Sunday, September 26, 2010

First Weekend of Fall

I am the first to admit that summer is my favourite season.  I love the heat, the humidity and the fresh produce.  Having said that, this is the first year I can remember looking forward to fall.  I was in a bit of a cooking rut; the kids were eating crackers, tofu spread, cucumbers and grape tomatoes for lunch almost everyday.  Sometimes it was hummus and not tofu spread, and a baguette instead of crackers but basically the same thing every day.  They enjoyed it but I was frustrated.  And then came fall.  Bring on the soups and stews.

Since the arrival of fall I've made & frozen 2 batches of chicken stock in my crockpot, pureed & frozen 4 large-ish pie pumpkins, made a double batch of taco soup & frozen a batch, and made at least two batches of buns and frozen half of each batch.  It would seem that there's something about fall that makes me want to stock my freezer!
M's Buns

1 T yeast
1/2 c lukewarm water
2 t sugar
1/4 c oil
1/4 c white sugar
1 egg
1 t salt
1 1/2 c water
5 c all-purpose flour

  1. Mix together yeast, water and sugar in a bowl.  Let rise 10 minutes.
  2. While the yeast is getting it's groove on, mix together the rest of the ingredients.  This is a very very sticky dough so I usually do the mixing in my stand mixer.
  3. Add the yeast mixture and curse the stickiness.
  4. Transfer to a greased bowel, cover loosely with plastic wrap or the like, and then rise until doubled in bulk.  On a normal day in my kitchen this takes about 2 hours.  The last time I made these it was freakishly warm and took just over an hour.  If you're not sure, poked a floured finger into to the dough; if it stays indented, you're good to go.
  5. Ready to make the buns?  Flour hands and a sharp knife.  Cut off small portions of the dough and roll into balls.  Place onto a cookie sheet.  Re-flour your hands and your knife and make another bun.  Continue until you're out of dough.
  6. Cover the cookie sheet with greased plastic wrap and leave to rise until doubled in bulk.  Again, probably 2 - 2.5 hours unless you're yeast is particularly frisky.  Test with a floured finger.  If it stays indented, they're ready!
  7. Remove the plastic wrap.
  8. Bake at 375F for 18 - 20 min.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - almost

Aside from the fact that I love to cook and bake, these guys are why are I try so hard to be good at it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I can't believe that it's September 14.  As always, summer went by far too quickly.  And it was one of our best summers ever.  The high heat allowed us to spend countless days at the local splash pad running through the cold water and then taking a break to snack on some fruit & veg from the farmer's market.  I have really enjoyed being home with the kids and able to see them enjoy all summer has to offer.

Fall has made its presence known very quickly and for that, food wise anyway, I am grateful.  Don't get me wrong, I love summer.  I love fresh produce from the farmer's market: cherry tomatoes that taste like summer, juicy peaches and nectarines.  The list really goes on and on.  What I like about fall are the comforting and homey casseroles and soups that start to take centre stage.  I've already made Jamie Oliver's Lamb Stew and his Chicken Stew.  Both were delicious.  We ate the lamb stew over rice and covered the chicken stew with tasty dumplings.  My mouth is watering thinking about both of them.
Lamb Stew veggie mix

Yum!  Lamb stew.  It tasted just like my grandmother's lamb shank recipe.  I'll have to make that someday soon too!