Archive for the ‘Whole Foods’ Category

I’ve recently become enamored with a new recipe for hamburger/sandwich buns. The taste is great, they are incredibly soft and have a nice open crumb, and they freeze and thaw really well. I’ve made them twice now, and they’ve been easy and a success both times. Here’s the recipe:

15 oz. flour
8 oz. water
1 large egg
4T softened butter
2T honey
1/4 c. dry milk
1/4 c. mashed potato
1-1/2 tsp salt
2-1/4 tsp instant yeast

Mix everything but flour together, then added the flour gradually–you may use all 15 ounces, and you may not. You want the dough a bit “shaggy” and it should be fairly sticky at this point. Once it’s mixed pretty well, cover it with a damp towel and let it rest 25 minutes. Then come back and knead a bit to develop the gluten matrix. Again, it may be more sticky than you’re used to, but avoid adding too much flour because that will make the dough more dense and tough. Put back in the bowl and cover.

Let the bulk rise go about 1-1/2 to 2 hours, stretching and folding it once or twice during that time. It should double in size. Then, divide into 3-ounce balls and place on a cookie sheet that is either lightly oiled or covered with baking parchment. Let rise until they are the nearly the size you want them. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Humidify the oven by pouring water into a broiler pan or brownie pan in the bottom of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until browned nicely. Remove and brush with softened butter.

Yield: about 10 3-ounce rolls

If you try this recipe, let me know!


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There’s been a couple of new developments in the urban farming aspects in the Chicago area, and I’d thought they needed some attention called to them.

The first is the nation’s first certified organic rooftop farm, right here on Devon Avenue! Uncommon Ground has built it, and also offers a weekly farmer’s market during the summer and is trying to set up community orchards in Logan Square.

The second stride forward is a proposed aquaponics vertical farm in the south loop. Here’s a related video.

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E-Coli in the Lettuce. Again.

This kind of thing comes up about twice a year. Any wonder why I prefer growing lettuce in the backyard?

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Fresh The Movie/Documentary

Looks like another good one. Glad to see Will Allen featured. I’m hoping these kind of movie indicate a groundswell of people rethinking how Americans eat.

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First Harvest

Shown above is our first harvest of the year–a salad of baby greens and spinach that was wonderful when tossed with mozzarella cheese and oil and spices. Of special note is that this harvest is at least six weeks earlier than our first crop last year. This is partly due to the unseasonable warm Spring we’ve been having, but also to starting seeds earlier and having a better indoor growing setup coupled with an outdoor cold frame to extend the growing season back several weeks.

My goal this year: a four-season harvest! Stay tuned for how we will do it…

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Bryan Welch is a writer who Rancho Cappuccino blog appears as a regular column in the Mother Earth News. Over the course of the last couple of months, he has turned his attention away from negative touchstones of how to combat global warming or the impending doom promised to us by the scientific community, and instead turned in a more positive direction. He asks the question: what does a sustainable world look like? To further break down that question, he focuses on four sub-questions for a sustainable society (each question below links to Welch’s relevant post).

  1. Is it fair?
  2. Is it repeatable?
  3. Is it beautiful?
  4. Does it create abundance?

The last question piqued my interest, because I believe that every human advance in culture, science, technology, or the arts has come from a society that enjoys abundance. After all, if your main concern is how to make your last $2 buy enough to feed your family of four today, you are much less likely to care about the Eigenvalues inherent to a rational canonical form in linear algebra!

Give him a read. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. 

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Talking Farms is in negotiations with Skokie to build an urban organic farm about FOUR BLOCKS FROM MY HOUSE! They are planning a vegetable garden (obviously), a greenhouse, composting, and a range of educational workshops and classes.

I’m a little excited at the potential. Here’s the full article. Anyone else interested in the prospect of volunteering?

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