Monday, August 24, 2009

Weekend Highlights (All About Food!)

It's been unseasonably mild here in Iowa, which means that the weekend was mid-70s and sunny, with very low humidity. Which means that it was completely lovely. I did spend a chunk of time in my kitchen, which I am determined not to do next weekend. But I seem to be in a honeymoon period—still—with my kitchen and my ability to use my stove without moving things out of the way (which was the case in my NYC apt). Not to mention the counter space! Anyway, here are a few things that I did and made over the weekend.

1.) No-Knead bread: I needed to make bread, but I was a little tired on Friday night when I was planning so I decided to go with no-knead. I used the regular recipe (not the speedy one) and let it rest over night. I cooked it in my cast iron dutch oven and the crust was crunchy and the inside was soft and chewy (and remarkably light). The dough was super wet, but I think that's why it wound up so moist—the first half of the cooking process is done with the lid of the dutch oven on. I had it this morning with breakfast, toasted with butter and apricot preserves. Definitely had to force myself to stop eating it as it was so good!

2.) I roasted my first chicken. For those of you who also read my posts on on Thursdays (that's the day when I write about food on our blog over there), you know that I recently bought a few sustainably raised chickens from a local farmer. (Not alive, frozen.) I want to support exactly this type of local producer, I like meat a lot, and roasting a chicken was on my to-do list for 2009, so this was a win-win. I used the simple roast chicken recipe from Mark Bittman and basted the bird with chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper in olive oil and I am excited to eat this in various ways throughout the week.

3.) I made chocolate chip cookies for the first time on my own. I realized when I was mixing the dough that I'd only ever made them with either my mom or Virginia, both of whom are excellent bakers! So I was a little nervous, but when I brought them to a potluck on Saturday and they were met with rave reviews, I was reassured that I did a good job. I actually didn't have granulated sugar and used raw cane sugar in it's place (along with brown sugar) and I think that gave them a distinct texture because you could kind of taste the large sugar granules, which were a bit caramelized. So that plus the Ghirdelli chips I used, which are huge, were key. Lucky for me I saved a few so I can enjoy my efforts for dessert!

I also made a large batch of pesto (for the pesto pasta salad that I also took to the potluck), granola bars, wheat berries and roasted beets. I realize this list seems a tad excessive, but I know I will be having a busy week at work so I was determined to stock my fridge with food I can easily combine into meals. Though next weekend I'm not going to do so much—I am promising myself!

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