It’s hard to believe it’s already March. It’s a month punctuated here by two birthdays (mine and Ace’s), plus a LOT of seed starting activities. But I also found time last week for some baking. After coming up with a rye sandwich loaf I like, it was time to experiment with some rye dinner rolls. I made a couple of batches several months ago, but I wanted to try some other recipes.
The rolls in the above photo are a spinoff from King Arthur’s Potato-Onion Rye Rolls. I want to tweak the recipe some more, but they are pretty tasty as I made them. They are soft, not sweet, and lightly flavored with caraway seeds. I didn’t like the onions in other rye rolls I made, so I cut way back on this batch. Next time I think I will just leave them out. Without the onions, I may have to call them something like Dark Rye Dinner Rolls. Most of the dark color comes from a little cocoa I put in the dough. I made these dinner roll size but you could make them bigger and use them for buns.
Next up was a sourdough rye bread I have been wanting to try for some time. It’s a take on Jeffrey Hamelman’s 40% Caraway Rye recipe from Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes. All the rye flour (40% of the total) gets an overnight sourdough treatment before joining with the unbleached wheat flour. I mixed this one up in the bread machine, and did the final rise in a 9″ cane brotform. After slashing, I baked it on the pizza stone with a steam treatment in the oven. It had a great flavor and a crackly crust, and I believe I will be making this one again. Next time I will try the stand mixer for kneading. The sticky dough was hard to get out of the bread machine.
Other baking this week involved vegetables. After the lovely Gold Nugget squash was finished with its photo session for the Saturday Spotlight, it got baked for dinner. It was yummy, and after almost 7 months in storage it was still firm and sweet. We always miss this squash when it is gone, and all we have left now is a couple of smaller ones.
I also baked some Beauregard and Carla’s Purple sweet potatoes. They are so pretty when cooked together. In the above photo it almost looks like roasted beets and carrots, but trust me, they are sweet potatoes! I made Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes with them. I used rosemary from a potted plant, because the two plants outside the kitchen door are in pretty bad shape after the winter weather. I am thinking I will have to replant them. Rosemary is easy to grow in containers though, so I usually overwinter several of them for cooking use then.
For the last year or so my wife and I have taken turns cooking. We each do two week shifts where one cooks and the other does dishes and kitchen cleanup. I did most of the cooking for several years, and since my wife was losing her cooking skills we came up with the idea of sharing. The rules aren’t hard and fast though, and we both still help with the other ones duties. My wife decided to make Pasta e Fagioli yesterday, and I helped by cooking up some of the 2013 harvest of Good Mother Stallard beans. I know they aren’t Italian, but they are a great soup bean and they held up well in the Pasta Fagioli.
I am excited about how our two latest soaps turned out. One was colored with alkanet infused oil, and the other with madder root oil. The alkanet colored one was a tad deeper in color than I expected. I’m not sure the photo does it justice, but it is a deep purple color – almost black. I’ll have to share the recipe for this one soon. I am loving the looks of it for sure!
I have started seeds so far for lettuce, spinach, kale, parsley, Swiss chard, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, tatsoi, komatsuna and cilantro. Some of the plants are ready for the greenhouse, but they will have to wait a few days for the latest arctic weather to pass. Right now they are better off staying inside under the fluorescent lights where it is a bit warmer. The last winter storm left the greenhouse door iced shut, so we will see. Next up in the seed starting rotation are peppers, eggplant and tomatoes. I plan to get them going in the next week or two. I am hoping that spring will be here eventually, and when it does I want to be ready with plants!
I hope you enjoyed a peek at what’s going on here in early March, and a look at what we are doing with some of our 2013 harvests. To see what others are harvesting or cooking up, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts the Harvest Monday series.