A blog of hopeful, inspired living: cooking & baking & growing & harvesting & preserving & gleaning & eating & sharing food... while bringing positive change to my kitchen and our food system.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Shout Out for Hallah!

It's been raining for a week straight.  Every once in a while the sun comes out for 5 minutes.  The ground in the garden is totally saturated, with parts flooded.  The creek next to my office has become a river, with whole trees rolling by.  Land slides, mud slides, wind and fallen trees punctuate the news, with Big Sur (one of our favorite ocean-side destinations) blocked indefinitely because of collapsed highway.  I really needed a kitchen project to lighten the mood and the week.  Bread came to mind.

When I was in college I started a bread baking business, Eron's Incredible Breadables.  It was a bread CSA -- if you wanted bread, you paid for 4 loaves of bread (one each week for a month) in advance.  Then I'd make the bread and deliver it, often hot from the oven, around campus.

Sun and Rain bread is a recipe I learned at that time that remains dear to my heart.  It started as a recipe from Beth Hensperger's The Bread Bible:  one golden-colored dough made with corn meal specked with orange zest braided together with a dough of buckwheat flour and baked.  The beautiful contrast of the sunny and gray doughs, as well as the different flavors make this an exceptional bread.  I've made Rain and Sun to celebrate the Jewish New Year, for birthdays... and just for kicks on rainy days when I need something metaphorical to remember that the rain and sun are all part of the yin and yang.  Today was one of those days.  And it was also Friday -- the day that Hallah is traditionally shared for the Sabbath. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Celebrating the Irish

I'm not a big St. Patrick's Day reveler, but I am half Irish and would be happy to celebrate that fact with some dark beer anytime.  With the holiday falling on Thursday during a very busy work week, I had every intention of letting the day pass with a hasty after-work beer toast and a night on the couch.  But that morning as I cleared my in-box I saw a recipe that caused me to pause.  Somewhere, somehow I ended up on Martha Stewart's daily Every Day Food listserve, which diligently sends me a dinner recipe every morning.  I often delete without opening, but am also occasionally interested and inspired by the recipes that come through, which is why I have not unsubsribed.  This particular morning's recipe was for Irish Beef Hand Pies.  Although this did not initially sound appealing to me at all, I returned to the deleted recipe as I remembered the Hand Pie's relative -- the Cornish Pasty.  Traditionally a buttery (or lard-y), flaky crust enveloping steamy roast meat, potatoes and other veggies, the perfect size to hold in your hand. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bean & Barley Soup (in honor of Mickey)

Mickey Schoenberg
This week's blog is dedicated to my great family.  Especially to my Grandpa Mickey, who passed away peacefully on February 26th, 2011.

In the last few hours of his life, surrounded by his entire family -- wife, children, grandchildren, sister -- he talked about how grateful he was for his family, for his wife of 62 years, and for all the great meals my grandmother has made for our family.  He smiled as he rattled off a list of his favorites: Grandma's chicken fricassee, her Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing, matzoh ball soup.  Everyone reminded him that he also makes a darn good bean & barley soup.