June 15, 2010

Pom | Potluck | Bread with soaked farro

A Pom Wonderful smoothie
Why is it so hard to get back to real life (i.e. cooking) after a vacation? I'm feeling so uncreative. Maybe I'm in a rut because I'm tired of cool, gloomy weather, and just really want it to be summer already. Or at least spring! I need a seasonal change for a little inspiration. We had a hint of warmth and sunshine on the weekend but then it was back to same-old, same-old. While the weather was playing at summer, I baked a banana-rhubarb tart, and made a pomegranate-banana smoothie.

The kind people at Pom Wonderful sent me another case of Pom pomegranate juice. The juice is so appealing I have the hardest time thinking up creative ways to use it in cooking instead of just drinking it straight. I kind of compromised with one of the bottles by making it into a delicious smoothie, and I have some ideas for pomegranate-strawberry and pomegranate-blackberry sauce for ice cream. But drinking it plain seems like the perfect way to reap its many benefits. According to the Pom literature, hundreds of scientific tests show Pom to have more potent antioxidants than red wine, grape juice, blueberry juice, cranberry juice, green tea, vitamin C and vitamin E. It's pure pomegranate juice with no additives whatsoever, and it tastes so good.

Full disclosure: I was given a free case of Pom Pomegranate juice with no pressure or expectation to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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Mr. EV organized a family potluck dinner Sunday night, and the dish above is a Thai noodle salad brought by one of our sons. I just loved it. He followed this recipe except he added pan-fried tofu, and I highly recommend this dish.

Mr. EV made his standby coleslaw and potato salad from recipes in Vegan Deli, by Joanne Stepaniak. This little cookbook has lots of vegan versions of deli items you may have enjoyed in the past. He made Vinaigrette Coleslaw and Grandma's Potato Salad.

The dinner also included a very spicy chickpea salad tester recipe from Celine and Jonimarie's in-progress cookbook.

I made the aforementioned rhubarb-banana tart.

Here's Miss E, very pleased with her little slice of rhubarb tart and some soy delicious. She ate it all even though she "wasn't hungry." (Photo taken just before the mug fell and soymilk flew everywhere.)

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OK, so maybe I had a little inspiration this week, but it wasn't from the weather. I was tempted by Mihl to make whole grain flourless sourdough spelt bread like the one she highlighted on her blog, Seitan is my motor. It looks like a killer bread, and maybe someday I actually will make it, but you know how lazy I am. Instead, I made a batch of whole grain no-knead bread with added sunflower seeds, black sesame seeds, kalonji and soaked grains. I was intrigued by her use of a Brühstück and wanted to try adding a soaked whole grain to my basic dough. The only whole grain in the pantry was farro so I soaked it according to Mihl's directions, and added it to the dough when I added the liquid. (The no-knead dough was based on the basic recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Though I do use different ingredient proportions and quantities, the procedure is basically the same. Mihl is making artisan bread more like what you'd find in The Bread Bakers Apprentice, my favorite bread baking book, but more of a commitment to time and technique than HB5)



I don't know how adding the farro could have made such a difference, but this was one of the best loaves I've ever made. Both the taste and texture were superior. I guess I'll be adding a new step to my easy bread making. (I used about 1/2 cup farro and 1 cup of water, brought to a boil then allowed to sit for several hours.)

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A while ago, I received a blog award from Blessedmama, and I'm supposed to pass it along to 12 bloggers. This is too hard, I think. I read and enjoy so many blogs that it's impossible to narrow the field down to 12. If I choose 12 I'll have to choose at least 20 more. Too hard. The last time I received an award I talked about how hard it is for me (an indecisive Libra) to make these kinds of choices. To make things even harder, every time I picked out a blog to give the award to, it already had one! Sigh. I really appreciate the award but I've decided to break the rules (you all know rules were made to be broken, right?), and pass the award along to someone who doesn't even have a blog. I'm giving the award to Courtney (from Minneapolis), a long time commenter on this and other blogs. Courtney's comments are always thoughtful and cheerful, and just seeing her name on the comment list makes me smile. Courtney is a part of the blog world even though she doesn't write her own blog, and it's people like Courtney who inspire bloggers to keep blogging. OK Courtney, now that I've embarrassed you, I hope you'll still visit. :)
If you would like to pass the award on, the bloggers you choose can grab the icon from my blog or Blessedmama's. Just follow whatever rules you choose.

The Rules, should you choose to accept them:
The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspires others in the blog world. The rules for accepting this award are:

1. Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
2. Pass the award on to twelve bloggers.
3. Link the nominees within your post.
4. Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love, and link to the person from whom you received this award.

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Father's Day is coming
Will you be making a Father's Day cake this weekend? Matt S from tiepedia
has collected a bunch of pictures of cool shirt-and-tie decorated cakes that he would like to share with you. Perhaps they will inspire you to get creative with fondant! Matt really likes ties and has a whole blog dedicated to them! Stop by to see his clever take on the world of ties.

19 comments:

  1. Everything sounds delicious. I also most enjoy POM straight, but a smoothie sounds good, too!

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  2. What a fabulous potluck! Can I come next time? lol

    Your bread turned out great. I have never tried a no-knead yeast bread before. I love checking out Mihl's bread recipes, they are the best.

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  3. Your bread looks amazing, I love lots of stuff in my bread. I've never tried farro in it, now I need to:)

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  4. Your potluck supper looks fantastic, and it is fun when everybody brings something. I also love a meal composed of different kinds of salad...

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  5. Tiffany,
    It's such a temptation to grab a bottle and drink it, and although I rarely drink juice, this one seems so healthy. I think with the rest of the bottles I may try different kinds of smoothies.

