Thursday, January 26, 2012

Radical Cooking - Easy, No Knead Crusty Artisan Bread

You can make this artisan bread
easily at home!
Yes, you can!!
From the Kitchens of Cheesecake Farms

Bread shouldn't cost $5.00 or more a loaf.  It just shouldn't.

Get your food budget under control and enjoy crusty, homemade artisan bread with this super simple recipe for about 65 cents a loaf.
No special equipment or bread making experience needed!

Artisan bread for  $.65 a loaf......that's pretty radical!!

My bread pan.
I got it (cheap) at a
second hand store. 

Time Is On Your Side

Time, not effort, is what turns flour, water and salt into crusty, artisan bread.

Nature does the work.  You get the credit.

Just five minutes of your time is all it takes.
No kneading. No kidding.

No Knead, Crusty Sour Dough Bread

Got gourmet pals coming for Sunday brunch? 
Start the dough Friday night.  Bake it Sunday morning.

Makes one loaf
Pan size: A seasoned, cast iron pot with lid that's 8 inches round X 4 inches deep works well but any similarly sized, heavy, heat safe pot with a lid will work. 

Make sure the pot and lid handles can take the heat of the oven.

3 cups all purpose flour (whole wheat or bread flour not recommended)
1/4 teaspoon dried yeast
2 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt (or 1 3/4 teaspoons regular salt)
1 3/4 cups warm tap water (about 100 degrees - see tip below)
2 teaspoons regular or quick cooking grits or polenta (instant not recommended)

In a large bowl, mix flour, yeast and salt. 

Stir in water (just use a spoon) mixing only enough to combine. Mixture will be a sticky batter. Cover bowl (a plate works well). 

Put bowl out of the way (where it won't get bumped or jostled) in a warmish, room temperature place for 24 hours. 

Next day, stir dough and fold it over itself once in the bowl. Replace cover and put out of the way for another 18-24 hours. (The longer, the better.)

After second rising, you're ready to bake. 

Position over rack so bread will bake in center. 
Place empty baking pot and lid separately into cold oven.  Do not cover pot. 

Set oven temperature to 450 degrees.  Let pot and lid preheat along with the oven.

When oven is pre-heated, carefully remove pot and lid placing on a heat safe work area. 

A well seasoned, cast iron pot will not need greasing. 
For other pots, lightly mist the inside bottom with cooking spray. 
Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of grits or polenta over the bottom of heated pan.

Gently and without stirring, quickly pour dough all at once into center of hot pan. 
Try not to disturb dough more than necessary. Use a rubber or plastic scraper to guide dough into pot.

Don't fuss with dough or try to smooth out dough. The loaf should look free form and ragged-y.

Immediately sprinkle remaining 1 teaspoon grits or polenta over top of dough and cover with hot lid. 

Carefully place hot pot back into preheated oven.

Bake (covered) 30 minutes.  Open oven.  Remove cover without removing pan from oven. 

Continue baking (uncovered) until loaf is nicely browned - about 15 minutes more.

Remove pot from oven and immediately tip to remove bread onto a cooling rack. (Bread will easily fall out of a well seasoned pot. An unseasoned pot may require coaxing.) 

Cool bread completely (top side up) before cutting.

Store bread uncovered (even after cutting) or in a paper bag to preserve crispness.  Plastic bags will make the bread soft.

Easy - No Knead
Artisan Bread!
Karla's Tip
No thermometer to test the temperature of the water?   Use your finger.  Here's how:  

Measure the water then stick in your finger to a dept of one inch. If you can leave your finger in the water to a slow count of 5 and it feels comfortably warm, it's the right temperature.Have to remove your finger?  It's too hot.

Rosemary Sour Dough Bread
Crush 2 teaspoons dried rosemary between the palms of your hands and add to flour mixture before adding the water.  Continue with recipe.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Food for Thought - Antibiotics Don't Belong in Your Meat

By Karla Jones Seidita, Home Economist

Farmacology - Antibiotics and Industrial Agriculture 

According to Johns Hopkins University researchers, 50 to 80 % of all antibiotics used in the United States are fed to meat producing animals as a food supplement to promote faster growth (and quicker profits) - not to treat disease.  
Anti-biotic free meat and
poultry is readily
available in grocery
stores and from farms - all
you have to do is ask!

