Thursday, December 31, 2009


First loaf of bread with hand-cranked, stone-ground, hard red winter wheat berries?  SUCCESS!  And by "success", I mean an edible loaf of bread--not a fantastic looking loaf.   Things I've learned:

-I have a feeling that I'm letting the final rise happen too long.  This is the second time that I've made a hearth loaf from the Peter Reinheart book where the loaf seemed to degass a bit severely when I tried to slash the dough.  I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but I'm obviously being too rough or perhaps slashing it too late in the game.

-A tablespoon of vital wheat gluten definitely helped the rise.  It was still a very dense bread with very small crumb.  From my reading, it looks like this is just the name of the game with true whole wheat bread.  I would probably get a bigger crumb if I used a "transitional" loaf (some white flour)

-I need to wash off the bottom of my baking stone. I think some crap on there caused the bottom to burn a bit before the dough was finished. 

-I prefer to sweeten the bread with honey rather than brown sugar.  It tastes much better with honey. 

I'll make a sandwich loaf this weekend for Awesome Husband's lunch.  I'm curious to see how it will turn out.

Still have been too busy too late at night to get started on the cheesemaking.  This is getting ridiculous. :(  I wanted to have at least 3 cheeses done this week.  It's only Thursday so I still have a bit of time, but gads. :/

Fighting the Man
I'm becoming a member of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.  A very awesome woman whose blog has been a total inspiration to me is setting it up and notified the Seattle Urban Farm Coop about it.  (Seriously, I would love to have a cup of coffee with this woman some day.  I've been reading her blog for about 6-8 months and I feel like we're walking similar paths, but she is about 200 miles in front of me.)

I'm joining for a number of reasons:
1) I want to support my local, small farmers any way I can
2) I'd like to help to set up a true food coop (no, PCC is not what I mean) in the area where like-minded folks can bulk purchase goods without having to worry about getting shut down.
3) If I ever get competent enough to do something like wanting to sell small-batch raw cheese, I'll need their help/aid.

I made a huge pot of caldo gallego 2 days ago only to find out that Awesome Husband doesn't like white beans.

BUH?!?!?  What?!???  How can you not like Cannellini beans??  White beans, a fruity olive oil, fresh herbs and sun-dried tomatoes in various combinations is what I live for.  I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you!  I can live with the fact that he hates sushi.  I can sorta live with the fact that he isn't so much into mushrooms or artichokes or brussel sprouts (although I think he is crazy)--but white beans?!? 

To be fair, it has been less than a year since something changed in my taste buds where I started to love all the above foods (except for the sushi. I've always loved the sushi.) .  Maybe he just needs to catch up or something. I don't know.  I hate making big vats of food that only I eat.  Then again, I'm not complaining too much that it is more for me to relish.

I just found a $15 gift certificate to Home Depot that has been sitting in a drawer for years.  That'll definitely cut some costs in buying a shop light for my seed-starting adventures this year. 

Speaking of seed starting, the seed catalogs are starting to roll in. 

So far I'm eye-balling:
Dragon Tongue Beans
Verenandon Filet bush bean
 Tonda Di Parigi  carrots
Lemon cucubmer
Rose Bianca eggplant
Extra Dwarf Pak Choy
Verte d'etampes mache
Certe de Cambrai mache
Bleu de Solaise Leeks
Brune d'Hiver lettuce
De Moreges braun lettuce
Val D'orges lettuce
Blushed butter oak lettuce
Petit Gris de Rennes melon
Oregon II sugar snap pea
Rosa di Verona a palla radicchio
French Breakfast radishes
Purple plum radishes
Champion A collet Rouge rutabaga
Bloomsdale long standing spinach
Merlo Nero spinach
Costa Romanesco squash
Pattison Panache Jaune et Vert Scallop squash
Ronde de nice sqush ( i know. it's a lot of squash)
Delicata winter sqush
Boule d'or turnip
Cimi di Rapa Broccoli Raab
Tuscan Lacinato kale
Orange chiffon swiss chard

I am kidding myself that I have room for all of this.  As you can see, these are all open-pollinated, heirloom seeds.  And I think just about none of them are recommended in the Seattle Tilth garden book.  I've still got seeds from last year as well.  This is just a starting "wish list".  I am definitely going to pick up the carrots, melons, cucumber, squash, broccoli raab, and sorrel.  I also want to add some marigold, calendula, nasturtium to the mix to bring bees while also being edible.

I'd still love to figure out a place where I can plant raspberries and asparagus.  I really wish we owned and didn't rent so I could just overhaul both the front and back yard entirely to "all edible all the time".

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-E.B. White

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