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):

 

Spring Garden 2011: A Time to Reap

The spring/summer of 2011 garden's "Ultimate Form"

September has brought with it cooler days and cooler nights and that has slowed down the garden as well. We haven’t harvested a zucchini or tomato in weeks and the beans and cucumbers have begun to wither on their own. It is getting late in the season anyway and D is excited to put the fall/winter garden.  So, today we did a complete once over of the garden harvesting everything we found and then pulled it all out. The harvest turned out to be mostly green tomatoes; Diana has never had any before and I figure now is the perfect time to introduce them to her (fried, of course).

Half way there... Hey, stop staring at my wife!

In addition to tearing out the garden I turned over the soil,   “harvested” all the compost that was made this year (about a bucket and a half), and cleared out 1/3 of the vermiculture composter. The compost and worm castings and compost were then worked into the garden plot and everything was lightly watered. We’re going to let it lie for a week, or so, and then plant the winter garden. Much like last year we are going to plant a lot of greens (chard, spinach, kale, arugula, celery, etc.) I only hope that this year isn’t as wet as the last…

Soil enriched, turned and watered. I'll probably manure it too before we plant the winter garden.
Last fruits. All those reds tomatoes were completely hidden. That is what I get for growing monstrous tomato plants...
...and just a little more

Lastly, we found a couple of these enormous caterpillars while tearing everything out. These guys were as long and thick as my index finger! Anyone recognize it?

Is this a Caterpie or a Weedle?