    Kiersten,
    Of course you can! If you find yourself in Seattle let me know and I'll arrange a potluck just for you! I really like the basic no-knead breads from Healthy Breads in Five Minutes a Day.

    Janet,
    The farro seemed to make a big difference in taste and texture. I'm going to try other grains, too.

    Zoa,
    Yes, it's fun when everyone brings something to share. One of our sons brought hummus and red pepper spread but I forgot to take a picture!

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  6. Banana and pomegranate sounds like a great combination! All the potluck dishes & the bread all look really good too. Love the sound of those noodles; I bet they're really tasty in that marinade mixture.

    Cute shot of Miss E.

    Take heart with the Seattle summer...it may not be a heat wave, but we'll get some nice weather eventually :)

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  7. Awwww...Andrea, thank you so much! I have never received a blog reward before :-) I would pass it right along back to you too--I love reading your posts and your photos are always so lovely and delicious looking. And don't even get me started on your recipes...yum!

    I was going to say you can have our MN summer if you want it, lol! I would take your cooler temps any day. It is going to be 90 and humid and muggy here tomorrow--yuck! I hope summer arrives in your area soon. It has to get there eventually, right?!

    I think I made the same chickpea tester dish for Celine and Joni--it was fantastic!

    Thanks again, Andrea--you totally made my day :-)
    Courtney

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  8. Rose,
    Thanks! The noodles were yummy, even better because I didn't have to make them.

    I Know the Seattle weather will eventually become warm(er) and sunny, but the sunny season seems painfully short.

    Courtney,
    I was just about to shoot you an email to make sure you knew about the award but you beat me to it. The blog community is made up of bloggers and readers, and the readers who leave comments are the greatest! You definitely deserve an award in my book!

    You know, when I went to leave feedback about the chickpea bowl Sunday night, the recipe had already been crossed off. This has happened to me a few times and it's frustrating. I'm thinking of making the doughnut holes next, or the marinated jalapenos, and I hope tomorrow won't be too late.

    I guess I don't want 90 and humid — hope that doesn't last long in Minn. — just maybe 75 and sunny.

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  9. as usual i want to eat everything pictured...your tart is elegant. i'm still a little uneasy about buying pom, though, even though they caved to peta's demands and ceased animal testing...i used to drink pom before i found out about the animal testing, and it was such a shock (who would even guess that a juice company would conduct such horrid tests?)...i think i'm forever turned off of that brand.

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  10. Hi Andrea! For inspiration, I suggest looking at a site a friend just showed me. If you don't already know it, I think you'll like it!!

    www.foodgawker.com

    Maybe your photos could even go on there too.

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  11. Emily,
    I know what you mean. I felt the same way, but after carefully weighing the pros and cons, I came to a different conclusion. When a company is doing something awful like animal testing, and we ask them to stop by boycotting their products, and they do stop even if it takes a long time, perhaps we should honor the spirit of the boycott by ending it when our demands are met. If we never end our boycotts, they can become meaningless. I totally respect your decision not to drink Pom, but ask yourself if every single company whose products you use, has a spotless history. Thanks for expressing your opinion; I love to hear different points of view.

    Kailah,
    Thanks for the tip and the comment! I think I have seen that site but will look again. Hope you're having a relaxing visit at home before your next adventure begins.

    6/17/10 2:51 PM

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  12. Andrea

    75 and sunny sounds ideal...if you find a place where it is 75 and sunny with a breeze and no humidity, let me know--I would move there in a heartbeat!

    That is annoying when you make the recipe and the post is gone. It has happened to me once or twice too. It was a Celine recipe I am pretty sure, so you could always just e-mail her your review? I made the blueberry muffins this week and they were fantastic, just fyi :-)

    Courtney

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  13. Whoa! Those cakes are amazing! I think my favorite one is the "knitted" one.

    What a great family potluck! That potato salad is really making me drool - I'm a potato addict.

    That bread! It's a gorgeous loaf of crusty goodness! I love all the seeds.

    Congrats on your award! (and congrats to Courtney too!)

    Miss E is such a cute soymilk-spiller! :D

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  14. Isn't it awesome how some ingredients can change the texture of bread?
    Yours looks really wonderful and it reminded me to bake some bread with black onion seeds as well.

    Those potluck salads look amazing. I loved Celine's chickpea bowl but I wouldn't say no to that coleslaw, too!

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  15. Ah, Andrea, you're so rebellious! Hey, I'm glad you liked the award enough to accept it, and you can pass it along to whomever you like. I'll have to check this mysterious Courtney out. :-) Have a great day!

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  16. Courtney,
    I've heard San Diego has very nice weather.:) I would just like the chilly damp weather to take a break. I miss the sun on my arms.

    I checked and the blueberry muffins were crossed off so I made the doughnut holes.

    River,
    The cakes were pretty crazy. I've never attempted making anything like that and probably never will. :)

    I'm having a good time eating the bread — and you know where the black onion seed came from. That stuff is so good!

    Miss E is one messy babe, and not the least bit concerned about it.

    Mihl,
    The farro was a great addition to the bread and so were the seeds. Sunflower and black onion are my two favorite seeds to add but I also love caraway and dill.

    I agree that the spicy chickpea bowl was delish, but it was nice to have the other salads to balance the spiciness!

    Blessedmama,
    I was afraid you'd be mad at me. Thanks for taking it with good humor! (And Courtney really does deserve it. I hope she'll pass it along to her favorite blogs.)

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  17. Moi? Mad? Oh, Andrea, my heart aches over this accusation. Never could I be mad about something like this! Awards are for fun, that's all. Enjoy the beautiful weekend!

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  18. Blessedmama,
    I was just teasing you, not seriously thinking you were mad. You seem too easy going and cheerful to get mad about my taking liberties with the award. No no. All in good fun. :)

    Aimee,
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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