Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ah - so close.

There are certain ingredients that I love. Most of these ingredients are in season in the fall. One of my favorites is acorn squash. The only recipe I've made with it, however, is roasted. As wonderful as I find that simple prep, when I found a recipe for acorn squash soup in Simply the Best Italian , I knew I had to try it.

Acorn squash is not as smooth as butternut squash. Unfortunately for this soup, even though there was great flavor and seasoning in the recipe, the graininess of the squash was too overwhelming to overlook. Not a repeat. I will say that the roasting of the squash/onion in the oven smelled like heaven!

And for the record, other fall/winter favorites include cranberries, parsnips, and sweet potatoes. And clementines - but I don't cook with those much...yet.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Baking with Joy - Sourdough English Muffins

I've been doing a lot more traveling in the last year - since I started a new job. I love my job, and since the headquarters for the company are in San Francisco, I was thrilled on a trip out there when a friend gave me some of the sourdough starter that she had been growing. I very carefully wrapped the bottle she gave - checked it in my bag - and believe me, was crossing my fingers all the way home that it wouldn't explode over my clothes.

That starter was given to me a few months ago, and I've been feeding it ever since. I keep it in my fridge and pull it out every few weeks. It's always interesting to pull out - the liquid has separated and it smells strong - but in a good way. When I know I am going to use it, I take it out of the fridge, stir the liquid back in, take out some of the starter, feed again - and the use the next day.

I've made a few different recipes with the starter so far, but the one I've come back to is Sourdough English Muffins , as found on Sourdough Home . Making english muffins is fun - for some reason although it is very easy to do, it feels like an accomplishment.

I baked up a batch today; it was a lazy Saturday, full of rain, and it was fun to do some kneading and rolling. The batch I made was unusual, because after I had mixed together the starter, honey, and reconstituted dry milk, I realized I didn't have enough AP flour. Wasn't going to stop me! I ended up using ~1 1/2 cup AP, 1 cup bread flour, and 1 1/2 cup white wheat for the first mix - and bought some AP today for the kneading. The result is interesting - kind of wheat-y.

Tonight's dinner was a sourdough english muffin with egg salad - and it was good.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I'm back (and nobody missed me)

I'm back! *crickets chirp* Yeah, I know. Ego talking, but I thought I'd wave my hands and scream to the web "I'm not dead yet!".

Anyway, I haven't posted in close to 2 years, but believe me - I've been cooking. My most recent successes have been in using a wonderful sourdough starter given to me by a friend from San Francisco. I've been doing some great sourdough english muffins and easy breads.

As usual, I do a lot more thinking about recipes than actual cooking. This has been particularly true recently (well, semi-recently), as I changed jobs back in October. It's coming up on 1 year at this job, and I am fat and happy. Well, happy, but not happy that I am fat(ter). Honestly - you try working at a job with a fully-stocked kitchen (I'll post pictures later) and free lunches every Thursday, and see where you are in a year. I'm just lucky I've fallen in love with exercise classes (more on those later).

I still want to do 5 recipes a week. I plan on doing Monday cookies - a tradition started by my wonderful friend Tina when we worked together at our last job. I want to do more with my starter (it's so cool!). I want to do more Chinese/Indian recipes for some reason (why do I crave them)? I also have a ton of beans to work with (darn you Rancho Gordo!), have fallen in love with eggs, want to experiment with salads...gads, the inspiration never stops.

All this to say - I still love to cook - and will always make time for it. And I will post more about what I do cook. I find so many recipes through other people - I want to keep the chain going.