Warm Winter

March 10, 2012

This winter has been the strangest New England winter I’ve seen since we moved to the area when I was a kid. Yesterday it was 60 during the day and then snowed huge, wet flakes for about an hour after the sun went down. Although the weather may be reminiscent of spring, the local food is still coming in to the tune of potatoes and parsnips rather than asparagus and garlic scapes.

We have eaten an assortment of roasted root veggies too many times to count over the last few months, and although parsnips and carrots are never sweeter than when they’re roasted with a dollop of homemade mustard, it can be come redundant to eat potatoes several times a week. Today we had many parsnips, a few potatoes and a large, possibly too old to eat rutabaga hanging around leading me to roast them up for the belly-filling meal only roasted veggies can provide. But not before I whipped up a bit of a glaze to make them slightly more exciting than meals past.

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I made a sweet mustard-balsamic glaze and poured it over a few potatoes, one large rutabaga, 4-5 medium parsnips, 2 small carrots, half a large onion and a few cloves of garlic- all locally grown. My glaze consisted of the following:

-1 1/2 T homemade, coarse mustard
-2 T Balsamic Vinegar
-2 T olive oil
-2 T warm water
-1 T agave
-salt, pepper, oregano and paprika to taste

I have agave kicking around that a friend of mine was looking to get rid of, but it isn’t a product I tend to use much of. If I make this again it will be with maple syrup for a sweetener but anything on hand will do. I roasted veggies in a pyrex baking dish at 400 degrees F for about 40 minutes, stirring once or twice. A lovely way to rework an old favorite!

And now something super exciting- my first loaves of sourdough!

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Apologies for the terrible picture, it’s the product of late night bread baking and an Iphone camera. I used my starter and followed the sourdough recipe from  The Tassajara Bread Book using mostly local whole wheat flour and a bit of rolled oats. The use of so much whole wheat made the bread pretty dense but gave it a great wheat flavor. Next time I think I’ll use a 2:3 ratio of white flour to whole wheat and see how it changes. The bread had a great texture, lots of the bubbles and crannies I associate with sourdough. Hopefully my next loaves will photograph a bit prettier!

For anyone looking to make bread (sourdough or otherwise) in a chilly winter apartment I combated the temperature by placing my rising dough in a bowl covered with a towel on the top rack of my oven. On the bottom rack I placed a bowl with boiling water and closed the door. It kept the temperature warm and the air moist- perfect for growing yeast! I had to reboil the water half way through the rising but it worked great!

Best,
W.

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