Lunch at Chez Donald

December 13, 2011

Wild Yukon River Salmon, Wild Rice with sauteed Porcini mushrooms, mixed lettuce with Super Cherry tomatoes, mustard based cooked salad dressing.

Now that I have more free time on my hands (thank you Texas Legislature, et. al!) I’m cooking more at home. Whereas I usually ate lunch out, many days I now cook it at home. So, like it or not, I’m getting more time in the kitchen. Today’s lunch I got quite a deal at Central Market on the salmon, about a two foot fillet for $7.50. The wild rice cooks to a nice light purple and was on sale at Sunflower Market, and the dressing I made from a 1938 and a 1954 forest fire tower recipe book.

I’m really liking this old recipe book as the recipes are designed for simple provisions that would be stored in a forest fire tower and structured to feed one or two people. My latest successes are the salad dressing, a bread recipe and a biscuit recipe. My previous failures at baking were due to too hot an oven as falsely indicated by the oven dial, and not hand kneeding dough for a minimum of 10 minutes. Both these corrected, I’m happy with the results.

I never really liked the salads I made in the past as they seemed bland most likely because of the simple vinaigrette dressings I’d make to dress the salad. I shied away from store bought mainly because of calories and ingredient lists that looked like a manifest for a chemistry lab. The dressing is quite simple: butter, flour, milk, egg, salt, sugar, mustard, vinegar. I didn’t have any dry mustard on hand which I think the recipe calls for so I substituted yellow mustard and cut back on the vinegar. Takes about 10 minutes to make, and keeps in the fridge for days.

The bread recipe I tried was simple too: yeast, water, butter, flour, milk, salt, sugar. The biscuit recipe: water, butter, flour, baking soda milk, salt, sugar. Pretty much what most cooks would have in their pantry and fridge. The biscuits take about 20 minutes from start to finish, the bread about 2 hours. I highly recommend you take a look at how it was done in the great forests decades ago. I bet it smelled great in the pine forest with baking bread in the oven!

http://www.foresthistory.org/ASPNET/Publications/Cookbook/Lookout_Cookbook.aspx

The dough after 10 minutes of kneading by hand has obtained a silky texture. It will rest, covered in the baking pan for an hour to double in bulk.

The dough, having risen for an hour, is ready to be placed in a “moderate” oven.

The finished loaf fresh out of the oven after 40 minutes of baking. When properly baked it will emit a hollow sound when tapped.