There are few virtues a man can possess more erotic than culinary skill.
Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses
by Isabel Allende

Starting in November of 2009 Michelle at the Big Black Dog formed a group to bake its way through Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg. I loved Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, so I signed up with the group. Michelle first had us do a couple of warm-up assignments, which were my first attempt at blogging. The first "Official" post was on January 15, 2010, and it was followed by 41 more, on the 1st and 15th of each month. When I signed on I said I would bake the whole book, and like Horton (the elephant) I meant what I said and I said what I meant. I finished baking the book on October 1, 2011. Having completed that challenge, now I am just going to do some stuff, and post about it. As part of that stuff Michelle is posing a new, and different, challenge for us each month.

I am still baking bread, mostly the Five Minutes a Day kind, and if you would like to try the Five Minutes a Day bread method there are some links, with recipes, in the right hand column to get you started. Please give it a try.

But first, a word from my sponsor . . .
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This day be bread and peace my lot.
Alexander Pope

How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?

Julia Child

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.
Yiddish proverb
(And some are only half baked.)

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.
George Bernard Shaw, via Sharon

Of all smells, bread; of all tastes, salt.
George Herbert

Friday, July 15, 2011

Herbed Potato and Roasted Garlic Bread and Red Wine and Cheese Bread (37 of 42)

Summertime.....and the living is easy.  Fish are jumping (in this case the invasive Asian Carp which are threatening the Great Lakes)

and the cotton is (or in my case, weeds are) high.

Summertime is also the time for farmers' markets, where you can get your organic veggies and heirloom tomatoes.  While heirloom tomatoes are a Big Thing right now, it is important to preserve the diversity of varieties in other vegetables.

While I was looking for directions on how to make a self-watering planter from 5 gallon buckets I came across this chart from National Geographic Food Ark, which demonstrates that  there has been a precipitous decline in the number of vegetable varieties that are available.  

The site notes that of the 66 crops surveyed about 93 percent of the varieties had gone extinct between 1903 and 1983.  "So what?" you ask.  Remember the potato famine?  One variety of potato, one fungus (phytophthora infestans).  Or the Great French Wine Blight which was caused by aphids.  And don't forget the current plight of the banana (see, for example, Yes, We Will Have No Bananas), of which there is only one variety commercially available--and it is currently being decimated by a blight.  More varieties means more genetic diversity and a greater possibility of resistant varieties.  If you are interested in growing some heirloom varieties of you own, check out the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange or the Seed Savers Exchange.   And the great thing is that by buying and growing a wider range of fruit and vegetable varieties you not only help preserve diversity, you get some good eats, too.

Speaking of good eats, both breads for this assignment ate pretty good.

The Red Wine and Cheese Bread did not have much whole wheat in it only a 1/2 cup in the half recipe I made (and 1/4 cup of rye--much less than a pocket full).  It did have 3/4 of a cup a red wine, which gave it a kind of rosy tint, and 1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar (I used a light sharp cheddar from Trader Joe's).  None of my tasters, including my Special Guest Taster, Hildy, really noticed the flavor of either the red wine or the cheese, but everyone thought the bread was pretty good.  When I told them that there was red wine and cheese  in the bread, they all decided that they could taste a subtle flavor of both--but then my group can be kind of suggestible--whenever they watch a medical program they are sure they have whatever disease or condition is featured on the show.
I baked my Red Wine and cheese Bread as a boule
and I think it came out right purty.

I used some of the remaining dough to make a Swiss chard and mushroom pizza on the grill, cooked directly on the grates.  We ate it before I thought to take its picture. It seems we must add Pizza to Time and Tide.

The second bread for this assignment was the Herbed Potato and Roasted Garlic Bread, which not surprisingly has herb[e]s (de Provence), potato, and roasted garlic.  It also has ground flaxseed.  The potatoes, interestingly, were not cooked, just diced and mixed into the dough.  Although I was making a half batch I used the full complement of garlic and herb[e]s.  I still did not get much, if any, flavor from the herb[e]s, but did get a nice roasted garlic hit. 
I decided to use the dough to make baguettes, using my perforated baguette pan.

With the chunks of potato, I thought this was a very interesting, and pretty tasty, bread. 

And finally, since I still had some of each dough, I mooshed them together and made a hybrid Herbed Red Wine with Cheese, Potato, and Roasted Garlic Bread.  
So that was about all I could do with the Herbed Potato and Roasted Garlic Bread and Red Wine and Cheese Bread.  We now have just 5 assignments to go. Enjoy the summertime, and hope to see you next time.

1 comment:

  1. Your Breads look absolutely delicious!! I'd ask to share but am sure it is gone by now. Am not even gonna comment on the Asian Carp invasion. I was very surprised by how many varieties of veggies we have lost. I grow Heirloom garden veggies, as they are more tolerant of disease. BTW, I only live an hour's drive from Seed Saver's in Decorah, Iowa. So, guess where I get my plants?