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All of the content and images featured on The Garden of Eden are © Darcy Eden 2011-2013 unless otherwise stated.  If you post an image of mine on your blog/website, please link back to The Garden of Eden and credit me accordingly.  Thanks! 

Images that are not my own are credited as such.  If I have either failed to credit accurately or someone wishes an image to be removed from this blog, I will gladly comply.

Thursday
Oct242013

Little Low Studio

I've stumbled upon yet another darling letterpress shop on Etsy called Little Low Studio out of Austin, Texas (a city I still need to visit).  Who doesn't need to have more birthday and baby cards around (Rob, don't answer that) and aren't these great? The "You're My Person" card reminds me of Grey's Anatomy and I love the "Tiny Overlord" baby card.  All images credit to Little Low Studio.

Wednesday
Oct232013

Homemade Challah

It's been almost six weeks since I last posted.  It isn't that I haven't seen things or made recipes that I wanted to share but I haven't made the time to sit down and actually post about anything! I'm resolving to change that in the coming weeks.

That said, I've made a few delicious things that I really want to share, the best of which was this Challah that I made over the weekend.  J recommended it to me and it couldn't be easier, tastier or a more impressive loaf of bread.  It is braided after all...

I'd recommend making the challah and serving it with this Roasted Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup.  The addition of coconut milk instead of the usual chicken stock elevates this soup to the next level.  Like the challah, this soup is simple - perfect for a weeknight.  

Homemade Challah
Recipe from Food52 
Yield = Two large loaves

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup warm water, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons instant (powdered) yeast
  • 6 cups flour -- either all white or half white whole wheat (I used all white flour)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup mild honey, plus an extra tablespoon for eggwash
  • 2/3 cups flavorless vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 eggs, plus one yolk for eggwash

Preparation

  1. Put 1 cup warm water in a small bowl.  Add 2 teaspoons of sugar, sprinkle the yeast over top, swirl the bowl just to combine, and leave it to proof for five minutes.
  2. While yeast is proofing, mix flour, salt, and 1/4 cup of sugar in a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment).  Stir to incorporate or blend on low speed.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix remaining water, honey, oil, and eggs.
  4. When yeast has finished proofing (you'll know because it will be bubbly), add it to the flour, immediately followed by wet ingredients.  Mix with a large wooden spoon or on medium-low speed in the mixer, just until combined, about 30 seconds.
  5. Switch to dough hook and begin to knead on low speed, making sure to incorporate what's at the bottom of the bowl if the dough hook misses it. If kneading by hand, stir using spoon until dough becomes to thick to stir.  Empty dough onto well-floured surface and knead by hand.  Knead dough until smooth and no longer sticky, adding flour with a light hand as needed, 7-10 minutes.
  6. Split the dough into two equal pieces. Set each in a large oiled bowl, cover both bowls with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size. If using white flour, this should take about 2-2.5 hours. If using white whole wheat, it will take closer to 3.5 or 4. Feel free to let the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight instead; if you do this, be sure to set out the dough in plenty of time before shaping, so it can come to room temperature.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  8. After the rise, the dough should be soft and pliable. Separate each mound of dough into three equal balls, for a total of six. Roll each ball into a log almost 1-foot long. Braid the logs together to create your loaf. For the nicest-looking braid, do not pinch the top edges of your logs together before braiding; simply place one log over the next and braid until you reach the bottom, then pinch those edges together. Then, flip the unfinished loaf the long way, so that the unfinished edge is now at the bottom and the loaf has been flipped over and upside down. Finish braiding and pinch these edges together. This way, both ends look identical. Tuck the very tips beneath the loaf when braiding is finished. Repeat with second loaf.
  9. Put each loaf on its own silpat- or parchment-lined baking sheet. If using eggwash, mix yolk with a 1 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon honey. Brush over loaves.
  10. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes, until challot are golden and baked through.

Sunday
Sep082013

Sweet Corn Ice Cream with Cherry Compote

All week I've been reading about how summer is over.  It doesn't help that football season started and swimming pools have closed... but it was 96°F in Denver today and it certainly seems to me that it's still the season for shorts and swimsuits, sunglasses and flip-flops, and corn on the cob and ice cream.

Why not combine the two?  

When I read Melissa Clark's article about sweet corn ice cream, I was immediately intrigued.  I love corn in all forms, but for dessert?  In ice cream?  

Well, I'm very glad that I gave this recipe a chance.  The flavor of the ice cream is intensely corn-y in a really delightful way.  It's sweet, but not overly so, and while its refreshing on its own, I think the corn flavor is best cut with another flavor, hence the cherry compote.  I think blueberries or blackberries would compliment the ice cream as well.  Give this recipe a try before the farm stands close for the year!

