Cooking with Annie: Episode 1 – Crusty Peasant Bread

It seems just right that my first foray into the YouTube world would be about yeast bread.  Especially at this time of uncertainty when cooking and baking at home feels and is one of the most comforting things we can do – nurturing for the maker and those on the receiving end.  There is so much right now that causes concern or worse, and yet, I find myself looking for and appreciating the little things even more than usual.  The big things are BIG!  And out of my control.  What I focus on and bring my attention to, however, is in my realm of control (to a greater or lesser extent depending on if I’ve just spent any time on the internet), and therefore, what I can do something about.

As I, like many of you, am also home with my family, I’m noticing that we are settling into a rhythm and a routine.  The first several days were a bit rough with all of us emotionally and physically bumping into each other a bit.  Now, although our house, just like the boat, is small, we seem to be finding a good balance between together and alone, even in the same space.  This piece feels familiar, as on the boat, this sort of mental distance is needed at times even when we are all in the same cabin, nearly right on top of each other.  I am also grateful for cooking and baking right now.  There’s something so primal about being able to feed your family – both the actual doing of it and the ability to have actual food on the table.  What a blessing.  Never have I loved being outside more.  In Maine right now, the wind is howling and it’s been raining off and on for two days, but I just don’t care.  I dress in my foulies (foul-weather gear that we use on the Riggin) and step out to breathe fresh air and somehow it’s never been more precious.  I’m sure many of you feel some of the same things I am.

And that gets me to, “Why a video series right now?”  Well, there’s so much I can’t do.  I’m not a medical professional.  As our business is travel, money couldn’t be tighter, so donating to one or more of the many worthy causes is not on the list.  But cooking?  That I can do.  So if there’s something you are struggling with or something that you’d love to see me make, let me know.  It’s my hope that these videos can be a way of connecting even though we aren’t together on the deck of the Riggin just yet.

I chose the Crusty Peasant Bread recipe because it’s one I use again and again on the Riggin and at home.  It’s on page 140 of At Home, At Sea: Recipes from a Maine Windjammer 2nd Edition.  All of the variations are there too.  Now, just to switch things up, as I do, I used a technique to make the bread which doesn’t involve kneading, but instead involves turning the dough several times.  Please forgive our first attempt at using the video function on the camera.  Toward the end we ran out of battery.  We’ll get better as we go along!

Crusty Peasant Bread
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons table salt
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
cornmeal for dusting

Turning Method (as shown in the video)
Combine the yeast, salt, and flour in a large bowl. Stir in all the remaining ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup water. Mix thoroughly and add the reserved water if needed. Turn the dough 10 to 15 times, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.  Repeat 3 to 4 more times, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

Kneading Method
Combine the yeast, salt, and flour in a large bowl. Stir in all the remaining ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup water. Mix thoroughly and add the reserved water if needed. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes or until smooth. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and set aside in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, divide the dough into the number of loaves you plan to make, and shape them into French-style loaves. Dust a baking sheet with corn meal and place the loaves onto the sheet. Cover and allow to rise again. When the loaves have nearly doubled, make three diagonal slashes on each loaf with a very sharp knife. Place the pans in the oven, throw a cup of water over hot stones set in a pan in the bottom of the oven to generate steam and quickly close the oven door. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until an internal-read thermometer registers 190°F.

Makes 2 large or 4 small loaves

Variations
Caramelized Onion Bread – When shaping the dough, divide and shape the dough into 4 rectangles.  Add 1 cup of caramelized onion to the surface of each rectangle and roll up into a log.  Pinch the ends and place onto a baking sheet.  Rise and bake as above.
Roasted Red Pepper and Rosemary Bread – Add 2 cups roasted red peppers and 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary to the dough.
Kalamata Olive and Roasted Garlic – Add 1 1/2 cups pitted Kalamata olives and 1/2 cup roasted garlic cloves to the dough.

