CARROT BREAD

If one does not live by bread alone, then one has never eaten freshly baked carrot bread. There’s something incredibly satisfying about pulling a loaf of bread out of the oven that you made with your own two hands, but when that loaf is perfectly browned with a crackly crust, dusted with flour and dotted with raisins… Well, there’s just nothing like it.

CARROT BREAD

 

This is yet another Jim Lahey creation, and I promise I will soon start making things that don’t have his name behind them. When you bake a loaf of bread like this, though, it’s hard to want to make anything else. I keep scrolling down to the pictures below and thinking, “Did I really make that?” Well yes, I did. And it was unbelievably easy, and it tastes unbelievably good.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups carrot juice*
  • 3/4 cup currants (golden raisins are a fine substitute)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts (or pecans)
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds (optional)

Preparation:

*If you don’t have a juicer, you can find 100% carrot juice at Whole Foods and probably plenty of other grocery stores.

I skipped taking photos of the first few steps because I documented basically the same thing a few days ago. Click here if you’d like to see photos.

Or…

Mix the flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Add the carrot juice, and mix to combine with a wooden spoon or your hands. If the dough isn’t very wet and sticky, add a little more carrot juice or a little water. I had to add a few tablespoons of water to get a sticky dough. Add the raisins/currants and nuts and mix to incorporate – it’s easiest just to use your hands for this part. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 12-18 hours.

After 12-18 hours the dough should be bubbly and about doubled in size. Using a rubber spatula scrape the dough out of the bowl to a lightly floured surface. Fold up the sides to create a ball.

Liberally dust a kitchen towel with flour and cumin seeds (if using). Transfer the dough seam-side down to the towel, loosely fold the edges of the towel over the dough, and set aside for another hour or two of rising. With about 30 minutes remaining preheat the oven to 450 with a covered pot inside. When it’s baking time, remove the pot from the oven, carefully transfer the dough, seam-side up, to the pot, put the lid back on, and bake it for 25 minutes.

Remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the crust is deeply browned.

Transfer the bread to a rack to cool before slicing. Doesn’t that look like a professional made it?

Yum! This is perfect any time of year, but I think it would be especially fun for Halloween or any fall celebration.

Feel free to experiment with the fillings. I used golden raisins and pecans because I didn’t have currants or walnuts, and it worked well. I think dried cherries and walnuts would be a good combo, too. I’m a little undecided on the cumin seeds, and I might skip them next time. Make this bread, play around with the fillings, and enjoy!

If you have any queries about the recipe feel free to contact us here.…

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

I love buttermilk biscuits. I don’t care if they come from a package in the freezer or if they’re the glorious biscuits at Lucile’s in Boulder that are the size of a small grapefruit. I love them. They’re flaky and buttery and they go well with bacon. What more could you want?

I was sitting around Saturday morning really wanting to bake something before I resumed studying for admin law. As it turned out, my admin efforts were futile, but my biscuit efforts were not.

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
Rounded 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp milk or cream

Instructions:

Combine the dry ingredients in a sifter (including powdered buttermilk if that’s what you’re using), and sift the mixture onto a piece of wax paper.

Pour the mixture back into the sifter, and sift a second time into a large bowl.

Use your fingers to mix the butter with the flour until it’s a coarse meal.

Pour in 3/4 cup buttermilk.

Stir with a fork just until combined.

Turn out the dough onto a heavily floured surface. I cannot overemphasize the need for lots of flour. Especially on your hands. I forgot to flour my hands before I started kneading the dough, and it was a huge pain. Huge.

Knead it 5 or 6 times until it comes together.

Then use a floured rolling pin or your hands to press it out into a rectangle.

Dip a knife in flour.

And trim the edges off the dough. You can skip this step if you don’t mind having biscuits that are rough around the edges or if you’re going to use a biscuit cutter.

Slice into 6 pieces, dipping the knife in flour between each slice.

Place the pieces about 2″ apart on an ungreased baking sheet.

Brush the tops with a little milk.

Bake at 425 in the center of the oven for about 12-15 minutes or until the tops are golden. They didn’t puff up a whole lot, and I’m guessing I overworked them a little. Or maybe it was because I accidentally added 1-1/2 tsp baking soda instead of baking powder and probably did not do the best job of scooping out the excess baking soda.

Transfer to a cooling rack until use.

I made a couple extra biscuits with the scraps. And then I ate them. They were good. If you liked this cookie recipe, feel free to contact us here.…

Vin Cuit de Provence: What is it and how is it made?

Vin Cuit de Provence is a traditional Provencal holiday dessert wine drunk after Christmas Eve dinner and served alongside the thirteen desserts (the number thirteen represents Christ and the 12 Apostles at the Last Supper). Today, very few winemakers make Vin Cuit and if they do its typically made for personal consumption or sold locally at the cellar door.