Sweet Corn Ice Cream
Recipe from the NY Times
Yield = 1 1/2 pints
Time = 40 minutes, plus at least 5 hours' standing, chilling and freezing

Ingredients
4 ears fresh corn, shucked
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup sour cream 

Preparation
1.  Using a large knife, slice the kernels off the corn cobs and place in a large saucepan. Break cobs in half and add to pot along with milk, cream and 1/2 cup sugar. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring, then remove from heat. Let stand to infuse for 1 hour, then discard corn cobs.

2.  Using an immersion or regular blender, purée kernel mixture. Return mixture to a simmer, then turn off heat. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks, 1/8 teaspoon salt and another 1/4 cup of sugar.  Add a cup of hot cream mixture to yolks, stirring constantly so they don’t curdle.  Add yolk mixture to saucepan, stirring.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until custard thickens enough to coat the spoon, about 10 minutes.

3.  Pass custard through a fine sieve, pressing down hard on the solids.  This took quite a bit of "elbow grease."  I ended up using a plastic scraper and pushing the solids against the sieve in a circular motion.  I've included photos above that illustrate the quantity of custard before and after that might be helpful.  Discard solids.  For reference, I was left with about 5 cups of liquid and about 1 1/2 cups of solids.  Whisk in sour cream until smooth.  Let custard cool in an ice bath, then cover and chill for at least 4 hours.

4.  Freeze corn mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Serve with cherry compote (recipe below) on top.

Cherry Compote
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
Yield = approximately 3/4 cup

Ingredients
1 cup pitted fresh cherries
1/4 cup Leopold Brothers Tart Cherry Liqueur (you can substitute another cherry liqueur, brandy, or orange juice)
1/8 cup sugar

Preparation
1.  Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large heavy saucepan; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until cherries are softened and start to release juices, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cherries to a medium heatproof bowl.

2. Simmer juices until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 15–20 minutes. Pour reduced syrup over cherries. Serve warm.

 
Sunday
Aug182013

Cinnamon-Raisin Bread

There are some recipes that I return to over and over, that never get old, and that I can almost make without the recipe at all.  This Cinnamon-Raisin Bread is one of them.  Ali introduced me to Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which is indispensable if you enjoy making homemade bread.  The technique is simple and the end result is tasty homemade bread baking in your oven with relatively little work. 

I usually start the day with a slice of this bread slathered with butter, but this weekend I used it for peanut butter sandwiches for an awesome mountain bike ride we did through the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness.  If you ever find yourself in Steamboat Springs, its worth driving a little farther north to check out this area - it's filled with wildflowers, lakes, rivers, and craggy mountains... and we even saw two moose.  The bread tasted even better when looking at views like the one below!

Cinnamon-Raisin Bread
Adapted slightly from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day 
Yield = Three 1½-lb. loaves

For the bread:
2 cups lukewarm water
1 cup buttermilk
1½ tablespoons yeast
1½ tablespoons sugar
1½ tablespoons kosher salt
6½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
butter for greasing the pan
For the filling:
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
1½ cups raisins
egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)

Preparation

1. Mixing and storing the dough: Mix the yeast, salt and sugar with the water and buttermilk in a 5-quart mixing bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food container.

2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment) or a heavy-duty stand mixer with dough hook. If you’re not using a machine, you may have to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.  I find that the easiest way to do this is in my stand mixer.

3. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses or flattens on top, approximately 2 hours.  The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 7 days.

4. On baking day, lightly grease a 9x4x3-inch non-stick loaf pan and line it with parchment paper (this isn't absolutely necessary but I always bake with parchment - it makes it much easier to remove the bread after it bakes). Set aside.  Measure out your raisins, place them in a bowl, and cover them with just enough hot water to cover the raisins, and then cover the bowl (I like to reconstitute the raisins, which this does).  Set aside.  Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1½-pound (grapefruit-size) piece.  Dust the piece of dough with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.  Elongate the ball into an oval.

5. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to an 18×16-inch rectangle about ¼-inch thick, dusting the board and rolling pin with flour as needed. 

6. Using a pastry brush (this is my favorite), cover the surface of the dough lightly with the egg wash.  Mix together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the dough.  It seemed like a lot to me, but do use it all! Drain the water from the raisins and then sprinkle them evenly over the dough.

7. Starting from the short side, roll it up jelly-roll style. Pinch the edges and ends together, tucking the ends under. Place the loaf seam-side down in the prepared pan. Allow to rest 1 hour and 40 minutes (or just 40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).

8. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375ºF. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pan and allow to cool before slicing.

Monday
Aug122013

Botanical Prints

Our quest to find art we love for our large (and blank) dining room wall continues.  We've almost given up on finding one large piece of art to fill the space and are considering placing smaller pieces together, and Design Studio led me to these botanical prints from what i see when i run!  The artist, Francis Ooi, is based on Singapore and creates these stunning botanical photographs.  What do you think?  You can check out all of his work here and see is amazing Tumblr with new images here.  All images credit to what i see when i run and Frnacis Ooi.

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