After making such incredibly easy bread last week, I was a little nervous about making any other bread, ever again. Especially Mediterranean Country-Style Bread, which takes three days to make, and lots of kneading. After having just finished a delicious dinner with this awesome bread, though, I'm happy I took the time. According to Nancy Harmon Jenkins (author of our favorite cookbook), the key to good bread is twofold -- use as little yeast as possible, and let the rising be long and cool. So, on Sunday afternoon I started this bread with a little yeast, flour, and water, and since then I've been adding to it and loving it. I even came home over my lunch break today because it needed me (get it?) to tend to it.
Tonight when I came home from work, the dough had gotten huge, overflowing its mixing bowl. I punched it down again, added olives, gave it another half an hour to relax, and tossed it in the oven. About 45 minutes later, I had two beautiful and delicious loaves. (And huge, note the size of the bread compared to my husband's iPod Touch -- right above it on the left side -- in the picture below)
I also made Braised Tuna with White Wine tonight, which is a nice easy recipe. You sautee red peppers, onions, and garlic in olive oil until they're nice and soft, and then throw some tuna (or swordfish) steaks in. Sear each side of the fish, add white wine, and put a lid on the pot. The wine cooks the fish and gives it a great flavor. Once the fish is cooked throughout, you add capers, olives, and lemon zest for a few minutes, and then serve with lemon wedges.
Our friend Chris joined us for dinner, so we put out a bunch of leftover side items as well. I'm still not sure that we'll ever finish all of last night's pasta.
white flour -- $4.69
whole-wheat flour -- $2.69
cornmeal -- $1.69
Kalamata olives -- $4.79
Total Cost of Mediterranean Country-Style Bread: $13.86 (with leftovers of all ingredients)
onion -- $1.47
red pepper -- $1.99
fresh tuna -- $9.43
white wine -- $9.79 (plenty left to drink!)
black olives -- $4.60 (with extra's for later)
capers -- $2.59 (with plenty left for other recipes)
lemon -- $.79
Total Cost of Braised Tuna in White Wine: $30.66