Monday, September 26, 2005


Originally uploaded by monkeycat238.
Last night Antonia and I went back to our lives as breadmakers. We decided on a very "traditional" bread :) We have made it once or twice before and we both liked it. Of course, I have a long history with this bread (mostly taking place on Friday night with and with the aid of margerine).

1 pkg active dry yeast
3/4 c warm water
1 tbs sugar
1 1/4 tbs margerine, melted
1 tsp salt
1 egg
eggwash (separate from 1 egg above)
2.5-3 c flour

Oven at 375ºC

We let the yeast bloom in 1/4c water and sugar for 10 minutes. We then added 1/2c water (the rest), salt, margerine, egg, and 1-1.5c flour. We beat this with the whip for 5 minutes at which point it was combined well.

We then changed to the dough hook, and slowly added the rest of the flour until it was incorporated - the dough was still sticky when we took it out. After 10 minutes of kneading, we let it rest in a greased bowl for 1hr.

After the hour of rising, we punched it down, divided it into 3 ropes, braided the ropes, and let it sit on a baking sheet for 45 minutes.

Egg washed and into the oven for 30 minutes and done!

It is a very tender bread - I hope one day I can figure out how to get the ropes to become one loaf to a greater degree - I'm sure the scientific method will play into this at some point

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera
Originally uploaded by monkeycat238.
After our bike ride today, we were at a loss for what to have for dinner. We had a feast last night with the Oakleys and had a couple of ingredients left over: tomatoes and zucchini.

I decided to make a fresh tomato sauce to go over some leftover angel hair pasta.

2 servings of angel hair pasta, cooked
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced finely
4 small tomatoes
1 medium zucchini
1/4 c water
1/2 hot chili pepper, diced thin
olive oil
dry oregano
dry parsley

I put a little bit of olive oil at the bottom of a saucepan and set it to medium. I sauteed the garlic and onions for 5 minutes, then added in the tomatoes and salt; the salt was there to try to bring out some of the liquid in the tomatoes. I chopped a zucchini and added it into the pan. The pepper, parsley and oregano went in next. I added the water and turned the burner down to low.

After 20 minutes of simmering, I turned the pot up to medium-high for 3 minutes to concentrate the sauce a little bit, then poured it over the pasta!

It was really easy and as a bonus, I didn't even have to sit and watch!

I put some grated parmesan on top; sans parmesan for Antonia.

The sauce was wonderful: very light and very flavorful. We had a glass of Whitehall Lane 2004 Sauvignon Blanc with the pasta; the acidity of the SB went well with the acidity of the tomatoes. You can see the bottle of wine in the background of the picture :)


Saturday, September 24, 2005

Why Farmer's Markets are great

Glowing grapes
Originally uploaded by monkeycat238.
Walking around the farmers market, the fruit stands on one side and the vegetable stands on the other, I see another way of thinking about food. The food sold at the farmer's market isn't meant to sustain life the way that a mass-produced ham sandwich is. The food here acts almost as a language - a communication between the farmer and the cook. They give us letters, we give them books.

As I saw this grape catch the morning light, I realized that a celebration of ingredients makes us care about our food. When we care about our food, we care about how it tastes, how it affects us and how it brings us together with friends.

Basically: Food is great, even more so if it comes from someone who cares what I think of it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Pasta Pancakes (Galettes de pâtes)

I was reading Chocolate and Zucchini this morning and saw a recipe for leftover rice. I thought I could do just as well with pasta - so I tried with Antonia's leftover angel hair.

1.5-2 c leftover pasta, chopped into small pieces
2 eggs, beaten
olive oil
1 small tomato, seeded and chopped
1 small chili pepper, chopped fine (or dried chili flakes)
1 oz mozzarella, diced

I mixed the pasta, tomato,chili and egg together in a mixing bowl, then seasoned with salt and pepper. I stirred in the mozzarella into some of them (so my sweet Antonia could eat as well). In a skillet over medium heat, I brought some olive oil up to temperature for light frying.

It is just like making latkes, for those among you who have made them before :)

2 minutes on the first side, 1 minute on the second with a gentle, finessed flip in the middle.

I let them cool on a rack over a plate to let excess oil drip down.

The were really good - a perfect use for leftover pasta and "perfectly seasoned" to use the words of Antonia. The only thing I would do differently in the future is to use an oil with a higher smoke point - at one time there was a LOT of smoke in the kitchen

Postscript: These would be reallly good on the base of a little salad.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Italian Rounds

Olive Oil Rounds
Originally uploaded by monkeycat238.
Antonia and I have been baking our own bread recently and because she is in N. Carolina at the moment, I had to set out on my own tonight. We have adapted a M. Stewart recipe for pizza dough and turned it into loaves. The bread is great; It has a very even crumb, making it great for sandwiches. Right now the whole house smells like yeast - It could be the bread or the wine :)

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 1/4 cup water
1-1.5 tbs salt
2 tbs olive oil
3+ cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375ºF
Add warm water (warm that you can keep you hand in it, but warmer than lukewarm) to a Kitchenaid mixer (or your mixter). Whisk in the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Once the yeast has bloomed, add 2 cups of the flour and turn on the mixer with the dough hook. Add in the salt and olive oil, then start adding the rest of the flour, a little bit at a time. I stop when the yeast pulls off the bottom of the bowl at medium speed.

Let the dough knead in the mixer by running it for 10-15 minutes on medium-high speed. This replaces hand-kneading for 30 minutes (unless you want a workout - my forearms are sore after kneading!).

