“This Bread Will Change Your Life”

photo 5

When I was in Europe a few months ago, I fell in love with Copenhagen. I enjoy their healthy lifestyle of clean and natural food, athleticism, and camaraderie. Every day, droves of Danes gather in street side cafes under heaters and red blankets, even on the cold and dark evenings, laughing, nibbling and sipping for hours. While their lifestyle is similar to the one found here in Colorado, I think their way of life is happier, enjoyment focused, and less driven, which is something I aspire to.

So, as I tend to do, I began thinking often about the Danish and broader Scandinavian culture. A few dozen internet searches and sessions later, of following link after link; I stumbled on a fun blog. “My New Roots” is written by Sarah Britton, a nutritionist from Canada living in Denmark. While raising her family and writing her blog, she explores healthy alternatives to mainstream food choices. She first tried this bread at a friend’s home and since featured it on her blog.Bread and Tea

As a lifelong food lover and home cook, losing my sense of smell as the result of another person’s carelessness, has been particularly heart breaking. After two years of being completely disgusted by food, I have slowly learned to appreciate other aspects of food, such as texture. Nothing will ever replace the complete experience of smelling, tasting, and savoring delicious food, but this bread goes a long way toward gratification. The bread is heavy, grainy, dark, moist and chewy just like traditional Scandinavian rye. It is filling and very satisfying. One slice for breakfast gives me energy for hours. The recipe is simple, versatile, and I have no doubt you will enjoy it. I suggest you double the recipe and make two loaves because it is going to go fast.

Use fresh, raw, organic ingredients whenever possible

1 cup freshly chopped, raw, sunflower seeds

1/2 cup freshly ground, raw, flax seeds

1/2 cup freshly chopped, raw nuts: almonds, hazels, walnuts-pick one or blend them

1 1/2 cups, gluten free rolled oats

1/4 cup psyllium husks

1/4 cup caraway seeds

2 tablespoons chia seeds

2 tablespoons hemp hearts

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup, raw sugar or stevia (I use maple)

3 tablespoons olive, coconut, canola, walnut, or Udo 3-6-9 oil blend (I use Udo oil)

1 1/2 cups filtered water

 

photo 3Combine dry ingredients in a bowl or directly in the loaf pan. Whisk liquids together and add to dry ingredients. Mixture will be stiff. Transfer the mixture to loaf pan (if necessary) and smooth it out without pressing it down too much. Cover with a piece of waxed paper and let the loaf rest at room temperature for 4-8 hours to soften the nuts.

Preheat oven to 350’F and grease your loaf pan with coconut oil.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a baking sheet. Return to the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the loaf sound hollow when tapped. Over baking will dry the loaf out and make it tough.  Cool the loaf on a rack and wrap it in waxed paper.

I find the loaf will maintain its moisture and texture if kept wrapped and refrigerated for five days.

photo 4You can omit the caraway if you don’t enjoy this flavor.

You may add garlic, rosemary, basil and oregano for a Mediterranean loaf.

You may also consider adding cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice and dried fruit for a breakfast loaf.

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Be Fearless and Passionate About Food and Life

My essay:  Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw book challenge: summer 2010

Rank #475 of 1949 voted on by other contestants.

Cooking is the ultimate expression of true sensuality, passion, and love. It is the essence of a life well lived. Eating and drinking are among life’s greatest pleasures.  Preparing a meal is the beginning.

A well-prepared, thoughtful meal is a celebration of life and of love.  Cooking is the ultimate expression of true sensuality, passion, and love. When it is done well, it is the essence of a life well lived. Eating and drinking are among the greatest pleasures in life.  Preparing a meal is the beginning.  When we take the time to cook food well, we take the time to eat slowly, taste our food, engage in conversation, experience with one another, and enjoy the moment.  Nothing is more primal than the desire for love and connecting with what it means to be human. Sustenance is intrinsically linked to that connection.  Emotion is felt in the stomach: sadness, fear, happiness, passion, and bliss.  Hunger feels reminiscent of butterflies in the stomach.

Being fearless and adventurous with ingredients and preparations is the key to passionate cooking. Dare to throw away your recipes and ‘paint with food,’ be creative, be bold, be an artist. It’s not about necessarily about training, but paying attention helps.  My favorite food is fairly restrained and simple but it is still creative. Not everything needs to be a complicated fusion mess of flavors and textures.  Pairing a fresh watercress salad with steamed asparagus, leeks, crumbled bacon, and a couple of over easy, fried eggs sprinkled with tarragon is simple and delicious.  Add a crisp, cool glass of Chablis and it is heavenly.

Cooking well is about knowing yourself and knowing your surroundings. Being connected to your food is about being connected to the land; it’s about something real. Don’t be afraid to taste some dirt. Plant some herbs or visit a farm.  Know where your food comes from.  Cooking well implies opening yourself up to diversity in culture, flavor, texture, scent, and color from the world.  Perhaps you are traveling to foreign lands or simply traveling vicariously through the cuisine you prepare. It’s about exploring. Living.

