Archive for March, 2011



March 27, 2011

add a cup of water to a cup of flour and stir.
next day, remove half of that, and add a half-cup water and half-cup flour.
feed like this for a few days.
THAT’S IT. that’s the whole starter.

i used this recipe – check it out.

it’s by far the most amazing bread i’ve ever made. light even when the dough is too dense (my fault; didn’t add flour slowly enough,) wildly sour, absolutely perfect. coating the sides in olive oil made a croissant-like, flaky crust.

add a cup of water and a cup of flour to the starter.

2 c sponge (save the rest for your next batch of bread!)
3 c flour
2 T olive oil
4 t sugar
2 t salt

this is the best bread i’ve ever made. ever.



sopa de lima

March 2, 2011

rick bayless, give me a break.

the damn soup was phenomenal, but… seriously? pour the soup into warm bowls? yeah, i’m going to warm the bowls. by pouring soup into them. so glad we got that straightened out.

Sopa de Lima Clasica

Makes about 2 quarts of soup, serving 8

Recipe from Season 5 of Mexico – One Plate at a Time

Salt and Pepper Broth
2 medium white onions, cut in half across the middle (rather from top to bottom)
2 heads of garlic, cut in half across the middle
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
One 1 1/2-inch cinnamon stick, preferably Mexican cinnamon
1 teaspoon crumbled dried Mexican oregano
2 pounds of chicken wings (you can include backs and necks too)
2 pounds of pork bones (neck bones are most commonly available)
2 large Yucatecan limas agrias
OR 4 key limes
OR 2 grocery-store (Persian) limes
3 hot banana peppers

Vegetable oil to a depth of 1/2-inch for frying
8 corn tortillas
1 large white onion, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1 pound ripe tomatoes (2 medium-large round or 5 to 6 plum tomatoes), cored and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 large green pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large (1 to 1 1/4-pound) whole chicken breast (with skin and bones)

1. Prepare the “salt-and-pepper” broth. Set an 8- to 12-quart soup pot over medium to medium-low heat. Lay the onions and garlic heads, cut-side down, in the pot. Cover and roast without turning until dark brown and quite soft, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pulverize the peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon and oregano in a spice mill or mortar.

When the onion and garlic are ready, add 4 quarts of water to the pot, along with the chicken and pork. Raise the heat to high. Skim off the grayish foam that rises as the liquid comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a slow, steady simmer, then add the spices. Cut the ends off the limes and add the ends to the pot, along with 1 teaspoon salt. Slice the limes about 1/4-inch thick and set aside for serving.

Roast the banana peppers over an open flame or close up under a preheated broiler until blackened and blistered all over, about 6 minutes. Cut about a 1/2-inch slit in the side of each one and add to the pot.

Set the lid on the pot slightly askew and simmer for 2 hours. Strain the broth and measure 2 quarts. (Which is about what you should have, if you’re short, add water to bring the broth to that quantity.)

2. Fry the tortilla strips. Cut the tortillas crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. (I find it easiest to roll up 2 tortillas at a time and cut them.) In large (4-quart) saucepan, heat 1/2-inch of oil over medium-high. When quite hot but not smoking (test if it’s hot enough by adding a tortilla strip: it should sizzle vigorously), fry the tortilla strips in two batches, stirring them around in the oil nearly constantly, until they are golden brown and crispy. With a slotted spoon, scoop them out onto paper towels to drain.

3. Prepare the soup. Pour off all but a generous coating of the oil from the saucepan and return to medium-heat. Add the onion, tomato and pepper to the pan and cook, stirring regularly, until soft and just beginning to color slightly. Add the broth and chicken breast. Cook 30 minutes, just until the chicken is done. Remove the chicken, cool slightly, then pull off and discard the skin. Pull the meat from the bones in large shreds; discard the bones. Taste and season the broth with salt, usually about 2 teaspoons.

4. Serve the soup. Divide the tortilla strips and chicken between 8 large warm soup bowls. Ladle a portion of soup into each bowl and serve right away, passing the lime separately.



March 2, 2011

fermenting rice and beans changes EVERYTHING.

this is one of the most popular requests from my vegan and gluten-free friends. throw some stir-fry on top (or puree it and throw it in the batter!) and it’s a whole meal.


just soak equal parts rice and some small pulse like split peas, lentils, urad dal, channa dal, etc.

after many hours (whenever you remember, really,) grind them to a paste (with water) about the consistency of pancake batter.

put the batter in a non-reactive vessel (glass, pyrex; a bowl or baking pan is fine – just nothing metal) and just leave it on your table for a few hours. no lid. no worries. if you have flies, drape a kitchen towel or plastic bag over the top loosely.

it’ll start smelling yeasty after six-ish hours. ferment it for longer if you like!

season it (we love fresh ginger, garlic, and chilis, and lots of spices like coriander, cumin seed, ajwain seed, cinnamon, allspice, and a little mango powder)
and fry the sucker up like a pancake with plenty of oil.

tricks i’ve encountered to making a perfect dosa:
use LOTS of oil
grind the paste so that all the chunks are gone
thin pancake, high heat
ferment for a long time
don’t flip until it’s browned on the bottom (otherwise it falls apart)


late february veggie ferments

March 1, 2011

swiss chard stems with garlic, clove, allspice, and mustard seed

very dilly beans

dilly cauliflower

saltwater-pickled garlic and onion

carrot and baby cucumber with tons of dill and laurel

giardinera with carrot, tons of hot pepper, cauliflower, and onion

lime juice fermented hot peppers