In the previous post, I shared some of my experience cooking for 40+ acrobats. Though the menu board in the dining room listed details of only our lunches and dinners, the breakfasts were also documentation-worthy. Part of what made them legendary (at least in my mind) was the bread.
Let me set the scene: The four of us cooks would stumble into the kitchen by 6:15 a.m. to set up a breakfast rotation of housemade chai and granola, a hash with whatever grass-fed meat the monkeys (aka acrobats) hadn’t gobbled up the night before, potato hashbrowns, oatmeal, and/or kitcheree. Coffee, hot water for tea, and hot chocolate, too.
One mainstay of these breakfasts was Chef Josh‘s overnight bread, which is an easy and delicious project for cooks at any level. As the name suggests, you start this bread the night before. Instead of the usual routine of letting the bread dough rise for about an hour a couple of times before baking, this one rises slowly over six or eight hours. (If you’re interested in the technical why and wherefore, the key is the high volume of salt. It slows the yeast’s activity).
Here’s a recipe for the bread, scaled down to make one large or two small loaves (recipe after the jump). Continue reading
At the halfway point of my month of eating in, I’ve been thinking about the second-century Jewish scholar Achai ben Josiah. Achai compared someone who buys grain rather than growing their own to an infant whose mother has died and can find no match for her milk.
I don’t grow my own grains, but I can see the allure of spending time preparing them. In fact, this weekend, my boyfriend and I joked that my theme was Constantly-Stirred Grain Dishes. I started off with a golden, slightly firm polenta. The next night, it was a creamy risotto with saffron, lavender, and mushrooms.
I did purchase bulk grains I’ve eaten this month, but I’m still here — and remarkably satisfied. I hope Achai believed in baby steps.
If you need an idea or inspiration for eating in, here’s a recipes for the risotto. (After the jump) Continue reading
Smooth, sun-kissed summer squash. Crispy cucumbers. Billowy leaves of rainbow Swiss chard. Sure, they sound lovely, but have you tried dealing with 10 or 20 pounds of them every week–in a household of one?
Figuring out what to do with all of this takes a huge bite out of my daily spark of creativity–creativity I would like to apply now and then to other pursuits, such as writing. And to my day job that, you know, is going to pay the bills come fall.
Here is the latest innovation I use to trudge through the tide of veggies (recipe and more ideas after the jump): Continue reading
My Jewish Learning recently published my article/recipe “Taking Challah: A mitzvah that sets the braided bread apart.” Check it out. For more on that topic, be sure to read the charming “Ask the Expert” column.
Photo by Rhea
Spoon Bread and Strawberry Wine*. From Okra to Greens**. Many great pieces of theatre or poetry start with two random foods. My latest recipe for MyJewishLearning.com tries a little of that melding. The dish combines pungent, earthy goat cheese with spicy greens. And though it’s dinner, not literature, it does come with a couple of stories. Read all about it.
*A 1994 book of “recipes and reminiscences” by Norma Jean Darden and Carole Darden, which I saw off Broadway as a young’un.
** A work of drama/poetry by Ntozake Shange that is lesser known than For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf, but worth checking out.