Are you canning? Baking bread? Making pasta from scratch? If you’d asked me these questions last year, I would have said no. So much has changed though in the meantime – and I have changed so much… While in previous years I didn’t do any of the above (with a few notable canning exceptions), this year has brought a desire to challenge myself in the kitchen in several important respects. Read on to find out my biggest recipe discoveries this year 🙂
Since bread is very important to our family, baking bread has arguably been my biggest accomplishment. We do eat quite a lot of bread daily, and the varieties we had been purchasing from the grocery store were either bland or lacking in nutritional value. Enter the easiest ever bread recipe for beginners, which I found posted on Instagram by Brooke aka carb.filled.diabetic!
This recipe is simple to make, and the end result is foolproof. Brooke uses kamut flour in this recipe, but you can use all purpose flour without a problem. I have been using a mix of 80% all purpose flour and 20% whole wheat flour, the latter purchased from Country Life Natural Foods recently.
I have made this bread at least 50 times this year, and the end result has been off-the-charts delicious and satisfying every time.
Here are a couple of pictures I posted on my Instagram account featuring this bread served with homemade mulberry jam and hibiscus tea.
The slight sweetness of the jam coupled with the satisfying texture of the fresh homemade bread and the natural tanginess of the tea made up a super exciting mix, served in beautiful thrift store tableware in the scintillating sunset light. Pure bliss, or so I think:
Here’s another presentation of my homemade bread, this time as a sweet breakfast toast featuring cream cheese and cherries drizzled with homemade orange peel preserve, and topped with pollen and edible petals – a simple treat to celebrate vibrant colors in general, and my favorite color (red) in particular:
Nothing goes better with a sweet treat than a glass of cold refreshing beverage – and from this perspective, I was lucky the mulberries in our backyard have been very prolific. I collected mulberries all summer long and used them in mulberry jam and syrup, respectively. I like to use a 2:1 fruit-to-sugar ratio in my jams and syrups.
Being an avid iced tea drinker and a fruit syrup lover, I showcased my appreciation of both recently, in this iced chamomile tea (featuring Frontier Co-op organic chamomile tea) sweetened with mulberry fruit syrup – a close to nature, floral tasting, thirst-quenching drink.
This year has also been notable for my starting to make pasta from scratch (yess!) I made the pasta pictured below with 50% whole wheat and 50% all purpose flour, using the foolproof recipe posted by Chef Gemma of Bigger Bolder Baking on her blog. First time rolling and cutting homemade pasta, which means rather irregular shapes – oh well… 🙈
I served the pasta with cow’s milk, sugar and cinnamon, the way I used to eat it during childhood, as a breakfast or more often than not as a main meal (we didn’t have a lot of food back in the day). I bet dairy-free alternatives would work just as well – feel free to check out my latest post on dairy-free beverages for a few brand suggestions 🙂
A recent Instagram challenge I took part in has involved me creating black foods – and here my super basic pasta making knowledge has come in handy:
Growing up, my mom would give me charcoal with water every time I experienced “tummy troubles.” It was a well-known and popular natural detox remedy, which I decided to utilize in my recent Instagram collaboration/challenge to make a detox picnic friendly pasta salad.
To make the pasta I used the same 50% whole wheat and 50% all purpose flour combination, to which I added 3 tbsp of Anthony’s Goods activated charcoal. I used organic fresh corn and pumpkin seeds as well as dandelion, kale, chives and purslane from my garden, and I made them all “swim” in a citrusy vinaigrette featuring Nuvo‘s Early Harvest extra virgin olive oil (stay tuned for my full Nuvo review 😉). I served the salad in my beloved ECOlunchbox stainless steel containers – beautiful, durable, and plastic-free! A life-affirming treat that’s straight from the garden, packed with goodness, and environmentally oriented.
What new kitchen adventures have you been up to? And what has been your biggest culinary challenge this year? Let me know in the comments 🙂
My culinary challenges during the pandemic were macarons and sourdough bread. The former took a few tries, but let’s be real, there’s only so much dessert I can eat guilt-free. Sourdough, on the other hand, has a place in any meal. I made my own starter, which added to the challenge. Lesson learned from watching YouTube videos: they take longer to mature than 7-9 days that they recommend. After a lot of experimenting with different flour, half wheat and half unbleached all purpose flour worked for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still no expert when it comes to sourdough. I still don’t get the much-coveted rise to it, but the bubbles and the porous texture are there! I’ll keep you posted on my progress:)
Amazing job, Marina! Looking forward to reading more about your progress 🙂
Looks wonderful! You can’t beat homemade bread and jam! I’m definitely going to have to try the pasta recipe it’s charcoal.
I think so, too. Thank you for sharing and for your wonderful comments, Elisabeth 🙂