I bought some millet flour a while back, because I love the taste of millet. I tried baking something using only millet flour, and it didn’t turn out too well! So this is a mix of both. It’s a yeasted batter, poured into one of my beautiful new old French pans. You could use any smallish baking sheet with a shallow edge. The bread is soft on the inside and a little crunchy outside, and it has an intriguing, pleasant flavor…I’m not sure how to describe it! Nutty, I guess, like regular millet.
Isaac likes cream cheese, but nobody else in the family does. As a result, we don’t go through it very fast. I thought I’d better bake it into something before it all went downhill, so I made these whole wheat cream cheese biscuits. They were soft and tender on the inside, and very light and crispy on the outside. They had a nice whole wheat hearty nuttiness combined with a slight tang from the cream cheese. And they were easy as can be!!
Here’s Nina Simone playing Bye Bye Blackbird (thanks, mom!)
We used to break down the sense of taste into four categories: bitter, salty, sweet and sour. And then we identified a fifth! Umami is that flavor. It’s a pleasantly savory, meaty flavor. As a vegetarian, I love the challenge of trying to create an umami flavor whenever I can. These rolls are a companion to the chocolate-covered cake of yesterday’s post. They, too, were meant for a wine tasting of Australian shiraz(es?). They, too, are very loosely based on the recipes of The Guardian UK’s Australian baker, Dan Lepard. Apparently, in Australia, one can find cheese and vegemite scrolls, which are like savory cinnamon buns. So I made these with marmite, tamari, spinach and balsamic. I thought these would be nice with wine.
Here’s Common with The Sixth Sense.
‘The grisliness and apparent cruelty (at least, from a human perspective) of Ichneumonidae larval cannibalism troubled philosophers, naturalists, and theologians in the 19th century, who found the practice inconsistent with the notion of a world created by a loving and benevolent God. Charles Darwin found the example of the Ichneumonidae so troubling, it contributed to his increasing doubts about the nature and existence of a Creator. In an 1860 letter to the American naturalist Asa Gray, Darwin wrote:
“I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice.”‘
I can’t think of any perspective by which to judge an ichneumon wasp that doesn’t seem cruel, unless there’s an ichneumon deity, in which case we’re all in trouble! It’s a struggle, in the face of inexplicable cruelty, to make sense of things! It’s hard to understand a pattern or a purpose that includes this senseless suffering. I realize all of this is probably inappropriate for a light-hearted recipe blog, but since I’ve started I hope you won’t mind if I careen into a brief and bumpy discussion of my heart-felt beliefs. I believe that there’s a force that we don’t understand that’s bigger than all of us–call it god, if you like. I believe in souls and spirits and a million other things that we don’t understand and can’t explain. I believe that there is a force that wants things to grow and live–in springtime it’s easy to believe this, as the world around us is glowing and green and hopeful. I believe that this is a benevolent force, in as much as our words can be used to describe something so complicated and inexplicable. I don’t believe that humans, or the interests of mankind are necessarily at the center of this force. We’re told that man was created in god’s image, and that man has dominion over animals and all of nature, but I don’t believe that this can be true. I believe that any tenet of religion that can be used to justify cruelty to any living thing, be it human or animal, or that can be used to provoke wars or violence of any kind is a false teaching. I believe that I’m very confused and I’m digging myself into a little hole of confusion and inarticulateness! So humans aren’t the center of the pattern, but we are part of it. The fact that we aren’t god or god’s chosen creature doesn’t cast us into an amoral, uncaring abyss, because we’re part of a pattern of growing and living and caring for each other and for everything around us. Because we’re alive, and we want to stay alive and we want to be happy, we should be kind and compassionate. Everything is connected, and we all work together towards the same goal…we’re all on the same journey at the same pace. And kindness leads to happiness–this isn’t a “we should be moral because we’re rational” argument, although I think there’s some truth to that. Even on a selfish sort of level, it feels good to be kind–not just to your loved ones, but to everybody–to the people bagging your groceries, to the people you serve in your job, to the stranger walking by on the street. To your neighbors, even if you don’t know them. It feels good to have them be kind in return, it feels good to live in a world where people are caring and cheerful. We’re all dependent on the kindness of strangers. Except that it’s not that simple, and I know that, and on gloomy mornings like this it’s hard not to think about it, even though it will never make sense.
Sorry for this mad ramble! Let’s talk about the food! This is a yeasted corn bread. It has some corn meal and some regular flour. It has sage and cayenne, and it has smoked gouda and sharp cheddar baked right in. It’s quite soft on the inside, because I added some milk and an egg, but it’s nice and crispy on the outside. Perfect to cheer a gloomy, stormy day.
What? Another flatbread recipe? That’s right! This time of year my favorite way to eat is lots of little dishes that you eat with your hands, so I’m constantly concocting some sort of flatbread to use as a utensil and a sopper-upper. This is a sort of version of socca, the french chickpea flour flatbread. I love socca, but I find it very difficult to make, so in an attempt to limit the amount of cursing I do in front of the boys, I like to develop less frustrating methods. I’ve added eggs, and that helped. But in this case, I added yeast and some regular flour. It’s still vegan, but it’s not gluten free any more. It was simple to work with, though! It all came together like a charm–easy to roll out and bake. And tasty, too!
Here’s the Sunday Songs playlist. Have a peaceful Sunday, everyone!
These flatbreads contain some pureed parsnip, which makes them nice and soft and flavorful. And they have rosemary and semolina, which makes them even nicer and more flavorful. Malcolm loved them and asked if he could have one for his lunch the next day, but the dog ate the leftover flatbreads right off the table! Bad girl!!
Here’s the ending theme of Adventure Time.
I said I’d been putting tamari and honey in everything lately, so of course, sooner or later it would be bagels. I thought these were really good. The flavor is very subtle, as I believe flavor should be in a bagel. But it’s a nice mix of savory and sweet. It’s umami, mama.
My boys don’t like cinnamon raisin bagels. But they love cinnamon. I can’t find plain cinnamon bagels anywhere, so I decided to make them myself. I’ve been making bagels nearly every week since I first made the pumpkin bagels some months ago. I’ve been trying to perfect the skill. One week I burned them, one week I added whole wheat flour, which was good, but a little coarse. I think these turned out really well! Light and dense and chewy, just like a bagel should be. They have a little cinnamon sugar folded in, as well as cinnamon in the original mix, but it’s quite a subtle flavor. You could add another teaspoon of cinnamon if you’re interested in something pow-ier.