have been rescued.
Here's a vid we shot near Anatori, where even the gravel road ends when it runs into Kahurangi National Park. This is where the pair set off. (NZ's vast quantities of unspoiled nature take my breath away, every time.)
O'Connor, a kayak guide, and Reynolds, a chef, had set off to explore the remote, beautiful and unforgiving Anatori area on Golden Bay's remote West Coast.
However, after leaving on May 9, the pair got into trouble early on...
It was believed Reynolds and O'Connor became lost within the first days of their trip due to fog.Read more here.
We are all a hungry bunch, it seems. Are you still eating out there? Send us your snaps with a little info on what you made. No food is too modest! Holly and Rob return today with a really nice refrigerator pickle and an eggplant, feta, and lemon tart.
Brats on the grill
Rob's been busy in his kitchen. He writes:Saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen this morningand thought I would give it a try.(Deb at Smitten Kitchen notes:These are refrigerator pickles; no canning/vacuum seals/sterilized jars needed. You simply keep them in the fridge, where they will last for up to a month.)
Red, yellow, and orange peppers, some radish, carrots, and cabbage.
Into mason jars, ready for the pickling solution.
Pour the solution over and screw the cap on
I’m going to let these babies sit for at least a week in the fridge...
Sing along: Longest Time - Quarantine Edition
Holly had only good things to say about this beauty.
Recipe? Yes of course...
What we're drinking
Since January when we first read about the pandemic we've been sipping hot ginger root tea, made by slicing fresh ginger and boiling it. Now that summer's arrived, I keep it in a Ball jar in the fridge and blend with fizzy water and a little lemon.
by Elizabeth Madox Roberts
The woodpecker pecked out a little round hole
And made him a house in the telephone pole.
One day when I watched he poked out his head,
And he had on a hood and a collar of red.
When the streams of rain pour out of the sky,
And the sparkles of lightning go flashing by,
And the big, big wheels of thunder roll,
He can snuggle back in the telephone pole.