Dwarven Warbread

This is my favorite super-easy bread, not least because it is pretty
fast—as little as 2 hours start-to-delicious. (More rising time is
better, and makes it less authentically dwarven. To get *really*
authentic warbread, omit the yeast)  I have never made it the same way twice—this time I baked it at 375F for the first 15 minutes, and it was done in ~ 25, not 30-45m.  I also didn’t bother with the bowl of water underneath.

Warbread

Ingredients

660g or 5.5 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp or 1 packet active yeast
crumbs of some sort: breadcrumbs are traditional, but we’ve used
triscuits, oatmeal, cornmeal, matza meal, etc. based on food
allergies, other diet restrictions, and what was available–just about
anything will work, as long as it keeps the bread from sticking.

Preparation

  • Put sugar and yeast in water, make sure it foams.
  • Pour into flour and salt mixture.
  • Knead. 
  • Cover and let sit to rise 1-2 hours in a warm place. 
  • Punch down, take and form into two loaves. Put the loaves on a 
  • baking sheet that has been sprinkled liberally with the “bread crumbs” 
  • of choice. 
  • Let the loaves rise another 10 minutes, then brush with water. 
  • Put the loaves in the oven, and take a big pan of hot water and put it under the baking sheet. 
  • Bake at 350º for 35-45 min
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Cinnamon Sugar Crisps – October 1944

The rolled cookies in this book and I are not getting along. 

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These molasses cookies (the war is still on, so sugar is still rationed) remind me a lot of my former housemate’s Groundhog Cookies,  or a ginger snap, except that they don’t have any ginger. (This could be fixed)  Even without ginger, the dough is spicy, dark and molasses-y.

The editor’s notes in the book informed me that I should refrigerate the dough at least 3 hours, so it wouldn’t be too soft to roll.  I actually refrigerated it for 3 days, because I got busy. It was not
soft when I took it out of the fridge, and I used plenty of flour on  the board and the rolling pin,  but it got really soft and sticky *very* fast during rolling and cutting.

Even with heavily-floured cookie cutters, I ended up with a  few nice looking cookies (especially smaller ones) a few slightly weird ones that sorted themselves out while baking, and a bunch of
cookie lumps. By the time I got to the second sheet, I just used the dough card to scrape the (now very soft) dough onto a piece of parchment paper (which I forgot to put under the nicely-cut cookies, oops) and stuck the whole thing in the oven.

Now I have a few cookies cooling and trying to weld themselves to the pan (I lost a few more
leaves when I tried to remove them while warm) and a sheet of cookie-lump. Very tasty, though. I wonder if this one might be better with a little more flour to make it less sticky…

Edit:  I saved them!  The big sheet of cookie that was on parchment paper tasted lovely, and I was able to use a cookie cutter to get soft, brownie-like cookies out of it.   They did not have smooth edges like a proper rolled cookie, and the texture is fudgy-brownie-like, but they saved me from having to make another batch of cookies to take to my choir social. 

Beef Stew

From the “Stuff with Meat” series:

I made beef stew. Inspired by the recipe for Guiness Stew in the
Gourmet Slow Cooker recipe book, I floured and browned the beef before
putting it in the slow cooker,
and then added carrots, celery, and onions, and a bunch of spices that
I didn’t really measure, including some multi-colored peppercorns. I
did not actually use Guiness, and I used a lot more water (6c) than
they called for.

Since I didn’t have any potatoes, I made spaetzle (dumplings) to put
in it — I made them in a separate pot, refrigerated them and then
put them in the bowl before ladling the stew in. That worked pretty
well! Emi didn’t want any of it except the onions and the broth, and,
after eating some ice cubes, some of the spaetzle, but I think her
teeth hurt so I’m not taking it personally. (Not that I should really
take rejection by a toddler as a solid critique of my cooking, anyway,
but she’s all I had for critics the last two nights.) We’ll see how
it fares in leftovers—I have *tons* of both this and the spaghetti
sauce left.

Tomato Sauce

Kat can cook (and so can you!)

I really had no idea how to make a spaghetti sauce, but now I do!
Brian gave me a base recipe, which, of course, I modified without ever
trying.
But it turned out totally edible—Emi liked it more than she liked
the spaghetti!

Vegetarian Hearty Pasta Sauce
Put a few tablespoons of oil in a saucepan to heat. Chop up an onion
and fry it for ~ 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, open a giant can of diced tomatoes, a can of olives, a can
of mushrooms and a can of tomato paste. Chop the olives to
edible-by-toddler size.
When the onion is soft, put the tomatoes, olives and mushrooms in.
Add a bay leaf, a tablespoon of minced garlic, a tablespoon of
oregano, and some basil.
Stir in all the TVP left in the bag (1/2c?) and ~ 1c of water. Then
remember you were supposed to put tomato paste in, and add the whole
little can.
Simmer for 15 minutes while dealing with the pasta, until the water
has soaked into the TVP.

Benne Wafers, December 1954

So, this is another recipe that looks *wonderful*, tastes great, but
the presentation was all wrong.

I baked these yesterday during Emi’s nap, hoping to share them with
the moms and toddlers in a playgroup we were hosting.
But the first sheet ran together into… a sheet (interestingly, no
cookie dripped over the edge of the Volrath—it just covered the
cookie sheet and stopped sharply at the edge). These were toffee-like
and crinkled up into clumps when I tried to remove them from the pan.
The second sheet (on my AirBake sheet) baked maybe two minutes longer,
and *welded* themselves onto the pan in crispy clumps. They had to be
scraped off.   I might not have greased the AirBake as much as I greased the Volrath,
I suppose—I used my spray can of canola on both, but I recall that
it was spraying more of a stream and less of a mist when I did the
second pan.
My other thought is that I overbaked the second batch, but perhaps my new oven
runs cold? This isn’t the first thing I’ve baked with the new oven
that seemed to not be quite done.
 (And there was a bread pudding I made with leftover Canadian Zucchini Bread Muffins that also came out really runny)  I think I need to find an oven thermometer.

This recipe is unusual—only 1.5 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of flour,
into a cup of sugar. Because there is so little butter, I wonder whether my rough
approximation of the butter had an effect, and I wonder whether not
beating the egg before adding it to the butter and sugar mix had an
effect.

I ended up letting the first sheet cool on a piece of parchment paper,
from which they were eaten like candy. The second sheet was scraped
into a bowl,  which I’m currently eating over ice cream. Brian thinks they’d be good
in yogurt, like a very sweet sesame granola. I think this recipe is
worth trying again.

Canadian Zucchini Bread Muffins

I love zucchini bread. I love it so much that, after I ate the whole
last loaf in a day, I went out to buy more zucchini.
The best recipe I’ve ever found for it was courtesy of my favorite
Canadian physicist, and that’s what I made—except that, last time,
my silicone bread pan smelled like it was burning. My glass pan isn’t
big enough, so I made muffins. (I also cut out .5c of sugar from the
1.5c that the recipe requires, because we like everything less sweet.)

Before I poured in the batter, I pulled out my trusty container of Canadians:
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And then we put the muffins in, in two stacks, without convection:
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They came out great!

 

Unfortunately, they went into the car in a
plastic bag shortly after cooling, and I forgot to take a picture.
After a 3 hour drive and then a trip to the beach, they are no longer
photogenic (but they are still tasty)

 

edit: I did take a picture!!

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