May 16, 2024 Blog Post


Cooking Blogs and Chocolate Bread

I've been getting really into cooking this year! I think my new years resolution was something like "everytime I go to a restaurant, I will try a thing off the menu I've never had before", as well as just try to eat new foods. It's been going pretty swell! But it's also ignited this massive love of cooking in me now! I've been getting meal kits delivered for 3 dinners a week, which feels a little cheaty, but genuinely in this economy it's been cheaper than groceries for some reason. Probably because the meal kit company can buy wholesale or something. Plus I get an educator's discount on it of like 15%, which is also a decent savings. But the best part is that it's been getting me to cook things I ordinarily would never have even tried. It got me super into roasting chickpease and couscous and risottos and so much more! But of course, that only covers 3 meals a week, and while I don't have the strongest appetite, I do eat more than three meals a week. So I've been either making up my own recipes, or turning to cookbooks to try other new things.

I got a spice rack for my birthday (well, I bought myself a spice rack for my birthday), and I got a bread machine from my parents (belatedly, for my birthday). I think next paycheck, or if I can swing some commissions, I'm going to buy myself some new chef's knives too. With how much cooking I'm doing, I think I'm worth the effort to have nice tools for the job now. Cooking has been letting me connect with my food in a way that I never really felt before, even when I was cooking in the past. It's like I'm going into it with different intentions and mindfulness. I try and channel this feeling on Thursdays, when I have a particular ritual. Every week on Thursday, a new episode of the anime Delicious in Dungeon comes out on Netflix. For that, I make it an effort to cook a really nice meal, and stay mindful through the process of what each ingredient is doing, how I can do each step the best, and what nutrition the food will bring me. Then, I sit down and watch the new episode while enjoying my food. The anime is, broadly, about the power of food. How food is necessary to nourish your body and soul and how cooking for others can be an intimate way of showing you care. It's fitting viewing for a therepudic cooking practice. Tonight, as of writing this, I'm planning on making balsamic glazed pork meatballs over herby polenta with green beans and garlic bread. Yum!

On the bread front, now that I've lured you in with pages of backstory, I can talk about the baking I've been doing. I've made 3 loaves of bread in my new bread machine, and I have no plans of slowing down. It'll be a cold day in hell when I buy a loaf of bread again (jokes aside, I do eat just a lot of bread and I probably will still occasionally buy a loaf I'm not interested in baking). Last night I made Double Chocolate Chip french bread. It used a pretty minimal amount of sugar, only what the yeast probably needed, which gave it a much more brunch-like flavor versus something more dessert-like. I even got to experience my first recipe not going as planned. After the first knead cycle, I noticed the bread was closer to cookie dough in texture and wasn't coming together in the glutinous way we know and love french bread dough to have. I thought fast and added some more milk, since I had felt that the bread was lacking in liquids compared to other loaves I've made, and in a pinch that really helped it come together. I'll include the recipe below, including the edits I made to it.

Last I want to talk about cook books. I've been struggling with online recipes lately. Too many of them have that stink of AI around the edges, like the person typed it up without thinking about if the ingredients go together or not. Most don't even have an actual photo of what was cooked, only a stock photo of the same type of dish, or some ingredients. So I've been turning to cookbooks. Now, granted, cookbooks aren't gaurenteed to be better, actually cooked, or even have pictures of the dishes, but at the very least I know a human probabably looked at it if it was professionally written and edited. I've been leafing through my Sundays and Moosewood, and as of typing this I got a notification that my copy of the Official Stardew Valley Cookbook has shipped. Look forward to hearing my reviews of these recipes as I try them!

Double Chocolate Chip Bread (bread maker recipe)

  • 2.5 cups bread flour (I used AP and it came out fine)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, room temp
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1.5 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2/3 cup milk, add more if needed
  • 1 cup baking chocolate chips of choice, I used 31% milk chocolate chips
  • Add ingredients per bread maker settings and set it and forget it! Althoug I recommend keeping an eye on it during the intial kneadings to make sure it comes together as a dough. It looked lumpy, but good! I used the french bread and light setting for a 2lb loaf, though it ended up being a 1.5lb loaf.


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