Sourdough, lemon curd, and a turnip green tart
The dining hall at Craftsbury doesn’t reopen until Thursday, but almost everyone is back from their spring adventures, so we go through bread at an astounding rate. This translates to bread being baked almost every day, either by me or Anna or Lauren. We all make a different sort of loaf: Anna’s sourdough loaves are round and white, mine have more whole wheat or rye and are oval, and Lauren doesn’t do sourdough (her latest batch was Irish Soda Bread and it was amazing, so I am trying to convince her to make it more often).
Until a couple weeks ago, I was a biga/poolish/pre-ferment kind of girl when it came to making bread. Then I got to Nova Scotia, where I discovered some slimy, dark grey sourdough starter that a previous WWOOFer had left behind. I resurrected it and began a sourdough adventure, and I haven’t looked back since. Tim thoroughly approves of the loaves I’ve been making recently, or at least that’s what he says – although bread has to be pretty bad indeed to go uneaten in our house full of athletes.
Today while my bread was baking I embarked on another adventure. I had read a post over on nami-nami, an Estonian food blog, about lemon curd. It looked… just so delicious. And the great thing about it is that once I had bought a lemon, I was basically set for ingredients. So I improvised a double-boiler using a pot and a pyrex mixing bowl and set to work, periodically pausing to throw ice cubes into the stove so that the bread would have a nice crust. My lemon curd seemed to work as expected, and was the amount to perfectly fill two small jars with creamy yellow goodness.
One thing that I have trouble with, with regards to bread, is letting it sit when it comes out of the oven. I want to eat it immediately, when it’s still nice and hot, and so do my teammates. A whole loaf is usually gone before the crumb can finish setting up or whatever it is that they tell you. Anyway, I managed to restrain myself for all of maybe five minutes before slicing off a big hunk and slathering it in lemon curd. Yum! I’m making this my first-ever submission to YeastSpotting.
And yet, somehow I wasn’t done baking for the day. I had also gotten inspired by Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks, an incredible natural-foods blog. It was one of those cases where a post perfectly coincides with what you have in your fridge. What I had in our fridge happened to be turnip greens. So I set about making a turnip green tart.
Now, I didn’t have the spelt flour for Heidi’s crust, and I didn’t really want to make two crusts like she did, so I went elsewhere for crust inspiration. I found it at Anja’s Food 4 Thought, where I used a sweet oatmeal tart crust recipe minus the honey. (You are going to be left with the idea that I spend all my time reading food blogs, which is not entirely true… but ok, I do keep up-to-date on quite a few)
I didn’t measure the amount of turnip greens I puréed. And didn’t have heavy cream, so I used a quarter cup of plain yogurt instead, and had to make vegetable broth from a bouillon cube. I was pretty nervous, but after sprinkling some grated cheddar and red pepper flakes on top of the tart and putting it on broil for the last few minutes, it looked great. Green and totally unusual, but great.
Unfortunately, it still tasted like… turnip greens. Johnny Hood, a rower who was eating dinner with us, thought it was pretty good, and Tim, Anna, and Susan all said they didn’t regret their slice, even though they wouldn’t be going back for seconds. The best Lauren could say is that the crust was really good (thanks Anja!) and basically that it wasn’t my fault that turnip greens taste like grass. Oh well, you can’t say I didn’t try to use them instead of throwing them in the compost, and I’m pretty sure nothing else I could have cooked would have been tastier!
I don’t want this to be a bad reflection on Heidi’s recipe. I think turnip greens might be an acquired taste, and in general all of Heidi’s recipes are fantastic. And maybe my problem was that I didn’t exactly follow her instructions to the letter!
A big o’ dallop of starter – at least a cup
2 1/2 cups warmish water
1 1/2 cups whole wheat and/or rye flour or a combination
5-6 cups white flour
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
I start by combining all the ingredients except the salt in a big bowl and mixing them together loosely. I then let the dough sit (“autolyse”) for about half an hour, at which point I return to it, add the salt and sugar, and knead it, adding more flour as necessary and developing the gluten. I wash out the bowl, line it with olive oil (lightly!), and let the dough rise for 2 – 2 1/2 hours. Once or twice, I stretch it out and fold it in thirds in one direction, then turn 90 degrees and fold it in thirds again before replacing it in the bowl. The bread can be shaped into any number of shapes (rounds, ovals, whatever), but I shape it loosely so that I don’t deflate it. It rises for another hour to hour and fifteen minutes before going in a 425 degree oven with a bunch of ice cubes. I pretty much don’t pay attention to time for baking but rotate the pan at least once and take the bread out when it’s good and brown and crusty.