J.R.R. Tolkien Inspired Meal!

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A friend of mine started a new blog, Project A Month, at the beginning of the year. Each month he introduces a project and then he and his design, plan and execute. The first month was to:

Make a meal based on your favorite movie, book, song, or game – Whatever your favorite piece of entertainment is, there’s bound to be some way to make a meal based off it. Maybe food is a central component to a pivotal scene, or perhaps a character happens to be a spicy chicken. Either way, this month you need to think hard about what meal would represent and give homage to your choice. Be sure to take pictures of the process, write down your recipe, and explain a little bit about the choices you made.

I loved the premise of the blog and wanted to participate. I mentioned it to D and she also thought it would fun. The first problem though was coming up with a favorite anything to be our inspiration for the meal. I knew I wanted to do the project with D, instead of us each doing our own, and that meant that the book, movie, song, or game had to have meaning for the both of us… It didn’t take too much rumination to settle on J.R.R Tolkien’s Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings as our inspiration. The two of us not only grew up with the books but we’ve read them too each other as well during our courtship and marriage. I felt we got lucky with our pick as Tolkien infused his work with a love of food and eating (especially his hobbits…) Almost immediately I knew I wanted to do a take on the Elves’ magical lembas bread that served as the main staple for most of the Fellowship’s journey to Mordor. D said we should do some sort of hearty breakfast to go with the bread and call it “second breakfast.”

Lembas Bread
Lembas Bread

My first thought for Lembas bread was a multigrain loaf, full of nuts and berries. This fits with the description of the bread in LOTR but wouldn’t make for exciting eating or recipe making. I then thought a biscuit might work, something like hard tack but not so bland. The biscuit idea finally lead me to a scone. A scone was perfect: sweet, filling, transportable. I looked up a basic scone recipe and then went to tweaking! Continue reading “J.R.R. Tolkien Inspired Meal!”

Navajo Fry Bread

Fried bread? Fried bread!
Fried bread? Fried bread!

When I was a little boy and my parents were pinching pennies I could tell you what we’d be eating for dinner every night of the week. It was the same seven meals every day. Saturday was spaghetti and salad night, Sunday was bean soup and tortillas, Monday was burritos using the beans from the soup on Sunday. Occasionally Sunday nights would be altered and tortillas would be replaced with fry bread. Those were pretty great nights. My mom made her fry bread by buying bread roll dough at the supermarket, stretching it out and then frying it. I’d dip it in the bean soup and use it to sop up the last remnants of the soup. I loved it.

That said I don’t think I’ve eaten it in over 20 years despite thinking about the bread pretty often. Fried bread isn’t the most healthy food item and D never seemed keen on trying it. Last weekend though I finally acted on that thought. I even had a fancy cook book recipe to use!

Navajo Fry Bread

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsps salt
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup milk (room temperature)
  • 1 3/4 cups water (room temperature)
  • vegetable oil (for frying)

Combine the flour, salt, and yeast in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the milk and water and beat on medium until well combined.

2013-10-14 16.43.47Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until doubled in size.

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Line a backing sheet with parchment paper and dust the paper with flour. Librally dust a work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and shape each one into a round (you do this by rolling the dough towards you while rotating your hand in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.) Place the dough balls on the baking sheet, dust with flour, and drape plastic wrap over the rounds. Let sit for 25 to 30 minutes.

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Stretch each ball into flat 6-inch disks. Heat 1 inch of vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet to 350° F. I, and the recipe, recommend using cast iron.  Place the dough disks into the oil. Cooking as many as you can in your skillet without them touching.

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Fry dough disks until golden on each side. Try to only turn them once. I can never do this though as I am impatient and must play with my food while I cook it.2013-10-14 19.52.14Remove the bread from the pan and drain briefly on paper towels before serving warm. You don’t want these things to get cold!

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I coated my fry bread with a chili powder concoction (2 parts chili powder, 1 part sugar, 1 part salt, part cumin, 1/2 part coriander, and 1/2 part cayenne) while it was draining on the paper.

Once the bread was done we ate it with a sausage, white bean, and spinach soup. The bread was delicious and worked really well with the soup:

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This recipe came from Daniel Leader’s fantastic book, Simply Great Breads. Go buy it!

 

 

Random Food Porn

A delicious, delicious sandwich

 

This is an open faced kielbasa provolone melt with wilted arugula , Dijon mustard and  a vinaigrette drizzle on ciabatta bread. This wasn’t even a meal we had planned, D looked through the fridge at our leftovers and whipped this up! It was so good that I immediately made her write down a quick recipe so we don’t forget about it and can make it again!

 

Bison burger!

 

This one was my creation! I took bison meat and mixed in cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, basil, and scallions then grilled them alongside some thinly sliced radishes once both were done I put them on some fresh bread added some provolone cheese and mustard. This was our first time eating bison, and I have to say I found the meat to have more depth and flavor to it than ground beef.  We ate these burgers with a side of kale chips. Don’t know what kale chips are?

 

These are kale chips

 

Preheat your oven to 350° F, Take a bunch of kale, rinse it, de-vein, and then tear into pieces and place in a large bowl. pour two tablespoons of EVOO on the shredded kale and season with pepper, salt, and whatever other seasonings you’d like (I’m fond of adding a dash of cayenne.) Spread the kale evenly across two large baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the edges brown and the leaves are crispy but before they burn! Remove from the oven, place in a large bowl and enjoy!

 

Beer of the Week #1: Midas Touch

Cause beer is golden?
Midas Touch by Dogifsh Head Craft Brewery

I like drinking beer. I like drinking beer more than I like drinking wine and slightly less than I do drinking ciders. I’m not quite sure where hard liquors fit in that rating system, but it isn’t important. I’m kind of a snob though and am not content with merely swilling done the child, mild piss that is bulk brewed American beer regardless of how difficult it is to make said beer taste the same wherever it is brewed. My hat off to the brewmeister for being so technically proficient it’s just a shame what you’re brewing is so tame and boring…

Anyway, I’m lucky enough to be a member of a food co-op that has a phenomenal beer selection (their wine selection is pretty good too) as well as to live in a city that can support a beer tasting room. So, I’m never at a loss when I want to try new beers. Seeing as I’m doing all this drinking I might has well share my findings with everyone else.

A note: I’ve never done this before and so I’m not going to pretend I know how this works. My process here is going to be much like wine sampling: sniff, swill, spit, repeat, and then swallow (sounds dirty, I know. Grow up.)

The first beer of the week? Midas Touch, a handcrafted ancient ale with barley, honey, white muscant grapes & saffron. From the brewer’s website:

This recipe is the actual oldest-known fermented beverage in the world! It is an ancient Turkish recipe using the original ingredients from the 2700 year old drinking vessels discovered in the tomb of King Midas. Somewhere between wine & mead; this smooth, sweet, yet dry ale will please the Chardonnay of beer drinker alike [sic].

That is fascinating! And would have helped me purchase this early if any of that had been printed on the label!

I have the strangest pint glasses...

Back to the tasting; let me… where are my notes?Ah, here the are! This is what I wrote down, “lovely, rich amber color, hoppy aftertaste, subtle hints of wine and fruit… Wish I was better at describing beer to folks.” Don’t ever say I wasn’t honest with you dear reader! Despite the ancient recipe, honey, and grapes this beers flavors were mild to medium and were easily overwhelmed by the hop finish. I imagine it is at its best chilled extra cold and enjoyed outdoors with some BBQ.

Rating (out of five):