This blog is title This Runner’s Recipes for good reason…I love to cook and bake. After running, cooking is my favorite hobby. And cooking is like running for me: calming, meditative, endlessly fascinating.
While I save complicated meals for holidays and special occasions, I love cooking the everyday, simple meals. I of course have days when I don’t want to cook…but more days than not, I enjoy cooking and making foods from scratch.
That said…I am not Martha. I’ve committed my share of Pinterest fails (my family has plenty of photographic and anecdotal evidence of that) and anything too complicated or artsy flusters me. I prefer simple and uncomplicated recipes.
I don’t have any original recipes to share with you today, so instead I will share with you what I’ve been cooking lately.
I became interested in making my own bread during my first year of graduate school. I was living by myself (and this was before I adopted Charlie), so I was lonely during the work week. I needed a hobby in addition to running that could occupy my “free” time while giving my brain a break from research and writing. Bread is both a science and an art, much like running, so naturally I was drawn to it. (I’m also English and German heritage, so loving bread is almost in my blood.) So I began to bake homemade bread, and it’s been a hobby of mine ever since then.
This year, I decided to cultivate my own sourdough starter. Sourdough offers many nutritional benefits, including probiotics and (as Michael Pollan argues) easy digestion. But fermenting bread and water is also not an easy task, so the challenge of it attracted me as well.
I had attempted my own starter two summers ago, except I stored it in too warm of an area and forgot to feed it during a vacation weekend…which result in molded dough, not fermented. Mold is not good eats, so needless to say that started ended up in the trash.
This time, I did it properly: weighed all of my ingredients, stored it at the right temperature, and fed it diligently until it smelled tangy and bubbled. I followed this recipe from King Arthur Flour and am pleased with the final result.
When you make sourdough started, you have to discard approximately 4-8 oz of starter each day. I hate to waste food, but also sourdough starter serves an excellent sponge for easy baking.
I made these insanely delicious sourdough waffles with whole wheat flour (and stored extra in the freezer). One night, we had this sourdough pizza crust, made with whole wheat flour, which made for a tangy and flavorful crust.
Finally, my starter was fermented enough to bake my first loaf of whole wheat sourdough bread. I need to work on my shaping (I usually just bake my sandwich bread in a loaf pan), but for my first loaf of sourdough I was proud of this.
I promise not all I bake is bread…but that seems to be all I’ve taken photos of!
I’ve also loved these recipes lately:
Sweet potato fries: Who knew a pinch of cornstarch could render such good sweet potato fries? I stopped making these for a while at home after getting frustrated over soggy fries.
Hummus: Chickpeas are some of the few legumes that agree with my stomach, especially if they’re cooked until soft and pureed into hummus. This recipe produced a thick, spreadable, creamy hummus – and this recipe to cook the dried chickpeas.
Crockpot soups: I use the crockpot to make chicken stock, so why not use it to make soup? This chicken noodle soup recipe is fan-freaking-tastic, thanks to how the slow cooker coaxes out the flavors from the stock, vegetables, and chicken.
Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls: I made these for us on Christmas morning, when we wanted a couple cinnamon rolls but not a full dozen for the two of us. These rolls rose beautifully and were sweet, fragrant, and most of all easy to prepare.
What are you cooking lately?
What are your plans this weekend?