While Visions of Sugar Plums Danced. . .

While Visions of Sugar Plums Danced. . .

Saturday, March 28, 2009

French Grey Sea Salt

French Grey Sea Salt, originally uploaded by mgardewin.

Another salty image:

"French Grey Sea Salt

Or "Sel gris", or "Fleur de Sel", the King of Salts. Harvested by hand in Brittany, France using traditional, Celtic methods.

If you like this, also take a look at my Fennel Pollen here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mgardewin/2438419331/ "

Smoked Sea Salt

Smoked Sea Salt, originally uploaded by mgardewin.

This one has me intrigued. Here are the photo notes:

"Apple Wood Smoked, my favorite finishing Salt.

Also check my French Sea Salt if you like this one. It is here:

www.flickr.com/photos/mgardewin/2439243560/ "

Grains of salt..

Grains of salt.., originally uploaded by Anonym_snegl

For some great information about different kinds of salt, and some good photos to go with, visit http://www.saltworks.us/salt_info/si_gourmet_reference.asp 

Ode to Salt (a poem by Pablo Neruda)

Ode to Salt
 This salt
in the salt cellar
I once saw in the salt mines.
I know
you won't
believe me
it sings
salt sings, the skin
of the salt mines
with a mouth smothered
by the earth.
I shivered in those
when I heard
the voice
the salt 
in the desert.
Near Antofagasta
the nitrous
a mournful

In its caves
the salt moans, mountain
of buried light,
translucent cathedral,
crystal of the sea, oblivion
of the waves.
And then on every table
in the world,
we see your piquant
vital light
our food. 
of the ancient
holds of ships,
the high seas,
of the unknown, shifting
byways of the foam.
Dust of the sea, in you
the tongue receives a kiss
from ocean night:
taste imparts to every seasoned
dish your ocean essence;
the smallest,
wave from the saltcellar
reveals to us
more than domestic whiteness;
in it, we taste finitude. 

Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bread & Butter

Bread & Butter, originally uploaded by spacekadet.

This photographer says of their bread:

"This weekend I baked a loaf of No Knead Bread and ate it up with yummy french butter from Borough Market. Baking? French butter? What have I become?!"

No Knead Bread: http://www.spacekadet.org/archives/2007/02/no_knead_bread.html 

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Bread and Butter

Not a deed would he do,

Not a word would he utter,

Till he's weighed its relation

To plain bread and butter.

James Russell Lowell, American poet 

Beet Salad with Cornbread Croutons and Country Ham

Okay, this is looking mighty good to me this morning.

Photo note:

"Read about it at TheBittenWord.com "


Cornbread Shortcakes with Ham and Fresh Peach Salsa

This is gorgeous. Beautiful presentation, and looks oh so tasty~

Here is the photographer's note:

"This recipe has a brillant arrangement of colors with an exceptional freshness to it. The cool sweet salsa brought in a complex flavor from smoky cumin that played off the hit of spice from red pepper. Orange and lime juice added a tangy zing to the ripe yellow peaches and helped produce a very juicy dressing. The not-too-sweet cornbread cakes were the perfect backdrop to soak up the thick juice while allowing the fresh flavor shine through. To bring an intriguing smoky and salty twist, sliced ham is crisped in a hot pan and then stuffed in between the cakes. Next time, I would try and crisp up some Prosciutto, in place of the ham, as I am sure that would be a great addition. I did leave the peel on the peaches as we don't mind them, but do feel free to remove it if that's what you like! I can't wait to try this salsa on grilled chicken or some pork chops!"

Pictures and Recipe here: http://desertculinary.blogspot.com/2006/07/sweet-and-local-peaches-make-for.html

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Menu for the Day

Last night, it was oven-barbecued chicken drumsticks, basted in Cookwell & Company's
 "Wythe County Cola Barbecue Sauce."  I was curious about the flavor, and found it quite good, especially the second day, heated up as left-overs.

I'm notorious for cooking twice as much as I need, so that I give myself a break the next night.  If the meal is particularly good, then I'm not so lucky, and I find myself in the kitchen the next night, creating something new.  


Now, the potatoes didn't last past the first night.  They were oven roasted at 400, after being coated in olive oil, and dusted with salt, pepper and cumin.  Oh, and don't forget the thinly sliced garlic tossed in.  
After 20 minutes, or when the potatoes have begun to brown on the pan side, the wedges are turned over carefully, and roasted a further 10- 15 minutes, or until tender.  So good.  My advice - don't stand too long by the stove after dinner's over.  What might have been some potential left-overs became quick finger food for the one cleaning up!  


And the bread I was baking? Sweet and tender.  In the next post, I'll include the recipe.

Sweet Cornbread

This afternoon, while rummaging through my baking drawer - the one filled with odds and bits of various flours left-over from my son's food allergy days - I found the corn flour, and got the wild urge to make Sweet Billy's cornbread.  Now, while I really can't divulge the ingredients fully, I can say it has equals parts white flour and corn flour, baking powder, salt, butter, sugar, an egg, and a cup of water (I substituted unsweetened vanilla soymilk for the water).  It's quick to put together, quick to bake.  The recipe resides in our church cookbook, called "Grace in the Kitchen," Grace Episcopal Church, Bainbridge Island, Washington.  

Here's what's left~

Not only is it nicely sweet (not too much so), it holds it's own very well, thank you.

