Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Garlic overload

I wasn't going to bother posting tonight - tomato soup, salad and garlic bread didn't seem interesting enough. However, this is a very successful meal in our house because everyone eats it (amazing)! And it WAS good.

The soup is my own recipe so I will give you the details....

1 onion, chopped
1 large can whole or diced tomatoes
1 large can crushed tomatoes
2 vegetable stock cubes
4 cups water
1 teaspoon oregano
half teaspoon basil
quarter teaspoon each of tarragon, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, crushed

Throw everything except the garlic into a pot, bring to the boil and simmer for, say, 30 minutes (I use my pressure cooker and do it for 10). Remove from the heat, add the garlic, put in the stick blender, and blend until smooth.

The trick of adding the garlic at the end was one I learned from Heather, and it makes a very tasty soup. I also added some olive and flax oil this time, along with the garlic.

The garlic bread was easy - I had made a batch of four loaves in the morning, so I mixed up some Earth Balance Buttery Spread (the BEST butter alternative I have ever tasted) with four cloves of crushed garlic and some dried parsley, sliced and toasted the bread, and spread the garlic "butter" on top. It was really good!

The bread recipe is also my own - it's very simple and it takes only about 2 hours to make a big batch. You need
16 cups wholewheat flour
4 tablespoons dried yeast (bread machine-type instant yeast)
8 tablespoons sweetener (sugar, Sucanat, maple syrup)
4 teaspoons seasalt
8 tablespoons oil
warm water (I think I used about 5 cups)

Put everything except the water into a very large mixing bowl. I have a stainless steel one which is perfect because it can safely go into a warm oven. Add enough water to make a dough that is not too dry and not too sticky. You want all the flour to be incorporated. Knead briefly, cover the bowl with a damp teatowel and put it in a warm place for an hour. I turn the knob on my oven to "Bake" but I don't turn up the temperature dial - the oven warms up a little, then I turn it off when I put in the bowl.

After an hour, the dough has risen nearly to the top of the bowl (so allow for that when deciding what size bowl to use). Tip it out onto a countertop, knead briefly, divide into four and shape it so it will fit into the baking pans that you are using. I have four rectangular loaf pans that I line with baking parchment. Place the dough into the pans. Meanwhile, I have warmed the oven up a little again, so that when I put the pans back in, the dough will rise quickly a second time. (I make sure that the oven rack is positioned in the centre of the oven so there's plenty of headroom.)

Leave the dough to rise for 20 minutes, then, with the loaves already in the oven, turn your oven on to 350 degrees F. Set your timer for 40 minutes. At the end of that time, you should have perfectly baked bread - turn it out of the pan and tap it on the bottom - if it sounds hollow, then it's done.


Heather said...

Now that I can grind my own flour I am going to try out your recipe, just as soon as my shoulder can deal with the kneading.;-)

Katherine said...

Nothing beats homemade tomato soup and bread....
Must compliment you on the stellar photographs in all your food blogs. Well done!