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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Creamy Greens Soup & Sourdough Bread

Soup is an year round favourite, easy to make and inexpensive. As a frugal meal goes, you cannot get much cheaper than a soup made from garden greens and homemade sourdough bread.

Creamy Greens Soup

This recipe was adapted from an episode of Christine Cushing Live on Food Network Canada. I use fresh picked vegetables and herbs where possible for this soup for a nice garden fresh flavour.

Creamy Greens Soup

2 tbsp butter
1 leek, white and light green parts only, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
4 c chicken stock (use homemade if possible)
2 handfuls fresh spinach (about a half package)
2 handfuls fresh Swiss Chard (about half package)
1/3 c basmati rice
1/3 c heavy cream

garnish: chopped chives, sour cream

Prepare the vegetables. Heat butter on medium heat and stir in leek, onion, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring often about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, parsley, bay leaf and chicken stock. Bring to a boil then stir in the rice and reduce heat. Simmer for 25 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove the thyme sprigs and remove from heat. Stir in greens until just wilted. Purée the soup in a blender. Return soup to a large, clean pot and stir in the cream. Heat over low heat. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with a dab of sour cream and sprinkling of chopped chives.

Garnish: To make the sour cream teardrop, drop about 1/2 tsp of sour cream in the centre of the soup. Insert a toothpick in the centre of the sour cream on a slight angle facing away from your. Draw the toothpick away from you then up.

I've been experimenting with sourdough breads. This recipe used no yeast to help with rising so that means a longer rise time. Sourdough purists will tell you that adding yeast means you do not trust your starter. The rise time can be five hours or more but the taste is worth it. This particular loaf was left overnight before it was finally doubled.

Sourdough Sponge

Sourdough recipes always refer to the sponge. Some will start out having you make the sponge that day but the best sourdough is one that has been left to ferment and age. I know I mentioned how I made the sourdough starter but to save you from going through the archives, I use 1 c of flour and 1 c of water. Stir that together then set it aside. Once the wild yeast has had a chance to multiply, the starter develops a sponge like texture. It is thick and bubbly. This is what you are looking for when using a sourdough starter.

Sourdough Dough

Sourdough at its simplest is starter, flour, salt and sugar. This dough was made using no additional yeast. I can't recall where I got the recipe but I have made a few changes. The important thing to remember when making sourdough bread without additional yeast is to have patience. The rise time can be long so start early in the morning if you want the bread for dinner. Or start the dough so that it can rise overnight. This particular dough was left to rise overnight.

Sourdough Bread

2 c sourdough sponge
2 c unbleached flour
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tsp honey
2 tsp salt
about 1/2 c to 3/4 c water

Place dry ingredients in Kitchen Aid bowl. Mix then attach dough hook. In a separate bowl stir the wet ingredients together with the exception of the water. Set the mixer to setting 2 and slowly pour in the wet ingredients. The dough will be very stiff. Depending on your kitchen temperature and humidity levels you may need to add water to get the dough to the right consistency. Knead 2 minutes. Remove from the bowl and shape into a round loaf. Pour about 1/2 oz olive oil in your hands then rub over the loaf. Set the loaf on an ungreased cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Let rise until double. Place a cookie sheet filled with water on a lower shelf in the oven. Place the dough above the cookie sheet on another rack. Do not preheat the oven. Bake at 350ºF 30 to 45 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow on the bottom. Allow to cool then store in a paper bag to keep the crust crunchy.

Note: The rise time for this is quite long. That's ok because it is developing flavour as it rises.

Sourdough Bread

Here's the finished loaf fresh from the oven this morning. It has a nice rustic appeal with a deep, rich flavour and pleasant aroma. It is a perfect, low cost bread for any meal but really lends itself well to simpler, down home type meals. The crust has a nice crunch with a typical sourdough bread texture.

2 food lovers commented:

Dana said...

Oh my goodness, that sounds delicious! I am not a great cook, to my mother's chagrin, but now and then I get ambitious. LOL

Great blog!

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Dana, thanks for visiting my blog and your kind comments :)