This Week’s Bakery Bulletin

Friday, October 24, 2008

Issue #2

Hello, and welcome to the second week of our 2008-09 wintertime baking routine! Every week I’ll let you know in this blog about the bread flavors we’ll be baking. Below, you’ll find the list of breads available for order this week, and a recipe, as well!  (It’s for a fantastic whole pumpkin baked with a sweet and savory stuffing—you can use your bread in the stuffing!)

Ordering through the website will be easy and fun! The first time you order bread, you’ll click on the “register now” link, pick a username and password, and enter your information (name, email, and phone numbers). After you register, you can just click on the link back to our website, and you’ll be all logged in and ready to go!  If you check the box that says “auto-login on future visits,” the site will automatically recognize you next time you visit. If the site doesn’t automatically log you in, just sign in with your username and password.

**please, Please, PLEASE, when you register, enter your email carefully—that’s how you’ll get your order confirmation messages and reminder notices! You’ll only receive these emails if you have typed in your email correctly. If you typed in your address correctly, but you don’t receive an order confirmation email in a few minutes after you order your bread, our message may be caught in your spam filter…  Check your spam filter for our message, and be sure to add .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to your address book or list of trusted email sources.

In case you can’t make the website work, you can always email me at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or call me at 677-3712.

You’ll need to order your bread by 8pm on Sunday, so we have time to plan our bake, feed our sourdough, and pre-ferment the dough!  When you order the bread, you can choose to “pay when you pick up your bread,” or you can pay via PayPal. By all means, use PayPal if you prefer—but I’m even happier to get your checks or cash when you come pick up your bread.

If you have a minute, you can surf around on our website and check out the photos of breads for order, see the long-term bread schedule, read stories about us and the bakery, and even listen to a 5-minute radio program about us!

Pick-up locations for Wednesday, October 29

1.  Side Street Espresso, 412 G Street, downtown: 8-11am
2.  Tap Root Café, 1330 Huffman Road, across from Carrs: 3-6pm
If you need to call me during a pick-up time, you can reach me on my cell phone at 748.3712.

featured bread this week

recipe of the week

whole pumpkin baked with savory apricot & prune stuffing

In honor of Halloween this week, I thought I should have a recipe for a pumpkin! Are you looking for a really fun Halloween recipe? Don’t use a Jack-o-Lantern pumpkin for this recipe, though—you’ll need to use a pie pumpkin or one of those cream-colored pumpkins, because the Jack-o-Lantern ones are tough and stringy.

You can also use this recipe for a Thanksgiving meal that will knock people’s socks off! This is a great alternative to a stuffed turkey, if you’re not doing the conventional meal, but this recipe also makes a fantastic dish alongside a roasted (unstuffed) turkey. Or you can just serve it any night with a lovely big pile of braised collard greens.

But the beauty of this recipe (OK, there are several beauties to it), is that you can make this recipe all winter long—it doesn’t have to be for Halloween or Thanksgiving! Another beauty: you can use stale bread. When I have crusts of bread hanging around that are getting a little old, I just pop them (in slices) in a plastic bag in the freezer (I don’t dry them out first), and after a while I have a bag full of frozen bread slices. When I want to make a recipe like this, I just thaw the bread out on the counter and proceed. The bread isn’t rock-hard when I thaw it—moist enough to easily grind for bread crumbs or chop into cubes. Third beauty of this recipe: you can prepare the stuffing the day before you bake it and refrigerate it overnight. And last beauty: it’s VERY yummy! This recipe is based on one in Crescent Dragonwagon’s Passionate Vegetarian.

the stuffing

1 cup dried apricots
1 cup dried pitted prunes
1 cup apple juice
1 loaf (or the equivalent in stale slices) whole wheat bread (I generally use our 100% whole wheat sourdough, but you could use whatever savory flavor you like best—any of the nut or seed breads, rosemary, etc. would be delicious.)
1 large onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced (including leaves)
2-3 teaspoons dried leaf sage
pinches of dried oregano and dried basil (optional)
¼ cup butter, melted, or olive oil
vegetable stock as needed
soy sauce to taste
sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Put the dried fruit in a heatproof bowl. Bring the apple juice to a boil and pour over the dried fruit. Let the fruit stand for 2 hours or overnight, whichever is more convenient. Drain the fruit, reserving the liquid, and chop the fruit coarsely.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, then turn it down to 200 degrees. Cut the bread into ½” cubes. Put the bread on baking sheets and toast the bread until dry and crunchy. This might take 45 to 60 minutes. Check every 20 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and let cool.
3. Put the bread into a large bowl, and add the onion and celery. Add the sage, rubbing it in your palms to release the oils. Pour the melted butter or oil over the mixture and toss well to combine. Add the soaked dried fruit and toss again. Begin adding the liquid—the apple juice and the vegetable stock—until the dressing is quite damp but not soggy. Add soy sauce, starting with about 1 tablespoon. Taste for salt and add it and plenty of pepper to taste. Maybe more sage? Add dried oregano and dried basil here, if you like. You can prepare the dressing to this stage and refrigerate it, covered, overnight. Warm it up in the microwave, or let it come to room temperature before stuffing it into the pumpkin.
4. When you’re ready to stuff the pumpkin (or bake the dressing on its own), preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Steam the pumpkin (as directed below) fairly soon before stuffing it to keep it warm and lessen the baking time. Oil a baking pan large enough to hold the pumpkin, or the dressing on its own.
5. Stuff the dressing into the pumpkin, topping with the cap (or, if you’re not using a pumpkin, just put it in the pan and cover the pan with foil). Place the pumpkin in the baking dish, put it in the oven and bake until the pumpkin is slightly brown and looks a bit collapsed in on itself, about 40 minutes (it may take longer). Serve whole, at the table, scooping out pumpkin to eat with the stuffing.

the pumpkin

1 medium-large pumpkin prepared for stuffing as follows. (Don’t use the big orange ones that are grown for Jack-o-lanterns—they are stringy and flavorless. Use a sweet pie pumpkin, or a cream-colored pumpkin.)

1. Cut off and reserve a lid, like for a Jack-o-lantern. Scoop out all the seeds and fibers.
2. Put one or two inches of water in a large pot. Place the pumpkin, cut side down, in the water, cap wedged near it. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover tightly and steam in simmering water for 10-15 minutes to precook slightly. Remove the pot from the heat and let pumpkin cool slightly.
3. When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, season the inside with salt, pepper, a little soy sauce and brown sugar, rubbing it in.

If you’d like more savory and healthful recipes, you can find lots more of them at my Alison’s Lunch website. You can even sign up for my blog posts (about local food, cooking, and recipes) to be delivered to your email! Email me if you have trouble signing up, and I can help you.

And you can visit my South Anchorage Farmers Market website for even more yummy and nutritious recipes!

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