Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The apartment smells wonderful today. I decided to today I wanted to do some baking and cooking since I haven’t done any in a long time.
And I have to say, the process of making food from scratch is satisfying–the measuring out of ingredients, the chopping of vegetables, the mixing, the aromas. Knowing everything that is in the food I eat makes me feel good. America in general eats a lot of processed food and I want to try really hard to get away from that. I know it won’t happen overnight, but today just felt like I was self-sufficient and it was a GREAT feeling.
So here’s what I made:
1) Homemade bread (yep, with kneading and everything!)
2) Homemade vegetable soup
3) Homemade zucchini bread
4) Homemade macaroni and cheese (which I’ve made before)
I thought I’d share the recipes and some pictures.
The bread was from a recipe I found on allrecipes.com. It is called Amish White Bread. Here’s the link to the recipe. The recipe makes two loaves, but I just made one loaf today to make sure I liked it. It actually turned out pretty good. I think when I make it again I will cut down the sugar by a bit (other people on the site who reviewed the bread also made this suggestion, but I wanted to try the recipe as is for the first go around). The kneading was interesting–I wasn’t sure if I had kneaded it enough, but I did it for 10 minutes and then let it rise and it did rise until twice it’s size again so I must have done it right. Although I did find the bread to be a bit denser than regular white bread. So I’m not sure if I should have kneaded it more. Hopefully with more practice I will understand the whole kneading process.
Here’s the warm water (110 degrees, approximately, since I don’t have a thermometer–but I did a cup of water for 55 seconds in the microwave). After about 10 minutes the yeast, water, and sugar forms a foamy layer on top.
Here’s the dough after being kneaded for 10 minutes. After being kneaded, the dough is placed in an oiled bowl.
And covered with a damp towel, and left in a warm place. It rises for one hour.
Here’s the loaf in the oven, after being shaped and a second rising in the pan for 1/2 hour.
And the final loaf!! It looked beautiful and smelled soooo good!
At around the same time I started making the veggie soup. This is my own recipe. It varies sometimes based on what vegetables I have in the house. This is what went into the soup today:
As a base, 2 tablespoons olive oil. Then after it heats well, add one chopped onion (medium to large sized). Then also add 3 cloves minced garlic. Add the leafy tops and one rib of celery, chopped. Also add chopped carrots (I used the baby carrots, about 10, chopped). I cook this for about 20 minutes. Then add 4 cups veggie stock (today I used Emeril’s). I also added one can of chopped tomatoes. Plus I added a few red potatoes, chopped, one zucchini, chopped, one cup of noodles, one can of red kidney beans, and then some spices–ground pepper, celery salt, oregano, basil, and garlic powder (just a couple of shakes of each). This is what this looks like…
Then I let it cook for about an hour to intensify the flavors.
Kimm came home for lunch and we had the soup and the bread.
The recipe for the zucchini bread came from one of my cookbooks, 1,000 Vegetarian Recipes, by Carol Gelles (p. 395). (I cut the recipe in half and it made three mini loaves).
**(This is the cut in half recipe)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat four
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 tablespoon grated lemon rind
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour pans (3 mini loaves, or one 8 1/2 x 3 5/8 x 2 5/8 pan).
In large bowl, stir together the flours, the baking powder, the baking soda, and the salt.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg and egg white until frothy, then beat in the sugar and oil. Beat in the lemon juice.
Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined; stir in the zucchini and lemon rind. Pour in prepared pans. Bake 50-60 minutes (for the mini pans it was a shorter time, 40 minutes). The top will get lightly browned and a wooden pick inserted in teh center will come out clean.
I took a taste when they came out of the oven and it tasted super. The whole wheat flour gives it a nutty flavor, and the lemon a fresh taste. We’re going to have it tonight for dessert after the macaroni and cheese (of course this will be at about 9:30 pm when Kimm gets back from class!)
It was a really nice day, the house was filled with wonderful aromas, and the food tasted unbelievable.
My goal is to keep incorporating new recipes into our weekly menus until eventually we eat only non-processed foods.