Showing posts with label baking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label baking. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Crumpets and Coffee

Marion Cunningham is a morning person. If you’re not sure who Marion Cunningham is, allow me to introduce her.

Marion is wholesome.

Her picture tells me this. Imagine: side part over a broad forehead,bibbed dress, braided necklace, smile that crinkles the eyes. Here recipes also tell me this. Consider: oatmeal custard, welsh rabbit with beer, cinnamon butter puffs, Creek Bank potatoes, date raisin condiment. Those are just a few.

Marion Cunningham is kind. She bakes for people. Period.

Marion Cunningham is my guru. She will remain my guru for the next two months.

Haley and I have decided to explore various ingredients, cooking styles, flavours, and meals as we blog. For the months of February and March, we will focus on breakfast. Our study goes this way: Haley will jump, leap, dive (actually) into the big beautiful book titled, “A Real American Breakfast.” I will wander through a slimmer volume, Marion Cunningham’s “The Breakfast Book.” As you can imagine, I’m already quite taken with Marion. I also like her opinions on breakfast.

Here are a few:

Breakfast…involves no alcohol and usually consists of grains, dairy products, fruits, and maybe eggs or a little meat or fish.
I agree. Alcohol at breakfast? Marion and I perish the thought.

Gathering at the table for breakfast allows us to weave our lives with others--and that should be a daily pleasure.
Very nice.

I…love eggs…I can only eat one hard-boiled egg, but if I’m soft-boiling them I do it by twos, mash them up in a bowl, sprinkle salt over them and a little bit of pepper, and eat them with toast--and that suffices for hours.
Marion knows her mind, which I love. And pays intense attention to detail, another excellent trait in a guru. Besides, I could use a breakfast that suffices for hours. I'm usually starving by nine.

Lead, Marion I will follow.

Crumpets is the first place Marion led. I thought, I want to try the English Muffins! But Marion explained that crumpets were the ones with all those nice little holes. This is because of the baking soda.

Marion also says that you must split and toast the muffins, even hot off the griddle, and spread them with butter or jam or honey.

Marion was right. Yum.

Interpreted from Marion Cunningham's The Breakfast Book
one dozen round crumpets

1 package dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 ½ cups milk, warmed
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
¼ cup warm water

Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a large bowl. Add the sugar, stir, and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the milk, flour, and salt. Beat until smooth. Cover the bowl and let stand for one hour. Stir down. Dissolve the baking soda in the remaining ¼ cup water and stir into the batter. Cover and let rest for 30 min.

Heat a pan, or two pans, (I used a large griddle) and grease some 3 inch rings (Marion says you can use tuna tins with the tops and bottoms removed. I used 2-inch high canning jar lids.) When the griddle is hot, place the rings on it and fill each with three tablespoons of batter. Lower the heat and cook slowly until the crumpets have lost their shine, and are dull and holey. This takes about ten minutes. (Marion says not to flip the crumpets over but to just cook them on one side. I did flip my crumpets and I thought it finished them nicely.)

Toast, slather, and eat.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Savory Shortbread

I know you've all been waiting with baited breath, wondering, whose going to win this year's Reems Eats Christmas draw? While this is exciting, I want to draw (pun-ha ha) your attention to a new Christmas treat that you too could be serving to adoring guests, or toting to froofy cocktail parties. (If you go to froofy cocktail parties. I have (bragging) actually been invited to one. I'm twenty-seven; I think it's high time I attend an event titled, 'cocktail party.')

While I have a sweet tooth (all Reems' do) at Christmas I actually (shocking) become overloaded with chocolate, almond, cinnamon, and sugar. That's not to say I stop eating, no, no, no, but it is nice to bring in an alternative (in addition to the ever popular spinach dip). This recipe for lemon and thyme shortbread comes from the cookbook, Savoury Baking and its wonderful. It tastes a lot like a cracker, but with a little more weight. The lemon is subtle, the thyme interesting, and the sprinkle of coarse salt gives the cookies a nice finish.

Oh, and the winner is...drum roll...Cautiousmum, congratulations.

The recipe can be found here, on the NPR site.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Apples, Walnuts, Currants: Bread

Hi Smoochy,

(If you are not familiar with Haley's various nicknames, they include the likes of Mooch, Moocho Babe, Achoomy Baab, Smoochy, Haley Bailey, and, not to be forgotten, Baby Baluga.)

Here I am, substituting in a computers class, trying to fill the hours until three o'clock. Basically I circulate through the room and ask the kids (teenagers) how their projects are progressing, they grunt, I lean in, look at their screens and murmur words of encouragement and approval, really having little to no idea what the numbers and lines indicate. Excel: one of the reasons I never took computer class.

It's warm. The computers are buzzing. One boy continues to giggle in a hicuppy sort of way.

So I thought I'd send you a little happiness in the form of an apple-walnut bread recipe.

This recipe is based on the one I made at your house exactly one-year ago, when I was similarly sporadically employed. (As a substitute teacher I find myself with a lot of spare time in September. In October the permanent staff start dropping like flies and I invariably get some work and some colds. Handling sick people's pens and pencils is a quick way to a chest infection).

The impetus for this recipe came from one of Beth Henspberger's books; I switched up the ingredients and the technique. Mine is quite a different beast, but a delicious beast.

Apple Walnut Bread

1 Tbsp yeast

2 Tbsp oil

1/4 cup milk (110 degrees - warm)

3/4 cups water (110 degrees)

1 cup oats
1 and 1/4 cups bran
1 Tbsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp all spice

3 cups peeled, coarsely chopped apple

1/2 cup currants

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

3 plus 1/4 cups flour

Combine the oil, milk, water, yeast, and one cup all-purpose flour in a bowl. Mix well and then let it stand for one hour. It will be very bubbly and active after an hours rest.

Add all the remaining ingredients except for the flour. Mix. Add the flour 1/2 a cup at a time, stirring after each addition. Give the dough a good final stir. It should be sticky but it should come together in a big wet ball. Like this:

Now, cover it with a tea towel and let it rise until about double, one hour to one and a half hours.

After the dough has risen prepare your counter by either coating it with oil or flour. The dough will not stick to either surface. Use a spatula to pour the dough onto the counter. Prepare two round casserole dishes or pots, or two loaf pans by coating the vessels in oil.

Use a knife or bench scraper to divide the dough in two. Wet your hands (which prevents the dough from sticking to you) and shape the dough into two rounds or into two loafs. Put the dough into your pans of choice and let it rise for another hour.

Before the dough has finished rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the loaves for about 45minutes, or until nicely browned and hollow sounding when tapped.