A CookBook Recipes & Other Stuff or How to Keep the Kids from Developing Beriberi After They've Moved Away From Home

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Sourdough Bread

This is my favorite bread ..

1 package dry yeast (fast acting is nice)

1 1/2 cups warm water

some rye flour (1-3 cups, depending on mood)

1 cup sourdough starter ( I usually use whatever I have - which is almost always more than 1 cup, but not more than 2 cups)

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons butter, soft

1 tablespoon salt

bread flour

Soften yeast in water with a bit of the sugar.

Blend in rye flour, sourdough starter, sugar, butter, and salt.

Start adding bread flour, and stir well.

Add enough bread flour to make a stiff dough.

Knead 5 to 8 minutes, until it springs back quickly when poked.

Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise.

Punch down and divide in half.

Shape into two loaves, place on corn meal sprinkled baking sheet.

Cover and let rise until almost double (you'll know it's double when it doesn't spring back any more).

Bake at 375F for about 35/40 minutes.

Cover with a cloth and let cool before cutting - hot bread is very hard to cut, so ignore all those people whining in the kitchen and wait about 30 minutes.

I know I didn't tell you how to make the starter -

1/2 cup warm water

1 package dried yeast or a small blob of dough containg yeast

1/2 cup flour - either bread or rye

Combine all this in a small container with lid. Leave it out on the counter for about 24 hours, or until it stops foaming.It should develop a sour smell. To increase the amount add another 1/2 cup flour and warm water and leave for another 24 hours. After you have the amount you want and it has soured, cover and refrigerate until you need it. If you don't use it for a while ( a week or so), pour off a bit and add a bit more flour and water ans leave it out again. If you save some every time you make bread, you can keep the starter going for years ...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Chicken Soup

It almost seems foolish to post a recipe for chicken soup - it seems like something at once so basic there is no point - and so varied it's foolish to try. But here is a basic version which could be altered in so many ways ...

1 leftover roast chicken


thyme (lemon thyme is nice)





anything else you may find lying around that seems appropriate

Break up the chicken and put it in a large pot and cover with cold water - use no more than you need for the amount of chicken you have.

Add some carrots - these can be cut in just a few pieces for this first stage.

Add some chopped onion - also in large pieces.

Ditto for celery, pepper, thyme.

Bring it all to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 3 hours - you can add a bit more water if you deem it necessary - but don't dilute it any more than you need to or you'll end up with dishwater.

The soup needs to cook slow and long because you need to get enough of the bones to give up some gelatin so the soup will have some body to it - it should jell after being cooled, unlike commercial soup which employs thickeners.

After the soup has cooked, strain it into a large bowl to get rid of all the yucky overcooked vegetables, and pour the broth back in the pot. Bring the broth to a boil, and add new smaller cut carrots and celery, and the rice, and anything else may want to add. Pick over the chicken bones and add all the small pieces of meat back to the pot. Cook just until the vegetables are tender.

Salt! You may have noticed I didn't mention salt anywhere - or if you haven't you should've! I never add salt until the soup is finished and even then add a bit less than I think is needed. Salt is quite easy to add, even after being served but is very, very difficult to remove! If you add too much salt you're left with only two options - dilute the soup with water and end up with something inedible - or I've heard you could add potatoes and supposedly they overcome the excess salt in some mysterious manner.