Archive | October, 2011

I made bread – you can too!!

26 Oct

Ok, so. Those of you who know me know that I’ve been wanting – nay, yearning – to learn how to make bread. My relationship with yeast has been tepid, at best. I’m not talking about tepid as in the lukewarm water you’re supposed to use to activate the yeast. I mean every time I’ve ever tried using yeast, I’ve somehow killed it (the time I thought I was supposed to use 100 degree CELSIUS water, not 100 degree FAHRENHEIT – whoops), or it’s only partially risen (not enough rising time??), or it’s risen and then baked into a brick (no idea)!

I got The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Easy Artisan Bread from the library, without even knowing it was a collection of no-knead bread recipes. I’ve seen Michael Smith’s Chef at Home episode where he makes no-knead bread as per the technique developed by Jim Lahey and outlined in the New York Times piece by Mark Bittman. So I thought, how hard can it be? It’ll perfect for my computer weary arms.

The first try I did everything the book told me, including mixing the yeast in with the dry ingredients and then adding the liquid. Two hours of rising time went by and…nothing happened. My hopes dashed, I asked around and was told that I had to activate the yeast (I totally knew that…but I was following the book directions!)

Anyway, I made the recipe again, with already activated yeast, and viola – bread was made. Calgary is SUPER dry, so I ended up adding a full 1/2 to 1 cup more water than the recipe called for.

Classic French Boule – from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Easy Artisan Bread

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp instant or rapid rise yeast
1 1/4 – 2 1/4 cups lukewarm water (I activated the yeast in about 1/4 cup lukewarm water with 1 tsp sugar)
2 tbsp cornmeal

Stir everything but the cornmeal together in a large bowl, until it comes into a ball. Loosely cover with plastic wrap (and a damp tea towel) and let rise on the counter in a draft-free place for 2-3 hours. Place in the fridge and let sit overnight up to 48 hours.

Preheat a Dutch Oven (enameled pot) in a 425 F oven for 45 minutes. With floured hands on a well-floured surface, draw the dough together into a 6″ ball. Let rise, seam side up in a bowl (covered again with plastic wrap or a damp, floured towel) for 30 minutes – 1 hour.

Once the Dutch Oven is heated, sprinkle the cornmeal on the bottom and turn the dough into it (seam side down). Cover it and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for 20 minutes more or until an internal temperature of 210 F is reached.

Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Enjoy!

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A Red Green Smoothie

21 Oct

Green drinks/smoothies are one of my favourite breakfast meals or snacks. There are so many combinations of fruits and vegetables to use, usually whatever you have in your fridge! I add protein powder in to make them a full meal that will keep me satiated for around 3 hours. The trick is to use a very good blender. Otherwise, you’ll end up with pulpy slush that isn’t very appetizing. In this version, I added a beet, which not only lends its beautiful colour to the drink, but also its vitamins and nutrients!


Red Green Smoothie

1 small beet, peeled and cut into wedges
3 cups greens (kale, swiss chard, lettuce, mesclun)
1 stalk celery
1 small carrot, peeled
1/2″ fresh ginger
1 apple (or pear, nectarine, peach, whatever’s in season)
1 banana
1 tbsp fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh juice (cranberry is my fav)
1 serving’s worth of protein powder
water

Place everything in a blender and add enough water to almost cover. Blend until super smooth. You can stop and start the blender to let the larger pieces settle to the bottom. Pour into your favourite smoothie glass and enjoy! Keeps in the fridge for about 2 days.

Happy Cooking!
Jacinthe

Baked Crabapples with Onion and Sage

14 Oct

Here’s the latest article from the Bodhi Tree’s October 2011 newsletter.

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Many times in yoga class we are asked to set an intention for our practice. It could be anything from courage or strength, to softness or vulnerability. Setting an intention helps us move from just making shapes with our bodies to watching what comes up during our practice and working with the energy in our subtle bodies to deepen our understanding of ourselves.

Recently as I’ve come to my mat, I’ve found that “love” is the intention that pops into my head first. Sending love out into your everyday life not only benefits you, but also strengthens your relationships with the people around you and the earth. You might recall a time when “love” was the intention for your asana practice as well. That day, maybe you left that love intention on the mat, carried a little into the next activity you did, or perhaps you made love your highest purpose in life!

You can express love for yourself and for others in many ways: smiling at a stranger on the sidewalk, sending a note to a dear friend out-of-the-blue, expressing gratitude, or doing something by yourself just for the fun of it. Another great way to share this intention is through food. Cooking for those you love, bringing baked goods to friends or coworkers, is enough to let anyone know that they are loved!

Crabapples are ripe all over the city, just waiting to be used in this month’s recipe. Try it for upcoming holiday meals, because food made with love always tastes better! Continue reading

How-To: Basil Pesto (with cashews and lemon)

11 Oct

Basil is probably the most classic pesto ingredient you can come by. Earlier this Summer, I was planning the menu for my second camping trip of the season and debating whether I should buy prepared pesto or make my own.

You see, on a previous camping trip, my friend and I had discovered that sautéing kale, swiss chard, broccoli, beet greens or any other of our favourite greens was super delicious and quick. Pesto turned out to be an excellent and versatile ingredient to include in the cooler.

I was short on time and thought, “Oh, I’ll just buy some.” Off to the farmers’ market I went, but instead of buying a 125 ml jar for $7, I walked away with $15 worth of basil (about 1/3 of a clear garbage bag full). Needless to say, I made a lot of pesto for much less than I would’ve bought it for! Continue reading

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

9 Oct

Over the last week I’ve had a number of people ask if I have a great pumpkin pie recipe. I do, in fact, and though this post might be a little too late for some of you, I thought I’d post it anyway.

The Best Pumpkin Pie

Filling:
300 g pumpkin purée
150 ml sourcream
150 g sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp clove
2 eggs
1 Tbsp molasses

Crust:
625-700 g flour (approx. 5 cups) (I like to use a mix of whole wheat, spelt and all-purpose, whatever I have on hand)
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp baking powder
454 g butter, lard or shortening (if using butter, add a little less water to start; shortening is NOT my favourite to work with)
1 egg
water Continue reading

Black Bean and Corn Soup

7 Oct

This soup became an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of recipe and is probably that tastiest soup I’ve ever made. It will be great now that the weather has cooled down. Serve it with Garden Salad with Edible Flowers, any salad or roasted vegetables.

Black Bean and Corn Soup:

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 large onion, finely diced
2 med red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 tsp. jalapeno pepper finely diced, seeds removed
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
500ml shredded cabbage
500ml shredded carrots
500ml chopped mushrooms
1 shredded zucchini
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
3 tbsp. tomato paste (or1/4 cup ketchup)
2 can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups frozen corn, thawed and rinsed (4 cobs)
9 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste Continue reading

Apricot Jam

4 Oct

On my cabin getaway in mid-August I came home with A LOT of fruit. This is my attempt at making Apricot Jam.

Continue reading