Mmm, bread

Well, bread and soup.  For dinner the other night, Heather and I made some tasty vittles, a roasted garlic soup (which was actually more of a tomato and onion bisque than a garlic soup) and some Blitz Bread.  And I have to say, it’s the tastiest meal that we’ve thrown together in a long time.

A pointer about the bread (which you could also get by reading the comments on the post to which I’ve linked): if you use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast (because that’s what you buy), you’ll need to soak 1.5 Tablespoons of yeast in all of the called-for water (which should be at “blood temperature”) for about 5 minutes before mixing everything together.  This is called “blooming” the yeast, and it’s necessary because of the high temperatures at which active dry yeast is, um, dried.  When the yeast dries at those temperatures, lots of them die, and the ones that survive are encased in a shell of dead yeast.  Blooming allows the dead yeast to separate away from the live ones, making the rise much more effective.  Instant yeast is dried at a relatively lower temperature, resulting in fewer dead yeast cells, meaning you can add it directly to the dry ingredients without blooming.  Ah, the things you learn by watching Good Eats.

In lieu of the optional ingredients listed in the bread recipe, I opted to simply sprinkle some “Italian Seasoning” and black pepper over the dough before baking.  You get a 9×13 loaf of bread that’s very similar to foccacia; Heather and I ate at least 2/3 of that bread the evening that we baked it.  And it really was done in less than 2 hours.

Now, the soup:

two 14.5-oz cans of stewed tomatoes, undrained
one 15-oz can of garbanzo beans, undrained
1 medium-sized squash, sliced into rounds, half-moons, or chopped (about 1 cup)
2 large onions, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper/capsicum, diced
1/2 cup white wine (we used a Chardonnay)
6 large garlic cloves, diced
1 small bay leaf
1/2 tsp paprika
3 Tbsp butter
1 1/4 C heavy cream
1/2 C Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
1 C Romano cheese, grated

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Layer all of the vegetables in a “baking pan” (we used an enameled cast-iron dutch oven; as long as it has a lid, you should be good).  Pour the wine over the vegetables, and add the herbs and spices.  Dot the top with small pats of butter.  Cover and bake for 1 hour, then remove the pan and set the oven to 325 degrees F.  Uncover, stir well, then add in the cream and cheese.  Return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered.

No pictures, unfortunately, but it’s hands-down one of the best soups I’ve had the opportunity to eat in a long time.  I’m not exactly sure where the recipe came from, but my thanks to whoever came up with it.

Ooh, shiny.

It seems I’ve decided to at least work on the backend of the blog again, if not make a conscious effort to post more often (although I suppose that if I post about every update I make, that’ll at least be something).

I created a new blog for Heather this morning; check it out if you feel so inclined. Only one post so far, but there’s only so much that happens in one day, you know?

So. Theme updates; I moved from K2 (which I still really like) to Tarski. It’s one of the 9 themes on, so I’ll definitely need to change things like the header image, and possibly some of the font settings; I don’t want this site to look like hundreds of other new wordpress blogs that have just moved away from Kubrick.

I also created a bare-minimum plugin for this site which adds OpenID headers to the front page. I figured that manually editing header.php for every theme would rapidly get quite boring. It’s actually amazingly easy to write simple plugins like this. I doubt I’ll ever release the plugin for general usage; in its current state it’s very bare-bones and requires not only multiple manual edits to the plugin file to get it working correctly, but also requires a working installation of phpMyID.

And with that, I’ll be signing off.