When I am dreaming of France I cook simply, yet beautifully.  Every time I braise coq au vin or taste a gorgeous Chinon I am transported.  While fantasizing about Italy, I make a frothy cappuccino, sprinkled with cocoa and nibble on a crunchy, handcrafted, pinon nut biscotti or I sip smoky Aglianico.

If I crave Spain, I prepare Paella.  I painstakingly select every ingredient from the fragrant saffron threads to the freshest scallops, mussels and clams I can find in my mid-western desert. I play Paco de Lucia in the background and serve my guests cool, floral, Albarino.  We dine on my creation, drizzled with Vinegar de Jerez and smoked paprika, garnished with lemon and a bit of ripe, red pepper…and we dream.

Living in the city can be isolated and lonely at times.  We are busy.  We are stressed. Cooking a meal is a perfect time to reconnect with humanity and our loved ones.  It begins when I select the dish or menu.  I visit the markets to select the freshest ingredients.  And then, I cook, and I cook well.

303 Magazine: Chasing Grapes: The Wine Dinner, a Great Way to Learn About Wine

1515 Restaurant just before the Feast
Learning about wine is just as much fun as kicking back with your favorite glass at the end of your day.  It’s easy to grab the same bottles every time.  It’s much more fulfilling to take a few risks and foray into new and different wine regions to explore something you’ve never heard of.  In previous articles I have discussed various ways to expand your wine knowledge, from developing a relationship with your local wine vendor, to taking a class or two, and even attending one of the amazing Wine & Food festivals in your region.  This week, I am going to clue you in to one of the most pleasurable ways to learn about wine: the co-hosted restaurant and wine distributor  Wine Dinner.

1515 Restaurant
Wine dinners have come into the spotlight in the last decade or so as a great way to learn about food and wine focused on a specific cuisine, wine region, or even winery.  In the Denver Metropolitan area, you can find a wine dinner scheduled just about every night of the week. Chic restaurants such as Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder, Bistro Vendome on Larimer and the Kitchen on Wazee in Denver, or Indulge Wine Bar in Highlands Ranch are legendary for their expertly executed wine dinners.

 

Every autumn, The Hospitality, Tourism and Events Department of Metropolitan State University hosts an affordable wine and food focused, learning opportunity, for its wine students, in the form of a classic wine dinner.  This year, the event took place at 1515 Restaurant, an iconic gem specializing in modern American cuisine, located on Market Street in LoDo. This past Tuesday evening, more than 80 faculty, students, alumni, and friends turned out to feast on the specially crafted dishes of Chef Jon Brown and owner Gene Tang paired with strategically selected wines offered by wine distributor, RNDC.  Chef Brown created a menu specifically for the event inspired by the wine regions of northern Italy.

Brasato al Barolo

The evening started with a crunchy soft shell crab tempura, tangy fennel slaw, compressed watermelon infused with peach schnapps drizzled with a delicate basil syrup paired with smoky and crisp 2010 Michele Chiarlo “Le Marne” Gavi. The second course was an Italian pork roulade with spinach, nutmeg, ricotta, crusted pecans and a tangy San Marzano tomato sauce which was paired with a very traditional, crisp and aromatic 2010 Borgo Conventi Pinot Grigio from Collio. The main course for the evening was a succulent Brasato al Barolo; a braised short rib dish with rosemary and truffle polenta, spinach with candied bacon demi which was offered with the juicy yet complex 2010 Pio Cesare Barbara d’Alba. And finally, the dessert course was a festive Carnival Tasting of Cracker Jack gelato, white chocolate funnel cake, and cherry cotton candy served with a classic peaches and cream 2011 Ruffino Moscato d’Asti.

Carnival Tasting Dessert Tray with Moscato d’Asti
 

Instead of sitting with other faculty, I decided to sit with a few of my students.  While the students were enjoying, what was for many of them, their first fine dining experience, the faculty and wine company representatives visited their tables to discuss and critique each dish, wine, and pairing.  Although, slow to offer their opinions on the first course, wine as a natural social lubricant worked its magic and by the second course opinions, anecdotes, tasting notes, and evaluations were free flowing.  The students and their friends and family were joyously discussing the finer points of wine and food pairing, teaching one another about the wines or the food preparations.  Bantering about aromas and mouth feel, and how certain aspects of each dish affected the wine and vice versa. By the end of the evening, everyone was satisfied, both in their gastronomic and in philosophical senses. Of the courses, the first and main course were thought to have offered the best pairings, but everyone raved about the dessert tray.

The Metropolitan State University and 1515 Restaurant wine dinner was an amazing value at just $48.  Wine dinners are easy to find and can range in price from $40 to $300 depending on the restaurant and the wines to be presented.   Grab your love and your friends and treat yourself to this fun and educational wine experience.  You won’t be sorry you did.  And, who knows, you just might find a new wine to kick back with at the end of your day.

photos: the author and open table