Several of the other posters in our Bread Braid have discussed their pets. Michelle, obviously, has her Big Black Dogs. Elwood has his bees and rabbits (here is a recipe, Elwood, for Honey Roast Rabbit). Clarice has Harry. So Zoe(y) and I thought we would share our worms with you. Worms you may ask? Of course. You all remember Bullwinkle buying the Lazy Jay Ranch with its herd of worms and having to drive the herd by pounding on the ground with sticks. And Wikipedia even has a List of Fictional Worms. And worms make great pets.
Now we do not have just any old worms, we have Red Wigglers. And we all know from the jingle on WKRP in Cincinnati what Red Wigglers are-- Red Wigglers, the Cadillac of Worms.
Here is a picture of my worms.
Aren't they cute?
And useful, too.
They take this (kitchen scraps)
and turn it into this (vermicast, aka worm castings, aka compost).
And this is where they do it, their Worm Factory.
The spigot in the front even lets you draw off the leachate for compost tea. There is one down side--fruit flies. But you just need to keep the factory where that does not matter. Also, I learned that hard way not to put melon seeds in the factory, unless you want volunteer melon plants wherever you spread your compost.
So how do my worms relate to this episode of the Braid, you may ask? Because I used the vermicast from my worms to feed my Jalapeno Peppers and Cilantro (variety Caribe) which I used in the Mesquite Bread. So if we are what we eat, my peeps and I are worm poop (I have been called worse). Also, Mesquite Bread has a western flavor, like Bullwinkle's Lazy Jay Ranch.
Casa de Fruta, though there are other sources. What astounded me was the smell of the flour. I have used mesquite for smoking in my Old Smokey Electric Smoker, which I just love, and I guess I expected the flour to be resinous. Instead, it smelled terrific, to me sort of like hot chocolate. The folks at Casa de Fruta describe it as "similar to mocha coffee, cinnamon and chocolate" and note that "[w]hen the flour is heated in the oven, alone or in mixtures, a pleasant aroma appears that is somewhat similar to coconut."
Anyway, it was fun to use mesquite flour, and the bread turned out great.
I had some dough left over after making the required loaf, and so I made a flatbread on the grill. I divided the dough in half, rolled each half thin, sprinkled some mozzarella on one half, topped it with the other half of the dough and rolled them together. Then I threw it on the grill for about 4 minutes per side. (Judy noted in our Discussion Group that she does not understand why people would want to grill outside when it is almost 100 degrees. The trick, however, is not to live somewhere that it so damned hot!) If you have the grill going for something else the bread cooks in no time, and has a nice grilled flavor. This bread was great, and would be even better with some pepperjack cheese.
The other bread for this assignment was Broccoli and Cheddar Buns. (Note that the gluten amount given in the recipe is an error, it is 1/4 cup for the full recipe. There is a list of errors on the HB in 5 site.) These were a big hit.
The first step is to chop the broccoli. I think that it is essential to the success of the recipe that you do this while singing Dana Carvey's "Choppin' Broccoli" song.
To make the buns, you treat them like cloverleaf rolls--form the dough into 4 small balls and put them in muffin tins that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Just before baking you top each roll with shredded cheese. I again used Cabot 50% Cheddar, which was named Best Low Fat Cheese by Prevention Magazine, was pronounced the one they liked the best by Cooking Light Magazine, and was a Recommended low fat cheese by Cooks Illustrated. In keeping with the "healthy" theme, I also cut down on the amount of cheese called for, but I still think there was plenty.
Every one of my tasters thought these were very good, though none identified the broccoli without a hint or two.
Since I had some dough left over, I decided to use a similar technique and make monkey bread in my new Monkey Bread Pot. Instead of cheddar I worked some Parmigiano-Reggiano into the dough and formed it into balls. Instead of rolling them in butter I sprayed them lightly with canola spray. This worked just as well, and the Monkey bread was terrific, if I do say so myself.
One final tip. I was having trouble figuring out how best to store my dough scrapers to keep them handy without having to sort through a
So that's it for this time. Be sure to check up on what everyone else did with this assignment at Big Black Dog, and tune in again next time.