Friday, July 31, 2015

Mmmmushroom and Onion Bread

I don't like waste.  Probably not a surprise to you. Often the bits and pieces from my vegetable crisper make their way into omelets, quiches, and pizzas.  Sometimes they end up scattered under the bird feeder for the rabbits.

A few months ago I found myself with a bunch of mushrooms in the drawer with no clue what to do with them. I don't eat mushrooms, so ideas were not forthcoming.  I got on line to search for some inspiration but found none.

Even after deciding that I wanted to make a mushroom bread I didn't have any luck.  Surprisingly, there just are not a lot of choices in recipes for mushroom bread.

Well now I had a challenge.  After my first attempt at creating a recipe with my leftover mushrooms I sent loaves to my husband and neighbor.  Both loved the bread and said I should try it.  They said you couldn't even taste the mushroom.

They were right.  I was really happy with the texture of the bread, but wanted to get more mushroom flavor into it.  Last week I again found myself with leftover mushrooms and tried again using more mushrooms and more thyme.  I love the way it turned out.  Perfect hint of mushroom, even for me.

It tasted great warm from the oven with a touch of butter, but it would also be great as a sandwich bread.  Not sure you can go wrong.  My son and I wiped out two loaves, but two more made it to the freezer for another day.

I used the bread machine to make the dough, but you could modify the recipe to make it by hand.

Mushroom Onion Bread
1 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 to 1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp dry thyme
5/8 cup warm water
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp milk
2 tsp sea salt sprinkled on top

Saute chopped mushrooms and onions in 1 Tbsp of olive oil until tender.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In the order suggested by your bread machine, combine the remaining ingredients (except the topping) and process on the dough cycle. For mine it was liquids first.  * Add the sauteed vegetables after the dough is well combined.  You may need to add a little more liquid if the dough looks dry or sprinkle a little extra flour if it looks wet.  Humidity will play a roll here.

When the dough cycle is finished (my machine takes 1 1/2 hours), remove the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 mini loaf pans.  Brush with milk and sprinkle with sea salt.  Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.  Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees.  Cool slightly in pans, then remove to wire rack.

*My machine has a fruit and nut "beep" that lets me know it's time to add extra ingredients.  If yours doesn't have this feature, add the sauteed vegetables when the dough has formed a well mixed ball.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Hooray For Second Chances

At about 11:00 this morning I watched a beautiful Barred Owl fly into the big tree off my back patio.  I grabbed my camera, switched out my lenses, and marched through the sprinkler system to try and get a picture.  I did, but the humidity going from inside to outside made the lens fog and he was a little hidden in the leaves.

The morning light really lit up the trees.  Unfortunately, in all the commotion I made trying to keep my camera from getting wet, I spooked him and he flew off.

You can imagine how excited I was when at 7:20 this evening I watched him fly back in and perch in the same tree.

This time the light was coming from the west as the sun was setting and made the leaves glow.

What a beauty.

This time he wasn't scared of me.  I sat on the porch with my camera swatting Texas sized mosquitoes just waiting for him to spot his dinner and take flight.  Oh, how I would have loved to get a flight photo, but then this happened.  At first I didn't even notice the bobcat wander into the yard.  I was so focused on the owl.  When I finally spotted him out of the corner of my eye he was already passed me.  I still managed one good shot.

I probably would have gotten more, but then my grandoggies that were in the house spotted him and began barking.  The bobcat moved a little quicker after that and the owl flew away as well.

After going back and comparing this guy to the pictures I took back in May (Wait . . .What?  Bobcat? Yes!), I don't think they are the same cat.  This one had much more defined markings and had longer legs and brighter coloring.  I found some good information on bobcats at National Bobcat Rescue & Research that tells me I'm right.  Apparently their markings do not change and these are obviously different.

It makes me wonder what I would see if I could spend the entire day looking out my windows without break.  But, alas, laundry, dusting, and vacuuming keep calling me away.