Monday, July 18, 2011


I got back from vacation only to find myself under a pile of work. It's never fun to end a vacation; but the first bloom of intoxicatingly frangrant roses in our garden definitely gave us a lovely welcome :). I've been meaning to post some pictures of my garden and this seems just about the right time.

Growing up, I watched my grandparents take care of the beautiful garden they had so lovingly created. Lemon, chikoo, mango, banana and coconut trees stood proudly along side herbs and greens and colorful flowers. Later we moved to a typical urban apartment and had little space to plant anything. My grandma still continued growing some gourds, squash, Indian basil and curry leaves in large pots. I learned from them that a beautiful garden is labor of love!

Turns out, hubby knows about gardening way more than I do. Lucky me! We decided to take full advantage of the small space around our apartment this summer and planted a few flowers, some herbs, tomatoes, yellow zucchini and jalapenos. The rose plant was a surprise gift to me from hubby. He said, "A bouquet would've given you momentary happiness whereas this plant will keep blooming". His thoughtfulness is only one of many things I admire about him :).

Jalapeno, Golden Zucchini, Basil

I came across this post a couple of weeks back and knew I wanted to make it first thing once the tomatoes were ripe. I kept rest of the ingredients ready and came back to find a dozen bright red tomatoes and fragrant basil waiting to be used. I would've made the tomato-basil bread right away, but long work hours left me sleep deprived and I finally got the chance on Friday.

As usual, I wanted to incorporate atleast some amount of whole wheat into the bread. This was my first time making bread though, so I put in some research. That was a good move because as I learned, different flours have different gluten levels that affect the consistency and texture of the end product. Using 100% whole wheat could've made the bread too dense (lower gluten percentage) so I decided to go half-and-half on whole wheat and all purpose flour.

Cooling down
We enjoyed the bread toasted with some butter and mom's garlic chutney!
Tomato-Basil Bread

3/4 Cup warm water
2 1/2 Teaspoon active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1 1/2  + 1 Cups whole wheat flour
3/4 Cup diced red tomatoes
Handful of basil leaves
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Teaspoons salt

  • Add a packet of active dry yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar to warm water. Mix well and let it sit for 5-6 minutes until you see bubbles. 
  • Add 3 cups of flour (half and half of all purpose and whole wheat), diced tomatoes, remaining sugar, olive oil and salt and form a dough. Knead this dough well, adding julienne basil, whole wheat flour if and as needed, until it comes together without sticking to the bowl or hands. Brush some olive oil on the dough, cover and let it sit for an hour to rise. 
  • The dough will almost double in an hour or so and seem almost hollow. Punch the dough, knead again and form two rounds of the dough. Brush these with some olive oil again, let them sit for 45 minutes. DO NOT disturb the dough at this point!
  • Preheat over to 375F degrees on the side.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until the crust is brown. Slice the bread once cooled down. 
Is it a lot of love and care that make home grown veggies taste much better??


stringOfPearls said...

It makes me so happy that you tried the bread. lovely lovely garden

Saee Koranne-Khandekar said...

Look at that bread! What a lovely garden!


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