Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I went to Greenmarket in Union Square, today. For the first time this season, the produce is coming in! There was asparagus, and ramps, and a variety of young greens. Spinach, of course, but also tiny kale and collards, and others.

If you don't know what ramps are - as I didn't a few years ago - they're often called wild leeks. That's not strictly it, but they are related to leeks, onions and garlic. and have a lovely light oniony taste.

Today for dinner I sauteed asparagus and ramps, and added some leftover steak from a restaurant dinner the other night. That and my bread made a lovely dinner for the two of us.

I've also been starting to buy some of our meat there. Today I got two stewing hens, which are simmering away in a slow cooker along with the carcase of a chicken we ate last week. I may use some of the broth to make asparagus soup, and we'll have cooked chicken for salads and such, for lunches. It's getting warm enough that I'll be able to eat outside in parks, when I'm at a client without a lunchroom, and I'd prefer to carry lunch. Salads fit the bill, and are starting to sound very good.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

New Toy!

Friends of ours who recently combined households gave me a stand mixer (as they don't need two!) My first reaction to the offer had been no - we don't have the counter space. But I bake bread - in fact, 100% whole grain bread, which requires a lot of kneading to get it nice and light. With a wrist with an old injury, that half hour of kneading has become difficult, and I haven't baked in months. So a stand mixer with a dough hook seemed a good use of space. (I think we're giving them a slow cooker - much the same reasoning...)

I made it a home on my counter, and I baked the other night! I'd been a bit concerned about the humidity - I sometimes have a lot of trouble with sticky dough when it's damp out. Well, the great thing about the mixer, I've learned, is that it will work a sticky dough with no trouble. I had my own lovely basic whole wheat toast for breakfast, for the first time in months. And that really did make it easier. (I use the recipe from The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book, which I strongly recommend for anyone interested in whole grain bread baking.)

So now, I want to experiment. I was given the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking for Christmas. It has lots of recipes that don't work for me, or that I will have to adapt, but lots that look interesting. I particularly want to start playing with sourdough and levain. I had a sourdough starter back in college, and made some pretty good bread then - and I know so much more about bread baking now!