Scary, isn't it??

This practice of regularly feeding low doses of antibiotics became standard for mega-industrial farms right after World War II and breeds, say Johns Hopkins, drug resistant pathogens like e coli and salmonella.

The antibiotic resistant bacteria find their way from the factory farms into the general food and water supply as well as the population at large.  Since these bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, they become life threatening.

Using antibiotics as a growth promoter so animals can be brought to market sooner seems a reckless endangerment of all life.

Better health begins with better food.  The buy fresh, buy local concept is simple and straight forward.  It's a great place to start plus fresh, local food tastes so much better!
Want to read the whole Johns Hopkins article for yourself?
It's a plate-full!

Johns Hopkins MagazineJune 2009 Electronic edition - 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Radical Cooking - Cold Weather Salads

From the Kitchens of Cheesecake Farms

Cooking the new old fashioned way.....
Better, faster, fresher, cheaper and healthier with lots less work.

It's chilly outside here in Virginia and summer's salad days of fresh greens, cucumbers and tomatoes are months away.

But don't worry, there's a seasonal abundance of healthfully delicious, winter greens and veggies ready to take center stage.

Salads are an important part of healthful eating.  They provide fiber and fill the plate with nutrients.  While raw is always great, some vegetables, like carrots, actually provide more nutrients when cooked.

Cold season salads are easy on the budget, environmentally responsible alternative to the high cost of out of season, out of region, hot house grown greens, tomatoes and lettuce.

So break out of your side salad rut.  There's a whole world of yummy healthful eating out there.

A salad without lettuce?
That's pretty radical!!

Cinnamon Carrot Salad

Great with chicken or beef.  Divine with stew.   
Add some nuts, tofu or hard boiled egg and it becomes a main dish salad.

Serves 2-4

1 pounds carrots (washed, peeled and cut into strips 2 inches long X 1/4 inch wide)
1/4 cup white raisins (optional)
3 tablespoons lemon juice (bottled OK)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoons olive oil
1 cloves garlic (finely minced)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice blend or cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground dry ginger
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Pinch cayenne pepper (or to taste)

Put one inch of tap water into a medium pot. Cover. Bring to a boil on high. Add carrots and optional raisins.

Cook, partially covered, until carrots just begin to soften - 1 or 2 minutes. Drain. Whisk remaining ingredients together. Toss with hot carrots and raisins. Chill.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Valentine's Day at Cheesecake Farms - Puppy Love Get-Away Package

Looking for a romantic little get-away?

How about our 
Puppy Love Package????

Book a 1 night Valentine's Get-Away for 2
 Any Friday, Saturday, or Sunday in February .......  
and your best friend gets to stay for FREE !


The package includes:

One night/double occupancy stay for you, your Valentine and your dog  
(No dog?   No problem!   You can pet ours!!) 

A choice of a regular or vegetarian menu

Welcoming cheese plate and fresh fruit basket

Light, farm house supper served family style featuring seasonal fare 
"Eat your heart out" chocolate desserts especially for Valentine's Day

Hearty, help yourself buffet Hunt Breakfast served in Southern style

Lots of snacks and plenty of home made cookies


Bring a large bag of dry dog food to donate to our local animal shelter and we'll reward you with a
take home goodie bag valued at approximately $40.


2 night special - $350  
Extra dog - no extra charge  (maximum of 2 dogs per reservation)

Need more space?  
Traveling with friends or family?   
Reserve The Tack Room Suite - 2 bedrooms/2 baths and up to 2 dogs.
Package in the Tack Room Suite - $299 (2 night special - $590).

Extras You Might Like

Take Out/Tail Gate Picnic for 2 of Seasonal Fare
Perfect to take along to our local wineries or horsey events
Choose regular or vegetarian 

Seasonal, 6 inch Cheesecake Farms Cheesecake to take home    $25.00

Extras should be ordered when making your reservation - at least 1 week in advance.

Tax is additional.  
Dogs are welcome in our barn accommodations.