Wednesday, March 5, 2014
I've never been much of a baker, let alone a bread baker. It requires too much precision, too much time, and techniques I'm all together unfamiliar with. Give me some beans, maybe some sausage, some spices and tomatoes, and I'll put together a savory soup. And I'll run to the Wegman's bakery for some freshly baked bread.
Then I met Melinda, who recently started Knead and Know, Loudoun-based bread making classes where she teaches her students the art of making really good bread at home. Melinda makes the most beautiful bread I've ever looked at and tasted. Melinda invited a few of us to come by her bright, home-studio and learn how to make croissants. I was terrified, not being a baker and all. Like, I really don't bake. But Melinda walked us through the process, teaching about fermenting and yeast and dough hydration and lots of other fancy things. Most importantly, she taught us how to make croissants, one step at a time. We weighed our ingredients (so that's how they do it!), mixed, formed the dough, let it chill, rolled it, chilled it, rolled it, etc. While we waited for our dough to chill and then our croissants to bake, we munched on a gourmet spread, all homemade by Melinda. Whether we were standing around the work table or munching around the coffee table, we shared stories and life lessons and talked about food. Lots of food.
When I got home (with baked croissants AND the dough I made during class, to bake at home), Joe couldn't believe that I had made croissants. And he told me we're never buying them from the store again.
I cannot wait to take more classes - I want to learn how to make baguettes!
Melinda and I love teaming up (she made bread for several of last year's Kinfolk Workshops), and we've got something to share today! She's giving one lucky reader the chance to attend any one Knead and Know class, for free! To enter the giveaway, please complete the following:
- Like Knead and Know on Facebook
- Follow Knead and Know on Instagram then regram this photo and tag @dailysomething and @kneadknowcom
- Share the giveaway on your Facebook, tagging A Daily Something and Knead and Know
You do not have to enter all four ways, but each entry increases your chances of winning!
I'll announce the winner next Wednesday, March 12. This giveaway is open to US residents within a reasonable distance from Loudoun County, Virginia, home of the Knead and Know studio.
Photos by Rebekah J. Murray!
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Hello and happy Tuesday! Finally back home in VA and hoping to get back in the swing of things and blogging this week. I'm incredibly thankful for my time in NJ last week; my sister is getting married this August and I was home helping her make some decisions, including her reception venue. I think we decided on this beautiful estate - wish I had known about this place when Joe and I got married! The home has been fully restored, and they're working on the general store and barn. What a gorgeous blank slate...can't wait for her wedding (and for everything to come together over the next several months...Beach family weddings are always a blast and labor-intensive). :)
It's snowing today in Northern Virgina, and Zoe and I have been cuddled up on the couch this morning, finishing season 4 of Downton Abbey. She really enjoys the character development (or maybe just sitting on mommy's lap...). I'm in denial about the snow and cold weather; isn't is Spring already? Growing up, around this time every single year, I'd go up in the attic and bring down my summer clothes. Then I'd parade around in sandals and short-sleeved shirts, freezing. My dad always laughed and would tell me to put on a winter coat and some closed-toe shoes. I've been tempted to do the same this year, but I fear that being a mom has made me a little more responsible. So I'm buckling down, making soup, and accepting the cold. For now. Spring will come. I just know it! In the meantime, this lentil soup recipe is super tasty, easy, and you can really use whatever you happen to have around the house...try different veggies, broth, spices. It's hard to go wrong with soup. And who knows...maybe it'll be the last time we need to make soup before Spring!?
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 stalks celery
- 2-4 carrots
- 1 turnip
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups lentils
- 2 quarts vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper
- Chop onion and veggies. I like them rather large, but chop them to a size that you enjoy for soup.
- Cook veggies, onion and minced garlic in medium-large pot in olive oil, on medium heat. Don't let the veggies brown, but do cook them almost through.
- Add lentils and cumin to veggies, and stir thoroughly.
- Then add broth, herbs and spices.
- Let simmer for about 30 minutes, or until lentils are cooked through.
- Add salt and pepper, to taste. I like to add a lot of salt, but that's just me.
Enjoy with a nice crispy piece of fresh bread!
*Recipe from Dinner was Delicious!
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
recipe; I first spotted it on Pinterest, and then fell for Sarah Tuck's blog and work. What I can do is tell you it's one of the most delicious food combinations I've ever tasted. Roasted grapes, goat and cream cheese, garlic, molasses, olive oil, syrup. I never would have thought to combine these flavors, but I am glad I tried it. Joe and I devoured 8 of these little slices of heaven in a very short period of time. I want to serve them for every dinner party I host and make sure everyone I know tastes these. Which is why I'm spreading the recipe love today.
I didn't follow Sarah's recipe exactly, because we didn't have feta cheese or pomegranate molasses, and we were snowed in when I made these, so I couldn't get to a grocery store. I don't know if my bruschetta tastes the way it's supposed to; I do know that the way I made it is pretty darn good.
