Of course, in addition to celebrating St. Patrick's Day, today we also celebrate, as we all know, the anniversary of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, fought on March 15, 1781. Though the British "won" the battle, it was the high water mark of their southern campaign, and cost them men they could not replace. Seven months after his victory at Guilford Courthouse, Lord Cornwallis would surrender to the combined American and French forces under General George Washington. This weekend saw a reenactment of the battle.
Of particular note was the contribution made by the lovely Ellen, in her fetching chapeaux.
There is a distinction between being committed to something and involved in something. In the case of bacon and eggs, for example, the hen is involved. The pig is committed. I may have crossed from involved to committed with regard to bread baking. This may be a good thing, since my daughters often tell me I ought to be committed. (I have three beautiful, smart and gifted daughters. And a wonderful, long-suffering, and fairly patient wife (who does at least derive the benefit of my culinary efforts). Even the dog is female. In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche—and Conan the Barbarian—what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. This Braid is kind of the same thing, heavily weighted to the distaff side. But at least here I have Elwood at Flour Today, Bread Tomorrow to be in my Band of Brothers (we are but bakers for the working day, our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch’d with dusty flour and sticky dough, and time hath worn us into slovenry. But, by the mass, our loaves are in the trim).)
Anyway, I sprung for a flour mill. After reading various reviews and posts I decided on a Nutrimll.
I used hard red wheat from Pleasant Mill Grains, which is also where I got my mill. I used it to make the Master Whole Grain. I was a bit concerned, based on the experience of Mama Peck at Bread That’s Good for You, who had some trouble getting the hydration right. I decided to weigh the flour, since after milling it would be particularly “fluffy,” and it seemed to work out fine. It seemed a bit wetter when I mixed it, but after a spell in the fridge I did not notice any difference from my usual batches. And the bread was great, and more nutritious. What more can I ask?
Anyway, as to the tasks at hand, I first made the Pesto Bread. I used frozen pesto from last Summer’s garden, and slivered almonds instead of pine nuts (cheaper, and I had some in the freezer). In keeping with this “healthy” thing, here is a recipe from Curlytopbop for
Almost No Fat Pesto
1-2 cups spinach
1 cup basil
2-3 tbsp Parmesan
1/3 cup walnuts
Garlic salt (or garlic) to taste
And the key ingredient--1 whole tomato (the juices are the perfect replacement for olive oil in this recipe)
Toss everything in a blender or food processor and blend your way to "green sauce" heaven.
The dough had a greenish tinge, and a great smell. After rising and chillin’ in the fridge I formed it into a loaf, let it rest, and slashed it.
It baked up beautifully. And tasted good too.
It had a subtle flavor, perhaps because my pesto used a mix of spinach and basil.
So I thought “What could be better than that?” And it came to me-- use the dough to make pepperoni bread.
A little pepperoni, a little cheese
and great Pesto
Since we had a thaw here on the North Coast, I fired up the grill and made grilled flatbread from both the black bean and the pesto dough. I think this is probably the easiest way to make bread. I just pull off a hunk, flatten it, and throw it directly on the grill grates. A few minutes on each side and it is done.
And finally, I made the Avocado-Guacamole Bread. I used about a third of a cup of canned diced tomatoes, thanks to the idea offered by Judy L, since tomatoes are not at their peak around here at this time of the year.