Floraphage

Adventures in flora, fauna, food, and the great unknown.

Baguettes and asparagus, naan and lassis

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Mike and I finished the first batch of dough last week, and as soon as the container was empty I mixed up another one. So far, the second batch has been much easier to work, and I’m wondering whether I didn’t mis-measure something the first time around. It’s still a wet dough, but it’s much less sticky. In any case, I’ve tried to expand out from the boule and into other things (although I’m still using the basic boule dough). This was my first attempt at a baguette:

It was definitely misshapen, but it still tasted great, with a hint of sourdough flavor because of the age of the dough.

We had it with wine and goat cheese again (of course!), but this time I cooked up some asparagus, as well, since they were starting to wilt. For the curious, this was really simple—coat the asparagus in olive oil, sprinkle on romano, garlic powder, pepper, and a dash of salt, and bake at 350°F until it looks ready. The stalks should still be crisp when eaten, not mushy.

The romano is really what does it, although it's better when it's grated into thick strips and can really melt into the asparagus.

My first loaf with the second batch of dough was also a baguette, and I’m pleased to say that it came out looking quite a bit nicer. This was probably because the dough was so much easier to work with. The toughest part is still getting it from the pizza peel onto the baking stone. I’ve yet to master that, especially since traditional baguettes use flour on the pizza peel instead of corn meal. The fineness of the flour makes the baguette slide off much less readily.

The second baguette didn't start off with the most promising shape, either.

It did, however, look quite nice after baking!

I still need to work on my slashing, but I’ve found some helpful descriptions online (cf. 1, 2), and I think that if I adjust the angle of the cuts, the next loaf will look even better. Anyway, I think we just sliced this one and dipped it in an olive oil/herb mixture. Simple, but tasty.

At this point, I was starting to feel like I was getting the hang of this no-knead bread-making thing. So, the other night, since we had an Indian dinner planned (thank you, Trader Joe’s, for your delightful masala simmer sauce), I decided to try my hand at naan. The difference here is that the dough isn’t allowed any rising time, and it’s rolled out. I hadn’t planned ahead enough to find ghee, so I had to cook it in oil.

The naan has been cooking for about three minutes and has formed bubbles. It's ready to be flipped.

Of course, naan isn’t traditionally prepared this way, but this was what the book instructed, and it was an acceptable approximation. In any case, after the naan is cooked on both sides, it’s coated with butter (again, because of my lack of ghee) and served.

The naan was paired with basmati rice and chicken (thigh meat) simmered in masala.

A tasty dinner? You bet. We also intended to use our mango and mint from Boston Organics to make lassis, but unfortunately I forgot to make ice, and by the time that was ready, dinner (and dessert!) was long over. So, I made them the next day, instead:

It was good, but definitely not what I wanted it to be. Next time, no mint.

The lassi is a traditional Indian (Punjabi) drink made with yogurt. There are savory and sweet lassis, but mango is the only kind I’ve ever had. Regardless, lassis are delicious, and far simpler to make than I expected. I’ll have to try this again sometime, with some adjustments.

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Author: JD Doyle

Bookbinder, knitter, spinner, singer, runner, vegetarian, & sometime poet.

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