…buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz…
It’s not just the sound outside our windows from the biggest, fuzziest pollen-drunk bees bumbling around the front bushes — I gave my banana-coconut bread a spring makeover.
With a little advance planning and patience, but not too much, homemade English muffins enhance any simple morning (or afternoon or evening) at home (or picnic or other gathering)!
This recipe, modified to our liking over many years, has become our standard. Replete with whole grains and seeds, it’s the fluffy comfort classic sneakily made healthier.
Our first taste of the autumn chill has arrived. The days break foggy and crisp, and though the afternoon sun is still quite warm, bracing morning and evening winds prompt yearnings for warm, soul-satisfying foods.
This recipe for a tomato-based calamari stew with chillies and herbs more than satisfies. Sometimes ladled over a small mound of grains, I served these bowls with cubes of homemade ciabatta bread tossed with olive oil and garlic and baked briefly until crisp and golden.
A simple yet elegant meal that feels like one foot in summer, one foot in autumn, and an arm in winter.
We relished our long-awaited first taste of cool, dry weather last week. A glorious shock to the system. In spite of a predictably hasty return to the summer status quo, it gave me hope. Sooner or later the time will come when I can crank up the oven without harsh looks, trading hands routinely caked in soil for flour in my hair and dough under my nails. Looking ahead today with a tribute to rye.
The original loaves of northern and eastern Europe and Russia were 100% rye flour. Dark, dense, strong, filling, sustaining. As the bakers and their traditions came to America, the loaves lightened in both color and heft as portions of the rye flour were replaced with softer, cheaper wheat-based flours. For better or for worse, the blend stuck.
There are many, many different recipes. This example is made from one part light rye flour to two parts bread flour, and incorporates olive oil and molasses, all of which contribute to a rich, hearty yet fluffy bread. Sweet licorice-y caraway seeds add a gentle crunch and drive home the classic flavor.
On the inside, the tell-tale spiral of dark and light. This “marbling” is created by layering and rolling together portions of plain rye dough + the same with cocoa powder worked in for color (some recipes call for coffee or a flavorless caramel coloring). My marbling was faint, and next time I might increase the amount of cocoa or try a cocoa powder-espresso powder combo to give it a boost. (The lack of intensity could also be the result of overworking the stacked and rolled dough; see recipe for more notes.)
Somewhere along one of several cross-country moves, between the excessive heat, bumptious conditions, and random acts of God, the antique cast-iron comal I scored for my husband shattered. Its sister tortilla press fared better and is well-loved to this day.
Almost a year ago now (has it really been?) I rhapsodized about those south TX tortillas and introduced plantain tortillas to the blog. Those are no less stellar now, but these, these, are the real deal corn tortillas, hand-pressed with love, and I’m here to encourage you to try making them in your own home!