April 20, 2012

hunger games encore

In the midst of my obsession The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, I decided to indulge it with a three-part series in the kitchen. For three weeks, I featured homemade foods based on dishes from the book.

The result was bread (the kind I imagined Peeta threw at Katniss years before the games), a dandelion salad (what Katniss and her family ate many nights to survive) and an apple and goat cheese tired (as described by Peeta while he and Katniss stayed in a cave.

The process was fun and the dishes varied in level of difficulty (with the dandelion salad being the easiest and fastest and the tart taking the most time and having the most complexity). I learned a lot about bread baking, eating dandelions and picking out cheeses. Even if the foods would have tasted like crap, the lessons I received were worth the effort.

But they didn't suck...

Each turned out as I imagined them in the books. The bread was hearty. The salad was bitter, but filling. The tarts were simply amazing. Did I make each of them the way Suzanne Collins imagined when she created the book? Probably not. Or maybe. I'd have to ask her. What I do know was making the foods brought a small piece of the book to life for me.  And I want to try more of the dishes. (I really want that lamb and berry stew, but I'll have to wait until my year of pescetarianism is up to indulge in something like that.)

I had a blast making these dishes, and I hope they help any of you hoping to recreate a piece of the stories for yourselves. In case you missed them on their first run, here are the recipes and links to the original posts.

Peeta's Bread

19 ounces whole grain wheat bread flour
1 packet bread yeast
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sun-dried raisins
2 tablespoons cooking oil
11 ounces warm tap water
Cornstarch (to cover surface)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place pizza stone on top shelf. Mix together the dry ingredients. Add warm tap water to mix and kneed dough. Once it reaches an elastic state, cut into two equal portions. Place in large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise 45 minutes, or until bread doubles in size. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving. Makes two loaves of eight servings each (16 total).

Read the original post here.

Dandelion Salad

1 cup of fresh, clean dandelion greens
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon roasted sunflower seed hearts
1 tablespoon raisins
salt and pepper to taste

Pick fresh dandelion greens in your backyard (make sure they have no been treated with poison) or get them from the fresh produce section of a grocery store.Wash the leaves well with water. Toss wit red wine vinegar. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, or until leaves wilt slightly. Mix in sunflower seed hearts and raisins. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Read the original post here.

Mellark Bakery's Apple and Goat Cheese Tarts

Tart crust (makes a double batch)
3 cups of flour
1 cup of shortening
1 egg, beaten
5 tablespoons cold water, divided

Egg wash
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon water

Goat cheese mixture
4 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons honey
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons sugar

1 large apple (2 small) sliced
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey

Make the crust about two hours before the rest of the dish. Mix together the dry ingredients in one bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or a fork and knife until it resembles crumbs. Mix 4 tablespoons of cold water with one egg in a large bowl. Add the other mixture in small sections. Do not overmix. Add final tablespoon of cold water. Gently roll into a ball without over-handling and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate about two hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together goat cheese mixture until it is creamy. Mix egg yolks and water in a small bowl and set aside for pie crust.

Remove half of the pie crust dough from the fridge and freeze the remaining portion. Divide into 12 small balls. Roll out and place in small tart pans or in lined-muffin tin. Dust the dough with egg wash. Bake crust in the oven for five to 10 minutes.

Spoon cheese mixture into the dough, filling each about halfway. Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese sets.

While cheese bakes, peel and slice apple. Mix with sugar, corn starch and cinnamon. Arrange slices on top of the cheese. Drizzle honey on top of the apples. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Read the original post here.

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