VC

Vin Cuit, which literally means cooked wine, is heated in a cauldron over an oak fire. The key to making this wine is that 1) it’s constantly stirred and 2) never boils (which would kill the yeasts). Once the must is reduced, its fermented naturally in stainless steel tanks, very slowly for approximately one year. After fermentation is complete it’s aged in barrel for at least two years.  If tradition is followed, a Vin Cuit de Provence, like the one Mas de Cadenet makes, will not have anything added no sugar or spices, although the smoke from the fire does add it’s own touch, especially on the finish. It’s also never fortified with alcohol (the final abv is around 14%).

Vin Quit

The grape varieties are a blend of the estate’s plantings, which include Rolle, Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah. Mas de Cadenet opts to make their Vin Cuit de Provence in a Champagne style, meaning that they blend several vintages to their taste. The current bottling is 40% 2011 vintage, 15% 2010 vintage , 30% 2009 vintage and 15% 2006 vintage. This copper-colored wine has a rich density on the palate. Flavors are intense and complex with orange, dry apricot, prune, almond and roasted coffee.  It has a viscous texture and the sweetness is balanced with power and freshness. It’s a good match with chocolate or nutty desserts, nougat or dried fruits. This could also pair nicely with blue cheese or Foie gras.…

Tasting Friday with Esprit du Vin

Chateau

Château L’Oiseliniere Muscadet 2010 – 12.97 – organic. Fresh and slightly sparkling, with floral and fruity aromas reminiscent of apricot and hawthorn. After maturation, intense notes of fresh melon develop. Fresh and pleasant in the mouth, with an enviably long finish. Can be kept for several years. Wines are fermented in concrete, temperature-controlled vats using native yeasts and then aged for the winter on their lees. This maturation method is specific to the Muscadet region and produces purer, more aromatic and complex wines. The wine for oysters.

Trimbach-Pinot-Blanc

Trimbach Pinot Blanc 2009 – 15.97 – (Pinot Blanc and Pinot Auxerrois) Rich and concentrated aromas, with white flower and apricot notes. Smooth, medium-bodied with good fruit acidity. The two grapes are fermented separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel and concrete vats and do not undergo the secondary malolactic fermentation. The wines are released after two years of cellar aging when they have a perfect balance of fruit and acidity. Ready for the summer heat.

Cote Mas

Cote Mas Estate Cremant Brut Rose NV – 15.57 – Down from 18.57 Bright strawberry fruit, cool as well. ! year lees contact. Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir. Dropped the cost – (we pass the savings to you – both of the sparkling wines would have been over $20) – all estate fruit. Juicy, rhubarb, nice length on the finish. Strawberry dominates with nice tangy acids. Favorite of the lineup when I tasted through all of the featured Paul Mas stuff again recently. Good juice, here to stay for a bit. Tasty goodness brought back into the fold for summer partying.

Chateau de la Chaize Brouilly 2009 – 17.97 – organic. Château de la Chaize is located in the Brouilly appellation, the largest of the Beaujolais Crus and where the predominant grape planted is Gamay. The granitic ochre sand of the Brouilly hills allows perfect drainage. At La Chaize, 50% of the vineyard is older than 50 years, some plants even reaching 75-years old. Aromas of fresh strawberries and raspberries. The palate has silky red fruits balanced by lively acidity. The great 2009 vintage.…

Free French Tasting with Republic

Bouchard Père et Fils Bourgogne Blanc 201118.57 –  Nose of white tree fruit – peach, pear. In the mouth, it expresses its fruity flavors of a creamy texture, with a twist of the nerve that outperforms. Two hundred seventy-five years of history. Bouchard Pere et Fils is truly an institution in Beaune. The Maison was founded by father and son Michel and Joseph Bouchard in 1731, and the family wine merchant business has grown steadily ever since, taking any opportunity to add to its vineyard holdings along the way. Aromatic bouquet. Round though not heavy and silky, with charming fruitiness.

bouchard-lavignee-bourgogne

Bouchard Père et Fils Bourgogne Rouge 201118.57 – In 1995, the Champagne family of Joseph Henriot took control of Bouchard, resulting in improvements in quality, not to mention the addition of more top level vineyard sites. Aromas of spices, smoke, and cherry. Garnet with purple hints; very expressive nose of red and black fruits; aromatic and fruity mouth with round tannins. Drink young to enjoy the freshness.

Villa Ponciago Fleurie Gamay 201018.97 – Vivid red. High-pitched red berry and floral scents are complicated by notes of fresh rose and lavender, with a touch of licorice coming up with air. Taut and focused, offering tangy redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors that pick up sweetness with air. Silky tannins add grip to the lively, linear finish. – Tanzer. Red and black cherry with big floral support to start. Good structure in middle, some sweet hints on the finish. South facing vineyard.

