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Friday, July 2, 2010

Food Friday: The also-rans

It's been a busy week in my kitchen, and it seems a shame to focus only on the showcase dish without including the Honorable Mentions.

First, I have an enormously successful patch of Swiss chard in my garden.

What to do with it? Well, there's the simple sauteed greens (with beet greens and garlic):

Very delicious.

Then, I made a primavera/chicken stir-fry with local peppers, chard ribs, and sweet peas (also from our garden).

Then I decided to step outside my comfort zone and try to make some Palak paneer. First step? Turn the leftover whey from my recent yogurt-making fun into ricotta cheese. It sounded easy enough.

First, heat the whey:

Then, strain it.

And when it was all said and done...from my original one gallon of milk, I got 2 quarts of whey, which cooked down to...about three tablespoons of ricotta.

Yes, really. It was a learning experience, but I think I will classify this as a cheese FAIL. Needless to say, the Palak paneer got shelved for a later date. Maybe it will show up as next week's feature, who knows.

But I refused to accept total defeat! I'd also read that leftover whey (and there was plenty of liquid left) can be used in making bread. I've been dying to try out my new stoneware loaf pan, a long-coveted recent gift from a friend (thank you, Toni!)

I've read that stoneware promotes more even baking and a crisp crust. So even though I've made bread hundreds of times before, I figured this qualified as an Experiment and documented it. Well, a bit. For example, here is the lovely action shot of me kneading the dough:

...which looks nothing like me actually kneading dough. But I was alone in the kitchen and needed (kneaded! Ha!) one hand to hold the camera. Okay, nevermind. But wait, we do need the gratuitous fresh-from-the-oven shot.

I have little for accurate visual scale in this photo, so let me just tell you: this bread was ginormous! I used as much dough for this one loaf (it's a big pan!) as I normally use for two. Big Bread. And it disappeared almost instantly. there anything better than still-warm, home-baked bread?

Nom nom nom.

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