Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stecca, Sandwiches, Soup

Sunday was quite warm, so my stecca dough got off to a good start and had a noticeably improved rise. I baked it off on Monday morning, using a bit less oil and much less salt for the top. I felt, the last time, that some bites were much too salty and wondered if so much oil was affecting my results, yielding the flatter loaves. The answer is no (wait, were those questions?). No the bread was not too salty, even if I thought it was (in fact, it was perfect for sandwiches, where the salt has room to spread out), and No the oil did not hinder the oven rise. So my result on Monday: fuller loaves, adequate oil, not enough salt. I failed to notice that, unlike the standard bread recipes in my new Jim Lahey book, the stecca dough contains very little salt on its own, and thus relies on those generous sprinklings for flavor. Lessons learned: warmer environment helps a lot; don't skimp on the salt. I am still working on my shaping technique as well.

Monday lunch:
Matt had another beet-arugula-goat cheese sandwich on stecca (it needed a bit of salt). The rest of us had leftover stew.

After lunch I roasted a few eggplants, red peppers and poblanos to save for later. I meant to marinate the eggplant with some garlic, cilantro, vinegar, and oil (Lahey recipe), but we were out of garlic so I will try to marinate today.

Monday dinner:
Matt made a double batch of one of our favorite, easy cold-weather soups: Coconut Milk Soup with Sweet Potato and Collard Greens, from Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley. We used sweet potatoes and jalapenos from Cherry Grove for this. Note: Sometimes you get a jalapeno that is just not that spicy, but it is crucial to get this soup spicy enough because the coconut milk and sweet potato can make it too sweet. And then it becomes a huge disappointment. But the Cherry Grove jalapenos did not disappoint. The cilantro and drizzle of lime juice take it over the top. And we have leftovers!

Taking stock:
We did pretty well this week. We do still have 2 small watermelons hanging around the fridge, though. And a couple of tiny winter squashes, 2 scallions, and quite a few hot peppers.

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