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Monday, February 9, 2009

pleasantly peasanty

Last night, we fixed some rabbits that Kaytie's dad brought us. (Kaytie will fill you in as soon as she can.) With rabbit as a main dish, (and the obligatory carrots - what else to serve with rabbit?) we needed some good rustic sides, which I was only too happy to provide.

The most exciting thing I learned yesterday was that beets are beautiful (look at all the pics!!). I will cook with them again and again, if only for the aesthetic experience. It's a bonus that they're delicious, too.

I've only ever had pickled beets (on hamburgers - yum), but the Joy of Cooking said beets could be baked like potatoes. I figured that they would also perform well if I roasted them. They did.

Roasted Beets

beets (5-6 medium beets made 4 servings)
4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
kosher salt
roughly 1 tsp paprika
2-3 Tbs oil

Skin and dice the beets into 1-inch cubes. Behold their beauty, but beware their staining capacity. Toss them with the rosemary, paprika, oil, and a liberal amount of salt. I probably used about a tablespoon or two.
Roast the beets on a baking sheet in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until they are fork-tender. Behold their beauty and enjoy.

I woke up Sunday morning in a panic. Okay, that's a bit hyperbolic, but I did want to make some bread for dinner, and I hadn't started any dough rising the day before. I went straight to The Bread Bible. Beer bread could be made quickly and allowed to rise while I was at work. I had to change the recipe slightly to allow for what I had on hand, but it turned out great. It did not taste like beer, and it was a denser bread, good for slicing for sandwiches or for use as a vehicle for butter.

Beer Bread
(from The Bread Bible)

1.25 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbs sugar (the recipe called for malt powder or sugar)
13.5 ounces (just under 2.5 c) all-purpose flour (the recipe called for bread flour)
1 ounce (3 Tbs + 1 tsp) whole wheat flour
9 fluid ounces dark beer (I used Sam Adams Honey Porter)
1.25 tsp salt

Briefly whisk the yeast, sugar, wheat flour, and all but 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour together in the bowl of a stand-up mixer. Add the beer (it's easier to measure if it's flat and room temp - to hurry this along, microwave it for about 30 seconds), and use the dough hook to knead the dough on low speed for about a minute. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let it sit for 20 minutes.

Add the salt. Use the dough hook to knead the dough on medium speed for 7 minutes. The dough should pull away from the bowl. It if doesn't, add a little more of the leftover flour. The dough should be smooth and not too sticky. Turn the dough into a lightly greased bowl. Grease the top of the dough, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Let the dough rise for about 2 hours, until it doubles. I left mine for about 5 hours, and it tripled in size. No problem.

Preheat the oven to 450 an hour before baking. Allow a baking stone to heat as well, on the next to lowest shelf. On the lowest shelf, put a baking sheet of cake pan.
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape it into a ball about 5 inches across and 2.5 inches thick. Set the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover it loosely with greased plastic wrap, and let it rise for about 1.5 hours.

Slash the top of the bread with a sharp knife. Set the baking sheet on the baking stone and drop 1/2 a cup of ice cubes in the hot baking sheet that you earlier put on the lowest rack in the oven. Shut the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes. Drop the heat to 400 degrees and continue baking for 30 to 40 minutes, until the bread is golden brown. Our oven tends to cook hot, and my bread was done in 20 minutes. Let the bread cool on a rack.

1 comment:

  1. Beets are among my favorite foods ever--yum! Yours are ridiculously good looking...