Friday, December 2, 2011

First Snowy Day Recipes

Hello!  In honor of the first day of snow (a few days ago now!) I decided to post a few recipes.  I made both of these a few days ago, inspired by the fresh snow.  Something about cold winter days makes me want to cook things...

Snow Ice Cream
Big thank-you to Cherith (at Ebenezer Acres) for sharing this idea with us last year!  It's so easy, and the kids absolutely love it.  A first-snow "must".

1 Gallon clean snow (just fill a big bowl)
1 cup sugar
1 T. vanilla extract
2 cups milk

Stir well and serve immediately!

Now, this next recipe is not for the faint of heart.  I love experimenting with bread recipes, and this one is a winner in my book, but it might not be for everyone.  The resulting flavors are earthy and complex.  We ate it with ribs for dinner, but all the while I was thinking that this bread was crying out for a nice dark, malty beer to go with it.  In fact, with some ale and roasted rabbit or something this would be the makings of a great medieval feast.  That's the kind of bread this is.  Your kids probably won't like it very much (mine didn't!) but I thought it was delicious.  There, you've been adequately forewarned!  With that, here's the recipe.

100% Whole Wheat Herb Bread
(modified from an Herb Bread recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 1973 Edition)

1 package (or 1 T.) active dry yeast
3/4 cup milk, scalded
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 T. honey
2 T. butter
1 egg
2 tsp. celery seed
2 tsp. dried tarragon
1 tsp. ground thyme
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup oatmeal
3 cups whole wheat flour (I've been having excellent results with whole wheat pastry flour)

Soften yeast in 1/4 cup warm water and a little honey.  Combine hot milk, sugar, salt, and butter, cool to lukewarm.  Mix in yeast.  Add egg, herbs, oatmeal, and 1 1/2 cups flour, beat until smooth.  Add enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough.  Knead on a lightly floured surface about 8 minutes.  Place in a lightly greased bowl and turn once to coat.  Cover and let rise until nearly double.  Punch down and let rest for 10 minutes.  Shape into round loaf and score an "X" on the top.  Sprinkle a little flour on a flat pan (with no edges), cover and let rise again until double. 

Now here comes the fun part: place a flat baking stone in your oven and preheat them together at 400 degrees.  When your dough is risen, carefully slide it off your "peel" ( your flat pan) and onto the hot stone in the oven.  Then carefully splash 1/2 cup water into the bottom of the oven and shut the door quickly to trap the steam.  Do this once more after about five minutes.  Bake the loaf about 30-35 minutes.  Remove and let cool completely before slicing.  The steam in the oven creates a hearty thick crust, giving it that gourmet artisan bread look and taste.  It's a great little trick!  Enjoy!