Stay safe, be calm, be kind
Annie

Kumquat Mint Mojito – Raise a Glass to Kickstarter

Photo by Elizabeth Poisson

For close to a year now, I’ve been promising E a celebratory cocktail – to celebrate spring, to celebrate going sailing, and mostly to celebrate the completion of Sugar & Salt:  The Orange Book.  A year has almost passed since the idea’s first inception.  However, the reasons to create something special became current again with the launch of the Kickstarter campaign.  It seems that a salutatory cocktail is in order.  Lucky us!  Check out our Kickstarter progress and updates.

Kumquat Mint Mojito
15 mint leaves (plus extra for garnish)
7 kumquats, quartered (plus extra for garnish)
1 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
3 ounces Mount Gay rum
ice cubes for shaking and serving
2 ounces club soda

Muddle mint leaves and kumquats in a cocktail shaker. Add lime juice, simple syrup, and rum. Add ice cubes and shake until well-chilled, about 10 seconds.  Add club soda to a ball jar filled with ice. Strain the shaker mix into the ball.  Garnish with a mint leaf and a kumquat slice.

Makes 1 cocktail

Kickstarter Announcement!

You’ve been asking for it and we’ve found a way to bring it to you – with your help.  What have you been asking for, you say?  Why a new printing of the red cookbook, At Home, At Sea, of course.  I’ve heard ALOT over the past several years it’s been out of print that we should do a second printing.  We are ready!

But here’s the thing… We just printed Sugar & Salt: The Orange Book last year and we haven’t had enough time to recoup our printing costs to turn around and do another printing.  However, E and I are ready and up to the task of putting together a new and updated version of At Home, At Sea for you.

Now, we just need your help!  Check out the details of our Kickstarter campaign.  There are a bunch of fun gift levels from mini-notecards, a Riggin apron, the cookbooks, Maine lobster sent to your door, me as your personal chef, a trip on the Riggin, and an elegant dinner made for you and your 8 guests in your own home.  Thank you for taking the time to check out our latest effort!

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Annie
Testing and writing away here in Maine!

Rosemary Chicken and Dumplings – The Perfect Comfort Food

I don’t know about your area, but it’s been DANG cold here.  Like this cold…

COLD.171608

When it’s this cold, what makes me happiest is pots of simmering goodness on the stove and steaming up windows.  Chicken and dumplings  fits the bill to a tee.

Also, if you’d like to see a demo, here’s me on 207 with Rob Caldwell.  (Next time I’ll get a hair cut!)

Rosemary Chicken And Dumplings
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (remove the skin if desired; I usually take the skin off the breast and thighs)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 cups chopped onion; about 1 large onion
2 cups peeled and chopped carrots; about 2 large carrots
2 cups chopped celery; about 3 stalks of celery
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic; about 3 cloves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock

Dumplings:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3/4 cup milk

Heat the oil in a large, wide stockpot over medium-high heat.  Toss the chicken, flour, salt, pepper and paprika together until the chicken is coated.  Place the chicken in the heated pot and cook until browned on all sides.  Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and herbs; cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until the onions are translucent.  Add the white wine and stock; bring it to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.

Dumplings:
Cut the butter into the dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center and add the milk.  Mix just until the milk is incorporated.  Drop 1-inch balls of dough on top of the simmering chicken.  Cover and cook an additional 10 minutes. NO PEEKING!

Serves 4 to 6

Cook the Book: Creamy Herb Dressing

Creamy Herb Dressing

Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing Photo by Rocky Coast Photography

2 tbs fresh minced dill
2 tbs fresh minced flat-leaf parsley
2 tbs fresh minced thyme
2 tbs fresh minced chives
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tbs cider vinegar
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp hot sauce

Combine the dill, parsley, thyme, and chives with the mayonnaise in a food processor until the herbs are finely chopped.  While the processor is running, slowly pour in the buttermilk.  Add the vinegar, salt, pepper and hot sauce.  Taste and adjust seasoning. Pour into a bottle or jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Makes approximately 2 cups.

Photo by Elizabeth Poisson.