Bee’s Wrap. Better than Plastic Wrap.

I’ve been averse to plastic in my kitchen for a long time now and as a result haven’t bought plastic wrap in years. Living in a dry, high altitude town means your beautiful freshly baked baguettes will turn into crackers without being stored in plastic, so I’ve kept plastic bags in the kitchen for those moments when I can’t finish a loaf in a day. But, I came across a unique solution a few months ago on Food 52- Bee’s Wrap.

Bee's Wrap

Bee’s Wrap is made with organic cotton covered in beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin. The warmth of your hands molds it to your baguette (or cheese, bowl, sandwich), and then it stiffens when it cools and maintains its shape.

Bee's Wrap

You can wash it in cool water with mild dish detergent, let it air dry, and it lasts approximately one year. I haven’t had mine for a year yet, so I can’t testify to what starts to happen that you’d realize it was time to buy a new one. I also have only used mine for bread thus far.

Baguette in Bee's Wrap

I love the opportunity to not just keep plastic from my foods, but keep it out of landfills, and hopefully be part of a growing number of consumers voting with their dollars against our non-stop creation of thousands upon thousands of miles of plastic wrap each year.

If you live here in the Boulder area, you can pick up some Bee’s Wrap at Cured. Otherwise, check out their interesting website and at least consider it. If it’s not for you, then for your super environmentally-friendly friend.

Cheese, Bread, and Wine Tasting #1

After my catharsis, I decided to put a positive spin on my lonely cheese, bread, and wine dinners.  I’m now going to plan on cheese, bread, and wine, and explore some new flavors, textures, and regions of wines and cheeses.  Why not?

So, with my Murray’s Cheese Handbook and The Cheese Chronicles as my reference books, I’m embarking on a new adventure.

The first three cheeses that I bought (from Whole Foods) are pictured below:

Beehive Seahive in the foreground- a cow milk cheese sweetened with honey.  This was really good.  I kept slicing it and snacking and snacking.  It’s smooth, just barely sweet, and quite enjoyable.

Romao in the middle- a raw sheep milk cheese that’s rubbed with olive oil and rosemary. Again- yum.  There’s just enough rosemary flavor for you to taste the herb without it smacking you in the face the way rosemary can from time to time.

And Taleggio in the back- a cow milk cheese that, according to the Murray’s handbook, is a cheese that “despite pungent, nearly offensive aromas” actually has a “gentle, buttery, mild” flavor.  I couldn’t agree more.  This cheese was a little scary at first with its moldy, stinky stink.  But it is smooth.

So, I snacked a bit and then decided to make some crostini with Hazel Dell Mushrooms sauteed in olive oil and butter with a few slivers of Walla Walla onions (from the Boulder farmers market) and some baby swiss chard (that’s what the sign said at the market- I don’t know if that’s an actual variety of chard)

I made 2 crostini with the Beehive Seahive and two with the Taleggio.  Despite feeling full half-way through, I managed to eat all of my dinner.  Washed it down with an Arrogant Pinot Noir.  Overall, a success. 

Naan

Naan! It is so good. I still haven’t been to India, but the best naan I’ve had was in the Indian neighborhoods of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Now I’ll be making a delicious version here at home, thanks to my Rustic Bread Class at the Culinary School of the Rockies.

As you can see from all of my naan balls, this recipe makes a lot of naan. I just froze whatever I wasn’t eating and plan to re-heat it at 250 on a pizza stone. Easy.
Ingredients:
  • 25 oz. all purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 TB sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TB Kala Jeera seeds
  • 8 oz. warm milk (100-115 degrees)
  • 3 oz ghee, melted
  • 7.5 oz plain yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • extra ghee

First of all, you might need to get yourself over to Savory Spice Shop to buy some Kala Jeera seeds. Mail order them if you need to. Savory Spice Shop has everything!
Start by mixing the warm milk and yeast in a bowl and let it sit and foam for 10 minutes or so.
In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, melted ghee, egg, yogurt, and kala jeera seeds. Then, add the yeast mixture into this and knead (in your KitchenAid mixer) into a pliable dough that isn’t too sticky. Let this stand and double in size.
I refrigerated mine over night because that is what we did in class. I let it come back to room temperature the next day, divided it up, and rolled it into golfball sized dough balls. Cover the dough balls with a damp towel and get your oven HOT! 500 degrees hot! Make sure you have your pizza stone on the bottom rack and remove other racks to give you room to maneuver.
Roll out the dough balls on a lightly floured surface to approximately 1/8 inch thick.
I like to make an assembly line- as 2 or 3 are baking on the stone, I’m rolling out another 2 or 3 for the next batch. After a few minutes on one side, they’ll start to poof out. Flip them and wait another couple minutes for them to be perfectly done.
Brush the tops with melted ghee and sprinkle with sea salt. This is a real show-stopper.
I served my naan with Bazaar Jaisey Aloo. Enjoy.

Annie’s Naturally Bakery

If you live in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Georgia, then consider yourself lucky. You have access to Annie’s baked goods and I am quite envious out here in Colorado.
I discovered Annie’s Naturally Bakery last summer in an Ingles (this just cracks me up because the Spanish-speaker in me keeps wanting this store to be pronounced- ingl├ęs… the Spanish work for English. However, it is like In-Gulz…). Anyway, my sister and I went to buy food for our family reunion in NC and we were pretty amazed to find such high quality baked goods at the local supermarket.
So, I was quite happy this year when my parents picked me up from the Asheville airport with a bag full of Annie’s cookies and a loaf of slices spelt sandwich bread. Way to go mom and dad!
Annie’s cookies are perfectly delicious and border-line health food! Well, they are if you compare the ingredient list to pre-packaged cookies. These are as close to homemade as you can find outside of my very own kitchen!

And their breads are fantastic too!
Annie’s bakes breads, cookies, cakes, etc. the way baking was intended to be done. I’m already looking forward to next year’s trip to NC just for the cookies!
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