Janna and I decided to invite our friends Katie and Dave over to watch the Women’s World Cup final this weekend (the result of which didn’t quite go as planned) and, despite the result, had a great time thanks to some amazing food.
We decided to go with sandwiches, but before we got to filling the sandwiches, I said that I wanted to bake the bread for them. I decided to stick with Jim Lahey’s book and method that has served me well so far during my bread-baking adventures. I used his recipe for Italian stecca loaves, which are like smaller baguettes. After all, stecca is Italian for stick. Unlike the bread I baked earlier, this doesn’t go in the cast iron pot to bake. The dough is allowed to rise just like normal, but then is shaped and placed on an oiled cookie sheet for a quick bake. (20 minutes compared to the 40 or so required for the round loaves.)
The result was, once again, really good. The bread, tasty and flavorful, did not overpower the items we put in the sandwich, which is exactly what Lahey suggested would happen.
On to the filling…
Because Dave is a vegan, Janna and I had to get creative in terms of creating the sandwich. We did our research online and decided that this weekend was not the one to first discover whatever on Earth “nutritional yeast” was. So instead, we settled on this recipe for baguette with roasted red pepper spread from Vegetarian Times. The recipe said that was like a vegan pimento cheese spread. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but it is quite good. With the spread, we added some romaine, radicchio, and diced cucumber to the spread a bit of freshness, bite, and crunch.
With the food, we drank a bottle of Ommegang “Gnomegang” blonde ale, which I’d been looking forward to trying and was worth to wait. It was sweet with a lot of nice yeast flavors (Appropriate with bread, don’t you think?) and worked well on the hot day. We also had some of Dogfish Head’s Festina Peche, a peach weisse beer. Now, I normally don’t like weisse beers. I tend to dislike the really grassy, wheaty flavors that tend to come with them. Festina Peche, doesn’t have that face-down-in-Alberta-wheat-field flavor, instead giving the drinker a nice hit of peach with approaching cloyingness.
Finally, Katie trooped 20 miles into DC to Sticky Fingers Bakery to get vegan cupcakes. Like me, I’m sure that you’re a bit worried when you hear the words “vegan” and “cupcake” you get slightly worried. Well, let me tell you, there is no need whatsoever. The cupcakes are amazing. At no point, would ever even get the inkling that they’re vegan. We had flavors including peanut butter, mocha, chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. All of them were fantastic and I cannot recommend the bakery enough.