Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lammas or Lugnasadh

Tonight into tomorrow is Lammas, which is the first pagan festival of the Fall. You can read about it here if you are interested in knowing more. They have a great post explaining the day.

This is when the early/first wheat is harvested, so it is a time for baking bread. This is a favorite recipe for Lammas Bread. Place 3/4 cup of water in the bowl of your mixer. Add 1 tablespoon of yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Sorry for the blur but I am severely suffering from lack of sleep due to puppy watching! Add 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk, 2 tablespoons of melted butter and 3 tablespoons of honey.

Add 3 cups of flour and mix. Then add 1 teaspoon of salt. Add another 3-4 cups of flour and knead until you have a nice smooth ball of dough.

Place it in a greased bowl, cover with plastic and let it rise for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled.

Here it is after the first rise.

Split it in two and place each half in a greased loaf pan. Brush the tops with an egg whisked with a bit of water. Place them to rise again for about 40 minutes. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45-50 minutes. The internal temperature should be about 175 degrees.

I have made many different sandwich breads and i think this is the best by far.

Cool them on a rack. Homemade bread....a thing of beauty! Tomorrow I will show you what I made with it.

Poor Teddy is still having trouble drinking water while wearing the collar. She has such a thick short neck that it is tough for her to bend it, with the collar on, to get to the water even when I am holding the bowl. So, several times a day, I break up a cup of ice and we feed her ice chips.

She rather enjoys it.

A puppy snowcone, per se!

She will eat a whole coffee cup full of them.

Yum! Black tongue and black eyes. Hey Teddy, who punched you in the nose?

We can't let her off leash because she would run right to the hedges, stick her face in them and scratch her eyes. I know her tricks!

Who me? I am not a tricky puppy.

And about that bread mama....can you give a poor puppy a piece?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Country Pate'

While puppy sitting Teddy, I have been pouring through blogs. I found this recipe at Mary's blog: One Perfect Bite . She made it as a meatloaf but I chose to make it into a pate'. I make all sorts of pates so when I see a new recipe, I rush to try it. I am squeezing as much cooking in as I can while keeping an eye on Teddy at the same time. This is a very easy recipe and a great country pate'. I had almost everything I needed so I was good to go. I altered the recipe a bit.

I only had ground veal and beef. Mary's recipe called for pork and I would certainly add that the next time. I used 2 pounds of ground beef and 1 pound of veal in this recipe. I added 4 cloves of minced garlic and an assortment of fresh herbs from my garden. Basil, tarragon, rosemary, thyme and parsley.

I added a finely diced medium white onion, 2 teaspoons of sea salt, 1 tablespoon of cracked black pepper and 3 tablespoons of dark mustard.

Add 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs and 1 egg.

Mix this by hand until it is thoroughly combined. Mix it very, very well. It will become sticky. You want this to be very dense.

Line the bottom of your pate' pan or loaf pan with 4 bay leaves. I also sprayed it with Pam.

Pack the pan tightly with the meat mixture. Press it down to expel air pockets.

Cover the top with bacon.

Oops! First pour about 1/3 cup of port over the top. Poke holes so the port seeps in.

Place the lid on the tureen or cover your loaf pan with foil and cut a vent in the top. Bake it at 325 for about an hour and a half or until it reaches an internal temp of 170 degrees.

Here it is straight from the oven. You can see there is significant shrinkage. Leave it in the juice, cover and refrigerate overnight. The flavor will continue to intensify and some of the liquid will be reabsorbed.

While the pate's is "curing", I thought I would show you how the pup is spending her days.

Hey Teddy....your mascara is running.

She is beyond bored! She lays in front of the fan all day. That is my computer cord behind her. I sit next to her and my husband is on the chair. We take her out whenever she feels the need to move around.

Back to the pate'. Here it is the next day. You notice that fat has formed around the edges. Some people like to eat it with the fat. I scrape mine off. Underneath, gelatin has formed. You can dice it in cubes and serve it with the pate' if you wish.

Remove it from the pan. Hey, no one said pate' is attractive!

Slice it into 1/4 inch slices. I like to serve it with cornichons, pickled onions and dark mustard. You can add all sorts of other things too. Above you can see sliced radishes, brie, fresh mozzarella with pesto, Westphalian ham, salami, olives and roasted peppers.

Perfect country pate' texture.

Serve it with your bread of choice and it is a meal.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Eggplant Parmigiano with Cacio e Pepe

In between caring for the pup, I have been trying to feed everyone as well. A few days ago, Kary at My Farmhouse Kitchen made eggplant parm. I had some extra eggplant I needed to use and her recipe made me crave some good parm so I made this. But first, an update on Teddy. I am going to post what I learn as I go through this experience just in case any of you have not been through this but might need to do so in the future. First of all: an attitude adjustment about the cone! As much as I hate her having to wear it, I have decided it is much like any of us having to wear a cast. They are bulky and uncomfortable, they are hot and itchy, and they are basically a pain in the butt. But, there is no way around them, especially in Teddy's case. The damage she could do by sticking her head in the bushes to scratch her face, or what she could do with one swipe of her huge paws and deadly nails...well, it is not worth the risk. So sure, she is not lovin' the face vase but she is wearing it! Lesson 2: Teddy lays on her side as do many dogs when they are in deep sleep. She had not done this since she has been in her cone. I finally realized that she hates the sound of the cone scraping on the stone floor. It it is loud to me, I can just imagine how loud it is for her. So, I put a flannel sheet over the stone which enables the coolness to still pass through but cuts down tremendously on the noise from the cone. She checked out the sheet, laid down and immediately rolled on her side and started snoring. And my most current tip, which was figured out by my husband who is not too good at coming up with these things: ice chips! Teddy was having trouble drinking with the cone on so he suggested feeding her ice chips! worked and was an excellent solution.

Now back to cooking!

I am blaming all of these blurry photos on my lack of sleep. I feel like I have a newborn.

For the simple sauce, I sauteed some diced onions and garlic in some olive oil. I added salt and pepper, thyme and oregano.

When the onions began to soften, I added a can of crushed tomatoes.

I let this simmer a bit until it thickened, then set it aside.

For the eggplant coating, I crushed a bunch of assorted crackers until I had a fine crumb.

I placed them in a bowl and added some flour, salt and pepper, granulated garlic and a bit of Italian seasoning.

In a second bowl, I whisked a couple eggs with a bit of water.

I slice the eggplant into about 1/4 inch slices. No need to salt eggplant anymore. They have genetically engineered the bitterness out of it.

First dip a piece of eggplant in the egg, then in the crumbs, then back in the egg and the crumbs once more.

Place them in a deep pot to which you have added about 1/2 inch of oil. The oil should be heated to medium/high.

Fry the eggplant on both sides until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Place them on a cookie sheet and place it in a 170 degree oven to keep them warm and crisp.

Boil some pasta in heavily salted water. I think angel hair is too thin for this and regular spaghetti is a bit heavy, so I used spaghettini. I am like the Goldilocks of pasta. When the pasta is al dente, drain it and add 2 tablespoons of butter and some cracked black pepper. You can add some Parmesan cheese but I forgot! It is also a good idea to save a cup or so of the pasta water to add to this if it is too dry

Place a nice portion of pasta in a flat bowl.

Top it with a slice of the eggplant and a slice of fresh Mozzarella. You can place the Mozzarella on it while it is resting in the oven to soften the cheese. Drizzle some of your tomato sauce over the top.

Place a spoonful of pesto in the middle of the sauce.

Sprinkle lightly with grated Parmesan.

My husband said this was the best eggplant Parmesan he has ever eaten. I agree!