Villa-Ponciago-Fleurie-la-Reserve

Verdillac Bordeaux Rouge 20109.57 – A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec. This year Verdillac is light but charming. It begins with earthy, blackberry / brambly fruit and mineral smoke aromas, and while the tannins pretty ripe, they are able to maintain some drying character. There’s some underlying good fruit. Cool nights during a warm summer kept some of the acidity around, but made the wines a little less approachable young (vs. 09) – Put some air on it.…

Free New Vintage Tasting with Joullian Vineyards

JoullianLogo

Joullian Vineyards Monterey Chardonnay 2013 – 24.97 Brilliant, pale green straw-gold color. Vibrant lime, Anjou pear, and hazelnut nose. A juicy lime, green pear, and Gravenstein apple entry expand into a broad citrus/apple mid-palate that finishes with a lingering mineral and roasted grain flavors of uncommon length and depth. Cellar thru 2020 at 55° F. All the wine was barrel fermented with multiple Burgundian yeast strains and we encouraged simultaneous malolactic fermentation to minimize one-dimensional butterscotch-ml flavors and boost natural fruit, spice, texture, and vineyards “terroir” characteristics. We use only tight grained French oak barrels from stave wood that is cured 3 years to reduce overt “oakiness” while enhancing bouquet fruit, typicity, and mouth feel.

JWine

Joullian Vineyards Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands 2012 – 34.97 Effusive lime zest, Pippin apple, mace (nutmeg skin), hazelnut, warm stones (“Caillou chaud”) and subtle, smoky oak perfume the nose. Fresh, rich, round Pippin apple, Anjou pear, mace and crème Brulee flavors expand into a bright, crisp, minerally and slightly smoky finish of uncommon length and verve. Middle-body, focus, age-ability and palate length justify Sleepy Hollow’s lofty reputation. So after enjoying our 2012’s youthful European-styled raciness, hold some back for three to five years to experience the elegant richness, length and staying power of wine from this unique vineyard.

Joullian Vineyards Carmel Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 – 34.97 Brilliant, dark purple with a cherry rim. Explosive cassis and blackberry nose with anise, truffle and cedar overtones. Supple, medium bodied wine with classic cassis, black fruit and anise flavors that persist into a beautifully balanced, almost “silky” cedar and truffle finish. The epitomy of an elegant and beguiling “claret.” 2011 was the “kitchen sink” of weather – rainy spring – temperate summer – alternating rain and heat during harvest…and the wine turned out gorgeous! We harvested 10 days apart to ensure the sunny and shady sides of the vines even ripeness – then we fermented relatively cool to extend the length of fermentation time for the maximum color and flavor extraction while minimizing bitterness. The blend is high in Cabernet Sauvignon (88%) due to the extraordinary pure cassis aromas and flavors that did not need tempering with much Merlot or Cabernet Franc to obtain smoothness or complexity.

Joullian-Bottles

Joullian Vineyards Carmel Valley Zinfandel 2011 – 26.57 Very dark garnet with a pink rim. Floral, boysenberry, black cherry and anise spiced nose. A rich blackberry and tartarian cherry entry expand into a powerful and focused core of black fruit, truffle and licorice spice that finishes with refreshing acidity and sufficient tannins to maintain brightness, balance, and length on the palate. Cellar through 2021- 2025 at 55°F. 2011 was the smallest crop in two decades, and the vines had plenty of foliage to nourish the scattered clusters. Selective pickings two weeks apart yielded fully ripe grapes with uncommonly rich color and tannins. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, our 2011 Zinfandel is a delicious combination of ripe black fruit, balanced acidity, silky tannins and nuanced complexity that will improve for a least a decade.…

Grab Bag tasting with Favorite Brands

ElaEla Vinho Verde 2013 – 7.57 – Portugal. Juicy, clean, Atlantic influence Minho province Vinho Verde on the cheap from Claudia Rodrigues. So good we keep it in even though the label looks like a tampon commercial. Refreshing green fruit with white floral notes, lightly spritzy. Inexpensive, low alcohol, Texas summer pool pounder. Arinto, Azal, Loureiro, Trajadura? Alvarinho? A mix of the usual suspects, not sure what is in there, and don’t care too much… This is very good stuff to have around in the summer.

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Lake Chalice Sauvignon Blanc 2012 – 17.57 – New Zealand. More crisp, cooler vintage, intense. Tree fruit, lemon zest, tropical, classic Marlborough grapefruit. Medium body, nice and crisp, aromatics above with some varietal cut grass action happening. More ripe than the Loire for comparison, but cooler 2012 is bringing a little pyrazine-based jalapeno pepper on the nose and palate.

Poppy Chardonnay 2013 – 13.57 – Central Coast, CA. Youthful notes of lemon and honeysuckle are layered over ripe melon, nutmeg, and clove. The perception of sweetness is derived from fruit ripeness, aging on regularly stirred yeast lees in the presence of aged French Oak. The balance between barrel fermentation and stainless steel fermentation, partial malo, barrel aging and stainless steel aging. Some juicy acid, some softer, light creaminess, but not buttery, hint of oak, not clobbering. A crowd pleaser.

Poppy

Easton Zinfandel Amador County 2012 – 17.57 –  2012 has full black cherry and blackberry fruit aromas with a beautiful balance and a big, sumptuous, and juicy mouth feel. It also presents complex spicy aromas, with a nice creamy texture derived from the 10 months time it receives in, only, French oak barrels. – From the winery. From the very nice Bill Easton (and Jane O’Riordan) Blended from 25, 40, 60, and 80-year old vines, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Aged in new and aged French oak.…