I woke up this morning feeling blah. This feeling is completely unjustified being that
A - It's 70 degrees, sunny and mind-blowingly blissful outside.
B - I spent yesterday evening at a clothes swap and am now the proud owner of several fantastic new party dresses and one amazing little skirt.
C - I have another party to go to tonight that I've been looking forward to for at least an entire 24 hours, perhaps even 48.
D - I have the entire second season of the Tudors sitting next to my TV to help me kill time until said party.
See? My bothersome mood is downright ludicrous.
I'm not the type to comfort eat. In fact, I tend to comfort starve... oh wait, that came out wrong. What I mean is when I'm in a crappy mood, food is the furthest thing from my mind. Judging by the amount I eat it seems I'm a fairly content person. Nonetheless, I decided this morning that I'm going to treat myself to an all-out junk food indulgence for lunch to lift my saggy spirits. Ideas I have are (but are not limited to)... vegetable sandwich from Wheatsville, gingered tempeh pasta salad from Wheatsville, tempeh tacos (yeah, from Wheatsville), a steamed vegetable plate from Mother's or Taco Bell. Woah, I really lack talent in the brainstorming junk food department.
You could argue Taco Bell is junk food in the worstest of worst ways (Please spare me your opinions on it. It's gross. I know. I love it. The end.), however, I'd argue right back that there's really nothing that offensive in a Seven Layer burrito, unless you have an aversion to fake guacamole and reconstituted beans. Gross sounding? Yes. Super junk food-y? Not so much.
The other places I mentioned? No, I am not in fact an old hippie. I just really really really like vegetables. A lot. More than chocolate. Seriously.
The real problem with me brainstorming junk food is two-fold. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, I love food. I'm pretty sure people who truly truly love food don't find the appeal in junk food. Eating junk food leaves me with the same feeling that I imagine men have leaving a strip club... empty, alone and just a little bit greasy. Do I offend? I apologize, but that's how I see it.
Secondly, and far more immediate than my passion for edibles, is my obsession with dill. Dill!! I said it! I love you dill and you're clouding my mind with your grassy fresh dill-y yumminess. Dill is a bright beacon of fresh springiness in the winter, like crocuses popping out of the snow. Dill sings while everything else slumbers. I do love it so.
It sounds so sad really, I can't dream up a junky lunch because the thought of the dill in my refrigerator has driven to distraction. I can smell it, I can taste it. It's invading the recesses of of senses. I bought a bunch of dill last week at the farmer's market that was quite easily the size of a small head of romaine lettuce. It was, by any standard, way too much dill. The first thing I did was head straight home to start a dill bread. Just like that.
That was followed with egg salad pumped full of dill, made into sandwiches with that very dill bread. Shortly thereafter there was a roasted vegetable, greens and cream cheese sandwich, again on the dill bread. That one was so good I might even make it again this week. Well, that's where it all putters to a halt. I've got eater's block and know not what else to do with the poor abundance of dill wasting away in the fridge. I pondered borsch, but I just powered my way through a huge pot of that a few weeks ago. I found an asparagus, potato and dill soup recipe, but asparagus isn't quite yet in season. I'm now contemplating some sort of dill dip to eat with all of the veggies from my garden. That thought bores me to tears. Any ideas? I'm almost out of dill bread, and the dill in the fridge will only last a few more days, if that. It would a tiny tragedy to throw away that much dill.
I'll wait and hope and cross my fingers for your suggestions. In the meantime, I'm off to one of several old hippie establishments for junk food, if you will. I'll leave you with my dill bread recipe. This dill bread is different from most other dill breads I've tried because it balances out the flavors of the wheat with that of the dill. It turned out just the way I hoped it would - a really delicious and substantial bread, not at all like the other dill breads I've had. It's definitely best toasted, sandwiching together something yummy... Might I suggest egg salad or roasted veggies and cream cheese?
Potato Dill Bread
Adapted from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhardt
5.625 oz (1 1/4 cups) bread flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
3/8 cup plus 1 Tbsp to 1/2 cup water, at room temperature
Stir together the flour and yeast. Add 3/8 cup plus 1 Tbsp of the water, stirring until everything comes together and makes a coarse ball. Adjust the flour or water, according to need, so that the dough is neither too sticky nor too stiff. It is better to err on the sticky side, as you can adjust easier during kneading.
Knead for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the dough is soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky.
Place the dough in a lidded container and let ferment at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours, or until it nearly doubles in size.
Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it lightly to degas, and return it to the bowl, covering it again. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight. You can keep this in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze it in an airtight plastic bag for up to 3 months.
For the final dough
14 oz (3 cups plus 2 Tbsp) bread flour
.38 oz (1 1/2 tsp) salt
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
6 oz (1 cup) mashed potatoes (without the skins)
1 Tbsp milk
5 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh dill
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons to 1 cup water, at room temperature (or warm if the potatoes are cold)
Remove the biga from the refrigerator 1 hour before you plan to make the bread. Cut it into about 10 small pieces with a pastry scraper or serrated knife. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour to take off the chill.
Stir together the flour, salt and yeast. Add the biga pieces, mashed potatoes, milk, dill, and 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water. Stir together to combine for about 1 min, or until the ingredients form a ball. Add more water, if necessary, or more flour, if the dough is too sticky.
If kneading by hand sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin to knead (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook). Knead for approximately 10 minutes (or 6 minutes by machine), until the dough is soft and supple, tacky but not sticky. It should pass the windowpane test. Lightly oil a large lidded container and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl.
Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 2 equal pieces for loaves. Shape each of the larger pieces into a boule. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Place the dough on the parchment, separating the pieces so that they will not touch, even after they rise. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Proof at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size and springs back slowly when pressed.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F with your oven set up for steam.
Score the bread if you wish and place the pan in the oven on a baking stone and apply your desired steam method. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180° for even baking. Bake another 15-25 mins. The loaves will be a rich golden brown all around, and the internal temperature should register at least 195°F. The loaves should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. if the loaves or rolls are fully colored but seem to soft, crack the oven door and let them bake for an additional 5 mins to firm up.
Remove the finished loaves or rolls from the oven and cool on a rack for at least 1 hour.
You can see this bread and other gorgeous breads at Yeastspotting!