Since it’s summer, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share my summer garden with you, courtesy of 19-6: Fresh Herbs. This one came from the new book, and is the prequel (of sorts) to 19-7: Fresh and Dried Herbs. I had lamented not being able to easily find fresh tarragon back when I wrote that one–well, now I grow it myself in my own backyard.
Growing my own herbs in my own garden for use in cooking was one of the top reasons I wanted to buy my own place, and the garden situation outside was one of my main factors when selecting a house (back when you could have preferences about things like that and didn’t just have to overpay for whatever was available).
I use my homegrown herbs for cooking all year round, and it’s quite the pleasure to be able to use just the amount needed fresh from my own backyard rather than buy overpriced herbs at the grocery store and then watch them wilt and die in my fridge.
I missed getting this one out in time for 4th of July, but summer’s far from over here in the U.S. If you happen to have some seasonal fruit or are looking for a lighter dinner option (I grew up on quiches and I love them), 20-8: Pie Crust can be a great base recipe for both of those. And of course, this isn’t limited to just summer–pie crusts are useful all year round.
You can even make up a bunch of pie crust dough balls using this recipe and freeze them individually–just pull one out when needed and let it defrost.
I recently published 19-19: Root Vegetables I, and promised its follow-up sometime in the future. Well, the future is NOW: here’s 19-20: Root Vegetables II.
For more root vegetable info and links to some recipes that use root vegetables, read on. Also, here’s some reading on Jain vegetarianism–did you know that they specifically don’t eat root vegetables? 🧘
I haven’t done a Cooking School entry in forever, so here’s 19-19: Root Vegetables I for your reading pleasure. You can expect 19-20: Root Vegetables II sometime in the near-to-distant future (EDIT: done, linked).
Wikipedia has a pretty extensive list of root vegetables, so if Simply Delicious doesn’t discuss what you’re looking for, they’ve got you covered. It’s a good time for root vegetables, so think about how you can incorporate some into your mealtime rotation if you’re interested.
19-7: Fresh and Dried Herbs has been a recipe-in-the-making for a few months. I mention frequently that I often write these entries months after I complete the actual recipe, but this one actually took me that long TO complete.
Usually, these Cooking School cards don’t have too much in the way of actual recipes–often times it’s more like the card above, more recommendation than actual recipe. I’m not going to restate what they’ve written here–it’s all good advice. Jump behind the cut for some herb blend recipes as well as a DIY vinegar challenge and BONUS limoncello recipe.
My plan for this entry is pretty much going to be like the ones I linked above that are similar to it–a few quick blurbs about each of the tools, and perhaps a few shots of some of my own gear that corresponds to the pictures. It’s going to be a wild ride.
Here, we’ll cover 18-2: Basic Yeast Dough II, which includes the fundamentals of the process of bread-making, as well as some tips on how to tell where your bread may have gone wrong. I’ve been making bread for a while, and I still run into trouble–it’s nice to know what I might have messed up so that I can try to fix it for the future.
Bread making is not a quick process–sometimes you can be working on a bread for 24-48 hours between the blooming, kneading, rising, and proofing. When I was being trained to make bread in the restaurant I worked in a few years ago, we would start making bread at 8 AM, and barely be finished by dinner time around 5-6 PM.
That’s not including our starter which had to be fed every day, as well as making all of the other baked goods that our pastry chef made daily. It can be a LOT of work!
Playing a bit of catch-up here since unscheduled interruptions, other non-food-related projects, and massive amounts of holiday baking have put me far behind in terms of keeping up with posts. I had started working on a Bread Series, starting with 18-1: Basic Yeast Dough I which I published back in October. Covering 20-12: Basic Rolls was intended to play off of that concept, giving you an easy recipe to utilize the lessons presented in both that post and its follow-up, 18-2: Basic Yeast Dough II.
Quick review: the last three chapters of Simply Delicious are part of its Cooking School, intended to review basic techniques, ingredients, and recipes with which all aspiring chefs should be familiar. I’ve covered a few bits and bobs out of those last few chapters, but much of it still remains untapped.
I’ve made a lot of bread during the 3.5 years I’ve been working on this project (both for the project and outside of it), and I hear a lot of the same remarks whenever I talk about making bread: “Oh, that seems hard”, or “It’s too much work to make bread”. I used to feel the same way, and shied away from yeast recipes for a long time out of a fear of failure. In cooking (like most things in life), you have to be ready to embrace failure and learn from it–otherwise, you’ll never get past heating up Hot Pockets in the microwave.
Simply Delicious even notes in their recipe blurb that bread making is perceived as hard. It’s maybe not the easiest thing in the world, but you’ll make a lot of friends fast if you can make them fresh bread. 18-1: Basic Yeast Dough I is the first in a three-part series on bread making, where you’ll learn some tips and tricks for improving your bread baking, as well as a few basic recipes that you can use.
Doing a bit of housekeeping…here’s one that’s been sitting in my draft queue since around Christmas. 18-19: Basic Kitchen Utensils covers exactly what it says–basic tools even novice cooks should have in their kitchen. This is part of Cooking School, the back segment of Simply Delicious that covers basic techniques, ingredients, and recipes for all levels of aspiring chefs.