Post #3083: Bread and cheese

I really wish I had taken a picture of the bread I made for NYE – because I made the **BEST BREAD EVER** hands down. Even though I cannot get my oven to appropriately hot temperatures (we’re replacing it in the near future) – my sourdough is still winning, and in particular the Smoky Chili bread recipe from the book Sourdough by Sarah Owens – is amazing.

If you would like to see for yourself how great that bread is, you can find the recipe on her corner at and try it for yourself. As soon as I have recovered from all the bread I ate over the weekend, I will be making this recipe again as a sandwich loaf – and then making grilled cheese sandwiches!

I have now made several recipes from Sarah Owens’ book – including the Sun-dried Tomato Shortbread, the Walnut-Quince tea cookies, and the Brooklyn Sourdough bread – and they are all excellent. The book has a great many recipes for bread, with an equal or greater number of recipes for using up sourdough discard (such as crackers, cookies and pastries) – and she focuses on whole grains and keeping sugar low while not creating a weird cult around “healthy eating”. That is, the book is full of tasty and healthful recipes, without any cure-all nonsense. (Can you tell that I’m feeling really done with food gurus these days?)

Over the last several months, Brian and I have been investing in new cookbooks for the first time in our relationship. Although we both love to cook for ourselves and others, we have found the need to purge our collection since coming together – to make space on shelves for other things – and any need for radical experimentation was met by going out to eat in the diverse food jungle that is East Vancouver. But since moving to Gabriola Island, our options have become a bit more limited, and after a full year of living here (and eating at the same two places over and over) we have embarked on upping our cooking game – and so have been deepening our knowledge about Chinese and Indian cuisines, Japanese cooking, and (now) Middle Eastern dishes.

In addition to consulting many splendid recipe books – I’ve also just finished reading Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat who is both an inspiring cook and an excellent writer. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is not really a cookbook – it’s a technique book – with recipes at the back that allow you to practice the techniques and principles. I have so far only made two of the recipes from the book, but I have been practicing many of her tips regarding properly salting my food while cooking, and heating pans to the right point before adding oil. I plan to read this book again shortly, as I only gleaned the top layer of information from it, and I feel like more reads will lead to a richer understanding the whats and whys of cooking. Oh – and there are wonderful illustrations in this book also – of the helpful kind! I plan to copy some of them on my printer to tape up inside my cupboards for inspired flavour combinations and quick ideas.

For his part, Brian has decided to learn to make cheese – which I think is very smart, given all the bread I’ve been baking and my desire for grilled cheese sandwiches. We made a paneer in the Instant pot a couple of weeks ago (and then made saag paneer with it) – which was our first foray into the world of cheese making, and today Brian has a Gervais on the go which I am eager to try. One thing we have no shortage of here is high-quality raw ingredients between the farm-raised meats and eggs, the organic buyers club for grains and nuts, and all veggies and fruits I preserved in the summer. Our fresh produce is somewhat pricey and not in great shape at the moment – but that *is* the season and it makes me anticipate the return of our CSA box in May that much more.

While I don’t want to *over* eat in 2018 – I do plan to eat well and with whole, nourishing ingredients at the forefront of everything we do. Let 2018 be the year of (homemade) bread and cheese!

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