My last post was a month ago! Oops. Winter got a hold of me and I'm just now beginning to thaw out.
It hasn't all been icicles and bitterness. Much of the past month has been spent the same way the two previous to it were: baking breads using locally milled whole grain flours and a whole lot of reading. Kamut, spelt, whole wheats, rye, amaranth, corn, porridges, sourdoughs, croissants, English muffins, sourdoughs, flat breads, bricks, and even my most perfect loaf to date. All this baking has thickened my waistline but expanded my bread powers. I'm looking forward to working off the dough and spreading the good word on whole grains with the sun on my shoulders throughout the coming seasons.
We can all use a little inspiration and a reminder that sun will once again bring the bountiful harvests to our gardens, markets, tables, and souls. Spring is just starting, but the next three months after which strawberry season arrives will be here before we know it.
There is no stopping it now - spring has sprung. First there were ramps, then fiddleheads, and there may be morel mushrooms popping up today after last nights rain but it's the King of Spring I've been waiting for.
Asparagus is (finally) among us!
The growing season for local asparagus doesn't last very long in Elgin County so it's a mad rush to consume and preserve as much of it as quickly as possible. I have plans to attempt some fermentation experiments with the spears in the coming weeks (asparagus kimchi, anyone?) as well as gorging on it grilled & caramelized hot off the barbeque.
For my first taste of the year though I prefer a simpler preparation full of freshness and green: blanched and refreshed then combined with other vegetables and dressed with a lemon vinaigrette. Serve this salad with a poached egg, grilled chicken, and/or toasted bread for a light spring fling with the king (I couldn't resist the rhyming).
On Friday I shared a recipe on how to prepare and bake a simple no-knead bread. Since I have made the bread many times before, I decided to try another variation and that was to use the dough as the base for a pan pizza.
With a completely unplanned but fortunate bit of timing, the batch of preserved lemons I prepared in early February was due for a quality check and it was also the warmest day of the year (so far). The result: A fantastic, barbecued pan pizza with a moist & chewy thick crust (and crispy toasted bottom) topped with turkey, mushroom, bacon, basil, and preserved lemon.
Keeping along with the citrus and Moroccan theme from my last post (Moroccan Anise Bread and Blood Orange Marmalade), I thought I would introduce you to another delicious North African inspired food --preserved lemons. Used as a condiment in many Moroccan dishes, preserved lemons are easy to prepare, versatile for use in many dishes, and won't require you to bring out your gigantic canning pots. Instead of being processed in a hot-water bath or pressure canner, preserved lemons utilize other preservation techniques: salting and fermentation.
What are Preserved Lemons?
Preserved lemons are a North African (typically Moroccan) condiment made by cutting and salting lemons and letting them ferment a sealed container for several weeks. The growth of bacteria and yeasts softens the rind of the lemons and turns what was once bright and sharp tasting into a peel that is rich and rounded in flavour. Preserved lemons lend a unique and distinctive taste wherever used.
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.