Sunday, August 21, 2011

So fresh and so clean

Andy and I found something delightful at the Greenmarket this past Saturday: teeny tiny adorable tomatoes.

The nice lady running the tomato stand said that this was a "Mexican [word we didn't catch] tomato," and assiduous Internet research has only turned up an heirloom cultivar called Matt's Wild Cherry that does in fact grow wild in Mexico. In any case, they were fun little bursts of tomatoey goodness in a kale, tomato, and tofu scramble sandwich, served on bread made in...


That's right. A stand mixer. Some of my friends from undergrad went in together on a stand mixer for us as a pre-emptive wedding present. I'm very, very happy. I mean, look at this dough.

That dough took me little time and less attention. Oh, stand mixer. You're everything I hoped you'd be.

So are you, bread.
Speaking of friends, we had friends over tonight to share the sandwiches, caramelized onion and parmesan rice, and salad, deviled eggs, and (incredibly good) key lime pie that they brought. They pointed out--okay, justifiably mocked me for--the frequency at which food bloggers use phrases like "fresh _____" or "perfectly ripe _______" in describing food, with emphasis on the overuse of the word "fresh." Of course, now I'm determined never to use that word again.

Despite the fact that I didn't photograph it, I should say something about tofu scramble: I hate that I like it so much, because it's one of those hippy-dippy stereotypical vegetarian dishes, but oh, it's so quick and tasty and proteinaceous. Which is, of course, exactly the set of criteria one looks for in an evening-before-classes-start-again meal, or, in fact, a harried-evening-while-classes-are-going-on meal. Summer, you will be missed.

Simple sandwich loaves
4.5 to 5 cups bread flour
1 2/3 cups warm water
1 tsp yeast
1.5 tsp salt

Mix the yeast and water until the yeast is dissolved and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes or until foamy. Mix in the flour and salt, and knead until the dough is smooth and springy. Grease a bowl, put the dough in, and cover with plastic wrap; allow to rise an hour to an hour and a half, or until doubled. Divide the dough into four to six sections, depending on how long you want your loaves to be. Roll the portions into balls and let rest for about 30 minutes so that the dough can relax (read: until you can actually stretch it into position and expect it to stay there). Pat each ball into 9-inch-long rectangles and roll up tightly into cylinders; fold the ends under to create a tight seam and press out as many air bubbles, gently, as you can.  Allow to rise until doubled, about an hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 with a metal pan in the lowest rack. Just before baking, put ice cubes in the hot pan to create a steamy oven, which will help develop a crust. Bake the loaves on a cookie sheet or baking stone for 20 to 30 minutes.

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