Thursday, February 11, 2010

More Blizzard Comfort Food


When you have to dress like this to go outside, it's time for some comfort food.

I already posted earlier today about what the Baltimore Foodmaker's have been making for blizzard snacks. But since I just finished packing up some chicken soup and my first ever no-knead bread for lunch tomorrow (back at the office!) I thought I would post a few update photos.

First of all, here's where I've pretty much been camped out, when I haven't been in the kitchen or outside in the snow. Thanks, internet! And I finally am getting caught up on The Wire (I know, I'm late to the party).


Snuggling up on the couch is no reason not to cook though!

There are a lot of wonderful, classic recipes that require very little attention and work. All you need is patience and time. Perfect for a snow day!

So what are these easy, practically work-free recipes?

Chicken Stock


I froze about two quarts and am definitely bringing a bunch to work to fuel me through the long weekend of overtime (all these snow days have to be made up somehow!)

Admittedly, there is a little work at the end when you have to strain the stock. I strained it twice, according to Thomas Keller's opinion that all stocks should be very well strained.



All you need is about four hours of time to keep an eye on the stove.

And actually, I only simmered this stock for about two and a half hours, since the carcass was from an almost 7 lb. chicken so there was already a lot of flavor.

But otherwise, all you have to do is simmer a few vegetables, spices, and soup bones, and you've got a very special treat. Plus it's a great way to use up inedible meat scraps.

I'm even going to simmer the bones with fresh vegetables for a second time. It gets even more use out of one chicken, and maybe I could try my hand at a classic french sauce like a velouté perhaps?

And the last part of this photo series of low-labor, long-wait snow day recipes?

No Knead Bread!


Oh Wow. Talk about classy!

Most artisan breads, which are basically more like European bakery style breads instead of the sandwich-style bread more common here, strive for a very crispy crust and a chewy interior that's not gummy, with lots of air pockets.

This bread had that going on.


The way this bread works is that you mix up the dough like a batter, then let it sit for about 20 hours. Instead of kneading the dough to stretch out the wheat gluten, it gets nice and bubbly all by itself due to the slow rising process.

I practically gasped when I cut these breads open, the crumb of this bread was so stretchy and transparent. Check out the photo below from my sourdough post to see the difference in bread crumb.


Actually, this crust was almost a little too crispy, and there wasn't quite enough actual bread to eat with all those air holes! I think I'll experiment with the recipe to reach a happy medium.

This would definitely make a great bread for dipping, and I'd like to try making smaller rolls with the dough for sandwiches.

For all you food nerds, I did an experiment to see if it really mattered whether or not you bake the bread in a pre-heated dutch oven like the recipe calls for.

I experimented with one loaf inside of the dutch oven, and one loaf in a tinfoil lined baking pan without a lid.



The main difference I would say is that the dutch oven loaf got a little bit more of a golden sheen, whereas the pan baked loaf was more of a dull brown. The loaf in the pan had larger air pockets as well (it's the loaf on the right in the photo above.)

But there wasn't a completely huge difference, in case you are curious like I was.

Anyway, I hope you all have enjoyed the snow day recipes post, hopefully I won't be too swamped with work tomorrow to announce my very first BaltimoreDIY ticket giveaway!

Stay tuned to hear about the upcoming Maryland Home & Garden Show in March!

2 comments:

paulettew said...

This post has made me really hungry, but it was helpful at the same time!

Megan said...

Oh, good to know about the pan vs. dutch oven for the bread. I don't have a 5-qt dutch oven anymore, so I hadn't been making that recipe lately. That's all about to change! Thanks!

-Megan (from Foodmakers)

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