Sourdough Pan Bread

We’ve been maintaining a sourdough culture for several years. It survived dehydration and rehydration when we moved from Seattle to LA and has been going strong ever since. It is based on the recipe in Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian, which made sourdough seem so simple that it didn’t occur to me to get lost in the vines and groves of sourdough geekdom on the Internet. We bake bread and pizza with it all the time.

I discovered a pancake recipe that turned out to be much more like a fluffy flatbread. These are delicious and to my mind, more convenient to make than a loaf of bread because the only activity happens the night before, in the morning, and right before cooking with no rise time. Not having to wash a food processor sticky with dough also saves a lot of time.

Here is my take on the recipe, based on my Mark Bittman starter:

  1. Feed the starter its usual 2 cups white flour and 1 3/4 cups warm water in the evening.
  2. In the morning, stir the starter down and measure out 1 3/4 cups of starter. Put the rest back in the refrigerator.
  3. Mix the 1 3/4 cups starter with 1 1/4 cup white flour. Let the dough sit until dinnertime.
  4. Put a cast-iron pan on the stove at medium heat (for the sake of speed, I use two pans simultaneously).
  5. Beat 2 eggs in a bowl with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp baking soda and use two forks to mix it into the starter. This will not be the easiest task, as the dough will be sticky and it will take a while for the eggs to be mixed in.
  6. Add oil or butter to the pan and wait for it to get hot.
  7. Make pancake sized-dollops of batter on the pan (it will be thicker than pancake batter) and spread them into circles. Cook on one side for a few minutes, then flip and cook on the other side.
  8. Serve immediately.

I’m not convinced I need the baking soda at all, but I have yet to try the recipe without it. The original recipe called for 1/2 tsp baking soda, and I halved it on my second try with no difference in taste or texture.


Toddler Pickiness

Ever since Thanksgiving, Nora has been very difficult to feed because she’s been rejecting my fish and chicken stews. Since that was my main vehicle for getting a variety of veggies, grains, and legumes into her, I’m floundering again. She has also rejected plain chunks of cheese, which takes away a large category of snack food.

At the moment, the only foods she will eat in bulk are

  • fruit (berries, pears, oranges)
  • eggs
  • whole milk yogurt
  • my mom’s pork meatloaf (with cabbage, carrots, onions, and water chestnuts)
  • restaurant omelets with cheese and veggies (cannot replicate at home)
  • plain pieces of fish or meat as finger food
  • avocado
  • bread
  • Cheerios
  • chips, crackers, cookies, and other treat foods (offered sparingly)

There are a few other foods she will occasionally sample, but not consume more than a taste of. This list changes on an ongoing basis.

  • green peas
  • cooked tomatoes (for example, on pizza)
  • whole milk (on Cheerios)
  • apples
  • baby carrots
  • nori

For the most part, I’m not too concerned nutritionally, especially since I hope this is a phase, but I would like to find a way for Nora to consume

  • bone broth
  • probiotics
  • nuts and other allergens

I would also like to be less dependent on my mom’s cooking and restaurant food as a vehicle for veggies. Finally, I’d like to be able to eat as a family again without all this constant brainstorming.

I’m not sure if the best strategy is to keep doing what we’re doing (scattershot offerings that usually result in rejection but occasionally result in tasting), or try a full-court press of one item until it’s accepted. The real problem is that all the candidates for a full-court press are items we rotate or don’t eat on a daily basis – we’d get sick of eating the same veggies day in, day out, so we don’t.

  • whole milk
  • kefir
  • zucchini
  • leafy greens
  • carrots
  • sweet potatoes

Instant Pot Salmon Stew (Boneless)

I’ve been in the habit of purchasing whole fish so I can use the bones for stock. This stew is made from a salmon filet and leftover stock, and therefore skips the step of cooking the fish on its own and removing the bones.

  • 1lb salmon filet
  • 1 to 2 cups salmon stock or water
  • 1 cup millet
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
  • 2/3 tbsp salt

Add the millet, salmon, 2 cups liquid (salmon stock + water), salt, and vegetables to the Instant Pot. Cook for 20 minutes on High pressure.

There were a few small bones in the stew, but this didn’t end up mattering. An adult could have eaten them without noticing and I just picked out the ones in Nora’s portion.

Instant Pot Chicken Stew

The chicken soup I made in my Instant Pot before was okay, but I’m discovering that a longer-cooked stew with less water and a browning step is truly delicious.

  • Half of a whole chicken
  • 2/3 tbsp salt

Any or all of the following vegetables (whatever’s in the fridge)

  • 1 onion
  • 2-4 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 bunch chopped kale
  • 1/4 head shredded cabbage
  • 1 Acorn or Delicata squash, cut in half with seeds scooped out

Brown the half chicken using the Saute function. Add the salt, 1 to 2 cups of water or chicken stock (depending on how much water you expect the veggies to add), and a pile of vegetables (don’t worry if the kale makes a mountain right up to the top, as it cooks way down). Cook on High pressure for 25-30 minutes (depending on the quantity and temperature of food in the pot, though it’s hard to go wrong).

When the stew is done, remove the chicken, pull the meat away from the bones (I like to do this over a colandar), and return the meat to the stew. (I freeze the bones to make a big batch of stock later.) If you added a squash, remove the flesh, throw away the skin, and add the squash back to the pot. Stir to mix all the ingredients.