Finding Flavor

My wintertime food cravings can be summed up in one word: flavor. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
It’s been a mild winter in northwest Montana—until now. Temperatures dropped more than 40°F over the weekend into negative digits. Our annual cold snap always makes me cozy up by the fire and crave the heat and taste of summer.

This craving ties directly to the effort I put into freezing, canning, and otherwise preserving the vegetables and fruits of summer: I know my coldest winter days will feel warmer if I don’t have to rely on mealy out-of-season tomatoes and tasteless lettuce. My wintertime food cravings can be summed up in one word: flavor. Here’s how I ensure I can satisfy my cravings on the coldest days.
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Sourdough Rye Bread

I craved tangy rye bread long before I started working with sourdough—or discovered a meatless Reuben. Get sourdough and vegetarian recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
I was on a mission to make a tangy rye bread long before I started working with sourdough. It all began when I arrived in St. Petersburg, Russia, on one of the coldest days on record. I’d just come from Norway, where I’d fallen in love with gjetost, a whey-based goat cheese that’s the color of caramel, has the richness of fudge, and melts on your tongue. Before leaving the country, I splurged on a log so large you can’t find it in the States. It was usually served with dry crispbread in Norway. Once I was settled in Russia, I discovered my favorite pairing for the cheese: Russian black bread.

The rye bread I ate in Russian bore little resemblance to what’s typically labeled “Russian rye” in America: no instant coffee, no cocoa powder, no caraway, no corn syrup. It was simply flour, water, and salt, all leavened with a sponge or starter. In other words, a sourdough bread. The problem was getting a recipe. Bread was subsidized when I was in Russia; a rye loaf cost 33p (about $1), and no one I met in the city was making it at home. The bakers where I bought my bread clearly thought I was a crazy American when I asked for the recipe: they started spouting ratios I could barely understand that seemed to start with about 50 pounds of flour.
Learn to make Sourdough Rye Bread and Gorgeous Grilled Cheese

Sourdough Naan

I bake sourdough because it’s delicious. But many people find its tangy flavor because they have problems digesting other breads. Get sourdough recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
I bake sourdough because it’s delicious. But many people discover its tangy flavor because they have problems digesting other breads. Studies have found that sourdough—particularly homemade, long-ferment sourdough—is not only easier to digest but may have bonus health benefits. It makes sense if you think about it: You feed your sourdough starter flour. It eats it, turning it into more wild yeast and healthy bacteria. When you use it to make a bread, the longer the dough sits, the more it predigests the flour for you. As it does this, the sourdough bacteria release micronutrients, neutralize phytic acid, and stabilize blood sugar levels. And this all makes the bread twice as tasty.

The upshot is that if you have a gluten sensitivity but have not been diagnosed with full-blown celiac disease, you may be able to eat homemade sourdough breads. I’m not a doctor or nutritionist, so you should discuss this with yours, but there’s disagreement on whether gluten-free products, particularly commercially processed ones, are better than their homemade, wheat-based counterparts if you don’t have immune reactions to gluten.
Learn to make Low-Gluten Sourdough Naan and Spiced Red Lentil Dip

Winter Warmers

I’ve adapted family recipes for spiced rum and wine to suit my tastes: less sugar and more spice. Get winter warmer recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
It may sound odd to have childhood memories of hot cocktails, but the scents of warm spiced rum and wine mingle with those of a freshly cut tree in my mind. My dad in particular is a fan of hot buttered rum, and for years my mom’s homemade mix was a holiday staple. Mulled wine was another family tradition, but I associate it with New Year’s Day, when my sister and I would go with my mom to a puzzle party. Several tables of complicated jigsaw puzzles would fill the living room, but the boxes showing the finished picture were always hidden away. We would spend hours linking together pieces, often the only kids amid a roomful of adults. The scent of warm spices hit you the moment the hostess opened the front door.

Now that I’m old enough to enjoy not just the smell but also the taste of winter warmers, I’ve adapted the family recipes to suit my tastes: less sugar and more spice. Don’t hesitate to adapt these recipes yet again until you decide they’re filled with everything nice. Learn to make Hot Buttered Rum and Gløgg