Friday, February 6, 2009

Hot Night in a Cold Town

With extremely cold temperatures for much of the past weekend, I decided to stay warm by doing some baking and cooking. The creek behind my house last weekend--now it is even more frozen:

I started by making an
apple coffee cake. These are the ingredients for the crumble topping--flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter.

I melted the butter and used a fork to combine all of the ingredients:

This is the finished crumble mixture:

Next, the cake. I used a Granny Smith apple, flour, sugar, baking powder, buttermilk, butter, cinnamon, baking soda, and eggs to make the cake batter:

I put the flour into the bowl of my mixer:

Then the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and some salt:

I mixed the dry ingredients briefly:

Then I added the diced apple:



Melted butter:

All of the batter went into a greased cake pan. You can also make muffins with the batter, but I decided to make a coffee cake.

Crumb topping:

And here's the cake after it baked at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes:

This was very good. The cake wasn't too sweet, the apples were tart and tender, and the topping was fantastic.

Next, I made tomato sauce to restock the supply that I usually keep in the freezer. I pretty much just make this up as I go along, but I started with one can each of crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato puree, white wine, olive oil, finely diced yellow onion (close to two cups), grated carrot (about one cup), red pepper flakes, dried oregano and basil, tomato paste, minced garlic (about two or three tablespoons), a pecorino rind, salt, and pepper.

I saute the onions in olive oil until they are translucent:

Then I add the grated carrot and cook it for about two minutes:

I add the garlic just before I add the liquids so that it only cooks for about a minute or so:

I used about 1/2 c. of white wine to deglaze the pan and I let it reduce by about half:

I added the three cans of tomatoes and about a tablespoon of tomato paste that I had frozen:

I also added one tomato can full of water:

The dried herbs:


Freshly ground black and red pepper:

Last, I add the pecorino rind:

I barely simmered the sauce for about an hour:

Here's what the pecorino rind looked like when I fished it out:

I used my immersion blender to make the sauce smooth:

Finally, I filled my containers with about two cups of sauce each. After the sauce had cooled, I put the lids on and put them into the freezer.

While my sauce was cooking, I started this recipe for
white whole wheat bread.

This is the sponge (yeast, flour, water, and honey) after about 45 minutes:

I put the sponge into the bowl of the mixer and then added warm water and milk:

More flour goes in:

Vital wheat gluten:




Then I added flour 1/2 c. at a time until the dough was the right consistency:

The mixer did most of the work--this is the dough after about ten minutes of kneading by the dough hook:

I put the dough in a greased bowl, covered it in plastic wrap and a towel, and let it rise for about an hour:

Me punching the dough down:

I divided the dough into two bread pans and let them rise for another 45 minutes or so:

Here are my two loaves, just out of the oven and on the cooling rack:

I sliced it later and spread it with some strawberry jam--very good. This bread isn't dense like a lot of whole wheat breads, but I also had to use a few cups of all purpose flour when I ran out of what whole wheat flour, so that might explain some of the tenderness.

Now I have a loaf of bread in the freezer along with about 12 cups of tomato sauce, some of which will go into this weekend's lasagna.


Rosie Hawthorne said...

I love where you live.
It's beautiful.

Leah said...

Tell the snow to go away so you can get out and come visit me!