Week 15 from Geauga Family Farms.  I think they’re getting better—the lettuce is fresher, there’s less signs of travel in the soft vegetables. As I’ve pointed out before, just because you grow heirloom fruits and veg, doesn’t mean they’re good. You’ve got to be a good farmer or grower.  And just because you grow excellent fruits and veg, doesn’t mean they’re still excellent when they arrive on the table of the family that purchased the CSA.  Every part of the process matters. Fun CSA this week: I’m not a huge fan of cherry tomatoes—too much skin relative to the amount of flesh, and frankly, I don’t love them enough to blanch, shock, and peel them.  But last night, photographing a bacon and eggs pizza for the new book, I had some leftover dough and cheese, Read On »

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[I’m taking a blogging break until 5/31, so am putting up favorite food posts from the archives in the interim] Can we call this national make-pizza-at-home week?  That would make me really happy.  Why?  Because pizza at home is so good, so easy, and so so affordable.  But what I want to focus on here is the EASY part.  This is why I really loved Sam Sifton’s NYTimes mag article on pizza (except for that truly shameless plug of Jay McInerny’s new book—are they pals? Really had to stretch even to make sense).  But: Pizza at home IS so easy it got me wanting to make pizza for breakfast: bacon and eggs pizza?  Why not?! I loved his stressing the fact that you don’t have to have a stone oven that goes to 800 degrees Read On »

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I almost never tear recipes out of magazines, but leafing through Saveur on the 8 a.m.  Houston to Cleveland flight, this recipe caught me because I’d been wanting a soft, comfort-food, James-friendly dinner roll, the kind of Parker House roll that’s slightly sweet and yeasty and soft as a pillow. Turns out this recipe comes from thefreshloaf.com, which says that the recipe is adapted from Great Country Breads of the World. There really are no new recipes, only adaptations of adaptations. What I don’t like about any of these recipes is the enormous volume of flour measured in cups.  I did the Saveur recipe exactly and the dough was very stiff—how could I know if this was the way it was supposed to be since flour by volume is so variable.  But the flavor was Read On »

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Last post on the astonishing versatility of five parts flour, three parts water.  First it was pizza (remember this awesome pizza?… hmm, maybe a bacon and egg pizza this weekend).  More recently, I made these delicious pretzels.  Same dough, different products. And here it is in yet another form. Every now and then, when I or Donna stop at On the Rise bakery, where Adam Gidlow and staff bake bread, bread, bread—the best baguette in the land, as far as I’m concerned—we pick up a loaf of sandwich bread, which young James calls “the most awesome bread ever.” Last time I was there, jealous of the light airy crust and soft kid-friendly texture, I asked Adam, “What makes it sandwich bread?” He said, “It’s the exact same dough as the baguette, but a longer ferment.  Read On »

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Photo by Donna Have been on a sourdough binge since the purple cabbage post (waffles last Sunday, bread, pictured above, by dinnertime) and loving Carri‘s ratio of 1 part starter : 1 part water : 2 parts flour with 1% salt by weight, though I back off by about 20% on the water because it’s been so humid.  I usually make a dough that’s between 30 and 40 ounces total weight. I’ve noticed various differences in the loaves and because I’ve put up the BLT From Scratch Challenge, I thought I should go over the 5 key steps of making bread, whether you’re using sourdough or commercial yeast. Mixing/Kneading:Mix or knead the dough to the point that it can be stretched to translucency. This ensures that it will adequately trap the gas being released.  Not Read On »

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