Grease a bowl with olive oil and turn the dough out into the bowl. Coat the dough in the olive oil in the bowl and cover with a cloth and put on the stove-top of the preheated oven. The heat from the oven helps the dough to rise.

Let rise for 1.5hrs at which time it will be BIG. Punch it down and let rise again for 1 hr.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface. Cut into two balls and put onto a cornmealed or floured baking sheet. Let the balls rise again for 1 hr.

Score the top of each loaf - I use a serated steak knife, but I'm sure almost any knife will work.

Put in the oven for 20-25 minutes.


Antonia and I really like this bread because, like all of our home-made breads, there are no preservatives - this lets all of the flavors of the ingredients come through. The olive oil gives the bread a great flavor, and the salt sets of the yeasty flavor perfectly.

Roasted Hummus Farms Cherry Tomatoes with Bodega Goat Cheese

Yesterday at the Farmer's Market I picked up both of these ingredients. The goat cheese is just as the woman described it: mild. Although I like goat cheese and its characteristic tang, this, I thought, would be perfect with roasted tomatoes. This recipe is adapted from Melissa Clark's THE SUMMER COOK; No One Ever Slaved Over a Hot Toaster Oven article in the New York Times, August 24, 2005.

1 basket little tomatoes (grape, cherry, 100's)
2-3 oz. goat cheese
olive oil

I drizzled the tomatoes, salted them and put them into a 385ºF oven for 40 minutes. When the tomatoes came out, i crumbled some goat cheese on top of them.

This was as good as the last time I made it - I think that the mild goat cheese does better than the ricotta suggested in the article. The one thing I miss is the tarragon - chopped tarragon may have been good on top of this. A basket of tomatoes is probably enough for 2 people as an appetizer - I had it for dinner, so I ate it all.

Make sure to pull off the stems from the tomatoes; sometimes they like to hide.

Tomato and Aged Gouda Sandwich

Today I found myself without the most important ingredient in a sandwich: bread. For the last two weeks, Antonia and I have been baking our own bread so buying bread was a little bit strange. I decided on Nugget's ciabatta, because I really enjoy it and it is good for sandwiches. The tomatoes come from Chez Oakley, and the gouda also from Nugget.

4-6 inches of a ciabatta (1/2 of a demi ciabatta) cut in half
1 tomato
olive oil
aged gouda (enough to cover the tomatoes)

I chose aged gouda because the flavor is much stronger and more pronounced.

I drizzled the bread with some olive oil and put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes, until the bread was just starting to brown. I thinly sliced a tomato and put it on the bread. I used a vegetable peeler (although I imagine a cheese plane would have worked better) to get a few slices of cheese. It is quite a hard cheese, so the slices came out paper thin. After putting the cheese on top of the tomato (which was seasoned with tomato's best friends - salt and pepper) I put it back under the broiler until the cheese melted.

The sandwich was very tasty - the only problem came when attempting to eat it open-face. The tomatoes do not stick very well to the bread and have a tendency to come off with each bite. I remedied this by closing it up, squishing it a little bit, and eating it up.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Welcome to Greg's Food: Steak and Caramelized Onions in Red Wine with Sauteed Eggplant and Squash

Well here it is: the first post in my food blog. I figure this will be a good place to share the food that I make. I don't know if anyone would want to try making the food that I have here, but I will include what I did just in case. Let me know if you try any of these :)

This was my lunch today, and it was good. I was given a London Broil by the Oakleys, so i figured I would use that. I went over to thier house today and picked some vegetables - 2 eggplants, 2 squash, a green pepper (not spicy) and a red pepper (spicy). I brought them back to our house and started.

Steak and caramelized onions with eggplant and squash.

1 London broil, 1.5-2 lbs.
2 medium yellow onions, cut into half moons.
1/2 cup red wine (I used Merlot - use a wine for drinking and cooking, none of that cooking wine stuff)
2 japanese eggplants, diced
2 small yellow sqaush, diced
1 cherry pepper, julienned
1 green (not spicy) pepper, julienned
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
dried parsley

Heat up a skillet with olive oil to medium heat. Add onions. Let them cook for a couple of minutes, then salt and turn down to low.
Rub london broil with salt, pepper and paprika on both sides. Cook to medium-rare (or whatever you prefer; My preference is a cast-iron grill pan, but you can cook it however you want). Medium-rare is about 8 minutes on each side.
Back at the onions - after they have been cooking down for about 10 minutes and are starting to get a little bit brown, add the wine and let the alcohol boil away. This should leave red-looking onions. Remove the onions to a plate.
In the same pan, add some more olive oil and turn up heat to high. When the oil is hot, add the squash, eggplant and peppers and parsley. Heat through for a couple of minutes, then turn down to medium and add in the garlic. This will keep the garlic from burning.

When the steak is done, let it sit for 10-15 minutes, or all of the juices will just spill out onto the plate (boo!).

Assemble to your preference - I put down some of the onions and placed a few slices of the steak on top. You could leave the steak whole and put the onions on top and serve family-style. I put a couple of spoonfuls of the vegetables on the side, and sat outside on my picnic bench with some red wine.

It was really nice. The steak was perfect; letting it sit for 10 minutes really helped it stay flavorful. The onions were great, the sweetness of the wine and caramelization were playing with the salt that I added. The vegatables were great; by having relatively big pieces of spicy pepper, it gave some variety to the bites- some were spicy while others weren't.