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Mark Bittman

No-Knead Bread: The Burnt Bottoms

No-knead bread with a beautiful crust.
I know, I know my recipe crush on the Lahey-Bittman no-knead bread is glaringly obvious. Hell, I’ve even gone as far as making a stop-motion video homage to it. But, this obsession goes beyond an appreciation for the concept that great bread can be made with very little effort; it’s something that I actually do two or three times a week.

A detailed description of the method probably isn’t necessary since: a.) the original youtube video has been played about 1.75 million views, so I’m guessing it’s fairly widely known; and b.) I’ve gone into some detail in previous posts. Today’s post has a special focus so let’s say that a sufficient summary of the recipe is: mix dough, ferment overnight, allow a second countertop rise while the over heats with a Dutch oven inside, bake inside the closed Dutch oven for 30 minutes, and then remove the lid and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more. (more…)

No Knead Bread in Stop Motion

How to make homemade no-knead bread in stop motion video.

I have a terrible video voice. When that light on the front of a camera is lit in red I sound like my grade nine gym teacher teaching us about the various rules of badminton when clearly he was just thinking about his next coffee-donut-smoke break. Why this happens is beyond me and I’m working on it but in the meanwhile I think I have a solution.

What’s the problem? Well, I know that many of you are visual learners and like to have a demonstration of techniques that you don’t have to read. Video seems weird if the presenter doesn’t opt to talk about what they’re doing. Last week a link to a very good stop-motion video demonstrating how to make yogurt crossed my Twitter stream and I knew instantly I’d have to borrow the idea for my own purposes.

The original was created by Agnes “bob” Gentili (bby_su on Twitter) and I encourage you to take a look at it on Vimeo. She makes yogurt and for my first attempt I went with Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread.  This is the pane integrale (fancy for “partly whole wheat”) recipe from his book My Bread. (more…)

Preserved Citrus

Today’s post is a very short one but I think it is interesting enough to make the cut.

This is not one of those recipes where I read four recipes (after checking with Waverly Root for general and historical context), searched out the ingredients, and made a few test batches. I had some Seville oranges left over from marmalade making that had been kicking around for months and inspired by a Mark Bittman Minimalist podcast (his recipe is for lemons) decided to preserve them very simply. (more…)

Wychwood Barns

Four months ago I had a vague idea that the Wychwood Barns were somewhere way out on St. Clair West and hosted a weekly market. Last night, for the Lifford Grand Tasting, I was back for my second event in the main hall in two months–Brewer’s Plate was the other. Added to a brunch in the cafe and two trips to the Saturday morning market, Wychwood is becoming a frequent hang-out of mine.

The next time you’re at an event in the main barn sneak up to the second-floor gallery. There is no better place catch your breath and get a sense of the room’s vibrant energy.

My attraction is not without justification, I think. As I wrote on Spotlight Toronto, between the Mennonite bacon, St. John’s bread, and seeds from Urban Harvest (as well as the wares of many other vendors) this is one of Toronto’s finest year-round markets.

The greenhouse at Wychwood in March.

The greenhouse at Wychwood in March.

New York Times columnist Mark Bittman this week wrote about his positive impressions of the food programmes at Wychwood. He’s right that The Stop does very important work but for me the opportunity to wander through a greenhouse and stare at a wood oven in March is valued for the recharging of psychic batteries.

With the completion of the St. Clair streetcar right-of-way this far west, Wychwood has become more accessible to those of us who don’t live in the neighbourhood. I’d love to see Toronto replicate this model of reclaiming old buildings for productive, food-focussed community use across the City.


Fish Cakes

Two trout cakes on some mixed greens

Two trout cakes on some mixed greens

My recent semi-obsession with burgers has started to wane and it’s probably a good point for the Food With Legs content to take a break from red meat.  As part of this detour I took on what I guess is sort of the burger of the sea: fish cakes.  I adapted my recipe from one I found in Serious Eats’ Dinner Tonight column (that they had adapted from Mark Bittman’s NYT column).  I kept the technique roughly the same except that I made each portion into two cakes instead of one burger, I used trout instead of salmon and I added some appropriate flavour highlights.

If you buy a piece of fish with the skin on, not to worry this is an ideal opportunity to practice skinning a fish fillet.  It is difficult to describe the technique except to say that your goal should be to use your knife’s sharp blade to separate flesh from skin without cutting either.  Because it is going to be cut up in the food processor anyway there is no need to remove the fish all in one piece and any that is left attached to the skin can be scraped off. (more…)