Friday, May 13, 2011

No-knead wheat bread and strawberry-mint spread

I have been having a lot of fun being out of school, but after my first full day at home alone, I have to admit that I hope my unemployment doesn't last long. There hasn't been a single summer since I was in high school that I wasn't at a full-time job shortly after school ended. Given the economic climate since I started college, this means I have been extremely fortunate, which is not something I take lightly.

It has been nice to do relatively little these last two weeks, going on vacation and doing some housework for your parents is a far cry from the custodial work I used to do in the summers, or my awesome research job last year. But after submitting a number of applications for work and hearing back nothing for weeks is starting to get to me a little. Still, I know that I am very fortunate, and it is normal to not get a job right out of college. I am just going to have to get creative with how to spend this newfound time.
So much of the paraphernalia of school is still lying around, this stack of chemistry exams on my desk has been relegated to coaster for my tea. I should probably recycle or file those...

I have been trying to write more, and sew, between looking for jobs, and I am looking at taking summer classes, but the easiest thing to do for now is to start back up with cooking and blogging!

I found this recipe for no-knead bread this morning, and figured, "hey, I have time to make bread!"

I did tweak the recipe a little bit; first by cutting the recipe in half, then I used half white flour and half wheat flour. Finally, I didn't have cornmeal to dust the loaf with, so I chopped some rolled oats. It added some interesting texture.

The bread after rising for 3 hours.

After baking for 30 minutes.

Anyways, go over to the blog Honey & Jam to get the recipe, the bread turned out beautifully, and there was little effort involved.

But I also had some strawberries that were getting slightly wilted, and some mint leaves. So I made a strawberry-mint jam/fruit spread that was friggin' tasty, and it made a perfect accompaniment for the bread. Please note that it is not shelf-stable, and it must be kept in the refrigerator.

Strawberry-mint spread:

small bunch of mint leaves
1/2 cup water
1 cup chopped strawberries
1/4 cup white sugar
1 Tbs lemon juice

Boil the leaves in 1/2 cup of water for 4-5 minutes. Strain out the leaves, and add the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. After it comes to a boil, reduce heat slightly.

Mash the strawberries (I used a fork) and let the mixture boil for about 20 minutes. Let it cool, ladle into a clean jar, and then store in the fridge.

The mint flavor was not pronounced at all, but otherwise I was happy with my first-ever jam. Maybe I will teach myself canning this summer :)

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