21 March 2010

Bread & Cheese

Well, we finally ran out of ice in the cooler and are now completely without any refrigeration.  So we are not eating much meat, and we have started to explore our other options.  We did open a jar of canned venison burger (delicious!).  When meat is typically cooked, a lot of flavor is lost, but in canning, all the flavor is contained in the jar - the canned venison is much more flavorful than normal burger.  It is also a little more crumbly, and definitely cannot be used to make burgers.  We used it to make giant piles of nachos with everything.  I take food pictures all the time, I have no idea why, but this is good news for you, because you get to see my giant plate of nachos and be wildly jealous.

Also, I have been faithfully turning over my serving-sized cubes of waxed cheese.  For those of you that missed my earlier post on waxing cheese, cheese that has been waxed does not need refrigeration.  The only caveat being that the cheese will continue to age.  I waxed mild cheddar, and so now we have medium to sharp cheddar.  There are four cubes of cheese that have a moldy corner, but the rest (twenty or so) are all looking really good.  Yesterday, I cut the corner off one of the moldy cubes, then peeled the rest of the wax off - natural oils in the cheese make the wax come off as easily as peeling a banana.  The cheese was really good.  It was also more flavorful than regular cheddar.  I cut it into tiny cubes and put it in a bowl of some delicious guacamole, which we ate for lunch (see the avocado in the background of the first photo?  I am not lying :P). 

Finally, I made a first and fatal attempt at making bread in a pressure cooker.  This procedure went south before I even tried to bake it, so I'll definitely be trying again.  Apparently when they say the flour is "self-rising," they only mean in terms of cookies and banana bread and cornbread and the like.  French bread is definitely out of the question.  I did not find this out until today, when I had a chance to ask the Interwebs what I did wrong.  At any rate, after an hour of rising, the bread had not risen at all.  I decided to try "baking" it anyway, because there was still learning to be done in this experiment.  According to the Great Google, there are basically two ways to make bread in a pressure cooker:  either one must use a trivet and a couple cups of water and a bread pan that fits in the pressure cooker to steam the bread (which never really gets a crust, more of a bagel-like surface), or put the bread directly in the pressure cooker.  Our stove is really hot, so putting the bread directly in the pressure cooker would undoubtedly burn the bottom long before the rest of the bread baked.  This left steaming.  Of course, the loaf size I was making (even if it had risen) was a weird size so no recipe could tell me exactly how long I needed to bake...er, steam it.  I steamed the whole mess, at pressure, for half an hour.  It looked like pureed porridge.  So I steamed it at pressure for another half hour.  Sad day.  Kyle said he'd try it if I did.  So I cut a "slice" of bread and broke a small bit off to munch on.  It tasted like a soggy, floury noodle.  I guess there's always tomorrow.  I just sent Kyle to the grocery for some yeast so I feel like I've already solved half the problem.  Since it would be really handy to have small loaves of bread and not need a grocery store, I will update you WHEN I find a solution to this problem.

Booyah.  Behold the bread that I have made!  On the stove, in a pressure cooker.  I could not be prouder of this delicious feat.  This was made directly in the pressure cooker, no trivet required.  The pressure cooker was oiled and floured, and the bread was cooked on the small burner on the lowest heat.  The cooker was not sealed (aka not cooked at pressure), and it was "baked" on the first side for 50 minutes, and then flipped and cooked for another 20.  Okay, 18.  I couldn't wait those last two minutes because it smelled so good.

Further, behold the amazing burgers and fries Kyle and I created (with homemade bread and waxed cheese):

Lastly, the green wine we had in celebration of St. Patrick's Day.  No green beers for us; just a bottle of what had been white wine.

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