A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Olive Update

Back in January I posted about curing the olives from our backyard tree. It took a long time, maybe about two months total, but they were delicious. I used this marinade featuring vinegar, garlic, and lemon:

1-1/2 cups white wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon salt dissolved in 2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

3 lemon wedges

2 cloves garlic

Olive oil to cover

Next time I wouldn't cover them with olive oil. They tasted best after a whole month of marinating. I wish I had some left!

Pictures above is our herb garden. Mostly you can see parsley, sage, and rosemary, but maybe there's tarragon squeezed in there. The sage is blooming with purple flowers. Since most things are in their prime now, I plan to dry big batches of each. Sage and tarragon are especially fragrant and palatable when dried.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Corned Beef and Cabbage

I didn't do anything very fancy with this. I just boiled the corned beef, cooked the carrots and potatoes separately, and added the cabbage for the last 25 minutes--too long, but some people like soggy cabbage. It was flavorful and sort of homey and satisfying. I served horseradish and mustard with it. As usual, I mixed the horseradish with yogurt--it makes a perfect simple sauce.

I made Irish Soda Bread for the first time--I used the Joy of Cooking recipe--and we decided to have it for dessert because it was sweet. This version was a quick bread, sort of like banana bread with raisins instead of bananas. The traditional caraway seed made it interesting.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bread No. 1 in a Convection Oven

This is my first loaf of bread in the new oven. It's a convection oven, which I've never used for bread before. I used a plain old pizza stone on the rack. I set it to 500 degrees, which the oven automatically adjusted down to 475 because the convection is faster and more efficient.

The crust got quite brown; I haven't decided if it's too brown yet. But the loaf is wonderfully light in weight and crinkly and evenly baked, so I think with some experimentation this will be positive.

I used my go-to recipe for basic, accessible (by which I mean a little softer) European white bread, which is based on Peter Reinhardt's Italian bread recipe and is almost identical to my pizza dough recipe. Really, it basically is my pizza dough recipe, except that I make a sponge the day before, pretty wet, with 1/2 t of the yeast and half the flour (2.5 cups) and over half the water. I use only 1 T of olive oil in the final recipe instead of 3, but otherwise it's about the same. Makes two lovely loaves or four home-sized pizzas. The second half of the dough is in the freezer awaiting its fate.

I am dreaming about your olives, by the way, Mom. They were so good. Wish we had an olive tree here.