- 1/2 loaf ciabatta, sliced thinly*
- 4 oz. goat cheese
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 1 clove garlic
- small bunch of grapes
- 1 tbsp molasses (original recipe called for pomegranate molasses, but I never heard of this and so I didn't have it)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup walnuts
- sea salt
- Get the grapes roasting, since this will take the longest. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. De-stem, wash, and gently dry the grapes. Place in roasting pan. Mix together molasses and olive oil in a small bowl, then drizzle over grapes. Sprinkle with a dash of sea salt, and put pan in oven. Let them roast for 20-30 minutes.
- While the grapes are in the oven, prepare the cheese spread. Simply place the cheeses and garlic in a food processor and let it run for a minute or two. You want the cheese to be creamy, and the garlic to be smaaaall.
- Prepare the walnuts. In a small sauce pan, heat the syrup over medium heat. Then add walnuts, and stir to coat. Sprinkle with sea salt, and allow the syrup to harden a bit. Remove from heat and place in a small bowl to cool.
- Lightly toast bread. Spread with cheese, then top with grapes and walnuts.
ENJOY this tasty yumminess.
*This recipe made about 8 slices of bruschetta. If you're serving a larger crowd, or this is your only appetizer, adjust the amounts accordingly!
P.S. If you're looking for another tasty appetizer recipe with grapes, try these grapes wrapped in goat cheese! They're less labor intensive!
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Today is an exciting day over here! Joe's working from home as we're in the middle of a Snowpocalypse on the East coast. We have over 12 inches of snow, and it's still coming down...as soon as Zoe wakes up from her nap we're going on a winter wonderland exploration. I made an apple blueberry crisp that we ate for lunch, and we'll probably have it for dinner, too. It's just that tasty. And, I documented the baking process with my new camera. It was the first time I used my new camera for a recipe shoot, and it was fun! I still know very little about my new-ish fancy camera, but decided to just tackle it (and not let myself mess with too many settings...not yet, at least). I know I need a lot of practice and just experimenting, and I'm thrilled that I'm past the I-don't-know-how-to-turn-on-my-camera-so-I'll-just-keep-it-in-the-closet phase. I think I need a new lens (I have a 50mm). This one's just lovely, but I'm having trouble focusing on more than one object in my photos. Any photographer friends who want to throw little tidbits of advice my way would be most welcomed. :)
This first little recipe is for an apple blueberry crisp that I've made probably 10 times this winter. It's simple, delicious, and is actually healthy (and if you use gluten free oats, it's also GF). Simple, delicious and healthy are prerequisites for most of the recipes I make. This recipe has no sugar (and no sweetener mixed in with the apples) so it might not be sweet enough for you sweet-tooths out there. You could always mix some maple syrup into the apples before placing them in the pie plate. But I argue it's tasty enough without the added sweetener.
So here we go...collect these ingredients:
- granny smith apples (I used 4 large for a 9" pie plate)
- blueberries (any berry would be delicious; I used a pint, minus the few small handfuls I snacked on)
- 2 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup real maple syrup
- pinch sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Then follow these steps:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel, remove any spots, and slice apples. Place in bottom of pie plate. Wash & gently dry blueberries, then carefully place them on top of apples. In a small saucepan on a low-medium heat, melt the coconut oil. Then add oats, syrup, salt and cinnamon. Stir to compltely mix these ingredients. Taste, and adjust salt/syrup ratio according to your own preference. I prefer a slightly salty mix. Carefully place oats mixture on top of fruit, gently pressing the oats into the apples and blueberries. I usually have a little extra of the oat mixture, which I either snack on, or if I'm feeling generous, I'll share with Joe. Bake for about 50 minutes until oats are browned and crispy, and apples are just tender.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Last Spring, I was blessed to work with a dream team on this backyard elopement shoot, which I had the pleasure of designing and styling (while I was 8 months pregnant). We worked on location at Goodstone Inn & Restaurant in Middleburg, VA. (I also hosted the July Kinfolk Honey Harvest at Goodstone, and worked with Meredith Kope, their gardener, on a few shoots for West Elm). What a gorgeous venue for weddings, rehearsals, special dinners, weekend escapes. Their gardens are perfection, and the assortment of guest rooms and homes are simply perfect.
Kelly Sauer documented the day in photographs. Kelly has a wonderfully artistic eye, and captures beautiful moments. I will be sharing more of her photos from this shoot over the next few weeks. Tia Stockton made the mini pies, which clearly stole the show (and had the feature named after them). She also assisted with the styling AND jumped right into the role of model. Rebekah Pizana and Kyle Murray were our gorgeous bride and groom. The flowers we used were all freshly picked by yours truly at Fields of Flowers in Purcellville, VA. Fields of Flowers is my favorite place to find in-season flowers, and I'll be featuring more of their blooms later this year.
Tomorrow is the three year anniversary for this little blog! I might just bake a cake to celebrate. What a surprising adventure the past few years have been. I never imagined this little creative outlet, which started during my senior year in college, would turn into what it is today, and bring me - directly and indirectly - most of the work I do now. 2013 was an incredibly year for growth, and I'm just thrilled to be announcing - very soon - a few little projects for 2014 that I've been working on behind the scenes. Thank YOU for following along and making all this possible.