From the Writer's Almanac, a poem.  For a better look, here's the link:

What To Do the First Morning the Sun Comes Back

Find a clean cloth for the kitchen table, the red and blue one

you made that cold winter in Montana. Spread out
your paper and books. Tune the radio to the jazz station.
Look at the bright orange safflowers you found last August—
how well they've held their color next to the black-spotted cat.

Make some egg coffee, in honor of all the people 
above the Arctic Circle. Give thanks to the Sufis,
who figured out how to brew coffee
from the dark, bitter beans. Remark
on the joyfulness of your dishes: black and yellow stars.

Reminisce with your lover about the history of this kitchen
where, between bites of cashew stir fry,
you first kissed each other on the mouth. Now that you're hungry,
toast some leftover cornbread, spread it with real butter,
honey from bees that fed on basswood blossoms.

The window is frosted over, but the sun's casting an eye
over all the books. Open your Spanish book.
The season for sleeping is over.
The pots and pans: quiet now, let them be.

It will be a short day.
Sit in the kitchen as long as you can, reading and writing.
At sundown, rub a smidgen of butter
on the western windowsill
to ask the sun:
Come back again tomorrow

"What To Do the First Morning the Sun Comes Back" by Roseann Lloyd, from Because of the Light. © Holy Cow! Press, 2003. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Crusty Bread (photo)

bread, originally uploaded by Neil in Nashville.

This is gorgeous. I'd love to know if it was baked in a brick or conventional oven.

The baker has this to say about the bread:

"I made this no-knead bread from the New York Times recipe. Isn't it beautiful?"

Well, I'm going to look for this recipe!

Thoughts About Bread

Bread has been such a staple on our lives, we can't imagine life without it.  Countries all over the world have their own special breads for feast days, holy days, and every day.  

Bread is forever being perfected: baked in brick ovens, in cast iron pans, and in my own oven, on convection bake. 

Poets have written about it, mothers have stuffed countless lunch bags with the standard, but respectable PB&J.  

It melts on our tongues at Sunday communion.  

It fits in a backpack when running for the train to meet our lover at the park.  

It is dark and crumbly, light and airy, blended with oats or rye, flavored with molasses and honey, studded with seeds, and is sometimes just plain sensible.

It loves wine and cheese, fresh fruit, olive tapenade.

It speaks of life.

* * * * * 
Some quotes about bread:

Oh, God! that bread should be so dear, And flesh and blood so cheap!

I won't quarrel with my bread and butter.

Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.

“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.” --Robert Browning

organic whole wheat bread

organic whole wheat bread, originally uploaded by LolaBix.

This is another beautiful image of whole wheat bread, just sliced. The photographer has this to say:

"I used King Arthur's Organic Whole Wheat flour and the recipe for the bread was on the back of the package.. so easy and yummy.. used it all up for breakfast toast, with burgers, sandwiches, and as a natural snack for Hanka and Paco (the birds)."

Whole Wheat Bread

*  *   *   Whole Wheat Bread Rising *   *   *  Whole Wheat Bread Rising   *   *   *  

Okay, the dough is in the bowl.  These are my ingredients, roughly:

3 C warm water
pinch of brown sugar
2 generous tsp. yeast

(Let this activate if you want to; not totally necessary if you know you've got good yeast, however, some people really like to see their yeast go to town and get nice and frothy.)

Add to this:

1 T salt
1/4 C oil   
        ** DH likes to add olive oil; I think canola is good, too

1/2 C honey   
***  If you put the 1/4 C oil in the 1/2 C measure before you pour it into the yeast mixture, then pour the honey into the oiled 1/2 C after that, most all of the honey goes into the bowl, and doesn't stick to the measuring cup.  Nice for those who like just a  little mess.

1/2 C non-fat milk powder

Mix well.

To this, add:

4 C whole wheat bread flour
1/2 to 1 C rolled oats
1/4 to 1/2 C millet or quinoa
1/4 C wheat germ
4-6 C of unbleached white bread flour

Knead until smooth, elastic and nicely responsive to your touch.  Tuck into a ball and place in a large lightly oiled bowl to rise to double it's size.  This may take an hour and a half, or it may take longer, depending on the temp in you house, whether you have the woodstove going, or have been making chicken stock on the stove, are drying apples in the dehydrator, etc.  

When the dough has doubled, gently press it down again and let rest for 10 minutes, after which divide the dough into two even pieces, and fold into two loaves (or rounds if you prefer) and place into two clay loaf pans to rise again.  This rise will be shorter, about half the time of the first rise.  Don't let it go too long, or the gluten will become exhausted, and the bread won't "spring" in the oven.

When risen, bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  If you have a baking stone in your oven (for pizza) and the breads are firm enough, take the loaves out of the pans and place on the stone for another 10 or so minutes.  If you don't have a stone, just bake for 40 minutes, or until the breads are nicely browned, and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Set to cool on racks. While warmish, but not *too* warm, cut and enjoy.

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Nourishing Words, Beautiful Food - a Beginning

Hello, and welcome to Nourishing Words, Beautiful Food, a website dedicated to creative writing as related to what sustains and nourishes us, images of the good foods we eat, and a recipe or two.  I hope you enjoy, and will feel free to share your own ideas, photos, and experiences as lovers of mouth-watering words, and food to live your life by.

I hope you will enjoy, and join me on the journey~


Foods to Love, Words to Savor

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