Saturday, January 31, 2009

is there a knead?

No Knead Bread

Who doesn't love the smell of homemade bread. I'm sure we all have memories, or at least I hope we all do, of that delicious fresh bread smell slowly creeping through the house. My mother made a lot of fresh bread, mind you it wasn't any of todays' artisan loafs or even heart healthy whole grain, but I don't think these were very popular for the home baker in the 70's and 80's. There was nothing like coming home from school and cutting a warm slice, or two, or three and smothering them with butter. Pure heaven. Who needs a condiment other than butter when you have fresh, warm bread.

Fast forward a few decades. As a grown man, and a passionate baker, I was somehow always intimidated by bread. Muffins, cakes, cookies, squares, you name it and I'll whip it up...but bread. I always wondered - will it rise properly, look good, taste good, cut easily...oh damn it, I'm just going to go buy that loaf I saw at the store. On top of everything else white bread was almost becoming faux pas; with all the 'healthy' whole grain, squirrelly breads available, why would I make simple plain white bread.

Why, because I still enjoy the taste of a warm, soft flour bread. Especially if I can put it all together and have a "sourish" rustic loaf with minimal effort. This is where the No Knead Bread really shines. If there was ever a bread recipe to take a crack at; it would be this one. Almost over night, people were professing their love for this bread. Light and airy with a great crust, one that even sings to you while it cools on your rack. What more could you ask for. Mark Bittman even mentioned that Jim Lahey's method for minimalist bread baking may be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I make this bread, or a version of it around 4 days a week. Simple to put together the night before - Mix 3 cups of flour, 3/4 tablespoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast, and roughly 1 1/2 cups of water until 'shaggy'. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit out on the counter, or coffee table, or somewhere else warm and let the slow magic happen. 12-20 hours later, take the pillowy (now risen) dough and give it a quick fold or two before putting it back in a floured cloth bowl for 2 hours. When you have passed the 1 1/2 hour mark, turn your oven on to 450 degrees and preheat with a dutch over or covered pot inside. After the final 1/2 hour, carefully pull the pot from the oven, sprinkle in some cornmeal and turn your dough in the pot. Bake covered for 30 mins, then uncovered for another 15-20. Remove the now delicious and toasty looking loaf from the oven, cool for an hour - Enjoy!

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Friday, January 30, 2009

h&w produce - edmonton, ab

h&w produce
31, 9261 34 Avenue

I'm the kind of person who checks flyers. In fact I love flyers, with my two favorite types of flyers being those based around electronics and food. Now Friday and Saturday are usually the be all end all days of flyer goodness from my local paper with Saturday being my favorite. This is the day h&w updates its weekly specials. Sure you can find their specials advertised in a small space tucked away in the classifieds section during the week; it doesn't compare to my excitement first thing Saturday morning.

H&W isn't a big store, they claim the south location is 4000 sq/ft, but it is big enough to hold a great selection of fruit and vegetables. The produce isn't always at its prime, you can find many items that have been picked either too early or too late, but the deals are hard to beat. This week for example, 1lb clam shells of strawberries for 98 cents. I realize it isn't strawberry season, but it's just an example of how different their prices are. The south side location was recently closed for two weeks to undergo some renovations, so I packed myself up and travelled to their Kensington location (12510 132 Avenue). With the layout being different, it took a minute to organize myself, but I found the selection and variety equal to what I am used to seeing on the south side.

If you are looking for more exotic produce they are also a great choice, as Edmonton's culturally diverse south side, has always in my opinion, been a major part of the reason h&w is thriving. I usually stop by the south side location every 2 or 3 days as I live just down the street and this gives me a steady supply of their best offerings. I reccomend you stop in next time you go for groceries, or the prices at the larger chains are pinching your pocket. Just remember; the crowds can be a little hectic at times, the produce can be hit or miss, and if you wait 5 minutes that empty space may just get filled with something even more delicious than what you came for.

3rd Location
14083 Victoria Trail

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

miss silvia

Today, like many of those before it, is made a little more enjoyable with a fresh espresso. I feel lucky enough in my time to have picked up a Rancilio Silvia, a machine I highly recommend for the home. I'm not a sweet coffee or tea drinker, so I keep it pretty simple. Espresso's straight up or an American with sugar free hazelnut; thanks to a friendly and very neighborly barista I have good access to coffee and knowledge.

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the start

As a daily visitor to many food and blog sites, I've decided to jump on the wagon and put some roots down online. I hope to show a bit of my passion for the food world in this, my first ever blog, while offering an intriguing place to visit once in a while.

the name - eating is the hard part - might seem funny for a guy deeply in love with food, but that is the irony of my own personal journey. My love of all things edible has me around delicious and not always healthy food options through the day. I'm a nibbler, a food picker if you will, and come from a family that would eat every meal in under 10 minutes. Growing up in this sort of environment left me with no natural off switch; but after living and volunteering in Guatemala in 2007, I discovered what a truly Western diet does and made a personal commitment to eat and live in a better way. See, eating is the easy part, especially because I love to cook and food is plentiful here. So my goal - eat slower, eat better, eat less of everything while making it wholesome and colorful.

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